Category Archives: worship

#625: One Direction concert

It’s not like the Allman Brothers concert I went to in college.
Oh no, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event.
First of all, my teen has a summer job, with tips.
Lots of tips. so she could afford to help with expenses.
Tickets were $102. Which, if you know me, is ridiculous.
That’s why she helped.

Plus, we live on an island
and have the additional expense of taking a boat or plane to America.
That’s my beloved at Brant Point seeing us off.

And my youngest in bliss just to be at the venue, Gillette Stadium.

As were these matching girls.

and a few guys, dads?, wearing sunglasses.

We drove a rental car. Most folk drove their own 
(it doesn’t cost them hundreds of extra dollars to bring it over on a ferry)
Properly decorated and equipped with a grill and picnic fixings.
There was a lot of off-key singing and sign-painting.

‘Sorry, Niall, my dad says I’m too young to date.’

Where We Are Tour, homemade t-shirts.
So much creativity!
Here come the fans, 68 thousand altogether,
across Route 1 from the parking lot.
The police and volunteers were highly organized.
Heading in. She ran all the way up the wrong ramp
and was so excited she didn’t even mind.
Her cousin, Emily, was stuck in traffic and didn’t get to the stadium
for another half-hour but the warm-up band was still playing.
She texted us when she found her seat.
How did we know when One Direction came on?
The roar. I didn’t even know girls could make that noise.
I sat with Emily’s mom here, outside the park.
We could hear just fine.
The band comes onstage at 2:12.
You’ll be able to tell.
It was worship, pure and simple.
Every girl there was 100% in the moment:
singing along, screaming, dancing, waving their iPhone.
Nothing else mattered, just the band.
It’s one of the things that I love about teens:
their absolute capacity for devotion.
When a teen goes after what they want,
they do so whole-heartedly.
I pray my own–all six–would love Jesus
the way these kids love One Direction.
That’s where the forever joy lies.
We went out for ice cream after the concert,
letting the traffic clear a bit.
We got to bed around 3 am (I got lost) then
back to Nantucket the next morning
after a potentially hellacious 4 hour stuck-in-traffic
car ride back to Hyannis.
Only potentially because of the 2 sweet girls
riding with me,
singing One Direction songs.
The music never ends.

607: Summer Street Church Renovation

Update: We’re in this Sunday!
10:15 am Sunday April 20th
Joyfully Celebrating the Resurrection
 in our renovated sanctuary!
Hope to see you there.
(or at the Old Mill at 6:30am if you can’t wait)

Last October, Summer Street Church
started a long overdue renovation.
Click on the link to see the whole process.
Our hope was to be back in for Easter.
We’ve been meeting at the Westmoor Club.
They’ll need their space back soon for summer guests.

The first decision was to take out the organ.
This church worships with keyboard, guitar,
trumpet and drum.
The organ was rarely used.
As this mouse nest testifies.
Are you sad it’s gone?
I have about 70 wood pipes at my house you are welcome
to come and get.
We used them to play
‘Away in a Manger’ at Christmas.

Removing the staging revealed long absent side pews.

And decoration. I wonder who did this, 
and why they chose this pattern.
 Scaffolding gave access to the peeling tin ceiling.
And to this Acanthus ornament above the central light.
Isn’t it lovely?
Greek revival is such an elegant style.
The blue paint on the floors was sanded off letting
the original wood shine out warmly.
This short pew makes way for a wheelchair.
I call it the ‘courting pew’.
The original builders decided against a porch and columns,
building columns right into the facade.
That look is duplicated in the old organ space.
Yesterday the carpet on the platform was going in.
Everything else is ready except…
a temporary variance from the Architectural Access Board.
You see, we only have one wheelchair space,
and the regulations require four, scattered.
Which we would be glad to put in,
except for this:
See that 2″lip under the pews?
That’s not a platform, it cannot be removed.
The pews sit on structural beams
which had been carved out (!) to make the aisles.
This is going to take a lot more work than
can be done by Easter.
We pray that God would grant us
the variance so we can worship in this space.
But if not, we will worship wherever we can.
Because Easter celebrates the Resurrection,
the most jubilant day in the Christian calendar.
A 1 1/2 ton stone and a Roman Guard
couldn’t keep Jesus in the tomb,
and regulation 521 CMR 16.10
can’t keep us from worshipping Him.
Meet us, and other believers, at the windmill at 6:30 am.
When it comes right down to it,
we don’t need a building.

