Pastor’s Letter June 22, 2022

An image of a red heart surrounded by the paper cutouts of people all holding hands.

Hello beloved friends,

I hope you are well as we move into the summer and a time of rest from Sunday morning worship. Worship though as we all know is not over and we will be continuing to praise God on Wednesday evenings for the next two months. 

Rest though is something we all need from time to time. Rest from work, rest in the middle of a game. rest even from the worries and concerns of the world. Perhaps, some people even do need a rest from worshiping God, participating in our fellowship, experiencing the Love God has to offer everyone – equally – from time to time. I guess that makes sense as even the best food in the world – pizza – I too need a rest from, occasionally. It helps me appreciate the wonderful fulfilling taste all that much more. So, yes, perhaps it makes sense why we would need some time away to appreciate our faith even more. To enjoy God’s Love more. To be re-energized for the ministry God is calling us too even more. And I hope that is the reason why some people have not returned after Covid. 

I hope that is the reason; but I do not know. I do not know why some of us have not returned or worse, why some people refuse to let go of their egos and come back to our loving faith in this community. This latter point comes to mind from the many people who have let conflicts over those non-essential things like elevators, marriage officiants, carpet color, table cost, or even arguments block one or many people’s faith in God. I think often of these souls who have stepped away; both the ones I have noticed and the ones I never knew and wonder – why?

Why are you letting these non-essentials and your own frustration block you from the love of God which is right here waiting for you. Why would you choose anger instead of forgiveness? Why would you decide to feel anger instead of God’s love which is available to all people? Why would you decide to break the second commandment by not loving your neighbor? These are the questions which keep me up at night as I pray for every one of you. The thing I realized is that I cannot do this alone, beloved friends.  

We are a community of love and perhaps now is the time to reach out – again. All of us to each other and help discover the why – help each other forgive – help each other return to worship God together in person and experiencing the fellowship of love we are continuing to build for God. I hope you will join me on this endeavor and take the time to rest, if that is what you need. However, I hope and pray that when our Gathering Sunday comes on September 7th, you will all be there to add your voice, faith, and love to our fellowship.

May you take the rest you need and reach out to the people we love

Faithfully and lovingly yours, 

Pastor Brian

As summer approaches, let us consider how you love God. Remember love is not just a feeling but an action we do every day. Feel free to text, call, or email me always to share as I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 8-4. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter June 15, 2022

“Our Father” or “The Lord’s Prayer”

Hello Beloved friends,

I pray you are all well on this beautiful and dare I say – perfect day that God has given us. Though I must share: the perfection of today’s weather is only my perception. A perception which believes the perfect weather is say low 70-degree Fahrenheit weather with a slight breeze and a lot of sun. But this weather is not perfect for everyone. Is it? I doubt it is, as some people enjoy 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above while others prefer 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below. I believe we, in our community, probably have some variance of what defines the “perfect weather.” Furthermore, this perception of “perfect” as it pertains to weather can be easily validated and defended in any discussion; for, there are observable pieces of evidence we can share depending on how we enjoy engaging in the world. 

However, what do we do when the world is not observable? When we do not know for sure? When the very evidence we do have of the defined subject seems to confound the question more than help in its conclusion? In the UCC, we offer a phrase which helps: ““In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, diversity; in all things, charity.” Of course, this phrase did not originate with us. It is attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 AD). The only difference being the original word for diversity was something akin to “liberty.” Yet, that is not how we act as Christians too often is it? We deem what is right and get upset when people do not use the same phrase – the same words we “think” should be used.

I have seen this issue appear many times in my life. One example I can express is around God’s gender. Now, as you know, I use both “He” and “She” for God. Is this right? We have no idea. Tradition says God is male. Yet, our reason says, God is both and everything in between because God created us ALL in their image. Is the image physical or spiritual? We do not know for sure and nowhere does it expressly explain the term in the Bible. The Bible too expressly uses “He” for God; but the Greek and Hebrew words for the Holy Spirit are all feminine. Finally, experience expressly shows that our world has been male dominated and oppressive to women which could explain so much about where the “He” language came from originally. Yet, in all of this explanation we have to ask one thing: is it essential?

