Finding grace at Matt Tannenbaum's bookstore...

From time to time the fog burns away long enough for me to see the sacred being revealed in the midst of the ordinary encounters of my life. Today was one of those days. After a tender and insightful midday Eucharist, we took a quick trip into Lenox for a late lunch.  My friends from Canada had flown into the USA on Porter Air - a firm working out of Toronto - that flies to a variety of places in New England and Northeastern Canada. As they were showing me the "in flight Porter magazine" they mentioned that the Berkshires were featured.

"Hmmmm" thought I, "wonder what they have chosen to feature?" Well, in addition to MassMoCA and the Norman Rockwell Museum there was a picture of Matt Tannenbaum's BOOKSTORE. (check it out at: http://bookstoreinlenox. com/) "Hey, I could take you there if you like and you could say hi!" So, away we went - had a great pub luncheon - and then headed across the street. I introduced my guests to Matt and told him the story of the Porter Airline book. He burst into the biggest smile: "You just made my day..." Then he told us the story of the photographer contacting him last fall and wanting to feature him, etc. And now, nine months later, it had come to pass - and I brought some folk into the shop as the result of this very article and picture.
Well, that set off a browsing spell that turned into a deep conversation at Matt's wine bar. We shared stories of the weddings of his daughters and mine, our friends' recent assignment with the World Council of Churches witness for peace work in Palestine, quotes from books, stories of long lost loves and the power of faith and hope. "Faith," he reminded us, "is indeed the assurance of things hoped for..." (Hebrews 11) 

When we left three things were clear:  Matt had ministered to our souls with grace, tenderness and wisdom in a MOST secular setting; we were all taken up by the Spirit beyond ourselves - or maybe more deeply into ourselves (or both) for a moment in time that we all recognized as sacred; and we could have missed it all so easily if we weren't prepared to go with the flow and simply rest within the fullness of the moment.  

We left enraptured by this encounter and awed by its beauty. As Hebrews says just two chapters later:  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 


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