Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fall is in the air

Mushrooms found on a trail a couple of years ago on French Creek in the Snowy Range
Preparations continue for leaving on sabbatical. Last week, I tackled the office, tossing away about a half of dumpster of dusty old files, papers, and things that left me wondering, "Why did I want to save this?" Some of it was left by the previous occupants of my office. The place is so neat and tidy, I can almost envision working there again. I've started in on getting the house similarly straightened up so that Father Tom will have some space for his things and will be able to make himself at home while I am out of Laramie. With each load to the trash, I am thinking about what a great object lesson this is, taking my hint from Jesus' admonition to his disciples when he sent them out telling them to "take nothing for their journey, except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics." (Mark 6:10) Traveling light is my hope for my sabbatical travels and learning to sit more lightly about possessions in general in my dream for the future.
The nearly completed itinerary for the travel portion of my time away arrived by e-mail yesterday. It will take me to more places than I'd originally anticipated and to an extra cooking school. Spain, France (the unexpected place), Italy and Greece! I am feeling a good bit of tension, excitement at the prospects and anxious with the "stuff" that needs to be done before feeling like I am leaving well.
In the last two days I drove about 500 miles round trip for the last of the Episcopal Search and Transition Committee meetings I will attend for a while. It is a great pleasure working with the diverse and talented folks on both committees. Our work, while often confidential in nature, is marked with respect for varied opinions, delight with others' gifts and ideas. We try to keep a focus that God already has called our next bishop and our task is to discern who that individual is as we work through the process. Driving across Wyoming at this time of year--the nip of fall is definitely in the air; it frosted in some parts of town last night; and the hay fields are mowed and bailed. The corn is a few weeks away from harvest. It is another sign for me of God's abundant provision this year as we've had good rains and good hay. Some creeks are still running which are normally dry by now.
Today as I preached yet again on Jesus as the bread of life, I fondly recalled the first communion of a four year old in my first parish. His folks didn't think he was ready or understanding of what it all meant; but after visiting with him, I thought he was plenty ready. When I extended the invitation, "These are the gifts of God for the people of God," he bolted out of the pew, ran to the altar rail and extended his hands with the urgency and desperation that indicated he must eat this bit of bread as if his life depended on it. And it does. "Thank you, Jesus," he very audibly whispered to my delight of me and his amazed parents.
Just a bit of bread, just a sip of wine. It makes all the difference in making us one, making us alive, fully alive to the possiblities God holds out for our delight. Thanks be to God for these many ways of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

1 comment:

  1. Mare, this is quite wonderful. I had forgotten about your story of the little boy at communion - oh for the wonder of a child! Have you heard about the book, "The sharper the knife the less you cry"? It's about a woman at a French cooking school. MBB told me about it. This is a great blog. Lots of love, Martha