Pentecost: themes of Holy Spirit setting communities and individuals afire to dream and act, to be heard and understood.

In this Pentecost week, are you seeking the presence of others who will deepen your understanding? Where do you go to hear and see what you cannot hear and see on your own? When knowledge and wisdom come to you, how do you share them beyond yourself to help others flourish? Where are you turning your ears, your eyes, your heart, your mind to perceive the presence of the Spirit and the path to which it is drawing you? — Jan Richardson
Rabbits and Fire (excerpt) — Alberto Rios
Everything’s been said … Of course, they run away from the flame,
Finding movement even when there is none to be found,
Jumping big and high over the wave of fire, or backing
Even harder through the impenetrable
Tangle of hardened saguaro And prickly pear and cholla and barrel,
But whichever way they find,
What happens is what happens: They catch fire
And then bring the fire with them when they run …

Pentecost: Holy Spirit as Fire, Wind, Dreams & Revolution

On Pentecost, may you find your heart singing with the spirit of God, your ears humming with the voice of the Spirit speaking in a language that reaches deep into your soul and wisdom dawning on your mind so that the shackles that have hardened around your mind may be broken, and God’s voice and language set free. — Mark Suriano, Sermon Seeds

… the Holy Spirit isn’t comforting anyone or anything but instead is shaking things up … The Spirit doesn’t take away our problems or make all things right. Rather, the Spirit instead helps us name the inward hopes, desires, and longings that attend anyone who is waiting for God’s redemption. The pain of creation can seem so great and the coming of God’s redemption so far away that the Spirit intervenes, interrupts, and intercedes by giving voice to our deepest needs. — David Lose

Rather, God spoke in the vernacular of the everyday and the everywhere … Any time a language or a voice crying out is suppressed, it is God’s voice, too, we are attempting to silence. We might do well to participate in Pentecost with this in mind, listening for the voice of God among the silenced, the powerless, the ignored, the forgotten, the oppressed, the nobodie. … Pentecost was a rebellion against those that would seek to restrict God to a single, respectable or official language of a single, righteous people or a single, systematic theology. Pentecost was a protest in which God refused to be silenced by the language of the powerful. Instead, on Pentecost, God spoke. And the people in the streets understood. — David Henson, Edges of Faith

Pentecost is an invitation to dream … Like any good dream, these dreams involve adopting a new perspective on what’s possible, rousing our creativity to free us from conventional expectations. They help us see that maybe what we thought was outlandish actually lies within reach. Maybe I can find freedom from what binds me. Maybe there can be justice. Maybe I can make a difference. Maybe a person’s value isn’t determined by her income. Maybe the future of our economy or our society or our planet is not yet determined. Maybe God is here with me, even if my current struggles never go away … And even when this community’s dreams are smaller, more localized or slower to develop, they can still be revolutionary. — Matthew Skinner, HuffingtonPost

Pentecost demands that we listen with a willing heart, and that we open ourselves to ongoing radical transformation. We discover that the pilgrimage does not end here; instead we are called to a new one of sharing our gifts with the world. Soul work is always challenging and calls us beyond our comfort zone. — Christine Valters Paintner, Patheos

… I wonder what it would be like if the Church allowed the Holy Spirit to transform it into a place of deep and implicit belonging — not for the few, but for everyone. — Debie Thomas

On Fire

Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
— attributed to Rumi

Love in its essence is spiritual fire. — Seneca

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire. — Ferdinand Foch

Heat cannot be separated from fire, nor beauty from the eternal. — Dante Alighieri

It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. — Frederick Douglass

We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire. — George Sand

You kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire. — Cassandra Clare

… I am … setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive or awake
however you choose to see it and I live in my own flames
sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last or handle myself or anyone else
and so I run. run run run
far and wide until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good. Hear that people? It feels good …
― Charlotte Eriksson

Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden. ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is. ― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke. ― attributed to Vincent van Gogh

The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame.
He might get burned, but he’s in the game.
And once he’s in, he can’t go back, he’ll
Beat his wings ’til he burns them black…
No, The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame …
The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real,
‘Cause Flame and Moth got a sweetheart deal.
And nothing fuels a good flirtation,
Like Need and Anger and Desperation…
No, The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real …
― Aimee Mann

Reflections on Mother’s Day Theme of Wisdom

Mother’s Day Theme – Sophia as Wisdom
Patanjali, Buddha, Moses and Jesus did not go to workshops or seminars or even churches. They went directly to nature: sat under a Bodhi tree or on top of a mountain or in a cave. … It is time to return to the source of this inspiration – the earth itself. ― Dolores Lachapelle, Earth Wisdom

… It´s not about Win or lose We all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent Blood drenched pavement
Keep on moving though the waters stay raging
In this maze you can lose your way (your way)
It might drive you crazy But don’t let it faze you no way (no way)
Gotta hold on Livin life day by day
Gotta hold on Put your focus on that one day

All my life I´ve been waiting for I´ve been praying for
For the people to say That we don´t wanna fight no more
There´ll be no more wars And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day) …

One day this all will change Treat people the same
Stop with the violence Down with the hate
One day we´ll all be free And proud to be
Under the same sun Singing songs of freedom like
Gotta hold on Livin life day by day
Gotta hold on Put your focus on that one day

All my life I´ve been waiting for I´ve been praying for
For the people to say That we don´t wanna fight no more
There´ll be no more wars And our children will play
One day (one day), One day (one day) …

Of Wisdom: Sometimes She’s a Feminine, Creative Holy Spirit

Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. — Ludwig van Beethoven

… This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom, the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fount of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly, saluting me with indescribable humility. This is at once my own being, my own nature, and the Gift of my Creator’s Thought and Art within me, speaking as Hagia Sophia, speaking as my sister, Wisdom. I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine fecundity. — Thomas Merton

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. — Rumi

Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom. — Amitabh Bachchan

There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.— Charles Dickens

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. — Buddha

Remember Proverbs 8?  Sophia, the Wisdom of God is described at the creation of the world as rejoicing in the inhabited world
 and delighting in the human race. I want the day to come when Christians are described not as judgmental but as those who, like the Wisdom of God, rejoice in the world and delight in humanity.   — Nadia Bolz-Weber

… if there is only one God, then why would we be surprised that there is a common wisdom coming through every stream? And how can we ever again possibly dismiss any of these traditions as possibly not being of God? “I believe that wisdom is where you go before theology, canons, creedal statements, denominations, because holy wisdom enables respect. The mystics of all traditions did not deal in creeds, in denominations and canons. The mystics dealt with enlightenment, insight and wisdom.” — Joan Chittister

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life. — Immanuel Kant

Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. — Francis of Assisi

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

One need not be a mystic or have had a near-death experience to understand this … God … reflects a wisdom found in ancient scriptures, a spiritual vocabulary articulated by biblical heroes, saints, reformers, and the humble poor through the ages. And this impulse toward spiritual intimacy is found not only in the Abrahamic faiths, but in Buddhism, Hinduism, and native religions. … speaks of God with us, God in the stars and sunrise, God as the face of their neighbor, God in the act of justice, or God as the wonder of love. The language of divine nearness is the very heart of vibrant faith. — Diana Butler Bass

Every Single Thing I Know, as of Today — Anne Lamott

“I thought I might take the opportunity to write down every single thing I know, as of today … (excerpt)”

  • “Life is a precious unfathomably beautiful gift…And it [is] filled with heartbreaking sweetness and beauty, floods and babies and acne and Mozart, all swirled together.”
  •  “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”
  •  “There is almost nothing outside of you that will help in any kind of last way, unless you are waiting for an organ. You can’t buy, achieve, or date it.”
  • “Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”
  • “Families; hard, hard, hard, no matter how cherished and astonishing they may also be.”
  • “Food; try to do a little better.”
  • “The movement of grace is what changes us, heals us and our world. To summon grace, say, ‘Help!’ And then buckle up.”
  • “Emerson said that the happiest person on earth is the one who learns from nature the lessons of worship. So go outside a lot, and look up.”
  • “The love of our incredible dogs and cats is the closest most of us will come, on this side of eternity, to knowing the direct love of God; although cats can be so bitter, which is not the god part: the crazy Love is. Also, ‘Figure it out’ is not a good slogan.”
  • “Exercise: If you want to have a good life after you have grown a little less young, you must walk almost every day. There is no way around this.”
  • “Death; wow. So f-ing hard to bear, when the few people you cannot live without die. You will never get over these losses, and are not supposed to.”

This Week: May 8 – 13 at Jackson Community Church

 TUE, May 8
  • Community Event:
    SPRING EPHEMERAL WILDFLOWER WALK
    2:45 – 5pm, Meet at Diana’s Bath Parking Lot, car pool to Humphrey’s Ledge.
    Tin Mountain Conservation Center director (and church friend) Lori Kinsey leads this wildflower walk in search of  Spring Beauties, Trilliums, Trout Lilies and more. This is a moderately strenuous hike, the terrain on Humphrey’s Ledge is steep, hilly, and rocky: sturdy boots are highly recommended. To be notified about this walk and others like it, contact Donna Dolan at Tin Mountain Conservation Center.

