Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter is coming

Isn't it funny how we need to adjust to things? I have been sleeping for ten hours each the last two nights because I'm exhausted. I wonder about how the human body needs to adjust when the weather changes abruptly. It's become quite cold in the last two days and I think I need the extra sleep because of that. Of course, my schedule is demanding, but not more so than it ever is and certainly not more so than this summer. Somehow, I have a body that functions much better with sunshine and warmth than with darkness and cold. I guess we might call this seasonal affective stuff, but I simply don't like it! It affects my mood as well because my self-assessment is that I seem to be more negative than positive. And so in these days of early darkness and cold, I pray for the warmth that I got in touch with in those things outside myself that come through paying attention to the light of God in the world. I pray for the warmth of people, places, events and moments of clarity of God's presence in the world.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Chilled is a word that says it all, really. It's Minnesota in early November, the weather is changing and I am chilled. Yet, even in the midst of this chill there is so much warmth. This morning I met with a committee to work on constitution changes that we are proposing for our church. The personnel chair and the congregation president and I met, and I am warmed by their presence. They are dedicated and focused on the good of this community of faith, which as a pastor warms my heart tremendously and I am so thankful for them and the gifts they offer "for the common good." Then, I met with a grief support group that began today and will meet for six weeks as we head into the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas which for many makes grief a particularly, well, grevious thing. Though the pain in this group was palpable, there was so much warmth. Warmth in the glow of the candles we lit to honor the grief and those we were grieving, but also in the hearts of those that even in the midst of their grief felt the love and compassion for their companions in this journey. On to lunch from there to experience the warmth of the person I ate lunch with - to hear her story and see her growth in her personal journey as she continues to seek to find her calling and passion in life. Even the warmth in the "comfort food" of mashed potatoes and gravy were a part of what helped me on the chilly day when I left the warmth of my home for the cold of the garage and car. I experience thankfulness, too, as I experienced the warmth of the heater in my car, knowing that in places in our world there are those who are chilled and seldom experience the warmth of a heater or a lovely home. Isn't it funny how when we take an experience such as being chilled and look at where the warmth is in life it can turn that experience on it's head? And, isn't that what God is always doing in our lives and in our world? Taking our ordinary experience and turning it on it's head? Leading us to new life, new depth and new appreciation for the gift of life and grace that comes only from God.