Monday, May 3, 2010

Blackberry Winter

Blackberry Blooms!
Actually blackberry winter was last week - this week is going to be like summer! This is a picture of the blackberry bushes in my backyard. My wonderful next door neighbor trimmed all of the dead vines out of them and they are so pleasing to look at now. Last year I both my neighbor and I got loads of blackberries off of the bushes and this year it looks like they will be loaded again. So look for that blackberry jelly again!
On Saturday we rededicated the Roofless Church here in New Harmony on its 50th anniversary. It was a wonderful service - there must have been 150 people there. The Rev. Dr. Philip Newell spoke. Philip and his wife, Allie, are here in New Harmony on sabbatical. Philip was the Warden (like the Dean) of Iona Abbey in Scotland and he has written extensively on Celtic worship. One of the things he said in his talk was that God cannot be contained in buildings, and neither can God be contained by the walls we put up in our hearts. He spoke quite forcibly (I thought) about how imperative it is that we stop separating ourselves from brothers and sisters in different faith traditions. Until we are able to recognize our One-ness in God, peace will never come.
I was reminded of his words as I sat down to write my sermon later in the day. The lessons for the 5th Sunday of Easter were so clearly about this sort of demolition of walls. Christianity, from the beginning, struggled with how to be inclusive. Peter's vision in Acts 11 allowed the first (perhaps) wall to be dismantled. The Jewish Christians didn't want to include the Gentile Christians because it meant letting go of their deeply held traditions. But God shows Peter in a vision that what God has made is clean. So the gospel goes forth to the Gentiles. The commandment to love one another just as Jesus has loved us (John 13) is of course the hardest. I want to exclude those who are different from me (for any reason) because it requires really hard work, inside my self, to overcome my fears and prejudices. Father Zossima, in The Brothers Karamazov says, "Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams." Peter was able to enter into this hard work because he did not want to hinder God's work. What about me? Will I be able to put aside my prejudices and do the hard work of love?

Making Progress

We are now "under roof" and moving along. We are all beginning to get a sense of what the new Parish House will look like and how radically different it will be from the old one. There is so much space in the new building and we are getting excited. More pictures perhaps even tomorrow if they put the round windows in at the top of the hall!!


Bretta said...

Would that we all could show to others even a small portion of the GRACE He has poured out on us! It all boils down to the Cross and that wonderful love...

Exciting to see your parish house go up. What will it be used for?

Love you!

Ron Nesler said...

Aloha, Mother Martha! I always felt that you 2were too good to be here among us.

Ron Nesler

Ron Nesler said...

Aloha, Mother Martha! I always felt that you were too good to be here among us.