Wonder and Awe – August 2017
It happened! Exactly the way we knew it would. On the nano second that we were expecting this to occur, the black daytime moon moved between the sun and my North Carolina home and with beautiful flashes of light precisely totally covered the sun. At 2:38pm on an August afternoon we were in total darkness for 2 minutes and a few seconds. The temperature dropped and we could see the stars. Through our protective glasses we were able to see things about the sun that are otherwise beyond our visual tolerance. Scientists from NASA and around the world had come to an old satellite tracking station tucked away in the mountains near me to observe through high powered telescopes. Also as expected, I was completely awe-struck. The sun and the moon are visible doing their thing every day. We can take them for granted. But when our two primary sources of light get together like this and leave us in the dark, the wonder of the universe strikes home. We are created parts of this same universe, but nobody can predict where we will be or what we will be doing at any time in the future. We have free will. God has created us to be part of this universe and calls us to serve God’s loving will in the ongoing creation. Wonder and awe at what God has done and is doing on this cosmic scale makes me eager to know what God wants me to be doing in my little space. As I read the CORNERSTONE, I think that I am observing one community of people who individually and together are listening to God’s loving and creative call and responding in so many ways.
News from Martha – July 2017
People from around the world are expected to come to Western North Carolina on August 21. They want to share with those of us who live here the awe and wonder of a total solar eclipse that will be visible here at about 2:30 p.m. for, depending on exact location, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The whole show lasts about 3 hours from the first “bite” the black moon takes out of the sun until full sunlight reappears. At totality, viewers see an amazing light show, and aspects of the sun not normally visible. We have known for centuries that this will happen here at this time. A total solar eclipse is visible from earth somewhere about every 16 months, but will not pass over this spot on earth again for @330 years. I witnessed one in 1998 with stepson Rob from an eclipse cruise in the Caribbean. I was breathless with awe as the size of what I was seeing and of how small and insignificant I was in comparison. At the same time, I was stunned with wonder that I was a piece of that same creation with my own value and role to play in what God has done and continues to do. I invite you to remember on August 21 those of us who, will be waiting and watching in a straight line across the US from Oregon to South Carolina to see the world go dark early on an August afternoon. I invite you to share in our awe and wonder because what is true for us is also true for you.
A New Year’s Prayer from Martha Rowlett – January 2016
Eternal God, creator of everything that ever has been, is now and ever will be, we give thanks at the beginning of this new year for the amazing gift of life as a part of this stream of history new in every moment to both you and to us. We give thanks that we can trust your presence and your love to be with us always and everywhere. We can hear your voice calling us from the heart of life to be part of what you are doing to fulfill the best possibilities for what is here now. In this season we define as a new year, we remember that our selfishness often has blocked your love. We trust your mercy in forgiving us and your grace in renewing the light and the love with which you would bless our lives. As we step out into this new future, may we be strong in our souls, resistant to the wrongs of the world, compassionate toward those who suffer, and faithful to what is dear to you. In the power of your Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ we pray, AMEN.
Dr. Martha Rowlett, Senior Pastor Emeritus
Advent Prayer from Martha Rowlett – December 2016
In this December season of lengthening darkness, our hearts wait eagerly for the light of the Christmas message. In a time of alienation and anger we are ready to remember your love for all of your creation. In the middle of confused babble of conflicting claims, we are eager to listen for your clear calling to the hopeful future you prepare for us. Touch the deep places of our being with the miracle and mystery of your eternal presence with us, within us and among us. Strengthen our souls so that we may become the people you have made us to be. Bless us with joy as we celebrate your gift of love to us in Jesus by giving to others our gifts of love. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
A Letter from Martha Rowlett – October 2016
Dear Jonathan and the RHUMC congregation,
I am a bit giddy today as I adjust to the honor of being named Senior Pastor Emeritus for my favorite congregation, The Rolling Hills United Methodist Church. I am savoring the implications of being no longer just a previous pastor and friend, but being a current member of the family. Now I am related not just to the good folk who were there 17 years ago, but to everybody in RHUMC. And since you elected me and the Bishop did not appoint me, the Bishop cannot move me. We are in this together! North Carolina is a bit of a commute for regular worship with you. But I may write occasional messages for the CORNERSTONE, and do whatever Jonathan asks. I have just turned 80, and I am thrilled to have this new relationship as a delightful dimension of this new decade of life. I experience it very clearly as something God is doing now with what was once the empty sheet of my life. Thank you very much for the open-hearted gift of this new relationship and for the honor of the naming of Martha’s room.
Love and best wishes to all of you, individually and as a congregation,
Weaving Prayer Into the Tapestry of Life
Martha Rowlett is a minister in the United Methodist Church, a prolific blogger, and author of four books on prayer. Her book, Weaving Prayer Into the Tapestry of Life, provides an overview of the understanding and practice of prayer, offering an invitation to the reader to move from thinking to doing.
Read Martha’s writings from her blog at WeavingPrayerIntoTheTapestryOfLife.Com
Former senior pastor at Rolling Hills, Martha has served in local churches and on Conference staff in the United Methodist Church. Originally from Virginia, she has lived most of her adult life in California and Washington and currently enjoys mountain living in Asheville, North Carolina.