Newsletter Article



     I woke up praying thanksgivings this morning.  The last several weeks have been the perfect storm with Natalie's resignation, setting up interviews and choosing a new secretary, the Bishop's visit, writing a stewardship letter, and all the other usual things that have to get done this time of year. I wasn't ready to feel grateful until I do.  I don't know why I feel pouty and put upon when the work schedule goes into overdrive, but I do.  And then I have to calm myself so that I don't take it out on the people I am trying to serve.


     Under the circumstances I could be a perfect crab and just snip at anyone unfortunate enough to want something from me while I am fuming.  But I have commitments.  "Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you." That is the lesson from Philippians that came up for this week.  Just exactly what I needed to read. 


    I give thanks for the liturgy that measures the procession of our days so that the readings and encouragements that we need come up when I need them.  I've been reading the lectionary every day for too long to believe that is an accident.  Harvest time has been busy since humans learned to cultivate the soil. Reading the Bible lessons set out for the week puts me in step with generations of men and women who have held the same commitments.  Those readings set boundaries for my days in a similar way that the commandments set boundaries for my choices.


     So today I feel like a woman who has just come through white water on the New River.  I feel exhilarated.  All things seem possible today.  Thank God for these days to balance the grumpy ones.  I never tell myself or anyone else how to feel.  I ride my feelings out, and do my best to put a good face on it.  The time will come when balance is restored.


          It happened that I was ordained during the hardest time for the Church since the Reformation.  I have presided over decline in membership and felt it very acutely.  It has given me a companionship with Jesus that I might never have known.  The gospels indicate that very few received the gospel message when Christ himself was preaching it, and that his disciples and his opponents found it as difficult to understand as we usually do. It still seems radical to me, and I have been preaching it longer than he ever did.


       I know that living by these commitments brings the peace with ourselves that Jesus wished to everyone as a greeting. That knowledge keeps me looking forward instead of regretfully looking back. Isn't it part of maturity to live by our commitments to home, family, Church? It is immaterial how many others hold them.  We believe those commitments are saving our lives.