Faith Matters: The power we have within us

  • The Rev. Richard Fournier at the First Congregational Church of Buckland. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Rev. Richard Fournier behind the First Congregational Church of Buckland. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • First Congregational Church of Buckland (aka the Mary Lyon Church) Recorder file photo

Pastor, Mary Lyon Church
Published: 5/10/2019 10:55:04 AM
Modified: 5/10/2019 10:54:50 AM

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email

The Bible tells us that humans are fearfully and wonderfully made. I have to believe that the “fearful” part has gotten much more air-time both inside and outside of ourselves. We often feel powerless and fearful in the midst of all the chaos, speed and divisiveness of these times, and it's easy to become disheartened and dispirited. As Yeats says in his poem, “The Second Coming,” “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.” But I believe the center can hold, if we as individuals and as a community hold our centers — the core values of our various spiritual traditions. Values such as compassion, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness, peace, gentleness and nonviolence. It also helps to have a spiritual practice of some sort of meditation or contemplation that helps us move toward a non-dual consciousness of unity and a felt sense of the underlying connection and oneness of all things. I am convinced that this is the trajectory toward which God's Spirit is moving us. The development and evolution of this sort of consciousness is vital for these times and a preview of coming attractions. These “fruits of the Spirit” have qualities and characteristics that exert a powerful influence on our lives and the lives of those around us, and can help us keep our center and our hearts strong and accelerate the evolutionary impulse in a positive direction.

Thomas Merton said: “We are called to give our hearts away, but first we must have our hearts in our possession to give.” Do you, do I have our hearts in our possession to give?

I hope so, because the heart of the matter is to realize that we are all carriers of the God-force, or as our Quaker sisters and brothers say, “There is that of God in each of us.” And this treasure and gift that we carry is not just for ourselves alone but to be shared and deepened through our relationships with a wide variety of people.

Sometimes we don't realize the power we have. There is power in each and every act of love and compassion. There is no such thing as a “small act” of love because it joins up energetically with all the other acts of love to help disperse the energies that dishearten and dispirit. St. Paul tells us, “We are not contending with flesh and blood, but with powers and principalities.” That was his way of speaking about the inner spirit and collective energies of institutions, organizations and empires, whose energies keep us fearful and small.

There is a quote attributed to Nelson Mandela (and /or to Marianne Williamson): “You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

As an example of little actions having a great impact, at Easter time I usually take a glass bowl of water (1 to 2 quarts) and ask people to imagine how many drops of water are in it (there are thousands) and then take an eyedropper of dye, usually red, and place ONE drop of the dye into the bowl. Stir it and watch the whole bowl blush and become the color of the one drop. Amazing! One little drop of love, kindness, compassion etc. can change thousands. So it is with us.

So, my brothers and sisters, let us not lose heart and not play small, but let us shine forth with our own unique birthright gifts, and become the drops that stir and color our world with beauty, and encourage others to do the same. This way, the kingdom of love will come closer and more quickly.

About First Congregational Church of Buckland

The First Congregational Church of Buckland was organized in 1785. Many people call it the Mary Lyon Church because she was baptized there and was a member. Our Sunday worship time is 10:30 a.m. and the church is accessible for people with mobility impairment. There is a close tie between the church and the wider community. Church dinners are held once a month on the third Saturday at 6 p.m. Various groups also make use of our facilities. Pastor Fournier can be reached at The church address is 17 Upper St., P.O. Box 87, Buckland MA 01338. 413-625-9440.


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