Does it matter what God’s gender is to you? If it does not, then might I invite you to the ideas of diversity and charity. For, it does matter to some people. Some people in this world, who may have been harmed by an oppressive male or father. It may matter to some people whose father figure was actually their single mother, older sister, or Great Aunt. It may matter to someone who finds the “male Father” figure just too much of a barrier for them to have a relationship with God. On the same note, if God’s gender does matter to you. If you need to hear and understand God as the Father then may I invite you to the ideas of unity and charity. For, we all must ask ourselves regularly: what is the essentialness of understanding God as the Father. Is it because God is male? No. I believe it is because of those core qualities of Fatherhood we witness in God: love, protection, care, creation, loyalty etc. These qualities do not only appear in males; yet society has applied them as characteristics of a “father.” 

That said, I believe this understanding from St. Augustine is the very reason why we in the UCC use the term “The Lord’s Prayer” instead of “the Our Father.” For, we are not celebrating God (which is essential to our faith) as male (which is unessential); but rather, God and all the qualities we witness in God who we perceive as our ideal Father. Yet, that is not all there is to God is it? God is also the Holy Spirit and Christ Jesus. God is also the original from whose image we were all made from. And in the end, we cannot answer what God’s gender is; therefore, let us give charity in all things. Finally, as we come upon Father’s Day to celebrate the fathers and father figures in our life, let us also remember God and Her qualities which define Him as the ideal Father.

May your week be perceived as a blessing and gift; for, that is who you are to me.

your pastor and teacher, Brian

As summer approaches, let us consider how you love God. Remember love is not just a feeling but an action we do everyday. Feel free to text, call, or email me always to share as I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 8-4. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter June 1, 2022

An image of a road with a storm up ahead.

Good afternoon, Beloved,

I pray everyone is feeling the warmth of God’s unifying Love while remaining dry on this wet first day of June. Today though as I look out the window, I am reminded of a time many years ago during another storm. It was a powerful storm which seemed to come from nowhere. In fact, the forecasts all called for a sunny day. Yet, before I knew it the lightning began and most of us were drenched by supper time. Of course, it does not help that on this weekend, my friends and I were camping. And being who we were, we decided to ride out the storm instead of going home.

The strange thing was that even when the rain washed out tent after tent, we did not go home. We stayed and huddled closer and closer together in the biggest tent we had. That seems to be what happens though when the storms come along in life. Not just the physical ones of rain and ice, but All storms including the emotional, social, or even the spiritual ones. It is almost as if this commonality is an instinct. Something, we are born with. Some drive that God placed within us when He created us. Some comforting closeness which we hunger for when the storms come into our lives. What an amazing gift this God given comfort of community can be to every human being. And I must say, it truly is a blessing for me, as your pastor, to witness you expand this comfort of our community to more people. I would almost use the word – Pride.

How fitting as today is the beginning of Pride month. A month where we celebrate and honor all the people in our world who have been left out of the comforting embrace of many communities throughout the years. Left out all because they loved or were loved by someone that our religious ancestors did not feel was moral. How sad, how sad that these souls felt like it was their place to question God; felt like they had the right to judge; felt like they knew better than God did when She created Alexander the Great, Leonardo da Vinci, Alan Turing, Barbara Gittings, Christine Jorgensen, Sally Ride, Harvey Milk, Tammy Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, James Baldwin, Oscar Wilde, etc. It amazes me how all of these individuals did and shared so much for societies which hated them. These are some of the truest examples of goodwill and kindness in our world and I am proud to have heard many of their stories. I wonder who else of our NOW – one community – will make the world a better place next?

Wait, just imagine that for a moment – we are one community – now. Imagine what this means. Imagine, how many more people are out there ready to comfort you when the storms come. Imagine how many more people we can help through the storms of life. All because we let go of our ego and trusted in God and God’s perfectly created broken human beings staring back at us in the mirror and throughout the world. It is almost like a Pentecost – a birth of a new church – a reversal of the Tower of Babel. Yes, Pentecost is the only word which truly fits, beloved; for, we are witnessing the birth of God’s Love right now in our FCC church, and only time will tell what comfort of community this brings to the world. Please know in the meantime, I am wholly Proud and grateful to be one member of this welcoming community.

May we continue to share and honor all people who have been forgotten throughout this week, this month of Pride, and this season of Pentecost.

With Love

your pastor and teacher, Brian

During Pentecost, let us consider the different ways we can be ONE church – newly re-created for today – inspired and living the word of God in all we do. I would love to hear your voice and thoughts of your understanding of church and community. Feel free to text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas as I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. through Tuesday the 14th I will be away for my nuptials. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter May 25, 2022

An image of a red heart with a cross inside of it.

