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Word count: 14,469 words, Reading time: 57.9 minutes"Skip to content Jackson Community Church Summit, Spirit, Sky: connect to community and creation! About Church Life Updates Mission Statement Monthly ‘Inside Out’ Newsletters Weekly Meditations Staff & Church Leaders Annual Reports & Bylaws History UCC News AppreciationVolunteer & Serve Justice/ActivismWorshipWeddings Search for: Search for: About Church Life Updates Mission Statement Monthly ‘Inside Out’ Newsletters Weekly Meditations Staff & Church Leaders Annual Reports & Bylaws History UCC News AppreciationVolunteer & Serve Justice/ActivismWorshipWeddings Reflections on fear and courage and other elements: themes from Matthew 14 By jacksonnhccPosted on April 20, 2024Posted in Home, Weekly MeditationsTagged afraid, courage, fear, Matthew 14, walking on water There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. ― Desmond TutuSONGS about FEAR & COURAGE:Fear Is a Liar by Zach Williams (Christian): Breakup Song by Franccesca Battistelli (pop): to Live by The Weeknd (pop): by Jeremy Zucker (pop): Country by T. Bone Burnett (country): & Loathing by Marina and the Diamonds (pop): Will Fear No More by The Afters (Christian): by Sade (blues/pop): of Being Alone by Reba McEntire (country): of Beaytiful  by Brandy (pop):,A.R. by Kendrick Lamar (rChristian ap – explicit lyrics): Fear by Ben Howard (folk/country): by X Ambassadors ft. Imagine Dragons (rock/pop): by Tenth Aventue North (Christian): by Aaron Lewis (country): Not by Chris Tomlin (Christian): by Lilly Allen (po)p: Over Fear by Eminem (rap – explicit language): by 21 Pilots (pop/rap): Worst Fear by Rascal Faltts (country): by Jasmine Murray (Christian pop): Fear by The Shins (folk rock): Angel by Dream Theater (rock): Fear and Faith by Circa Survive (rock): Goes the Fear by Doves (pop): the Future by St Vincent (rock): of Dying by Poppy (pop): of Sleep by The Strokes (rock -mexplicit content): Room by Au/Ra (pop? indie?): of the Dark by Iron Maiden (heavy metal): WALKINGThis story is told of the sage Ramakrishna. Once a man came to Ramakrishna, sitting on the banks of the Ganges. “Master,” he called to Ramakrishna, “Look! After fourteen years of dedicated practice I have finally achieved my life’s goal. I can walk now on water.”       “Fie on it,” Ramakrishna replied. “You have achieved what is worth only a penny, for what you have spent a lifetime acquiring, ordinary people do by paying the ferry boatman a penny.” — David Anderson, findingyoursoul.comWhen the 12 Thai boys who were trapped in a cave and were rescued one by one were first discovered by British divers earlier this month, they were reportedly meditating. “Look at how calm they were sitting there waiting. No one was crying or anything. It was astonishing,” the mother of one of the boys told the AP, referring to a widely shared video of the moment the boys were found. Turns out that their coach, Ekapol Chanthawong, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded on June 23, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to multiple news sources, he taught the boys, ages 11 to 16, to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy through their two-week ordeal. — vox.comSuppose two astronauts go to the moon. When they arrive, they have an accident and find out that they have only enough oxygen for two days. There is no hope of someone coming from Earth in time to rescue them. They have only two days to live. If you asked them at that moment, “What is your deepest wish?” they would answer, “To be back home walking on the beautiful planet Earth.” That would be enough for them; they would not want anything else. They would not want to be the head of a large corporation, a big celebrity or president of the United States. They would not want anything except to be back on Earth – to be walking on Earth, enjoying every step, listening to the sounds of nature and holding the hand of their beloved while contemplating the moon.We should live every day like people who have just been rescued from the moon. We are on Earth now, and we need to enjoy walking on this precious beautiful planet. The Zen master Lin Chi said, “The miracle is not to walk on water but to walk on the Earth.” I cherish that teaching. I enjoy just walking, even in busy places like airports and railway stations. In walking like that, with each step caressing our Mother Earth, we can inspire other people to do the same. We can enjoy every minute of our lives. ― Thich Nhat HanhON RESCUEThere comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. ― Desmond TutuIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly … — Theodore RooseveltThe game wardens have been walking in the rain all day, walking through the woods in the freezing rain trying to find your sister. They would have walked all day tomorrow, walked in the cold rain the rest of the week, searching for Betsy, so they could bring her home to you. And if there is one thing I am sure of—one thing I am very, very sure of, Dan—it is that God is not less kind, less committed, or less merciful than a Maine game warden. — Kate BraestrupOne person of integrity can make a difference. ― Elie WieselLove is the only way to rescue humanity from all ills. — Leo TolstoyIt runs through all our folklore, all human religions, all our literature–a racial conviction that when one human needs rescue, others should not count the price. ― Robert A. HeinleinGod uses rescued people to rescue people. — Christine CaineRescue the drowning and tie your shoestrings. — Henry David ThoreauThe greatest threat that I need to be rescued from is myself. Everything comes a lot easier after that. ― Craig D. LounsbroughPeople rescue each other. They build shelters and community kitchens and ways to deal with lost children and eventually rebuild one way or another. — Rebecca SolnitGod is no White Knight who charges into the world to pluck us like distressed damsels from the jaws of dragons, or diseases. God chooses to become present to and through us. It is up to us to rescue one another. — Nancy MairsEven grief recedes with time and grace. But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We’ll remember the moment the news came — where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. — George W. BushPeople rescue each other. They build shelters and community kitchens and ways to deal with lost children and eventually rebuild one way or another. Rebecca SolnitRead more at: People rescue each other. They build shelters and community kitchens and ways to deal with lost children and eventually rebuild one way or another. Rebecca SolnitRead more at: we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope–and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances … — John NewtonI, God, am in your midst. Whoever knows me can never fall. Not in the heights, nor in the depths, nor in the breadths. For I am love, which the vast expanses of evil can never still. – Hildegard of BingenFor as soon as we have used an opportunity and have actualized a potential meaning, we have done so once and for all. We have rescued it into the past/…/, wherein nothing is irretrievably lost, but rather, on the contrary, everything is irrevocably stored and treasured. ― Viktor E. FranklALONEAlone — Maya AngelouLying, thinkingLast nightHow to find my soul a homeWhere water is not thirstyAnd bread loaf is not stoneI came up with one thingAnd I don’t believe I’m wrongThat nobody,But nobodyCan make it out here alone.Alone, all aloneNobody, but nobodyCan make it out here alone.There are some millionairesWith money they can’t useTheir wives run round like bansheesTheir children sing the bluesThey’ve got expensive doctorsTo cure their hearts of stone.But nobodyNo, nobodyCan make it out here alone.Alone, all aloneNobody, but nobodyCan make it out here alone.Now if you listen closelyI’ll tell you what I knowStorm clouds are gatheringThe wind is gonna blowThe race of man is sufferingAnd I can hear the moan,‘Cause nobody,But nobodyCan make it out here alone.Alone, all aloneNobody, but nobodyCan make it out here alone.ON WATERIn one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence. ― Kahlil GibranAs it happens my own reverence for water has always taken the form of this constant meditation upon where the water is, of an obsessive interest not in the politics of water but in the waterworks themselves, in the movement of water through aqueducts and siphons and pumps and forebays and afterbays and weirs and drains, in plumbing on the grand scale. — Joan DidionThe water you kids were playing in, he said, had probably been to Africa and the North Pole. Genghis Khan or Saint Peter or even Jesus may have drunk it. Cleopatra might have bathed in it. Crazy Horse might have watered his pony with it. Sometimes water was liquid. Sometimes it was rock hard- ice. Sometimes it was soft- snow. Sometimes it was visible but weightless- clouds. And sometimes it was completely invisible- vapor- floating up into the the sky like the soals of dead people. There was nothing like water in the world, Jim said. It made the desert bloom but also turned rich bottomland into swamp. Without it we’d die, but it could also kill us, and that was why we loved it, even craved it, but also feared it. Never take water forgranted, Jim said. Always cherish it. Always beware of it. ― Jeannette Walls, Half Broke Horses Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. ― Margaret AtwoodThe ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean. ― BeyoncéLet the waters settle and you will see the moon and the stars mirrored in your own being. — RumiCommentary on Matthew 14: Walking on WaterSee if you recognize yourself in this story: Because maybe some of us are like the ones in the boat who are afraid. Maybe you are so caught up in the fear of making the wrong decision that you can’t make any decision at all. Or maybe you are like the one experiencing the thrill of stepping into the unknown –  a new relationship or a new job or you’ve just moved to Denver leaving behind the familiar – and maybe the first few steps are ok but then it gets scary.  