Dear members and friends
Last Sunday the Scriptures were about the disciples who confined themselves in an upper room, frightened and fearful after what happened to Jesus. It was the same upper room where they shared the last supper with Jesus. It was as if they wanted to go back and hold onto the image and presence of the One who changed their lives forever.
There's somewhat of a parallel with our situation today dealing with the Pandemic of Covid19. Many of us feel confined, our lives have been altered by fear of the invisible virus.
Many of us would like to go back to the way things were, but that's not really possible. We have to move forward, creatively, compassionately and with vision for a new world.
I see signs that this crisis is bringing people together, not physically, but spiritually, in that we recognize our common humanity and vulnerability, and despite our differences reach out to be helpful and comforting to those in need.
So many statistics cross our TV screens each day, we become mesmerized by numbers. But behind each number lies the life story of a human being, embedded in a web of relationships interlaced with love and struggle, with hopes and fears. We are the same.
I believe our “confinement” time can be a time of incubation to bring about new possibilities and new ways of being in the world with one another, a birth of awareness and planetary consciousness that God needs us all to come together to bring about the “birth of the daughters and sons of God” and of all creation.
Crises almost always precede transformation
Problems are “evolutionary Drivers”
Nature takes jumps through greater synergy and cooperation within and
among species (Barbara Marx Hubbard)
I love the way our community understands this, and rallies their hearts and spirits to help and support folks in need wherever they may be. Together with others we become “Universal humans” because we are connected through the heart to the whole of life. We are awakening from within with a desire to find greater life purpose, and are lit up with a mysterious sense of the future. This newness is moving toward Cosmic consciousness (Christ Consciousness), and an ever-deepening spirituality of oneness. (Barbara Marx Hubbard)
Love, Rich Fournier
Journey To Easter 04/09/2020
It's been kind of hard for me, and I imagine for many of you, to observe our Holy Week services without our physical presence in the church and to one another. And yet I do appreciate the measure and quality of presence we've been able to accomplish through the “Virtual” services, and am very grateful to all those who make it happen, and all those who take the time and effort to virtually be with us.
And now we head toward Easter - the Resurrection, the new life in Christ that arose out of deadly circumstances. And, my sisters and brothers, I trust that we too will arise out of the truncated versions and limitations of our lives that Covid 19 has imposed upon us. And it will be glorious when our invisible lines of connection, through love and prayer will become much more visible and real, and we will appreciate one another in a new and renewed way. I look forward to that time even as I look forward to Easter Sunday service. We will make the flowering of the cross vividly in our hearts, and when the time comes, we will make it more beautifully than ever in our Church.
Join us for Easter Worship on Sunday 4/12 at 10:30 a.m. Sunday's calendar has details, click here.
Blessings and Love,
April 3, 2020
Dear members and friends of MLC,
We are excited to be following up on last Sunday’s virtual worship service. It was so uplifting to “see” and hear so many of you, it's been a while.
This Sunday, April 5th is Palm Sunday.
The service will be at the same time 10:30 a.m.
You can download or view our Order of Worship PDF document to follow along with us. Click here.
Use the same meeting number and Zoom conferencing link as last week. For details, click here
Looking forward to being with you all again.
Dear members and friends of Mary Lyon Church,
What a surprisingly wonderful time we had on Sunday, March 29th, gathering together via Zoom conferencing through our computers and telephones. Over 30 members and friends of Mary Lyon Church participated from all over the county and all over the country - Florida, Arizona, California, Cape Cod, etc.
For me it felt so good to see faces and hear voices that I've really missed. I'm grateful for Annie's initiative and suggestions. I'm grateful for all the wonderful folks we have on various committees who helped spread the word, and thankful for the website folks for keeping everything moving and keeping folks informed, and thanks to Luahn for her encouragement and keeping my spirits up as I entered the brave new world of online tech existence.
We got a lot of positive feedback and constructive comments to help make our next one even better. We welcome everyone's ideas as we head toward Palm Sunday (next Sunday April 5th), Holy Week and Easter. We will find our way to worship, although not physically together.
