Simple Gifts

posted Apr 29, 2022, 6:44 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Blessings to you in this season of Eastertide!

Let’s see. We’ve seen birds, squirrels, a rat, a groundhog, a fox, raccoons, and some deer. Just another evening in the backyard of Coventry House.

So said Jamie to me one early evening this past week, and indeed, he was correct. Especially during the spring we are witness to all manner of creatures on the church property. It has become rather ordinary. And that’s when it occurred to me. What used to be so new and wondrous had settled into a routine. Before when I lived in NYC my wildlife sightings were limited to a few birds, some squirrels, and the ever-present subway rats. That’s it. Moving out to New Jersey was such a refreshing experience in my encounter with creation, and I relished it, delighting in all of God’s critters.

My mind traveled back to a writing by John O’Donohue, 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. 

I sat with that statement for a while and then thought, How had life gotten so cluttered and distracting that God’s simple gifts of nature became commonplace? When had I lost the reverence I used to feel so strongly for them every day? I’m not sure how or when it happened, but I was thankful for Jamie’s casual observation that brought me back to a place where I could breathe a “thank you” for God’s simple gifts, and recommit to reverence. 

Beloved, wonder with me. What simple gifts from God have become so ordinary that you are missing an opportunity to see God’s joyful, resurrected presence? What in your life needs your full reverence again? Whatever it is, I hope the Holy Spirit will give you a nudge, as she did to me, so that you will pay attention to what you’ve been missing and feel a renewed delight.

Come let us gather together this Third Sunday of Easter at 10:30 AM in person or on Facebook live. I am preaching from the Gospel of John 21.1-19 and my sermon title is A Holy Fish Fry. We will celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper around God’s table of grace. In addition, Tom Martucci, a  candidate for our Director of Music position will play the anthem, “Draw Me Nearer” and will lead us in our other musical offerings. Please come after worship to coffee hour for a meet-and-greet with Tom.

I will see you on Sunday! May God lead you back to simple gifts.

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

Pastor Trish