August Journal, Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

The fog rolled in over the night, but dissipated by early dawn, having blanketed our dry brown grass in the hills around Mount Diablo in the SF Bay Area with moisture. The drop in temperatures was welcome, if seemingly a bit early, and yet the shortening days and longer nights reflect our change of seasons.

Weather changes. Climate changes. All the earth, under the loving gaze of our Heavenly Father, rolls through the universe, around the blazing sun, with its moon rotating around us. The heavens declare the glory of God, as do the tiniest of creatures, as does my cat, a longhair from a Red Bluff shelter who was rescued by our local Animal Rescue Foundation founded by Tony La Russa.

We give thanks for the change of seasons, the changing of days, the marking of time with temperature and light. We give thanks for life, born and unborn, every miraculous moment declaring again the glory of God. We give thanks for growth, for the baby that bursts into the world of oxygen and bright light, meeting that brave new world with a startled cry and a slap on the back. What was it like to leave that warm womb and suddenly be thrust into a such a cold and sterile climate? I don’t recall, but I experienced it to be sure, as did you, as did all of us who were fortunate enough to be born.

We give thanks again and again, for it is meet and right so to do. We are made in our Maker’s image, and like our Maker we are called to love. Love can be hard. Love can mean suffering. Love is a mystery. Love has its own climate of hot and cold, its weather that weathers storms and implants life to continue love on our Planet Earth long after we are gone to where we long to be, a place deep in our hearts, a longing that answers the question, “Where do we go when we die?” Somehow we know – we go to the place of our greatest yearning.

We yearn for God and so we yearn for love. Love links us like a daisy chain, all green and yellow and fresh and living for the time in its own time.

Did I tell you about my cat? Gold and white with giant green eyes who lives to eat and to be brushed. She knows what she knows. She knows her purpose, her plan, her daily needs, and the household climate she requires, one of love. She lives with us, a visitor from Heaven, for a short time on Earth. We have been given the delightful task of caring for her while she is visiting. We have been entrusted with her love.

Just so, I sometimes think, we are entrusted with one another, for this short time on Earth that we have been given. We too are visitors, knowing we are made for another kingdom, another climate, a place so golden and brightly white that we will shield our eyes as we adjust to the glory. It will be a moment of recognition, of coming home. We know this now, that we are pulled to God by a golden thread, a thread woven deeply into our soul. And being entrusted with one another, with family and friends that are woven along with us in our time, we are called to love the place and the person and the time that we have been given.

We heard about the Pharisee and the Publican today, a parable told by Our Lord Jesus. It is of course, a story of pride and humility, of vice and virtue. It is a story too of how to pray, how to reach for God in prayer. It is a story of simplicity, of denial, and in that denial of self we find our true selves. When we pray simply and from the heart, repenting our vices, we are forgiven and made new creatures. Our golden thread grows strong and weaves a pattern of joy in our soul. We wait and listen for Our Father’s voice, his tug upon the thread, and having emptied ourselves out before him, we are suddenly filled up.

Have I told you about my cat? She lies curled now, on my desk, sleeping. She knows what she knows. And she knows it’s time for a nap. Soon she will hear me bustling in the kitchen, cooking dinner. Soon she will follow the sound of my voice to the kitchen, the sounds of love, the sounds she has grown to know well.

Will we know our Shepherd’s voice when he calls? Have we listened carefully to his voice in Scripture and Sacrament and Song?

As I made breakfast this morning I watched from my window the fog skirt back to the coast, to the City by the Bay. Tufts of clouds, darkened in shadow by the sun slanting up over the mountain, drifted over the land, this golden land of hills and valleys. I said my morning prayer, ending with, “What will you show me today, Heavenly Father?” I knew if I watched and listened throughout the minutes and hours of the day, I would hear his voice.

Our country is in a strange climate of angst and suffering. Our people are confused by the crying wolves that bay at the moon, that encircle our homes. We watch and listen for Our Lord Jesus. We love those whom we are called to love, those in our midst, those in our hour, those who share these times with us. And thus the climate changes, turns on a tiny axis of care, a humble cry, forgive me, make me anew. Make a new and right heart within me. And thus, in such humility, is born the unborn. In such humility, we reach to our children and teach them to reach too. And the golden thread weaves through time into another time, brightening the lives of those who will come after us. For we have learned to love in our own climate, in our own time.

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