This morning we celebrated Reformation Sunday like every other good Lutheran congregation. Our intern preached; we've never let our interns preach on Reformation before, and I must say, she did an awfully good job. She's a second-career student whose first career was teaching college. She had an easy over-view of Luther's movement, and also highlighted The Luther Decade and its emphasis on Repentance (the first of the 95 theses was about repentance).
Predictably, we sang "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." I wonder if anyone else sings that song like Lutherans do. Instead of singing the third verse, the organ played an instrumental interlude that made it sound like the organ, if not the world, was filled with devils.
Since it was the last Sunday of the month, we offered prayers and anointing for healing after all the services. I am always surprised by the people who line up, for themselves or on behalf of others. We have just been doing this since the end of May, and the last of the month always sneaks up on me. I feel somehow not prepared; then, as I speak words of prayer for each person, I am struck by the holiness between us in these moments.
After church, I spied a bald one-year-old toddle down the hall, her mother following after her. The mother paused to relay her daughter's first word: "Amen." She prays and lays her hand on her daughter each night at bed-time, and just the other night, her daughter has begun to repeat "Amen amen amen".
It is so cold today; yesterday it was warm and sixty-two. The world is filled with devils, and with the goodness of God. The bright red leaves and the biting wind both take my breath away.
"I'm afraid," someone whispers to me. "I'm afraid of what the future will bring."
"I'm hopeful," I hear someone else say, with tears glistening. It takes my breath away.
It is autumn, time of beauty and death, fear and hope. Amen amen amen.