Fall is upon us! The days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees have already begun to fall. I know because I crunched through them this week on my bike ride along the DuPage River Canal. In Plainfield, the farmers have cut the corn stalks and are preparing the ground for winter. I am enjoying the cooler nights and looking forward to bonfires and roasting marshmallows with my family in our backyard. Even the food on our table is changing! Nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon take the place of dill, mint and cilantro in many of our recipes.
Typically in the Fall we think of harvest and bounty and give thanks for all the good things God has provided for us. Lord of Life is entering into a time of harvest. You all have gone through the difficult work of discerning and calling me as the new pastor. I am very thankful for my new role and am excited to get to work. I can’t help but think how liturgically appropriate it is to be called to a church in the autumn. It is a time of coming together, regathering for summer activities and travels, and giving thanks. The next few months I hope to do a lot of the Fall sorts of things: gathering, telling and listening to stories, giving thanks for how God has brought us together.
It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of everything that goes with the changing seasons and forget the effort to get here. Plants that grew our favorite Fall foods complete their life cycle and return to the earth to provide the nutrients for new plants. We owe a debt of gratitude for all the food those plants grew for us in the past, and for how they continue to help us to grow into the future with the nourishing gifts they have left behind. Similarly, we are blessed by all the faithful saints who came before us. I feel a debt of gratitude to Pastor Todd and to all those that Lord of Life has lost in recent months and years. They put in time and energy, loving and caring, helping to build the community we enjoy. Though they are not with us in the same way they once were, their stories and legacies live on in us and in our community.
I am honored to take part in this new season of harvest for Lord of Life. I look forward to preaching and administering the sacraments of bread and wine and water. The sacraments of communion and baptism are holy practices that remind us of our connectedness not only to our church community here and now, but to all the saints who have come before. The sacraments connect us to Jesus’s death and resurrection. When we live into the covenant that Christ has made with all of us, to love each other unto death as Christ loved us, we share in the eternal life and plentiful harvest of God’s kingdom. As pastor of Lord of Life, it's in my joy to continue the growth you have already begun and to accompany you in our journey together.
May God bless us with the bounty of Heaven,