WED, May 9

  • PASTOR’S DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
  • TUNE UP Fitness with Laurie McAleer 
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church
    Free. Men and women join  fitness trainer Laurie McAleer for a gentle, introductory fitness class for beginners. Wear comfortable clothing, sensible shoes, and bring a bottle of water. Also bring a ski pole and a small ball and hand weights. Men and women both welcome to come try this class. Laurie will lead a fitness class that can be customized to each person’s abilities, and help improve overall wellbeing, as well as focusing on body areas.  that may need additional support and care.
  • CUTTING PARTY for VETERANS CHRISTMAS STOCKINGS
    10am – Noon • Fellowship Hall immediately after fitness class. Mission Committee is hosting: prepare the materials for veterans’ Christmas Stockings. People should bring sharp scissors and common pins if they have them. We expect to cut out the 60 stockings that morning, so the more the merrier. Once completed, these stockings go to the Pease Greeters group and are distributed incoming and outgoing military personnel at Pease Air Force Base.
THURS, May 10
  • INTRODUCTORY YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church. Join instructor Anjali Rose for a gentle, introductory yoga class. Wear stretchy fitness clothing, bring a matt and a cushion/blanket if you have them. $10/class for 6 weeks. Scholarships available.
  • YOGA & MEDITATION with Charlotte Doucette
    3:30pm • Parish Hall. $10/pp fee. (Scholarships available)
  • AA
    6-7pm • Church Library

SAT, May 12

 

  • MEN’S GROUP
    7:30 •  Wentworth Inn
    Come for breakfast and conversation with other men from the community.
  • Community Event: WOMEN BUILD with HABITAT for HUMANITY
    5 Burgdorf Drive, Madison, NH
    Please RSVP for this event to  cheryletoneill@gmail.com, Cheryle O’Neill, MWV Habitat for Humanity Family Support Committee Member and Women Build 2018 Coordinator. No construction skills or knowledge are necessary; just your presence and enthusiasm. Our church has a team of volunteers going to work on this project.

SUN, May 13: MOTHER’S DAY

 

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Gazebo. Bring your hot beverages. Dress warmly. Gather for readings and spiritual conversation.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL 
    9am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Drop-in choir. Join us to practice and sing during the service.
  • WORSHIP SERVICE
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Sermon: ‘First Sanctuary’
    Guest leadership: Accompanist & choir director Alan Labrie

Note: Office administrator Joanne Turner is on vacation this week.

Reflections on rainbows and promises; holy love that keeps its covenant no matter what

Themes from Genesis, and the rainbow as sign of the promise between God & Noah’s family (humankind): a covenant that suggests complexity and diversity within its symbol. A holy love that recognizes the unique potential within you. Where do you live in the complexity of God’s fierce and stubborn love, that refuses to give up on you, that returns despite broken relationships, and offers new chances over and over again? When have you turned away from connection with sacred love and justice; when have you claimed that renewed chance?

The Rainbow David Baker
… The mind is faithful in its memory—connecting signs,
it makes a memory to connect to what it needs.
… I keep this story close whenever I grieve
or fear, growing cold.
A father and his child wait through a storm.
Great rain with Thunder. Fear has
drenched the child. … The child cries,
I’m scared, to which the father
whispers, holding on, Don’t worry,
little one. I’ll stay with you until
it’s over. … Rainbow in the evening.
And as he spoke of understanding, I looked up and saw the rainbow leap with flames of many colors over me. — Black Elk

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. — Dolly Parton

And I asked my mother about it; I said, ‘Is there something wrong?’ She said, ‘God… God makes people. You understand that, don’t you?’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’ She said, ‘Who makes a rainbow?” I said, ‘God.’ She said, ‘I never presumed to tell anyone who could make a rainbow what color to make children.’ — Richard Dawson

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. ­ — Lord Byron

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God – if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think. — Maya Angelou

Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second. — Mattie Stepanek

When you look at the world, the world isn’t just one palette. It’s a beautiful rainbow, and why not have someone to represent that rainbow? —  Joan Smalls

South Africa is labouring to find its revolutionary path; the colours of the Rainbow Nation have difficulty blending together; the wealthy elites (white, black or Indian) profit from de facto segregation. — Tariq Ramadan

We have a memory cut in pieces. And I write trying to recover our real memory, the memory of humankind, what I call the human rainbow … — Eduardo Galeano

The Lord survives the rainbow of His will. — Robert Lowell

Rainbow Connection
Songwriter: Paul WilliamsWhy are there so many songs about rainbows
And what’s on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we’ve been told
And some choose to believe it
I know they’re wrong, wait and see
Some day we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me
Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it’s done so far
What’s so amazing
That keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me
All of us under its spell, we know that it’s probably magic
Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name
Is this the sweet sound
That called the young sailors?
The voice might be one in the same
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

“When I was 15, I sat in despair one day in a creaky old bus that was winding its way through central Mexico (that’s another story), trying to decide if I truly believed in God. Not necessarily God with a big white beard looking down from a Biblical heaven, but some kind of sacred spirit above, beneath, and within all things. I’d always had a deep, instinctive faith (even as a small child) in a sacred dimension to life, a Mystery I didn’t need to fully define in order to know it, feel it, experience it. But recent grueling events had shaken my faith and closed that connection.

