PLEASE NOTE: I’m posting this week’s blog early; one reason is to connect it closer to All Saints Day that we observed on Sunday. Next one scheduled for 18 November.
Cornwall Cogitation #7 Saturday 11 November 2017 The week began with All Saints Day observance at church and walks in fall splendor after the rain.
A few pictures tell the story of sightings about town on a three-mile walk on Monday, with a stop at Elkhart Main Library.
All Saints Day
We observed All Saints Day at church last Sunday, lighting candles in memory of those who have gone before, in song, prayer, sermon, testimony, study, and fellowship meal, giving heed to the upward call of God.
Reflection and remembrance, past and present
In June, I concluded a three-year term as Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference Historian. Following is the main part of my annual report:
“Proposal: To increase the capacity of pastors and congregations in connecting and celebrating, also credentialing, I propose congregations do a Cemetery Reflection Walk.
“Whatever our concern about the imbalance within and among religious, social, and political worlds, it may be hard to see how history is being healed. Still, even as the natural and spiritual worlds shake, we can assuredly walk together to realize God’s vision for people and creation.
“A Cemetery Reflection Walk can show that God’s patience calms our too-frequent impatience, fear, and frustration. In reflection, we see issues that have always been and will always be present. In reflection, we breathe new life and hope into our present.
“Set aside an hour, preferably two hours, at the cemetery. Sing a verse of song. Then have participants for the first half walk about alone or in very small groups, all in reverential silence. Have people bring folding chairs if needed.
“For the second half, have people share their thoughts, including stories of loved ones and others, this also done by someone familiar with the cemetery’s history. Share successes and failures openly. Leave judgments to God. Let silence and sharing, even holding hands, be an antidote to the traumas of our day. Give thanks for spiritual leaders who walked before. Witness to the sustenance you find in being children of God in the Anabaptist tradition, children of God who are walking into God’s future in daily allegiance to our Lord.”
I’ve not heard of any congregation taking such a step, though other steps are being taken: “Many people are heavily invested in making lasting memories in conference, congregations, and conference-related agencies. Praise, glory, hallelujah!,” I concluded.
There’s a common Icelandic saying, “Better to go barefoot than without books.”
John Steinbeck once said, “It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
The middle of November is the time we order tickets (as Festival members) for the 2018 season at the Stratford Festival of Canada. We have been travelling there in May with Dean and Gwen Preheim-Bartel for more than 30 years. It’s such a reward in the anticipation, the engagement in the plays and musicals, the reflections afterwards.–and a gathering with my extended family for a comedy all its own. Bravo!
Hold fast to fall splendor, remember well, plan for something exciting down the road. ‘Till next time.
Featured image: The St. Joseph River, on the right, is augmented by the Elkhart River, joining from the left, at Island Park, and flows on under the Main Street Bridge.