Today is Heirloom Seeds Day. What are heirloom seeds? These are seeds that carry a history, a legacy and lore. History-loving gardeners have preserved clippings, cultivars or seeds from certain plants for many generations. Today marks the day gardeners use the seeds to bring what has been into the here and now. The seeds produce new life shaped by both their history and the environment of today. What history, legacy, or lore helps describe you? Are Jesus’ teachings part of your history? Imagine that you are a seed planted in the world today. What will your life sow? James McKim (reprinted from May 2014)
You are here
Recently I have been more concerned with poverty and its effect on people - possibly because many of us are not many steps away from needing assistance many times in our lives. Statistics just released in Massachusetts show significant increases of children living at or below the poverty level. Springfield, Massachusetts lists as 1 in 5 children in that range! In This Time, the spring newsletter of H.O.M.E., in Maine (a part of the Emmaus movement) these writings are worth meditating about: "We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it." Dorothy Day "Poverty is not made by God, it is created by you and me when we don't share what we have." Mother Theresa and "Curious" A poem about poverty by Donna Beegle I find myself more late with every crisis more anygry with every injustice more greedy with every deprivation more rude with every judgement more disorganized with every eviction more negative with every untreated illness more unstable with every insecurity I find myself more civil with every bite more respectful with every kindness more hopeful with every change more grateful with every opportunity more ready to learn when I am safe more motivated when there is hope more happy when I am valued I find myself like the 37 million people in poverty responding in very human ways to my environment Thanks be to the Goffstown Network Food Pantry for doing the school backpack program and to all who contribute to it. Praise God for the inspiration to do right works. Gayle Feick
Lord God Almighty, whose only Son sought not to preserve his life but to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we might have abundant life, we remember this day the personal sacrifices made by many of our fellow citizens in the service of their country. On this day we pause, however briefly, to remember and recall those who gave the last measure of their lives for their faith, their country and their fellow compatriots in arms. The record of their courage is in the hands of history and the vestige of their lives is at rest in our memories. Grant that we and all the citizens of this land may have the grace to honor their good deeds as in righteousness we strive for peace among all the people of God's creation. Remembering their sacrifice, we rededicate ourselves to the tradition of courage that you, our Lord, have instilled in us. Give us a deep sense of reverence for life that is tempered by a passionate desire for justice. Continue in us the valor of those who have woven this tradition into the fabric of our country. This we pray in the name of the one God who creates, redeems and sustains. AMEN. Bishop James Magness, Canon for Armed Services and Federal Ministries May 19, 2014 Prayer for Memorial Day
On this memorial day weekend, we remember those who sacrificed their lives in active military service defending our country and its principles and, most importantly, its Constitution. I recently watched the movie RBG which is about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It reminded me just how important it is to uphold the Constitution which promises to protect the rights of all people. And I am grateful, beyond words, for those who through military service were willing to pay the ultimate price defending our country, our freedoms, and our Constitution. This collect from the prayer book is for them: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen. Peace, Nancy
Yes If you dare to say ‘yes’ to the prompting of God’s Spirit in your heart, and if you follow where God seems to be calling you, you won’t be spared trials and hardships along the way - but you will discover what it is to be alive, truly alive in Christ. And this life is for all eternity. -Br. Geoffrey Tristram Society of Saint John the Evangelist Through St Matthew's Social Justice Committee I have become aware of several opportunities to follow where God seems to be calling me. One is the Poor People's Campaign which is headed up in NH by Rev. Jason Wells, former rector of Grace Episcopal in East Concord. Jason is now the head of the NH Council of Churches. You can find more on www.poorpeoplescampaign.org Their tag line is A National Call for Moral Revival. In NH you can find out more on www.nhchurches.org This past week Barbara Carbonneau, Reta MacGregor, who is a friend of St Matt's, and I went to a rally on the steps of the State House in Concord. We sang, prayed and heard speakers from youth groups to people of cloth. Then we marched around the State House, entered and walked to the Secretary of State's office where we remained awaiting his return. Our message on signs focused on the areas of poverty, environment, racism, and voters rights. It felt good to be part of something greater than myself: truly alive in Christ. I will return this coming week for the next such rally. Please join us if you can. Peace, justice, love, Joan Alayne Stevens
