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
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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
A Prayer In Spring Robert Frost Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day; And give us not to think so far away As the uncertain harvest; keep us here All simply in the springing of the year. Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white, Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night; And make us happy in the happy bees, The swarm dilating round the perfect trees. And make us happy in the darting bird That suddenly above the bees is heard, The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill, And off a blossom in mid air stands still. For this is love and nothing else is love, The which it is reserved for God above To sanctify to what far ends He will, But which it only needs that we fulfil.
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge --- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesian 3;17-19 What is your story? Why are you here? These are two questions that have been swirling around me frequently the last month or so. A week ago I attended a Diocesan workshop that asked us to tell our story and share why we are here. Why do we show up to church on Sunday mornings? Why do we volunteer in our communities? How can our presence help reach others and shape our stories? This past Sunday, 3 moms shared their spiritual story and how it has affected them as mother's. This got me thinking about my story and how over the 28 years that I have been a mom, my story has changed and evolved. This also got me thinking about the people around me at church, in the community and work. What is their story? How has it shaped who they are and what they do? I am interpreting these thoughts as God asking me these questions. He is showing me that my spiritual journey needs to be constantly evolving and growing. I am interested in hearing your story. Let's share our stories with those around us. It is a way we show that we care and share God's unconditional love for us. Why are YOU here? What is YOUR story? Angie Battey, Sr. Warden
I love this piece from SSJE. It reminds us to be still as we listen. It is not only OK but it is necessary to be still. And listen. Joan Alayne Stevens Listen Listen to me, Jesus says. Listen with still posture and eyes closed. Listen while walking or letting yourself dance. Listen looking up gazing at bright green-leafed trees. Listen kneeling in soil to tend plants springing to life. Stop to smell the flowers and listen. Jesus the good shepherd has so many good things to say to you. Be still and listen. -Br. Luke Ditewig Society of Saint John the Evangelist