May all who enter find peace.
The sun is warm to the skin. It shines over the peaceful property, on this Wednesday in October. A warm breeze rustles through the leaves and they display colors that no camera can really replicate. There is a peacefulness that is the very counterbalance to the excited, faithful gathering that will occur on a Sunday morning ahead. Oh, what a blessing it is to return home.
Returning from Arizona after two weeks of Study and retreat, I am filled with gratitude. One of the many terrific things about the Episcopal church is the ability to travel around the country and yet always feel like home. Our prayers, our way of being, can be so different and yet so common. During my time away I experienced and met people from all over the country. Our leaders were experienced in many different aspects of the church. A gratitude list is too long. What undergirds it all are the blessings of God that surround us. Gods love is more expansive and vast than we can ever imagine. Without a doubt, my faith and experience of the living God has yet again been deepened along with the knowledge that I need to trust that loving God more.
May all who enter here find peace.
On this Wednesday morning as I returned to St. John's, after checking out the office and the buildings. Checking the messages and the computer, I go over to the church. The big red doors stick a bit, and with a good push open wide. The sun streams through the stain glass windows and a "peace which passes all understanding" welcomes me.
It is so instinctive to pause, to take a deep breath and thank God for safe travels, and blessed return. I wander through the chapel and out to the Labyrinth. How many of us walk this in solitude? I hope you do. If you haven't, try it. The ancient form of prayer is ours for the walking.
The view from the entrance is the cross and altar. The combination of stone and nature, each come together for a sacred space. I stand at the entrance, read the inscription, "May all who enter here find peace", and breathe. How can we muster up the ability to be present, to be really in the moment? Maybe we just need to show up. I begin the walk.
Fall is a time of beauty and reflection. It is a time when the color of our landscape here in New England is some of God's most beautiful work. But we must also remember that it is a time of dying, of putting away, of letting go.
St. John's has had a wonderful season of spring and summer. We have welcomed many of our parishioners that winter in other places. We have greeted new people that have brought joy, laughter, and so much grace to our lives. We made the hard decision to not have the Calico Fair and instead to have something monthly that would generate community and support our church. Without a doubt, this decision has been a huge success. Not only are we just about to reach and possibly surpass our needed financial goal, but a renewed sense of community has been generated. We had to let something die, we had to let go. And as a resurrection people, we know that from that comes new life. Halleluiah!!!!
This is the time of year at St. John's that we gather together and give thanks for all that has opened up for us. We also begin to pray about where God may be leading us next. In the next month, you will be asked to reflect oh why St. John's is important to you. Where and how do you experience God in this faith community? What are ways God is calling us all to be the Gospel here in Wakefield?
We are a wonderful group of people from many different walks of life, different stories and different views. But we are a people that gather together over the course of a year, that worship a loving and oh so generous God. We gather in love, laughter, and pain, as life unfolds as it always has and always will. We gather to give thanks, pray for help, and take in the life and love of Jesus. We do this so that we can go forth into the world and be the instruments God most needs us to be.
As I finish the Labyrinth walk, I turn to face the center. I give thanks for safe travel, a rich and life-giving trip, and a blessed return. I give thanks for the people and place of St. John's. I give thanks for the overwhelming abundance and love of God. It is so good to be home.
May all who enter here find peace.
Rev. Sue Poulin