If you are visiting us for the first time, please allow us to extend our warmest greetings. We are an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. We look forward to having you join us in worship.
We are open for in-person Sunday Worship services for those who are fully vaccinated and masked. We strongly encourage those who have not yet been fully vaccinated to continue joining us via Zoom.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! As promised, I greet you this morning with “Happy New Year!” Our season of worship shifts to what is sometimes thought of as a “fast season,” not in terms of speed but of focus. As we prepare for the “feast” of Christmas and its tidings of glory, we are encouraged to live into a spirit of abundance. We can do this by mindfully taking note of the blessings represented by the themes of the season, beginning this Sunday with Hope. We light the candle of hope tomorrow morning and begin to celebrate the wonder of Christmas and the birth of the Christ child. In our contemplating “what to expect while we are expecting,” the infant Jesus, the presence of God, we pray that there be hope for the world, today and always, while we live to provide that hope for others.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! Organizing our secular lives by a sacred calendar can sometimes feel discordant. At the beginning of what we call our nation’s “holiday season,” with Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, our lectionary readings ask us to remember other matters of importance. Yes, we lift up our gratitude together, for many things. In our Christian calendar, though, this Sunday also invites us to consider our citizenship of a sort. This Sunday is called, variously, Christ the King Sunday or, more simply, The Reign of Christ. During our Bible study on Thursday morning, I found myself temporarily stuck as I searched for the word subject to describe an individual who is governed by a sovereign ruler. This weekend, let’s consider what it means to be subjects in a reign of Jesus’ love. How might we contribute to the furthering of God’s reign on earth by conceiving of ourselves that way? Come, give thanks, remember whose we are and how we love–widely and well.
Grace to you and peace, from God Our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ!
We pray in faith and we worship with hope and praise. As we gather for worship on Sunday and move forward with votes that we pray will reflect God’s desires for our church in this community, we can take comfort in the lessons from scripture in this weekend’s lectionary texts. Isaiah 65:17-18 “For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.” The prophet Isaiah reassures us that we are in God’s hands and that God has delight in mind for us. As we carry our friends and families in prayer together and as we look to how we may continue our church’s mission long into the future, we may remember this good news.
It’s the end of bow hunting season in Maine, which I am aware of because of friends who try each year to fill their freezer with food for the winter. Not so much the hunting, but the archery may be on our minds into next week following tomorrow’s worship service. The idea of “missing the mark” in archery has made its way into the theological term we know as “sin,” and we are encouraged to think about what sets individuals apart from others because of their having missed the mark. We also are invited to remember that there are ways to true up our aim and to help others do the same as we try to live in such a way that all know the possibility of joy and abundance.
Do mark your calendars, as well, for next Sunday when we receive new members into the church.
Grace to you and peace, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! On this glorious Blue Hill weekend, we have much to be thankful for! I enjoyed my coffee with that thought. As often as not, our thoughts and our emotions don’t lean that way, though, and our actions–our doings–don’t reflect our gratitude. We are motivated by such myriad emotions, including fear, anger, and shame, as well as joy, confidence and anything else we might call positive. In both lessons set aside for this Sunday, we are invited to consider how we face opportunities. With what perspective, with what emotion might we approach the days ahead so that we are moved to gratitude and to generosity? In the passage from Joel, we receive promises of fulfilling outcomes, with the recognition that our experiences might lead us to anticipate anything but fulfillment. Our Gospel lesson from Luke may have us frame things a bit differently, and guide us to the humility that lets us both dream big and also know from whom good things come.
Grace and peace to you, from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ! This Sunday may seem like just one among many of the “Ordinary Sundays” between major holidays and “fast” periods. In the quiet aftermath of our celebratory worship on the 2nd and before we get to the next significant focal point in the liturgical year with All Saints’ Day (We will have a special service, perhaps outdoors at the fire pit as we did last year, to begin our late fall gatherings behind the church.), we may feel some lack of momentum. On the contrary! This is the season of reawakening and rededication, as I was reminded this morning at the online Annual Meeting of the Maine Conference of the UCC. Doing the work of the church with over a hundred dedicated church members around the state was a blessing, and I was especially pleased that we voted in favor of the resolution to support tribal sovereignty here in Maine. I hope that interested individuals will ask me or Catherine Moore for more information about this important work, to know how we can lend our collective voices to move our state legislature.
On a more personal level, I am also marking the 15th anniversary of my ordination this week, with deep gratitude for having been recalled to ministry here among you. In our worship tomorrow, we will reflect on the elements of life and literature to which we commit, and which we carry with us in different ways. What do we have “written on our hearts” as touchstones of our faith, our morality, and our practices? Come rejoice and sing together, as well, as we steer ourselves toward deeper commitment!