As summer's heat gives way to August's clarity and September's cool, it has suddenly seemed a wonderful turning of the year. Part of it is the air. The blue ridge lines of the mountains. The deep blue of the sky and water.
But, events have had their turning, too. The late-August preaching at Mirror Lake Church was a high time for me. So long anticipated and prayed for. The many people, the folks who asked for prayer. The subject, "What Ministry Means," stirred much inside my soul.
And then, next day, a paddle up Pine River through the late morning quiet with no one else on the water. And, those cardinal flowers, scarlet red on their solitary stalks among the rushes and the ferns.
While it was a little depleting, in long, slow strokes, it was restful for my spirit. When I reached our own shore, Lizzie was on the raft, and as I touched the beach, there suddenly, was my new friend from North Carolina, from our neighboring trailer camp, in camouflage shorts and deep tan, running over to pull up my canoe and steady with his hand this 90-year-old neighbor. He and Lizzie and I chatted on the beach. "I just love this guy," he explained to my daughter.
A friend. Wanting to help. He watches for me every day to interrupt my unsteady struggle to launch or beach my canoe. At first I resisted, and he insisted. And now, like old friends, we watch for each other.
It was a highlight of the day, the exchange with Wayne, who emerged from the next door beach chairs to care for me. He's a new retiree, with four months of summer to share our beloved lake. What a wonder.
It made me realize something wonderful had happened. This summer of busy days, welcoming and sending off numerous combinations of family, preaching time, receiving our leader, Dr Jim, for a Pilgrim Center "New Hampshire week of ministry," with a deep one-day retreat with staff of our church's White Horse Addiction Center, Jim's preaching at our lifetime church, our hotel Dinner for Friends (with double the usual number there despite a Bernie Sanders Rally on the hotel's back lawn), a number of lifetime friends showing up - some traveling several hours from Maine, with poignant moments in the evening, another training and retreat for Jim, a little "lunch without end" with Jim and Annette, and our 69th wedding anniversary yet to come - had now brought me back to simple things: new friendship, peace on the water, a call to "31 Days of Prayer" with our church here, through August.
It feels like God's hand, moving me along, showing me important things, preparing me for the year ahead. I just felt full of life, so glad to be alive. And so close to the One Who - so long ago - gave me life.
Is this, in some seasonal, spiritual way, a turn-around time for you? A time of change, and of seeing God's hand in it all?
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."