Living Stones

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

Acts 7:55-60
7:55 But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.   “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

7:57 But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him.  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

7:59 While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

7:60 Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

1 Peter 2:2-10
2:2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your into salvation, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

2:4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

2:6 For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2:7 To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,”   and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.   Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

John 14:1-14
14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.

14:2 In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.”

14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

14:7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

14:12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

14:13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14:14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

A Jewish businessman in America decided to send his son to Israel to absorb some of the culture of the homeland. When the son returned, the father asked him to tell him about his trip. The son said, “Pop, I had a great time in Israel. By the way, I converted to Christianity.” “Oy vey,” said the father. “What have I done?” He decided to go ask his friend Jacob what to do. Jacob said, “Funny you should ask. I too sent my son to Israel, and he also came back a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi and ask him what we should do.” So they went to see the Rabbi. The Rabbi said, “Funny you should ask.I too sent my son to Israel. He also came back a Christian. What is happening to our young people? Perhaps we should go talk to God and ask him what to do.” The three of them prayed and explained what had happened to their sons and asked God what to do. Suddenly a voice came loud and clear from Heaven. The Voice said, “funny you should ask, I too sent my son to Israel…”

Living Stones
Peter 2:2-10
May 7th  2023
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter


The building we now occupy is the second structure for Methodist worship in Harwich, MA. The cornerstone of this church building was laid in 1811 and the building was dedicated January 1st 1812 as the Methodist Episcopal Church of Harwich.  In 1797 a class was started in Harwich- The cornerstone is always representative of much visioning, work and planning.  The scriptures tell us that Jesus is the cornerstone.  Jesus was God’s plan for salvation and on him was built the vision of the Kingdom of God.

When God laid the cornerstone of the Kingdom, when God poured himself into the person of Jesus and became human, it was an event, that stands at the center of history – marking the end of the planning stage and the beginning of the building stage.

Buildings come in various configurations and are made of various materials.   The First Methodist structure “faced south and there was no paint or plastering about the building.  A broad “isle” [sic] extended from the front door to a roughly finished pulpit.  The men sat on the west side of the aisle and the women on the east.  The seats were arranged in the same manner as schoolhouses of the day.”

Some are brick, others wooden… some are painted outstanding colors and others opt for clean white. A lengthy description of the church is included in a “Manual of the M.E. Church, East Harwich, with a Historical Sketch” written collaboratively by Pastor J.D.Phelps (1878-1879), Jonathan Buck and James Smalley for a Conference report in 1878-79.  The Sketch states the church was painted yellow outside, the sides each contained seven windows in upper and lower levels, the front had a spacious central door and six windows – four above and two below.  I lived in a house with pink shutters.

Peter begins with the concept of the cornerstone that was rejected as found in Psalm 118 and speaks of the church – those who follow Jesus – as LIVING STONES

God chose Jesus and all believers choose Jesus, but many reject Jesus.  Decisions about how we intend to build our lives are made every day.  The first step is to set the cornerstone as a sign of what is to come and a commitment to a particular plan.  Infant baptisms are the setting of a cornerstone in the lives of children and adult baptisms are a personal statement of building on Jesus’ life and teachings.

We can be classic, traditional, colonial, modern or innovative but we are something in our life plans.  People who graduate this year from the technical schools, high schools, colleges and certificate programs have completed the preparation and anticipate beginning the project they will call their life work.  People who will marry these years have completed the preparation and anticipate beginning the project they will call their family life.  And in a few weeks, we will have one adult profess her faith as a completion of preparation.

Choices in work, in relationships and in faith may be traditional or innovative but we must choose to be something in our life plans. These plans may unfold before us and change dramatically as we mature and age. Centuries represent millions of decisions but the most fundamental decision any one can make is still: Will we choose to serve the Lord our God as shown to us in Jesus Christ, or not.

God’s plan, built on the cornerstone of Jesus the Christ is one that respects persons- living stones.  Jesus showed us that Samaritans and tax collectors, women and children, were all equally to be respected.  Jesus came proclaiming liberation of the captives, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked as a work of God.  Sending money and goods away to the people who are hungry, in prison and in need of clothing is well established in our churches.  Social justice has been very important to the Methodist church – social ethics as taught by Jesus is the basis of social justice in America.

