Friday, January 29, 2010

Chill and cold, snow and sleet, fog and frost



When I awoke this morning a heavy blanket of fog drove me back to my own blankets for another cup of coffee and a few chapters in the book I'm reading. A half hour later I was delighted to see that the fog had lifted or rather scattered to the edges of the horizon in all directions. The glittering of the full moon gave a magical, mystical glow to the trees and shrubs which were coated in frost.

As the dogs, Fargo and Rebel, and I made our way carefully on the icy path we follow each morning, I was filled with joy. I love this time of day, just before dawn. Heading down the last hill toward home, someone had made a snow angel on one of the remaining drifts. For a moment I hesitated, then decided that it would be a fun and silly way to end a great walk. I threw myself into the drift and began waving my arms and legs to form wings and a robe. Until the dogs jumped on me, it was a perfect angel. Lying on my back I realized that the fog was rolling back across the whole sky, obscuring the stars which had for a time had blazed brightly. I recalled the Eskimo legend that goes, "perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy."

The coming and going of fog; bright moon light followed by deep darkness, fading stars and then the dawn are apt metaphors for this last month. It's been a month of ups and downs, joys and sorrows, insights and doubts. I am preparing another sermon for a funeral next week in Rawlins; last week it was for a young man who lived across the street from my folks. Next week it is a funeral for a friend I've known since grade school. Both of them died way too young in my estimation. There was also the great joy of baptizing 3 infants. I've begun meeting with two of the four couples who are planning summer weddings. New life in Christ in every case.

I felt lots of anxiety preparing for the annual meeting. I'm not sure why. There was much good news and good ministry to celebrate. But as the gavel figuratively banged down to end the meeting, I felt nothing but relief that it had ended well. At times it seems we are just inching along; at others we seem to be hurtling forward. (Not unlike a walk on our icy sidewalks) During this next month the pace picks up as nominees for Bishop "walkabout." We will be busy preparing for that, then for hosting the election convention in March. I hope that in the weeks ahead that our hearts will be prepared through repentance, forgiveness, prayer and deep listening so that the fog will lift and we will discern who will fit in with us and yet will lead us forward into the next decade.


Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold,

drops of dew and flakes of snow.

Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord,

praise him and highly exalt him forever.


(from Song of the Three Young Men)