St. John’s Episcopal Church
207 Albany Avenue, Kingston, NY 12401


  • The Resilience We Find in God’s Love – The Rev. Michelle Meech

    May 07, 2023

    Today was All Ages Worship so we had a story instead of a typical sermon.


    Do you ever get frustrated? Have you ever tried your best and it didn’t seem to be enough to get it right? Have you ever just wanted to give up? I think that’s a very human thing to do. We all get frustrated when things get hard. Sometimes we even feel like we should just give up. And sometimes we do give up. But then sometimes, it feels more like there is someone who hasn’t given up on us, so we try again. I think this someone is God.

    God loves us so much that God comes to us in so many ways: God comes as sweetness or beauty. God comes as eternity or nourishment. God gives us Love in whatever way is needed most.

    And sometimes God comes to us as strength. Like a foundation. A solid rock. Or a cornerstone that holds the walls of a house together at the corner. Or even a strong castle that shelters us from harsh words and judgments.

    I think when we get frustrated, God comes to us as strength because it can be hard to keep going. So, when we get frustrated, God often invites us to take a break from our hard work. And we find that when we stop trying so hard to make it work the way we think it should, God whispers to us and lets us know what is really needed. This is how we learn to trust in God as well as in ourselves.

    And I think this is how inspiration works. The words “Spirit” and “inspire” are close to the same word. Because it’s the same thing. Inspiration happens when we let God’s Spirit speak to us and through us.


    This is a story about a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world – her dog. They do all kinds of things together. They eat. They explore. They relax. They race – the girl on her scooter. The dog running alongside. She makes things and her dog sometimes unmakes the things she makes, playfully, of course.

    One day when the girl is riding her scooter and her dog is running alongside her, the girl stops. She has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most magnificent thing. She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy.

    First, she hires her assistant – her dog. Then, they gather their supplies – lots of pieces of metal and wood and wheels and parts of old things that they have found. They set up somewhere out of the way on the edge of the sidewalk and get to work.

    The girl hammers and tinkers and measures. While her assistant pounces and growls and chews.

    When she is finished, she steps back to admire her work. She walks around one side. Her assistant examines the other side. It doesn’t look right. Her assistant gives it a shake, it doesn’t feel right either. They are shocked to discover that the thing isn’t magnificent. Or even good. It isn’t even kind of sort of ok. It is all wrong.

    The girl tosses it aside and gives it another go. She smoothes and wrenches and fiddles. Her assistant circles and tugs and wags. When she is finished, she stands up and takes a long look at it. Her assistant gives it a nudge with his paw. The thing is still wrong. She decides to try again.

    The girl saws and glues and adjusts. She stands and examines and stares. She twists and teaks and fastens. She fixes and straightens and studies. She tries all different ways to make it better. She makes it square. She makes it round. She gives it legs. She adds antennae. She makes it fuzzy. She makes it long, short, rough, smooth, big, small. One even smells of stinky cheese. But none of them are magnificent.

    Her hard work attracts a few admirers. But they don’t understand. They can’t see the magnificent thing that she has in her mind. She gets mad.

    The angrier she gets, the faster she works. She smashes pieces into shapes. She jams parts together. She pummels the little bits in. Her hands feel too big to work and her brain is too full of all the not-right things. If only the thing would just work…

    And then… crunch!
    She smashes her finger. The pain starts in her finger and rushes up to her brain.

    And she explodes. It is not her finest moment. “I am no good at this! I quit!”

    Her assistant brings the leash over, suggesting a walk. So, off they go. It’s not much help… at first, this walk. But before long, she starts to feel different. Bit by bit, as they walk around the block and she waves to the neighbors and sees the flowers and feels the warm sun, the mad starts to dissolve inside of her. It’s no longer taking up all the space inside of her head.

    Soon she comes across the first wrong thing she made. The bad feelings are about to start all over again. Then she notices something… surprising. There are some parts of the wrong things that are really quite right. The bolts on one. The shape of another. The wheel to seat ratio of the next. There are all sorts of parts that she likes. By the time she reaches the end of the trail, she finally knows how to make the thing magnificent.

    She gets to work. She works carefully and slowly. Tinkering, hammering, twisting, fiddling, gluing, painting. Her assistant makes sure there are no distractions by keeping the squirrels away and chasing after the neighbor’s cat.

    Meanwhile, her neighbors who have been watching her work, come up to the long line of not right things and realize they are right for them. This is the perfect thing to ward off bears! This will stop that leak. This is the right amount of wet.

    The afternoon fades into evening and finally she finishes. She alerts her assistant who prances over, curious and excited. The pair take a good long look.

    It leans a little to the left. And it’s a bit heavier than expected. And the color could use some work too. But it’s just what she wanted – a side car for her scooter so her dog could ride along with her.

    They climb aboard and take it for a spin. They are not disappointed.

    It really is the most magnificent thing.

    Now, I wonder…

    Where did you see yourself in this story?
    Where did you see God in this story?
    What was the best part of this story?