The Maple Tree

posted Nov 12, 2021, 7:57 AM by Tricia Sheffield   [ updated Nov 12, 2021, 8:03 AM ]

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Blessings of Pentecost joy be with you!

I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see a glorious display of red, orange, and yellow around the church property. It’s almost as if the trees got together last night and decided they’d pop their colors all at the same time. As the storm continues to roll into our area, I’ve been watching the confetti of leaves swirling through the air, hoping the wind wouldn’t shake too many leaves off the limbs. I will admit I’m selfish. I want the color to stay.

One particular tree caught my attention — the maple on the side of Coventry House. It has long lived in the shadow of the black walnut tree, but since we have taken it down, the maple has begun to flourish. For the first time since I’ve moved here, the maple’s leaves have turned a gorgeous golden color. As I was looking at it, I thought back to a time in the fall when I lived in Riverdale, NY. When I was walking to work one day back then, I noticed that the leaves underneath my feet appeared to me like a sea of golden stars. Remembering this time, I began to write a reflection “in my head,” based on that moment and various walks through the woods here in New Jersey. I’m no poet; that’s for sure. But I offer you my little “poem” as a means of encouraging you to look around and take notice of God’s beautiful creation. And perhaps, just perhaps, see what or who God is using to carry you along this journey we call life. 

When the time for the leaves to fall has come, I wander into the woods. 

Following the trail of the deer, I step over logs, long since rotted and smelling of life's decay. Breathing deeply, I can taste the intoxicating musty flavor of death.

I pause and lift my eyes up. God has an extraordinary sense of color, even amid the waning of life.

I travel further.

Stopping to look down at my path, I finally see what I was meant to -- that all this time, I have been carried along my journey on a sea of golden stars.

I look forward to being with you in church this Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost at 10:30 AM in person or on FaceBook live. We have such special music planned that will lift your spirit for the coming week. Juliet Gallagher and Michelle Reno will be singing “Amazing Love” for our anthem, along with Brian Kolins on drums and Tom Martucci on bass. I will be preaching from 1 Samuel 1.4-20; 2.1-10 and Hebrews 10.11-18, 24-25 and my sermon title is Amazing Prayer. As it is the second Sunday of the month, we will receive a Deacons’ offering to help those in need in our community. I will also be handing out our annual Time, Talents, and Treasures form for you to fill out for the coming year (see attached). As you are aware, we have resumed congregational singing and since the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is present in our state everyone must wear a mask for worship and indoor church events. Thank you for your cooperation in loving yourself, your neighbor, and keeping everyone safe and healthy.

The Lord bless you and keep you — today and always,

Pastor Trish