Pastoral Reflection, Our 33rd Week in Official Pandemic Status – November 5, 2020

November is the time when our bible readings are all about the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory.  It is a time of uncertainty and waiting.  The themes are both dire and hopeful.  They never lose their currency though, because isn’t life itself both terrifying and wonderful?
I rediscovered in my files a poem appropriate to the occasion. It was written by Linda Brainerd, a steadfast and beloved member of the Lopez Branch who succumbed to ALS several years ago.  She was a gifted writer who generously shared her talent and her passion for God with us.  


Pr. Beth
Burning Trash
I am burning trash this morning
without a permit.
The fire lights my worship, do I need to ask the law?
Not on my watch, I say.
Standing sentinel I see the flames arise,
dance eagerly into the blue November morning.
You’ve been likened to a refiner’s fire.
If such a metaphor is pleasing,
let me be consumed in Your core.
I know even if the pain seems more than I can bear,
I shall not die but be transformed.
I watch ashes fly into the blue–bright sky.
Not much danger from escaping remnants 
on such a dew-damp morning.
Still, I keep an eye on it.
I wonder if, like the ashes, I’ve already been
reconstituted, sent away from Your hot core.
I am afraid!  I want to hide forever in the heat of you.  
This world is cold. The fire’s low at last; 
I hang up the hose.  Perhaps, now, I will get to work
hoping You are still within me,
refining my fear and the misdirection we call sin,
refining me, 
that I may withstand the terrible power
of Your love.
Linda Brainerd

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