Tornados, Itinerancy, and Father’s Day

This has been an interesting week. I am in Lakeside, Ohio, for the just-concluded session of the West Ohio Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Last night we were awakened by sirens and kept awake for a few hours by the local news reports of tornadoes and severe winds. At least until the lights went out! Sitting in the dark in a summer cottage with no basement contemplating devastating winds that thankfully missed us is not an experience I longed to have this week.

Part of this week’s event is the announcement of where United Methodist pastors are appointed for the next year (which begins July 1). Coincidentally I had a conversation with a former United Methodist last week who was unsettled by this practice among others. He was bemoaning the pastors he had come to know who then left, often just when he came to know and trust them.

What these things have in common is the way they remind me of the temporary nature of life. How quickly things move and change. How fleetingly we enjoy even the most important things in life. My daughters are young adults – yesterday they were young girls running down the streets of Lakeside where I am this week. My dad stops by our temporary Lakeside residence to see if we want to go to dinner.. but not this year and not last year, And never again in this life. (There’s the Father’s Day hook!).

I am not sure what to do with all of this these days. I have been thinking a lot this week about my work, my calling, my life. The reminders of the temporary reality of all things brings me some peace. What could and perhaps should be unsettling is rather a space for peace, for clarity, for reflection. If or when you find yourself in the same place, I pray you will find the same place to reflect and center.

The days of a human life are like grass:
they bloom like a wildflower;
16     but when the wind blows through it, it’s gone;
even the ground where it stood doesn’t remember it.
17 But the Lord’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now
for those who honor him. (Psalm 103:15-17 CEB)

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