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Daily Meditations

Wednesday November 15, 2017

The Problem of Good   At some point, I suppose, everyone wrestles with the problem of evil: if God is out there, why is there evil in the world? Recently I ran across this medieval quote, which stands the problem on its head: "Si Deus est, unde malum? Si non est, unde bonum?" Loosely translated, "If God exists, where does evil come from? If God does not exist, where does good come from?"   Maybe I lead a sheltered life, but I find the second question harder to answer than the first. I encounter the goodness of God many times a day, mediated through the love of family and friends, through art and literature and music, and through the beauty of nature on an autumn morning in New Hampshire. Where does this good come from, if not from God?   Where are you encountering good today? How do you account for it?   Paul Peterson, Sr. Choir
Paul Peterson

Tuesday November 14, 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 here observations.   Here are a few more of the daily effects of white privilege that Ms. McIntosh has discovered in her own life:   * I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color. * I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race. * I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial. * I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race. * I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.   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+

Monday November 13, 2017

And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. Phil. 1:9-11   I love the phrase, "harvest of righteousness". It conjures up images of fields and farm stands full of plenty of autumn, apples and pumpkins, the last of the summer corn and zucchini, butternut squash and cabbage. It is a time of plenty. No harvest happens without hard work. Preparing the soil, planting, weeding, watering, battling bugs and blight, all are necessary in order for the crops to grow. Likewise our harvest of righteousness doesn't just happen. Our harvest requires us to pursue Christ, through prayer, through the study of scripture, through listening to Christ call to us, and acting on that call.   What do you need to do for your own "harvest of righteousness"?   Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Linnae Peterson, M.Div.

Sunday November 12, 2017

  This morning (at 8 & 10am worship) we will receive and offer to God's mission your pledges to support St. Matthew's church for the coming year.  We will also hear and consider the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids, who brought oil lamps to light the way of the bridegroom on his return. The wise bridesmaids brought an extra supply of oil to see them through the night.  When the bridegroom was delayed, the foolish bridesmaids, who had run out of oil were, well, in the dark.  In today's world, the church needs oil too, plus a whole lot more in order to keep the lights on and the doors open. Please help your church be prepared for the year ahead with a pledge the vestry can plan on.             "See you in church,"                    Celeste+ 

Saturday November 11, 2017

Several of us have been thinking about the question "What makes Jesus laugh?". I think a closely related question is "What makes Jesus "smile?".   Are these the same question? We smile when we laugh. But can we smile without laughing? I think the answer is, "yes". I think the difference may be that laughing is simply the recognition of an unexpected or non-sensical circumstance. Smiling is interpreting an unexpected or non-sensical situation and taking pleasure from it. Just as crying is interpreting an unexpected or non-sensical situation being pained by it.   The Bible teaches us to behave in ways that are pleasing to Jesus, that make him smile. What have you done lately to make Jesus smile?   James T. McKim
James T. McKim

Friday November 10, 2017

Why I believe in God! Often we go about the daily activities of everyday life. How often do you think about why you have the faith you have that God does truly exist. I suggest we take the time to look around and see the magnificence of the beauty that surrounds us. I have a bonus in seeing my grandchildren together in this moment. I rest my case! Thank you Lord for being here with us. There is no doubt that you exist and I thank you. Roger Fortier, Sexton
Roger Fortier

Thursday November 9, 2017

When, during the recent Outreach/Social Justice Retreat, Rev. Hemingson asked us to think about what would make Jesus laugh, my first reaction was, how can I, a mere human, possibly know what would make Jesus laugh? And then I thought, I don't remember any stories where Jesus laughed. Smiled, perhaps, but not laughed.   But then I started thinking, why do we laugh? My sense is that we laugh because of an odd, unexpected circumstances. Non-sensical juxtaposition of nouns (people, places, or things). We laugh as long as the circumstance is not harmful to someone or something. The chicken crossing the road. A man dressed as a clown.   Then I thought, if we are made in God's image, and Jesus is God, then we might laugh at the same things Jesus laughed at. So, Jesus must have laughed at many things - we just don't have stories about him laughing. That should give us some comfort that we do not always need to be serious.   What makes you laugh?   James T. McKim
James T. McKim

Wednesday November 8, 2017

The leaders of the Outreach and Social Justice ministries opened their recent retreat by telling stories about a time they did something that made Jesus laugh. It turns out that Jesus laughing was a new idea for many. Some of us who were there are sharing our meditations on that idea this week.   I think Jesus was laughing when he caught the hand of Peter, who had tried to walk on the water with Jesus. (Matthew 14:25-31) Reaching out his hand, he said to Peter, "You of little faith. Why did you doubt?" I think it was like we chuckle affectionately when a toddler takes his first steps and then lands on his bottom. We know that this child will learn to walk, even though the toddler doesn't know it yet. I see a playful Jesus in this story, not a scolding or impatient one. Why would he invite Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water if not for play? Too often we take ourselves to task for not having enough faith; but Jesus knows that in time we will learn much more than just walking on water.   Celeste+

Tuesday November 7, 2017

The leaders of the Outreach and Social Justice ministries opened their recent retreat by telling stories about a time they did something that made Jesus laugh.  It turns out that Jesus laughing was a new idea for many.  Some of us who were there are sharing our meditations on that idea this week.                                                                                            Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 What could bring more joy to the face of Jesus than being surrounded by little children? I can picture his twinkling eyes and the corners of his mouth turned up as he tried to contain a belly laugh during a recent Sunday School class at St. Matthew's.    The teacher had asked the children to recount their earliest memory. One young extrovert exclaimed: "The day I was born!" The teacher asked what the child remembered on that day and the joyous response was "I ate, I slept, I pooped!" as giggles erupted from the child's own mouth. As we tried to bring some degree of decorum so the lesson could proceed, I believe the mirth still shone on Jesus face.   Let us take time to surround ourselves with children so we, like Jesus, can laugh and forget some of the other things that keep us up at night.   Joan Alayne Stevens
Joan Alayne Stevens

Monday November 6, 2017

The leaders of the Outreach and Social Justice ministries opened their recent retreat by telling stories about a time they did something that made Jesus laugh.  It turns out that Jesus laughing was a new idea for many.  Some of us who were there are sharing our meditations on that idea this week.        Submitted by Roger Fortier, Sexton


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