In this day when we know more about the human mind and emotions, the encouragement of emotional health, counseling, consoling and uplifting – person to person- is as mandatory in God’s building plan as the work of soup kitchens, relief teams and support of the less fortunate.  In fact, pastoral counseling goes hand in hand with social justice.  People are living stones built up into societies.

Jesus is the cornerstone of a plan in which we are concerned for the whole person.  One of the greatest challenges as a pastor is to see each person as someone who needs God’s love and sometimes to make decisions about how to advise people in their search for the joy which God wants in their lives.  God makes victors out of victims, but not without a great deal of soul searching and courage.  Every Christian is a pastor – a caretaker — the minister is the pastor to you lay pastors.

So God challenges all of us together to make health care, both physical and emotional available to young and old so they can be victorious over bodily handicaps, victorious over loneliness, victorious over things we do not like to face, like the effects of private victimization – rape, incest, marital abuse, harassment.

God challenges us to make welfare available to victims of floods, of poverty and of racial discrimination.  God calls us to help in bringing victory out of defeat.  God calls us to participation in the Kingdom which was laid from the beginning.

The cornerstone of Christ Jesus sends us into the world to offer people the opportunity to stop worshiping social idols and begin a meaningful relationship with one another that reflects God’s relationship to the world for which Jesus sacrificially taught and ultimately died.

When we help persons see themselves as God sees them, precious and loved… when we advocate for them in the marketplace of work and law… when we walk with them thru hopelessness and despair, thru loss and overcoming addictions, then we are living stones built on the cornerstone of Christ Jesus the Lord.  Moreover, when you are part of the building upon the cornerstone of Christ, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” as we heard the priest mention at the coronation service of Charles III yesterday.

Jesus’ words are “Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the work that I do; and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father.’

Christ buildings are held together by healthy faith lives.  Faith is nurtured by study of the scriptures, a constant conversation with God – which we call prayer and attendance on worship and sacrament.  These building blocks for the kingdom allow us to continue until God’s blueprint is realized and God’s will for the world is crowned by a cross lifted high for all to find.

Jesus the respecter of persons

Jesus the teacher for whom we are disciples and disciplined to conform to his will.

Leads to Jesus the peace maker….

People focus on the end time as a time heralded by terrible and frightening disasters.  The focus is come to God for fear that you will be “left behind”.  Jesus’ call is “follow me” for my yoke is easy and my burden light” Jesus calls us to the Kingdom built on him.  We all lose a little when anyone is left behind… Jesus the prince of Peace invites us to victory over fear and death.  Peace will be complete at the end time because the Kingdom project will have been completed and God will occupy the seat at the Head of the Table.

Peace will not be complete until the end of time but the Peace that passes understanding is available to individuals every day.  It is breaking into the world as a sign of the Kingdom.  At Easter people celebrate the opportunity to have resurrections during disappointment and suffering.  Christ is the cornerstone of Peace.  A peace that living stones adopt as a conscious plan, each of us every day until God’s Kingdom come.

Finally, Just as people choose the materials for their buildings beginning with the cornerstone – the choice of a cornerstone for our lives means the rejection of other options. Many people will reject Jesus as the cornerstone… and all he stands for.  Reserving judgment is to place something else at the foundation and run the risk of a shaky construct … built on sand or passing fads.  It is imperative to choose … God chooses the materials for his Kingdom that are participatory in his plan for peace and justice.

The prophet’s statement can be yours and mine:
As for me and my family we will serve the Lord our God and his plan for the Kingdom.

“On this Rock I will build my Church.”  We know that this is the response of Jesus to Simon’s declaration: You [Jesus] are the Messiah, the Son of the living God

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734

Standing at the Edge

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

SCRIPTURE LESSON Exodus 12:1 –14

The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.


SCRIPTURE LESSON 1 Corinthians 11:23 –26

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


GOSPEL LESSON John 13:1 –5, 14-17 Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

SERMON    Following Instructions
Matthew 26:36-56 Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[a] with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on.[b] See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49 And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50 Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.”[c] Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant[d] of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Following Instructions
6 April 2023
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter

As we discussed Sunday, Jesus was saying goodbye to people, places and His human experiences in the world as he entered Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for the last time. As we hear in Exodus, God gave very detailed instructions for the People of God to be saved from the death to come as God liberated the people from slavery in Egypt.

Jesus became the sacrificial lamb that sets us free from our mortality.   Like many of us “going on a trip” He knew there was so much to do and so little time to do it!

