Copyright 2018 Episcopal Church
of St. John Baptist. All rights reserved.
The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
email@example.com (207) 354-8734 Sunday Services are at 8 am and 10 am
Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon
Our previous deacons: The Rev. Barbara Crapmton (above) and the Rev. Deborah McKean (below)
Musings from the Bell Tower
Rev. Robert E. Laite Jr.
I have a confession to make. During my Deacon Formation program I dreaded the thought of having to
give a sermon. It was a “chore” that I absolutely was not looking forward to. A big part of it was just a
confidence issue in my own ability to “preach”. During my formative years, my Dad spent some time
working on my public speaking skills. Early on in my childhood I had a stuttering problem which I think
was due partly to my hearing deficit. He care and attention helped to give me the confidence to speak in
front of others.
So, public speaking was not an issue for me. My Dad helped me prepare for that. During DFP, we
practiced preparing and giving sermons as part of our training. I have a very vague recollection of
preparing my first sermon at St. Thomas in Camden. Fr. Rowe was very supportive as well as my fellow
deacons at the time. I can remember having a very queasy feeling on the outset of preparation. But a
funny thing happened. I was doing my research on the Gospel reading, silently reading to myself, and a
side voice crept in saying, “All will be well.” This was a little bit unsettling for the novice preacher. I
thought maybe I was starting to take a little trip “around the bend “ so to speak. Strange enough, a “calm”
seemed to settle over me. Once I got over this little psychological hic-up, I felt myself relax a little. I was
actually beginning to enjoy the process. I did deliver the sermon without fainting or bolting out the door
like the “run-a-way bride”.
Fast forward to present day. The Saturday before I was to give my sermon on Luke’s Gospel, I kept
waking up. Random thoughts kept popping into my head, which was a bit irritating. My Brain didn’t seem
to realize that my Body wanted to sleep, not chat. Alas, at 2:30 am I decided to jot some of these down in
hopes the Brain would be satisfied. Hence the list, “Some of Life’s Little Truths”.
Wait before you open the soda can you dropped. If you have more that three things to pick-up,
make a list. A watched pot really doesn’t boil. Paint doesn’t dry faster when you stare at it. Always
put a spare roll of TP on the tank. Put the toilet seat down, the knife wounds aren’t worth it. Hot
tea is hot, sip don’t gulp. The burner is still hot when you take the whistling teapot off. The dog
really does have to poop when she stands at the door. You are the boss, not the child. When she
says, “I’m fine!” SHE’S NOT!! Don’t put your finger under the hole when drilling it.
Well, Brain was mollified, Body slept a little while longer. I think the issue at hand was my Emotional
Spirit was upset with my Intellectual Spirit for being so darn busy. I had not given a lot of thought that my
thirty-seventh year of sobriety fell on the day I was to give my sermon on February seventeenth. A big
part of Luke’s Gospel was about healing. I was aware of the date but not really thinking about it as a
central thought. My earlier draft touched on it which was why my Emotional Spirit was having a temper
tantrum. It was one of those “Ah ha!” moments that Peter always asks about. So, I went back and
“tweaked” the ending of the sermon. This made my Emotional Spirit a little happier with the Intellectual
Spirit apologizing for the oversight.
My Emotional Spirit was not done with me. I have several “tools” in my “kit” that has helped me maintain
my sobriety which is now over half my life-time. A couple of years ago I received a very nice gift from my
primary care physician at the time. I was battling depression due to a break-up with my partner of ten
years. The doctor was very aware that I was in recovery. She gave me a copy of a book titled The Healing
Runes written by Ralph H. Blum and Susan Laughan. It was accompanied by a bag of tablets called “runes’
inscribed with different letters of the Germanic alphabet. The book is very closely linked with the Twelve
Step program of AA. This has become a very significant resource that I draw from regularly. I usually
shake-up the bag that contains the tablets and draw one out, completely at random. Quite often I’m taken
aback at the results.
The day that I started work on my sermon I drew the Rune the corresponds to “The Devine”. The tablet
is actually blank with no inscription on it. Here is what the reference to the Rune has to say:
“Devine Love is present in each of the seasons of the heart. Throughout our lives, that Love
nurtures us, comforts us, inspires and teaches us and, at the end, calls us home.
When did you first begin to know the Devine? Was it in the innocence of your childhood? Was it
through adversity or loss that you began your search? Or have you always known that there was a
Power greater than yourself guiding your life?
Through all the worlds religion’s—from temples and churches, from mesas and mountain
tops—the Devine speaks to us. For some, the Devine dwells only within; for others, God is present
everywhere. Consider the poet’s call to see God in a blade of grass. How much more wonderful to
see God in the face of another human being?
Receiving this Rune is a gentle reminder to hold yourself in the Presence of God each day. If the
night is long, and you have been sitting alone at the bedside of a troubled or dying loved one, know
this: In a still, small voice, God always speaks when we are ready to hear. And if you are in the
season that calls for reconciling your life, remember that acceptance and forgiveness are two of
the greatest teachers of them all.
If you are finding yourself facing a test for which you feel unwilling or unready, make the Devine
your strength. What you are is God’s gift to you; what you make of yourself is your gift to God.
Our lives are ordered for us by the Devine so that nothing is too much. Yet if the present challenge
seems too great, and you are too weary to travel further, bless this moment and turn the outcome
over to God. As you do so, all else falls away; your burden will be lifted from you, and you will find
the courage to go on.
God is physician to all our healing.
However the Devine enters your life—in your love for a child, a partner or for our Mother
Earth—God’s love is the deepest truth available to us. Once you have made this truth your own,
you need never want, never fear again.
And at the end it is God who calls us home:
I am the Life and the Light and the Way.
The earth is my garden. Each of the souls I plant as seeds geminate and flowers in its season, and in
each I am fulfilled. There is no cause for grief when a blossom fades, but only rejoicing for the beauty
it held and praise that my will is done and my plan served.
I am one with all creatures and none is ever lost but only restored to me, having never left me at all.
For what is eternal cannot be separated from its source.”
This was on of those “Oh wow!” moments. This piece helped me to fully appreciate what Luke’s Gospel
was trying to say. I was able to strongly connect with the healing message given my own history. During
my journey, I have faced many challenges that I have had to “turn over to God” to achieve a successful
outcome. I have been very fortunate over the years to be “nurtured by God”. The times that I have felt like
giving up are when I have received the true Gifts from the Devine. My hope and prayer is that others may
also experience this true gift and Blessing from God.