Or maybe you or the person next to you is the one who is sinking in debt or depression or maybe you feel like you’re sinking because what you could handle last month you just can’t handle now. Or maybe you’re the one who knows you’re doomed, knows that all your own efforts have failed and you are crying out to God to save you and you’re the ones who Jesus has reached down to catch and you’re clinging on to the sweet hand of Jesus with all you’ve got.  or maybe you’re the one in the boat looking in wonder all you’ve just seen… you’re the one who bears witness to the miracle and danger of it all and how the hand of God reaches down and pulls us up and you see it and can’t help but say “truly this is God.” At some point or other I know I have been all of the above … But all these characters in the walking on water story – the cautious ones in the boat, the brave one who walked for a time on water, the same one who is afraid and sinks and calls for help, and the ones who saw it all and confessed that Jesus is the son of God they are all actually equal in their relationship to God because…all of these and you have one thing in common: they are those whom Jesus draws near saying “it is I, do not be afraid”. — Nadia Bolz-WeberThis is a story about us in liminal space. Richard Rohr describes liminal space as: a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be, but where God is always leading us. It is when we have left the “tried and true” but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when we are finally out of the way. In liminal space, we do not yet know where to look. Should we strain our eyes to get a clearer view of what we can only trust is before us? Dare we risk looking away from what is around us that we can easily see and understand? It is hard not to doubt and be afraid when we are in-between. Liminal space is often associated with rituals of passage. Sacred moments of transition require big steps toward a new way that is not yet clear and not without risk. We enter liminal space when we take a step without knowing quite what the next step will be. Some of us dare to step out in faith, take big risks, change the course of our lives. Others are thrust into liminal space by forces beyond their control, such as a diagnosis, an injury, a storm, a death. Some are wondering what they have done. All they know is that the boat is drifting away behind them, the waves are all around them, and Jesus still seems far away. We are in liminal space when we are not sure we believe everything we have been told. When we have many questions we are afraid to ask. When we want to renew our grounding in faith, but we are overwhelmed with options. When we know we need something but not yet sure what that something will be. In the in-between, do we have any faith at all? Liminal space is scary, but full of potential. It deepens our love enabling us to love outside the lines. It reveals a whole another world outside the box. It gives us visions of other dimensions. Jesus welcomes Peter when he dares to step out of the boat. Jesus saves Peter when he loses focus on what is ahead of him and gets lost in what he knows is around him. When you are in liminal space, muster up your faith and take a bold step into the unknown. The worst that can happen is Jesus will save you; however, you may do the spectacular like walking on water. — James YorkMaybe it wasn’t a boat. Maybe this story invites you to recall another life or death situation. You might not want to recall it. You don’t have to do so. You know you could go there. You could go to a time when you were lost in a boat in a storm in the dark, either literally or figuratively. The external situation can vary, but the internal feelings are real … You know that. Everyone knows the feeling of being battered by the winds in the dark. The circumstances differ but we all experience our unique storms. While the external events are unique, the internal feelings we share in common as human beings. Actually, it is the dark that binds us. Perhaps that is why there is a holiness about it. The holiness of shared experience. The dark contains a sacredness that invites us to learn to walk in it. — John Shuck  Reflections on parable of the sower: themes of weeds, seeds, and many types of soil By jacksonnhccPosted on April 19, 2024Posted in Home, Weekly MeditationsTagged AA Milne, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Anne Lamott, Bert McCoy, Charlotte Bronte, CS Lewis, Dalai Lama, Daniel Lubetzky, doubting Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Gospel of Matthew, Jack Ma, Jan Richardson, Jesse Jackson, Joan Chittister, John O'Donohue, Josephine Miles, joy harjo, Karl Stevens, lgernon Charles Swinburne, Martha Washington, Matshona Dhliwayo, maya angelou, Monty Don, Morihei Ueshiba, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Nejamin Franklin, Norman Vincent Peale, parable of sower, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rachel Held-Evans, Robert Heinlein, seeds, Shakespeare, Sylvia Browne, Thich Nhat Hahn, weeds, Wendell Berry, Wilson Cruz Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. — A. A. MilneEvery problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds. —Norman Vincent PealeWhen people try to bury you, remind yourself you are a seed. ― Matshona Dhliwayo If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me. — William ShakespeareSONGS about SEEDS & GARDENSPlanting Seeds by Nimo ft. Daniel Nahmod (folk/rap): Seed by Aurora (pop/indie): Song performed by John Denver & Muppet (folk): Song by Dave Mallett (folk): Little Seed by Woodie Guthrie (folk): Seed’s a Star by Stevie Wonder (rock/pop): the Seeds by Digging Roots (folk/indie): the Seeds of Love by Tears for Fears (rock): It Grow by Jake Dylan (pop/folk): Garden by Rolf Lovland (piano/instrumental): by Kathy Mattea (folk):’s Garden by The Beatles (rock): Seed Heart by Tom Billington (folk/rock): Olive Tree by Judith Durham (folk): Song by Giants in the Trees (pop): Seed by The Roots (rap/soul): Song by the Mountain Goats (country): Seed by David Ashley Trent (Christan): Only Matters / Expecting a Harvest by William McDowell Music (gospel): Seeds of Love by Pam Donkin (folk): SONGS (Kid Music): Seed Song by the Ark Collective (kids music):, Stems, Leaves, Flower by Firefly Family Theater (kid music):’m a Little Seed by Leslie Bixler (kids music): Seed by Laurie Berkner (kids song): Dispersal by Mr R’s Teaching Songs (kids music): Semilla/The Seed by 123 Andres (kid music): Farmer Plants the Seeds by Kiboomer (kids music): Seed Song by Let’s Roll Snowball (kids music): a Little Seed by Tom Pease & Struart Stotts (kid music/storytelling song session):, Teach Me — Native American Prayer, unattributedEarth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring.Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life.Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain.Blessing That Holdsa Nest in Its Branches — Jan RichardsonThe emptinessthat you have been holdingfor such a long season now;that ache in your chestthat goes with younight and dayin your sleeping,your rising—think of thisnot as a mere hollow,the void left fromthe life that has leached outof you.Think of it like this:as the space being preparedfor the seed.Think of itas your earth that dreamsof the branchesthe seed contains.Think of itas your heart making readyto welcome the nestits branches will hold.What would the world be,once bereftOf wet and wildness?Let them be left,O let them be left,wildness and wet,Long live the weedsand the wildness yet.— Gerard Manley Hopkins (excerpt from poem)I the grain and the furrow,The plough-cloven clodAnd the ploughshare drawn thorough,The germ and the sod,The deed and the doer, the seed and the sower,the dust which is God.— Algernon Charles Swinburne, Hertha (excerpt)ON WEEDSThe strongest and most mysterious weeds often have things to teach us. ― F.T. McKinstryBut what attracted me to weeds was not their beauty, but their resilience. I mean, despite being so widely despised, so unloved, killed with every chance we get, they are so pervasive, so seemingly invincible. ― Carol VorvainSome plants become weeds simply by virtue of their success rather than any other factor. You merely want less of them. — Monty DonPrejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow firm there, firm as weeds among stones. — Charlotte BronteThe weeds keep multiplying in our garden, which is our mind ruled by fear. Rip them out and call them by name. — Sylvia BrowneA man of words and not of deeds, Is like a garden full of weeds. ― Benjamin FranklinCOMMENTARY on SOWING SEEDS on DIFFERENT SOILMaybe the point of this parable isn’t judgement at all, maybe it’s joy. Since again and again in the midst of this thorny and rocky and good world, God still is sowing a life-giving Word. Just wantonly and indiscriminately scattering it everywhere like God doesn’t understand our rules.Which would also mean that the thing we call the Word is not something relegated to religious institutions and ordained clergy and the piety police. The thing we call the Word isn’t locked up in some spiritual ivory tower. I am persuaded that the Word of the Lord is anything that brings good news to the poor, and comfort to those who mourn. Whatever heals the brokenhearted. Whatever opens prisons.The Word is whatever brings freedom to slaves. Whatever brings freedom to former slaves. Whatever brings freedom to the descendants of former slaves. The Word is whatever liberates a nation from the spiritual bondage of human bondage.And God’s Word is scattered all around us… joyfully scrawled on protest signs and heard in newborns’ cries, and seen in city streets and county fairs and shopping malls.  