This whole time

trinity ucc - northport, Mi - 4-15-2015

First Congregational Church of Northport was formally organized in February of 1863.  Their first church was built on this location in 1869.  The structure you see is a renovation of the original building that was built by a forebear of several current members and friends of Trinity Church of the UCC.

Northport Methodist Church was organized in 1858.

In October1965, these two congregations of

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joined together as one Body of Christ and formed Trinity Church of the United Church of Christ.  We celebrated our 50th anniversary as Trinity on World Wide Communion Sunday in October, 2015.

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This whole time we have been a lively, loving, serving community of faith.DSC02177

On November 15, 2015, we will gather at 11:00 am to sing and pray, to listen and learn, to give and receive, to be blessed and to be sent into the world once again to serve.  You are invited to join us.  I am delighted to say we will receive new members for the second Sunday in a row.

We’ll hear this story from:  1 Samuel 1:4-20  (Contemporary English Version)

4 Whenever Elkanah offered a sacrifice, he gave some of the meat to Peninnah and some to each of her sons and daughters. 5 But he gave Hannah even more, because he loved Hannah very much, even though the Lord had kept her from having children of her own.

6 Peninnah liked to make Hannah feel miserable about not having any children, 7 especially when the family went to the house of the Lord each year.

One day, Elkanah was there offering a sacrifice, when Hannah began crying and refused to eat. 8 So Elkanah asked, “Hannah, why are you crying? Why won’t you eat? Why do you feel so bad? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

9 When the sacrifice had been offered, and they had eaten the meal, Hannah got up and went to pray. Eli was sitting in his chair near the door to the place of worship. 10 Hannah was brokenhearted and was crying as she prayed, 11 “Lord All-Powerful, I am your servant, but I am so miserable! Please let me have a son. I will give him to you for as long as he lives, and his hair will never be cut.”

12-13 Hannah prayed silently to the Lord for a long time. But her lips were moving, and Eli thought she was drunk. 14 “How long are you going to stay drunk?” he asked. “Sober up!”

15-16 “Sir, please don’t think I’m no good!” Hannah answered. “I’m not drunk, and I haven’t been drinking. But I do feel miserable and terribly upset. I’ve been praying all this time, (my choice of words – “this whole time“) telling the Lord about my problems.”

17 Eli replied, “You may go home now and stop worrying. I’m sure the God of Israel will answer your prayer.”

18 “Sir, thank you for being so kind to me,” Hannah said. Then she left, and after eating something, she felt much better.  19 Elkanah and his family got up early the next morning and worshiped the Lord. Then they went back home to Ramah. Later the Lord blessed Elkanah and Hannah 20 with a son. She named him Samuel because she had asked the Lord for him.

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What is it God has been aching this whole time to birth within us at Trinity Church of the United Church of Christ situated as we are just a dozen miles north of the 45th Parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole?

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As I read and reread the text, “this whole time” are the words that keep echoing and reechoing within me:

“Don’t you get it Eli . . . I am not drunk . . . no, I am bereft, I am aching in the core or my being, I am sad beyond your understanding, I am woman, I am vulnerable.

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This whole time I have waned.

This whole time I have wanted.

This whole time I have wondered.

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This whole time I have been an active protagonist in my own behalf . . .

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This whole time I have been anxious, I have hungered, I have ached.

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Ohhhhhhh God, hear my plea!”

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Have you ached, like Hannah, for your life to be different?

Have you agonized for a new beginning?

Have you wanted with your whole being for there to be justice?

Have you wondered, how with your understanding of what is right, life has been neither kind nor fair?

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Have you been aghast at the arrogance and stupidity of your rival?

Have you been tired of being misunderstood?

Have you ever wanted more?

Do you know the meaning of unrequited desire?

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What do you dare to imagine that God is aching to birth in you, in me, in us?

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May God impregnate us with . . .

Your comments, challenges, courage, compassion about this text and these words and images are, of course, welcome.

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6 Comments

  1. Such a wonderful beginning, Phil and Patricia. I’m so happy you are doing this and hope the word spreads fast about the beauty and depth of this blog. I also like that people from St. Andrew can see what you are up to here in Northport. May we be ONE. Karen

    Reply

    1. Thank you Karen. Yes, it is so good to be ONE.

      Reply

  2. To dear Patricia and Phil, You have always shared your courage expressing the questions we each ask when weary and wishing the rainbow was in sight of our damaged, unjust world. Ironically, man was made in God’s image, then man proceeds to remake God in man’s projected image of who God should be/must be to qualify for our perception of the God we want to worship – certainly not jealous, not permitting the evil that man chooses to embrace, not keeping sacred covenants because we don’t. Our need to create a more user friendly, less demanding God (read blind instead of forgiving) makes it impossible to connect with the legitimate God disclosed to our predecessors. Being such control freaks, we have invented a designer God and wonder why He doesn’t want an intimate relationship with each of us. Surely He must own an iphone. However, wishful thinking doesn’t cut it. Remember we are still blessed with a recurring promise: “There you will look for the LORD, your God, and if you will search with all your heart, you will find Him”. . Deuteronomy 4:29./Jeremiah 29:13 So I suggest that Hannah’s spiritual journey was not unlike any made by those folk in the New Testament asking to be healed with a life changing miracle by Jesus and his apostles. Each had the courage to ask plus the faith to accept its deliverance when presented to them. Some people integrate one part of the faith process but few have achieved the wholeness of acceptance necessary for the entire miracle equation created under God’s grace to bring glory to Him. “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8. Some still choose to proceed on this amazing treasure hunt of ups and downs which demands patience and vigilance to achieve the incomprehensible privilege of connecting with our Father. One fine day, voila – there it is – Mathew 13:46!
    I didn’t begin with the intention of preaching to the choir; your observations triggered my passion for our Father’s love of His children.. Wishing you a cozy Thanksgiving! Blessings ,Cat

    Reply

  3. Good morning, Cat. It is good to hear from you. Thanks for your words. May your Thanksgiving be a blessing.

    Reply

  4. Ron/Susie Rabold November 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I wanted to write a response but wasn’t sure what to say. After reading the poem “Old” from the latest Wells of Wellness, I now know what to say! One line in the poem says, “the whole of our experience” speaks to me in this way! Exchange the words “of our experience” with the word” time” — there you have it. : )

    Reply

  5. Lovely to hear of you savoring words from Hannah’s prayer these last couple of days and finding resonance of them within Julia’s poem.

    Reply

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