Thursday, November 01, 2007

Faith Works 11-3-07
Jeff Gill

Fall Back Into November

“Novem,” the Latin word for nine, reminds us in this eleventh month of our year that New Year’s in ancient Rome was March.

But the new year, and all the events leading up to the turn of the calendar, liturgically and socially, are pressing in close.

On this fine fall morning, if you’re reading this and not planning to trot over to Columbus for the Wisconsin game, there are a number of options.

The Habitat for Humanity folks are working their way through the very last steps of completing the last house they’ll build on Monroe Street. The dedication has been pushed back to the start of December, and a few volunteers for trim painting and tacking up shed siding will be welcome today – just drive through the E. Main and Buena Vista intersection, cross the tracks and turn south immediately, then turn right before you enter the railyard, and go to the street’s end.

For the faith-formed folk who have kept the momentum behind our local chapter, many thanks; the new homeowners have been doing their sweat equity to make their down payment, and the interest-free payments they’ll make will roll on into the next house. Stay tuned for more updates on that!

Also today out at Camp Falling Rock is Apple Butter Day, which has no real religious connection at all, but if you want to start feeling thankful as practice before the big day, there’s little else that shows the bounty of nature and the grace of creation than an autumnal trip out past Wilkins’ Corners and up to Houdeshell Road, where you can help stir the copper kettle and smell the heavenly scent of apple butter cooking down from the beautiful fruit of the trees.

Some of you will start turning your clocks back around noon, which makes evening a preview of the official end of Daylight Savings Time, which isn’t chronologically until 2 am Sunday. Given the number of clocks we have around the house (coffee maker, blender, microwave, curler set, sound system, car dashboards, digital fireplace, light timers, watches, washing machine, electric toothbrush, running shoes, toaster – reset ‘em all), you may need to start before dark today.

Make sure that in the morning you didn’t forget that last clock-radio by the bedside, or you’ll find yourself at the early service. Or go and find out who attends that one! And check the church kitchen for clocks that may not get set back until Christmas (crock pot, can opener, dishwasher, battery clock on wall above the stove).

Speaking of which – if you haven’t already been hearing Christmas music, you must not be working with the children’s choirs at your church. They are all deep into rehearsals for programs and worship music and Christmas Eve, which I hear is on Dec. 24 this year.

The Granville Candlelight Walking Tour kicks off the season with Sat., Dec. 1, where children will sing all around you as you walk from corner to corner through the evening.
Thursday, Dec. 6 is the annual Newark downtown “Sights & Sounds” around the churches of the historic core, with many musical offerings in preparation even now. Mark your calendars, and if your town has a special community event for the holiday season, let me know.

For the liturgically minded, the First Sunday of Advent is actually Dec. 2 this year, so the Sunday after Thanksgiving is not a headlong rush into hanging o’ the greens and starting the church calendar (the first Sunday of Advent begins the new lectionary cycle, among other patterns which begin here, not with the calendar year). Many clergy and lay leaders look with special warmth on those years where a “breather” falls into the calendar, and you can stay an extra day at a family gathering or some such.

But for the very, very liturgical, this is “Christ the King Sunday,” as the grand wrap-up of the ending cycle of the church calendar, with the role of Christ Jesus as cosmic redeemer, enthroned in the heavens, highlighted in the songs and readings. That can clear our heads and hearts from cornucopias and turkey feathers from construction paper, putting us in a receptive frame of spirit for the day by day approach to a savior born in a stable.

Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and supply preacher around central Ohio; tell him about your community Thanksgiving service coming up in a few weeks at

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