UBC Reflections

Of Catalogues and Kingdoms

Of Catalogues and Kingdoms

One of the bright moments during Maine’s late, cold winter months arrives when the seed catalogues do. They not only inspire dreams of fresh vegetables and beautiful flowers but also astound with the awesome awareness that a variety of plants are stored in tiny seeds, varied and peculiar to the hidden plant! Packed within each seed lies potential, some for great and alluring beauty and some for tasty fruit, but there is no transformation until the seed is sown. Only then, from a very tiny poppy seed, can a beautiful poppy grow! And only a poppy!

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In a Hurry?

In a Hurry?

Are we aware of God’s faithful and merciful work in our lives? Not just when the sun shines but when adverse winds blow and confusing clouds roll in?

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Birches

Birches

Robert Frost’s “Birches” has been a long time favorite of mine, probably because it conjures up some special childhood memories of swinging on birches.

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Waiting and Hoping?

Waiting and Hoping?

Ultimate hope is an essential ingredient in happiness, which is difficult to find in a meaningless, purposeless world. We all have belief systems which attempt to make intelligent, philosophical deductions from experience, knowledge, and observation about who and why we are. In the process, we tend to become self-loathing because we fail to live up to who we believe we should be.

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Of Sheep and Shepherds

Of Sheep and Shepherds

There is something special about sheep, something both ancient and pastoral! Perhaps it is because Scripture presents beautiful word pictures of how God shepherds his people. Trusting and obeying the Shepherd’s voice lead to “green pastures” and “still waters”, to fulfillment and security. However, the Psalmist sounds a cautionary note about inattentive, straying sheep because they have left the shepherd’s protective care:

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Living Within the Margins

Living Within the Margins

Without walls, we are vulnerable, unable to discern who or what persons or philosophies may or may not enter our hearts and minds, and can easily be destroyed or headed for turmoil because internal integrity can not be maintained.

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Life and Lilies

Life and Lilies

God has given mankind something far more beautiful than what we can manufacture on our own. By His grace through faith, God gives life to our spirits. Even though some lilies blossom for only a day, they are endued with fragrant beauty which fulfills their creative purposes of reflecting and honoring God and bringing pleasure to this world without even trying. Albert Orsborn’s hymn “Let the Beauty of Jesus be Seen in Me” speaks to that thought and the purpose for mankind.

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Whose Kingdom

Whose Kingdom

There he perched, King of the Birds, quietly surveying his wintry kingdom while sitting high atop an old dead tree on a little island in Sullivan Harbor. Majestic, magnificent, powerful, and properly feared. Not a gull was in sight! As I watched him, I was reminded of several Old Testament passages which beautifully and poetically reflect God’s sovereignty, justice, compassion, and the great hope that lies in knowing Him.

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Swiftly Fly the Years…

Swiftly Fly the Years…

Amidst the confusion and stresses of trying days, we might question God’s “steadfast love”, His “work”, and “glorious power” . But we will know that “the favor of the Lord our God is upon us” if we look at Christ and his work for us as he redeems our circumstances and our numbered days.

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Christmas Gift

Christmas Gift

“Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness/ Opened my eyes, let me see beauty that made this heart adore You/ Hope of a life spent with You”

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Light in the Darkness

Light in the Darkness

“Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness/ Opened my eyes, let me see beauty that made this heart adore You/ Hope of a life spent with You”

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Surrounded By Love

Surrounded By Love

Those who trust in the LORD are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever. (Psalm 125:1-2 (NLT2)

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On the Fence?

On the Fence?

The best way to stay on a fence is to straddle it, but that is both uncomfortable and accomplishes nothing. It gets one nowhere.

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Thanksgiving Grace

Thanksgiving Grace

Fall and winter holidays may be difficult, depressing and isolating for some. Not everyone harbors happy memories, and this pandemic season has been especially stressful. Sorrow and grief for loss of loved ones, social isolation, mourning financial setbacks, and anxiety regarding health, national unrest, and uncertain futures may be foremost in our minds. Maybe our greatest blessing this year is a special memory. But regardless of our circumstances, we can be thankful for grace!

