THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town

TUE, Feb 5 – SUN, Feb 10

At JCC: Tue – Avalanche Class, Wed – Fitness, Thurs – Yoga & After-Christmas Cleanup, Fri – Pastors Hours & Avalanche Class & Scouts Overnight, Sat – Scouts Overnight, Sun – Interfaith Gathering, XC Blessing & Worship. Around Town: Moon, Planets & Zodiac (Whitney Center)

TUE, Feb 5

  • NORTH COUNTRY ASSOCIATION of UCC (United Church of Christ) LUNCH 
    12:30pm • Meeting of clergy and lay representatives. Rev Gail attends.
  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Second Floor, Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responder for avalanche preparedness and response.

WED, Feb 6

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer 
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. Weather dependent; if schools close, the class will be cancelled.

THURS, Feb 7

  • FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners.
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.
  • Private Event: WAY STATION BOARD of DIRECTORS MEETING
    11am • Nativity Lutheran
    Meeting to review next steps  in startup of Way Station, a day center for homeless/housing insecure populations in Mt Washington Valley.
  • AFTER-CHRISTMAS CLEANUP
    2pm • Jackson Community Church
    Come help put away creches and put away remaining Christmas decorations.

FRI, Feb 8

  • 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 • Church. Drop by or make an appointment to meet with Rev Gail by texting or calling her cell (978) 273.0308 or by email.
  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Second Floor, Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responder for avalanche preparedness and response.
  • Community Event: SKI WAXING CLINIC
    10am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Center
  • Private Event: SCOUT OVERNIGHT
    8pm, Fri – 9am – Sun • Parish House.
    A visiting scout troop will be hosted at our church on Friday and Saturday while they are skiing in Mt Washington Valley.

SAT, Feb 9

  • Private Event: SCOUT OVERNIGHT
    5pm, Fri – 9am – Sun • Parish House.
    Scout troop will be hosted at our church on Friday and Saturday evening while they are skiing in Mt Washington Valley.
  • Community Event: BACKCOUNTRY XC SKI TRIP (with Tin Mountain Conservation Center)
    9am until 1pm • Meet at the Downes Brook/ UNH Trailhead on the Kancamagus Highway
    Strap on your skis and join the TMCC naturalist staff on the beautiful spruce-lined winter trails of the Kanc.  A series of short loops along the edge of Hedgehog Mountain lead skiers over the ungroomed trails of the WMNF.  While the terrain is beginner friendly there will be moderate climbs and downhill runs along the way.
  • Community Event: MOON, PLANETS & ZODIAC: Your Nightly Guide to Our Journey through Space
    6-8pm • Whitney Community Center, Jackson
    Led by Tin Mountain Conservation Center staff. Understanding and observing the nightly phases of the moon and its relative position within the zodiac is a key to understanding, enjoying, and contemplating our night skies. What is the real world significance of the zodiac beyond just a tool of astrology? How does it help us understand our movement through space? What causes the phases of the moon? This program for all ages will answer some of these basic questions to help enhance your nightly sky gazing. If the skies are clear, the program will include time outside for identifying constellations of the zodiac and using a telescope.

SUN, Feb 10

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • BLESSING of BODIES, BOOTS & BINDINGS
    9:15am • Jackson XC Ski Touring Foundation  HQ
    Rev Gail offers blessings to staff, volunteers and skiers.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    * Story: Rev Gail
    * Music: Alan Labrie

Meditation on sacred bodies: loving our bodies, caring for other bodies & living in the communal body (themes from 1 Corinthians 12 and Luke 4)

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours, no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
― St. Teresa of Avila

I Sing the Body Electric Walt Whitman(1 – excerpt)
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
… The natural, perfect, varied attitudes, the bent head, the curv’d neck and the counting; Such-like I love … (7 – excerpt)
…  This is not only one man, this the father of those who shall be fathers in their turns,
In him the start of populous states and rich republics,
Of him countless immortal lives with countless
embodiments and enjoyments. How do you know who shall come from the offspring
of his offspring through the centuries? (Who might you find you have come from yourself,
if you could trace back through the centuries?) (8 – excerpt)
A woman’s body … She too is not only herself,
she is the teeming mother of mothers,
She is the bearer of them that shall grow
and be mates to the mothers.
Have you ever loved the body of a woman?
Have you ever loved the body of a man? Do you not see that these are exactly the same
to all in all nations and times all over the earth?
If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred …

Except for the BodyMary Oliver

Except for the body of someone you love,
including all its expressions in privacy and in public,

trees, I think, are the most beautiful
forms on the earth.

Though, admittedly, if this were a contest,
the trees would come in an extremely distant second.

I Got Kin Hafiz
Plant: so that your own heart will grow.
Love: so God will think,
“Ahhhhhh, I got kin in that body!
I should start inviting that soul
over for coffee and rolls.”
Sing: because this is a food our starving world needs.
Laugh: because that is the purest sound.

Solitude Nancy Wood
Do not be afraid to embrace the arms of loneliness.
Do not be concerned with the thorns of solitude.
Why worry that you will miss something?
Learn to be at home with yourself without a hand to hold.
Learn to endure isolation with only the stars for friends.
Happiness comes from understanding unity.
Love arrives on the footprints of your fears.
Beauty arises from the ashes of despair.
Solitude brings the clarity of still waters.
Wisdom completes the circle of your dreams.

Our Bodies As Sacred

There comes a time when it is vitally important for your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address.” — Barbara Brown Taylor

May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. — John O’Donohue

If you have a body, you are entitled to the full range of feelings. It comes with the package. ― Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually)

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Breath is the gift of life from the one who created us – from the God who is both our origin and our destination … some Rabbis teach that Yahweh is not even really a word at all.  It is literally breath itself. Yah – exhale. Weh – inhale. Yah – exhale. Weh – inhale. Which would make sense – since the closest translation of its [Yahweh’s] meaning is The One Who Causes to Become. There is just something about being known by God and animated by God’s breath in our birth and in our death that wouldn’t leave me this week as I thought about talking to you all here in this room today … This is the comfort I thought of this week as I bore witness to both birth and death. That the God whose name is our very breath – who breathed the words let there be light, who breathed into dust to create humanity, is present when we breath our first breath and present when we breathe our last – I believe that our final exhale is Yah – and that God completes God’s name inhaling Weh – and carries us on God’s divine breath into the heart of God from where we came to begin with. … Amen. — Nadia Bolz-Weber

All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody … ― Richard Rohr, Healing Our Violence through the Journey of Centering Prayer

Caring for Other Bodies As Sacred: Serving the Communal Body

We sit and talk,
quietly, with long lapses of silence
and I am aware of the stream
that has no language, coursing
beneath the quiet heaven of
your eyes
which has no speech.
William Carlos Williams

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. — Maggie Kuhn

… I see [God] here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find [God] — Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. — Thomas Merton

You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. — Fred Rodgers

Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being. — Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond. — Gwendolyn Brooks

Saints cannot exist without a community, as they require, like all of us, nurturance by a people who, while often unfaithful, preserve the habits necessary to learn the story of God. — Stanley Hauerwas

This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

That day, for a moment, it almost seemed that we stood on a height, and could see our inheritance; perhaps we could make the kingdom real, perhaps the beloved community would not forever remain that dream one dreamed in agony. — James Baldwin

The lack of material well-being among the poor reflects a lack of spiritual well-being among the rest. — William Sloane Coffin

God does not look at your forms and possessions but he looks at your hearts and your deeds. — Prophet Muhammad 

Loving with Body & Soul, Heart & Mind: Holy Acts

Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don’t. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest … Amen. ― Toni Morrison, Paradise
On Interdependence
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
Buddha, Assutava Sutta, Samyutta Nikaya 12.2

