Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

This week's sunday sermon took 2nd place to the goings on a couple hours before church. We got about 5 inches of snow in Kirksville overnight Sat. night/Sun. morning, and was still snowing when I woke up Sun. a.m. When you live in the country, your first thought at times like this is "Gee, hope I can get out to the highway." So, I decided to test things out by going in early to town with the plan of shoveling the church walk. Trinity, being a rather modest-sized church, doesn't hire out snow removal like all the bigger churches on Kirksville's "church row". A few of the congregants just show up early and shovel. No one ever makes plans about this, people just show up, and there always seems to be enough help.

I got there about 8:30 a.m. and had just started shoveling the church steps when folks started coming in to help...all in all there were about 8 people. Many of them were folks who were originally from the upper Midwest, namely Michigan and Wisconsin, so "helping shovel" was second nature. I am convinced native upper Midwesterners start shoveling after the first few flakes...I've been told that is because when you live where you can get a foot of snow, the better part of valor is to shovel multiple times rather than try to move a foot of snow a shovelfull at a time.

We had quite a little party going on in front of the church and it was kind of fun to watch how different the atmosphere was in front of our church compared to the rest of "church row." The churches with hired snow removal were "business as usual", people coming in in their "Sunday clothes" just like any other week. We were out front, gabbing, drinking coffee (Diane was kind enough to have made a pot or two for the thirsty caffeine-starved shoveling crew) and all dressed in snow pants, sweatshirts, and boots. When you looked around in the service there were sweat pants, snow pants, and hooded sweatshirts sprinkled around the crowd, and me in my stocking feet (my rubber "farm boots" were incredibly messy, not just from snow, but from various forms of equine excrement, because after all, they're my chore boots. I left them in the church alcove and went to the rail in my socks!). It was one of the lightest and most cheerful atmospheres I ever had in church.

It dawned on me as I was shoveling that these "angels unawares" are an important and special part of our ministry. First of all, there is just something about braving the bad weather that makes one feel incredibly ALIVE. It also shows a lot about the spirit of our church, of the bonding that our congregation has for the well-being of the Church in a larger sense. Unlike the bigger houses of worship on Kirksville's "church row", there is a sense that everyone's presence matters. That is the gift of a small but vibrant congregation. For me, in a larger church, it is so easy to be "not noticed" if that is what you choose to do. At Trinity, it's impossible. It brings home the Episcopal notion that "what you do in the secular world is also your ministry."

Praise God for small, vibrant, and dynamic congregations!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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