The Union Church in Waban   
Friday, July 21, 2017
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Summer Worship continues this Sunday  
We will gather at 5:00 p.m. in Memorial Chapel for an informal service of song, prayer, word and communion.  Pastor Stacy will be leading us in a service for all ages.  We will be reflecting together on the story from Genesis (Gen 28: 10-19a) where Jacob discovers that "Surely  the Lord is in this place -- and I did not know it!"   It will be good to come together.
Summer Musings by Pastor Stacy  
There is a well-known prayer that is ascribed to Teresa of Avila, who was a 16 th century Carmelite nun, and a mystic, reformer and writer.  The prayer goes like this:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
When this prayer is used in a liturgical setting, what follows is usually a charge that we are then to go into the world and be Christ's body.  We are to be Christ's hands and be Christ's feet and be Christ's eyes of compassion on this earth.  I am pretty sure that I have given this charge perhaps more than once as a benediction to our worship together. 

I find this prayer and charge to be very compelling and challenging. 

I also find it intimidating.
How am I supposed to be Christ's body on earth when I can barely handle my own body within the bounds of my own life?  I am a great admirer of Teresa of Avila, but she was a nun after all and as a nun she did not have the challenges of being a wife and a mother, head of the PTA and coach of at least two of the kids' sport teams.  And then of course, as a nun, she must have been living in a rarified realm of spirituality, set apart from the messiness of the world. She may be the hands, feet and eyes of Christ, but I don't really think that it is fair for her to ask me to be so as well. Right?

Wrong.  Lately, I have come to see how misguided I have been about this way of reading Teresa of Avila's prayer.  

First of all, let's be clear. Being a nun is nothing but challenging especially for this remarkable reformer who worked in an extremely messy and dangerous time of great upheaval.  We may have our stresses and challenges but she was no stranger to them as well.

I have also been misguided because I had always heard in this prayer a responsibility to become Christ's hands, feet and eyes.  The charge as I understood it was to put "become Christ-like" on the top of my "to do" list.  This filled me with a kind of dread and stress because, if Christ has no other  hands, feet and eyes than mine, then I had better get my hands, feet and eyes in a shape that would be worthy of being Christ's because God knows the world really needs Christ's hands and feet and eyes, but that begs the question  how in the world does one even begin going about that?  Is becoming Christ-like something we are supposed to know how to do?

But, there is another way of hearing Teresa of Avila's words.  There is a familiar Spanish expression that is "Mi casa es su casa!" (my house is your house).  These are words of hospitality spok en to a guest to welcome that guest into one's home.  These words are to put the guest at ease, and invite them to dwell in the house as if it were their own.  "Roam freely, use what you need, relax and enjoy.  Every space within this house of mine is yours.  Do with it what you will." 

What if that kind of invitation and hospitality is what this prayer is driving at?  What we are to invite Christ to dwell within us?  What if we are to make space, open the doors, throw open the windows and invite Christ to roam freely in our life.  There is ease, time and a spaciousness in such an invitation.  We are a church that knows hospitality.  We are a church that knows how to make someone feel welcome, and cared for and loved.  We know how to do that and we do it well.

So what if we were to extend that same invitation to God?  I wonder then what transformation we would begin to see in our hands and our feet and in our eyes if Christ was free to dwell within us and make our lives his own. That I can try to do.  Do you think you can too?


Blessed are those who trust in the  Lord , whose trust is the Lord.

They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream.

It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit. 

(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

When is the retreat?    
Friday, October 20 starting at 6:30 p.m. - Sunday, October 22, 
finishing up before noon.

Where is it? 
Rolling Ridge Retreat Center in North Andover, 660 Great Pond Rd,
North Andover, MA 01845

Why are we doing this?
To celebrate and nourish the rootedness that we have with each other and with our God that enables us to thrive in the midst of the challenges of our time and to also bring forth goodness into the world.  It is a time to have fun.  To enjoy each other and to grow. 

Who is it for?   
All of us!  We are an inter-generational community where all are beloved and all are invited.   There is a cost associated with the retreat but we do not want that to be a barrier to anyone or any family.  What is most important is that you come so that we can all be together and be nourished by each other's presence.  So make whatever contribution you can, whether that be less than or more than the actual cost.

Save the weekend now! Put a big UCW on your calendar for that weekend.  Registration forms will be available via the Friday Eblast starting in August and will be due by September 17th

?'s or want to help out?
If you have questions or would like to help out in the planning or leadership of the retreat, please be in touch with Pastor Stacy.   We need and welcome your ideas and help. 

Church Matters
Union Church in Waban is initiating a search for a new 
Assistant Music Minister/Soprano or Mezzo Section Leader.

This position will start in September and requires a 10 month commitment.
We are currently interviewing candidates and plan to fill the position by the middle of August.
Please find attached a detailed job description HERE.  

All applicants should contact Bill Merrill, the  Music Director  of the church, at:  


GBIO's next "Out of Many, One": Teach-In and Solidarity with the Boston Muslim Community will be hosted by Temple Isaiah (55 Lincoln St., Lexington) on Tuesday, July 25 from 7:00-9:00pm.

Join together with our Muslim neighbors from the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and other Greater Boston Interfaith Organization leaders for an evening of learning, relationship-building and solidarity. This is an opportunity to learn more about the Muslim faith and to hear stories from individuals of their experiences being Muslim in Boston. 

We'll also learn about specific threats facing the Muslim community in these troubling times and about what we can do to be of support.  RSVPs to <>   would be helpful for planning purposes.

- Sent on behalf of Suzan El-Rayess (ISBCC) and Temple Isaiah planning team.    
From the Wider Community 
Interfaith Youth Initiative (IFYI)
The IFYI is now accepting applications for the August 2-11 session. 
IFYI is an excellent program bringing Jewish, Muslim, Christian and other youth together for leadership training and interfaith understanding. 

Go here for more information and here for an application form.