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The Pastor’s Pen   

 

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God…with Christ himself as the cornerstone…in whom you are also built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.” Ephesians 2:19

We’re all from away. These words may create a scandal in the New England town where we live. The rules are clear. If you’re born in the state, you’re a native. If you’re born across the border in the hospital and brought home in your mother’s arms, you’ll always be from away.

This way of thinking has always seemed in good fun, but there’s a cost. One of the thousands of people who enjoy summers in Maine, overheard a local complaining about traffic now that “they’re back”. The local was referring to the summer people, many of whom have generational homes by the shore, as well as first time tourists just passing through. The “summer person” was rightly offended. She wondered aloud what would happen to our state if all of our guests took their tourist dollars somewhere more hospitable.

Whether we’ve been here for three days or our family for three hundred years, we’re all from away. We’re from away unless we’re blood descendants of the Red Paint People who lived here from 3,000 to 1,000 B.C., or the Susquehanna culture that followed. Perhaps we’re related to the Algonquian-speaking Wabanaki peoples including the Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, or the Penobscots.

Fortunately, God’s hospitality extends the borders and boundaries of belonging to include all of us. “So you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” Only those who have not yet experienced the gracious hospitality of an all-loving God are from away, and only until they hear God’s invitation to come home.

Prayer: God of earth and heaven, when we were far off you brought us near. Once we were no people, and you made of us a people, a community, with a home and a citizenship in your kingdom. Give us the graciousness to look over our shoulder and welcome those who come after us in your name. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland