Spring Youth & Children’s Programming

Quick overview of upcoming programming: 

  • Sun, Mar 31: 9am – Youth & Children Scavenger Hunt and Faith Formation followed by Intergenerational Choir Practice
  • Sun, Apr 7: 10:30am –  ‘Sunday School’ during worship with Lisa White as lead teacher
  • Sun, Apr 14 (Palm Sunday): 9am – Youth & Children Faith Formation Games followed by Intergenerational Choir Practice – stay for 10:30am worship with baptism (kids involved) plus choir performs in church
  • Sun, Apr 21 (Easter): 6am – Sunrise Service & 10:30am – Worship & Intergenerational choir performs during worship & 11:45am Easter Egg hunt after church
  • Sun, Apr 28: 9am – Youth & Children Games & Faith Formation
  • Sun, May 5: 10:30am ‘Sunday School’ during worship with Lisa White as lead teacher
  • Sun, May 12: 9am – Youth & Children Games & Faith Formation / 10:30am – Mother’s Day Worship (special speaker)
  • Sun, May 19: 9am – Youth & Children Games & Faith Formation9) 
  • Sun, May 26: 9am – Youth & Children Games & Faith Formation10) 
  • Sun, June 2: 10:30am – ‘Children & Youth Sunday’  – Intergenerational Choir, music by families/students (please let us know if you’d like to offer music), youth speaker

Family Weekend at Horton Center: June 21-23 (Fri-Sun)
Rev Gail & Chris Doktor serving as deans for this family camp! Registration info!

Peace & Empowerment Camp Summer Camp: June 24-28  at Jackson Community Church for grades K-6 plus counselor-in-training opportunities for students 7th grade and up. Lunch will be provided! We will run it one week, and possibly once more at the end of the summer, depending on response/registration. We’re collaborating with other local faith communities to welcome additional students. This camp is open to the community. We’ll work on concepts of Peace drawn from several cultures, based on curriculum from that Rev Gail is using as a dean this summer at Horton Center’s outdoor mountain top camp, including Aloha, Ubuntu, Haiwa, Si Se Puedo. Plus lessons in Empowerment. Spiritual learning will be part of the curriculum. Program also includes live music, games, arts, contemplative practices, outdoor excursions (weather permitting), reflections, and goal-setting.

Also: Bushee-Thorne Scholarships available for summer camps: application due ASAP. Return the scholarship application to me or the church email (jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.org). 

Reflections on prodigal love: themes from parable in Luke 15

When is love prodigal? When is it wasteful and exuberant to offer compassion and welcome though it may not be merited or appreciated? Some early theologians so feared this parable of prodigal love, that they decided it shouldn’t be told or taught … it offered a model that overturned good sense and economical, societal order. When have you been prodigal and excessive in your love? And would you do it again? When have you received such impractical generosity of heart? — Rev Gail

Song: Prodigal by Sidewalk Prophets

The Prodigal Son
(excerpt) Spencer Reece
For a decade I did not speak to my parents.
Are you listening to me? I will not bore you with details.
Instead, I will tell you something new. Listen to me.
I was angry. But the reasons no longer interest me.
I take the liberty of assuming you approve of forgiveness
… we discuss blessings, absolutions, consecrations—our work of the soul.
… Mother and father, forgive me my absence.
I will always be moving quietly toward you.

Blessing that Waits to Come to Your Aid — Jan Richardson
 When I have become / so reliant on myself
that I cannot see / the need that gnaws / so deep / in my soul,
open my eyes, open my heart, open my mouth
to cry out / for the help
that you do not ration, the deliverance
that you delight to offer / in glad and / generous measure.

