News & Resources: Spiritual Spot


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

You'll find here occasional writings, a few rants, and hopefully some insights too, about Christian discipleship, the Episcopal Church, and on faith community's life at the Parish of the Epiphany in Winchester, Massachusetts. At the Epiphany we understand ourselves to be "a welcoming Episcopal community, united in God, called to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and to transform the world with love and generosity."

  • December 07, 2016 7:41 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT  Wednesday, December 7, 2016

    Psalm 100

    Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. 

       Worship the Lord with gladness;

       come into his presence with singing. 

    Know that the Lord is God.

       It is he that made us, and we are his;

       we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

    Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

       and his courts with praise.

       Give thanks to him, bless his name. 

    For the Lord is good;

       his steadfast love endures for ever,

       and his faithfulness to all generations.

    Make happy noise.

    I walk by them almost every day on my commute to and from work - the Charlestown Bells. An interactive musical sculpture, they were created by the artist Paul Matisse, who is seen in the photo playing them after their restoration. The 30 tubular bells are attached to a railing on a walkway over the Charles River between Boston and Charlestown. Handles attached to strikers for each bell allow passersby to ring them as they wish. Here is what delights me: every time I walk by, I create a different sound. And  there is no way I can make a mistake!

    I'm glad the psalmist said, "Make a joyful noise to the Lord." Had the words been "Offer a joyful song to the Lord," I might be more hesitant. What if I sang a wrong note? What if it did not sound right? But no, the psalmist said, "Make a joyful noise."

    You don't have to sing or play an instrument today. I am sure that somewhere on the paths you regularly take, you can find a way to make a joyful noise, giving thanks to God.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com
    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 05, 2016 7:37 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT, Monday, December 5, 2016

    Romans 13:11-14

     Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

    Get up early.

    I am waking up in a different way these days. After the election on November 8, I was struck by how many different voices I was listening to leading up to the election. There were the candidates and their campaign ads, the columnists, the bloggers, the news feeds, and the Facebook postings - all telling me what was happening and what I was supposed to be thinking. Among those voices were the news reporters on our clock radio that went off every morning at 6 am.

    For a week after the election, I decided to fast - not from food, but from all of those other voices. What a liberating decision that was! In the silence of that week, I found time to listen more intently for another voice. I created space in my life to hear the Spirit of God. 

    I am trying not to wake up to "the news" in this Advent season.  I am still waking up at the same time, but I am getting up earlier.  In the quiet of the morning, I discover again how to pray and to listen; I open my eyes and my ears to the new day. Maybe you will find a way to get up early today, and tomorrow.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 04, 2016 6:29 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT, Sunday, December 4, 2016 

    John 1:6-9

    There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

     Light two candles.

    I went for a good long walk with a friend the other day. Accompanying us was her family's four month old puppy. As we walked, the puppy did everything you would expect her to do - greeting every person and dog that came along, exploring this smell and that, all the time bobbing back and forth across the path in a playful manner.  Suddenly, she stopped and looked intently into the woods beside us. Straining on her leash, she could not have looked more determined. "Ah, you see a bird," my friend remarked.

    A Hungarian Vizsla, this delightful puppy was bred to be a pointer. With her focused stare she suddenly seemed older, alert, and ready to take on the task for which she had been bred. 

    John the Baptist came as a witness to testify to the light. When we see him in this Advent season, we see someone with a passionate and determined focus. He was sent by God as a witness to testify to the light. He knew his purpose.

    Today we light two candles as we prepare to welcome the Light of the world. In the light of those two candles, take time to consider your purpose. How is God calling you to bear witness to the light? How can your your determination, your focus, and your passion point us to the true light of Christ?

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 03, 2016 6:57 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT, Saturday, December 3, 2016

    Matthew 25:35

    ... for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me... 

    Feed the hungry.

    Yesterday's devotion was about hearing. Today's is about seeing.  In this verse from Matthew's gospel, Jesus commends those who fed him, who gave him water, and who welcomed him when he was a stranger. Read verses 31-46 of the 25th chapter from Matthew, and you will note that Jesus speaks these words after he is asked, "When was it that we saw you? 

    A college art professor of mine believed that our greatest problem as human beings was visual illiteracy - an inability to see. This may  be true for individuals, and for communities. These verses begin with the words: "When the nations of the world are gathered...."

    What are we as a nation seeing today? How do  we commit to providing food and drink for those who hunger and thirst? How do we welcome the stranger? These Advent devotions often focus on individual choices we can make. Today's invitation to feed the hungry can help us make a choice to shape a larger agenda for our communities and our nation.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 02, 2016 7:20 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT  Friday, December 2, 2016

    I Samuel 3:1-10

    Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

     At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

     Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’

    Hear the Spirit.

    I have often thought that this story was about how Samuel had to learn to listen. Reading it again, I realize that it is also about Eli's ability to hear and perceive. 

    We are told that the word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread. And Eli, the priest of the temple, had eyesight that had begun to grow dim.  Though the lamp of God had not gone out, it would have been difficult for him to see that night. But he could hear. In the repeated visits from Samuel, he came to understand that God was calling to the young boy, and so advised him to return to his bed, and to listen.

    Hearing the Spirit today might mean listening for how God is calling your name. Then again, maybe you can listen today to the lives of others, hearing their words and their stories, and conveying  to them just how it is that God is calling them by name. 

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • December 01, 2016 7:01 AM | Anonymous

    Keeping Advent

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Deuteronomy 30:19,20

    I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

    Choose life.

