Spirit Spark Feb 2014

SPIRIT SPARK
February 2014


A FEW THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR
“Something I Meant to Say –“

Some of may have noticed that there are times I get, um, carried away, when I preach. It’s your fault you know. If you weren’t so attentive and responsive it would be easier to quench the flow of the Spirit I sense on most Sundays. There are times I wanted to share something with you and it goes right out of my head – until we’re on our way back to Middlebury.

Last Sunday ways one of those carried away experiences which was followed by an “Oh rats, I wanted to say that!” moment in the car. I wanted to share something I saw that exemplified a religion that works. As the snow piles up as I write this I have to tell the story.

In our new little neighborhood there are a couple of retired ladies who live on either side of our house. One of them is particularly vulnerable when it comes to emergencies. Keith, our neighbor from up the street, is one of those old-schoolers who think neighbors should help each other. So he makes a regular practice of shoveling out these ladies’ driveways. During that heavy storm on February 5, Keith had to go to his job 35 miles to the north. We thought it was right to give our friend a hand so Kathy and I did a rough shovel job for that vulnerable neighbor. We knew Keith would be down and that he’d probably be tired from work after that awful drive.

Sure enough, around 7:30 I saw Keith’s form emerge from the street lights with a shovel over his shoulder. He perfected the job we did and trudged home. Not only does Keith do the work, he does it with high quality - and brings his kids along to help and discover what life is all about. As I watched Keith disappear shovel over shoulder into the snow and fading street light, it struck me that I had just witnessed a man practice something he believed in. It was the best example of religion that works I’d seen in quite a while; consistent, faithful to neighbors, and selfless.

Well, that’s what I forgot to say. It illustrates the kind of people who would appreciate the promise of Isaiah 58:8. “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator will go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”

May that be true for you good neighbor Keith – and for each of us as well.


LENTEN STUDY SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY EVENINGS
7-8:30 AT SQUIRES’ HOME STARTING MARCH 5

Pastor Steve will lead a study about the life and times of Jesus Phil and Lois’ place on Wednesday evenings during Lent. The book that we will study is Jesus: The Human Face of God by Jay Parini. Parini is a poet and writer from Middlebury College who brings this sensibility to his book. He draws from the best sources from a wide variety of biblical scholarship and describes Jesus with a simplicity that urges us to think. We will be challenged to look at Jesus’ life from a perspective that is guaranteed to stretch us.

Copies of the book are available at the Northshire Bookstore for $20. If that proves burdensome for some, Pastor Steve will try to arrange a rebate. Please let Pastor Steve and Lois know if you plan to attend. If you can come to only some of the meetings, please come when you can. We will focus on a single chapter each week.


BAPTISM CLASS BEGINS ON FEBRUARY 28
3:30-4:30 P.M. AT THE SPIRAL PRESS CAFÉ

Since people have shown an interest, Pastor Steve will meet with people interested in exploring Christian baptism on Friday afternoons starting on February 28 and going through April 4. People from age 10 to grown adults have expressed an interest; so it should be fun and informative. If you’ve never read about the life of Jesus in one of the four gospels this will be your chance to do so. There will also be plenty of time for learning about baptism, communion, why we have a church, and other questions. If you or someone you know would like to join in please contact Pastor Steve.


TRANSITION/SEARCH COMMITTEE TO MEET WITH EXECUTIVE MINISTER

Rev. Dale Edwards, Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire will be coming to meet with our transition/search committee on Wednesday, February 26. The committee will be going over the church profile with Rev. Edwards as they discern the best way to proceed with an active search for a new pastor. Please keep the Transition/Search Committee and Rev. Edwards in your prayers for this important meeting.