Poem (excerpt) — Rumi
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
… You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

Prodigal Love: Extravagant Welcome & Unearned Grace

We’re all being loved in spite of ourselves. — Richard Rohr

I now see that the hands that forgive, console, heal, and offer a festive meal must become my own.  ― Henri Nouwen, Return of the Prodigal Son

The pattern of the prodigal is: rebellion, ruin, repentance, reconciliation, restoration. — Edwin Louis Cole

We are so afraid of letting people off the hook. We are so resentful of unearned love. Unless we happen to be the ones toward whom the father is running, with his arms wide open and tears wetting his beard. — Barbara Brown Taylor

The story of the Prodigal Son is a story about hearts: selfish hearts and generous hearts, closed hearts and open hearts, cold hearts and warm hearts, broken hearts and joyful hearts, unrepentant hearts and repentant hearts, unforgiving hearts and forgiving hearts, resentful hearts and grateful hearts. It reveals so much about the vagaries of the human heart. When all is said and done it is the heart that matters. … The heart is what I am deep down. It is the real me. Darkness of heart is the blackest night of all. Emptiness of heart is the greatest poverty of all. A heavy heart is the most wearisome burden of all. A broken heart is the deepest wound of all. But the parable reveals how steadfast is the heart of God. — Flor McCarthy

The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faith are dim compared with the eye of God’s love. … It means much love truly felt; for God never gives an expression of love without feeling it in His infinite heart. — Charles Spurgeon

The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” ― Henri Nouwen

Prodigal Child

… the prodigal figure is at work in us when we go racing through the candy store of life, unaware of the price of the going and comingor the cost. We are takers who gather everything we can to ourselves, or squander it or do nothing, and then discover that life demands back everything it gives in ways we never dreamed. — Joan Chittister

In relation to my practice, I am the prodigal son when I live in forgetfulness and self-centeredness. When I hurry … because I am attached to my agenda, I waste the precious gift of life in the present moment. When I come back to my breath, I seek the peace of mindfulness … — Mark LeMay, from Mindfulness Bell published by Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Sangha)

And, like the prodigal son, he had returned broken in body and also in mind to the house where he had been born … ― Catherine Cookson

The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. A fine example was the Prodigal Son — when he started back home. ― O. Henry, The Green Door

The back door beckons to a prodigal son. ― Michael Davidow

It was his home now. But it could not be his home till he had gone from it and returned to it. ― G.K. Chesterton

… and it was the son’s new revelation of his poverty of heart that propelled him back into his Father’s arms. ― Tommy Tenney

But at least you and I have this in common: I know what it’s like to hunger.  To hunger for love, for depth, for passion, for joy. And I know what it’s like to imagine an exotic Elsewhere, a more perfect nourishment miles away from my Father’s all-too-familiar table. I know what it’s like to “come to myself” in the broken, impoverished places of my own foolish fashioning, and to long for the warmth and sustenance of a home. — Debie Thomas

Once a person learns to read the signs of love and thus to believe it, love leads him into the open field wherein he himself can love. If the prodigal son had not believed that the father’s love was already waiting for him, he would not have been able to make the journey home – even if his father’s love welcomes him in a way he never would have dreamed of. ― Hans Urs von Balthasar, Love Alone is Credible

So when I reject my identity as beloved child of God and turn to my own plans of self-satisfaction, or I despair that I haven’t managed to be a good enough person, I again see our divine Parent running toward me uninterested in what I’ve done or not done, who covers me in divine love and I melt into something new like having again been moved from death to life and I reconcile aspects of myself and I reconcile to others around me. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Offering Exuberant Love: Prodigal Parent

Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope. — John Ciardi

But the real Prodigal in this story is your Father, is he not?  Over-the-top, undignified, and hair-raising in his love? —  Debie Thomas

You never depart from us, but yet, only with difficulties do we return to You. ― Saint Augustine, Confessions

This father is not content to have one child without the other; he advocates for and seeks out both. — Barbara Brown Taylor

When the prodigal son returned … The father accepts his son with loving-kindness and rejoices at his return. He greets the prodigal son warmly and rejoices at his return. The father’s response is a model for how I can treat myself when I stray from the path of mindfulness … I try not to cling to or repress my shame and anger. I notice these feelings and return to my breath. My feelings cannot be removed with aggression. I recognize them as part of the fold, and each time I return to the path, I say to myself (paraphrasing Thay), “I have arrived; welcome home.” — Mark LeMay, Mindfulness Bell published by Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Sangha)

… let us remember that God is the prodigal Father, who refuses to give us the love we deserve, but instead who gives the love we need.  … who waits patiently for His lost children to return. When He sees us from a long way off, He runs to welcome us. … feels our absence … steps outside to be with us, and waits patiently for our response. — Barbara Brown Taylor

