Copyright 2018 Episcopal Church

of St. John Baptist. All rights reserved.

The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist    200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine  04861    (207) 354-8734       Sunday Services are at 8 am and 10 am

Office Hours:  Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon 

Worhip the Lord in the beauty of holiness  

                                 Psalm 96:9

By the Rev. Peter Jenks

         When one enters a mosque, it is customary to remove one’s shoes. It is a sign that one is entering a sacred or holy place. This is reminiscent of Moses, who took off his sandals when he stood before the burning bush. We do not take off our shoes when entering a church, though.  This is not because it is any less holy, but in our tradition we know all places to be holy, and that the Spirit and presence of God can be found in all places, not just a church. The church is where we gather from our holy encounters, to share our experiences and find our common union with God, and also be reminded that our world is filled with holy places.

The problem with understanding that everywhere is holy and holds the potential of encountering God’s grace is that it is easy to overlook this dynamic and amazing reality in the midst of everyday concerns. Our ‘to do’ lists, stresses and meetings keep us from wallowing in the divine beauty around us.

The other day I was waiting at a convenience store in Thomaston and was asking those around me how long the construction people were going to be here this summer.  I know that they are simply doing touch up work on the road, so it was not going to be too long. I just didn’t know how long it would be. The three people around me all immediately went on to complain that it would be all summer and that it was such a hassle, why were they doing this to us?  I was speechless. The state is spending an enormous amount of money to fix our road and make our town a more beautiful place, we are in the final days of the work and all that could be seen is the problem and hassle of this work. I imagined what it would be like if some group had volunteered to paint their house for them, would they complain that people were out there on ladders, scrapping on the house bothering them?

We are living in a blessed time, in an amazing land, with a rare opportunity of abundance. And, yet, we find ourselves having a difficult time thanking God, being in a place of wonder, and walking in a gracious spirit.  To worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness is to enter our home with an awareness of God’s angels watching over our abode, and to give thanks. It is to see the community life around me not as an endless hassle, empty hole to pour our tax money, or run by idiots; but rather the place that God has called us to meet with Him/Her. 

Oftentimes the word sacred and holy will be used interchangeably. Both words hold many similar characteristics and it is not wrong to do such, but there is subtle nuances between the two. The word sacred carries with it more of a sense of something set apart and special. The word holy carries with it more of a sense of the divine within. Contrasting the sacred and the profane is a way in which we hold some things in a special place, or to see them as carrying a unique importance. To find the beauty of holiness we need to uncover, to reveal the innate presence of God in the precious state of our life.

Much of what our culture strives toward is to divide and isolate us from each other, an effort to blind us from the deep connections between us and God. We are on a holy planet, in a holy time, and engaged in holy labor and on a holy journey. It is our joy and purpose to discover and worship the beauty of holiness. The gravity of atrophy and indifference, division and insecurity will always lull us from our core and blind us to the light of beauty shining upon us. But it can never change that which is, and always will be, in every circumstance, the wonder of worship and the holy in our midst. ​