Now, I realize that sitting and railing at God is practically a cliche of teenage angst; that doesn’t make the experience any less urgent at age 15, and I was in a dark place. “Okay,” I said, throwing the gauntlet down to whatever out there might be listening, “if there is something more than this, then prove it. Just prove it. Or I quit.” The bus turned a corner on the narrow, dusty road, and a gasp went up from the people around me. Above us, a rainbow arched through a bright blue, cloudless, rainless desert sky.

Rainbows have been special to me ever since. I know the scientific explanation, of course, water and air and angles of sunlight and all that. But to me, they are always a message. They say: “The universe is a Mystery and you’re part of it.” A nd sometimes that’s all I need to hear; that’s all the answer I need, no matter what the prayer.” ― Terri Windling

This Week: Mon, April 30 – Sun, May 6

MON, April 30

  • DEACONS MEETING
    4pm • JCC Council Room (library), Second Floor. Meeting of deacons to plan worship and community support issues.

TUE, May 1

  • Community Event:
    CARROLL COUNTY HOMELESSNESS COALITION

    10am • Tri-County Cap Offices
    Albany, NH. County, town & school liaisons plus reps from nonprofit agencies address issues re homelessness and housing insecurity. Clergy also involved.

WED, May 2

  • PASTOR’S DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
  • Resumes next week: TUNE UP Fitness with Laurie McAleer
    Resumes next week: 9am on Wed, May 9
  • PASTOR’S OFFICE HOURS
    10am – Noon • 2nd Floor, Pastor’s Office

THURS, May 3

  • INTRODUCTORY YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church. Join instructor Anjali Rose for a gentle, introductory yoga class. Wear stretchy fitness clothing, bring a matt and a cushion/blanket if you have them. $10/class for 6 weeks. Scholarships available. Runs for 6 weeks.
  • YOGA & MEDITATION with Charlotte Doucette
    3:30pm • Parish Hall. $10/pp fee. (Scholarships available)
  • AA
    6-7pm • Church Library

SAT, May 5

  • Community Event:
    VALLEY PRIDE DAY Litter Pick Up
    * 8:30-10am •  Whitney Community Center (other registration sites in different valley communities, see link below)
    * 10am-Noon • Pick up litter along local roads; sites to be assigned during registration
    * Noon-2pm • Celebrate @ Hampton Inn, No Conway
    JCC friends and members can volunteer along with JCC’s team leader Fred Tompkins to help clean local roads by registering (same day  registration) at the Whitney Community Center (other communities have different registration locations) to get gloves and bags and cleanup assignments, and then go out to pick up trash until noon. For more information on the entire event, and other locations to register and clean up, see the Conway Sun article.

SUN, May 6

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Gazebo. Bring your hot beverages. Dress warmly. Gather for readings and spiritual conversation.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL 
    9am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Drop-in choir. Join us to practice and sing during the service.
  • WORSHIP SERVICE
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Sermon: The Rainbow Promise based on Genesis 9: 6-13
    Guest leadership: Preacher – Rev Bill Briggs, accompanist – Minnie Brown & choir director – Jen Oullette
    Communion will be served.

Note: Office administrator Joanne Turner is on vacation this week and Rev Gail will be away for a long weekend May 3-7. Contact Rev Gail by text or email for emergencies only.

SPRING SCHEDULE for Youth & Families with Jackson Community Church

APRIL

  • Fri, April 27 — 5:30-7:30pm • Friday Fun Night

    Spring Fling with Pizza & Games at JCC. RSVP by email if planning to attend or call/text Rev Gail (978.273.0308)
  • Sat, April 28 — 9am-Noon • Spring Cleaning at JCC

    Come prepared to work inside (or outside if you don’t mind the rain). We’re organizing closets, cleaning windows and hard-to-reach areas, touching up spots inside and outside the church, changing light bulbs, and sprucing up the church grounds. Wear old clothes, sensible shoes, and bring work gloves. We’ll add more info about any tools or equipment you should bring from home, such as buckets or rakes or brooms.
  • Sun, April 29 – 10:30am Worship includes traditional Sunday School. Parents may attend worship and children will have interactive lesson during portion  of service.

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