Worship was awesome this morning. I played arco bass on "Of the Father's Love Begotten" and on "Gather Us In" -- plainchant-old to very-new (well, new enough to use the word "light-years"). I also played a handbell for the first time ever, by special request a few weeks back. The plan for the day was to keep all children upstairs instead of sending them out for Sunday School. This meant that Steve and I had to keep the whole service as interesting as possible... so we all acted out Zechariah's story, and had a dialogue sermon that kept many people laughing as we bantered back and forth. We called for "Amen"s and "Hallelujah"s and got them, exuberantly. We celebrated Communion and the kids got to "watch and learn." The whole place was bright with greens and Amahl's starry sky.
In the middle of that they called me up for gifts. Although they'd already done the prayer shawl, with laying-on-of-hands, well, there was more. Today I got a quilt, with an image of our church building applique'd on the center, and an extremely generous check for "books, travel, whatever you need," and a basket full of variously meaningful Wallowa County stuff and children's art. And a pasta maker! For me to keep up with my growing repertoire of domestic skillz.
We had a potluck with a gorgeous chocolate cake which was decorated in Talitha Colors (i.e. green, brown, leafy, hippie nature girl) with hazelnuts and acorns adorning it to remind us of Julian of Norwich.
I had dinner last night with a friend who asked me "how does it feel to be leaving the county?" My answer was, in a word, "wrong." It still grates at me -- it is so artificial for me to be called away from a place that is such a perfect fit. Artificial it is, but CPM and seminary call. I am grateful to the congregation for helping to push me out of the nest, saying their goodbyes, celebrating my time here, and stopping by with boxes for packing up. The rituals of goodbyes help a lot. The weather is also helping. What with sunset around 3:30 PM and daily temperatures getting up near 20 at the heat of the day... it is hard to drag things out.
Here's a picture of what "freezing fog" does to a bush. no those are not thorns... just ice-prickles. In California I will have fresh lemons on the tree, and persimmons. I'm not saying this because I want to leave, but I have to look at the bright side of it to get my tail in gear, and comparing frost prickles to lemons and persimmons DOES do the trick.