Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When does the Monday meander become the Tuesday twaddle? Walking home from the office yesterday I smelled it. Must have been the rain we got this weekend mixed with the now brown leafed layer on the church lawn. It was definitely the rich scent of late fall. No more making hay while the sun shines; now everyone is buttoning up for the cold spell ahead. This harvest season coincides with what the news anchors are calling “these uncertain times. Philosophers and Theologians have been referring to the “age of uncertainty” for a number of years now. It’s interesting to think about the words we seem sure of. For example, we talk about “making money.” But really, only those who work at a mint (or forgers) make money. The rest of us accumulate it, or not. Do you, or someone in your family, “earn a living?” How can anyone ever earn the right to live? We work for what we need to live and hope that we will be able to live well with the reward for our work. What we earn are tangible goods like the produce from a garden, or less tangible goods like money, or perhaps the least tangible and most valuable, respect. In the Bible, God expends a great deal of effort untying our sense of self from the money we manage. Put in perspective, money is the means of exchange that allows us to enjoy more to eat than what we can grow ourselves, more to wear than what we can weave or sew, more to enjoy than what we can make or imagine. Money is an instrumental value, good for what it can be used for. People, on the other hand, are not instruments. People have value in and of themselves because you and I are made in God’s own image. In this time of harvest, may God provide all that you need, including the blessing of becoming day by day more like the God we recognize in Christ Jesus. That is a grace unearned and a value beyond measure. Keeping in Touch: *Feeling crafty, or just like getting out of the house to be with friendly faces? Join the fair crafters Sat. morning at 10 in Torsey Fellowship Hall. On November 29, we’ll need extra hands with sewing machines to zip up the thermal window coverings for the sanctuary. *Rev. Don Hegeman of the Winthrop UMC will be available for Pastoral needs Nov. 21-25. The number will be on the church voice mail. *Please keep in prayer- those who are anxious about the coming winter or the financial turmoil the world is experiencing. -thanks that we’ve been able to help two more families with fuel needs this week as they wait for state assistance to kick in. Continue to pray that those looking for employment be guided to the right doors. -parents of teens testing life’s limits. -Our Sunday School as they gear up for this year’s Christmas play.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monday Meander November 9, 2008 What’s your favorite children’s game? Nothing beats hide and seek in my book. A couple of times a year I play hide and seek on Google to see where our story pops up in the new public square of the internet. Today when I searched on “Readfield United Methodist Church” I found two treasures hiding in the back yard jungle of ads. Both are trips down memory lane. The first is a reminder of a “God incident” with a visitor in worship several years ago. I had forgotten completely about it. http://carolyncholland.wordpress.com/2008/07/03/it%e2%80%99s-not-that-small-a-world/. The second describes one of our former Sunday school students becoming a teacher in her new faith family. http://peoplesumcnews.blogspot.com/2008/03/welcome-our-newest-members.html The way we tell God’s story resonates beyond us in ways we never expect. Glimpses like these remind us of what others see when we’re not looking…and of the larger story of God in which we’re privileged to play a part. Thanks be to God! Like these glimpses, overhearing provides tidbits of a larger story. Our community, like our country is in a time of extraordinary transition right now. The speeches made by Senators Obama and McCain on Nov. 4 will go down in history. Each of us will remember where we were and what we were hearing. Since then, I’ve overheard conversations ranging from exuberance to fear: hope for things that may come to be, fear of the unknown. Both wait for a future coming into being, much like the kingdom of God, a kingdom that we can be confident is larger than anything we know. A kingdom that is hidden and yet closer than we suspect. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13: 11-12 KEEP IN TOUCH: On the calendar this week: Monday@ 7PM Trustees, Tuesday @6 PM Finance and 7PM Administrative Council. Please keep these groups in prayer as they meet for work and worship, and feel free to visit if you’d like a glimpse. Thursday @ 7PM Music Makers, Saturday 9:30 AM-3 PM Order of St. Luke mini-retreat @ Torsey Church, Saturday 10AM Church Fair Crafts. Let us keep in prayer * Those who are frightened- by the economy, by change, by their own potential, or by the immensity of the unknown. *Our veterans and all who have served their country, often giving in ways hidden to others. *Those who find it difficult to ask for help. *Our health care system and its ability to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities, insured and uninsured. *Churches prayerfully considering their futures, those voting to close or downsize staffs and those ready to step out in faith.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Little Saints and All Saints

Last night Torsey Fellowship Hall was filled with extraordinary characters of all shapes, sizes, and colors (even glitter). The community Halloween party was a rousing success. Children fished for goodies, hit holes in one, made gourd creatures and flitted around the goodie table before running off to make the circuit of trick or treat staions on all three levels. Treats definately outpaced tricks but parents were tugged two steps behind. Watch for photos to be uploaded on the website soon! (www.readfieldumc.org). Today attention turns to older characters with All Saints day. We remember those who have taught us, prodded us, comforted us into stronger relationships with Christ. Here's poem prompted by memories of one of my favorite saints, Gerald May. It was originally shared in the Shalem News, Winter/Spring 2008. FOr modern icons of some of these saints, visit. www.trinitystores.com (or the upper room at Torsey Church). MORE THAN IMAGES by Tony Sayer ...a desert like spaciousness...(Gerald May) A spacious room. A high ceiling. A world. Candles flickering. Souls kindled. Around the walls paintings, posters, icons. Images. But more that images. Presences. Merton and Bonhoeffer are drinking beer. Their bottles clink together as they confer. Saint Francis and the Sultan play chess. The Sultan alwayus wins-Francis seems not to get the game. Fiervcely he protects his pawns, but gives his bishops up with glee. Mother Seton, Sojourner Truth, and HIldegard of Bingen are making a quilt. Hildegard wants to add more and more green to the pattern. Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks and Ignatious of Loyola tred the turns of a labrinth together. Inigo's limp slows him down, and the others keep to his pace. Elijah and Julian share a barley cake. The raven on his shoulder and the cat on her lap eye each other with suspicion. Gandhi and John of the Cross and Martin Luther King are swapping jailhouse memories. They want Bonhoeffer to join them, but Merton keeps opening another cool one. Rumi and Meister Eckhart have been writing song lyrics. Teresa of Avila rounds up John Woolman and Black Elk and Frederick Ozaman and Simone Weil to start a garage band. Dorothy Day and Clare of Assisi want to sign up. They want Howard Thurman to be come too. But he's learning Tibetan chant, his deep throated voice growing ever more resonant. Etty Hillesom looks upward, murmuring contentedly, "So many stars." William Blake is teaching an art class, but his students aren't paying attention. Chuang Tzu and Albert Einstein have gotten paint all over themselves. "Angels," says Blake impatiently. "Ranks of angels surround us." He waves his hand in the air. He points at us. For we too are here. Among these witnesses, servants, pilgrims, martyrs, in this patchwork communion of saints-we are here. holy one, by what fiery grace have we come to join this company?