I am one of those people who – despite current disturbing news about him – has loved the stories woven by Garrison Keillor on the old Prairie Home Companion…particularly his stories about the mythical town in which he grew up, Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average.” His stories were great at weaving tales about the everyday things that bring some moment of magic to us: an act of kindness or sharing that makes you believe in the goodness of people again.
There was usually something about the church that Pastor Inkvist serves, and the Catholic Church (Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility) down the road, and sometimes, there was a jab at the Unitarians who Keillor didn’t think much of. But mostly, as the ads ran on the show for Powdermilk Biscuits and Bertha’s Kitty Boutique, you ended up smiling and being lifted up by Keillor’s vision of some magical place that time and the newspaper headlines forgot.
During weeks like this one, with the stories of continued sexual harassment, abuses of power in the highest level of government, and devastating natural disasters, I begin to wonder if there is a place in this world that is reserved for love, compassion, and the warmth of community – those elements that Follen Church aspires to lift up in its words and its deeds.
There are three primary reasons why people come to churches…because they have moved, because they have experienced a life crisis, or because they have children. Maybe one of those reasons brought you in the door at Follen, and maybe it was long ago…or perhaps it was last month. I don’t know whether the acts of cruelty and aggression that have been visited upon unsuspecting individuals – or the commentary from some political figures about their root causes – constitute life crises in your world…but in mine, they make me get a knot in my stomach and want to reach out to those I hold dear.
Whoever you are, wherever you live, whoever you hold dear – remember that church – this church – is a good place to gather during times like this. There are people who care, there is warmth and friendship, and there are people who will – if you give them time and your hand – come to know your name and your gifts, with love and appreciation.
I wish you an above-average week as we head into the holiday season…one that is filled with friendship, love, and the true warmth of community.
Deb Weiner, Interim Director of Religious Education