This last week has been wonderful in Vermont. This week our dear friend and SAMS board member Andrew Osmun came and worked like a crazy man helping us cut down some trees. What a joy to share in fellowship. Andy is one of my oldest seminary friends and is a major intercessor for us. He prayed over us as we are finding this leaving stage full of spiritual attack. We are visiting his parish in Milford, Connecticut to speak on Oct 10 and 11. We also were visited by Fr. Paul and Julie Feider. Paul came to Kenya with me in 2006 and we have done building together on our home here. This time it was a visit to relax and for Polly and Julie to do some cooking and visit the chocolate store in Walpole, NH.
The next day we visited Peru, Vermont – seemed appropriate! Guess what we found – alpacas! I was reminded of the wonderful sweaters that I wear in cooler weather. I was reminded of the “rocoto relleno con alpaca” that I have enjoyed eating in Arequipa. I also led some in a Christmas pageant once in Wisconsin, not because they were present that long time ago in Bethlehem, but because one of our parishioners there kept them as pets. The children at the pageant that Christmas loved them!
It was a perfect day in Peru and we spent our time enjoying the beauty and wonder of the turning leaves.
This week we were also visited by some “critters.” We awoke one morning to find our bird feeders had been attacked by a bear. The metal posts were bent double, one feeder wrecked, another twisted and the third missing. There were two gifts on the ground, indicating two bears – I will show evidence of one only!
We also found another critter and a critter home – snake and hornet’s nest. The former is harmless and lives by the garage door and the latter was in a tree down by the road. AVOID hornets at all times. Once stung is enough and I have been stung a few times in my life.
The last picture is of the covered bridge a mile down the road. It is being rebuilt and I find it fascinating to see how incredibly it is fabricated. Here the siding is off. It will be jacked up and re-decked and some of the side struts replaced. I am so thrilled that there are traditional things being preserved and that the skills to do so are retained.
So a final reflection. We share this world with the good, the bad and the ugly, with creatures great and small. Our stay on this earth is but short. We come out of somewhere, seek to make a difference and then move on. In other words we are sojourners. This is especially true as Christians. Today’s reading was a very edited version of Esther – most of the best parts were left out sadly. Never-the-less, God placed Esther in the right place at the right time with really only one opportunity to make a difference. She was afraid, but took a hugely brave choice (risk of her execution was real). She was the salvation of her people.
Who knows what a difference we may make? No one but God. As one of my mentors says to me often, our responsibility is to follow Christ, step by step, often with the next step shrouded in mist. As we seek Christ and to serve obediently, we can trust him to use us. I am not master of my destiny. I serve the master and must have confidence that He will place me in the right place at the right time. I cannot presume to set out an agenda but must serve His. Meanwhile the bridge under construction shows me that beneath the sheathing, the external covering, there is a structure and a foundation. This must be strong and serviceable, requires attention and may need rebuilding for the future. Surely this is my parable for the day! Jesus is the master carpenter. May he rebuild me as needed and as necessary and use me to His glory. That I may see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, day by day (with apologies to Richard of Chichester).