It’s Fourth of July weekend and the red, white and blue is painting the rural landscape. While I add to the patriotic scene, hanging my Betsy Ross flag on my 18th-century house, I am thinking more of having a Strawberry Thanksgiving celebration.
Native Americans would use this time to gather the berries and give thanks for the fruit. It was also a time to make peace and forgive. I think our country needs a lot of that — peace and forgiveness.
So come, join me at Old Stone Well Farm. Pull up a chair and press play on the video below, and think about how we can only be truly free through forgiveness. And please take a moment to like, comment, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and most of all, tell your friends and invite them to the farm! Lots of changes are in the wind for this accidental country pastor and I would love to see where the Spirit wind takes this media ministry.
The wild roses all around Old Stone Well Farm are beautiful, reminding me of bridal bouquets. Yes, June is a month of weddings — and anniversaries — and I can’t help but to remember how God answered my prayer for love in my life. But beyond that, I can’t help but to be awed as to how great God’s love toward us is. I invite you to take time, pull up a chair, sit back, have some sweet tea, lemonade or an iced coffee, and spend some time with me here in Vermont. And please take some time to like, comment — even subscribe to Old Stone Well Farm’s YouTube channel (that is, if you feel so moved.) 😉
Old Stone Well Farm is a fledgling ministry, one in which I do not know where God is taking, but this I know: I love sharing this life of faith with you, I am comforted to know I do not journey alone, and I look forward to sharing with you my little piece of God’s beautiful creation.
Ever wonder where you truly belong? I have, and I have always been in awe of those who followed their hearts and chose to be in the world but not of it. My recent trip to Amish country in Pennsylvania reminded me of people like this, as did my time exploring the Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
So come and join me here at my Vermont farm as I ponder some more — and share with you some of the music composed by the Ephrata Cloister.
(Sorry for a shortened time together … and my brief words to you today … I am sadly dealing with a sick chicken and my heart is just breaking. Trying hard to keep it together and focus on all the editing, writing, gardening, sewing, baking bread, etc. that I have on my plate.)
The winds were blowing here in Vermont, making Pentecost even more of a reality for me. As I watched the tall grass sway in my back pasture and laughed wondering if my chickens would take flight, I thought about the power of the Holy Spirit that God sent to his followers. It, too, came like a rush of mighty wind.
But as I think about how the Spirit empowers us to do incredible things, this year, I think the most incredible thing we can do is to speak more words of kindness. And, yes, that will indeed take help from God’s Spirit.
So, come. Join me. Feel the Pentecost winds and then have a seat as I share one of my many finds from last week’s trip to the Ephrata Cloister in Pennsylvania.
The holiest days leading us to Easter are here and I spend the day making a Swiss German soup known as Seven Greens Soup. Traditionally served on Maundy Thursday, the soup features seven greens, which got me thinking about Jesus’ seven last words spoken to us from the cross. Come and ponder with me these words as well as Jesus’ mandate to love one another. Let us journey toward Easter together — and bring a friend as well!!
Need a smile? Need encouragement? Need to feel the love and grace in your lives again? Then let’s “run” back to where we will find wholeness again. On this fourth Sunday in Lent we ponder the parable of the Prodigal Son with a little help from Rembrandt, Henri Nouwen — and some cute little piglets! Enjoy your time in Vermont at Old Stone Well Farm. Comment, share…and let me know your answer to what brings a smile to your face.
I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. — John 13:34
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”— Matthew 28:19–20
I worked in a church that had a stunning stained-glass window of “The Great Commission,” where Jesus, before ascending into heaven, tells his disciples to go out into the world and make more disciples. Next to it was a window depicting another one of Jesus’ marching orders before leaving this world: Love one another, as I have loved you.
I never thought much about how the “command” and “commission” windows were side by side. That is until the day the rural congregation I served became a Matthew 25 church. (Matthew 25 is an invitation to the churches in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., to serve and love boldly as Jesus did.) The educated and well-off session members reviewed the three ministry focuses of the Matthew 25 invitation: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty. Like many congregations who have seen numbers dwindle dangerously low to the “closing-the-doors” level, they zeroed in on vitality over eradicating poverty and dismantling racism.
All too quickly, building vitality began looking like programming to get people into the pews. My heart broke. I reminded them that Matthew 25 was not a program to save a church. Rather, it’s an invitation to die to self to save others. It’s about boldly living as the body of Christ, and that living begins with loving as Christ loves. “That means loving all the shoppers in the local Walmart that I have heard this congregation talk disparagingly about,” I dared to say.
When Jesus said, “Love one another,” he didn’t want lip service. He wanted love to be shown in our actions that would transform a community — and, thus, the world. We are at the beginning of our Lenten journey. There are still more weeks to tread all the rough and undesirable places Jesus has already gone. But it’s here that we take a spiritual stop to examine our hearts before venturing further. We must be honest and question our commitment to Jesus’ command and commission. “Lord, when did we see you?” we ask. And he will answer, “When you began loving as I have loved, you have seen — truly seen. Now go with that love in your heart and make disciples.”
All-knowing God, you see how often we speak about love and how rarely we show it. In this season of Lent, help us go beyond words. May the world see your love through our actions. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
What are the ways in which love can become a verb as you go about living this day?
It’s Valentine’s Day at Old Stone Well Farm in Vermont. While I am dealing with a broody hen, I think about the broodiness in this world where our words and actions often don’t reflect the love of God. Our lives are filled with so much chatter…but are we speaking words of love or just making noise?
How will you speak words of love this day and in all your days to come?
Well, we had another snowstorm here in Vermont, which means more snow angels to make and more snowflakes to marvel at. While I yearn for warmer weather, there are lessons to learn in winter’s “slow down” mode. Lessons such as before jumping into saying saying “yes” to everything, discern the time and energy you have to give. Discern if what you are signing up for fuels your passion.
Even with that beautiful “Here I am” we wish to say to God, listen first for what is really being asked of you. So, sit back and enjoy what I call a “mini-retreat.”
Yes, these videos are your time to enjoy country living in Vermont with me. So enjoy Old Stone Well Farm — my little 18th-century home in a Vermont valley which is known by the locals as “the oldest house in Rupert.”
Invite your friends to come along and visit the farm as well. There’s always room at the old farm table. So like, comment and share Old Stone Well Farm Media & Ministry with friends and invite them to subscribe to the YouTube channel to get the latest news and reflections. This fledgling ministry is getting some attention. I am still not sure where God is leading me with it, but I have said “here I am” and I am excited and curious to what tomorrow will bring. So join me in praying for direction and wisdom.
Celtic Advent has met up with traditional Advent, and I am so excited to invite you to the farm as we light the first candle on the Advent wreath. This will be a time to share a cup of coffee and hear a little about Celtic spirituality and the monks beliefs in angelic encounters. I will also share with you an Advent Celtic circle prayer. And I can’t wait to tell you the story of a very unlikely angel named, Oscar. So make yourself comfortable, enjoy some old and new holiday songs, and watch the snow fall here in Vermont as we make our way to Christmas together. As always, I appreciate your feedback and support. Share with friends and family. Like on YouTube, and consider subscribing to the YouTube channel. I only need a few more subscribers to get a personalized YouTube channel. Blessings! Donna