The Word of the Lord is written on the broken tablets of our hearts, it is falling like rain in the tears of the forgiven, it is harnessed in the laughter of our children. —Nadia Bolz-Weber, full reflection: we want to return our hardened paths to their natural condition so grass and flowers and trees can grow, they have to be plowed up, the soil aerated, new seeds planted and the rain and the sun allowed to do their work without force or interference. That’s what listening to the word of God does for hearts trampled down by the back-and-forth of busyness and that are hardened by the heat of over-exposure. — Kenrt from cslewisfoundation, full reflection: SEEDSEvery adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. — Napoleon HillYour heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout. — Morihei UeshibaThe seed is in the ground. Now may we rest in hope, while darkness does its work. ~ Wendell BerryFrom seeds of his body blossomed the flower that liberated a people and touched the soul of a nation. — Jesse JacksonWe are a seed patiently waiting in the earth: waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking. I suppose that our whole present life, looked back on from there, will seem only a drowsy half-waking. We are here in the land of dreams. But cock-crow is coming. — CS LewisI hope that upon this scorched earth we have planted the seeds of ideas that will bear the fruit of more diverse and inclusive stories ….  — Wilson CruzBy cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity. —Robert A. HeinleinA seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.― Matshona DhliwayoInside the seed are many trees… Inside You are many kingdoms. ― Bert McCoy We know we cannot plant seeds with closed fists. To sow, we must open our hands. —Adolfo Perez EsquivelThe Kingdom isn’t some far off place you go where you die, the Kingdom is at hand—among us and beyond us, now and not-yet. It is the wheat growing in the midst of weeds, the yeast working its magic in the dough, the pearl germinating in a sepulchral shell. It can come and go in the twinkling of an eye, Jesus said. So pay attention; don’t miss it.  — Rachel Held EvansYou were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness. — Zig ZiglarHelp young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.— Jack MaDeep in the secret world of winter’s darkness, deep in the heart of the Earth, the scattered seed dreams of what it will accomplish, some warm day when its wild beauty has grown strong and wise. ― SolsticeThe greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our minds wherever we go. — Martha WashingtonFailure holds the seeds for greatness – so long as you water those seeds with introspection, they can be the root of your success. —Daniel LubetzkyThe season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.— Paramahansa YoganandaWe take the action—soup kitchens, creek restoration, mentoring—and then the insight follows: that by showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff.     We create goodness in the world, and that gives us hope. We plant bulbs in the cold, stony dirt of winter and our aging arthritic fingers get nicked, but we just do it, and a couple of months later life blooms—as daffodils, paperwhites, tulips.. — Anne LamottSeeds are powerful. They operate in our culture and in our psyche on a literal and metaphorical level like nothing else. They are possibility incarnate – a tiny gift package wrapped in a protective outer layer with infinite potential to sprout, grow, and produce more seeds while providing food and shelter to humans and animals alike. Joan Chittister writes, “In every seed lie the components of all life the world has known from all time to now.”Our ancestors have been saving, selecting, and planting seeds for thousands of years, which is largely why we are here today. It is an essential part of the human discipline. — Farmer Kyle of Bellwether FarmThe seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is, and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God. — Meister EchkhartDreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream. — Debby BooneGod does not only sow his seed in good soil. He loves us with such abandon that he scatters that love far and wide. He does not want to miss the chance of reaching even one lost soul. And in these times, the thorns and weeds, may be the very thing that brings us back to a deeper relationship with God. —Kate NicholsanThe focus is what is right before you – to give it your best. It sows the seeds of tomorrow. — Kiran BediCarbonized grains of wheat unearthedFrom the seventh millennium B.C. town of JarmoIn the Tigris-Euphrates basinMatch the grains of three kinds of wheat still extant,Two wild, one found only in cultivation.The separate grainsWere parched and eaten,Or soaked into gruel, yeasted, fermented.Took to the idea of bread,Ceres, while you were gone.Wind whistles in the smokey thatch,Oven browns its lifted loaf,And in the spring the nourished seeds,Hybrid with wild grass,Easily open in a hundred days,And seeded fruits, compact and dry,Store well together.They make the straw for beds,They ask the caring hand to sow, the resting footTo stay, to court the seasons.— Josephine Miles, Fields of Learniing (excerpt)In Case of Complete Reversal — Kay RyanBorn into each seedis a small anti-seeduseful in case of somecomplete reversal:a tiny but powerfulkit for adapting itto the unimaginable.If we could crack thefineness of the shellwe’d see thebundled minusesstacked as in a safe,ready for useif things don’tgo well.THRESHOLDS — John O’Donohue, from To Bless the Space Between UsWithin the grip of winter, it is almost impossible to imagine the spring. The gray perished landscape is shorn of color. Only bleakness meets the eye; everything seems severe and edged. Winter is the oldest season; it has some quality of the absolute. Yet beneath the surface of winter, the miracle of spring is already in preparation; the cold is relenting; seeds are wakening up. Colors are beginning to imagine how they will return. Then, imperceptibly, somewhere one bud opens and the symphony of renewal is no longer reversible. From the black heart of winter a miraculous, breathing plenitude of color emerges.The beauty of nature insists on taking its time. Everything is prepared. Nothing is rushed. The rhythm of emergence is a gradual slow beat always inching its way forward; change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival. Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares. It is there before we see it; and then we can look nowhere without seeing it.Change arrives in nature when time has ripened. There are no jagged transitions or crude discontinuities. This accounts for the sureness with which one season succeeds another. It is as though they were moving forward in a rhythm set from within a continuum.To change is one of the great dreams of every heart – to change the limitations, the sameness, the banality, or the pain. So often we look back on patterns of behavior, the kind of decisions we make repeatedly and that have failed to serve us well, and we aim for a new and more successful path or way of living. But change is difficult for us. So often we opt to continue the old pattern, rather than risking the danger of difference. We are also often surprised by change that seems to arrive out of nowhere.We find ourselves crossing some new threshold we had never anticipated. Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation. We never suspect a thing. Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotions comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossing were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds; to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross.To acknowledge and cross a new threshold is always a challenge. It demands courage and also a sense of trust in whatever is emerging. This becomes essential when a threshold opens suddenly in front of you, one for which you had no preparation. This could be illness, suffering or loss. Because we are so engaged with the world, we usually forget how fragile life can be and how vulnerable we always are. It takes only a couple of seconds for a life to change irreversibly. Suddenly you stand on completely strange ground and a new course of life has to be embraced. Especially at such times we desperately need blessing and protection. You look back at the life you have lived up to a few hours before, and it suddenly seems so far away. Think for a moment how, across the world, someone’s life has just changed – irrevocably, permanently, and not necessarily for the better – and everything that was once so steady, so reliable, must now find a new way of unfolding.Though we know one another’s names and recognize one another’s faces, we never know what destiny shapes each life. The script of individual destiny is secret; it is hidden behind and beneath the sequence of happenings that is continually unfolding for us. Each life is a mystery that is never finally available to the mind’s light or questions. That we are here is a huge affirmation; somehow life needed us and wanted us to be. To sense and trust this primeval acceptance can open a vast spring of trust within the heart. It can free us into a natural courage that casts out fear and opens up our lives to become voyages of discovery, creativity, and compassion. No threshold need be a threat, but rather an invitation and a promise.Whatever comes, the great sacrament of life will remain faithful to us, blessing us always with visible signs of invisible grace. We merely need to trust.ON SOWING & PLANTINGAlthough nature has proven season in and season out that if the thing that is planted bears at all, it will yield more of itself, there are those who seem certain that if they plant tomato seeds, at harvesttime they can reap onions.Too many times for comfort I have expected to reap good when I know I have sown evil. My lame excuse is that I have not always known that actions can only reproduce themselves, or rather, I have not always allowed myself to be aware of that knowledge. Now, after years of observation and enough courage to admit what I have observed, I try to plant peace if I do not want discord; to plant loyalty and honesty if I want to avoid betrayal and lies.Of course, there is no absolute assurance that those things I plant will always fall upon arable land and will take root and grow, nor can I know if another cultivator did not leave contrary seeds before I arrived. I do know, however, that if I leave little to chance, if I am careful about the kinds of seeds I plant, about their potency and nature, I can, within reason, trust my expectations. — Maya AngelouIt is memory that provides the heart with impetus, fuels the brain, and propels the corn plant from seed to fruit. — Joy HarjoThere are two kinds of compassion. The first comes from a natural concern for friends and family who are close to us. This has limited range but can be the seed for something bigger. We can also learn to extend a genuine concern for others’ well-being, whoever they are. That is real compassion, and only human beings are capable of developing it. — Dalai LamaEverything we do seeds the future. No action is an empty one. — Joan D. ChittisterWhether we have happiness or not depends on the seeds in our consciousness. If our seeds of compassion, understanding, and love are strong, those qualities will be able to manifest in us. If the seeds of anger, hostility and sadness in us are strong, then we will experience much suffering. To understand someone, we have to be aware of the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. And we need to remember that his is not solely responsible for those seeds. His ancestors, parents, and society are co-responsible for the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. When we understand this, we are able to feel compassion for that person. With understanding and love, we will know how to water our own beautiful seeds and those of others, and we will recognize seeds of suffering and find ways to transform them. — Thich Nhat HanhON SPIRITUAL SOIL… our capacity to listen, to be plowed up by what we hear so that we can nurture the seeds of divinity when we encounter them. If we resist being unsettled and loosened and turned into good soil, then the religiosity that has gotten us this far will begin to slip away. We will abandon the spiritual life and say that it was doing nothing for us.  But if we accept our discomfort and truly listen with open ears, even knowing that what we hear might change and disrupt us, we will begin to grow, and find our capacity to see and hear expanding day by day. — Karl Stevens, article: moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it gems of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity and love. — Thomas MertonWe are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way—centred on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown. — CS Lewis  FRI, April 19 – SUN, April 21 with JCC and around town By jacksonnhccPosted on April 19, 2024Posted in Calendar, HomeTagged Ducks n Donuts, fitness with Laurie, jazz with Majestic Cafe, line dancing with Dottie, M&D PLayhouse The Elephamnt Man, Rev Walt Hampton as guest preacher, zumba with Dottie FRI, April 19Community Event: ZUMBA with Dottie8:15am • Whitney Community Center, Jackson$5/ppFITNESS CLASS  with Laurie McAleer 9:30am • Jackson Community ChurchFree to all participants.Gentle, chair-based stretch and fitness for all levels of abilityCommunity Event: LINE DANCING with Dottie9:15ma • Whitney Cmmunity Center, Jackson$5/ppCommunity Resource: LIBRARIES2-5pm • Jackson Library (more info: • TGIF BOOK SHARE:What have you read lately?  Something fantastic?  Something not so fantastic?  Come share with us during our Friday afternoon book share.  All are welcome to come and share what books you are reading, what’s on your TBR (to be read) pile, and what you are looking forward to reading.  This is a great time to learn about new titles, authors, and genres that other JPL readers are reading.C3: COCKTAILS & CHRISTIAN CONVERSATION (resumes May 17) – 5pm by zoom when meetingCommunity Event: COMMUNITY BABY SHOWER4pm • Trails End Ice Cream, Intervale (Scenic Vista)More info: Jackson Public LibvraryCommunity Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWNWildcat Tavern: Al Shafner • 7-9pm – $5 coverRed Parka: Rek’lis • 8-11pmShannon Door: Marty Quirk • 6-9pmLedge Brewing: TThomas Clukey  • 6-8pmCommunity Event: THE ELEPHANT MAN by M&D Playhouse7:30pm • M&D at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse, 2760 White Mountain HighwayTickets and info: Event: MAJESTIC CAFE FRIDAY: Dan Moore Quartet7pm • Majestic Cafe, ConwayWalk-ins are always welcome, but space is limited; reservations are available to guarantee your seat and to indicate a seating choice.The Friday Night jazz series has a $10 per person cover charge.Doors at 6 pm; music  at 7pm.Come in early and grab a panini before the music startsInfo and tickets::,  April 20Community Resource: LIBRARIES10am-2pm • Jackson Library (more info:• Bartlett Public Library (more info: Event: OPEN HOURS @ Jackson Historical Society1-3pm • Jackson Historical SocietyAlso open by appointment.More info: Mountain Art SaleThe Jackson Historical Society is holding its 21st annual White Mountain Art Sale. There are currently over 50 items from private collectors, primarily 19thcentury paintings. To see the online catalog, go to Items are available to purchase as they arrive, so check the catalog frequently to see new additions.The Society is open Saturdays and Sundays 1-3pm.  If you are interested in a painting, the Society can open by appointment. Contact Resource: LIBRARIES10am-2pm • Jackson LibraryContact the library for additional help: 603.383.9731 or by email: staff@jacksonlibrary.org11am-3pm • Bartlett LibraryMore info: Event: DUCKS n DONUTS with Tin Mountain Team8:30am • At Meet at Maine Visitors Center, Rt 302 Fryeburg Meet at Maine Visitors Center, Rt 302 FryeburgThe streams and ponds are opening up and ducks are returning.  We’ll explore the old course of the Saco River and other open water in search of wood ducks, hooded mergansers, common golden eyes, and other early migrants.  Bring binoculars and we’ll bring the donuts!$15/person or $25/household for non-members; $5/member.Reservations required; call 447-6991 or click to register online.Community Event: THE ELEPHANT MAN by M&D Playhouse7:30pm • M&D at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse, 2760 White Mountain HighwayTickets and info: Events: MUSIC AROUND TOWNWildcat Tavern: Jonathan Sarty • 7-9pm – $5 coverRed Parka: Rek’lis • 8-11pmShannon Door: Mitch Alden • 7-10pmLedge Brewing: Radical Edward • 6-8pmSUN, April 21INTERFAITH SERVICE – resumes on Sun, May 198am • Old red libraryJoin us for poetry, prayer, and conversationWe will continue to send out readings for your personal useWORSHIP 10:30am   • Jackson Community Church & Livestream to Facebook & (adding Youtube post-sabbatical) – which also appears on website).Worship through zoom is discontinued, watching livestream is now the way to connect.Music by Maisie BrownMessage by Rev Walt Hampton (being called as fulltime pastor of First Church, North Conway, UCC)HOSPITALITY following church11:30am • Parish HallCommunity Event: OPEN HOURS @ Jackson Historical Society1-3pm • Jackson Historical Society (Also open by appointment.)More info: Mountain Art SaleThe Jackson Historical Society is holding its 21st annual White Mountain Art Sale. There are currently over 50 items from private collectors, primarily 19thcentury paintings. To see the online catalog, go to Items are available to purchase as they arrive, so check the catalog frequently to see new additions.The Society is open Saturdays and Sundays 1-3pm  If you are interested in a painting, the Society can open by appointment. Contact info@jacksonhistory.orgCommunity Event: THE ELEPHANT MAN by M&D Playhouse3:30pm • M&D at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse, 2760 White Mountain HighwayTickets and info: Event: MUSIC AROUND TOWNRed Parka: Blue Sunday with Jim McLAughlin Trio • 5-8pmShannon Door: Jeremy Dean • 6-9pm Themes from story of Mary and Martha: being busy, always on the go vs making space for mindfulness and being present By jacksonnhccPosted on April 14, 2024Posted in Home, Music, Weekly MeditationsTagged Andrea Skevington, Annie Johnson Flint, Audrey Assad, Beatles, being, being present, Beverly Joy, Bob Marley, both/and, busy, Carlene Thissen & Martha Christian, doing, India.Arie, John O'Donohue, Mary and Martha, Michael Franti, Milk Carton Kids, mindful, mindfull, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Plum Village, rudyard kipling, Sabrina Carpenter, The Bottle Rockets, Thich Nhat Hahn, Zindel V. Segal Do you ever feel like there’s just too much to do and that you can’t get it all done?  