Pastor Debbie's E-Devotion - July 31, 2020


 When I first tried meditation in college, the facilitator told us to close our eyes and imagine a peaceful place. I readily called Lake Mary to mind. It was the place my father had spent his summers growing up. And because his parents later bought a cabin near the lake, it was also a place we spent time as a family each year. There wasn’t a TV, and it was before the internet or laptop computers, so when you went to the cabin you really got away from things. We read books, we played cards and board games, we’d sit on the porch and listen to the birds and the wind rustling through the pine trees, and we went on lots of hikes. As a child, I wasn’t a real fan of the hikes. I was the youngest and the slowest, and always brought up the rear. It felt as though every time I caught up the others would start again, so I was perpetually behind. My whole family reports that I complained easily and regularly. Despite everyone’s recollections of my whining, Lake Mary was a favorite place. As an adult, I looked forward to our time back at the cabin.


In 2015, Rick, Ruth, and I made the trek up the hill (it’s about 6 hours from Los Angeles—in the highest mountains in the contiguous US) and had a family trip anticipating Steven’s arrival in our family. We had a fun family photoshoot at the lake, which was very low that year and allowed us to walk in what would normally be covered by water. This year is the first year we’ve been able to come back to visit. We waffled on whether we should make the trip—was it safe with COVID and could we properly keep our family safe? Those were not easy decisions, but we’ve tried to be very cautious in the Pandemic and believed the family time together would be important. And, it was amazing. The familiarity of the sights and sounds was so good for me in mind, body, and Spirit. We did many of the hikes I did as a child, but this time I didn’t whine. Instead, I looked around and appreciated the changing vistas, the amazing diversity of God’s creation, even in such a small (relative) area, and I relished making memories with my kids. The porch still offers the same sweet solace—the smell of pine warmed by the sun, the chipmunks racing around outside (which our kids LOVED and named and chased all day every day!), the sterling jays dropping by for a visit, and the forced disconnect—there’s a TV now…but only with a DVD player, still no internet or cable.
This truly was Sabbath time—a chance for rest and restoration, renewal, and nurturing of my whole self.
As you know, living in the pandemic has been hard. It’s been hard to adapt, and then adapt again, and then adapt some more. While I think we are out of “crisis mode”, it’s been hard to settle in and imagine life and ministry for the long view. Stopping for extended Sabbath has helped me reset and hopefully will help me settle into more of our new norms in terms of planning and imagining life as a church in the foreseeable future.
I’m very grateful we get to go home to Moscow. July is the anniversary month, so to speak, for United Methodists, it marks the beginning of the appointment year and while it goes fairly unnoticed when we are reappointed (meaning sent back to the same church instead of sent to a new one), it’s still pretty cool to think we are starting year 5 together at Moscow First. I love doing church with all of you. And despite the pandemic, I’m excited for another year together.
We are traveling home this weekend and I covet your prayers for safe travels. I’ll be sheltering at home this next week to help ensure we haven’t picked up the virus while we were away, and I’m excited to be reading for and studying for our next worship series on grace. I’ll be available by phone and email if there’s anything you’d like to discuss.


In Christ,
Pastor Debbie


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