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The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
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Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon
Marking our Time
by the Rev. Peter Jenks
I can imagine that when family and friends gather at my funeral, to share remembrances of my life, someone is going to say, “I will always remember him saying, over and over again, “Does anyone know where I left my phone? I can’t find my phone.” And there will be a collective laughter, as everyone would have had the very same experience. It is easy for me to put down my phone in the midst of all the little things I am doing; setting it down for a minute while I get something done or put something on.
When I find my phone, it is usually in an obvious place, one that was missed in the first part of my extensive search. And anyone who has been recruited into looking with me will offer a sigh of disbelief as I comment on how I should have remembered that I had put it in such place.
Christmas, or the Christ mass, is the annual remembrance of the birth of Jesus and God coming to be with us, to join our story. The reality of Christmas and the presence of God is always with us, often in the most obvious ways and places. Just as the reality of the resurrection and Easter is always present. But if we do not take the time each year to make a special effort to remember this reality we can easily take it for granted and even overlook its profound truth hidden in plane sight. When we start wondering what God is doing; or asking where is God; or begin to cry out to God as if God were far off, we need to stop and recall where we were last when we felt close, to begin again looking in the obvious places.
One of the reasons for making such a big thing about this season is to not forget, to keep our connection and relationship with God something that is part of our breath and our sight. The relationship with God can easily fade in the chaos of details, errands, stress and the clamor of our culture and news. If we are not careful the intimacy with God becomes distant. So to take a time each year to make sure we still are aware and remembering the presence of God and the potential of God in our lives is important. The fact that the “Christmas season” is starting earlier and earlier each year might actually be a good thing. To have more time to remember our faith, the mysteries beyond our reasoning, the importance of our relationships, and the importance of our service to God is a great blessing. Likewise, we take time to remember the great suffering of Jesus, his resurrection and the always present reality of his love in our annual Holy Week and Easter celebrations.
Throughout the year, in fact, we remember the story of God, the continuing grace of God, and our live’s interweaving into the life of God in the church calendar. We began our new year this year on December 3rd with the beginning of Advent. Over a three year cycle we read much of the Bible in our worship. Along with this we read either the gospel of Matthew, Mark or Luke each of the years, this year we will be primarily reading the Gospel of Mark. The gospel of John is threaded through all three years. It is a way for us to remember the holy stories, the important wisdom and the voice of God speaking through our Scripture. If we stop reading the words of God, it can become easy to stop hearing the words of God.
With the advent of cell phones we have become more connected to each other and to everything that is going on in the world. It can be a panic for me when I find that I have left my phone somewhere and cannot remember where that place is. In this growing technological connection, we can see the need even more clearly of how important it is to be connected, and most importantly, to see our need of God to be the basis of all connections, that is if we so choose to remember to hold onto our faith, and notice when it has been put aside.