Good morning, Beloved,

I pray all of you who are reading this letter and all your children are safely held in your loving arms. Sadly, that is not the case for everyone in our world. For, today the world began with nineteen less souls from one horrific act of hate and violence. The sad part is that this horror is not the only tragedy we, as a society, faced or saw yesterday. It is just another one… 

Another wound – another pain – another victim. I fear sometimes that we are becoming numb to that pain. That in order to cope with the terror, we are letting it slip from our mind. Resigning ourselves to an inability to do anything about it and thanking God that it did not happen here. But what happens if the next time it is here… in Salem? The reality is beloved, it could be. Sandy Hook is not that far away and there seems to be no geographical distinctions for these mass shootings. 

Still, “what can I do?” I heard this question being asked after almost every mass shooting. “Yes, it is a tragedy; but what can I do?” Well to begin, maybe the first question should not be what can I do; rather, what is wrong with what is happening? For, what is wrong may just explain the cause. Then, maybe we can come up with a solution – together. Mind you, this question is not societal, political, or anything else – it is theological. What is wrong with the murder of children – youth – innocents according to God? I pray you can answer that question for yourself and see that the world is aching for help. God is calling us from the safety of our homes to help. The Spirit is screaming for humankind to act – to act on the call to end the violence. 

I know this may not be your call; but here today, I am reminded that it is mine and that our children are in danger. Therefore, I hope you will at least pray with me for the souls in our world who have been taken too early. 

Let us pray,

Holy One, hold us in the hollow of Your hands and keep all Your children safe this day. Hold us in the pain of this tragedy. Care for the families and communities which are suffering right now in this world. God, I pray that this moment is the last time we will see, feel, witness the horrors of this world and I pray, o God, you use me to be your hands and feet making that blessed gift a reality; so, we may all be whole and made whole in Your Holy Love. Amen

Regrettably, my friends, tragedies like this are how our calls are revealed from time to time. When we do not move, help, or become God’s hands, the tragedies keep happening. I imagine this repetition as like the vision which Paul received of the man in Macedonia. At least, that is how it feels for me today: that there is an impending need, right now, to act on this call before our children and our community become the victims. I pray that I am wrong but invite your help no matter who you are if this calling is yours as well. If not, I pray that when you are reminded of your calling it does not hurt as bad as it does for so many of us and all the souls in a small town in Texas.

Please stay safe and continue to pray for these souls who were murdered, their families, and all the people in Uvalde.

May God guide your calling and keep you safe

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. Memorial Day, I will be available by phone only, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter May 18, 2022

Hello beloved friends,

I pray you each feel the loving care of God in this diverse world we are living in today. And the world is very diverse, even amongst one identity group. Even though we in this church are predominantly white and trinitarian protestants, we are not all the same. We have different thoughts, ideas, beliefs over theology and the world. Different ways of being in the world even though the core of who we are is the same. The core being, I believe, is our love of God and each other.

That beloved, I believe, is the point of our faith in the United Church of Christ. The point is that we are stronger – more knowledgeable – wiser when we have a variety of voices. When we embrace the diversity in our world with humility that we cannot possibly know God’s mind all by ourselves. Rather, we need many voices sharing their thoughts and beliefs together to witness the vastness of our Creator and the teachings of Christ Jesus. 

Therefore, I would like to share my gratitude and pride for all of you who opened and continue to open your hearts to other voices. To all of you who stood up and shared your beliefs – no matter what they are or where you are on your journey. You, each of you, make us stronger by sharing the Truth of God as you see it and I am so thankful for your blessed voice amongst us. 

The outward expression of Open and Affirming which we voted on and accepted is a beautiful example of this opening of our hearts. Please know, it is not meant to silence traditional theology but to make a place of belonging for more people who were created by God throughout our diverse world. The traditional voice is still needed as are more progressive voices – as are moderate – trinitarian – unitarian – Anglo-Saxon – African American – able bodied and differently bodied and so on and so on and so on. We need all the voices in our world to speak and share with all the love each of you have already revealed to one another throughout the years. For in the end, we are all still the same in the core: people who love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. 

So again, I say thank you for allowing me to be a witness to God’s love being revealed through you as we make room for many more souls in our diverse world today.

