Northeast Harbor is a village on Mount Desert Island and has long been a quiet enclave of the rich and famous. We came here not to explore the town or seek out anyone rich or famous, but to bike through the Acadia National Park. But God had a plan, too.
I’ve written before about the community of boating, but for the sake of story, I will recapture a few unspoken rules. There are no strangers in boating. If the boat next to you is arriving or leaving you ask to help with the lines; when you pass by foot, you smile, when you pass by boat, you wave; when someone stops to chat, you stop too. These are fibers of connection that bind us in community. These are the elements that ignite magic.
We loaded our bikes on the front of the white bus with Seahawks colored stripes and a sign that read “Island Explorer” and made our way inside. Picture Waldo from the old Where’s Waldo books…yep, that was us, goofy tourists in a large and confusing world. “Is this the free shuttle,” I asked, followed by Tad’s more important question, “Can we get to the Carriage Roads from this bus?” The patient bus driver smiled and answered with a yes, and said he’d drop us at Bubble Pond, the closest stop to the park’s Carriage Road trail. Score!
I chose the first two seats on the bus when to my surprise, Tad turned around and asked the couple behind us if they were able to get their mail. A bit puzzled, the man replied, “Yes, I made it right before they closed.” Apparently, they were in the marina office the day before to pick up a package which had been delivered to the local post office instead, and the post office was closing in five minutes. When Tad explained he’d seen him running up the hill, he guessed he was trying to beat the clock. You could feel the fog lift and linear lips turning upward when Jim said, “Ah ha! I’m Jim and this is Linda.” It was an instant friendship. It was the magic.
We each shared about our plans for the day, a few boating stories, useful apps, and exchanged contact info before the bus announced our stop. Tad and I spent the day biking through Acadia National Park and Linda and Jim explored the town of Bar Harbor. Each enjoying a perfect Saturday.
The next morning, Tad taunted me with pancakes, and we walked into town for breakfast. “What do you think about texting Jim and Linda to see if they want to join us?" I asked. Sounds great, he responded, I’ll text Jim while you’re getting ready and let them know we’ll be at the Milk and Honey Diner.
We were about to order when we received their response, “Good Morning! Thanks so much for the invite. Normally we would love to get breakfast but we are getting ready to go to the little Episcopal church up the hill,” She went on… “We made a commitment when we started this boat journey back in April that whatever port we were in on Sunday, we would find a church. I could make a blog about that alone! To date, we’ve been to about 23 churches, all so different.”
Tad and I looked at each other and both said, “Why didn’t we think of this?” I pulled the church website info up on my phone and felt like I had unwrapped a gift with something wonderful inside. “There’s an 8 am and 10 am service,” I exclaimed with joy. We had enough time to eat our breakfast and get there by 10 am.
We arrived at St. Mary’s by the Sea, greeted by a priest with a kind and inviting smile and made our way to the pew where Jim and Linda sat waiting for the service to begin. We exchanged smiles and quietly readied our hymnals for the first song. I opened the pamphlet handed to me when we arrived, and I read...
We are a spiritual home for all generations
engaged in the mission of God’s love for the world.
Welcome to Worship!
Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. James 4:8
Welcome to this Episcopal community worship. No matter where you come from, or what your circumstances are, we invite you to participate fully in worship in the way you most feel comfortable. Though it is our practice to stand for hymns and stand or kneel for prayers, please do what is most comfortable for you.......
All are welcome to receive communion. These are God’s gifts for all who believe in Christ and all who yearn to draw closer to him! Thank you for enriching us with your presence.
May God bless you on this day!
It was established, we were welcome guests!
The warm yellow walls and inverse boat-hull ceiling wrapped me in the nostalgia of raising my children in the Episcopal church, prayers that hadn’t left my lips in over twenty years sprung from my heart like an old familiar friend. At the offering of peace, when I grasped the hands of our new friends, I felt the power of love – His love - for us. After communion the organist began to play my favorite hymn, a song I had chosen 30 years ago as a song I would like played at my funeral, Here I am Lord, it is I Lord...
God was everywhere; in the walls, the prayers, the message, the songs, and in the hearts of those who welcomed us to worship with them. The experience overwhelmed me…
As we walked back to the Marina with Linda and Jim, I was astutely aware of how God is always pursuing and leading us to ways that will draw us closer to Him. He brought Linda and Jim into our lives to example to us a deeper commitment of loving Him and he blessed us all with friendship.
Linda is an amazing photographer and knowing I like to write, she has given me permission to use her idea of sharing our experiences at the churches we will visit. This will be my first post and as I look forward to sharing Sunday’s with brothers and sisters in Christ whom I will know only in the pause of a Sunday morning, I look equally forward to sharing the experience with you.