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Pastor’s Pen

“Jesus went up the mountain and sat down and the disciples came to him, and he taught them…” Matthew 5:1-2

“Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. Such crowds gathered round him that he got into a boat an sat there, while the whole crown stood on the beach.” Matthew 13:1-2

Jesus apparently loved picnics. He gathered folks at what we might call a hillside park overlooking the beautiful harbor at the Sea of Galilee. He told stories at the park about a God who made them and loved them so much that this God would search for them like a widow searching for a lost coin, or like a shepherd searching after a lost sheep. He told of God’s relentless reach for us until we are found by the love that uttered us, and held there.

Another time Jesus was teaching in that same park and it was lunch-time. Some people brought food. Others had stopped on their way somewhere else and listened in. Since they had not expected to stay, they found themselves without so much as a peanut butter sandwich when their stomach started to complain. Jesus blessed the humble lunch of one of the kids whose mom had packed him some bread and dried fish, no doubt expecting him to be at play until dinner. And when the blessed baskets were passed, everyone had more than enough to eat

Some people seem to think that God only lives at church. We forget that church is wherever two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, as he said. Things didn’t even go so well for Jesus in church. The last time he spoke in Synagogue, his uncles and neighbors got so upset by his claim that God was with them in the present moment, that they tried to throw him off the nearest cliff. No wonder he decided that worship in the park was a better idea. At least there the worst thing that could happen to him was a bee sting.

Wherever you happen to be this Sunday, here in York or out to sea or up on the island, listen for the voice of Jesus speaking to you. He’s telling stories in the park on a hot summer’s day, inviting you to come home to God’s promise of new life like a present on Christmas morning. Today is the day you’ve been hoping for. Show up expecting to be surprised. Anything can happen when Jesus invites us to a picnic.

Prayer: Holy One, feed us with your bread, lead us in your light, and cleanse us with the waters of life, that we may love you and serve you all the days of our life. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland

Speaking of Picnics

Please join us this Sunday, July 31 for worship and picnic in the Hartley Mason Park across from the York Harbor Inn. Car pooling begins at church at 9.

Car pool from church, ride your bike, walk, or skate. If you have a larger vehicle and want to shuttle people back and forth, or you want a ride over come to First Parish at 9. Those who want to walk from church may hitch a ride back.

Music starts at 9:30 ish by Joyce Andersen and Harvey Reid.

Bring a chair or blanket and food to share for the picnic to follow.

Come join us this Sunday as we Worship at the Park. Bring your friends, neighbors and family. Everybody is invited.