The Feast Day of St. Bede, May 25 Saint Bede is remembered as the father of English history; his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” completed in about 731, was the first history of England. Although he lived his life simply, austerely, rarely venturing very far from his monastic base in north-eastern England, his long hours of study eventually made him perhaps the best-educated person of his age. He was a polymath, writing on many subjects, but he is best remembered for his history. I confess that, as both a history buff and an anglophile, I love Bede! He was one of those tireless scholar-monks who somehow managed to keep the light on through the darkest of the dark ages. Without his “Ecclesiastical History” we would know next to nothing about how Christianity took root in England. Saint Cuthbert, Augustine of Canterbury, and the formidable Abbess Hilda would be mere names to us, if remembered at all. His history reminds us that Christianity is not disembodied ideas, but real, flesh-and-blood people, doing what they can to serve Christ. He puts a human face on our past as Christians. What is your personal history? Whose names and faces are found there? Paul Peterson
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 Nicolaus Copernicus and Johann Kepler lived almost a hundred years apart. Both studied the heavens and gave us some of our foundational understanding of astronomy. Both of them bothered to look, to pay attention to the work around them. For them there was no conflict between the world they studied and the actions of God. For some the understanding of science and the Biblical views of God stand in opposition, but for many the physical world can be a manifestation of the wonder of God’s creativity. How our world came to be and how it functions continues to be an invitation for us to explore the wonders of God’s creation, it can be a path that leads us deeper into our life in God. Take some time to wonder at God’s creation through the Hubble telescope,https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/arJohann Keplerchive/top100/ Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Blessed Be God The traditional Jewish prayer at meals goes, “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King forever, who causes the earth to produce food.” This is a very ancient prayer; when the Gospels say that Jesus took bread, said the blessing, and gave it to his disciples, this is probably the blessing that he said. Most of the ancient Jewish prayers begin with this same formula, “Blessed (Baruch) art thou. . . .” In fact, this format is so common that the volume of the Talmud that discusses prayer is titled “Blessings (Berakot).” I often approach prayer as a kind of shopping list of things that I want to ask God to do or give to me or to those I love. While there is a place for prayer of this kind, I have to remind myself from time to time that the most fundamental form of prayer in the Jewish (and Christian) tradition deals not with what we would like God to do, but with who God is and what God has already done. We praise him and thank him, we bless his name for his love for us, expressed by the good gifts he has graciously given us. The heart that is devoted to God is a grateful heart, aware of God’s grace, and thankful for it. What will you bless the Lord for today? Paul Peterson
N∞shun kesukqut Wunneetupantamunach k∞wesuonk Peyaum∞utch kukkeitass∞tam∞onk. The beginning of the Lord’s Prayer in Algonquin as translated by John Eliot In 1631 John Eliot arrived in Boston, part of a massive migration of Puritans and others to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. As Eliot pastored the church in Roxbury, he became increasingly concerned with the welfare of the Native peoples of the area, the Algonquin. Not all off his efforts to help the Native Americans were truly helpful, but he left one lasting legacy; he and a few colleagues took the time and effort to learn the language of the people, and translated the Bible into Algonquin. Eliot’s translation has become the basis for the current revival of the Algonquin language. Like Eliot, we are people of our own time and place. We do the best we can to live into our baptismal vows to "strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” We often fall short, as Eliot did; yet God has a way of honoring our striving. We don’t know the impact of our attempts, large or small. We can only follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit to bring the light of Christ to our small corner of the world. How are you bringing the light of Christ to your world today? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Today we celebrate Pentecost when the church commemorates God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts speaks of the Apostles being able to miraculously speak in other languages so that everyone in Jerusalem, no matter where they were coming from, could understand them (and vice versa). The gift of the Spirit gave the members of this fledgling church power and inspiration and courage to live more fully into this new relationship they had with God through Jesus. Three thoughts/questions were running through my head as I prepared for today: 1) What gifts do I or you or we need from God so that we, too, can live more fully into this relationship we have with God through Jesus? And 2) How can God help us speak to one another in “languages” that allow us to truly understand each other, no matter where the other is coming from? 3) Lastly, is the Spirit something that God gives from without or is the Spirit already within us just waiting to be activated? Peace, Nancy