When you leave home, go on a trip, face your mortality:  Do you leave notes for people to Water the flowers- feed the cat- put the seat down in the bathroom – pick up the mail?

Have you written your Will?

Have you thought about your Memorial Service?

These passages about Jesus and the disciples celebrating Passover have Jesus’ parting instructions to us.

1] Serve each other and the world as I have served you
2] Remember me: with this practice of breaking bread and drinking wine – I am the sacrifice and the way – Watch and pray that you may not enter temptation.
3] Love one another

Interesting instructions…… as each year rolls by we pause to evaluate whether we have been following these Instructions…. Jesus’ final instructions… like his first invitations to a variety of people [Tax collectors, fishermen, accountants, political figures]- Follow Me!

Walk like me!  I will not leave you….

The disciples were not A+ students – but they got better.

That night after Jesus asked them to keep watch while he prayed – they fell asleep- one betrayed Jesus, one denied Jesus and one resorted to the sword.

But the next year they did better. 

Do we keep watch and pray? – Do our actions betray Jesus?  Do our lives deny knowing what Jesus expects?  Do we resort to the sword – cutting off others and speaking in anger? But this next year we can do better. 

Each one of us needs to take stock: How well are we following Instructions?

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734


A message from our Pastor – April 2023

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

Dear People of God at Harwich UMC,

Holy Week Greetings as April arrives after a [shhhhh] mild winter. For Jesus, the pomp of Palm Sunday and the final opportunities to teach and lead by example, unfold before us. Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and sharing the Passover with them as a memorial meal are often celebrated as services during Holy Week. This year, due to the circumstances of my recovery, I will be sharing a reflection for Maundy Thursday on Zoom* at 6 pm on April 6th. This also will be recorded for YouTube so that you might pause on Friday and remember if you cannot be with us Thursday evening. Jesus and the disciples met for the Passover meal because it was part of their faith journey, and it is part of our response to Jesus’ invitation. 

As Christians, we become part of the faith at our Baptism and affirm our personal commitment to Jesus who is “The Way” in our Confirmation. Baptism/confirmation and Communion are the 2 Protestant Sacraments because Jesus told his disciples to continue to celebrate them. [Matthew 28:18-20 and Matthew 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–24; and Luke 22:17–20]  If you know you were baptized as an infant and wish to renew your baptism with a statement of confirmation at Pentecost – May 28th, 2023- or if you wish to sponsor an infant or adult for Baptism, please contact me at 774 212-0520. There will be more information during April!

Join me on this wonderful journey of remembrance so that we might celebrate the Victory of Easter possibilities!

In the everlasting Love of Christ Jesus I am yours,

Pastor Dianne

Worship Time

9:30 AM

Harwich UMC

1 Church Street East Harwich, MA 02645 Tel: 508-432-3734

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The Myopia Club

Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

            he leads me beside still waters;

khe restores my soul.  

He leads me in the right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

            I fear no evil;

            for you are with me;

            your rod and your staff — they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

            you anoint my head with oil;

            my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

            and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD my whole life long.


John 9: 1-41

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see.

The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”

He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.”

They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided.

So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.”

He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.”

He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him.

Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.


The Myopia Club
The Rev Dr  Dianne ES Carpenter
19 March 2023
John 9:1-41

For seven years in the nineties I served the United Methodist church in Hamilton, Massachusetts.  The historic building had been located on Railroad Avenue near the parsonage.  However in the sixties one of the classic A frame structures was erected on Main Street right beside the Myopia Hunt Club.  There were several historic notable claims to fame at this location.  Fred told me that he had to go next door to the myopia hunt club to borrow their silver tea service when the queen of England came to visit and had TEA at the United Methodist church fellowship hall.  Princess Anne and Phillip had participated in one of the Olympic trials held at the myopia hunt club in 1975 that my recollection says that it was a three day Dressage event on the Polo Fields.  Steve Mcqueen and Ryan O’neal  Christopher Reeves were involved in shooting a movie or eating at the horse trial food tents.

So one day I decided I should make a neighborly call on the Myopia Hunt club that had allowed us to purchase the property on which the United Methodist church had been constructed.  I drove down their long tree lined entry to the historic clubhouse which was the original structure on their lands and when I shared that I was the Methodist neighbor pastor I had a chance to talk to the riding instructor, the cook and some other person who made the whole place run.  I left my greetings with them and never had a reason to interact with the Myopia Hunt club again.