The father wants not only his young person back, but his elder son as well … The father … wants both to participate in his joy … Thus the father’s unreserved, unlimited love is offered wholly and equally. He does not compare the two sons. He expresses complete love according to their individual Journeys. — Henri Nouwen

… your relationship to God is simply not defined by your really bad decisions or your squandering of resources.  But also your relationship to God is not determined by your virtue. It is not determined by being nice, or being good … Your relationship to God is simply determined by the wastefully extravagant love of God.  A God who takes no account of risk but runs toward you no matter what saying all that is mine is yours. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

Older Child: The One Who Stayed Home, Yet Was Also Lost

… But here’s your vindication: the power in this story is yours … Your Father stands in the doorway, awaiting your company. You get to write his ending. What will you do, as the music grows sweeter? What will we choose, you and I? — Debie Thomas

There are many elder sons and elder daughters who are lost while still at home.― Henri Nouwen

The fatted calf, the best Scotch, the hoedown could all have been his too, any time he asked for them except that he never thought to ask for them because he was too busy trying cheerlessly and religiously to earn them. ― Frederick Buechner

The older son squandered his freedom by not thinking he had any. He didn’t believe that all that was the Father’s was his. He squandered the gifts of the Father by living a life of mirthless duty. And coming home from the field he hears the party underway and resents such a lavish show of love thinking it a limited resource. He was being a complete ass and yet again, the Father comes to him reminding him of the great love he has for his child. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

The third character, the elder son, remained faithful to his father while his younger brother squandered his inheritance. … The story does not explore the elder son’s feelings, aside from his anger. I can easily imagine him also feeling resentful, wounded, and suspicious. These feelings are familiar, for I have held them toward others and towards myself … I wake up to the suffering caused when I stray from mindfulness, I feel critical and suspicious of myself … I sometimes feel the sting of shame … I feel both the guilt of the prodigal son, and the angry suspicion of the elder brother toward myself … Each time I catch myself living in forgetfulness and feel the prodigal son and his brother in my heart, I try to remember the father. — Mark LeMay, Mindfulness Bell published by Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist Sangha)

THIS WEEK: MON, Mar 25 – SUN, Mar 31


At Jackson Community Church & Around Town


MON, Mar 25

  • SCOUT PACK 321
    6pm • Jackson Community Church
    Den meeting at church to work on ‘pew holders’ for sanctuary.

TUE, Mar 26

  • CLERGY of the EASTERN SLOPE LUNCHEON 
    12:30pm • No Conway, NH
    Lunch and working group for local clergy and spiritual community leaders. Rev Gail attends.
  • UCC Event: ANNUAL MEETING PLANNING TEAM MEETING
    4pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meeting of deacons to plan worship, community care and other responsibilities.
  • LENTEN STUDY GROUP: Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything
    4pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come if you started the book. Come if you want to pick it up and begin. Come if you just want good conversation. Anne Lamott’s essays are good for the soul. Rev Gail facilitates this group. 1-2 copies available at church, others at library.
  • Community Event: WHITE MOUNTAINS PRIDE PLANNING COMMITEE
    7:00pm • The Cranmore Inn, No Conway
    All who would like to support this celebration of diversity are welcome! Join us for planning session.

WED, Mar 27

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. These classes will continue through the end of March. Final class until instructor recovers from surgery.
  • WOMENS’ GROUP
    10:30am • Irene Sullivan’s home, Carter Notch Rd, Jackson, NH.
    Social gathering of friends and members of the church. Please contact Irene Sullivan at 603.383.9806 for directions.

THURS, Mar 28

  • BLISS YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • Community Event: NO. CARROLL COUNTY CAREGIVERS COALITION
    9am • Professional Dev Room, Kennett Middle School, Conway, NH
    Gathered to name gaps in human services in the valley and develop solutions. Rev Gail attends.
  • Community Event: DEATH CAFE
    6pm • Conway Public Library, Conway, NH
    Conversations around topics related to death and end-of-life. Rev Gail attends to help facilitate with Rev Sean Dunker-Bendigo.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.
  • Community Event: A TASTE of HONEY with Beekeeper Athena Contus
    6:30-8pm • Whitney Community Center.
    Beekeeper Athena Contus offers a sampling of local as well as exotic honey varieties with a visual presentation on the honey bee family dynamics that make this nutritious, delicious gold liquid possible.
  • Community Event: PILEATED WOODPECKERS
    7-8pm • Tin Mountain Conservation Center
    Did you know that the Pileated Woodpecker announces its territory by drumming at a rate of 15 pecks per second?  Join Bonny Boatman for a multimedia presentation of stories, folklore and facts about this remarkable woodland neighbor. 