Blessings and peace to you as we begin the ministry of Love

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter May 11, 2022

Hello, Beloved friends,

I pray you are each well and held in the caring hands of God through these changing seasons of our lives. This prayer though is not just for today and the changes which will have to occur following this Sunday’s all-church vote, regardless of the outcome of ONA. Yes beloved, voting yes means advertising our love for all and voting negative means we must re-evaluate our “Mission, Policy, and even our “All are welcome statement.” Our world will change following this vote one way or another. This prayer though is also for your peace amongst a turbulent world which is trying – desperately – to find its normal, again. It is a peaceful prayer for our children as they finish their schooling and transition into the working world. It is a prayer for our elders who cannot physically or emotionally engage in community work as they once did, even though they want to do so. It is a prayer for everyone to find the peace of God amongst a world shifting and changing under our feet.

In this light, I am reminded of the words from the Bible:

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die;

a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill and a time to heal;

a time to break down and a time to build up;

a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance;

a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek and a time to lose;

a time to keep and a time to throw away;

a time to tear and a time to sew;

a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.”

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NRSV)

Words that were made famous once again in 1965 when the Byrd’s remade the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Words which remind us that amid the changing world we are called to turn to God. The ironic thing is this song always seemed as a rallying cry for the Baby Boomer Generation as well. I always imagined it as a song which that generation shared to speak of the rights of their generation to take over the leadership of our world. Whether this reality is true for any of you or not, that is how I saw this song and this passage. 

God reminds us that there is a time for every season. There are changes in our world and each of us are called to step back and let new seasons, new generations, new people lead. It also means we are called to stand up and step forward to do the work and let others rest for they have carried us year after year. In all this truth, it means each of us must trust in God and turn to the faith we believe in our hearts to be the lessons of Jesus.

I pray through all this turmoil, we follow our beliefs and the true teachings of Christ which says, “All are welcome, no matter who you are or where you are on your journey.” You are “welcome” to belong not as we wish you to be but as God made you in this beautiful time of changing seasons.

With all God’s Love for however you come to our Creator, I pray you will turn to God – now and always.

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter May 4, 2022

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
• Matthew 5: 14-16

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”
• Rev. Martin Luther King JR.

Why Jesus Teaches Us About Justice

Recently, I remembered hearing about this very interesting phrase from my college days. The phrase is the “wounded healer” which was coined by Carl Jung to describe the reason why most analysts help people. The idea states that “an analyst is compelled to treat patients because the analyst himself is “wounded.” Now, I did not think much of this idea other than its mere acceptance until recently. Until this week in fact when the leak happened in the Supreme Court about the possible overturning of Roe vs. Wade. More to the point, after seeing the pain and reactions of so many people and realizing that I was not as committed to protesting this conflict.


It was in those moments when I realized my own privilege. I have no ‘skin in the game.’ My rights are not being oppressed. I am not someone who is going to have to drive two hundred miles across state lines to have an abortion because I am beyond that stage of my life. Therefore, I felt less compelled to put myself out there on this issue. So perhaps, this idea of the ‘wounded healer’ is not just about analysts but about anyone who feels called to a ministry or God’s Mission. I began wondering if Jung was even more right than we knew. Are we, as humans, only compelled to help when we are wounded by the same issue? Are you only compelled to help – to put yourself out there – to fight lovingly for equality if it affects you? I pray your answer is no.


I pray you say no even when you have the same feelings, I do of being less compelled. But even if you are less compelled, it does not mean that I or any of us should remain silent when the issue does not affect us personally? Of course not, for, Christ teaches us that we are the light of the world and when we share the good works; we will bring glory to God. When we share the light and the equality of the kin-dom with all people; we are revealing the Good News. When the world is full of darkness – even our one little starlight will light up the night for each other.


This truth, beloved, is why being a community of faith, each with our own wounds and compelling reasons, is so important; for, we stand for one another and for the healing each of us needs to see happen. It means that even though we may not be compelled to protest in a march or even unsure of the morality around a topic from time to time, we stand for and with the people – all beloved people – who are or will be hurt. We stand for the underprivileged who cannot stand by themselves. It means we cry out lovingly for those who cannot speak for themselves. It means we do what Jesus did for us when he took on our sins and stood for each of us even though they were not his wounds. This outpouring of God’s love is what we are called to do every day; so, we may all be healed in the kin-dom to come.

