THIS DAY AT THE VICARAGE 9-20-20

The weekend is finally winding down and returning to a rhythm I can recognize and move with easily. The last two days have been wonderful and busy! But I am glad to be returning to something like slow, constant and intentional as the new week blossoms.

Yesterday’s pace picked up with coffee at Identity Coffee Shop in Rindge New Hampshire at 8:30 A.M.

Identity Coffee Lab - 32 Photos - Cafes - 1090 Nh Route 119, Rindge, NH -  Restaurant Reviews - Phone Number - Yelp

This is sort of my new go to place for meeting with congregants when I am not visiting in their homes. I met with one of my friends and we chatted about God and grandchildren. Then we both headed off to the rest of our day.

I do a lot of pastoral visitation now. Visitation has always been a part of my ministry, but now aside from prayer this is my ministry. I pray. I write and I meet with people on-line or in person. I am enjoying it even if sometimes I seem to have a hard time keeping it all straight in my head, where I need to be and when I need to be there.

My daughter, Amanda, and I talked about that on the way to pick up my grand-daughter in Lynn MA yesterday. Amanda has this amazing ability to organize and keep things in order. I have trouble wearing the same color socks on any given day (especially if they are colored which is why I usually wear white). Amanda always knows where she needs to be and when she needs to be there. She plans travel time and she plans cushion into all of her work. She reads and retains instructions from instruction manuals and can keep guidelines in her head. I usually end up losing the English directions to things and end up trying to build things from pictures using the Chinese directions five minutes before they have to be assembled. It was a nice ride, and I really got to affirm Amanda in her gifts. She doesn’t often consider what she does as being supernaturally gifted, but she really is.

We got to Lynn and picked up my grand-daughter Dani. I really thought getting her to come with us back to the Vicarage would be harder but she hopped right in the car, kissed her mother good bye and we were on our way with nary a tear.

We stopped at Wendy’s for a late lunch. After that, Dani colored with my mother for a bit. Then we went to pick some flowers and for a walk in the park. We ate pizza for supper and then Dani was pretty well done for the night.

Today was church. Melanie and James came to pick Dani up there and then we celebrated Amanda receiving her license to preach. She is now a fully licensed minister of the Assemblies of God! We had lunch and then the Franklin family got back on the road. A very busy and very wonderful day.

Well tomorrow starts a deep housecleaning because I sensed in prayer this afternoon that The Vicarage has visitors coming…..I have no idea what that means, but I know it is time to prepare.

I am looking forward to tomorrow dear friends!

Pastor J

This Day At the Vicarage 9-15-20

It has been a busy week at the Vicarage. I guess the pace really picked up last Friday. As Brenda had her first full day at the apple orchard, I performed a funeral and then mowed the lawn at our local art gallery. Meanwhile, Amanda did her on-line children’s church lesson and prepped for Sunday.

Saturday was church clean up day. About twenty of us raked leaves, pulled weeds, dug up saplings and cut down a few bigger trees.

By the time Amanda and I got home from this we both needed Motrin and a nap.

Sunday of course was church. After service one of our congregants had a medical emergency. Thankfully a family from church was able to get her to urgent care. Afterwards, while the family got the lady settled back into her home, Amanda, Brenda and I took a trip to the pharmacy to pick up the meds she needed and brought them to her house.

The last two days I have been out to this dear lady’s home to help her with groceries and banking. Today we went for a follow up to the Dr. The report was that the Dr. wants to check in with her again in another week so…..

Cheshire Medical Center | D-HH Locations | Dartmouth-Hitchcock

I have a feeling a few of us are probably going to be spending a lot of time here in the next few weeks.

In the middle of this time several of my posts have begun to require a bit more time to create. It’s a good thing, but I am finding I am falling behind in my reading of other blogs.

Frowning Face Emoji (U+2639, U+FE0F)

Oh well….Life is all about the seasons. God is the author of each one and we must accept them as they come. It is our job to learn how to utilize the different blessings each season of life provides.

This season is really changing how our church operates as a body. We are deepening the sense of family we have. We are becoming more important to each other. We are learning to be together in new and deeper ways. We are learning what it means to be a people of faith, hope and love.

It seems these lessons should have been learned a long time ago. Maybe the theory has always been there. Now we are being forced to put the theory into practice. It feel like the New TEstament is becoming very real to us right now.

Living Word New Testament - Posts | Facebook

The Lord is doing good things!

I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings Dear Friends.

Pastor J

THIS DAY AT THE VICARAGE 9-12-20

The dogs and I got up at 4 A.M. this morning to begin the day. It is just before 6 now and they have had their morning outing and are now eating second breakfast. Well, Mercedes is pushing the breakfast bowl around inside the eating crate trying to bury second breakfast so she can eat it later for elevenses.

