It is a cloudy noontime here in Hopkinton. The temperature is thirty- four degrees. My friend Molly is not under my desk as she is at daycare. I miss her on Tuesdays and Fridays as I take her to Peace and Paws to play with her friends, Max, Ellie-Rose, Spryte and Jerome. No matter where I am, when Dale is at Franklin Pierce University and Molly is at home, Molly follows me and lies down by feet. Sooner or later her muzzle has to be touching my shoe. It is so humbling to be with Molly; she just loves you and wants to be with you at all times. However, it is easier for me to visit with you when she is not under my desk,and I am forced to type on a pull-out space.
Last week I told you that I was going to speak to you about windows. That may sound like a strange thing to speak about on our walk but let me ask you a question. Do you have a favorite window where you reside or in any place where you have lived?
When I was four years old, my parents purchased their first home, Eighty Morgan Street in Melrose, Massachusetts. (Now as an aside, I have been amazed at how many people I have met since moving to New Hampshire who lived in the Boston area and know and recall the same places that I remember.) My brother Bill and I slept in the front bedroom on the third floor in that home. We had two windows that looked down on Morgan Street. So many times, I remember kneeling looking out one of those windows with my arms resting on the windowsill. Depending on the time of day, you would see neighbors walking to the train station, bus route or to the stores in the Highlands. Sometimes a friend would walk or ride a bicycle past the house, and I would shout out an “hello” to them.
It could be very scary or spooky on that third floor in the autumn and winter. The wind would whistle its way around the roof and the eaves, and the wind bouncing limbs of trees would cause weird shadows on the shades you had pulled down to keep the ghosts outside, especially around the time of Halloween.
At Christmas time, there was a different feeling on the third floor for you went to bed with those yellow candle bulbs surrounding you with a warm, comforting light. You also felt safe when you fell to sleep for you knew your dad would come upstairs and turn the candles off then lean over and give you a kiss. That’s a wonderful memory.
When my dad purchased the farm in Barrington, New Hampshire, I had my own room on the second floor. That room had its own fireplace. That was wonderful until you began a log fire and found that all the smoke came out into your room and drove you out.
To get into my room, I had to pass through two other bedrooms on either side. Once in my room with the door closed,I could look out my casement window and see Greenhill rising behind our farmhouse. I looked up at that hill night after night and saw the stars above it twinkling in crystal clear air. I was to build a home on top of that very hill. I named that house “The Evening Star.” That name came from the name of the cottage in the poem Michael by William Wordsworth. In that poem, Michael’s wife would place a lantern in the cottage at dusk, and from the valley, you would think that lantern was a star. Indeed,if you went down Madbury Road and looked up at the home I built on Greenhill, the front porch light, if it was on, would also look just like a star.
A favorite window in our home in Attleboro was the triple window on the second floor in the kitchen that looked out on the side yard of our home. I had constructed that window out of salvaged windows which I had found in the building that was to become Candleberry Chapel.
Looking out that window you could see the gardens on the side yard and the greatly loved, huge maple tree that Dale saved when the parking lot was established for the chapel. Shamefully,I was going to have it cut down. If it had been cut down I/we would have missed those beautiful green leaves in summer and the majestic yellow-red leaves in the fall. Looking out that small bay window in winter, you could witness the land turn white in falling snow and the chapel would glow in welcome in the cold air.
Again, I ask you, do you have a favorite window in your memory? We may talk about this subject again on a future walk.
This pastor has built or rebuilt many windows. All of the windows in the house on Greenhill were made from window sash that had been salvaged from a fire in Cambridge or Boston. I had to build all new frames to hold the sash. And all of the windows in Candleberry Chapel were made by me in my shop. I think I glazed around three-hundred panes of glass. Don’t hold me to that figure, but if you count all of the panes in the doors which I glazed plus all of the windows in the Chapel proper, you must come out with about that number.
Now most of our walks have something to do with religion;how about today?
We have been talking about windows, yes, but more about what we see on the other side of the window. I did not look at the glass in my childhood window, I looked through it. The window in my bedroom at the farm was a nicely built window,but what was important was the view of the hill behind the farm and the stars in the sky. I was proud when I constructed theupstairs kitchen window in Candleberry Cottage, but what was beautiful was what you saw through the glass: blowing snow, a flowering garden, a huge maple tree. We look through the glass of the window to see “The Beyond.” Jesus is like that window glass. Let me explain.
I believe it was Dr. George Buttrick, a professor at Harvard Divinity School, who made this analogy. He said that when you look at Jesus you see what God is like. Jesus is like a window you look through to see His Father. He speaks of the prodigal son, the son who was unworthy of his father and of his wasteful, sinful living, yet when the son repents, the father embraces and forgives him. Now Jesus tells the story, but He is really talking about the forgiveness of God. When we see Jesus calling the little children to come unto Him, we look through Jesus’s actions and we know God loves little children and wants them to come unto Him.
All through Jesus’s ministry He is showing us what our God is like and what our God expects of us. Why do we love and honor Jesus? Why do we call Him “the Christ?” We find the Creator of our world and what that Creator expects of His creations as we walk with our Lord Jesus. He is like that pane of glass that we look through to see the beauty of the world.
Do we wish to know if God is loving and kind? Look to Jesus. Do you wish to know if God is forgiving of our sins? Look to Jesus. Do you wish to know if God walks with you? Why you know very well Jesus does. Look to the life of Jesus – see through Him, through the beautiful life and person He is, and you will know and see our God.
This might be a time to quietly repeat the Lord’s Prayer.
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
Next week we may talk about Laughter, even in distressing times. And by the way, if you ever wish a certain topic to be discussed or to express a question about a walk, I will welcome your suggestion. Please add them to your comments about a walk.
“AND NOW MAY THE LORD WATCH BETWEEN ME AND THEE WHILE WE ARE ABSENT ONE FROM THE. OTHER. AMEN.”