Blessings and Bounty

bounty of leaves

two wooden park benches on the side of a path. Everything is covered in orange and yellow autumn leaves; Image courtest of Pepper Mint via Pixabay.

In spite of the challenges in the world today, Creation is filled with beauty, wonder, and awe. While we don't shy away from pain or despair, we do want to name them so we can begin to free ourselves from them. Then we can more fully embrace the gifts of Creation. 

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This time of year is full blessings and, often, sadness. The days are shorter and cooler, and only growing more so. School is back in session. Gardens are yielding their fruits and vegetables. The leaves are turning more because of the season rather than the drought. The world around us is beautiful and full of goodness.

And it’s not. Many people begin to struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in September and October, not to mention the more winter of the months. It can also be a time of remembering those we have lost as we live into our plans for the program year. There is also plenty of cause for despair in the world around us – politics, war, violence, hunger, COVID, etc.

So what do we do with these conflicting feelings? We live with them, and embrace them whether we deem them good or bad, wanted or unwanted. One of the ways we can do that is to gather together as a community to love and support one another. This week will be a great opportunity to do just that.

On Sunday morning we will worship God with our prayers and praises, and we will have a chance to name our laments – name them and turn them over to the Holy One. This will be a great opportunity to prepare our hearts for the dedication of New Branches that will follow immediately after worship.

You won’t want to miss this week. Lamenting together and celebrating together are essential parts of our life together. We will also be joined by our Conference Minister, Rev. Shari Prestemon for both worship and the dedication. You’ll have opportunity to greet Shari whether you join us in the room or on Zoom.

In spite of the challenges in the world today, Creation is filled with beauty, wonder, and awe. While we don’t shy away from pain or despair, we do want to name them so we can begin to free ourselves from them. Then we can more fully embrace the gifts of Creation.

There is much joy in the days ahead. On Sunday we will dedicate New Branches. Later this Fall we have a baptism to celebrate. We will worship with our New Branches community on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The RAT folx are planning an extraordinary Advent. There’s a lot more. You won’t want to miss any of it!

Come and share in the beauty and bounty of our amazing community!

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and mental health ministry. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others.

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