Great Conversation

posted Apr 8, 2022, 7:14 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,


Blessings to you in this season of Lent!


Recently Ms. Judy gifted me with a book called Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World by John O’Donohue in conversation with John Quinn. And oh my goodness, what wondrous pearls of wisdom are indeed contained within! Here are a few examples.


On Landscape: One of the lovely ways to pray is to take your body out into the landscape and to be still in it. Your body is made out of clay, so your body is actually a miniature landscape that has got up from under the earth and is now walking on a normal landscape. If you go out for several hours into a place that is wild, your mind begins to slow down, down, down. What is happening is the clay of your body is retrieving its own sense of sisterhood with the great clay of the landscape.


On the Animal World: Part of the wonder of the human mind is when you look toward animals with respect and reverence, you begin to feel the otherness of the world that they actually carry.


On Memory: Yet, there is a place where our vanished days secretly gather. Memory, as a kingdom, is full of the ruins of presence . . . So memory is the place where absence is transfigured and where our time in the world is secretly held for us.


But there was one simple statement, or rather question that O’Donohue was fond of asking people that gave me pause and had me lingering over the power of it — When was your last great conversation with someone? Stop now and think about it. What made it great? What possibilities opened up for the two of you? Perhaps it was great because there was the presence of the holy connecting you, or you felt yourself seen and heard and known — finally. Or maybe it was great because there was joy and laughter — again, finally. As Quinn remarks in the book, such conversations can be a portal for the sacred, “For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them” (Matthew 18.20).


Come let us gather in the name of Jesus this Palm Sunday at 10:30 AM in person or on Facebook live. Juliet Gallagher will be presenting a special skit for our Prelude called “Bernadette Clenchfist” and singing our Offertory “The Palms.” The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will sing “Ride On, King Jesus” and our wonderful children will bless us with their voices singing “Sing Hosanna." I am preaching from Psalm 118.1-2, 19-29 and Luke 19.28-40 and my sermon title is Even the Stones Cry Out. As it is the Second Sunday, we will receive our Deacons’ Offering to help those in need in our community. And yes, our delicious and “almost famous” brunch is back! After worship, come to the Education Building and break bread and have great conversation with your church family. Lastly, please make sure to stop by our Lenten table to take in the Meditation and Practices for the Week as we seek God’s beauty through Van Gogh’s artwork, “The Starry Night.”


Beloved one of God, for the upcoming Holy Week I pray great conversations for you; I pray sacred conversations for you, as we follow Jesus into Jerusalem, walk the way of the cross, and step out into the light of resurrection.


In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

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