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Daily Meditations

Thursday March 22, 2018

  From Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Meditations 2018   Fathers, do not provoke your children, or they may lose heart. Colossians 3:21   Now that I am a priest, my son has taken to calling me, "Father Father." I smile every time I hear this. I know my new moniker encapsulates the relationship I have with my son. There is affection between us. Our hearts are whole and filled with love.   I am an affectionate extrovert, savoring each relationship I have, whether it be nuclear or extended. I am also fairly conflict-averse, choosing to become a friend and or colleague-to get along and not fight. So it is, I believe, with God. I would like to think that we can see the heart of God in children, including our own.   Provocation shouldn't be banned. Some disagreement is natural. But I believe provocation is meant to teach, not to hurt. Hurt is an emotion that scars the heart. To provoke or hurt anyone, least of all a child, is disheartening. I recall having to punish our son a few times as he was growing up. The social worker side of me told me to punish with substance so as to make sure he would not do it again. The parent side of me told me to not do to him what I would not do to or expect of myself. Could it be that to provoke a child is to provoke God? After all, God has our heart, and our heart comes from God.   John A. H. Tomoso
John A. H. Tomoso

Wednesday March 21, 2018

From Episcopal Relief and Development Lenten Meditations 2018   Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.  John 6:12   This excerpt from the feeding of the 5,000 story is an example of what educators today would call a growth mindset.    A growth mindset improves upon its counterpart, a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, the disciples argued there were not enough fishes and loaves to feed everyone. Similarly, children using fixed mindsets think, "I'm not good at math" or "Boys don't dance." But a growth mindset affords children the idea that with effort and instruction, they can learn and do much more. The same is true for all of us.    Becoming better at science and spelling comes from practice, good instruction and the belief that we can do better. Relationship to God is not static. It flourishes through our engaged response to God's unlimited love for us.    What are the habits or self-talk that diminish your capacity for growth in God? What untapped gifts might you develop to grow in holy relationship with God and others?    Mary Carter Greene
Mary Carter Greene

Tuesday March 20, 2018

Today is the birthdate for Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood which a lot of kids grew up watching, including myself. I recently saw a special on him and was developing a meditation. I had looked up some quotes and was going in one direction and then I read something else that changed my focus.   People have said, "Don't cry" to other people for years and years, and all it has ever meant is, "I'm too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don't cry."  I'd rather have them say, "Go ahead and cry. I'm here to be with you." Fred Rogers   Then I was reading Two Dogs and a Parrot (the title for book group discussion April 12, 7pm); the author was discussing how people like to do things, especially in a crisis. This caught my attention:  "But at the same time, it's difficult, in a culture that prizes the pragmatic more than it does the spiritual dimensions of life, to imagine that presence itself is a balm. The act of simply being present to pain may be at least as powerful a gift as anything we can make and leave on a doorstep."   The message of simply being present for someone couldn't have been made more clear to me. Who can you be present for today?   Kelly Kennerson
Kelly Kennerson

Monday March 19, 2018

St. Joseph   Recently I was introduced to the amazing artwork of Fr. Bill McNichols, a Jesuit currently working in New Mexico. He produces icons and, uniquely, other kinds of paintings done in the style of icons. One that I found especially moving shows St. Joseph helping a young (10-year old?) Jesus as they walk together. St. Joseph and Jesus are depicted in the style of an icon, but the background is painted realistically: they are approaching the Rio Grande River. Think about it.    It's called St. Joseph on the Rio Grande.     Whom will you help along the way today?   Paul Peterson
Paul Peterson

Sunday March 18, 2018

Wednesday, while I was over at the Goffstown High School meeting one of the School Counselors, John Webb, I had the opportunity to witness the "walk out" by students there. Due to the weather, student leaders opted to "walk out" to the school gym and for 17 minutes (one minute for each person killed in the Parkland, Florida shooting), student leaders read the names and short bios of those killed. I don't know what percentage of students participated, but the bleachers were almost full. More importantly, it was done in a respectful and moving way. I understand that the students who organized this event had spoken with administration beforehand and those lines of communication were evident.   It is so important that we support our youth as they learn how to find their voice on important issues facing our nation and culture. We need to respect their efforts and engage them in sincere discussions - not to "teach them" anything but to perhaps learn something new.   I remember a button in the Episcopal Church from years ago which read, "Jesus was a young adult." To me, it was pointing out that young adults in the church are leaders, too. It reminds me also that many of our great leaders were incredibly young when they began to make their mark in this world. - Joan of Arc turned a war around at age 17. - Blaise Pascal developed a calculator at 19. - At the age of 20, Phillis Wheatley became the first ever African-American woman to be recognized as a published poet. - Nellie Bly began her investigative journalist career at 16 and at 23 exposed the systematic inhumane treatment of the mentally ill. - Einstein was 26 when he discovered the theory of relativity. - At 28, Dietrich Bonhoeffer helped draft the 1934 Barmen Declaration of the Confessing Churches which pitted the church against the Nazi state.   I am so glad the St. Matt's has always been a place the respects, values, and champions youth. Let us continue to help our young people use their faith and creativity and courage to change our society for the good.   Peace, Nancy
Nancy