If you look them up on line you discover that The Myopia Club originally started as a gentleman’s sporting club in Winchester, Massachusetts, in 1875-several of the founding members were short-sighted and wore glasses, which led to lighthearted banter and the official name of the club-but it soon needed more open space as the fox hunting division of the club expanded.

Because I have some pretty poor eyesight, I have a pretty significant prescription.  In my left eye -5 ½ in my right eye closer to -5 and people start to be considered legally blind at minus six.  If I take off my glasses for any reason, I am quite blind.  However, once I put my glasses on, everything comes into view! I can once again see the details of faces, read words, and distinguish colors, shapes, and pictures.

The man in our gospel today was born blind.  Day after day he sat and begged. They looked. They walked by. They wondered. But they never saw. He had never seen their faces until today. He had never seen his own face, his parents’ faces, a sunrise, the stars, his home, a smile until today. Before today, for the community, it was as if he didn’t even exist. He was a life waiting to be born, a light waiting to shine, a word waiting to be spoken. Today he became a new creation, he was enlightened, he became a living testimony to the Son of Man but they still don’t see him. For some reason they are unable to see him.

The disciples look at him and ask a theological question, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Their vision is distorted by the popular belief that suffering is caused by sin and you get what you deserve.

The neighbors looked but couldn’t see past the image of the way things had always been, a blind man sitting and begging. It’s all he had ever known. It’s all they had ever known. Blinded by disbelief they keep asking him, “How were your eyes opened?”

Two times the religious leaders call him in. Two times they interrogate him. Two times he gives glory to God. They cannot see the prophet, the man from God, that this formerly blind man now sees. They cannot see the new life, the new man, the new creation that bears testimony to the man from God. Two times they turn a blind eye to this man and his God. No one, as the saying goes, is more blind than he or she who chooses not to see. They have chosen power, rules, and boundaries over the reality before them.  RESEMBLANCE Pharisees – Myopia members

I wonder if Jesus longed to give the Pharisees spiritual glasses. How sad He must have been to see them being legalistic, asking wrong questions, and settling for less. I wonder if He is just as sad when we do the same.

When Jesus healed the blind man he gave him more than sight, he allowed him to experience what he had never experienced before—connection to the world around him and those he held dear. Can you imagine what that must have been like?

This healing is cause for great celebration, but the Pharisees can only find fault. They wonder who is this Jesus man who heals, under what authority is He healing, and how it is that this blind man came to be healed on the Sabbath. In doing so, they miss the point—a man was restored and God was glorified!

Jesus mourns their spiritual blindness. These individuals who spent so much time studying the law of God couldn’t see the forest for the trees. These ones who so self-righteously proclaimed their togetherness, couldn’t seem to put 2 and 2 together.

Even this man’s own parents distance themselves from him. They can talk about their blind son but not about their seeing son. To see him, the enlightened son, meant they would have to tell the story. “We do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” They deny what is right before their eyes. Fear does that. Fear keeps us from seeing a larger reality, from living with a larger vision. So we live with tunnel vision only seeing that one thing that we most fear.

They all looked but none saw him. If they saw him they would have to confront their own blindness. This man blind from birth is not just a single individual, he is every man, every woman. The only difference between him and all the others in today’s gospel is that he knows he is blind. Until we know we are blind we can never see with new eyes. “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

Blindness is not about the quality of our vision or the condition of our eyes. It is not about the darkness around us but, rather, the darkness within us. How we see others, what we see in the world, the way we see life is less about the objects of our seeing and more about ourselves. We do not see God, people, things, or circumstances as they are but as we are. Until our eyes are opened by Christ our seeing is really just a projection of ourselves onto the world. What we see and how we see manifest our inner world. They describe and point to the fears, attachments, and beliefs within us.

If we wish to see God, life, and others as they really are then we must attend to what is going on within us. True seeing begins in the heart not the eyes. We must begin to acknowledge the fears, attachments, and beliefs that live within us and how they have impaired our vision.

Think about a time when you were scared, really scared. Maybe it was about your marriage, your job, the illness of loved one. That fear had a way of blinding you. Fear rivets our attention on that thing we fear to the exclusion of everything else around us. That one thing is all we can think about, all that we can see. Fear narrows our world view and our vision becomes myopic, nearsighted to the point of exclusion.

