Finally, have begun to thaw from the snowstorm and frigid temperatures.
LH made his way slowly through PA to get to Elite Seminary and actually made it even though the Sem was closed on Wed. LH even made it home Sat. afternoon after being detoured on secondary roads in PA.
I was left to defend our home against the onslaught of snow, which I did admirably; shoveling a long sloped driveway, sidewalks, stairs and porch, twice. By Wednesday morning you couldn't tell that I had really shoveled at all. I began the Sysiphisian task of shoveling the driveway. I managed the walk from driveway to porch, the steps and porch. I struggled with shoveling nearly a quarter of the drive from the garage down and it was a new impossibility. I looked longly at the snowthrower in the garage which I had no clue in how to use. (LH wasn't sure the gas/oil mix was still any good.)
God was gracious and merciful in sending my next door neighbor with a powerful snowthrower over and he blew the whole driveway while I shoveled the little leftovers.
That afternoon, I baked some fine chocolate chip cookies (with 60% cacao - only the best will do) and baked a traditional Swiss bread.
With a heart full of gratitude and thanks, I brought them to my neighbor with a $ donation for the gas used. They sent me home with a ziploc bag of beef vege soup!!
It is good to be back and on to a more normal routine. I spent Ash Wednesday afternoon making two needed home visits to two elderly and not healthy parishioners. My heart aches for them. Then there was the evening service with the neighbor Methodists. I put the liturgy together with some input and resources from Methodist Gal Pastor, but I typed it all up, ordered the bulletin covers, etc. and then preached as well.
Attendence was low in this rural Anabaptist conservative area where Ash Wednesday was never much observed. Yet, I could not help but feel that folks seem to busy to stop, and don't want to be in touch with their own mortality. It's easier not to think about it or deal with it, until some awful tragedy happens. Entertain me in church and make me feel good, seems to be what many want. But just below the feel-good, don't-want-to-think-about-it way of living, lurks those deeper needs, the wounds that need healing, the guilt of our sins, the gulf of our sin.
I wished we could have broadcasted the service out into the street, reminding folks to stop for a moment, to consider, to confess, to come back and before God and to be in touch with our own mortality and lack of control of our lives. Do we merely walk through this season without thought and reflection, skipping our way to Easter?
Are we willing to drink the cup, to walk with our Lord Jesus Christ all the way to the cross? It asks much of us and transforms us all along the journey. How to reach the people and to let them live in this season, as difficult and uncomfortable as it can and yet be touched in ways they can not even begin to imagine? That is the hard task of this Lenten season and indeed, of every season.