    She was one of my dearest friends, and her Christmas present to me and others each year was usually the same:  a glass bowl, filled with rocks and water, in which she had nestled paper white bulbs. The green shoots that emerged, then the  white blossoms, and  the scent that filled the room, all were gifts in the midst of winter. My friend Faith died over fifteen years ago, but I cannot see a group of sprouting bulbs or tender blossoms without thinking of her, and of all the ways she "chose life.”

    The words from Deuteronomy are attributed to Moses, part of his farewell message to the people as they prepared to enter the Promised Land after forty years of wandering in the wilderness.  An exhortation, yes, but also a gift. He would not go with them. But his words would. The people  would remember them and recall them, even as we do.

    One way to "choose life" today could be to  first remember a person who once touched your heart. Remember how they chose life.  

    You may not have time to go out and purchase some bulbs. But I am sure you will find some way to be a sign of fresh, green, and fragrant life for another.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com
    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • November 30, 2016 5:57 AM | Anonymous

    Wednesday, November 30, 2016

    John 13:34,35

    Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. "

    Show love.

    "Show, don't tell." It is a familiar piece of advice given to budding writers. Don't describe the actions of your characters; instead, let the reader see and hear them acting.  That chestnut of writing instruction reminds me of other words of advice, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: "Preach the Gospel always. When necessary, use words."

    Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loved his disciples, and as he loves us.  We often share our love in words, sometimes with that simplest of sentences, "I love you." Words can have a profound impact, but so can actions.

    What might it mean to show, rather than tell?  Perhaps that is the challenge and reward of today's devotion: to offer love without uttering a word. That offering might be through a  familiar gesture, or through one that surprises both you and the recipient. It might be shown to someone you know intimately or to a complete stranger.  Whatever the circumstances, show love.
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  • November 29, 2016 6:31 AM | Anonymous

    KEEPING ADVENT  Tuesday, November 29, 2016

    Isaiah 2:1-5

    The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 

     Climb the mountain.

    I had a good conversation with someone close to me on Sunday night. On Monday, he was boarding a plane for Jordan. He is  traveling there to work with Syrian refugees. Jordan has received many of the people whose lives have been disrupted by the ongoing war in Syria, and he is giving two weeks of his time and skill to help them resettle. 

    I can read about the crisis in Syria, and easily convince myself that the conflict there will be unending; that the crisis is so immense that nothing I can do will make a difference. And then I see someone who believes otherwise.

    The vision of peace that Isaiah presents may seem as distant as the highest mountain peak. An unreachable summit? Or a beckoning goal?  It may be trite to say that we climb a mountain one step at a time, but there is no other way. 

    Think about a mountain  before you in your life. Could God be inviting you to take just one step in climbing that mountain today?

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    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • November 28, 2016 7:12 AM | Anonymous

    1 Thessalonians 5:8

    But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

    Dress well.

    My friends were getting ready to leave for a family vacation. They were headed to Maine, with a stop first at Six Gun City in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I was chatting with them as they were packing the car, when suddenly their five year old son Malcolm appeared on the front steps. Dressed in chaps, with a cowboy hat on his head and a holster around his waist, he put his hands on his hips, looked at me with determination, and said, "We're going to Six Gun City - and I'm ready!"

    And so he was. He was well dressed for the day ahead. Will we be? You might be deciding on what color blouse, or which tie, or which jacket to wear. But what might it be like to move through the day aware that you have chosen to wear a breastplate of faith and love? Is there a coat of forgiveness there in the closet that will make a difference if you wear it today? Yes, hats might keep our heads warm, but helmets of hope might change the world.

    The old adage says, "Clothes make the man." That may not be entirely true. But clothes do affect how we see ourselves, and maybe how we act. Today, dress well.

    Click here for the calendar:  http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com
    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

  • November 27, 2016 2:59 AM | Anonymous

     Sunday, November 27, 2016

     Dear Friends,

    Welcome to this daily email devotional for the season of Advent. Each day's reflection will be based on the assigned scripture lesson and suggested devotional practice from the 2016 Advent Calendar. If you do not yet have a copy of the calendar, you can click on the link at the bottom of this devotional. I hope these reflections enrich your season.

    A word about the scripture citations:  All the scripture readings on the calendar come from books of the Old or New Testament. I have used abbreviations for the titles of the books, (Isa.11:1-3 for Isaiah 11:1-3, for example). If you are unfamiliar with some of the abbreviations, you should be able to find in the front of most bibles a list of the books and their abbreviations. The first number in each citation refers to the chapter of the particular book. The number or numbers after the colon refer to the verse or verses.

                                                                                 Tom Mousin

    Matthew 24:42

     Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

    Light one candle.

    "Keep awake," Jesus advises his disciples. If you are in church today perhaps you will hear similar words from Paul's letter to the Romans: "You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep." 

     There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night, and peer cautiously at the bedside clock. Surely I must have slept through most of the night.  Then I see - it is only 1:45 am, and I wonder in my restlessness if I can ever get back to sleep. For it is  time to sleep.

    But then there are those times when I peer just as cautiously, and see that it is 5:00, or 5:30 am. The dawn is breaking, and rather than anxiously trying to retreat to sleep, I begin to think of the day ahead. For it is time to awake.

    There is a time for sleeping, and there is a time for waking. Advent begins and we are invited to be alert and awake. Yes, we will remember and look back, recalling  the birth of a child in Bethlehem. Just as importantly, we will look to the dawn of each new day, paying attention to the  signs of what God is doing in our midst in this present moment.

    Advent is a season of remembering, but also of anticipating. It is a time our when we open our eyes, ears, and hearts to what is yet to be. Now is the moment for us to wake from sleep.

    Click here for the calendar:   http://thomasmousin.wordpress.com

    Contact information: tmousin@gmail.com

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