Archive for June 2009

Pentecost

 

 

May 31, 2009, Pentecost Sunday B

                                              Acts 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:3b-7, 12-13, John 20:19-23

Deacon Gregory Burch

 

Let me tell you of locks and treasures.

 

When my children were little we organized an elaborate birthday party with a pirate theme. In preparation, my wife and I filled an old iron-strapped chest with foreign coins, which we had purchased cheaply by the pound. Then we locked the chest in chains and secretly buried it in our back-yard. I created an intricate treasure map rife with cryptic runes, measured footsteps, and natural markers as clues. The parchment was all duly aged with intentional coffee stains and burn holes.

 

The little crew gathered in full pirate regalia. We set off with the map on our treasure quest. Soon our everyday, familiar, mundane back-yard began to transform in front of our eyes. What had been but a tree became an important cipher in our puzzle, a swing on a rope revealed the measurement of a circle’s arc, a bush declared its relationship to a wall and the sun, once again, gave clue to our orientation in space. The common became infused with energy, the mundane manifested mystery, the landscape showed unity, and a potential not perceived by us before.

 

When the little tykes uncovered the chest the excitement was feverish. They took command, and, hauling chains, barley lifted the load from the grip of the earth. The lock was hammered off, and when the lid was thrown open those coins dazzled in the sun and reflected the wonder in their eyes.

 

I noticed the broken lock being trampled by little dancing feet. I wondered, what good would that treasure have served if the lock held?  The lock, which was meant to keep intruders out also kept the treasure confined, where it was useless. Even if the box of cheap coins had been of gold or diamonds they could not sparkle in the darkness of a sealed chest.

 

 

 

 

We heard today in Scripture of another lock and a different treasure. The Disciples of Jesus had bolted, chained and locked them selves into a room for fear of the outside. What would have happened if that lock had held, the treasures in that room could not

have been spent. The gospel would not have been preached to the world. The word was gagged, muffled, mute in that stale room, until Jesus dissolved the locked door, and brought gifts from the treasury of his spirit.

 

The first treasure of the resurrection was an antidote to fear. The first treasure of the resurrection was a reminder of God’s irrevocable love for us. The first treasure of the resurrection was conveyed in Christ’s words, “Peace be with you.”  Who can fear when we are so loved by God?

 

Christ has done so much to spend his own treasury of love on us. He purchased our salvation and then he sent to us a key to unlock unbounded riches. The key is the restorative breath of life that sets all things right. The key is the Holy Spirit, who is the spark that ignites the inner fires that illumine the holiness of life.

 

Scripture tells us that our treasures are varied. In truth we have only one treasure and that is God. The treasures that the Holy Spirit unlocks and reveals is our singular ability to perceive, to appreciate, to bathe ourselves in God and His creation.

 

When we allow the Holy Spirit to open the treasures locked within, we open the lid and peer in at the abundant wealth of God’s graces.

 

The Holy Spirit is the key to unlock:

The treasure of our eyes, to know God’s presence in glistening particles of colored light filtered through the stained glass around us. To see God’s hand in the beauty of all creation. Eyes to issue tears of joy or sadness as we bring the cares of our lives to His table.

 

 

 

 

The Holy Spirit is the key to unlock:

The treasure of our ears, so we may be uplifted by songs of praise, brought closer to him by a baby’s sigh, and rejoice in the fellowship of laughter. Ears to receive the Word of God and to listen for the needs of those around us.

 

The Holy Spirit is the key to unlock:

 The Treasure of our lips, to offer the comfort of a kiss, to proclaim our faith and praise the glory of God. Lips to receive the Eucharist and taste eternity.

 

What good is a locked treasure?

 

Every day, barred doors dissolve and frightened hearts are calmed when Christ prevails and the key of the Holy Spirit opens hearts to reveal the treasures of the soul.

 

Be not afraid, spend yourself to the glory of God.

Martha’s Vinyard

We took a quick overnight trip to Martha’s Vinyard to visit some of our favorite beaches. Catching the early ferry we took in the salt air. We noticed an enigmatic (glow-in-the-dark) symbol  displayed  throughout the ferry 6-inches off of the floor. I got down on my belly to get an image. None of the crew could explain what it means! Thank goodness we did not need to follow the directions implied to save our lives.
We headed straight for Chapaquidick for a long walk on the beach. We discovered a hapless harbor seal tangled up in a net and chain. He scooted back into the surf when we came by and bobbed up and down 30 feet out. We got in touch with the New England Aquarium Mammal Rescue Squad with our report. Farther down the beach, near where the last great hurrican cut through the sandbar, we found a dead whale being fed upon by seagulls. 
We spent the night in a 19th century Victorian Cottage in Oak Bluffs then set off for the colored clay cliffs of Aquinnah. On the way we stopped in the Wampanoag Tribal Headquarters to visit with our friend, Nefetiti.
Ate a great lobster roll before catchiong the ferry back to the mainland at Woods Hole.