#333: Snow’s gone on Nantucket

Now we have a rainstorm.
Here’s the State Forest in January:
It seems peaceful because 
you can’t hear the wind blowing
And the trees creaking as they bend
Water droplets sparkle everywhere

Pine needles float on reflective puddles
Rainbow bubbles on pine trunks
Does anyone know what causes this?
Do I really want to go under there?
Yes, I do. I’ll miss the wonder of God’s
creation if I don’t get out into it and worship.

#300: Sermon Haiku #24: Luke 2

Poultry Communion
Forgot to bring it upstairs
Sorry, Pastor Rich
Have you considered
The real story of Christmas?
What really happened?
God came in person
Entering the world Himself
full of grace and truth
Never could have imagined
God as a baby
Mary’s newborn boy
Spoke all things into being
Couldn’t even talk
Molecule linker
Hydrogen to oxygen
Needing mother’s milk
Ten billion trillion
Stars shine in the universe
He knows all their names
But not yet His own
Caesar Augustus 
thought he ruled the world, but no,
look to the manger
The shepherds were right
to come, fall down, and worship
God made flesh, for us

#296: Nature Nativity

Some families at Summer Street Church
make Nativity scenes to help the kids focus
 on Jesus at Christmas.

Joseph’s beard and robes courtesy of our chickens.
Baby Jesus’ halo is a jingle shell.
 A curious acorn headed donkey with bayberry
eyes and ears looks on.

Shepherd’s heads are cutaway hazelnuts.
Sheep’s fur courtesy of a milkweed pod.
Pinecone wisemen.
 Hot glue holds their acorn heads on.
Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy!
In a horse-chestnut shell hat worthy of Eliza Doolittle.
Eucalyptus wings freshen the air.
‘And is it true? And is it true,
this most tremendous tale of all,
seen in a stained glass window’s hue,
a Baby in an ox’s stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?’
Sir John Betjeman

#295: Sermon Haiku #23: Revelation 1:12-18

Beyond the manger
What is Jesus really like?
John got to see Him

Among the lampstands
He walks, shining like the sun
John faints, Jesus lifts

Eyes blazing like fire
Not just pure, purefying
Life-transforming gaze

Down through the ages
Those who stop shielding their eyes
Are touched and reborn

#288: Sermon Haiku #21: Isaiah 9:2-7

Stumbling in darkness
Suddenly, sunbursts of light
The people can see
The yoke is shattered
‘For the LORD and for Gideon’
Just like the old days
For to us a child is born
The coming King, a baby
What will He be called?
He was named Jesus
Light shining forth from shadow
Showing God’s glory
Darkness cannot stand.

#286: Preserver of Man and Beast

Have you ever gotten into a situation
where you think, 
“How did I get here, and now what do I do?”
This happens to me more than I like. 

It seems like an adventure from the ground.

But then where do I go?

And how do I get down?

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the skies,
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your justice like the great deep,
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast.

#256: Gobs of Grapes

Sorry, couldn’t resist the alliteration.
Nantucket is having a most excellent grape season.
The grapes in the front are peeled.
We’ve been picking for over a month.
Mostly fox grapes, which we make into three things:
Cook, then drip through cheesecloth for (1)juice,
this gets frozen by the pint.
Which leaves seeds and pulp.
Pulp is pressed through, leaving seeds behind.
Skins, previously removed (what a fun job)
are re-added to pulp to make (2)jam.
Leaving seeds alone, aka (3)chicken food.
When I was out picking grapes,
 a young man stopped and asked why I bothered.
Why didn’t I just buy Welch’s at the store?
Do you have an answer for that?
This is mine:
Food isn’t just for physical nourishment.
The thrill of finding,
the joy of abundant gathering,
the luscious smell of boiling down,
the fellowship of canning,
the beauty of jars lined up:
Each step is soul satisfying, 
a part of the stewardship God intended 
for His people before the Fall. 

#244: Family Scallop Season

Opening day!
David went out to his secret spot and dove for bay scallops.
He got a whole milk crate’s worth:
Blue-eyed beauties:
Sun setting  over our bountiful harbor:
For which we are so thankful.