FRI, Mar 29

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for caffeine, conversation. Or make a separate date to meet with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • PASTOR’s OFFICE HOURS
    9:30-11:30am • Jackson Community Church
    Drop by or make an apt with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.

SAT, Mar 30

  • Community Event: Believe in Literacy Foundation’s STORYBOOK CHARACTER BREAKFAST
    9:30am • Theater in the Woods, Intervale, NH.
    This week: Peter Pan. $5/person suggested donation

SUN, Mar 31

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • CHILDREN & YOUTH PROGRAM
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you will attend our spring children & youth programming. This week: scavenger hunt with faith formation lesson (reprised) and intergenerational choir practice.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Ellen Schwindt works with church choir. Drop-ins welcome.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie
    * Choir: directed by Ellen Schwindt
  • Community Event: Mountain Top Music’s TRADITIONAL AMERICAN AND CELTIC MUSIC & DANCE
    4:00 pm • Tuckerman Brewing, Conway, NH
    Featuring multi-instrumentalists and clog dancers Aubrey Atwater and Elwood Donnelly. Suggested donation $5 at the door. More info.

Lent & Easter Events

SECOND CHANCES CONCERT 4pm, Sun, April 7
Jackson Community Church

Kathy Bennett, Thom Perkins and Taylor Whiteside: featured artists. Supports the Way Station:  more info about the Way Station here.


LENTEN STUDY GROUPS
4pm • Tuesdays
Jackson Community Church
Mar 26 & April 2
Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything
April 23 & 30
Desmond & Mpho Tutu’s
The Book of Forgiving
A few copies available at church and others held at Jackson Public Library.


UKRAINIAN EGG WORKSHOP

Sat, April 13
9-Noon or 2-5pm
Whitney Community Center


PALM SUNDAY

10:30am • April 14
Jackson Community Church
Worship with focus on themes of Holy Week.


MAUNDY THURSDAY

5pm • April 18

  • Dinner and worship around common table.
  • Soup & bread supper provided by deacons.

HOLY FRIDAY

April 19

  • Noon-3pm • Stations of the Cross • Jackson Community Church Sanctuary
  • 6:30pm • Ecumenical Worship Service • Madison Church officiated by Clergy of the Eastern Slope (Rev Gail participates).

EASTER SUNDAY

April 21

  • SUNRISE SERVICE • Gazebo by Jackson Historical Society
    * Live music, scripture & reflection
  • 10:30am • EASTER WORSHIP • Jackson Community Church
    * Choral music
    * Harp
    * Flowering of the cross
  • 11:45am • EASTER EGG HUNT • Jackson Community Church
    Community easter egg hunt following worship. Children 12 and under may participate, accompanied by adults.

This Week: MON, Mar 18 – SUN, Mar 24

At Jackson Community Church and Around Town
MON, Mar 18

  • WHITNEY COMMUNITY CENTER OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
    3:30pm • Whitney Center / Grammar School Campus
    Programming team meets re schedule and operations of the Whitney Community Center. Rev Gail attends.
  • DEN MEMBERS from SCOUT PACK 321
    6pm • Jackson Community Church
    Den meeting at church to work on ‘pew holders’ for sanctuary.
  • RELIGION, CONFLICT & PEACE
    Harvard Online EdX course. Self-Paced. Continues 8 weeks • Expect: 4-8 hours of study per week. Registration Link to register for the Harvard Online EdX course.

TUE, Mar 19

  • CLERGY of the EASTERN SLOPE LUNCHEON
    12:30pm • Center Conway, NH
    Lunch and working group for local clergy and spiritual community leaders. Rev Gail attends.
  • DEACONS TEAM MEETING
    4pm • Jackson Community Church
    Meeting of deacons to plan worship, community care and other responsibilities.
  • FULL MOON SOUP & SKI (or SNOWSHOE)
    5-7pm • Jackson XC Center
    Come ski or snowshoe. Jackson Community Church co-hosts and provides selection of hot soups on-site at Jackson XC.

