Thursday, August 1, 2019

Pulpit Rock

Ten miles out in Muscongus Bay, there is a rock formation on the northeast side of an island.  Clinging to the 'bold shore' of Monhegan Island, Pulpit Rock invites the intrepid hiker to come out and see the ocean from a unique perspective.  To get there, however, one needs either to walk through the woods or hike the ups and downs of a difficult cliff-side trail.  Do it, and you are rewarded with a spectacular view.

Here is how Marjorie BouvĂ© saw it around the turn of the century before last:

Here is how my iPhone saw it just the other day:

Notice the trees which are absent from Marjorie's photo.  It's all different on the island these days.  In some ways, things are getting back to the way they were.  In other ways, things are the way they are and that's just fine.

It's called Pulpit Rock because ... it looks like a pulpit.  As a pastor, I can see it.  I am also called to jump out to it and get to work, but I have a feeling I might get wet along the way.  In any event, it is enticing.

The pulpit in the sanctuary of the church I serve is fairly high up.  It is not the highest but it is higher than most.  It seems that way to me, anyway.  And I love standing in it.

Knowing there is a pulpit rock out there helps me when I stand before the congregation.  Being a Type A sort, I always know what I'm going to say because I'm reading a carefully prepared sermon.  What I never know is how my words will be received.  Barbara Brown Taylor once wrote that preaching is the one thing she loved, feared, and most wanted to do.  Her self-assessment applies to me too.

So I make my annual trek out to the island, to hear the wild gulls and the sound of the sea; to drink coffee while I try to read despite the wonders of the world around me; to see the solid stoicism of Pulpit Rock, unchanged and unchanging; and to know that all is well and will be well if I can just see it again next year.


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