Pastor’s Letter Dec. 7, 2022

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

-Philippians 4:6-7

Image of an open Bible with light coming down on it.

Good afternoon, Beloved,

I pray that each of you are well and guarded by God’s eternal peace. I was considering this amazing gift recently and roughly remembered what a professor once said. He explained that the absence of war is in itself not peace, and peace can exist while we are at war. In fact, he was explaining that these two states of being / society are not really in opposition. They can both, philosophically speaking, exist in the human psyche at the same time. 

Personally, I love this idea. This concept that even though we are dealing with great conflicts or even full out war, we can be at peace in our souls: faithfully trusting in God and whatever God has planned for us in the future. I love the idea; however, real world living has revealed that this state of being is not always that easy to achieve, especially for us broken humans. We have anxiety, worry, OCD or just simple conflicts which turn our world upside down. And in these moments, it is hard to find God’s peace. The very idea, like the apostle’s words above, seem to be just empty aphorisms or phrases when we are struggling in conflict or war.

So, what do we do? How do we go from this real-world conflict to the peace of God? Well beloved, I believe the answer is right there in Paul’s words. Right there when he says,” prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Now, I do believe any prayer in the midst of your conflict will help. Yet, there is one practice which I find helps me. It is a cross between a breathing prayer and the Lectio Divina. If you do not know what these are, please ask and I can show you them as well. 

For today though, let us focus on a prayer for your peace. Start by just choosing a piece of scripture (randomly or a particular passage). Then separate the passage into phrases and read them aloud. Finally, in between each phase breathe slowly in and out three times. It looks something like this:

“Do not be anxious” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “about anything,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “but in everything” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “by prayer and supplication” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “with thanksgiving” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “let your requests be made known” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “to God.” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “And the peace of God,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “which surpasses all understanding,” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “will guard your hearts” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “and your minds” Breathe – Breathe – Breathe “in Christ Jesus.”

This beloved is what we do. We set aside five minutes – that’s all – and pray to refocus – recenter – return to the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. It is a basic gift which God gave us when they created all of humankind and it works. It allows us to find that peace and confront the worries of the day with all the peace Christ has to offer through the Holy Spirit. 

I offer this truth as a gift to you amongst our busy season – amongst the conflicts – amongst the wars. For, peace is not just a nice idea or philosophy, it is a gift. An attainable goal we can all achieve if we give “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to God.

I pray you will take this opportunity to find God’s Peace Now and always

Peace be with you all

Your pastor and teacher Brian

Pastor’s Letter July 24, 2022

The image is of two hands palm up praying to God in front of a sunrise. The glow from the sun is highlighted in the palms of the hands.

Hello Beloved,

With all the love God has placed within me, I pray you are each doing well. I would like to invite all of you to do the same. Let us pray: Holy God, bless and care for the people in this fellowship and in our community. Care for those in our state and in our world. Watch over all of your Creation, O God, and heal us with your eternal love. Holy one my prayers and love go out to all people but especially Kathy Zecchini, Brenda and Carol Cross, Moe, Granddaughters travelling and children who are crossing the countryside. We pray for Ivan and the loved ones we have lost as well as Audrey, Toni, and Kyle and all those souls who are sick today. Savior, send your healing light into the lives of your people who are angry, hurt, or feeling lost; bless them God with your forgiveness and open their hearts to be forgiving. God, please also heal our world of the divisions and violence as we pray you will care for our President and all people who have Covid in this world, today. In the name of your son, our Christ we pray. Amen.

Beloved, I bring this gift of communal prayer to our thoughts as the gift itself, in recent years, has been minimized to something meaningless or trivial. Some people have criticized this gift as condescending. Yet I believe, prayer is far from meaningless for so many reasons. Most importantly, it is our primary way to speak with God. That alone is a gift and our joy.

However, there are other benefits to prayer. When we pray as one people, we are focusing on the individual person. Letting them know we hear them and see their pain. We are letting them know that they are not alone in this world and having to deal with their struggle by themselves. We are hearing them and being lifted also by their joy. If nothing else, the Covid pandemic revealed to me how important our community is – how much we need one another – how much better life is when we can feel our community caring for us in our everyday lives.

That said, someone recently asked if we came back to church too early as at least one church community in the area is still avoiding fellowship, our President has been diagnosed with Covid, and members of our fellowship have gotten this disease though, thank God, not from anyone else in the church as far as we know. My response to this question (which I am very thankful for Gary) is “no, no I do not believe we came back too early.” I believe this beloved because of prayer.

Because we need one another in our lives and our community holding us now more than ever before in our lives. We need to laugh and question. Feel loved and forgiven. We need to be held in the love that God offers to all people equally right now because we do not know what tomorrow will bring and we are so much better with one another. I am so much better when I have Ed Dacey in my life who has an unbelievable gift and understanding of the by-laws, I am so much better when I have Betty Sears in my life with her institutional memory of our church community, I am so much better with Merri, Emily, Johnny, and everyone of you as we learn and pray together. I am so much better with Philathea and the choir. Everyone of you and our interactions together through prayer, fellowship, and worship of God, makes me a better human and for that I am grateful. I can only believe that this truth is the same for all of us.

So no, I do not believe we came back too early as we have done everything to prevent the worst of outcomes from happening and our community needs each of us in fellowship, worship, and prayer more than we need any fear or conflict. Therefore, I pray you – each of you – are well and will return to be wholly part of this fellowship so we can all be better human beings and disciples of God’s Love – together.

Your pastor and teacher, Brian

During summer, let us consider how we each 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 Tues. 12-5, Wed. 11-3, Thurs. 10-2. Many blessings and Love to you all.