Rested and Ready

I remain confident of this:

 I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. 

– Psalm 27:13-14

Rest.  Reflect.  Restore. Those are the words that guided me for the past 12 weeks. The theme of my sabbatical was “Patchwork Pilgrimage”. I visited quilting communities, read and explored the “places” of my spiritual mentors, and spent time reflecting on the last 20 years of ministry. Some of the books I read were: Anne Lamott’s “Plan B”, “Grace Eventually”, “Help, Thanks, WOW!”, and “Stitches”; Frederick Buechner’s reminiscences of his early life, “Anonymous Was a Woman” by Mirra Bank, and “In Plain Sight” reflections on the daily life of Amish women.

Some of the quilts I enjoyed were in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. I love quilting and the way fabric art brings history and life together. I made several quilts and prayed my way through piecing, quilting and binding them together. One of my quilts will be at the Walla Walla County Fair this Labor Day Weekend. I also plan to hold a Sabbatical “Quilt Show” as my report at the end of September.

I relaxed at our family cabin and at our swimming pool with family and friends.

I feel rested and now ready to help us as a church to have a stronger witness to our faith. I am excited to see how our faith life can be expressed in all areas: through our hobbies, our livelihood, our relationships, our actions and our words. In order to share our faith we have to:  1. Know our faith; 2. Live our faith; 3. Share our faith. Our upcoming teaching series “Route 66” will take us through the entire Bible over the next 9 months. This is a powerful way to know our faith through God’s word. Look for more information in the weeks to come.

Kick-off Sunday is September 10, with worship at 8:30am and 11:00am. Interest fair will be during the Christian Education hour at 9:45am.

My thanks to Sam Geyer and Bob Merriman who provided pastoral care, preaching, and visitation in my absence. You are a blessing to our church and I am privileged to call you colleagues and friends.

This Labor Day weekend, bless the work of our hands, O God. Bless the hands that work the land; hands that move earth, plant seeds and harvest, hands with calluses and dirty fingernails, strong hands. Bless the hands that use machines; the hands that make things; the hands that clean; the hands that make music and art; the hands that care for people. Bless the hands that are generous; hands that give away money and food, hands that are always trying to be empty, Christ-like hands. Bless the tiny, baby hands. Bless the strong adult hands. Bless the hands that are folded in prayer. Bless the hands that are lifted in praise.

Our hands do the work of your hands, O God our Creator.  Amen.

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