 Martha's VinyardEnigmatic Symbol

Memorial Day

This is the Benediction delivered by your Innkeeper at the Memorial Day Observances and parade.

Memorial Day       May 25, 2009      

Deacon Gregory Burch

 

Let us pause in the soft silence of our own inner-peace where we embrace what we know to be Holy…

 

Eternal God, creator of days and centuries,

For you time is the unfolding of truth that already is,

The unveiling of beauty that is yet to be.

 

We gather in the springtime of the year,

among the gift of your abundant fragrant blooms:

colorful flowers that are, for us, a symbol of sacrifice

and a reminder of hope and renewal.

 

We recall swaying fields of black-eyed poppies,

each a marker for one of our own who died in sacrifice far from home.

 

And we remember so many other fields too, Lord,

 that evermore hug our loved-ones,

rather than be wrapped in the arms of those who needed them most.

 

Fields of sand under the red-blossomed sun, Fields of rice rattling like silver sabers,

Fields of snow with a crystal bloom, Fields jungle green and oceans blue,

Fields too far from the pastures of home

 

We honor all who have paid the price of our freedom with their god-given lives.

We pray today for their eternal rest.

 

And for all who pay dividends in tears on this ultimate price of lives lost,

We pray for their peace of heart.

 

Merciful God, we turn to you in hope,

Look kindly on all those who plow the field of war this day,

Keep them from danger

And return them safe to us.

 

We pray that one day it will not be our brothers and sisters who will be among the numbered heroes,

But that we will need to look back to our grandparent and their parent’s parents to find

a grave upon which to adorn with shorn flowers.

 

Those we mourn and honor today fought and died to bring us peace.

Let us resolve that their gift to us, once gained, will be cherished and held on to for all time.

 

In your Holy Name, this we pray.             Amen.

Spring Arrives

Spring came opn us with a storm of color. We established two new cutting-beds last year. Marilyn has been busy harvesting the aromantic bounty and filling vases in each of the guestrooms with fresh flowers.

Patriot’s Day Celebration, April 19th

 Patriot’s Day in Concord is a festive affair. It was here, at the Old North Bridge, that Colonials were first ordered by their Officers to fire upon British Regulars. In this town, on the morning of April 19, 1775, the first British soldier fell to Colonial Arms: and thus was fired “The Shot Heard “Round the World”. Concord celebrates with battle re-enactments, a Patriot’s Ball, Parade, cannon fire and lots of black powder musket retorts.  Concord also has the nations oldest Horse-Drawn Independent Cannon Battery. This year Gregory had the honor of being asked to give the Invocation and Benediction at the Merriam’s Corner Exercise.

The oldest Battle Banner in America, the Bedford Flag.

Maple Syrup Time

This was a terrific year for the maple sap flow. March is our month to collect and boil the sap into the sweet nectar of Maple Syrup. It is a lot of work! Over 40 gallons of sap is needed for 1 gallon of syrup. We only tapped a few trees this year, but it was enough to yield 3 gallons of Grade AAA. Over the winter the life-giving sap is drawn out of the tree branches and held in the root system. In the late winter, when the days warm and the nights are cold, the sap flows out of the roots to nourish the leaf buds during the day and flows back to the roots at night. This is the flow that is collected. We use 5 gallon water bottles to collect and boil it all day on our big commercial gas stove. The house fills with rich-smelling steam. In the end we take the syrup and can it in mason jars. Yum.

In Memoriam

Many of you remember our shy, but HUGE, 24 pound cat, Cloud Nine. He loved a good scratching by the fire, but wasn’t very wise to the ways of the woods. Poor Cloud Nine went out one night to look for Hector Cat. Unfortunately, a Fisher found Cloudy instead. A Fisher (sometimes called a Fisher Cat or a Pekan) is one of the largest members of the mink and weasel family growing up to 15 pounds and 49 inches long. They have razor sharp teeth and claws and often hunt animals much larger than themselves. We will miss Cloudy and cherish our memories of him.

Christmas Open House

The last 6 months have sped by, highlighted by many fun events. We participated in the Chamber of Commerce Holiday Open House. The inn was decked out in the finest of Christmas decorations with two trees, a half dozen creche sets and many seasonal decorations. In the Historic Districts of Concord all exterior holiday lighting is restricted to white bulbs. With the lovely snow cover this beautiful continuity of sparkling celebration highlights the icicles and intensifies the abundant stars.