Getting Things Ready

One unique aspect of the parish that I serve is that it is a merged parish community. Two parishes that once were separate have been brought together into one parish family. In turn, that means that the parish has two churches; one, St. Mary, is located in Charlotte, while the other, St. Ann, is located in Bellevue, which is about 15 miles south of Charlotte. My driving route between the two takes me through beautiful farmland and there are plenty of woods along the way, as well. It is classic mid-Michigan at its most beautiful.

During the spring and summer the main attraction on my drives is watching fields being prepared and planted and then anticipating the beauty of crops that soon spring forth. During the weeks of autumn, my drive between the two churches is particularly beautiful. It is then that the bounty of the harvest is being gathered in and the fields are prepared for their winter nap. At the same time, the woodlands are aglow with beautiful colors as the trees show off prior to their winter slumber.

My autumn drives also reveal the farmers hard at work, harvesting and tilling, preparing and planting. I also see the hard work that goes into taking good care of the farmsteads that line my route and the other homes that are along the way. Gardens are being cut back, dead trees are felled and cut for firewood, leaves are raked in front yards, and things in general are cleaned and prepared for the winter months that are just around the corner.

There is a lesson for all of us in all that hard work of harvesting, tilling, planting, preparing, cleaning and trimming. It is an opportunity to recall that the effort and hard work that we expend to care for farm, home, or garden should also extend to the “homes” in which each of us dwell—our bodies, our lives, the physical and spiritual homes that God has provided for each of us. Each of them requires care and tending, just like farm, yard and garden. There are things in each of us that need to be trimmed away, weeds that need to be pulled up, and good ground that needs to be prepared so that our spiritual lives may grow and flourish.

It is now November and in a few short weeks we will enter the wondrous season of Advent. Advent is a season of both preparation and of joyful anticipation. Perhaps during these remaining days of November we might find the opportunity for some of the work that helps to prepare us for the quiet of Advent and the joy of Christmas. If it’s been a while since you’ve experienced the sacrament of reconciliation, now would be a good time to get in line, so to speak. Let the mercy of God work to uproot sin and clear out the old, so that something and Someone might grow more fully. Perhaps now is a good time to work at forming a habit of daily prayer, by spending time with the readings of the day, letting the Word till up our hearts and refresh the ground of our being.

We expend a lot of time, effort and energy at this time of the year in order to make sure that things are ready for the months ahead. It is good to remember that the best place to start in that effort is at home, that physical and spiritual place where Jesus seeks to come and dwell. And so, our journey in FAITH continues.