WED, Mar 20

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. These classes will continue through the end of March. Classes remain weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • COUNCIL MEETING (note: time changed)
    5-6:30pm • Jackson Community Church / Second Floor Library
    Church staff, officers and team leaders meet to review admin/operational and mission-based issues for the life and governance of the church. Open to the community.
  • Community Event: THE IMPOSSIBLE CLIMB with Mark Synnott
    7pm • Whitney Community Center
    Presentation starts at 7:30pm. In The Impossible Climb, Jackson’s own Mark Synnott uses his own career as a professional climber, its intersection with that of Alex Honnold and the lead-up to Honnold’s historic ascent, to paint a insider portrait of the elite climbing community, exploring what motivates them, the paradoxical drive to keep the sport pure and at the same time to fund climbs, and the role that awareness of mortality plays in the endeavour. We watch through Mark’s eyes as Alex plots, trains and attempts his heart-stopping free-solo ascent.  This is the story which was also chronicled as a documentary in Free Solo. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

THURS, Mar 21

  • BLISS YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners. Weather dependent; if schools are delayed or closed, the class will be cancelled.
  • WAY STATION TEAM MEETING
    10am • Nativity Lutheran Church admin building
  • Leadership team meeting to review next steps for opening of day resource center to serve Mt Washington Valley’s homeless and housing-insecure population.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Mar 22

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN HOURS
    7-9am • J-Town Deli
    Come for caffeine, conversation. Or make a separate date to meet with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • PASTOR’s OFFICE HOURS
    9:30-11:30am • Jackson Community Church
    Drop by or make an apt with Rev Gail by calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or email.
  • UCC Event: HORTON CENTER DEANS TRAINING
    Fri-Sat • Maine
    Rev Gail & Chris Doktor attend overnight training for Horton Center.

SAT, Mar 23

  • UCC Event: HORTON CENTER DEANS TRAINING
    Fri-Sat • Maine Rev Gail & Chris Doktor attend overnight- training for Horton Center Deans.

SUN, Mar 24

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • CHILDREN & YOUTH PROGRAM
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Please RSVP to Rev Gail if you will attend our spring children & youth programming.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL
    9am • Jackson Community Church
    Ellen Schwindt works with church choir. Drop-ins welcome.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Accompanist: Alan Labrie

PRAYER VIGIL in RESPONSE to CHRISTCHURCH MOSQUE SHOOTINGS

Sun, March 17, 5pm @ Jackson Community Church

Please come for a public, interfaith time of silence, prayer, and remembrance for the victims and survivors of violence directed at our Muslim brothers and sisters in Christchurch, New Zealand. All are welcome; this event is free and open to the public, we encourage people to join us and gather in solidarity.

Reflections on the fierce & protective love of a hen vs the predatory nature of a fox … choosing the unexpected, challenging expectations along the Way … themes from Luke 13

Her love of her children definitely resembles my love of mine. – Alice Walker

Hen-Love

It is one of those moments that will be engraved on my brain forever. For I really saw her. She was small and gray, flecked with black; so were her chicks. She had a healthy red comb and quick, light-brown eyes. She was that proud, chunky chicken shape that makes one feel always that chickens, and hens especially, have personality and will. Her steps were neat and quick and authoritative; and though she never touched her chicks, it was obvious she was shepherding them along. She clucked impatiently when, our feet falling ever nearer, one of them, especially self-absorbed and perhaps hard-headed, ceased to respond.
— Alice Walker


Once you know how to come home to yourself, then you can open your home to other people, because you have something to offer. The other person has to do exactly the same thing if they are to have something to offer you.
— Thich Nhat Hanh


I have sharpened my knives, I have
Put on the heavy apron.

Maybe you think life is chicken soup, served
In blue willow-pattern bowls.

I have put on my boots and opened
The kitchen door and stepped out

Into the sunshine. I have crossed the lawn.
I have entered
The hen house.