Saturday March 17, 2018

The Collect for Patrick: Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461   Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and e

Friday March 16, 2018

Throughout Lent we are digging into who Jesus is by looking at the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John we see a Jesus in a different way than the other gospels, with less action and more images and explanations, the writer gives us and chance to encounter Jesus in a new way. Each week we will be posting questions related to this week's focus with an opportunity for you to share your responses. You can respond on Facebook in the comments, by email to the church office, or write your response on a poster in the Undercroft. How did you notice Jesus living in you? How did you notice Jesus living in other people? When did you notice God was with you this week? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Linnae Peterson, M.Div.

Thursday March 15, 2018

From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations   For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1    So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34    A little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6   Recently, I started a weekday Godly Play group for two year olds. I freaked out the night before we began. As is typical with new ministries, I was terrified that I was not enough-not enough toddler experience, not enough activities to keep everyone engaged and entertained. More than once, I wondered why I had initiated this endeavor. Staying up far too late, I raced around all evening preparing the space and doing research.    The next morning, I arrived armed with myriad ideas on how to use our time together constructively. I am, of course, a very competent adult. Yet ten minutes into our morning, the hubris of my anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. I had forgotten to slow down and simply be present -  to wonder and explore the world and each person without affectation or premise. Two-year-olds know how to do this beautifully. We spent the morning being present. We did not worry beyond our immediate experience, and we took our time. The children led the way. And God was revealed in the minute details: the smell of fresh basil, the tree root that became a train, the crackers we broke and together ate.    -Regan Schutz
Regan Schutz

Wednesday March 14, 2018

  From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations   Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6   When church leaders talk about Christian formation, we rarely talk about training. The only training conversation that comes up regularly in my life deals with potty training. In my work in Christian formation, I tend to focus on the straying part of life. I teach the questioning. I teach "why."    The "why" comes up a lot in my work at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. If Christ is the light of the world, then why is it so dark out? Why do some children wake up in multi-billion dollar homes, while others wake up to immigration officers banging down their front door? Children don't try to make excuses the way we adults do. Children don't ask if a recently deported neighbor had a traffic violation. Children seek unobstructed justice and ask, "Why? Why are we allowing this to happen?"    When I think about teaching children, I think about training children to ask questions, to make bold stances and to not make excuses. After all, when I am full of excuses and sitting down in the face of injustice, I know my students will be the first to ask me, "Why?"   -Kelly Phelan From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations   Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6   When church leaders talk about Christian formation, we rarely talk about training. The only training conversation that comes up regularly in my life deals with potty training. In my work in Christian formation, I tend to focus on the straying part of life. I teach the questioning. I teach "why."    The "why" comes up a lot in my work at All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. If Christ is the light of the world, then why is it so dark out? Why do some children wake up in multi-billion dollar homes, while others wake up to immigration officers banging down their front door? Children don't try to make excuses the way we adults do. Children don't ask if a recently deported neighbor had a traffic violation. Children seek unobstructed justice and ask, "Why? Why are we allowing this to happen?"    When I think about teaching children, I think about training children to ask questions, to make bold stances and to not make excuses. After all, when I am full of excuses and sitting down in the face of injustice, I know my students will be the first to ask me, "Why?"   -Kelly Phelan
Kelly Phelan

Monday March 12, 2018

From Episcopal Relief and Development Lent Meditations   While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." -Matthew 26:26   When I worked with children and youth in a North Carolina parish, I would sneak into a back pew after cleaning up children's chapel just in time for communion. I loved watching the young children make their way to the altar rail. They seemed so much more excited than the grown-ups. Some were carried, others wiggled or skipped or swayed to the organ music. But my favorite was when two-year-old Thomas broke free from his parent's grasp. He would run right down the aisle, clamber up three stairs, and climb onto the kneeler with his chubby hands outstretched before anyone could catch him. His purposefulness and eagerness was striking.   I want to participate in this sacred meal each Sunday just like Thomas. His fervor and excitement week after week inspire me to show up more fully, taste more deeply and go forth more purposefully.   -Sarah Bentley Allred
Sarah Bentley Allred

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