land of rest

Land of Rest is a blog of Peter Jenks. Poems, quotes and photos are by Peter Jenks (unless otherwise noted or I miss noting an older post's photo) and are copyrighted, you are free to use these if you acknowledge their source.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

In A Special Time

Over the last few weeks I have been blessed greatly by the preaching of some local pastors. It is not always the case in small rural areas to have top quality preachers in small congregations, but that is not the case now in Rockland. Having recently attended the Rockland Congregational Church with the Rev. Seth Jones preaching, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Glenn Mehaffey preaching and then the Rockland Unitarian Church with the Rev. Mark Glovin preaching; I was suddenly struck by how amazing it is to have such talent in our small area. These preachers are quite good. In an age of packaged and recorded listening it is a rare and precious gift to hear high quality live oration. These pastors are very blessed and as such are deeply enriching our local community. My only concern is that the local congregations might miss the blessing that is before them. I felt this way with the Rev. Amita Jarmen, the rabbi we had for awhile. She was an amazing addition to our community, yet alas found it difficult to stay here. I was encouraged to see that Mark Glovin is just starting a sabbatical, such time away can only enhance his gifts and strengthen the community of the Unitarian Church, it does mean we will lose his voice for a few months. But for a few months away might mean a much longer time here in our midst.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Very Thankful

There are a number of people who have stepped up and are doing great work at St. John’s during this time of sabbatical. People who have opened doors for change and made sure that the constant dedication to being faithful to our Lord remains. I am most thankful and appreciative.
From Susan Watkins and the vestry to Deborah McKean and the liturgy committee to Maureen in the office to Lysbeth in the kitchen to Kathy and the Altar Guild to Sandor and the facilities to Mariedenise and the fair and all her new ideas to the faithful bookstudy to the diehard 8 a.m. crowd to those who are supplying on Sunday mornings and whose sermons I get rave reviews about as I meet people in stores and many, many more; there are some great work of the Holy Spirit at foot. It is so amazing, and I am so thankful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday worship - December 5th

This morning it snowed, only a sprinkle, and I went to the Penobscot Bay Family Church. They meet on the top floor of the Thomaston Academy building. It was a small gathering, but a good time of worship. The pastor has a wonderful music ministry, he plays the keyboard and sings many songs he has written. The music was contemporary and very worshipful. His message was very thoughtful and full of examples and mostly about the right use of money and how we are to serve God, not money. I have found that the size of the congregation has nothing to do with the opportunity for God to touch my heart. In fact it is in the smaller gatherings that oftentimes open me up more to the intimate need of grace in my life.
The pastor, Steve Young, is very devout and forceful in his faith. There is a refreshing air and a challenge to go deeper into one’s commitment to faith in his message.
As an aside, I found it interesting and reassuring as I walked to the church I saw all the cars at the Roman Catholic Church for their service, and as I left there were cars at the Missionary Baptist Church across the street. To be part of a town and people gathering for prayer, taking time to praise God for our blessings and face our challenges and to be part of what is going on at this time in life was very good. Staying home on a Sunday morning is like staying home during the big high school football or soccer game, or town meeting or Fourth of July parade. It is an option, but one does miss what is going on in the life of one’s community. In a world that is so divided and isolated I think it is even more important to make an effort to be alive and a part of the common good.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Dirty Bowl

A child made some soup last night for a late dinner. It is nice when they are self sufficient. After the dinner this child brought the bowl of soup and various utensils into the kitchen and left them on the counter. This is so much better than leaving them around the house or on the table. In fact I am sure this child thought they were doing a very helpful thing to bring the dishes into the kitchen. The only problem was that by the next morning the bowl had dried up and I needed to clean it out some before putting it in the dishwasher. And the little bit of soup with a burned bottom needed to be put into something else.
It got me to thinking, how many things do I do that I feel are very helpful or good deeds that in fact are only about eighty percent done. Deeds that in fact leave more for others in the long run. There are probably many areas of my life that are not carried out all the way, and I feel like I have done good things, and yet not all the way. How much of my efforts of love are good efforts but cause others to pick up the pieces or meet me part way just to receive my good intentions? How much of my prayers and acts of devotion with God are really only part efforts, causing or expecting God to finish off what I started?
It was a dirty bowl that was left for me to finish cleaning, yet it was also a wonderful gift that helped me see myself more clearly. How many of my actions that I feel are shortsighted end up also being additional unforeseen gifts to others as well?
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