The following meditation is drawn from a 200th anniversary sermon at the Congregational church in Rupert, Vermont:
SINCE 1786 PEOPLE have been coming here the way you and I came here today. Men who fought in the American Revolution and the widows of men who never got back from it. Civil War veterans. Two centuries worth of farmers, dairymen, mill workers, an occasional traveler. Old men and old women with most of their lives behind them, and young men and young women with most of their lives ahead of them. People who made a go of it and are remembered still, and people who somehow never left their mark in any way the world noticed and aren't remembered anymore by anybody. Despite the enormous differences between them, all these men and women entered this building just the way you and I entered it a few minutes ago because of one thing they had in common.
What they had in common was that, like us, they believed (or sometimes believed and sometimes didn't believe; or wanted to believe; or liked to think they believed) that the universe, that everything there is, didn't come about by chance but was created by God. Like us they believed, on their best days anyway, that all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding, this God was a God like Jesus, which is to say a God of love. That, I think, is the crux of the matter. In 1786 and 1886 and 1986 and all the years between, that is at the heart of what has made this place a church. That is what all the whooping has been about. In the beginning it was not some vast cosmic explosion that made the heavens and the earth. It was a loving God who did. That is our faith and the faith of all the ones who came before us.
-Originally published in The Clown in the Belfry