Before Bill heads home to Kenilworth, he gives us a last look of the Manse in Northport Point, Michigan, a sacred place for his family. Sitting lakeside Bill sees the wonder of God’s creation and plans a new sermon series on God’s generosity.
Hi friends, my name is Bill Evertsberg and I’m one of the ministers at Kenilworth Union Church, and this is my assistant minister Doogie.
This is the place where we stay every summer for my August preaching gig. This is the manse at Northport Point. I share this home with the Episcopalian priest who conducts the services here in July. About fifty years ago, our neighbors to the north had two adjacent properties at this location, and they gave this home to the chapel for use as a manse for the July and August chaplains who conduct services here during the summer. This is not the home that was here when we started visiting in 1996. That home burned to the ground in January of 2000, and they replaced that home with this one.
On the lake side, the house faces due east. Looking out across Grand Traverse Bay, you probably can’t see it in the recording but if you were here with me in my front yard you could see Charlevoix, which is about ten miles across Grand Traverse Bay on the main Michigan mitten.
As you know from our own Kenilworth beach, the Lake Michigan water levels are very high this year. Some years we had as much as fifty feet of sandy beach before we get to water’s edge. And as you can see my neighbor’s dock, which used to be about four feet above the water’s surface, is now underwater. Kathy wants me to walk out on the dock so she can take a photo to prove to you that I can walk on water.
That little island about a third of a mile into the bay is called Stony Point. Until this year, when you need waders or a boat to get there, our college and high school kids would have parties out there around the campfire. You can’t get there now. It used to be a peninsula but now it’s an island so you can’t there. But until this year kids would have parties out there beginning about eleven o’clock and going until three o’clock in the morning, loud laughter and camp songs. Some of the kids would show up at church at eleven the next morning. Now the adults here at Northport Point will try to tell me that alcohol was commonly served at these parties out on Stony Point, but I refuse to believe such scandalous rumors about our decorous young people.
My kids grew up here. This is a very sacred space for my family. This is the place where I most intimately encounter the generous grace of our glad God. Sunrise, sunset, a full sail, a following breeze, flight of the eagle, call of the loon, skulk of the fox, pungence of a skunk. The generous grace of our glad God.
Talking about generosity, as a matter of fact, gives me an excuse to give you a commercial, because generosity is what our fall sermon series is going to be about: God’s generosity and our own. More about that when I return to you in a few days.
When I see this view, I see the wonder of God’s creation and think of that prayer from Dom Helder Camara. He was a Roman Catholic archbishop from Brazil, so pray this prayer with me:
Lord, isn’t your creation wasteful?
Fruits never equal
the seedlings abundance.
Springs scatter water
Sun gives out
May your bounty teach me
greatness of heart.
May your magnificence
stop me being mean.
Seeing you, a prodigal
and open-handed giver,
let me give unstintingly,
like a king’s son,
like God’s own.
Amen. See you in a few days. God bless you.