News for the Church, 3/3/23

Good Day to you, Church,

Today is a beautiful, bright sunny March day– the sort that gives you hope for the coming of spring! Yesterday I heard cardinals singing and saw a bald eagle flying over Crary Mills, and today you can hear the “drip, drip, drip” of icicles melting into watery pools below. 

Here’s the news for the week:

All Church Potluck This Sunday! 

Bring a dish to pass and we will spend time visiting together after the service this Sunday. Last month we had venison stew, quiche, homemade focaccia bread, and lots of delicious dessserts . What do you think we’ll have this month? 

PIC Festival of Sacred Music and Text set for March 26th

Join us at the Methodist Church on Sunday, March 26th at 3pm for a moving service of music and spoken word. Once a year the Potsdam Interfaith Community hosts this very special concert of music and texts from the many religious faiths that exist in Potsdam. Last year we heard music from the Synagogue, the Mormon Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Catholics, Quakers, and our Church, and we listened to spoken prayers and readings from our Muslim and Christian Science neighbors. It was one of the most moving services I went to all of last year and I encourage you to come this year and experience faith from many places. 

The Roof to be Repaired!

Our roofing contractor came this week to take measurements and assess the repair work that needs to be done. As soon as enough snow melts on the ground to get their 66′ lift on the lawn, they will be back to do the work!

Medical Fund for Ron Kaiser

I have great news to share with you! Over the last three weeks we raised $2,735 to gift to our custodian Ron, who is still dealing with expensive heart problems. We will give this gift to him quietly in the coming weeks. 

This is not something I have ever done before– offer a free will offering to a specific individual– and unfortunately, we did not go about it this time in a way that will allow those of you who gave to deduct your gift as a tax-deductible contribution. I deeply apologize for this. 

We have learned, however, how to do this legally in the future, to allow you to make this sort of donation tax deductible, and will make sure to set it up differently if this sort of situation ever arises again.

Shifting Faith

This week I had the honor to hear from two different people who are wrestling with their faith and spirituality. One individual is asking questions outside of the religious expectations that they grew up with– and is experiencing discomfort, fear, and sadness because neither God, nor the world they live in, seem certain right now. And another individual has moved beyond seeing relevance in believing in God. 

Friends, I want to remind us today that our faith journey is never a static or straightforward path, and doubt, anger, and disbelief are ok. God is bigger than the human constructs we have built around the Holy Mystery, and there is no place we can go, no thought we can think, that does not live within the realm of Life. 

I myself have gone through periods of doubt and questioning, and I’ll tell you something– every time I have cracked that door open, I have found God in those places too. Maybe not in the ways that some people would “define” God, but after going through them, I have realized that those experiences, also, were encounters with the Holy One.

May you know today that asking questions and “wandering” around (or even away) does not mean that you have lost your faith or are falling into darkness. Sometimes, as Jesus says, we have to let go of what we have in order to find what we don’t. 

In Mark 8, after Peter has challenged that Jesus should not have to suffer, Jesus says this to the crowd:

“He called the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If any wish to come after me, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?”

(Mark 8:34-36)  

Friends, there are days when “taking up our cross” means standing up against injustice and cruelty in the world, but other days it means challenging our very own religious beliefs and shaking up our assumptions and expectations about who and what God is. 

When you wrestle with the Divine, and sit with darkness, may you find life there, too. And may you come to know blessing– even in this. Faith, dear Ones, is never a straight line or an assured thing. Sometimes it comes in shapes, colors, and designs that you never once imagined possible. 

Honoring Your Doubts and Questions,
Pastor Katrina