What wounds are you compelled or less compelled to heal – what ministry do you feel God calling you to today – who do you stand for, beloved? Personally, I stand for all of you and your discerning choice – now and always.

May God guide us to be brave for one another even when we are less compelled

your pastor and teach, Brian

Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter April 27, 2022

A multi colored heart made from a variety of different smaller hearts.

Hello beloved friends, 

I pray the day finds you well and understanding what God is calling you to do in this life. Understanding though is a difficult task even between us human beings, is it not? To explain, we assume everyone understands what we mean when we say, “the Lord’s Prayer.” But the truth is there is more than one version. Here at the FCC, we use the words “Debts and Debtors” along with the doxology. However, we do not always explain this tradition openly. And the Lord’s Prayer for someone who was raised in the Roman Catholic Church understands the prayer differently; for, they use the word “Trespass” without a doxology. And then, there are the souls who have never spoken the Lord’s Prayer and may not know what it means when they walk into our church for the first time. Yet, we assume that everyone understands the prayer, and the form of the prayer we are using. 

I share this reality to highlight how easy it is to misunderstand one another, especially when one individual or group is speaking in coded language. Language that only the in-group understands. The same can be said throughout society. I am guessing most people do not know what “biters,” “grow-out bags, “Camel Case,” or a thousand other jargon words are when people use them every day in their careers.

Jargon though can also be in our habits and expectations in a group. We expect people to come to worship without pink bunny slippers on, to know that this group always meets at this time – on this day, that – EVERYONE – is truly welcome as they are; for they are a child of God. Yet, how do people know this truth unless they come in the door. How would anyone know that when we say Open and Affirming, we are including everyone. Yes, we are including all genders, expressions, and orientations of our society; but we are also including all races – all bodies regardless of ability – all children of God. How does anyone know unless we tell them? 

Therefore, we are spelling it out to shed light on our distinct difference from the assumed jargon of Christianity. The jargon which says: “all are welcome but not as you are. No no, you have to change – be better – because we do not like you as you are.” This assumption of Christian jargon from the LGBT+ community is due to years upon years of hate and prejudice heaped upon anyone. Wait, no, on EVERYONE who is not considered “normal” by societal standards in the church. If you are in a wheelchair, people would say “no you cannot help the fund raiser because you’re disabled.” WE are saying “YES, you can. We will find a way.”  For years, individuals would say “women cannot lead or teach in the sanctuary because it’s against the Bible.” WE are saying “YES, you can. We welcome your gifts, child of God.” For centuries, society has looked down on people in the LGBT+ community denying them full membership of God’s kin-dom because of a misunderstanding of ancient Biblical verses. A misunderstanding revealed repeatedly by a variety of pastors and theologians. 

WE as a community, if the ONA passes, are saying “YES, you are a child of God. We see you and affirm you for who you are. We welcome your gifts. And to the rest of the world, by the way if you did not understand, we are saying THIS TRUTH is where we stand – not for any political movement or agenda. We stand for the LOVE of God which says ALL PEOPLE are God’s children. HE created each of us as we are. SHE reminds us to Love ALL people for who they are.” All jargon and assumptions aside, this understanding of God’s Love is what I feel we are called to share with the world; so, all people may truly find a safe and welcoming home to worship God.

I pray that on May 15th, you – each of you – will stand for what you believe in and how you see God’s Love operating through our fellowship. I pray you will stand openly and visibly even if you disagree or agree with ONA. For, it is only through open and honest voices will we be able to understand one another and live into what God is calling us to do.

May every day be an open reflection of God’s Love through you

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider and share your “calling” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us consider what this means as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter April 21, 2022

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

–          1 Corinthians 12 (12-21)

An image of Christ holding a variety and multitude of people from all walks of life.

Now What?

As our youth are preparing for graduation and the celebration of all of their accomplishments, I am reminded of my own graduation from undergrad. For, it was an amazing celebration that I remember fondly today. What made it all the more special was that I was the only person in my family, other than my father, to graduate from college. Because of this reality and all the hard work I had put into school over the previous three years, the celebration seemed to be a climatic event in my life – a hallelujah. 

However, the days following had me asking the very real question, “now what do I do?” It is a rather uncomfortable question for any of us, isn’t it? Now what do I do after graduating, finding a career, having a child, winning a championship, or witnessing a resurrection? Now what?

