Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the first Temple of God

There will be a comfort service tonight. I've been a little more than a week without a funeral --without a journey to the graveside and back. But tonight we will begin again. A comfort service --the ceremonial and liturgical marking of grief, which continues until the funeral, when another stage in the grief is recognized. Grief is never really a private matter here....

And so... we will have a comfort service tonight --and we have a wake/funeral for another, younger man on Thursday/Friday --and then a wake/funeral Friday/Saturday.

Whenever DC has visited us before (2x), there has never been a funeral. It's not working out that way this time....

So yesterday --after a few pastoral visits around town, we set out to visit D who is just home from the hospital --having had his leg amputated below the knee. The ride out to White Horse was spectacular --all the snow has melted in the "heat" of last week --temperatures above freezing during the day, and lots of wind and low humidity. The thin layer of snow that has been on the ground since Thanksgiving is gone. Zippo. Zot. Gone. And the golden stubble of last year's wheat harvest is exposed, narrow contour lines in a ghost of man's attempt to manicure and tame the prairie.

Away from the highway, on the back road, we can see the land suffering in the drought, the dry dams, the creeks gone, the thirsty river banks standing guard over the thin frozen ribbon of dredge and backwash.

We help set up D's shower bench, some power-suction grips on the shower walls --we cleared paths and walkways --he's already working with a walker, not a wheel chair, which impresses me to no end. We (Joel, me, DC and D) shared some communion, said our prayers, joked about his beard and long hair... and then left out in to the cold.

The sudden, biting at the neck and nose and finger tips cold and bitter howling wind. This morning, when I took the dogs out, it was below zero --I don't know what the wind chill was, but no one dilly-dallied, and we all stumbled back in to the house, relieved. And a look at the weather map gives every indication this arctic cold will be here for a while.

And we have a chance at some snow tomorrow and Thursday --and again Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Please dear God. Send us some snow. Some deep, rich snow with moisture in it. And, even enough to make the prairie glad.

At prayer this morning (John 2:13)
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”

What shall we say when our mother earth --the first Temple House of God, suffers so... yes, drought is part of a regular weather cycle --but the extremity of this... the first dust bowl of nearly a century ago --that was part of the havoc wreaked on the landscape by inappropriate agricultural practices.... And the top soil, laid down over thousands of years, disappeared. And now --it looks as though we are headed for another.

Please dear God --giving voice to every creature under heaven, I ask --please, send us some snow.

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