From the Backcountry

North Greenwich Congregational Church

Weekly Leadership Update

May 25, 2018

From the Backcountry …

“Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial graven not on stone… but in the hearts of men.”  Pericles

No one is exactly sure when “Decoration Day” first started.  There are records of an official observance at Arlington Cemetery three years after Appomattox.   In 1968, Major General John Logan urged citizens to place “the choicest flowers of springtime” on the graves of those who gave their lives for our nation.  In 1971, Congress established the fourth Monday in May as an annual “Memorial Day.”  Whether we agree with war or not, whether we agree with the politicians who sent our son and daughters into harm’s way, we nevertheless take a moment to cherish the memory of all who died in order that we may have the right to our opinions.  We pray for families who lost a mother, father, daughter, son, wife, husband, sister or brother.  As we celebrate what has too often become merely the unofficial start of summer, they continue to grieve over a family that will forever remain changed. 

Sunday, May 27    Morning Worship  10:30 a.m.

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 29;  John 3:1-17

Text:  “He came to Jesus  by night …”   John 3:2

Sermon:  “Night Shift”

Tease: The author of the Gospel of John uses the imagery of light and darkness throughout his narrative.  For example, he uses the term “night” to describe those time in our lives when we “fish all night and catch nothing”  - times when, despite our best efforts,  we come up empty.  So, we can be certain that Nicodemus visiting Jesus “by night” is more than a statement about the time of day, but  rather a description of the religious leader’s own personal life - a description that, when we stop and think about it, could be used to account for all of our lives - at one time or another.

“All gave some.  Some gave all.

In June 2015, an 11 year old boy, identified only as Richie, went with this father to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  Even at such a young age, he had developed an interest for World War II.   The following is an excerpt of the dad’s moving account:

“As part of his personal remembrance project, my son spent four days at the American Cemetery teaching visitors about three paratroopers buried there.  On D-Day, the local police wouldn’t let him enter the cemetery (because of the official memorial observance.)  So, he took his 48 star WWII era American flag to Omaha beach and planted his homemade flag pole firmly in the sand … He held the flag and his salute for an hour and a half … his eyes fixed on the image of the spirits of our soldiers coming ashore … For a moment, he was just a little boy with a flag standing alone on a beach in Normandy.  In his heart he held the flame alight for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  In his soul he held the future of the American ideal.”

Richie’s Dad

See you Sunday,


Road Rules:   “The pleasure of the soul is to be found in the journey of discovery …a journey of expanded insight and experience.”   Anthony Lawler, Architect and author of “A Home for the Soul -  A Guide for dwelling with the spirit and imaginations.”