We are back to our fall routines. In the life of the church we come back to programs, activities and connections to community. We do these things because we believe that what we do together matters to our lives of faith.
Rooted into the gift of the gospel - we are renewed both in the receiving and the giving.
Just coming off my wilderness canoe trip, I am reminded that the best way to experience the lakes we paddle is to stay close to shore. It is in the shallows where a different kind of perspective is found. Where land and water meet you see the undergrowth of the forest and all that belongs to it such as lichens, wildlife trails, blueberry patches and so forth. We have learned that the land immediately up from the shoreline is an important environmental niche - a buffer zone that contributes to the health of many things.
Navigating wilderness lakes is greatly helped by the occasional pine that leans out over the water. Often it guides you to a small opening in the woods - the portage entrance, a pathway forward on the journey. For a distance we are on foot under the cover of old growth forest feeling grounded, helped by the weight of packs that only carry the necessities.
Portaging changes up the pace of steady paddling. It reminds us of our limitations and the importance of all that accompanies and surrounds us on our way.
Psalm 1 captures this kind of earthy wisdom as it encourages a rootedness in the ways of God: They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season. Maybe it's from being a grandpa that I more appreciate an image of growth and flourishing. Maybe its years of ordained ministry that helps me notice and celebrate all the planting, the watering and the growth that brings about faith and makes it a most real thing.
Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I'll go where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.
-Evangelical Lutheran Worship #798