Jacopo and Mercedes

It has been a busy few days here at the Vicarage. Brenda has been working some long hours at the apple orchard in Harvard MA and Amanda has been working some long hours at the church.

I have been running between the Vicarage and visitations and what not. Yesterday I had a funeral over in Athol MA and then I had to mow the lawn up at the art gallery up the street after supper.

The art gallery gig is something I picked up early in the summer when I saw the President of our art association out mowing the lawn herself on a hot summer day. She is a lady who has had to have major heart surgery and is heading for knee surgery so the little voice that guides had me approach her and offer to take over the lawns.

I am not what you would call a great land scaper or anything. I own a lawn mower and I know how to start it. I think that qualifies me for what I am doing (though I am sure some would disagree).

Here’s the thing… I often remind my congregants they don’t have to be experts at the Bible in order to share Jesus. All they have to be is available to love, listen and share what they know. God will handle the rest. Further sharing the love of Christ is not so much about what you say. It is about what you do.

That conversation brings me back to our Wednesday night on-line Bible study and prayer session for this week. We talked about Rizpah Saul’s daughter-in-law. I guess I will sign off today by leaving you with a copy of that study. I hope it blesses you.

I am looking forward to tomorrow Dear Friends.

Pastor J

This Day At the Vicarage 9-10-20

We are just returning from walking the dogs for their last time tonight. The night air is that sloppy mixture of fall moisture and late summer heat that makes the world a clammy box of night time slime. It isn’t raining exactly but the rolling fog leaves me feeling damp and somehow dirty.

We made it just around the first corner tonight when we noted a family walking three dogs: two little ones on leashes and a black lab off leash. Our two boys immediately started barking in the gathering dark. The lab looked up from his meander not taking much interest. Still, neither Brenda nor I were in much of a state to take on a wandering “big dog” should the need arise. We turned around and headed back to the Vicarage. The dogs did their business and are now off to bed.

I think Brenda will not be far behind. She started work at an apple orchard today. The orchard is owned by the nephew of one of our deacons at Cornerstone. His Aunt is doing the scheduling for the orchard. The Aunt has offered part time positions to several people in our church. It is an open door so Brenda has walked through. Who nows what wonders it will lead to?

Walking through open doors...God opens doors that no man can close. Believe  that! #opportunity | Greatful, Doors, Opportunity

While Brenda was off sorting apples, I taught a music lesson and then visited one of the members of our congregation. Amanda went in to the church to do some administration work and then went to do our grocery shopping.

Our lives are all moving in separate direction every day. Tomorrow Brenda will be back at the apple orchard, I will be conducting a funeral service and Amanda will be preaching an on-line children’s sermon. Yet somehow God keeps our schedules in some kind of synchronicity so we can do this thing called family. We meet in the middle around the meals I cook (not that anyone greatly admires my cooking but they all put on a brave face). Then we are off again on our tethers to do the work that God has given us to do. There is coming a time soon when this walk in the world’s evening will be done. A big dog, off leash, is coming and God is going to be turning us towards our true home. That truth makes me wonder how important all our doing right now really is. Maybe it is vastly important because these are the last works the church will do in the church age. Maybe it is all just obeying the leash holder on a walk through the park. Which ever it may be, I am going to obey the tug of the lead whichever way it goes and when we come to that final door. I will walk through.

Walking Through the Open Door | From the Desk of Keith Duncan

This Day At the Vicarage 9-8-20

I often write with music playing softly in the background. Somehow the rhythm and the sound help me to focus on what it is I need to say. It is like the sound draws the words out of me.

Maybe that has something to do with my years as a worship pastor. I remember one of my mentors teaching me that in order to lead worship effectively, I needed to be able to move beyond the place where I played music into the place where the music played me.

Yesterday I wrote to an Epic Celtic Album on Youtube. Tonight I am playing the Easters. Somehow their music fills me with hope and just a touch of melancholy. Those things might not seem to go together. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they are polar opposites like the yellow and purple on a color wheel.

Color Wheel Primer | HGTV

Maybe that tension is what I am looking for when I write or when I sing or when I do art. Maybe it is what I need. Maybe it is what is required for me to move into my muse. The muse would be God ,so I guess that makes sense. The tension….the inner conflict somehow drives me to seek the Lord and in that seeking I find my creative spark. And that creative spark is the pathway to the music playing me instead of me playing the music or in this case it is the pathway to the space where the Writer reveals to me my story rather than me striving to make it up.

There’s a whole book in there somewhere. The tension is rising within me and that means the story is about to arrive.

Now I am really looking forward to tomorrow dear friends.

Pastor J