Friday, May 15, 2020

The Rhythm of Love

Grace and peace, dear one.

I was asked to provide the devotions for our District Clergy Meeting this past week and I wanted to share those thoughts with you:

First, take a moment to notice the rhythm of your breath or the rhythm of your heart. Look at the picture below and imagine the rhythm of the waves.

Hear the Word of God from Hebrews 13:8:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

And from poet, Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
​I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
We may be tempted, during the stress of staying home and worrying about coronavirus, since life has changed so dramatically, to worry. But Jesus reminds us in Matthew that "the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin." We don't need to spin in our fear and anxiety. We know the risen Christ. We know the One who is as near as our own breath, as steady as our heartbeat, as relentlessly present as the waves of the sea. We can be confident in the presence and persistence of God's love. We can relax in the soothing rhythm of the promise of eternal life.

​I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

God bless you.

Rev. Cheryl L. Meachen

Join us for worship at Wesley UMC - Concord NH

Sundays at 10:30 on YouTube at this link.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thank you to our Concord Hospital Workers

The Concord Hospital Chaplain recently invited Concord clergy to write to staff members providing encouragement for this challenging time of pandemic. Here is what I wrote:

Dear Concord Hospital Staff member,

Please know that your community deeply appreciates your work in our midst during this pandemic.

We acknowledge your sacrifice.

We are grateful for your knowledge and skill.

We pray for your safety and emotional well-being.

Over the years I have raised my son, we have seen a lot of movies. During some of that time I was in seminary on my way to becoming an ordained pastor. I was often deeply engrossed in learning and understanding more about the Divine, but when I was with my son at the movies, I found opportunity to apply all that heady religious stuff to our everyday lives. Often as we drove home or stopped for ice cream along the way, I would ask him, "Who was the Christ-figure in that movie?" We understood that character to be the one who was always concerned with others, more than her or his self. It was the one who would seek peace in the midst of turmoil; the one who was willing to sacrifice for the common good. It was the Lorax, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, Percy Talbott in Spitfire Grill, or any one of a dozen other characters.

Today, in real life, in real time, it is you.Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ Series Original Logline Revealed | What's ...

You are concerned with the welfare of others.

You are the one seeking peace in the midst of turmoil.

You are the one willing to sacrifice for the common good.

Thank you.

God bless you.

Rev. Cheryl L. Meachen, Pastor
Wesley United Methodist Church
Concord NH

Join us Sundays at 10:30 on YouTube to praise God together by clicking this link.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

New Normal

Heirloom Black Krim Tomato Seeds – NDG Botanicals

Grace and peace, dear one.

We don't know what church and society will look like once this COVID-19 pandemic is over but we can be assured that God will be with us. Talking with my friend Rev. Steve Murray from The Rock Church recently, he mentioned that we do the church a disservice if we think that this crisis has simply pressed the pause button on our ministry, from which we can soon press play and continue along as though nothing had happened. Life will be radically different. Ministry will be different and we must adapt to survive. Other articles I've read have talked about the possibilities that exist in the blank slate that we'll have before us.

I invite you to vision with me what sort of church we want to be going forward. What things might have been winding down that we can let go of? What new things have energy and vision around them? What needs exist in our community that we have the gifts to meet?

This doesn't have to be a time of anxiety, worrying about what's next. It can be a time of wonder, curiosity and excitement about what resurrection brings. Paul writes,

1 Corinthians 15:38 MSG You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don't look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.

It can also be a time of strengthening our faith, drawing nearer to God and acknowledging our own belovedness. John writes,

1 John 3:1-3 KJV
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Let's trust in God together, knowing that as Christ has been revealed in resurrection, and continues to be revealed each day to us, that marvelous things are ahead for Wesley. Let's wonder aloud and vision together for a future full of Easter hope!
Growing Tomatoes: From Planting to Harvest | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Rev. Cheryl L. Meachen

Find daily inspiration from Pastor Cheryl at Beloved Connection.

Friday, April 17, 2020

The Blessing of Thomas by Maren Tirabassi

The Blessing of Thomas (...or how to prove that online worship has some resurrection verification)

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (John 20:29b)

Blessed are the ones, says Thomas,
to those who listen to him 
this eastertide, 
who don’t need a sanctuary to worship God.

Blessed are those who don’t need a choir
to hear holy music,
and who don’t need to sit in a pew
to open their hearts in prayer,
and who don’t need a stained glass window,
or a preacher or even bread and cup
to find the good news.

Blessed are those who really touch 
even with gloves on,
who really smile with a mask,
who can be kind on Facetime or Zoom,
who follow a livestream to find Jesus alive.

But also blessed is the Thomas 
in every one of us
who acknowledges our longing 
to hold someone’s real warm hand
not just the story of a hand
that reaches out to someone else,

and who wants to feel 
not Jesus long-ago bleeding side
(we congratulate ourselves about that)
but at least to feel side by side 
with other Christians
in order to be side by side with Christ.

Blessed is the Thomas in all of us
who lives with doubts and hopes,

and learns to let go of all expectations
when waiting to meet God.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Back to Normal

Judy King shares today's message:

I received this from a true.

For days I have heard people saying

“I just can’t wait for things to be back to normal.” I remember even saying that a few times myself. But as I’ve thought about our current situation I have realized how much I don’t want things to go back to the way they were. 

Here are a few of my thoughts.....

1. I pray that the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug, I actually take the time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.

2. I pray that when school resumes and people are dropping kids off, they take the time to thank the staff for the amazing gift that they give to our community.

3. I pray that the next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant I take the time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and thank God for the gift of community.

4. I pray that the next time I’m standing in church listening to the voices of praise and worship that I take a moment to thank God for the gift of fellowship.

5. I pray that the next time I see a person or situation that needs prayer, I hope I pray as passionately and fervently as I have these past few weeks.

6. I pray that when I am at the grocery store that I take a moment to thank God that He provides us with the necessities of life and the amazing people who work so hard to keep us supplied.

7. I pray that I never again take for granted the ability to hop in the car and visit a friend, go to the mall, go to a gathering, etc.

So, truth is, I don’t want things to return to the way they once were. I pray that we take the lessons and challenges of the past few weeks and create a new normal. My goal is to pray more, love harder, and truly appreciate the daily abundance of blessings that were so easily overlooked just a mere few weeks ago.

Join us Sundays at 10:30 on YouTube to praise God together by clicking this link.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday

A Prayer for Maundy Thursday: (Jemma Allen is a priest of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia)

“God,  There is no altar to strip, no fair linen to fold: yet so much of what is familiar has been stripped away in these days of shelter in place, of quarantine, of lockdown.

We cannot wash one another’s feet, remembering Christ’s act of humble service:
but we will wash our hands in love for our neighbours, staying at home, breaking the chain of transmission; and we will pray for all those who serve others in health care, in supermarkets, in delivery, in supply chains, those who are fighting on the front lines.

We cannot gather at the Lord’s table, sharing bread and wine to remember: so we will pray for all who have no table at which to eat,
for all who have memories they cannot bear to remember, for all whose capacity to remember is robbed by dementia.

Gracious God, in these days coming as we seek to remember and be transformed pour out your Love upon us, that same Love that raised Christ from the dead. Amen.”

A Holy Week Reflection from a friend

The Rhythm of Love

Grace and peace, dear one. I was asked to provide the devotions for our District Clergy Meeting this past week and I wanted to share those...