— Mary Oliver, Farm Country


The Lifted Up One, the One who sits high and walks low, taught that the thoroughfare to God is full of bypaths and back roads.
The way up is down.
The way in is out.
The way first is last.
The way of success is service.
The way of attainment is relinquishment.
The way of strength is weakness.
The way of security is vulnberability.
The way of protection is forgiveness (even seventy times seven).
The way of life is the way of death — death to self, society, family.
Know your strengths. Why?
Because that’s the only way you can Lay Them Down.
God’s power is made perfect … where? In our weakness.
Want to get the most? Go to where the least is.
Want to be free? Give complete control to God.
Want to become great? Become least.
Want to discover yourself? Forget yourself.
Want honor? “Honor yourself with humility.”
Want to “get even” with enemies? Bless and love them.
— Leonard Sweet, Excerpt from Jesus Drives Me Crazy

On Hens

… drooping their wings for some to creep under, and receiving with joyous and affectionate clucks others that mount upon their backs or run up to them from every direction; and though they flee from dogs and snakes if they are frightened only for themselves, if their fright is for their children, they stand their ground and fight it out beyond their strength.” — Plutarch, 1st Century AD

… under the shadow of their wings, and with this covering they put up such a very fierce defense – striking fear into their opponent in the midst of a frightful clamor, using both wings and beak – they would rather die for their chicks than seek safety in flight.” — Ulisse Aldrovandi

The forest fire had been brought under control, and the group of firefighters were working back through the devastation making sure all the hot spots had been extinguished. As they marched across the blackened landscape between the wisps of smoke still rising from the smoldering remains, a large lump on the trail caught a firefighter’s eye. … As he got closer he noticed it was the charred remains of a large bird, that had burned nearly half way through. Since birds can so easily fly away from the approaching flames, the firefighter wondered what must have been wrong with this bird that it could not escape. Had it been sick or injured? … Arriving at the carcass, he decided to kick it off the trail with his boot. As soon as he did, however, he was startled half to death by a flurry of activity around his feet. Four little birds flailed in the dust and ash then scurried away down the hillside … The bulk of the mother’s body had covered them from the searing flames. Though the heat was enough to consume her, it allowed her babies to find safety underneath. In the face of the rising flames, she had stayed with her young. Her dead carcass and her fleeing chicks told the story well enough–she gave the ultimate sacrifice to save her young. — Jacqueline, DeepRoots blogger

A hen is to her little chicks, next, a cover of safety. There is a hawk in the sky; the mother bird can see it, though the chickens cannot; she gives her peculiar cluck of warn-ing, and quickly they come and hide beneath her wings. The hawk will not hurt them now; beneath her wings they are secure … for, in the next place, the hen is to her chicks the source of comfort. It is a cold night, and they would be frozen if they remained outside; but she calls them in, and when they are under her wings, they derive warmth from their mother’s breast. It is a wonder, the care of a hen for her little ones; she will sit so carefully, and keep her wings so widely spread, that they may all be housed. What a cabin, what a palace, it is for the young chicks to get there under the mother’s wings! The snow may fall, or the rain may come pelting down, but the wings of the hen protect the chicks; and you, dear friend, if you come to Christ, shall not only have safety, but comfort. I speak what I have experienced. … The hen is also to her chicks, the cherisher of growth. They would not develop if they were not taken care of; in their weakness they need to be cherished, that they may come to the fullness of their perfec-tion. — Charles Spurgeon

Why A Hen Instead of a Fox?

A hen is what Jesus chooses, which – if you think about it – is pretty typical of him. He is always turning things upside down, so that children and peasants wind up on top while kings and scholars land on the bottom. He is always wrecking our expectations of how things should turn out by giving prizes to losers and paying the last first. So of course he chooses a chicken, which is about as far from a fox as you can get. That way the options become very clear: you can live by licking your chops or you can die protecting the chicks. The image of God as hen is finally one that lays bare God’s vulnerability. When you are the mother hen, all you can do is open your wings wide and gather as many as you can. … Jesus won’t be king of the jungle in this or any other story. What he will be is a mother hen who stands between the chicks and those who mean to do them harm. She has no fangs, no claws, no rippling muscles. All she has is her willingness to shield her babies with her own body. If the fox wants them, he will have to kill her first … The fox slides up on her one night in the yard while all the babies are asleep. When her cry wakens them, they scatter. She dies the next day where both foxes and chickens can see her – wings spread, breast exposed – without a single chick beneath her feathers. It breaks her heart, but it does not change a thing. If you mean what you say, then this is how you stand. Which he does, as it turns out. — Barbara Brown Taylor

