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  • From our Pastor

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling –  (II Corinthians 5:1-2)

    “Maggie, you’ve got teeth!”

                Maggie stands and smiles, modeling them for us.  “Madonna, eat your heart out,” she says, and laughs in her husky, earthy way.

                It’s quite a contrast:  the false perfection of the new, white-white teeth against the brown, wrinkled background of her crooked, beaten face.

                It only took a year.  “Wait for your check.”  “Wait for your teeth.”  Maggie has learned patience.  (Like everybody here at the shelter, she has had to.)  She knows it takes a long, long time for anything to trickle down to a shelter in a basement. 

                Maggie accepts she is decaying, knows parts waste away – bodies, minds.  Having no teeth is a trial, but after so many trials and losses – abusive men, dead-end jobs, poor housing and rich landlords, psychiatrists and social workers, breast cancer; a best friend who lost all hope; a good friend who was murdered – you learn to endure, and to live with little things like having no teeth.

                “You really look great, Mags,” he says setting up for bingo.

                “Well, thank you dear, but they are just a plug in a leak, you know.  The body dies, the soul is eternal, as they say.  But at least I can chew now, no more soup and mush,” she says, and smiles brightly again.

                “Alleluia,” he answers, and stops to gaze at her.  But it’s not her new white-white teeth he is struck by – although he is very happy she finally has them – it’s her old laughing eyes – and the light that has never left her.  The beautiful, strong light that no one has been able to blacken, or rob, or put out, or take away – that no force can kill.  The miraculous, amazing light she has, somehow, never lost faith in.*

                That, my friends, is the light of resurrection.  And yes, every day it feels like a part of our body is wasting away.  We are getting older every day whether we want to admit it or not.  But our eyes can always tell another story.  They can tell a story of faith.  They can tell a story of resurrection.

                What do your eyes tell you, tell others?  Do they speak of hope and joy and laughter even in the midst of pain?  Do they speak of faith?  Do they speak of resurrection?  I pray they have that strong light that Maggie’s eyes have

    *Story by Neil Paynter  — From Eggs and Ashes:  Practical and Liturgical Resources for Lent and Holy Week.  Edited by Ruth Burgess and Chris Polhill

  • Holy Week

    March 24 — 10:00 a.m. — Palm Sunday
    Come celebrate with palms the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
    March 28 — 6:00 p.m. — Passover Seder
    We will be having a traditional Passover Seder. This is the Jewish tradition and will recreate Christ’s Last Supper.
    Soup will be served for dinner as part of the Passover meal. The sanctuary will be open for one hour following the Seder and from 1:00-3:00 pm on Friday.
    March 29 — 7:00 p.m. — Good Friday Service
    We will remember Christ’s death through the Stations of the Cross
    March 31 — 6:15 a.m. — Easter Sunrise – Quabbin Tower Parking Lot — This is an ecumenical service. Pastor Michelle preaching 10:00 a.m. —
    March 31 — 10:00a.m. — Easter Service – Let’s us come and celebrate Christ’s resurrection together

  • Peanut Butter Challenge

    Peanut Butter Challenge

    Our March/April goal is 150 jars of peanut butter. To reach that goal by the end of the nine-week campaign, we need an average of 17 jars weekly added to the giving table in the sanctuary. Week #1 brought in 61 jars. Week #2 brought in 39 jars. Only 50 more to go. Can we do it? Sure we can. Remember – if you want George to shop for you, just ask him!

  • Lent

    Joseph Girzone, the popular author, tells the following story in his parable Joshua and The Children.* Over a hundred years ago in France, a butler attached to a wealthy family knew where the family kept their money, hidden in a vault underneath their chateau. The butler methodically plotted to kill everyone in the family and steal the money. One night when everyone was asleep, he crept into the house and first murdered the father and mother. Then one by one he began to murder the children. The youngest escaped because he heard noises and could not sleep. When he realized what was happening, he quietly slipped out of his bedroom and hid in a closet under a pile of clothes.
    For years the boy wandered the streets as an orphan. He eventually entered seminary and became a priest. After several years, he was assigned to Devil’s Island, a tough prison, as a chaplain. One afternoon one of the inmates came running from the fields, frantically calling for the chaplain. “There’s a man dying out in the field, Father. Come quickly.”

    The priest ran out with the inmate and reached the dying prisoner. Kneeling down beside him, the priest lifted the man’s head onto his lap and asked if he would like to confess his sins. The dying man refused. “Why, my son?” asked the priest. “Because God will never forgive me for what I have done.”
    “But what have you done that is so bad?” the priest continued. And the man went on to tell the story of how he had killed this whole family so that he could have their money, and only the little boy escaped because he could not find him.

    Then the priest said to the dying man, “If I can forgive you then certainly God can forgive you. And I forgive you from my heart. It was my family you killed, and I am that little boy.” The convict cried and told the priest how he had been haunted all his life over what he had done, though no one else knew about it. Even the authorities never found out. The two men cried together. As the priest was giving the dying man absolution, the prisoner died with his head resting on the priest’s lap.

    This powerful story, which I believe to be true, speaks clearly of the great compassion and love which God has for us. During Lent, we reflect on God’s love for us as we also confess our own sins. No one is perfect. But thanks be to God, we have grace – that unlimited love of God. Sometimes we do not think forgiveness is possible for our sins, and yet just as the priest forgave the man who killed his whole family, God forgives us. Remember with God all things are possible. God has no limits, although we constantly try to put limits on God, even on God’s love. This Lenten season remember the unlimited love of God and be welcomed by Jesus. His arms are open on the cross just waiting for us.

    *Joseph F. Girzone, Joshua and the Children, (New York: Macmillian, 1989), pp. 9-10.