Reflections on journeys and the New Year

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.― Matsuo Bashô 

Choices— Tess Gallagher
I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain.
But when I look up,
saw in hand,
I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
   an unseen nest
where a mountain   
would be.

On the New Year

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.— Neil Gaiman

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ — Alfred Lord Tennyson

And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been. — Rainer Maria Rilke

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. — Oprah Winfrey 

Seeking God

“Help us to find God,” the seeker begged the Elder. “No one can help you there,” the Elder answered. “But why not?” the seeker insisted. “For the same reason that no one can help a fish to find the ocean.” The answer is clear: There is no one who can help us find what we already have. — Sufi Story (recounted by Sr Joan Chittister with her commentary at the end)

Once upon a time, a seeker ran through the streets shouting over and over again, ‘We must put God into our lives. We must put God into our lives.’ “Ah, poor soul,” an Elder smiled wanly. “If only we realized the truth: God is always in our lives. The spiritual task is simply to recognize that.” — Sufi Story (recounted by Sr Joan Chittister)

The movement in our relationship to God is always from God to us. Always. We can’t, through our piety or goodness, move closer to God. God is always coming near to us.― Nadia Bolz-Weber

I searched for God … Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else. ― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

Blessing of the Magi (excerpt)
— Jan Richardson

… You thought arrival
was everything,
that your entire journey
ended with kneeling
in the place
you had spent all
to find.

When you laid down
your gift,
release came with such ease,
your treasure tumbling
from your hands
in awe and
benediction.

Now the knowledge
of your leaving
comes like a stone laid
over your heart,
the familiar path closed
and not even the solace
of a star
to guide your way.

You will set out in fear.
You will set out in dream….
We cannot show you
the route that will
take you home;
that way is yours
and will be found
in the walking.

But we tell you,
you will wonder
at how the light you thought
you had left behind
goes with you,
spilling from
your empty hands,
shimmering beneath
your homeward feet,
illuminating the road
with every step
you take.

This Week: Mar 25-Apr 1 — Holy Week Events & Other Activities

SUN, MAR 25: Palm Sunday

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING
    8am • Madeline’s Deli, Jackson, NH
    Reflection & prayer using literature, sacred texts, personal sharing.
  • ADULT CHOIR PRACTICE
    9am • Jackson Community Church
  • PALM PROCESSION
    9:45am • Jackson Community Church
  • WORSHIP: Palm Sunday
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church
  • Community Event: Bliss Yoga
    3pm • Be Well Studios New Hampshire, 3358 White Mountain Hwy Unit 3, North Conway, NH
    Yoga with
    Anjali Rose, $20/pp

MON, MAR 26

  • REIKI WORKSHOP (closed class, April class has openings: contact Rev Gail if interested)
    6pm • Classroom/Betty Whitney Library, Second Floor of JCC

TUE, MAR 27

  • Community Event:
    HOMELESSNESS COALITION in Tamworth, NH

    10am-Noon • TriCounty Cap, Sununu Room, Tamworth, NH
    Overview of issues and initiatives to address homelessness and housing needs in Carroll County/Mt Washington Valley. Rev Gail will attend this meeting along with other valley clergy, and representatives of local agencies and nonprofits, focusing on this issue. Interested individuals are welcome to attend to learn more.

WED, MAR 28

  • PASTOR’s DROP-IN 
    7-9am • JTown Deli.
    Come for caffeine, cuisine, and conversation.
  • TUNE UP (Fitness) with LAURIE McALEER
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church.
    Free. Join members of the women’s group and fitness trainer Laurie McAleer for a gentle, introductory fitness class for beginners. Wear comfortably clothing, sensible shoes, and bring a bottle of water. Bring a ski pole. 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.
  • WOMEN’S GROUP
    10am-Noon • Parish Hall
    Come for social time, refreshments, and to prepare eggs for Easter Egg hunt on April 1

THURS, MAR 29

  • INTRODUCTORY YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church
    Men and women invited to 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; payable at beginning of session.  Scholarships available. This session runs through April 19.
  • YOGA & MEDITATION with Charlotte Doucette
    3:30pm • Parish Hall. $10/pp fee. (Scholarships available)
  • MAUNDY THURSDAY OBSERVANCES: Bread & Blessings
    5pm • Parish Hall of Jackson Community Church.
    Gather with members and friends for dinner and worship. This evening is derived from events surrounding the ‘Last Supper’ and will include a meditation on bread and blessings.
  • AA
    6-7pm • Church Library

THURS, Mar 29 – FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL

  • VIGIL
    6pm Thursday until 1pm Friday • Shifts held at home, although church is open 24/7 and people are welcome to hold vigil at the church. Individuals and families can sign up in one-hour shifts from 6pm Thursday until 3pm Friday, to pray, meditate and stay awake during the hours of Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. This vigil will be held ‘by trust’ in people’s homes, or at church if they so choose, so that each person who takes a one-hour shift to keep vigil may do so in their own environs. Sign up at church on Palm Sunday.

FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY

  • WAY of the CROSS
    1pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come for journey through ‘stations of the cross.’ Walk the stations, or meditate with Stations coloring pages
  • HOLY FRIDAY SERVICE
    6:30pm •  Bartlett Congregational Church.
    Ecumenical worship services organized by Clergy of the Eastern Slope and hosted at Bartlett Congregational Church.

SAT, MAR 30: HOLY SATURDAY

  • Community Event:
    HEALING SERVICE

    1pm • Christ Episcopal Church, North Conway, NH

SUN, APR 1: EASTER

  • SUNRISE SERVICE
    6:30am • Gazebo by Jackson’s Historical Society. Gather outside for worship & song. Return to Jackson Community Church for hot beverages and breakfast.
  • EASTER SERVICE
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Easter worship with “flowering of the cross.”
  • EGG HUNT
    Follows worship service  •  Jackson Community Church. Hunt for eggs on grounds of church. Hunt will take place outdoors if weather permits, inside if weather is inclement.

Holy Week Events: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, Easter

SUN, MAR 25: Palm Sunday

  • PALM PROCESSION
    9:45am • Walk from church, singing and waving palms, and return to church for 10:30am worship service.
  • PALM SUNDAY WORSHIP
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church

THURS, Mar 29: MAUNDY THURSDAY

  • SOUP SUPPER & TABLE WORSHIP
    5pm • Parish Hall of Jackson Community Church
    Gather with members and friends for soup supper and worship at the table.

THURS, Mar 29 – FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY VIGIL

  • VIGIL
    6pm Thursday until 3pm Friday • Shifts held at home.
    Individuals and families can sign up in one-hour shifts from 6pm Thursday until 3pm Friday, to pray, meditate and stay awake during the hours of Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. This vigil will be held ‘by trust’ in people’s homes, or at church if they so choose, so that each person who takes a one-hour shift to keep vigil may do so in their own environs. To be organized in cooperation with friends and members of the Bartlett Congregational Church.

FRI, MAR 30: HOLY FRIDAY

  • WAY of the CROSS
    1pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come for journey through ‘stations of the cross.’ Walk the stations, or meditate with Stations coloring pages
  • HOLY FRIDAY SERVICE
    6:30pm •  Bartlett Congregational Church.
    Worship services organized by Clergy of the Eastern Slope and hosted at Bartlett Congregational Church.

SUN, APR 1: EASTER

  • SUNRISE SERVICE
    6:30am • Gazebo.
    Gather outside at gazebo by Jackson Historical Society for worship & song, Return to Jackson Community Church for hot beverages and breakfast.
  • EASTER SERVICE
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    Easter worship with “flowering of the cross.”
  • EGG HUNT
    Follows worship service  •  Jackson Community Church.
    Hunt for eggs on grounds of church. Hunt will take place outdoors if weather permits, inside if weather is inclement.

Meditation: drink from the well — wonder & curiosity

I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love. ― Alice Walker, The Color Purple

Wonder by Deakin Dixon
I who flounder in the things of the spirit,
Deep in the things of the flesh, and deep in song.
Burn this self till I can no longer bear it,
Life frenzying my ears like a deep gong –
I, who have not learned to walk as yet
High above men, with dark peace in my eyes,
To walk wisely, knowing only to let
My wise hands covet the trees, desire the skies:
I, abandoned to things bright or ugly,
To all things living, asking bowed or bold,
Marvel at you, wrapped securely, snugly,
In beauty and bearing. You seem strangely old –
Until I suddenly know that you have gone
Through places I have feared to tread upon.

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.  –  Stephen Hawking

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.  ― Rachel Carson

Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory. ― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom. ― Socrates

Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult, I’ve decided, is only a slow sewing shut.  ― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ― Thich Nhat Hahn

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