The Fox

… in Hebrew. Lions and foxes can be contrasted with each other to represent the difference between great men and inferior men. The great men are called “lions,” and the lesser men are called “foxes.” The epithet “fox” is sometimes applied to Torah scholars: “There are lions before you, and you ask foxes?”[4] In other words, “Why do you ask the opinion of foxes, that is, my opinion, when there are distinguished scholars present?” … Consider the following list of possibilities for “fox” in its negative sense: weakling, small-fry, usurper, poser, clown, insignificant person, cream puff, nobody, weasel, jackass, tin soldier, peon, hick, pompous pretender, jerk, upstart … In context, and referring to a local ruler, “fox” was a humiliating “slap in the face.”  … Jesus was direct. Antipas was a שׁוּעָל בֶּן שׁוּעָל (shū‘āl ben shū‘āl, “a fox, the son of a fox”), a small-fry.— Randall Buth, Jerusalem Perspective

Hen Stories

The great Persian poet Rumi had an extraordinary teacher named Shams. Even as a child Shams seemed different. His own parents struggled with whether to send him to a monastery or the village of fools. They did not know what to do with him. When he had grown he told them the story of the duck’s egg that was found by the hen and hatched. The hen raised the duckling with her other chicks. One day they walked to a lake. The duck went right in the water, Shams said to his parents, “Now, father and mother, I have found my place. I have learned to swim in the ocean, even if you must remain on the shore.” — Jack KornfieldVariation on Fox and Hen in Aesop’s Fables — Milo Winter 

One bright evening as the sun was sinking on a glorious world a wise old Cock flew into a tree to roost. Before he composed himself to rest, he flapped his wings three times and crowed loudly. But just as he was about to put his head under his wing, his beady eyes caught a flash of red and a glimpse of a long pointed nose, and there just below him stood Master Fox.

“Have you heard the wonderful news?” cried the Fox in a very joyful and excited manner.

“What news?” asked the Cock very calmly. But he had a queer, fluttery feeling inside him, for, you know, he was very much afraid of the Fox.

“Your family and mine and all other animals have agreed to forget their differences and live in peace and friendship from now on forever. Just think of it! I simply cannot wait to embrace you! Do come down, dear friend, and let us celebrate the joyful event.”

“How grand!” said the Cock. “I certainly am delighted at the news.” But he spoke in an absent way, and stretching up on tiptoes, seemed to be looking at something afar off.

“What is it you see?” asked the Fox a little anxiously.

“Why, it looks to me like a couple of Dogs coming this way. They must have heard the good news and—”

But the Fox did not wait to hear more. Off he started on a run.

“Wait,” cried the Cock. “Why do you run? The Dogs are friends of yours now!”

“Yes,” answered the Fox. “But they might not have heard the news. Besides, I have a very important errand that I had almost forgotten about.”

The Cock smiled as he buried his head in his feathers and went to sleep, for he had succeeded in outwitting a very crafty enemy.