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Some Go Down to the Sea ( and others)

Some Go Down to the Sea ( and others)

This Psalm lifts us out of our dilemmas and trials by pointing us to God’s sovereignty and redemptive power over all His creation, to His consistently constant love for humanity, and to His tremendous patience with us.

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The Barn is Full. What Next?

The Barn is Full. What Next?

Old potato houses and imposing barns contribute to the charm and mystique of Aroostook County’s farming country. Often in disrepair and forgotten, they still hold treasures, not treasures of harvest but troves of memories and tales of generations of hard working owners. Their emptiness still echoes with laughter of children jumping from the rafters into the hay and with remembrances of bountiful or meager harvests, of dreams fulfilled or shattered, of some good and some difficult days. They speak of valuing and working the land.

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A Driven Leaf?

A Driven Leaf?

Fall In MaineHelen Hunt Jackson’s October’s Bright Blue Weather opines the beauty of October skies: “O suns and skies and clouds of June and flowers of June together, Ye cannot rival for one hour October’s bright blue weather.” My grammar school teacher used this and...

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Grains of Sand

Grains of Sand

Corea MaineWhat can be more mind-clearing and reorienting than a brisk walk on a cool fall day to an isolated Maine sand beach where the stark and vast beauty of creation and the salty smell of the sea mingle with the awareness there is One present who knows and cares...

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Beyond the Glorious

Beyond the Glorious

We are awed and humbled by our vast and magnificent world, but what do we see when we look into the huge expanses of space, or stand before the vast wonders of the earth, or probe the strange world of ocean depths? When Jeremiah looked “for the reality beyond the appearance,” he saw God and exclaimed ,”It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:12

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A Treasure Hunt

A Treasure Hunt

The impact of his discovery hit him. He realized this was it! This was what he had searched for. It was a treasure of such great proportion that he joyfully gave all that he had to attain it. He gave up his old life for a new one! He had found the kingdom of heaven!

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A Good Harvest

A Good Harvest

We have difficulty understanding ideologies different from our own or why people think differently than we do. Those interactions are difficult to negotiate because often they are accompanied by pride, disgust or distain. There may not be a whole lot one can personally do to address the divisiveness and contentiousness we are experiencing in our communities, but we can do “good”.

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I Hope You Dance

I Hope You Dance

On that journey, it soon becomes evident that happiness is not the same as self-discovery and self-fulfillment or what we might consider success. Somewhere and sometime, we will begin to ask ultimate questions.

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Of God and Dories

Of God and Dories

These little boats lure us to bygone days which have been romanticized and influenced by lore and art. They draw one to Celtic ballads, Irish fiddling, and tales and tragedies of the hard scrabble life of cod fishing on the Grand Banks; They remind us of the harsh reality of life on the sea and Newfoundland’s struggling hamlets.

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Summer Fun

Summer Fun

Racing, Winter Harbor, MaineJames Russel Lowell, lawyer, politician, writer, poet and New Englander, rightfully and wonderfully reminds us of the hope and joy of spring’s renewal with the opening words of his famous poem: “And what is so rare as a day in June?”...

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Fiddleheads and Grace

Fiddleheads and Grace

Eating “Fiddleheads” is a Maine culinary experience which dates back to early Native American days. A “Fiddlehead” is a curled fern frond which can be found for a brief time in the Spring before it unfurls to become a mature fern leaf. Time changes “Fiddleheads” to ferns.

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Changing Landmark

Changing Landmark

Whatever our response to “change”, whether we agree or disagree, whether it brings pleasure and joy or chaos and deterioration, there is an enduring beacon of Truth which may or may not be evident.

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Commending God

Commending God

A New Beginning in Prospect Harbor, MaineAnother beautiful day begins on the Maine Coast, where there is always something old to be taught and something new to learn … Down east accents murmur and drift across the water as this old salt and his unseasoned stern man...

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Full Sails

Full Sails

Sailing in Frenchman's Bay, MaineJuly is a great month for sailing in Maine. Watching sails appear and disappear on the horizon makes one yearn for swift winds and stiff breezes, to hoist sails, and to be propelled into open ocean with its invisible boundaries, clear...

