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Meditations

  • Friday March 30, 2018

    The following is the text of the Presiding Bishop's Easter 2018 Message (in three parts):   Hello on Palm Sunday from St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem.   There is a passage in the 27th Chapter of Matthew's gospel where religious leaders, political leaders come together once again after Jesus has been crucified and executed, after he had been buried in the tomb. Once again they come together to seal the tomb, to make sure not even a rumor of his resurrection will happen. And this is what some of them say:   Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may go and steal him away and tell the people he has been raised from the dead. And the last deception will be the worse than the first.   It is easy to overlook, and sometimes convenient to forget, that Jesus was executed, Jesus was crucified by an unholy alliance of religion, politics, and economic self-interest.   Politics represented in Pontius Pilate, governor of the Roman Empire, representative of that very empire and all of its power.   King Herod, who heard Jesus at one of the trials, representative of the Herodian and economic self-interest at the time.   The Chief Priest, representative of religious aristocracies who had a vested interest in the status quo.   These three powers came together - economic, religious and political - to crucify the one who taught love the lord your God, love your neighbor, and actually live that way.   (to be continued tomorrow)   The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry Presiding Bishop and Primate The Episcopal Church
    The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
  • Thursday March 29, 2018

    "Do you understand what I have done for you?" He asked them. "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You are right. That is what I am. I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another's feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you. "What I'm about to tell you is true. A servant is not more important than his master. And a messenger is not more important than the one who sends him. Now you know these things. So you will be blessed if you do them. - John 13:12b-17   Maundy Thursday represents the last day of Jesus's time with his apostles and to remind them of the importance of humility and love. They were shocked when he changed into servants clothing and washed their feet before breaking bread with them for the last time. He reminded them that they must never place themselves above others. In the eyes of God's love all are equal. After they sat together for the last time He spoke the words that are repeated every Sunday as we worship at mass:   "And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye: this is my body. And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many." Mark 14:22-24   I never truly understood the significance of Maundy Thursday until I took the time to learn more about it. I know that I will take the time to reflect for an hour as we approach Good Friday. Hopefully I will be one of many!   Roger Fortier, Sexton
    Roger Fortier
  • Sunday March 25, 2018

    Holy Week and Easter are almost here and there is a lot of buzz at church as various ministries get ready to do their part to prepare.  Linnae and Paul Peterson met with me last week to go over all the liturgical mechanics of each service in Holy Week and Easter as well as brainstorm with me about hymns.  Dave Greiner was over collecting acolyte robes and cinctures to make sure they are clean for these important services.  Yesterday morning, altar guild members - and anyone else who wanted to help - gathered to "cleanse the Temple" (ie, polish the brass, etc.).  Kelly is cranking out bulletins while also making sure - among many other things - that the palms (which arrived a few days ago) are kept in water so that they still look nice this morning.  I have worked out the details of the dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative, including who will have what role and where everyone will stand so as to be near a microphone!  Details, details.   And I'm sure you have your own activities and "chores" to do to prepare for Easter celebrations.  Here's a thought that came to me as I was deep in the details:  while all the preparations are important, let us not forget WHY we are preparing.  We are preparing ourselves, our homes, and our church to celebrate LIFE!  We are getting ready to walk with Jesus through this most difficult and holy week because that's how life often comes to us - through heart ache and pain.   So let us prepare and then let us be present, trusting that God will bring us to new life just as God did for Jesus.   Peace, Nancy
    Nancy
  • Saturday March 24, 2018

    Dirty jobs   On the first day of Lent I unstopped the drain in our shower; not a bad metaphor. As it happens, though, the drain cleaner I used wasn't up to the job; a week later the drain was clogged again. So I fetched my plumber's snake, got down on my knees, and tried again. And the metaphor expands.   I appreciate the fact that Lent comes around every year. It reminds us that, in this life, we never really "fix" ourselves, at least, not in such a way that we stay "fixed." The problems recur, again and again, the drain that was working fine slowly but inexorably clogs again, and each time we have to do the dirty job. Sometimes we have to get down on our knees. Of course, Lent isn't the only appropriate time to tackle these jobs, but I'm glad that there is one time in the year when the church taps me on the shoulder and says, "Hey, wasn't there something you were supposed to do?"   What dirty job will you tackle today?   Paul Peterson
    Paul Peterson
  • Friday March 23, 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. We are able to tell others about God because someone first told us. Who tells you about God? Where did you show or tell about God's love this week? Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
    Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
  • 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

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