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born toeternal life. Amen. — St Francis, Prayer
Madhyamika means “middle way,” and it examines the nature of existence. Madhyamika tells us that nothing has an intrinsic, permanent self-nature. Instead, all phenomena — including beings, including people — are temporary confluences of conditions that take identity as individual things from their relationship to other things. — Barbara O’Brien, Interbeing: The Inter-existence of All Things (essay excerpt)
Clouds In Each Paper  —  Thich Nhat Hanh
If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow: and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are.  “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter” with the verb “to be”, we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.  If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Christmas at Jackson Community Church

MON, Dec 24: CHRISTMAS EVE

  • CHRISTMAS CANDLELIGHT SERVICE: : Lessons, Carols & Candlelight.
    5pm • Jackson Community Church
    • Lighting of the Advent candles including the Christ candle
    • Christmas message
    • Scripture readings
    • Christmas carols
    • Special music including piano, harp, guitar and vocal solos.
    • Service ends as candles are lit and uplifted by the whole congregation.
  • CHRISTMAS CANDLELIGHT SERVICE: : Lessons, Carols & Candlelight.
    10pm • Jackson Community Church
    • Lighting of the Advent candles including the Christ candle
    • Christmas message
    • Scripture readings
    • Christmas carols
    • Special music including organ, piano, and vocal solo.
    • Service ends as candles are lit and uplifted by the whole congregation.

TUE, Dec 25: CHRISTMAS DAY

  • CHRISTMAS MORNING: Pajamas, Stories & Bells
    10:30am • Jackson Community Church.
    Come to church in PJs to ring bells, sing songs, and hear a special Christmas story.

PENTECOST Worship with guest preacher Robert Azzi

Family-friendly 10:30 am Sunday worship. Also: join our drop-in choir at 9am for rehearsal and then celebrate with us in worship. Potluck lunch follows the service; our own Rev Pojen Lee will attend worship and the meal, along with guest preacher Robert Azzi. WEAR RED for Pentecost, which is the ‘birthday of the church.’

LENTEN RESOURCES

Acts of Kindness & Giving for Lent
(guides and calendars sourced from several organizations)

Reflections and Meditations

  • Coloring the Psalms Devotional Guide and Coloring Pages.
    *Already printed and available* at front of church, which is always open. Or accessible as downloadable multi-page PDF files from Jackson Community Church’s website. Due to licensing, the link will be sent by email to all church friends and members … if you want to participate, and didn’t receive this email already, sign up on this site to receive our email and we will forward the links to download the PDF files. Or email us directly for the link.
  • UCC (United Church of Christ)’s Still Speaking Daily Devotional messages. Sign up to receive these.
  • UCC (United Church of Christ)’s Still Speaking Podcast. Sign up for podcast
  • Mindfulness Applications for computers and mobile devices from Thich Nhat Hahn’s Plum Village (in the engaged Buddhist tradition)
  • Jan Richardson’s Painted Prayerbook blog entries
  • Maren Tirabassi’s Gifts in Open Hands blog with daily Lenten posts
  • Daily Meditations by Fr Richard Rohr, sign up to receive these
  • Living Lent Daily: Ignatian Spirituality daily meditations for Lent . Sign up to receive daily email meditations and devotional activities.
  • Social Justice Lectionary: Downloadable guide to readings and activities surrounding social justice issues. Extension of MLK Day initiatives.

Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle

Inspired by recent ski races, upcoming Olympic games, and today’s Superbowl Sunday, we discussed how we might pray during competitions or periods of conflict, stress, and struggle. We discussed forms of prayer or reflection that might center us at these times:

  1. For Preparation (becoming focused and ready to engage in the experience)
  2. For Support (intercession for comfort, strength, gifts and resources to go through the game, the contest, the stressful or conflicted situation)
  3. For Others (teammates, competitors/opponents, allies/friends, families/fans, coaches/teachers/mentors, colleages, etc)
  4. For Gratitude (thankfulness in the midst of challenge)

People sat at tables during brunch church, picked a scripture from among the collection of Bible passages in baskets at the table, and discussed their selected passage’s potential as a resource for prayer or reflection. People discussed how they might categorize the text among the four possible prayer opportunities above (prayers for preparation, for support, for others, for gratitude).

Here are the scriptures below. They were selected based on themes of athletes and contests, strength or vigor, images of body, gifts and blessings, victory and triumph, weakness or loss, and other such key ideas that might intersect with times of competition and challenge, conflict and struggle.

Is there one that resonates for you?

Continue reading “Scriptures during Times of Challenge & Struggle”

Reflection on themes of game and challenge: inspired by Superbowl Sunday

Inspired by a collection of scriptures on triumph and defeat, athletic strength and resilience, running the race, being present to the challenges of life and faith.

Classic poets’ commentaries on challenges, in honor of the Superbowl.
Excerpted from an article by Barbara Mossberg, HuffPost.

A moody child and wildly wise
Pursued the game with joyful eyes
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Poet

One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Continue reading “Reflection on themes of game and challenge: inspired by Superbowl Sunday”

Meditations on Psalm 23

Language of Hope
Reflecting on Psalm 23 — specifically through its verbs — there’s something for almost everyone. What speaks to you? — Rev. Gail

WANT

It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them. — George Eliot

Want (excerpt) by Gretchen Marquette
When I was twelve, I wanted a macaw
but they cost hundreds of dollars.
If we win the lottery? …
Yes, my mother said. If we win the lottery.
I was satisfied, so long as it wasn’t impossible …

LIE DOWN

A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen. — Anonymous (proverb)

There is not a person alive who isn’t going to have some awfully bad days in their lives. I tell my players that what I mean by fighting is when … all the odds are against you. What are you going to do? Most people just lay down and quit. Well, I want my people to fight back. — Coach Paul Bryant

RESTORE

Look Out (excerpt) — Wendell Berry
Leave your windows and go out, people of the world,
go into the streets, go into the fields, go into the woods
and along the streams. Go together, go alone.
… saying yes to the air, to the earth, to the trees,
yes to the grasses, to the rivers, to the birds
and the animals and every living thing, yes
to the small houses, yes to the children. Yes.

LEAD

To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, We did it ourselves! ― Lao Tzu

Black and White (excerpt)
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun
I was born into a religion of Light,
But with so many other
Religions and Philosophies,
How do I know which ONE is right?
Is it not my birthright to seek out the light?
To find Truth after surveying all the proof,
Am I supposed to love or fight?
And why do all those who try to guide me,
Always start by dividing and multiplying me –
From what they consider wrong or right?

WALK

If Spirits Walk (excerpt) —  Sophie Jewett
If spirits walk, Love, when the night climbs slow
The slant footpath where we were wont to go,
Be sure that I shall take the self-same way …

FEAR

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we … love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. — John Lennon

Carrion Comfort (excerpt) — Gerard Manley Hopkins
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can …
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ― Plato

COMFORT

I am the breeze that nurtures all things green. I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits. I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life. — Hildegard of Bingen

I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you. … There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me. — Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Carrion Comfort (excerpt) — Gerard Manley Hopkins
… I can; Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be. … my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.

PREPARE

We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation. ― Thomas Edison

All things are ready, if our mind be so. ― William Shakespeare, Henry V

ANOINT

ode to coffee
          oda al café
(excerpt) — Urayoán Noel
… anoint the neural vessels we refill
al matorral neural en donde vive …

Killing Him (excerpt) — Yehuda Amichai
… The sound of warm running waters
Filling a white tub of foaming bubble bath
Spills happiness into the heart of the sorrowful listener.
Languidly stretching her body
She slowly, indulgently prepares to anoint herself in oils …

FOLLOW

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. ― Jalaluddin Rumi

If you want to govern the people, You must place yourself below them. If you want to lead people, You must learn how to follow them. ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

DWELL

I dwell in Possibility – (466) —  Emily Dickinson
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –