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Daily Meditations

Friday December 8, 2017

...continued from yesterday:   So what DO I have then?  This seems to be where I can find the guidance for how I should proceed in my life.  When overwhelmed by the needs around me, I can simply start where I am, in the present, in this time and place, and with the resources I have.  What do I have?  I have a profession in which I teach students, a career as a nurse, lots of higher education, a faith community, a family and yes, even unearned privilege.  I can start there.  I can give from the (many) resources I already have, and in God's hands, it can multiply to address the needs of what sometimes feels like a whole crowd clamoring for provisions and healing.   This even leads me to another answer to the question "so what DO I have?"   It reminds me of how powerful gratitude is amid angst and the sometimes unfathomable level of human need all around me. The crowd following Jesus had just seen healing galore, and remembered to be thankful.  Yet, in the next breath, they got worried again.  But then they gave what they had and were thankful.  The crowds were fed, and there were leftovers.  Leftovers!!  That means that the giving was not at the expense of the giver, but that everyone had what they needed and more.   I am reassured by this message that I already have enough to do what I am supposed to be doing.  If I give what I have, in God's hands, it can be enough.  I may not see how, but instead of anxiety, I can be grateful for all the resources I DO have, and give those to the task at hand, one day at a time.   Deb McCarter, Parishioner
Deb McCarter

Thursday December 7, 2017

"How many loaves do you have?" was the question Jesus asked his followers (Matthew 15:34). It was asked in response to the anxiety his disciples were having about how they could possible feed such a huge crowd who had already been 3 days without food and were in a "deserted place" where food was not readily available to them. Jesus had asked them to feed everyone--but, how could they? What seems compelling to me is what came just before this question.  Great crowds had gathered because of all the healing that was happening-the mute spoke, those with deformities were made whole, lame people could walk, blind people could see-and everyone knew it was from God and gave him the thanks and glory (Matthew 15:31).  But in the very next moment, getting a meal for a crowd seemed completely overwhelming.   It occurs to me that maybe this question-how many loaves do you have? -- has the answer embedded in it.  I often find myself overwhelmed with needs, particularly in this political and social climate where so many seem to be disadvantaged, hurt and abandoned.  And that isn't even counting the needs in my more immediate circles of work, family and community!  I completely understand the disciples' question about where they would ever get or have enough to meet the needs of all the people before them.  But Jesus responded with the question that to me sounds like "ok, so what DO you have?".  When they started with what they had--just seven loaves and two fish-- in God's hands it then became enough.  They were willing, albeit overwhelmed, but when they simply started by giving away what they had, it somehow turned out to be enough.   ....to be continued tomorrow.   Deb McCarter, Parishioner
Deb McCarter

Wednesday December 6, 2017

Vintage Holy Card, Switzerland, St. Nicholas Center Collection.   From Holy Women, Holy Men, Celebrating the Life of Saints:   Very little is known about the life of Nicholas, except that he suffered torture and imprisonment during the persecution under the Emperor Diocletian. It is possible that he was one of the bishops attending the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325. He was honored as a saint in Constantinople in the sixth century by the Emperor Justinian. His veneration became immensely popular in the West after the supposed removal of his body to Bari, Italy, in the late eleventh century. In England almost 400 churches were dedicated to him.    Nicholas is famed as the traditional patron of seafarers and sailors, and, more especially, of children. As a bearer of gifts to children, his name was brought to America by the Dutch colonists in New York, from whom he is popularly known as Santa Claus.   Almighty God, in your love you gave your servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness both on land and sea: Grant, we pray, that your Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.   A great website to check out for more information on St. Nicholas is: http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/  

Tuesday December 5, 2017

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence (Jeremiah 17:7).   Today would have been Harold Chase's 92nd birthday. He passed in October but still leaves an imprint in the pews at St. Matthew's. I think of him fondly whenever Amazing Grace is played, for he would sing it with tears rolling down his face. He was a faithful believer who trusted in the Lord. Take a moment to remember someone today who is no longer with you on this earth, but will remain with you in spirit always. Is there a way you can honor that spirit with your actions today?   Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator 
Kelly Kennerson

Monday December 4, 2017

In her essay, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Peggy McIntosh writes, "I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group." In occasional meditations this season, I'm sharing some of her observations. Here are a few more of the daily effects of white privilege that Ms. McIntosh has discovered in her own life:   * I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race. * I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking. * I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race. * If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones. * I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.   Think about it. Do you have these advantages? What would your life be like if you didn't? Do you know of other people who don't have these advantages?   Celeste Hemingson+
Celeste Hemingson+

Sunday December 3, 2017

  It's Advent!  What are you waiting for?   The first season of the church year, Advent, starts today. One way or another, Advent marks a time of waiting.  A time of waiting for Christmas, marking off days with Advent calendars, or marking off weeks with candles on an Advent wreath.  Advent can also be observed as a time of waiting for the coming of Christ-God's longed-for intervention in human history.  The Old Testament reading for Sundaybegins, "O that you would tear open the heavens and come down," (Isaiah 64:1)   So here's a prayer puzzle for you: If Christ has come, and Christ has died, and has risen, and has sent the Holy Spirit to sustain us, what exactly are we waiting for?    "See you in church,"           Celeste+ Worship at 8am & 10am w/Baptism
Celeste+

Saturday December 2, 2017

  One recent morning I unlocked the church and was walking down the steps when this painted rock caught my eye in the flower garden. I unlock the church three mornings a week and had never noticed it before. I think the foliage died back enough that it was now in sight. A couple things for me: 1. Sometimes we have to let things go to see anew and 2. I have hope that spring will come and foliage will burst forth to hide the rock once again.   Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator
Kelly Kennerson

Friday December 1, 2017

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, 'See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight" ' Mark 1:1-4   How are your house preparations coming along? My house still has some droopy pumpkins hanging about. This weekend it is time to get serious - Advent is arriving. It is time to clean up, sweep out the old, and prepare for an arrival. I will work on my own home Saturday and Sunday afternoon, but I will spend tomorrow morning at St. Matthew's Church, preparing it for the Advent season. Please come and join me from 10am-Noon. Many hands make light work. Children are always welcome and from 11am-Noon they will work on constructing the advent wreath for the sanctuary. It is always a wonderful morning of cleaning & fellowship.   Kelly Kennerson Parish Administrator
Kelly Kennerson

Thursday November 30, 2017

This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas.  The secular world doesn't seem to think much of preparation, preferring to turn it on with the flick of a switch, going instantly to full bore Christmas decorations and Christmas music coming from every direction.  One Christian tradition of preparation is the advent wreath, where we light a candle each week, slowly building to a fully lit wreath on Christmas eve.  In our family , we have another tradition that we do with our Christmas tree.  We get our tree on the first Sunday in Advent, and leave it bare in the house for that first week.  On the second Sunday the lights come on.  On the third Sunday we string garlands.  The ornaments get added on the fourth Sunday, usually with the assistance of our girls coming home for the holiday.  Finally we place the angel at the top of the tree on Christmas Eve.  It is a really nice way of working up to Christmas, and reminds us that true preparation takes time.   How will you prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth? Benge Ambrogi, Parishioner
Benge Ambrogi

Wednesday November 29, 2017

  Wednesday November 29, 2017   In my youth (long ago) I was a typical teen who thought I had the secrets of what was wrong with the world. I had endured religious teaching thru 8 years of grammar school, 4 years of high school, and theology in college. My perspective of Jesus was one of a serious teacher that had been sent down from heaven to save us from our human weaknesses. With all that was going on in the 70's I almost lost my connection with him because I could no longer really identify with him as a person. It was one day  I saw this picture in a poster shop that opened my eyes and gave me a whole new perspective on Jesus. It renewed my connection with his goodness and humanity.  I felt a connection I had never had before. Jesus was the son of God and he came to us as a human that experienced the joys and pain of being human. I will let this picture speak for itself and I hope you get a lift in loving him because he was on earth as one of us. I love a Lord that can laugh. It shows a love for all of us.   Roger Fortier, Sexton  
Roger Fortier

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