Well folks we are all moved into our new home in Haverhill. NO INTERNET yet! However, I have a hot spot that works when it feels like. As I was packing up our things in my former residence, It quickly became apparent that we were not going to take everything with us. There were a lot of things purchased, collected and acquired over the years that had found their way into our hearts at one time. As we looked over each object deciding what would come with us or what would be left behind two things happened. In some cases the attachment had disappeared which raised the question: Why in the world…?. Second, the things that resonated with who we are and our belonging and those things that reminded us how much love had sustained us through the rough patches, came with us.
One of the things that come to the new house is a small wooden box filled with silly little things like tickets to concerts, name badges from a jobs, a card with an old address frome Tulsa, some old costume Jewelry, a set of rosary beads, a guitar pick, a large button from a coat I wore studying abroad in Italy, a sea shell, a small polished stone and a very old sterling silver Celtic cross I used to wear and a red comma pin. This little wooden box with its objects of affection came with me to the new place: reminders of God and of people who loved me now gone, They triggered memories of my travels, of people I had met along my life’s journey. Each, retold a story or harkened back to a moment in time or repeated a testimony or shared a witness to what I believe and how I experience belonging.
We moved to Haverhill because a small group of people from First Congregational Church believed God wanted to start something new. They worked for several years ultimately calling me to serve this new Church Start “Phoenix Rising UCC”. These folks packed up and left their former church home and moved on. With God’s help I pray they will see their vision come to life. This is the hope I have for them and for Haverhill.
In my little wooden box, I will place a small piece of bark. I found it on the ground near the Worshiping Oak Tree on the Buttonwoods Museum grounds. This piece of bark will sit alongside my polished stone, my sea shell, my old Celtic cross, the badges, the tickets, the button: it has already become an object of affection as I researched the Worshiping Oak’s historic place in Haverhill’s founding and its faith history. To anyone who looks inside, they will only see meaningless stuff and wonder what in the world…? I can’t help wondering how many new folks I will meet how many new stories that will arise, how many testimonies and witnesses to God’s love and belonging will take place because I intentionally came here on a mission. We are mostly unpacked with a new space, a new place to call home and an expectation of meeting new people, making new friends and sharing God’s Good News of belovedness and belonging.