Do you feel like you don’t have enough time for the things that really count? — Mary StephensHelp me find a way to be a perfect blendof Mary’s heart and Martha’s hands — from song: Mary’s heart and Martha’s handsby Carlene Thissen & Martha ChristianSONGS about BEING:Let It Be by the Beatles (rock): Little Thing’s Gonna Be All Right / Three Little Birds by Bob Marley (raggae): Is Well with my Soul performed by Auudrey Assad (Christain hymn): Music Playlist by Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hahn’s Buddhist community music for children using his writings): Still and Heal Playlist by Plum Village (Thich Nhat Hahn’s Buddhist community music for children using his writings): the Moon Starts to Rise by Milk Carton Kids (childrens/folk): Every Second by Michael Franti (children): Things by India.Arie (pop/indy): Now by Sabrina Carpenter (pop): (Every Time I Turn Around) by The Bottle Rockets (rock): and MARY — Annie Johnson FlintMartha was busy and hurried,Serving the friend divine,Cleansing the cups and platters,Bringing the bread and wine;But Martha was careful and anxiousFretted in thought and in word.She had no time to be sittingWhile she was serving the Lord,For Martha was “cumbered with serving,Martha was “troubled” with “things”—Those that would pass with the using—She was forgetting her wings.Mary was quiet and peaceful,Learning to love and to live.Mary was hearing His precepts,Mary was letting Him give—Give of the riches eternal,Treasures of mind and of heart;Learning the mind of the Master,Choosing the better part.Do we ever labor at servingTill voices grow fretful and shrill,Forgetting how to be loving,Forgetting how to be still?Do we strive for “things” in possession,And toil for the perishing meat,Neglecting the one thing needful—Sitting at Jesus’ feet?Service is good when he asks it,Labor is right in it’s place,But there is one thing better,Looking up in his face;There is so much he can tell us,Truths that are precious and deep;This is the place where he wants us,These are the things we can keep.A BLESSING for PRESENCE — John O’DonohueMay you awaken to the mystery of being hereAnd enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.May you respond to the call of your giftAnd find the courage to follow its path.May the flame of anger free you from falsity.May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and anxiety never linger about you.May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.May you experience each day as a sacred gift, Woven around the heart of wonder.THE BUSYNESS EXCUSE — Beverly JoyMary had finished her daily choresWhen Jesus came knocking on their doorCome in, come in, Martha welcomed themThey often stayed there to eat and rest.Martha decided to cook up a feastFor Jesus and friends at the day’s endMary sat and listened, at Jesus’ feetA rare opportunity, the dishes could wait.Martha was seething in the kitchenAngry at Mary for not helpingNobody noticed how hard she was workingCooking the feast, so perfect and quick.She’d forgotten that her work was for God’s honourNot to receive the honour for herselfThat she was the servant to serve her LordShe lost her true purpose in her work.Jesus would have been happy with takeawayAllowing time for Martha to spend time with HimHe would be gone the next day, travelling far awayBut, she chose the busyness of chores over time with her Lord.She accused Jesus of not noticingBut Jesus has seen the dark kitchen scene“Martha, you’re always so busyYou choose busyness over me.”Is our agenda more important than God’sWhat matters to our Lord is our attitude to workYes, it’s important to do our choresBut it’s more important to love our Lord.We rush about doing this and thatWhile Jesus sits under the tree and waitsFor us to stop and sit with HimTo listen and learn, to chat and relax.MARY, sister of Martha, at your feet for the first time — Andrea SkevingtonYou came in search of restaway from the road,that bright, shadeless road,where so many came,and you gave so much.You came and sat downin the cool room,the shutters pulledagainst the heat,and Mary sat, too,and it was enough.Just sat, quietly, at your feet,her face turned up toyours as she listened.And you saw how the lightfell across her,as if for the first time.And this is what you want,what you long for.Not the elaboratepreparations we would make,not ourselves swept andscrubbed to perfection,our acts and ourthoughts impeccablein lifeless rows,but to be,  here in this light,to be, here at your feet,MARY, sister of Lazarus, at your feet a second time — Andrea SkevingtonShe sits in the shuttered room,the room where her brother had laid,dying, dead, the messengers sent outreturning empty, with no reply,like prayers that bounce  off ceilingsor stick to the roof of the mouth,choking with sorrow.When you stay by the Jordanthat shuttered room is where Mary stays.This is her shadowed valley, the dark forest of her path,foreshadowing yours, it is all foreshadowing you.The room where her brother had laid,how can she ever leave it now?But leave she did, at last, when you called for her,she came quickly, running, trailing darkness behindher weeping.  Mary, once more at your feet,and when you saw her weeping, you wept too.You know us in our grief.  You come to us, call to us.In our darkest, most shuttered places,your spirit moves, breaks with ours.Death lay heavy upon you, too, and all the sooner forthis, what you do now, standing before that tomb.For now, you who are Life,Word made warm and beating flesh,and weeping,call Lazarus out,You, who are life, and will rise,call out one who is dead from the cold tomb.You watch as they run to free him from the graveclothes,pull darkness from him, calling in strange bewildered delight,and you see Mary’s face as she sees now,her brother, who was dead, once more in light,astonished, seeing your glory, part of your glory,as she weeps again, is weeping againbreathless with joy.MARY, of Bethany, at your feet a third time — Andrea SkevingtonAnd so you come once more to Bethany,and share a meal with Lazarus,a resurrection feast,foreshadowing, foreshiningall those kingdom feasts you told of:wedding banquets with long tablesset wide with good things,with room enough for all,welcome at your table.Now, in Bethany, the house is ablaze with light,shutters and doors thrown open,all wide open with joy unspeakable,music, laughter, dancing, wild thanksgivingfor one who was dead is alive again,And all night, while crowds pour in from Jerusalem,the feast goes on, and on,as Mary enters now, cheeks glistening with joy,past her brother at your side, back from the grave.She kneels at your feet again,pours out extravagant nard,scandalous anointing of your warm, living feet,unbinds her hair and lets it flow like waterover them, wiping them in such recklessand tender thanksgiving.Fragrance fills the room, the house, the night,as more people pour from Jerusalem to you,to you, who comes to us in our weeping,who shares our bread with us,and brings us to such joy as this.To LEARN From ANIMAL BEING — John O’Donohue Nearer to the earth’s heart, Deeper within its silence: Animals know this world In a way we never will.We who are ever Distanced and distracted By the parade of bright Windows thought opens: Their seamless presence Is not fractured thus.Stranded between time Gone and time emerging, We manage seldom To be where we are: Whereas they are always Looking out from The here and now.May we learn to return And rest in the beauty Of animal being, Learn to lean low, Leave our locked minds, And with freed senses Feel the earth Breathing with us.May we enter Into lightness of spirit, And slip frequently into The feel of the wild.Let the clear silence Of our animal being Cleanse our hearts Of corrosive words.May we learn to walk Upon the earth With all their confidence And clear-eyed stillness So that our mindsMight be baptized In the name of the wind And the light and the rain.The SONS of MARTHA — Rudyard KiplingThe Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.They say to mountains, ” Be ye removèd” They say to the lesser floods ” Be dry.”Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd – they are not afraid of that which is high.Then do the hill tops shake to the summit – then is the bed of the deep laid bare,That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.They finger death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.They are concerned with matters hidden – under the earthline their altars areThe secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.They do not teach that His Pity allows them to leave their job when they damn-well choose.As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s days may be long in the land.Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;Lo, it is black already with blood some Son of Martha spilled for that !Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd – they know the angels are on their side.They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.They sit at the Feet – they hear the Word – they see how truly the Promise runs.They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and – the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons !ON MARY and MARTHA: A Sermon— Nadia Bolz-Weber (article: to get it out there, this story about Mary and Martha has always irritated me, because I think Martha is awesome, and she’s always made out to be a busy-body and a whiner. See, Jesus is welcomed into the home of Mary and Martha and the thing to understand is that Jesus didn’t exactly travel alone.  Dude had an entourage – so to welcome Jesus is to welcome who Jesus brings in with him.  And to extend hospitality to that many people, takes a lot of work, so Martha becomes understandably overwhelmed by her tasks and tries to get Jesus to talk her sister Mary into helping her, since Mary up until this point has only been sitting at Jesus’ feet listening. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.Now, you guys know I’m not one to lay on the guilt trip – I never really mastered that technique employed by clergy since time in memorial – so when I tell you that at our last leadership meeting we found ourselves once again trying to figure out how to get the monthly jobs covered I am not saying that to shame anyone except myself – because, in the end, I honestly got a little bit snarky and slightly self-righteous (even for me) and said the following of which I am not proud: I said, “It’s like I really want to say to folks that every week they show up here at 5 after 5 SOMEONE has set the chair up that they get to sit in, and SOMEONE has baked the bread for the Eucharist they receive, and SOMEONE has greeted them at the door and handed them a bulletin and when they leave right after the dismissal, SOMEONE will sweep up and wipe down the counter and that maybe it’s their turn to be that SOMEONE for others”Now all of this is well and good, and yes of course we need people who are willing to serve, who are willing to do the sometimes thankless tasks of making hospitality and community work since to welcome Jesus is still to welcome all who Jesus brings in with him…And yes, I spent several days this week distracted by how much work it is to keep this community running and how Martha gets a bad rap, and that all felt really satisfying until Saturday when I went to my 12 step meeting…the one I’ve gone to for 15 years and I arrived 5 minutes late like I so often do. I took my seat on a folding chair and sipped at the light brown coffee in my hand before realizing: oh dang it.  SOMEONE had set up all these chairs and SOMEONE had made the bad coffee and when I leave right after the Lord’s prayer, SOMEONE will clean it all up and in a decade and a half that SOMEONE has never been me. Wa-wa.So try as I might this week, I could not find a comfortable place to land in this story when I was trying to make it into a moralism about the relative merit of doing or not doing tasks. …of action versus contemplation. Because it felt bad to be snarky about people not doing the work and it felt bad to realize in another situation of my life I was the one not doing the work.Honestly there is merit to action and there is merit to contemplation and I really don’t think that was Jesus’ point.When Jesus said to her Martha, you are distracted by many things Mary has chosen the better part it will not be taken away I wonder if he meant not that we are distracted by work itself, but that we are distracted from the better part when we judge the actions or inactions of others through the lens of our own personality.Here’s a small example – when I am sitting in the turn lane waiting for a green arrow…I take it upon myself to consider the people behind me and to leave as short a distance as safely possible between me and the car in front so as many of my fellows as possible can also get through the turn signal. Inevitably, when someone leisurely leaves 4 car lengths between them and the car turning  in front of them allowing only 2 cars to get through a green arrow instead of 6, I assume that they are not a team player, only out for themselves and either just selfish or lazy. Wow. That’s a lot of judgment on the personhood of someone based solely on how quickly they turn on green.But that thing we do where we judge the actions of others based on how we ourselves move through the world – that is a distraction from the MAIN THING.If the reason you help set up chairs is because you value this community and are grateful that others have set up chairs for you, that does not mean that those who don’t set up chairs do so because they don’t value community or because they are ungrateful to others.  And the more we live our lives in these kinds of judgments about the actions of others, the more distracted we are from the better part – from the MAIN THING which will not be taken from us.When we think the main thing is who does what and why, when you think the main thing is whatever you get out of this, or the main thing is that your friends are here, it all is just busyness and distraction and all of it will eventually be taken away. The main thing – the thing that will not be taken away and that we (myself included) so easily forget is our sacred story.   It’s a simple story, really. Even as it is unfathomable in it’s beauty…So here it is again…since I too often forget – there is a God who created us and all that is, this same God spoke through prophets and poets, claimed a people to be God’s own and freed them from the shackles of slavery. This same God led those people through the wilderness to a land of milk and honey, and told them to always welcome the stranger and protect the foreigner so that they could remember where they came from and what God had done for them. Then in the fullness of time, and to draw ALL people to himself, God came and broke our hearts like only a baby could do and made God’s home in the womb of a fierce young woman as though God was saying, from now on this is how I want to be known. And as Jesus God kissed lepers and befriended prostitutes and baffled authority. Jesus ate with all the wrong people and on the night before he died held up bread and told us to do the same thing and he promised us so much: that he would be with us, that forgiveness is real, that we are God’s, that people matter and that grilled fish makes an awesome breakfast.  And from the tree on which Jesus hung he pronounced judgment on us all. “Forgive them Father, they know not what they are doing”.We never do, really, we never seem to know what we are doing and sometimes we think the Bible is going to solve that for us…that a story like Jesus’ visit with Martha and Mary is going to give us a clear moral lesson so we can know what we are doing. And then we think we’ve got it down and then we begin to judge the actions of others and the moment we do this we’ve once again lost the plot.So maybe choosing the better part isn’t about choosing between action and contemplation, maybe it isn’t about working or sitting at Jesus feet, since the Christian life has always been a combination of the two. Maybe choosing the better part is not judging the actions of other through the lens of your own personality. Because when we do so it is just a distraction from the Main thing – and this story around which we gather…this MAIN THING, can never be taken away because it is always forming who you are and like water on rock, it slowly and sometimes imperceptibly shapes us into the glory of God.That’s why we come here.  It’s not to see our friends or to take advantage of free popsicles, it’s to remember our story. And the story of God and God’s people will stand. And unlike so much else in life, It will not be taken away.BEING vs DOING: The Difference Between “Being” and “Doing” — This article was adapted from Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, by Zindel V. Segal, Ph.D., C.Psych., source: our goal-setting mind causes us to fixate on one track, and how we can become more responsive to the richness and complexity that each moment presents.The activities of the mind are related to patterns of brain activity. Different mental activities, such as reading a book, painting a picture, or talking to a loved one, each involve different patterns of interaction between networks of nerve cells in the brain. The networks involved in one activity are often different from those involved in another activity. Networks can also be linked together in different patterns. If we looked into the brain, we would see shifting patterns in the activity of networks and in their connections with each other as the mind moves from one task to another (being vs doing). For a while, one pattern predominates, then a shift occurs, so brain networks that previously interacted in one pattern now do so in a different configuration. Over time, we would see the different activities of the mind reflected in continually shifting and evolving patterns of interaction between brain networks.If we looked long enough, we would see that a limited number of core patterns of brain activity and interaction seem to crop up as recurring features in a wide variety of different mental activities. These core patterns reflect some basic “modes of mind.”We can think of these modes of mind as loosely analogous to the gears of a car. Just as each gear has a particular use (starting, accelerating, cruising, etc.), so each mode of mind has its own particular characteristics and functions. Over the course of a day, as the mind switches from one kind of activity to another, the underlying mode of mind changes—a little like the way that a car, driven through a busy city, there