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Take Me to the Water

posted Oct 25, 2019, 12:05 PM by Tricia Sheffield


Greetings of grace and peace to you!


I’m back from my vacation in Vermont, and truly, it was a wonderful time. I was able to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate my body and soul.


One of the reasons I love Vermont is for all of the various aspects of water that one can find there. Certainly, the mountains and valleys are majestic, but oh, the water. Almost everywhere you go, there are babbling brooks, creeks, rivers, lakes, and yes, waterfalls, sometimes even spilling out right on the side of the road! I make it my mission to visit as many waterfalls as I can when I’m in Vermont. This time I saw one in Warren, next to the Warren Store. Later that day, I traveled down the road to Moss Glen Falls. The next day was Quechee Gorge, and last was Thundering Brook Falls. What attracts me to the falls is their thundering sound and power as they go over rocks and boulders, carving out new spaces to flow, and their intensely swirling motion. It gives me a feeling of being both awestruck and at peace. After watching them for a while, I like to walk downstream from the falls and follow the course of the water, where it usually ends up in a gentle, babbling brook. As I trace the changing water’s path, there is something holy here for me, and I’m reminded of the waters of my baptism. Admittedly, that water was not nearly as roaring as a waterfall or even a rushing stream, but the water in the font was just as powerful. 


When I was baptized at sixteen, I was immersed in a baptismal pool, probably a much different experience than most of us. Although I’m no longer in the denomination of my youth, my current understanding of that moment — when I was signed and sealed into the covenant of love with God, when I belonged, body and soul — is for me just as potent as the mighty nature of the falls. My baptism assures me that I am forever God’s child and there is nothing in this world that can ever change that truth (Romans 8.38-39).


This Sunday, Reformation Sunday, we will have the joy-filled opportunity to celebrate another truth — that it is by grace we are saved through faith, as we renew the covenantal vows of our baptism. After the sermon, all will be invited to the font as we remember our baptism, the moment when we were signed and sealed in the covenant, forever claimed as God’s child. And, as we stir the water and place it on our heads, may we listen for what we most need to hear from God right now. The Joyful Noise Adult Choir will bless our souls with the anthem “On Faith Alone.” I will be preaching from Joel 2.23-29 and Luke 18.9-14 and my sermon title is Guilt-Grace-Gratitude. In addition, we will have some very special guests worshiping with us, the children of Rev. William Coventry, faithful servant and pastor of MRC for twenty-five years. Our coffee hour will be in Coventry House as a way to welcome them “home.”


I look forward to being back with you in God’s house this Sunday as we pray with grateful hearts, Come now, God, and send your Spirit among us, trouble for us this water of memory and imagination. Send your Spirit to enliven our praise, to strengthen our hands, to guide us in work and play, in service and love, to assure us once more and again of your love.


In gratitude for the joy of being your Pastor and the holy call of loving you,


Pastor Trish

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