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The Gospel According to Betty White

I first received news that beloved actor and icon Betty White died from a close friend last week with whom I had bonded and grown close, usually in front of the television, laughing over late night reruns of “Golden Girls.” We shared in our processing of the news that though neither of us had known her personally, there was something about her death that simply hit us differently. Yes, her humor and sharp wit were always infectious, and yes, she had what would end up being an incredibly successful acting career, but it was her look on life and her ability to speak up for the things she cared about that made us so more fully feel the emotions she would portray in the many roles throughout her life. Betty let us in on the humble framework from which she lived her life and tried as hard as she could to be a friend to as many people as she could on the journey. She utilized the power she attained in having an audience who could listen to her differently about things that mattered, on issues like racism, gay rights, women’s rights, the list goes on and on. I know no human being is perfect; no mortal is beyond sin; not a one of us comes without our own foibles and shortcomings, and yet I can’t help but pause in my giving thanks to God for this person who has now passed on, and imagine what the world would be like if more of us could lean toward that humble place in our hearts with the days we have left on earth – what would happen if we learned to laugh at ourselves better? What if we could see the beauty in imperfect things more frequently, and find joy in that? What if we could use the voice we’re given in such a way that moves God’s people forward for peace and justice, not for being someone else, but for being precisely who God has made us to be?

This week, I invite you to hold in your prayers the following:

Among new concerns that have risen this week we pray for:

  • Mark Fry, who is at home recovering from a health episode.

Among those with ongoing prayer concerns, we continue praying for:

  • Charlene Houseman

  • Kathie Call and her son, Michael Call

  • Haley Branton, neighbor of Betty Alvarado

  • Bear, Melissa Peabody’s partner

Among our local and global community concerns:

  • We lift up our Global Ministry partners this week in Guatemala working to protect the environment from further corporate exploitation and abuse.

  • We pray for the Village on 6th and Orchard, for the children and youth, families, and couples living there, and for the staff, volunteers, and co-conspirators who work to make this project reality for the bettering of the lives of our neighbors. We pray God’s strength for all who endure houselessness, in particular these cold days of winter; asking God’s help in locating solutions within our community and for the courage to take action for justice for the least among us.

  • We pray for all enduring the current surge in Omicron cases across the United States and world. We ask for strength and respite for medical workers and all personnel who put their lives on the line for the safety of the public.

Loving God, give us the voice to speak up and out for the least among us. Give us the courage to enter the song and the conviction to be real with who we are and who you are calling us to be. In the name of the liberating Christ, Amen.

With love and blessing,

Pastor Doug

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