Subject: NCC Newsletter 12.30.2022

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National Council of Churches Newsletter
NCC Newsletter

December 30, 2022

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.
God's eye is on the sparrow, and I know God watches me.
Sing a New Song (Psalm 98:1–2)
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
2 The LORD has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

When God calls us to something new it often signals a new season or a new life chapter—a new job or ministry assignment, a new friendship or relationship that feels purposeful, or even a new home.

The psalmist’s admonition to sing a new song was given to encourage Israel to move beyond their circumstances, which had led to their defeatist attitude. A new song would be their encouragement to embrace hope and new possibilities…and to have faith.

A new song would be a reminder that God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. They could look back at their time of bondage and sing a new song because God had done a marvelous thing by delivering them from slavery.

Time and again, God gave Israel reasons to sing God’s praises, but their circumstances and obstacles often tainted their perspective.

A song of hope can never be dependent on circumstances. As frustrating as life is—as much as injustice and unfairness, struggles, and disappointments vex and unsettle us, God is always working on our behalf and for our good. Therefore, the notes and the words of the new song we sing are drawn from that future hope, not what we see before us.

What if you knew in 20 years ago how a certain stock would perform in the market? You likely would have re-prioritized aspects of your life and your finances so you could invest in a future with that stock.

That’s what the psalmist is doing with his new song. He sees the future and he’s saying—the old song has gotten really old—stale—things are maybe not going so well. But it doesn’t matter because it’s time for a new song anyway—one that reflects the light of the fullness of God’s justice.

We can rejoice—we can live joyfully because we know the Lord’s fairness and truth ultimately win out.
Now, of course, that should encourage us to embrace God’s coming justice and fairness for ourselves. If you know who wins — if you know which stocks are going up — you begin to re-prioritize your life and sing a different tune so that you’re on the winning side. And you stay in the fight and don’t give up.

A man once said he liked the idea of cheering alongside strangers at professional ball games: “You don’t know who is sitting all around you, but you’re cheering for victory together…for something good.”

God’s people are a rainbow of colors and a mosaic of cultures and religious practices. NCC is evidence of that fact. But we can sing the same song…for something good. We can stay in the fight for unity and justice and work together to make sure it happens.

As we enter a new calendar year, may this psalm encourage us to sing a new song and declare victory — victory over our circumstances, victory over our struggles, victory over injustice, victory over divisions.

In 2023, let us sing a new song together, recognizing that our song can be victorious and hopeful because it encourages others that God is doing a new thing through us.

Happy New Year from Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie and the NCC Staff!
From Darkness to Light – 2022 Advent
Daily Advent devotionals are available on all NCC Social Media Networks. Come, let us reason together! Members of the National Council of Churches and all communion partners are invited to join in praying for hope, unity, and healing during this Advent/Christmas season (November 28 – January 1).

We give thanks to our NCC staff for offering daily prayers and to the Committee on the Uniform Lessons Series (CUS) for their work in developing the Scripture readings published in the Home Daily Bible Readings (Monday-Friday) and the Guide to Lesson Development (Sundays). You can find NCC devotionals and other updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Interfaith Immigration Coalition Laments Supreme Court Decision
that Delays Title 42's End

The Supreme Court made a decision to delay the end of Title 42 by granting a request to pause a lower court order that would have ended the asylum-blocking policy by December 21. Title 42, first invoked by the Trump administration and continued by the Biden administration, has been misused for nearly three years to block migrants from seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border under the guise of protecting public health.

Faith groups and humanitarian organizations have repeatedly called for an end to the inhumane Title 42 policy that has denied migrants their internationally-recognized right to seek safety and protection. They have faithfully served asylum-seeking migrants at the border and beyond, and expressed their eagerness to work with the federal government to create a humane and welcoming asylum system.

The member organizations of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC) lament the Supreme Court’s decision that will continue to endanger the lives of already vulnerable people; they urge the Biden administration to move forward with the termination of Title 42 and ensure that it is not replaced with other cruel, anti-asylum deterrence policies.

Congress and the Biden administration must work together with faith groups, border communities, and nonprofit organizations to ensure they have the resources and support they need to welcome asylum-seeking migrants with dignity, and to create an asylum system that honors migrants’ legal and human right to seek asylum in the United States.


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