Message From the Pastor

It’s a delight to be with you at Payson Park as your interim pastor. As I write this, the moving van has still not arrived, and we are informed that it is delayed for at least a week.  So Lucy and I are still living out of boxes and suitcases in temporary lodgings.  But that doesn’t dampen the genuine sense of welcome we’ve received from you, the people of Payson Park Church.  How much we appreciate the hospitality of your warm welcome my first Sunday with you on June 22. We went home with lots of cake and many fond impressions of those who greeted us so warmly! 

 After this frigid winter and soggy, cool spring, I would imagine that most of you, like me, are ready to welcome some real warmth and a bit of good old-fashioned summertime by now! Now even though I have to be in church most Sundays this summer, due to the nature of my job, I’m not going to lay some guilt trip on you about the sparse attendance in worship this summer.  In fact, I’m surprised as many of you are showing up as there have been these past couple of Sundays.   Summertime in Massachusetts is indeed a time to rest and relax and just get away from it all. 

            So when was the last time you actually did just that?  When was the last time you just closed the door on all your busyness and worries and just headed out for some R & R?  I mean a real dose of it, not just some little snip of it, an hour here or an hour there.  When was it last, indeed, that your soul truly felt rested?            

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”  These words of Jesus, first spoken to his disciples and to the crowds who were listening to him by the Sea of Galilee 2,000 years ago, may have been part of the inspiration that led the Pilgrims and Puritans across the billowing North Atlantic to the new world of Massachusetts as they sought a new life free from the cares of the Old World from which they’d come.   They might also be particularly welcome words to many of us here today, who are needing to slow down after a frantic pace the past several months.

  It’s comforting to know that life was never intended to be all hurry, hurry, hurry, and stress, stress, stress.  Life includes down times, and rest and relaxation, empty spaces on our maps, and Sabbath time and holiday weekends every once in a while.  Too often we 21st Century high-achievers lose sight of this fact amidst our busy schedules and all the multi-tasking we try to carry out, day in and day out.  Every now and then we need to slow down, take a detour or two from the path we intended to follow, and just stop, look and listen for God. 

            “To bring some solitude into our lives,” wrote the late Dutch Jesuit priest Henri Nouwen,  “is one of the most necessary but also most difficult disciplines…Without a lonely place, our lives lose their meaning.  Without silence, words become just noise.  Without solitude, touch cannot heal.  Without the presence of our Creator, our world becomes empty.”

            So find some space and take some time out this summer, and then join back with us again by Homecoming Sunday, September 14th, if not before.  I’m looking forward to getting to know you and to growing with you as together we live out the ebb and flow of the life of faith.

Tom Forster-Smith