It's that time of year, that strange intersection between Reformation Day (for those of us Protestants who celebrate that part of our heritage) and Halloween. Many of us will spend tomorrow morning singing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" and tomorrow night trick-or-treating. I feel lucky to be part of a church that sees no special problem with this dichotomy. But if you are, and if your kids knock on my door tonight, I'll have candy.
During the past ten years, I've missed Reformation Sunday several notable times. One time was my first time at Mepkin Abbey in 2004. One of my friends who was also a Lutheran was relieved to miss Reformation Sunday. She much preferred the fierceness of the Psalms to the hearty singing of Lutheran hymns. In the evening, as we watched the sun set over the Cooper River, we watched people trick-or-treating and the flickers from Jack-o-Lanterns. We walked down the main driveway, a road flanked by giant trees draped with Spanish moss, and from a distance we saw two monks who were also out for an evening walk. I said to my friend, "If we were characters in a movie, something very bad would be about to happen." Happily, nothing did. The monks asked us if we would vote in the election on Tuesday, and one of them cackled. "I hope you vote for the right one." It was strange to me to think of these monks, who I think of as cloistered from the world, having political opinions.
Two years later, we missed Reformation Sunday because we met up with some grad school friends at Kiawah Island--one group had come all the way from England. During a Reformation Sunday walk on the beach, three of us confessed to being unhappy in our current church homes. Now it's interesting to reflect that we've found a better fit: I changed to a different Lutheran church, one friend switched from the Church of England to being a Quaker, and one has found a wonderful Unitarian church. Did that walk on the beach foster our courage to find a true spiritual home? The spirit of the Reformation was swirling around us!
A simple walk can change our spiritual trajectory? Yes indeed. The biographies of many spiritual giants show that sowing the seeds of small changes can lead to enormous harvests. For those of you yearning for baby steps which might change your trajectory, you might read my blog posting over at the Living Lutheran site.
So, as you prepare for Reformation Sunday and/or Halloween, may you have the courage of your convictions that Luther did, may you not be spooked, may you not be haunted by the past, may God grant you to fortitude to do what must be done.
feeling the feelings…
5 months ago