I have often imagined the disciples asked this question in the days following Christ’s resurrection and before His appearance in the Upper Room. Now what? Remember, these souls were all Jewish followers of Christ with no intention of creating a new religion. They were simple farmers, tax collectors, sinners, saints, fathers, mothers, individuals who followed Christ in their worship of God. Perhaps a few thought they could lead; yet, I have to imagine that, in the light of the resurrection revealed, even those disciples would have been humbled and wondering, Now what do I do?  

Beloved, I think the uncomfortableness of the question is the folly of the question itself. In other words, why would the disciples ask or why would we inquire: Now what do I do, when the “I” is not the only one who got you to this celebration in the first place. It is not simply Jesus – Peter – or even us alone that make the Glory of the Resurrection something to be celebrated. Just like it is not just the person who is graduating who has made the celebration possible alone. There are teachers who have taught us along the way – families who support us – communities which help watch out for us as we learn and earn those degrees.

So, perhaps the better question is “what do we do now?” Maybe, ask the “eye” sitting next to you because they will have a different perspective. As will the “ear,” “foot,” and “hand” of Christ. For, we are all one body – the one Body of Christ. Each is welcomed and must be witnessed as equally needed, supported, and heard; for, as the Apostle Paul puts it “in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” Therefore, when we ask, “what now,” let us answer with the love and grace of one community listening to all people who are actively part of the Body of Christ revealed in our fellowship of the First Congregational Church of Salem NH.

I pray that you – each and everyone of you – will be that active voice again for the body of Christ

your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider and share your “what now” is in this Eastertide season. I pray Lent helped you find your calling – let us start to consider what now as we build and rebuild our fellowship through the sharing of our voices. If you would like, text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you live into your calling. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.

Pastor’s Letter April 4, 2022

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.” 

  • Genesis 9:12-15 NRSV
an image of a double rainbow over a field of grain.
Rainbow over stormy sky. Rural landscape with rainbow over dark stormy sky in a countryside at summer day.

Good afternoon, Beloved,

             I pray you are all held softly in God’s hands and able to stay safe and dry on this drizzly Wednesday afternoon. That said, I also hope you can witness a rainbow today. For, what a glorious thing every rainbow is as they drift across the sky following the storms of the world. They are almost reminders that everything will be ok. Reminders that the storms end. Reminders that God is caring for all of us and all flesh upon the Earth. 

             Now today, we know that the rainbows in the sky are not literally God’s Bow which was used to put holes in the firmament of the sky. An act which caused all the Earth to be flooded as explained in Genesis. No, we know the rainbows are created by the reflection of light. Yet, this story in the Bible of Noah and the flood is no less true. No less honest as a metaphor for God’s covenantal promise to all of Creation. Yes, all the flesh – not just the Israelites. A promise that is fulfilled through the teachings and loving actions of Christ Jesus. A promise that can be fulfilled by each of us who work as the hands and feet of God in this world every time we help and care for all people, regardless of age, gender, or any other identity.

             In this way of thinking, it makes sense that we would have rainbows upon our windows in the sanctuary. It feels right; for, we are fulfilling God’s Covenantal promise to all the flesh when we welcome all people no matter who they are or where they are on their journey. When we not only welcome all people but share that here is a place that all people – all the flesh of Creation – may finally feel safe after the long storms have passed. 

             All this calls to me in a new way. It makes me wonder what this symbol from the Bible is saying to you. As a person of faith, how or does this symbol call to you? 

Beloved, I share this practice of inquiry today because symbols are powerful things. They provide meaning in ways which we may not even think of or recognize. Yet, when we look at the symbols and deeply consider what they mean to each of us. Not how they are intended, but what they mean to us personally. We may discover new ways God is calling us in our delight, understanding, or rejection of those symbols. So, I pray that you will take the time this week to notice one symbol in your life. Consider how it makes you feel and discover what it means to you. Maybe, in this inquiry you will discover God’s call.

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

Please consider the ways you care for your own spirituality and faith throughout Lent. If you would like, you may text, call, or email me always to talk and discover ideas to help you refresh your soul. As I am here to support you and your relationship with God wherever you are on the journey. My number is (207-350-9561) if you need anything or simply want to talk. Next week, my pastoral care hours are Mon. 9-4, Tues. 12-5, Wed. 9-4, Thurs. 10-2 to provide some time for visiting. Many blessings and Love to you all.