The biggest takeaway for me was the love and spirit that was palpably present and circulating among us, reminding us who we are and what we are to and for one another. Thank you all for that blessing.
Please keep safe and healthy. I know that you are all precious in God's sight, and I want you to know that you are all precious in my heart.
Be filled with the fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, faith, etc. God be with you ‘til we meet again......
Your Pastor, Rich Fournier
The Pastor's message for Sunday morning
It’s another week without meeting. I miss you all and the spirit of our gathered community.
This Sunday's gospel reading would be John 9:1-41. While I won't be physically with you to preach about it, we can still read a part of it together.
I will make comments on the verses for you to ponder and think about. Hopefully you'll get your own insights into it and understandings from it.
If you find it helpful, we could do a “Part 2” during the middle of next week to finish the chapter. Hope you have a Bible handy!
Lent is flying by...this Sunday is the fifth one in Lent...in two weeks it'll be Palm Sunday, then Holy Week, and then Easter.
John 9: Part One
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth...verse 1
This is not a random sighting of a man who is physically blind. In this one man, Jesus sees the essential human condition he was sent to alleviate. The fact that the man is ”blind from birth” symbolizes that this blindness comes with the territory of the human. It is a “not seeing” that afflicts all, a characteristic of creation. Of course not all people are born physically blind. So this one person's physical blindness is a symbol of a universal opaqueness.
At the beginning of the story the man will be quickly cured of his physical blindness. This cure will be a “sign,” a manifestation on the physical level of the spiritual need to move from darkness to light. The rest of the story will be a contrast between the formerly blind man and the Pharisees.
The formerly blind man will gradually learn to follow the sign of his own physical healing into spiritual sight. The Pharisees will not allow the sign to lead them. They will do all in their power to discredit the sign. As the man who was formerly blind becomes illumined, the Pharisees become benighted.
(read verses 2-5)
The disciples assume this man's physical blindness is the result of sin. What they would like to nitpick is: whose sin?
Jesus refuses this question and the theological quibbling it creates. He will not answer it as posed. This may be because he does not hold the underlying assumption that the result of sin is physical impairment. The idea of God visiting suffering on people for their transgressions or the transgressions of their ancestors (see Exodus 20:5) is not how Jesus thinks. However, Jesus is also pointing the disciples to the larger symbolic level.
The point is not to argue how this condition of blindness came to be. Rather the blindness is the occasion for the works of God to become manifest. Since the first day of creation to the present, the work of God is to bring light out of darkness. Jesus and his disciples have been sent to do just that--”The works that God has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf -That the God has sent me (see John5:36 and John14:12, for similar ideas). They have only so much time to accomplish this. Since this is Jesus' essence, “I am the light of the world' (John 8:12), he must be about “bringing light to the world.” He has no choice. There is an urgency and eagerness for him to do this...so much so that....
(read verses 6-8)
In the beginning (Genesis 2:4-7) God made “clay of the ground” (v.7), breathed into it, and the human person became a living soul. Now, Jesus spits, a symbolic gesture that conveys the bestowal of his inner reality, makes clay, and anoints the man's eyes. Jesus is not making a second human; he is not starting from scratch because the first effort was defective. Rather he is completing creation. Creation is a work in progress, and Jesus is activating the latent but underdeveloped spiritual sight of the human person. This is why one of the titles for Jesus in the early church was “eye salve.”
The man born blind is sent to a pool called “Sent.” The word resonates. Jesus had just done the work he was sent to do and that he will send his disciples to do...to complete creation by opening spiritual eyes to see and respond to the Divine Source. However, after the man has washed in the pool called “Sent,” the man himself becomes “Sent.” He becomes a witness not only to what happened to him on the physical level, but also he eventually witnesses to the spiritual truth that was manifested in his physical healing—a truth about the one who opened his eyes.
If you have any questions or insights to share, please feel free to contact me by email email@example.com or by phone 413-634-5451. I am deeply indebted to John Shea's insights on this material.
Love and blessings,
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