will be a continuous series of changes from one gear to another. And in much the same way a car can only be in one gear at a time, when the mind is in certain modes, it will not be in other modes at the same time.Our continued dwelling on how we are not as we would like to be just makes us feel worse, taking us even further from our desired goal. This, in turn only serves to confirm our view that we are not the kind of person we feel we need to be in order to be happy.The fact that a limited number of fundamental modes of mind underpin a wide variety of mental activities has important implications. It opens a way for us to use aspects of everyday experience to learn new ways to relate to the kind of mind states that lead to rumination. We can think of mindfulness training as a way to learn how to become more aware of your mode of mind (“mental gear”) at any moment, and the skills to disengage from unhelpful modes of mind and to engage more helpful modes. We might describe this as learning to shift mental gears. In practice, this task often comes down to recognizing two main modes in which the mind operates, and learning the skills to move from one to the other. These two modes are known as “doing” and “being.”Being vs Doing: The “Doing” ModeThe ruminative state of mind is actually a variant of a much more general mode of mind that has been called the “doing” mode. The job of this mode of mind is to get things done—to achieve particular goals that the mind has set. These goals could relate to the external world—to make a meal, build a house, or travel to the moon—or to the internal world of self—to feel happy, not make mistakes, never be depressed again, or be a good person. The basic strategy to achieve such goals involves something we call the “discrepancy monitor”: a process that continually monitors and evaluates our current situation against a model or standard—an idea of what is desired, required, expected, or feared. Once this discrepancy monitor is switched on, it will find mismatches between how things are and how we think they should be. That is its job. Registering these mismatches motivates further attempts to reduce these discrepancies. But, crucially, dwelling on how things are not as we want them to be can, naturally enough, create further negative mood. In this way, our attempts to solve a “problem” by endlessly thinking about it can keep us locked into the state of mind from which we are doing our best to escape.How the Discrepancy Monitor Works:First we create an idea of how we want things to be, or how we think they should beNext, we compare that with our idea of how things are right now.If there is a difference between how things are and how we want them to be, then we generate thoughts and actions to try to close the gap.We monitor progress to see whether the gap is increasing or decreasing, and adjust our actions accordingly.We know we have reached our goal when our idea of how things are coincides with our idea of how we want them to be.There is nothing inherently wrong with this doing mode. In fact, quite the reverse: This approach has worked brilliantly as a general strategy for solving problems and achieving goals in the impersonal, external world—whether those goals be as humble as buying all the items on our weekly shopping list or as lofty as building a pyramid. It is natural, then, that we should turn to this same doing mode when things are not as we would like them to be in our personal, internal worlds—our feelings and thoughts, or the kind of person we see ourselves to be. And this is where things can go terribly wrong.But before we go on to describe how, it is important to forestall any possible misunderstanding. We are in no way suggesting that the doing mode necessarily causes problems—it does not. It is only when, doing mode “volunteers for a job it can’t do” that problems arise. In many, many, areas of our lives, doing mode volunteers for a job it can do, and our lives are the better for it. To make the distinction clearer, we call problematic applications of this mode driven–doing, as opposed to the more general doing.In being mode, the mind has “nothing to do, nowhere to go” and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing us to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now.If action can be taken straightaway to reduce a discrepancy, and the action is successful, there is no problem. But what if we cannot find any effective actions, and our attempts to think up possible solutions get nowhere? With an external problem we might simply give up and get on with some other aspect of our lives. But once the self becomes involved, it is much more difficult simply to let go of the goals we have set.For example, if we are upset because a long-standing relationship has just ended, there will be many potential discrepancies between our current reality and how we wish things to be. We may wish for restoration of the relationship, or for the start of another relationship. Most likely, we also wish we were not so upset. There may be solutions we could find. But what if we begin to feel that we are bound to end up alone, concluding that there is, in us, some basic failure, a person that caused the relationship to fail? This conclusion suggests no ready solution, and the discrepancy remains. And yet we cannot let go because we have such a central need not to be this kind of person—what could be more important to us than our own sense of identity?The result of all this is that the mind continues to process information in doing mode, going round and round, dwelling on the discrepancy and rehearsing possible ways to reduce it. And our continued dwelling on how we are not as we would like to be just makes us feel worse, taking us even further from our desired goal. This, in turn only serves to confirm our view that we are not the kind of person we feel we need to be in order to be happy.The mind will continue to focus in this way until the discrepancy is reduced or some more immediately urgent task takes the focus of the mind elsewhere, only to return to the unresolved discrepancy once one has dealt with the other task. When the doing mode is working on internal, self-related goals like this, we can more accurately call it the “driven–doing” mode.If we look closely, we will see the driven–doing mode in action in very many areas of our lives. Whenever there is a sense of “have to,” “must,” “should,” “ought,” or “need to,” we can suspect the presence of doing mode.In doing mode, by contrast, this wonderful multidimensional complexity of experience is boiled down to a narrow, one-dimensional focus: What does this have to say about my progress in reaching my goals?How else might we recognize the driven–doing mode subjectively? Its most common feature is a recurring sense of unsatisfactoriness, reflecting the fact that the mind is focused on processing mismatches between how we need things to be and how they actually are. Driven–doing mode also involves a sense of continuously monitoring and checking up on progress toward reducing the gap between these two states (“How well am I doing?”). Why? Because where no immediate action can be taken to reduce discrepancies, the only thing the mind can do is continue to work on its ideas about how things are and how they should be, in the hope of finding a way to reduce the gap between them. This it will do over and over again.In this situation, because the “currency” with which the mind is working consists of thoughts about current situations, desired situations, explanations for the discrepancies between them, and possible ways to reduce those discrepancies, these thoughts and concepts will be experienced mentally as “real” rather than simply as events in the mind. Equally, the mind will not be fully tuned in to the full actuality of present experience. It will be so preoccupied with analyzing the past or anticipating the future that the present is given a low priority. In this case, we are only aware of the present in a very narrow sense: The only interest in it is to monitor success or failure at meeting goals. The broader sense of the present, in what might be called its “full multidimensional splendor,” is missed.Driven–doing underlies many of our reactions to everyday emotional experiences—we habitually turn to this mode to free ourselves from many kinds of unwanted emotion. It follows that we can use such everyday emotional experiences, and other reflections of the general driven–doing mode of mind, as training opportunities to learn skills that enable us to recognize and disengage from this mode.Let us consider an alternative mode of mind, “being.”Being vs Doing: The “Being” ModeThe full richness of the mode of “being” is not easily conveyed in words—its flavor is best appreciated directly, experientially. In many ways, it is the opposite of the driven–doing mode. The driven-doing mode is goal-oriented, motivated to reduce the gap between how things are and how we think we need them to be; our attention is narrowly focused on these discrepancies between actual and desired states. By contrast, the being mode is not devoted to achieving particular goals. In this mode, there is no need to emphasize discrepancy-based processing or constantly to monitor and evaluate (“How am I doing in meeting my goals?”). Instead, the focus of the being mode is “accepting” and “allowing” what is, without any immediate pressure to change it.“Allowing” arises naturally when there is no goal or standard to be reached, and no need to evaluate experience in order to reduce discrepancies between actual and desired states. This also means that attention is no longer focused narrowly on only those aspects of the present that are directly related to goal achievement; in being mode, the experience of the moment can be processed in its full depth, width, and richness.Doing mode involves thinking about the present, the future, and the past, relating to each through a veil of concepts. Being mode, on the other hand, is characterized by direct, immediate, intimate experience of the present.Doing and Being differ in their time focus. In doing, we often need to work out the likely future consequences of different actions, anticipate what might happen if we reach our goal, or look back to memories of times when we have dealt with similar situations to get ideas for how to proceed now. As a result, in doing mode, the mind often travels forward to the future or back to the past, and the experience is one of not actually being “here” in the present much of the time. By contrast, in being mode, the mind has “nothing to do, nowhere to go” and can focus fully on moment-by-moment experience, allowing us to be fully present and aware of whatever is here, right now. Doing mode involves thinking about the present, the future, and the past, relating to each through a veil of concepts. Being mode, on the other hand, is characterized by direct, immediate, intimate experience of the present.The being mode involves a shift in our relation to thoughts and feelings. In doing mode, conceptual thinking is a core vehicle through which the mind seeks to achieve the goals to which this mode of mind is dedicated. This means, as we have seen, that thoughts are seen as a valid and accurate reflection of reality and are closely linked to action. In doing mode, the relationship to feelings is primarily one of evaluating them as “good things” to hang on to or “bad things” to get rid of. Making feelings into goal-related objects in this way effectively crystallizes the view that they have an independent and enduring reality.By contrast, in being mode, the relation to thoughts and feelings is much the same as that to sounds or other aspects of moment-by-moment experience. Thoughts and feelings are seen as simply passing events in the mind that arise, become objects of awareness, and then pass away. In the being mode, feelings do not so immediately trigger old habits of action in the mind or body directed at hanging on to pleasant feelings or getting rid of unpleasant feelings. There is a greater ability to tolerate uncomfortable emotional states. In the same way, thoughts such as “do this, do that” do not necessarily automatically link to related actions, but we can relate to them simply as events in the mind.“Allowing” arises naturally when there is no goal or standard to be reached, and no need to evaluate experience in order to reduce discrepancies between actual and desired states.In being mode, there is a sense of freedom and freshness as experience unfolds in new ways. We can be responsive to the richness and complexity of the unique patterns that each moment presents. In doing mode, by contrast, this wonderful multidimensional complexity of experience is boiled down to a narrow, one-dimensional focus: What does this have to say about my progress in reaching my goals? Discrepancies between actual and goal states then trigger fairly well-worn, general-purpose habits of mind that may have worked well enough in other situations. But, as we have seen, when, in the driven–doing mode, the goal is to be rid of certain emotional states, these habits can backfire and lead to perpetuation rather than cessation of unwanted mind states.Clearly, doing vs being are fundamentally different modes of mind. Before drawing out the implications of this difference, it is important that we be very clear on one point: Being mode is not a special state in which all activity has to stop. Doing or being are both modes of mind that can accompany any activity or lack of activity. Recall that we gave a particular name to the type of doing mode that causes problems— “driven–doing”—and this point may become clearer.For example, it is possible for one to try to meditate with so much focus on being someone who gets into a deeply relaxed state that if anything interrupts it, one feels angry and frustrated. That would be meditating in a driven–doing mode rather than a being mode because the meditation is “driven” by the need to become a relaxed person. Or take another example: It is your turn to do the dishes and there is no way out of it. No one is going to rescue you from this chore. If you do the dishes with the aim of finishing them as quickly as possible to get on to the next activity and are then interrupted, there will be frustration, since your goal has been thwarted. But if you accept that the dishes have to be done and approach the activity in being mode, then the activity exists for its own sake in its own time. An interruption is simply treated as something that presents a choice about what to do at that moment rather than as a source of frustration.A Mindfulness Practice to Shift out of “Doing” ModeTry this guided mindfulness practice called “‘Two Ways of Knowing” to take a moment and examine how it feels to disengage from a busy mind and shift into “being” mode:Begin this practice by settling yourself in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. If it feels okay close the eyes.Part One: Connect with Your ThoughtsIn this first part of the practice you’re invited to take a few minutes to think about your feet without looking at them.What thoughts come to mind when you think about your feet? Perhaps there are judgments about your feet. How much you like them? How much you dislike them?Perhaps there are thoughts about how you’d like them to be different. Maybe thoughts come to mind about the places your feet have taken you. Perhaps thoughts about problems they may have caused you.What thoughts come to mind for you?There’s no need to control your thoughts in anyway. Just let the thinking unfold naturally. Taking your time. Taking a few minutes now simply to let thoughts arise.Part Two: Shift into Being vs DoingAnd now, for the second part of this practice, the invitation is to gently bring your attention down the legs into the feet, sensing your feet directly without looking at them.Allowing your awareness to sink into your feet and fill them from the inside to the outside, from the bones, right out to the surface of the skin, perhaps sensing the many small bones within the feet, maybe feeling the sensations of touch on the skin, the sensations in the soles of the feet, the sense of touch and pressure where the feet make contact with the floor. Perhaps exploring with your awareness the boundary between the feet on the floor.And now, if you will, clenching your toes, drawing them in as close as you can, being aware of the sensations in the toes, the soles, and the body of each foot. Directly sensing the pressure in the toes, feeling the tightness in the muscles, the coming and going of sensations throughout the feet, ankles, and legs.And now, just relaxing the toes, keeping the awareness in your feet and noticing any changes in the sensations in the feet and toes as they relax.Before changing your position, taking a few moments to get a sense of the body as a whole. Livestream for Sunday, April 14 By jacksonnhccPosted on April 14, 2024Posted in Home, Worship Posts navigation Older posts Donate to Jackson Community Church LIVE STREAMING LINKSfacebook liveContact church by email for links, passwords, and info: INFO8am INTERFAITH GATHERING • Old Red Library  (or outdoors when weather permists0 • In-person & zoom. Link and Password required. Contact church for passwrd (prior to Sunday): jcch10:30am WORSHIP. In-person & livestream to FacebookRecorded videos: channel | channelCONTACT INFOJackson Community ChurchPO Box 381 | 127 Main StJackson, NH 03846jcchurch@jacksoncommunitychurch.orgphone: 978.273,0308 (pastor’s phone) Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons Jackson Community Church 2 days ago Today at 4pm in Intervale: Trails End Ice Cream! ... See MoreSee Less+1 View on Facebook · Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linked In Share by Email View Comments likes love 2 Shares: 0 Comments: 0 Jackson Community Church 2 days ago Volunteer Opportunity!Our community playground build is right around the corner! We are looking forward to our community coming together to work on this project! Please share. You can sign up using the link or the QR code. If you have any questions please feel free to call the school. We look forward to seeing you there! ... See MoreSee Less View on Facebook · Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linked In Share by Email View Comments likes 1 Shares: 0 Comments: 0 Jackson Community Church 2 days ago Wonderful reflection on what makes us human. And a reflection of holy love, when we are at our best.Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said."We are at our best when we serve others. Be civilized. ... See MoreSee Less View on Facebook · Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linked In Share by Email View Comments likes love 3 Shares: 0 Comments: 0 Load more Stay in Touch – Sign Up to Hear from Us! First Name Last Name Jackson Community Church Weekly Emails Email address: Leave this field empty if you're human: Copyright © 2020 Jackson Community Church • 127 Main Street • PO Box 381 • Jackson, NH 03846-0381 • Phone: 603-383-6187 • Scroll to top"

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