A response to the General Session in St. Louis

I am searching my soul for how we have wounded ourselves again in the name of our religion.  I am searching my soul for a place to re-anchor my hopes.  I am searching my soul for a place of refuge from the storm that has just happened in a ‘church of God’ and I see another storm fast approaching.  Here author Frederick Buechner in his book “The Hungering Dark” reminds us that even in this we are not alone, we are never alone.  Perhaps there is still a bridge to built, having dashed the one offered into splintered pieces.

“The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place and time my touch will be felt. Our lives are linked together. No [person] is an island.

But there is another truth, the sister of this one, and it is that every [person] is an island. It is a truth that often the tolling of a silence reveals even more vividly than the tolling of a bell. We sit in silence with one another, each of us more or less reluctant to speak, for fear that if he [or she] does, [they] may sound life a fool.

…..The paradox is that part of what binds us closest together as human beings and makes it true that no [person] is an island is the knowledge that in another way every man is an island. Because to know this is to know that not only deep in you is there a self that longs about all to be known and accepted, but that there is also such a self in me, in everyone else the world over. So when we meet as strangers, when even friends look like strangers, it is good to remember that we need each other greatly you and I, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than more of the time we dare to admit.

Island calls to island across the silence, and once, in trust, the real words come, a bridge is built and love is done –not sentimental, emotional love, but love that is pontifex, bridge-builder. Love that speak the holy and healing word which is: God be with you, stranger who are no stranger. I wish you well. The islands become an archipelago, a continent, become a kingdom whose name is the Kingdom of God.”

― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

 

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Epiphany (with a capital ‘E’)

There was a funny, not-so-funny, event at our church between Christmas Day and January 6th, we had a building inspection done by our town inspector. I want to say first of all that we take safety as an important part of our ministry, especially because we have a preschool with 70 children attending. I am grateful for the expertise that comes to our door from the town’s offices at no additional expense to us to ensure we operate our building in as safe a manner as possible.

Our inspector was thorough, thoughtful, courteous, and provided not only comments but also suggestions. As I as said, we are fortunate to have an outsider’s view of the building. I wish I had been there at one particular point though, not to rebuff or challenge an issue of safety, the inspector was right-on with all the things he pointed out to us, but to educate and provide an opportunity for understanding our faith.

Our inspector, upon finding a manger with a little hay in it, rightfully pointed out that we should be careful with this lying around and probably use a fire resistant substitute instead, all good advice. It was the other comment as related to me though that I think we all tend to fall into, he said something like “after all, Christmas is over..”

OK, this was a few days after Christmas Day but before January 6th so here is the opportunity. Christmas, the Christmas Season, actually does not end until Epiphany (notice the capital ‘E’, more on that in a moment). I wish I had been present during the meeting to provide a moment of reflection for our industrious inspector.

If you have ever heard the song, “Twelve Days of Christmas’ then you might begin to see the clue to the error in the statement ‘after all, Christmas is over.’ Yes, the BIG day, Christmas Day, with all the presents and family and friends and food and all has past but the season of celebration isn’t over. In the song, the courting partner offers his or her true love gifts on each of the twelve days of Christmas. You know, a partridge, some pipers, maids a milking, etc.

Epipihany, with the capital ‘E’ is according to the online dictionary from Mirriam-Webster, “January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” (www.merriam-webster.com).

We as Christians really begin preparing for Christmas Day with the four weeks of Advent prior to Christmas Day and don’t have “Christmas over” until the Magi arrive bearing gifts. That’s a long time. Perhaps had I been there, our friendly inspector would have had his own ‘epiphany’ with a small ‘e’ which is defined (again from Mirriam-Webster) as “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure, a revealing moment.” Merry Christmas!

Pastor Rick

Yoga For Advent, a yoga class for the season

Monday, December 17, 7-8:15 p.m.
Make this year’s Advent season extra special! This is the most wonderful time of the year, but sometimes it’s also the busiest! Slow down, get quiet and have a mini-retreat. Basic yoga breath and poses will be blended with scripture that celebrates the calm, peace and joy of this beautiful time of year. Come get centered, relaxed and restored and remember what this time of year is all about. This is an opportunity for introspection and sweet celebration of the gifts of Advent.
No experience is necessary. All abilities are welcome. There is no cost.  The class will be instructed with participants in chairs, as well as standing, so limited mobility students are welcome also.
Reverend Sam Wilde will lead the class. Sam engages the tools of her 33 year yoga practice, 20 year teaching practice, and 20 year ministry career to create transformational classes for emotional healing, physical vitality and spiritual wholeness. She began her own practice of yoga before she turned ten. Since then, she’s gone on to graduate from Smith College, Yale Divinity School, The New Seminary, and the Kripalu School of Yoga. She has taught thousands of classes. Her oldest student was 107, her youngest a newborn. From the UMass Football Team to Alzheimers patients, she has shared yoga with a huge variety of students. She infuses all of her teaching with her love, humor and perspective of unconditional acceptance.
Any questions feel free to email or call Sam: mumumoyoga@outlook.com, 413-687-7265

Teen Opioid Addiction and Effects of Family Life

Wednesday, October 10, 7pm at West Springfield United Methodist Churchopioid

West Side resident, Kirk Jonah, will discuss his family’s experience in hopes of preventing any more young people from succumbing to the same fate as his son, Jack who passed away in 2016. He hopes to help other parents identify warning signs of opioid abuse and guide them to prepare to be able to handle an addiction before it is too late. If you have teenagers please bring them to hear the discussion. Even if your children are small now this information may be invaluable to you in the future.

All Are Welcome

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