Wow! It's been nearly two years since I last entered a post. Since my last post, I finished my ministries at Peace United Church in Long Prairie, Minnesota, and Grey Eagle United Methodist Church in Grey Eagle, Minnesota, having spent 10 years with them. I took a two month sabbatical in June and July of 2018 and then began a new appointment at Alexandria United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Minnesota. You can find them at alexumc.org or https://www.facebook.com/AlexMNUMC/.
I have be struggling through what I thought was a tough cold for the last two weeks. On Tuesday, I finally broke down and saw a local PA at a walk-in clinic. He diagnosed pneumonia and gave me two prescriptions for antibiotics. Shortly thereafter, my vocal chords gave up the ghost and all I can do is whisper. One problem though: Ash Wednesday Service. Tuesday afternoon I wrote the following poem as my sermon which Cheryl, my lovely and long-suffering (because of my stubbornness at not seeing a doctor) wife, read at worship. Her reading was beautiful.
A Time of Being
Pastor Gary Taylor
first day of Lent
ashes to ashes, dust to dust
“Dust in the Wind”
all we are is dust in the wind
Last Year’s Palm Branches
this year’s ashes
The Times they are a-changing
seed to plant to tree with fruit
plucked and eaten
seeds tossed aside. to grow again.
the circle of Life?
Babies are born
Babies become students and learn
become teenagers and begin to seek their own way
Off to college, graduate, get a job, find a mate.
Have more kids?
Kids having kids?
Work 8 to 5, or is it 3 to midnight?
Find a new job, start over again
Then do it again, 2 or 3 times.
Work Monday to Friday, or is it Saturday?
Take your 3 to 5 weeks of vacation, or not.
Visit your parents, watch your kids graduate,
get married, have their own kids
Now it is time to retire.
Now it is time to what?
Travel the country, world?
Visit long lost friends?
Find a quiet place on the lake, in the mountains
away from everyone.
Don’t forget to plan that funeral
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
When did we take time to Just Be?
To take in creation’s beauty
its destruction by humanity.
To meet new people
People not like us
To notice their struggles
to celebrate their joys
to share in their humanity
Native Americans, the First Peoples
Let Lent be a time of being
stop, see, wonder, enjoy
A time to share in Life
Your own Life.
Thank you for taking time to read this. May you have a Blessed Holy Lent!