Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Winds of Change

As I type this, I can hear the wind howling outside our door. If I didn't know better, I would think we were in the midst of a blizzard. That's how high and strong the wind is tonight. There even were a few snowflakes floating outside after church. A small child greeted me after the second service with the words, "Happy Snow Day!" I wasn't sure what she was talking about until I looked outside.

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.

16 comments:

Rev SS said...

Amen. So many poignant moments we are blessed with in our ministry.

Barbara B. said...

beautiful!

FranIAm said...

Diane - this is a beautiful post and a reminder of all that life is.

And very beautifully, evocatively written as well!

Presbyterian Gal said...

Amen.

Jiff said...

Today you have been my pastor.
Thanks.
And amen.

ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

Again, thanks.

Gannet Girl said...

Since I have been avoiding my own church in my present circumstances, I accepted a friend's invitation to mass yesterday. Funny thing, Luther didn't come up....

Beautiful post.

Marsha said...

We are expecting our first freeze tonight but no snow likely as the skies will be clear (and cold) for the next couple of days.

Our Methodist congregation sings "A Mighty Fortress... " occasionally.

Beautiful words as always Diane... thank you for sharing your gift!

LawAndGospel said...

"Struck by the holiness" struck me. I think autumn takes faith- that it really will be spring again as the last leaves fly away and chill of the snowflakes settles in.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh my. The story of the toddler's first words brought tears to my eyes.

So you might be in Chicago at Thanksgiving? That's exciting. Are you visiting family or doing something else? I'd love to hear more.

Kievas said...

Amen!

lj said...

Oh, Diane, this post took my breath away. The healing practice of your church sounds wonderful. And the organ full of devils ... and the toddler ... and the snow.

We got our first snow flurries here in these Southern mountains today.

Magdalene6127 said...

This is an exquisite post! I've never felt excited about the devils in the world until now... ;-)

Lauralew said...

Oh Diane, this is so lovely. I had tears in my eyes as I read this. Thank you. And amen.

Lindy said...

Glad to hear about the Luther Decade. I am a little bit fascinated with him myself.

I did, however, notice this in the article I read:
"The rapid increase of the numbers of Lutherans in Africa..."

Danger Will Rogers... Danger!

Kathryn said...

Just lovely...thank you for your writing