Attachments are those things or people we think we must have to be happy. We can’t imagine life without them. We have convinced ourselves that our very existence in some way depends on them. The Bible calls them idols. Modern society calls them addictions. Regardless, we will inevitably look for and see only that which fosters and affirms our attachments and will turn a blind eye toward anything that threatens them. Our vision becomes selective.

We have probably all met someone who is so fanatical in his or her beliefs that he or she cannot see another point of view. He cannot look at any other possibility. She refuses to see other ways but her own. Not only have we met these people -too often we are these people. We all have certain beliefs to which we cling. They offer the illusion of stability and security. So we no longer live in the real world, God’s world, but a world that we have created in our head.

The inner darkness of our fears, attachments, and beliefs is what keeps us from seeing. They cover our eyes like the mud on the eyes of the man born blind. In placing mud on the blind man’s eyes Jesus is holding before him the reality of his blindness. He wears thick black lenses of fear, attachments, and beliefs. We all do. Those who know this are sent to wash in the pool, to be re-created, and to see with new eyes. Once they were darkness but now in the Lord they are light. The rest will continue looking but never see, their faces caked with mud.

Don’t just look around. Look within. What do you see? How do you see? Where is the mud of darkness in your life? Name that reality. Acknowledge it and then go wash. The mud of darkness always gives way to the light of Christ.

It would be easy to think of Myopia as an ivory tower, devoid of social conscience, but nothing could be further from the truth. Conservation and land preservation have been two of the club’s raisons d’être since its inception, and today’s membership is no less passionate about those important causes. A century ago, Myopia members needed grounds to fox hunt, but in recent years the hunt, polo, and equestrian disciplines of the club have all made great efforts to champion open space for the wider community, supporting local organizations such as the Essex County Trail Association, Essex County Greenbelt Association, and Trustees of Reservation.

The founding fathers of Myopia might have been lampooned for being near-sighted, but their far-sighted approach to creating an exclusive private country club with a heartfelt community spirit was nothing short of visionary.

Myopia’s Historic Club House


Incorporated as the Myopia Hunt Club in 1892, the building dates to 1772. It was commissioned by Colonel Robert Dodge, whose family lived there until 1886.

Myopia’s historic Club House has borne witness to 120 years of hunting, golf, and polo history, as well as created a few sporting legends of its own. By Andrew Conway

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734


Wells in the Desert

Worship Time
10:00 AM
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East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

Exodus 17: 1-7

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.

The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?”

But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?”

So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The LORD said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?

John 4: 5-42

So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?”

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.”

The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.”

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.”

Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you speaking with her?”

Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people,

“Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?”

They left the city and were on their way to him. Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples said to one another, “Surely no one has brought him something to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work. Do you not say, ‘Four months more, then comes the harvest’? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting. The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”

In Arizona we’re at a high altitude and one of the things that Nicole kept saying to me was take a picture there’s nothing out there.  Deserts have many different appearances deserted places are deserts.lent commemorates jesus’ time in the wilderness a deserted place.

Sahara Desert.

A somewhat predictable oldie but amusing nevertheless.

A guy was lost in the Sahara Desert, desperate for water, when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he walked towards the image only to find a little old man sitting at a card table with a bunch of neckties laid out on it.

The guy asked, “Please, I’m dying of thirst, can I have some water?”

The old man replied, “I don’t have any water, but why don’t you buy a tie?. Here’s one that goes nicely with your shirt.”

The guy shouted, “I don’t want a tie, you idiot! I need water!”

“OK, don’t buy a tie, but to show you what a nice guy I am, I’ll tell you that over that dune there, about five miles down, there is a nice restaurant my brother runs. Go over that way, they’ll give you all the water you want.” The guy thanked him and walked away towards the dune and eventually disappeared.

Three hours later the guy came crawling back to where the old man was sitting behind his card table. The old man said, “I told you, about five miles over that dune. Couldn’t you find it?”

The guy rasped, “I found it, they wouldn’t let me in without a tie.”

Wells in the Desert
12  March  2023
The Rev. Dr. Dianne Carpenter
John 4: 5-42

During the Season of Lent, we’re working our way through a series of stories in the Gospel of John. Each of them describes Jesus’s encounter with a different person: Nicodemus the Pharisee, the woman at the well, the man born blind, and Lazarus of Bethany. These are stories of people that we usually think of as marginal to the Jesus story.  None of them are one of the twelve, for example. But in the Gospel of John, it is these encounters that reveal who Jesus really is.

