Altamont Reformed Church

From the Pastor's Desk

Summer 2019

Dear Friends,

We have a small sunflower plant that is in bloom right now. I love sunflowers. They are so cheery and happy. It’s amazing to me that they grow each year from a seed. A single little seed and they come up just once. But when they come up they have these big, fat, happy flower heads. They look like sunshine. Hendrik is fascinated with them. When they first opened, he couldn’t wait for me to get home so he could show me. These green leafy plants suddenly had these joyful yellow flowers. Hendrik has also learned about bumblebees and he’s watched them crawl into flowers in the wonderful gardens at Schilling Park. After a rain he keeps a close eye on the ground, hoping to find a worm on the path so that he can pick up and put into the dirt and then watch it disappear into the ground. It is all so magical. And the slugs. I’m not sure if you’ve seen them where you live, but there are so many slugs near us it almost looks like a biblical plague.

One of the best things is watching him find so much so interesting. Everything is magical, everything is miraculous. Everything is awe-inspiring. And yet, at times, I find myself frustrated when we are going for a walk and it takes us half an hour to make it down Jay Street. But there is really something delightful about being fascinated by everything, by being overcome with wonder at the world around us. Wonder is something for which we do not take enough time. Often we are too busy going from one thing to another, our lives run by the tyranny of our appointment calendars. After a while things lose their newness, lose their luster, lose their fascination. But when we neglect to notice, forget to wonder, we lose something much bigger.

This summer, when you’re at your camp, or walking around the village, or working in your garden, or just listening to the birds while having breakfast, take a moment, notice something, wonder about something. Be in awe of something. Allow something to amaze you. And then thank God for it.

Let this be your spiritual practice during these weeks this summer.

See you in church!

With deep and abiding love,




The Rev. Matthew J. van Maastricht
Pastor and Teacher