I wish for extended Autumn. Today's temperatures peaked around seventy degrees-- perfect for an open sweater and a gentle breeze. This morning began early and remained busy clear through to the afternoon and these weary bones were happy to be home.
It's funny. I've found my nook in this house. It's cozy, with an empty seat waiting for good company. There's room for the dog and plenty of sunshine... unfortunately, it will only be good for a few months longer! It's the front porch, you see. I've purchased some hanging plants and a bird feeder, continued the valiant battle with the trumpet vine, washed the lawn chairs and purchased a small "coffee table." Just now, as I sit here, with the mountains in the distance (hugged ominously by dark, heavy clouds), a humming bird is buzzing around chirping at the dog. Tucker seems mostly unfazed... he's munching on a pork femur from the Dollar Family General. I may regret that purchase later, but something about long Sundays in his crate makes me a softy for a Sunday evening treat.
Busy as it was, though, today was filled with glimmers of God's grace and love. I have been so welcomed into these churches. My second service ends with hugs and beaming smiles. I received multiple invitations to meals and family functions. I'm quickly learning about the hospitality of God's people and challenged with preaching the Gospel to a people who routinely teach me about radical love.
The busy pace of the weekdays here is renewed and challenged on Sundays. PC mentioned today a nugget of wisdom I'd like to carry with me throughout my life in ministry. "When Sunday is seen as the end of the week, it's difficult to carry out the tasks of the following days... but when Sunday is seen as the beginning of another week of service in the Kingdom of God, it can be a driving force in your ministry."
I continue to meditate on Colossians 3 as the words from Kyle Childress' recent article ("Oversized Expectations") roll around in my brain. My tweets occasionally have the hash tag #rurallifeisdifferent. I'm growing to see this as an important lesson, not only for me, but for everyone to learn. Rural America is being "megachurched" on a regular basis... perhaps it's time we learn to live into our own identity. Perhaps it is time for us to set aside our greed and our oversized expectations for what life here should be like and thrive in the middle of what life really is.
Ah, well. It is Sunday evening. I'll step down from my front porch pulpit and go back to watching my ornery puppy roll in the grass like a cow. Perhaps we'll make it out for a long walk tomorrow if the weather cooperates.