With large stretches of sand in the area, water is a precious necessity of life.  The River Litani and the River Jordan are the only rivers of any size in the vicinity of the land of Canaan. Wadis…flash flood areas.  Sandy area  is hilly and the road winds thru these hills. Ben Sira, in 2nd-century BCE Jewish wisdom book,  also called Ecclesiasticus (its Latin name). twice enumerates water as the first among the “principal things necessary for the life of man.”

Reference to Dr.  Beck [green areas in the desert] [modern wells- Spencer  100’ down here septic bearly clears water table] All springs, wells and fountains were landmarks in the topography of Israel. Abraham dug wells near Gerar. Abraham’s Well is a historical water well in BeershebaIsrael, associated with the biblical narrative of Abraham– Abraham’s well was seized by Abimelech’s men (Genesis 21:25), and Isaac’s servants also dug a well at Beersheba (Genesis 26:25).

 An angel found Hagar at a well in the Sinai, Beer Lahai Roi (Genesis 16:7).

Life is saved in the prospects of death  are near…

To own a well and to possess the surrounding country were synonymous terms (Proverbs 5:15-17). On the other hand, so serious might be the disputes arising out of the use or claim of a well that violent conflicts occurred (Genesis 26:21; Exodus 2:17; Numbers 20:17). If the approach of an enemy was feared, his progress might be seriously hampered, if not altogether frustrated, by stopping or destroying the wells along his route (2 Chronicles 32:3).

“Wells of water” speak of access and supply, and much more in the Bible.  When Israel traveled to a place where God had miraculously provided water in the past, they sang, “Spring up, O well! All of you sing to it…” (see Numbers 21:16-17) God’s people recognized that He was the One who had provided the water before, and that He would do so again.  ie Exodus…

McFee points out that:  “Wells are a literary device in scripture, often the site of betrothal. Isaac finds Rebekah at a well. Jacob meets Rachel at a well. Moses’ marriage to Zipphorah is connected to a well.”  So it is not a casual thing for Jesus to meet this Samaritan woman- who has had several husbands- at a well in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel.

As necessary as water is for life, loving and being loved is  also necessary for fullness of life.  Our Lenten theme is the human search for love.  We thirst after wholeness – we look for love in many places – What wells are we drinking from to quench the thirst for wholeness only to realize that power, reknown, beauty, status symbols, popularity, wealth, cars, technology, experiences, relationships…….Does not satisfy and the search goes on.

In our desperation for real connection we keep chasing after shallow connections like foreign pen pals and today on things like social media,[expand] and consistently drinking from a well that only will lead to us being thirsty again. [secret identity]

What wells are we drinking from as communities [abutters to housing for the economically challenged work forces in exclusive communities] to quench the thirst for wholeness only to realize that love of property values, are not saving?

What wells are we drinking from as a nation where gun ownership is more of a sacred right than our children and human beings?  What will it take to realize that mental health and sanity will thrive only in the context of radical love? [expand]

The Samaritan woman had no reason to trust a Jew who was hanging out at her well in the middle of the day.  She was there because she was an outsider to her own community where most of the women would draw water early in the coolness of the morning.  But this Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, gave her reason to trust him.  He showed her that he knew who she was and he loved her with THE love of the God that they each worshiped, tho’ in different ways.

Life is full of desert places where we cannot thrive: depression, loss, disappointment…we need wells of living water

People at odds over philosophical differences within our country cannot communicate until they find radical respect for one another.  Name calling and avoidance contributes only to further the disagreement and the fractured society we live in and our more fractured global community  [China/Russia vs usa.]

 Jesus reminds us that there is a deeper well–a spring of water “gushing up to eternal life.” There are deep wells of spirit and of truth that we can drink from that will perpetually slake a deep human thirst we share! 

And Jesus offers this across lines of exclusion.  There is no exclusive club that has sole access to this kind of deep well of eternal life. We have to remember to seek out deep relationships and not shy away from ones that might cross over arbitrary social taboos such as race, age or sexual identity. That is what is modeled for us in the fourth chapter of John. [Mcfee]

The reading from Exodus also reminds us that the deepest well, the most important source of nourishment, is from God. The one who can even draw water from a rock–from Massah and Meribah which, in Hebrew, literally translates to mean “Test” and “Quarrel.” Only God can draw water from impossible places! Which means we can trust that even in the midst of our own quarrels and tribulations that the real source is always present with us when our faith is tested or life is unbelievably difficult?

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734