Pastors Message – November, 2013

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is
THANK YOU, it will be enough.”
Meister Eckhart

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and
THANKSGIVING be made for all people -…”
First Timothy 2:1

For some reason my mind has been wandering to my early years of employment – early 1980’s at Letchworth Developmental Center – a NYState institution for the developmentally disabled/mentally retarded, newborn to elderly, in Rockland County. These early years of employment were also a significant time in my life for spiritual and emotional growth and development. In 1972, ABC News had featured Letchworth Village and its appalling conditions in an episode called ‘Willowbrook: The Last Great Disgrace.’ When I started work at Letchworth, Geraldo Rivera produced a follow-up to that expose. Conditions had improved, but it was still a dismal living existence. In 1996, eighty-five years after it opened, the institution was shut down and all residents were put in group homes. I’ve discovered some videos and photos on the internet which were shot at the abandoned buildings. Looking at them and seeing the state of disrepair of the place I worked for nine years is profound for me.I remember Thanksgiving morning one year. I would leave my house at 5:30AM and head down along the Hudson River and onto the Palisades Parkway. Exit 14 directed me to the parking lot for Alpha Cottage. The parking lot had very few cars; the night shift was sparse. I entered Ward I with keys in hand. The residents were lined up waiting for breakfast in hospital gowns. I was not in a good mood. Preparing to bathe forty severely challenged residents, clothing them and making their beds, all the while ready as well to get between any who started fighting over the sheer monotony and boredom of their existence was slowly stressing me out. I uttered to the other Aide, “Happy Thanksgiving.” He grumbled, “What is there to be thankful for today?!” I could only hear the din and background noise of the clients when, clear as a bell, one of the only verbal clients sitting nearby blurted out, “Thankful for Mr. Rick!” Thanksgiving came out of the chaos. Simple thankfulness from this resident moved me.I lived a revelation that day that thankfulness is not about me. Thankfulness is about others.

Blessed Thanksgiving to all of you,

Pastors Message – October, 2014

Bronnie Ware, a nurse specializing in care of the terminally ill has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and there’s no mention of missed business deals, or regrets about skipped bungee jumping opportunities. No, the top five regrets discovered by the nurse include:5) I wish I had let myself be happier.
4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
3) I wish I had had the courage to express my feelings.
2) I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
1) I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

First reported in The Guardian – 2/1/2012

When we think about regrets in our lives do we think of those undone, unaccomplished things that are really important to making our world a better place in which to live? Do we regret that we could have been a better follower of Christ or are our regrets selfishly grounded – we could have made more money? As individuals we can feel as though we can make little difference to a cynical world. But, as a body of compassionate people we can be the hands, arms, and feet of Christ to the world. We don’t want to leave this world with too many regrets. We must ask, while we are still here, “How can I be the hands of Christ today?”

“American Soldiers once came to a bombed-out church and found a statue of
Christ smashed. They collected the pieces and cemented them together… all but
the hands. These could not be found. Finally one soldier made a sign to leave
before the restored statue: “He has no hands but yours.””
Homiletics, September, 2013
Peace and Love,