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Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer

Sunrise in Sullivan Harbor, MaineA new day with its fresh possibilities is best begun with thoughtful consideration of our Great God, whose purposes for us are grand and wonderful and whose thoughts toward us are “precious” and “vast” and more numerous that “the...

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Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River

Photo taken:        Penobscot River in Edinburg, MainePerhaps you can hear the song rising from the heat-soaked cotton fields? I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love...

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Freedom Rings

Freedom Rings

The Machias Valley "Down in the valley where the river meets the sea..."Nestled in the picturesque Machias valley lies this historic New England village. The Church in this photo played a role in the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War during which local...

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Becoming Gold

Becoming Gold

Authentic Christian faith encompasses the whole person and involves one’s will and emotions as well as the mind. It entails trusting and submitting to what God has revealed and has done through the sacrifice of Christ, and it is evidenced in desires and efforts to live out the love and mercy and forgiveness granted through the Good News of Christ.

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Whose Story?

Whose Story?

Reflection of Fort Knox, MaineLast week we remembered D-Day, that historic day which began the joyful reclamation of Europe from tyranny but which was tragically stained by the tremendously sad sacrifices of young men dying to restore liberty. Remembering people and...

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Just a Glimpse

Just a Glimpse

White Lady's Slipper, Steuben, MaineAndrew Young, a Scottish poet, compared his ongoing but somewhat futile quest for meaning to searching for lady slippers:  "...I peer in every place: Seeking for what I cannot find/ I do as I have often done/ And shall do while I...

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Slack Tide

Slack Tide

Such is the twilight moment of “crossing the bar” when mortality transitions to immortality, when the spirit silently leaves its earthly abode and enters the after life.

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Sweet Word

Sweet Word

Canoe at Sunrise, MaineThe phrase to “paddle your own canoe” has been around since the mid 1800’s and conjures up ideas of independence, self-reliance, persistence, endurance and the belief that we control our own destiny! Several poems were written and entitled...

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The Way Forward

The Way Forward

Although they appear headed straight for disaster, they are confidently advancing to the next lobster pot. They are in familiar territory as they pull their traps in the fog. They know the way.

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Solitude and Solace

Solitude and Solace

Even the extroverts among us need solitude (even in a pandemic) — a time and place free for uninterrupted thought and meditation, for processing life, for resting weary minds and reviving waning spirits, and for re-energizing tired bodies.

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Rocky Shores and Firm Foundations

Rocky Shores and Firm Foundations

   Looking back from the sea, this lobsterman can visually grasp the firm foundation of our great state. Maine has magnificent rock formations from its mountain ranges and slate and granite quarries to its rockbound coast with rugged, beautiful cliffs and outcroppings...

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Surprised!

Surprised!

 The unusual and the unexpected startle us –like a pig in the living room window!    Life is filled with the unanticipated. And that is partly why God is so awesome. He is the Master Revealer who surprises us with every good thing! However, our responses to Him are a...

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Victory!

Victory!

We are born contenders! Most of us enjoy some form of individual or group competition. We love to cheer on our favorite teams and challenge each other with family games, pickup basketball, and school sports. We test ourselves in attempts to better our individual swim...

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Despair or Hope

Despair or Hope

We know about hopelessness and despair! This world is filled with violence, brutality, inequalities, injustices, avarice, and poverty. So, are we stuck in this culture of rising self and of diminishing reason and civility?

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A Break in the Storm

A Break in the Storm

In the midst of personal storms (and pandemics), believers have an unmitigated confidence, a steadfast hope, in the One who not only rules over life’s storms but enters into our pressing situations where He sheds His light and casts His love upon us.

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Anchored

Anchored

Each day we awaken within the mist of the unknown. Sometimes we do so with fear and anxiety; but in our culture, we generally feel safe and prepared for our daily routines as we look forward to the small joys that will unfold. We are not concerned about unexpected...

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New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Watching the sun peek over the horizon to gaze upon the awakening day is spirit lifting! Sunrises offer us new beginnings.  Even when we carry old business forward, dawn brings freshness and excitement, a renewed hope, and an anticipation for possibilities, yet to be...

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