The Hen is a Symbol of Motherhood for Reasons We May Have Forgotten, So Let Us Recall— Dr. Karen Davis
In our day, the hen has been degraded to an “egg machine.” In previous eras, she embodied the essence of motherhood. In the first century AD, the Roman historian Plutarch praised the many ways in which mother hens cherish and protect their chicks, “drooping their wings for some to creep under, and receiving with joyous and affectionate clucks others that mount upon their backs or run up to them from every direction; and though they flee from dogs and snakes if they are frightened only for themselves, if their fright is for their children, they stand their ground and fight it out beyond their strength.”
The Renaissance writer Ulisse Aldrovandi described how, at the first sign of a predator, mother hens will immediately gather their chicks “under the shadow of their wings, and with this covering they put up such a very fierce defense – striking fear into their opponent in the midst of a frightful clamor, using both wings and beak – they would rather die for their chicks than seek safety in flight.” Similarly, in collecting food, the mother hen allows her chicks to eat their fill before satisfying her own hunger. Thus, he said, mother hens present, in every way, “a noble example of love for their offspring.” … I saw this love in action, when a hen named Eva jumped our sanctuary fence on a spring day and disappeared, only to return three weeks later in June with eight fluffy chicks. Watching Eva with her tiny brood close behind her was like watching a family of wild birds whose dark and golden feathers blended perfectly with the woods and foliage they melted in and out of during the day. Periodically, Eva would squat down with her feathers puffed out, and her peeping chicks would all run under her wings for comfort and warmth. A few minutes later the family was on the move again … One day, a large dog wandered in front of the magnolia tree where Eva and her chicks were foraging. With her wings outspread and curved menacingly toward the dog, she rushed at him over and over, cackling loudly, all the while continuing to push her chicks behind herself with her wings. The dog stood stock still before the excited mother hen and soon ambled away, but Eva maintained her aggressive posture, her sharp, repetitive cackles and attentive lookout for several minutes after he was gone … Sitting on her nest, a mother hen carefully turns each of her eggs as often as thirty times a day, using her body, her feet, and her beak to move each egg precisely in order to maintain the proper temperature, moisture, ventilation, humidity, and position of the egg during the 3-week incubation period. Embryonic chicks respond to soothing sounds from the mother hen and to warning cries from the rooster. Two or three days before the chicks are ready to hatch, they start peeping to notify their mother and siblings that they are ready to emerge from their shells, and to draw her attention to any distress they’re experiencing such as cold or abnormal positioning … A communication network is established among the baby birds and between them and their mother, who must stay calm while all the peeping, sawing, and breaking of eggs goes on underneath her as she meanwhile picks off tiny pieces of shell that may be sticking to her chicks and slays any ants that may dart in to scavenge. During all this time, as Page Smith and Charles Daniel describe in The Chicken Book, “The chorus of peeps goes on virtually uninterrupted, the unborn chicks peeping away, the newborn ones singing their less muffled song.” … During the first four to eight weeks or so, the chicks stay close to their mother, gathering beneath her wings every night at dusk. Eventually, she flies up to her perch or a tree branch, indicating her sense that they, and she, are ready for independence … Let us with equal justice perceive chickens with envisioned eyes that pierce the veil of these birds’ “mechanization” and apprehend the truth of who they are. In The Chicken Book, Page Smith and Charles Daniel remind us, most poignantly: “As each chick emerges from its shell in the dark cave of feathers underneath its mother, it lies for a time like any newborn creature, exhausted, naked, and extremely vulnerable. And as the mother may be taken as the epitome of motherhood, so the newborn chick may be taken as an archetypal representative of babies of all species, human and animal alike, just brought into the world.” … This is What Wings Are For.

LENTEN & EASTER EVENTS



LENTEN STUDY GROUPS
Meeting in March and April @ Jackson Community Church

  • March: Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything: Notes on Hope
  • April: Desmond & Mpho Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving
  • Copies of the books now available from the church and also the local library.

Community Event: LENTEN RETREAT
April 1-3

Our Lady of the Mountains / Roman Cathcolic Church
More information forthcoming.


UKRAINIAN EGG WORKSHOP
Sat, April 13
9-Noon or 2-5pm
Whitney Community Center


PALM SUNDAY
10:30am • April 14

  • Jackson Community Church
  • Worship with focus on themes of Holy Week.

MAUNDY THURSDAY
5pm • April 18

  • Dinner and worship around common table.
  • Soup & bread supper provided by deacons.

HOLY FRIDAY
April 19

  • Noon-3pm • Stations of the Cross • Jackson Community Church Sanctuary
  • 6:30pm • Ecumenical Worship Service • Madison Community Church officiated by Clergy of the Eastern Slope (Rev Gail participates).

EASTER SUNDAY
April 21

  • SUNRISE SERVICE • Gazebo by Jackson Historical Society
    * Live music, scripture & reflection
  • 10:30am • EASTER WORSHIP • Jackson Community Church
    * Choral music
    * Harp
    * Flowering of the cross
  • 11:45am • EASTER EGG HUNT • Jackson Community Church
    Community easter egg hunt following worship. Children 12 and under may participate, accompanied by adults.