Reflections on being heard & listening: themes from Hebrews

Do you feel heard? Seen? Recognized? Beloved?

Here are Rev Barbara Brown Taylor’s thoughts on the Love who insists one being Present and bears Witness to our lives:

“I use the word “sacred” to describe something that grounds me in this world and opens me up to another world all at the same time. Oceans usually do it, especially in the middle of summer storms. The kindness of strangers does it. Getting sick does it, especially if I am so sick that I cannot do anything for myself. Being present at the birth of a new human being does it, and so does being between the sheets with someone I love. I could go on. I use the words “holy” and “divine” to describe the same phenomena. They almost involve the sense that there is a Witness to my life, a Consciousness that is for me in the best situations but also in the worst, where this Sacredness is working around the clock to make life out of death for me and every other living thing.”

We had seen God in His splendors,
heard the text that Nature renders.
We had reached the naked soul of man.
— Ernest Shackleton

I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens.
Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying,
but also something wonderful happens to me.
I’m grateful that I’m heard.
— Maya Angelou

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.
― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi

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Reflections on boldness, mercy & grace: themes from Hebrews 4

How will you come boldly into the presence of God, of Love? What does it mean, for you, to trust that you will receive the help you require, if not the help you desire, even if you cannot possibly merit it? Have you ever felt such a moment, being utterly loved and supported? Have you ever offered that sort of love and support to someone else? What sort of grace, or help, do you need?


How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root,
and in that freedom bold.
— William Wordsworth (excerpt)

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute –
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated —
Begin it, and the work will be completed!
— John Anster (excerpt) translation of Part One of
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s“Faust”

On Boldness

Dream a big dream, a bold dream. Don’t play conservatively between the 40 yard lines. Don’t just play it safe. — Robert Kraft

Fortune befriends the bold. — Emily Dickinson

Be bold, be brave enough to be your true self. — Queen Latifah

Shine like the whole universe is yours. — Rumi

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This Week at Jackson: Oct 8-14

This week at church: Mon: JCC @ Sandwich Fair for Honduras Hope, Wed – Fitness with Laurie McAleer, Thurs – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours @ Glen Ledge Store & Gas Station & Yoga with Anjali Rose, Fri – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours @ J-Town & Pastor’s Office Hours @ church,  Sat – Men’s Breakfast, Sun – Worship, Youth Games, & Finding Our Why report. Community events: Fri – Jackson Historical Society reception for new exhibition and art show & sale, Sun – Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. Hold the Date: Ukama Dinner for Zimbabwe delegates, Wentworth Charity Ball and Neighbor to Neighbor.

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THIS WEEK: WED, Oct 3 – SUN, Oct 7

This week at church: Wed – Pastor’s Drop-In Hours @ Glen Ledge Store & Gas Station & Fitness with Laurie McAleer, Thurs – Yoga with Anjali Rose, Sun – Worship, Mon: JCC @ Sandwich Fair for Honduras Hope. Community events: Wed – World’s Worst Weather program @ library, Sat – Home concert with Mountain Top Music (call to check if tickets are available). Also note hold-the-date events: Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk, Ukama Dinner for Zimbabwe delegates, Wentworth Charity Ball and Neighbor to Neighbor.

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THIS WEEK: MON, Sept 24 – SUN, Sept 30

This week at church: Mon – Missions Team mtg, Wed – Fitness with Laurie McAleer & Women’s Group mtg, Thurs – Pastor’s Drop-in Hours, Education Team mtg & Yoga with Anjali Rose, Sun – Worship. Community events: Wed – Author series Dan Szczesny @ Tin Mountain Conservation Ctr, Thurs – Sparrow Walk with Tin Mountain guide @ Maine Visitor Ctr, Sat – Honey Do Auction to benefit Habitat for Humanity @ The Wentworth, Sun – Tappan Chairs @ Jackson Public Library. Also note hold-the-date events: Ukama Dinner, Wentworth Charity Ball and Neighbor to Neighbor.

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Meditations on seeds of conflict & fruits of wisdom: hope, healing, resilience & reconciliation: themes from James 3

Is conflict always a bad thing or might it be a chance to grow? What is your response to conflict? How might you move from holy conflict to sacred response: hope, healing, resilience, and reconciliation? — Rev Gail

Excerpt from commentary by Chanequa Walker-Barnes: Conflict is not a threat that needs to be prevented or extinguished. It is an important dynamic for the growth and health of any organization. In fact, as Margaret Kornfeld states in her book, Cultivating Wholeness, the healthier that a community is, the more potential there is for conflict to emerge. Perhaps this is the understanding of conflict that the author of Proverbs had in mind when they wrote, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another” (Prov. 27:17 NRSV). When conflict is expressed, acknowledged, and worked through, it can be a blessing that facilitates growth, strength, and positive innovation. The challenge for us is to learn how to be comfortable with the tension that conflict creates. After all, we don’t want to block the blessing.

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (excerpt) — Joy Harjo

“I am the holy being of my mother’s prayer and my father’s song”
—Norman Patrick Brown, Dineh Poet and Speaker

Recognize whose lands these are on which we stand.

Ask the deer, turtle, and the crane.
Make sure the spirits of these lands are respected and treated with goodwill.
The land is a being who remembers everything.
You will have to answer to your children, and their children, and theirs—
The red shimmer of remembering will compel you up the night to walk the perimeter of truth for understanding.
As I brushed my hair over the hotel sink to get ready I heard:
By listening we will understand who we are in this holy realm of words.
Do not parade, pleased with yourself.
You must speak in the language of justice.

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This Week: TUE, Sept 18 – SUN, Sept 23

THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town
TUE, Sept 18 – SUN, Sept 23

At JCC: Tue – deacons mtg, Wed – council mtg, Thurs – yoga, Sat – JCC walks for Azheimers cure in Portland, ME, Sun – faioth formation & worship. Community events: Gibson Center steering committee, hold the dates for Habitat for Humanity’s Honey Do Auction and the Wentworth Charity Ball (must ask to be added to invitation list if you haven’t already received an invite) and Neighbor to Neighbor volunteer winterizing initiative.

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Reflections on First Responders and ‘Losing Life to Gain Life’

Reflections on first responders in anticipation of First Responders Sunday (Sept 16 at Jackson Community Church) and ‘losing life to gain life’ as themes from Mark 8.

I find myself wondering: How do we discern what we should be fierce about? How do we choose what we will hold on to, and what we need to release? … Some crosses are made of what we take on; some crosses are made of what we let go … Where is this place in your own life? How do you discern what you will hold on to, what you will claim and fight for, and what you will release? How does this choosing, this discerning, draw you closer to … what God might imagine for your life? — Jan Richardson

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