We have all come back to earth after a wonderful celebration last weekend. For those who may have stumbled upon this blog and are not aware of what happened last weekend. The port of Bath celebrated 300 years as the state's first port. A great time was had by all and the best part of the day was watching Marty Fulton receive a proclamation from the town for outstanding service and The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Governor McCory. A well-deserved honor Marty.
Several people have asked for a copy of the prayer I wrote which opened the festivities that evening I have copied it below
We thank you for this gathering today as we remember our past, live in the present and look to the future. We thank you for the brave men and women who came and settled the Port of Bath three hundred years ago. We are grateful for their perseverance and strength; coming to a land that was wild and untamed. Out of this wilderness they brought hope, determination and the indomitable spirit that has so shaped this great country of ours. We pray for all leaders of our town, our state and our country. We also today remember our brave men and women who serve our country so we can celebrate our freedom in this place.It is also fitting Lord, to remind ourselves this Memorial weekend, of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Today Lord, we continue to be grateful for all the blessings and gifts you have bestowed on us here in the state of North Carolina and in this town. Each of us has found our way here Lord, because we hold the same values and ideals of those settlers long ago. Like them we share a love of community and fellowship. We like they, work toward the common goal which is to remain a beacon of love for one another in a town that truly understands the auspicious charge we have been given. Which is to share it with all we meet be it in our town, our churches, or those who are passing through.
Lastly as we look to the future, we pray for your continued guidance as we we continue carry on the spirit of dreaming and we continue to look for and follow your will for us, for this town today and for future generations. May they too know and love this town as much as we do. As always Father, we pray in your name and in the name of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ who with the Holy Spirit brings your love and peace to this earth. Amen.
We celebrate our Mother's this coming Sunday and all that they have done for us over the course of our lives. As I get older and hopefully wiser, I have reflected on all the people in my life who have mothered me. What I have learned about myself and sharing my thoughts with others is we all mother one another in one way or another. We may have friends, relatives, colleagues or church members who at one time or another over the course of our lives have stepped in to be a nurturing presence.
I prefer not to think of Mother's Day as only a day to celebrate women because there are many men who have had to take on the role of both mother and father when raising a family. This is not only in the case of death or divorce but can be for military service, extended business trips or illness. We are so fortunate to have made compassion and love something we can all participate in.
Perhaps in your own life you have had a friend who has been the one who has cheered you on from the sidelines. The one who did not doubt when you doubted yourself. In my own life I have been fortunate to have had many of those friends and I am eternally grateful for them.
Theologically I began to think about the Holy Spirit as a mother image. She is the little piece of God which enters our hearts and souls and like mothers everywhere, she nags us sometimes to get up and act. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism and is then able to the work God has set out for him to do in this world. Jesus also tells the disciples in John 14:26, "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Just like "moms" everywhere. Happy Mother's Day
We have waited these last few months with great anticipation for the article about St. Thomas to appear in "Our State" magazine. It arrived in the mail this week and as we all opened to the article, were not disappointed. The photographic art by Lissa Gotwals and the reflection written by Susan Stafford Kelly couldn't help but remind us of what a special place St. Thomas is. For those of us who are members, it is easy to walk into our lovely sanctuary and forget all of those who have gone before; but Ms. Kelly reminds us as she gently walks through our history not only as a congregation but as citizens of our great country.
My reflection on the article is this, how often do I take for granted the beauty that surrounds me? Too often I am afraid to admit. As a newbie here in North Carolina and as the rector at St. Thomas, I feel as if I have never lived anywhere else. It is difficult to describe what makes St. Thomas so delightful, peaceful and indeed soulful. This is the fifth parish I have served and each has had their own personality and life but nothing in my estimation compares to St. Thomas. When pressed to understand what it is, for me it is the scent of the ages as I walk through the doors. The wood, the brick, the whitewashed walls all cause me to pause and reflect on the past, live in the present and look to the future.
Was that not what the settlers of the town of Bath did when they constructed the church? Our little parish home was what gave the citizens of the town of Bath a place to gather just as Kelly points out in her reflection. Things I have often taken for granted since my arrival and I will certainly try to not fall into complacency again.
One of my favorite things to do when I enter the sanctuary is to first marvel at our beautiful altar, it's dark wood against the whitewashed walls and to then breathe in the history of this place. My second favorite thing to do is to view our Guest Book and read where the people who have visited are from. Often times my breath is taken away to read someone's name from Italy or the UK and I am humbled to know they have found peace and tranquility in our sanctuary.
In Genesis 28:16-17 Jacob upon awaking from a dream of a ladder extending to heaven and angels ascending and descending says, "The Lord was in this place and I did not know it." When I walk into the church that passage comes to my mind and I hope those who have not always had a good experience of church, and there are many, will walk into our place and know that the Lord is truly in this place. They not only know it but live it and feel it just as those of us who are fortunate to worship at St. Thomas do each and every Sunday. The Lord is truly in this place and we do know it.