I’ve thought a lot lately about my great-grandfather, Rev. George Strause, who was a Circuit Riding preacher in the Kansas and Oklahoma area back in the 1800’s. He’s buried in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the town where my husband, Jim, grew up. It was quite a coincidence to find out that his burial place was so close to my would-be husband’s home. My grandma always told me that I should find a good man from Oklahoma when I went to college in Tulsa. I used to balk at the idea….but look what happened!
I can imagine Grandpa George riding around on horseback, and then in one of the first automobiles with a rumble seat facing backwards for the kids to ride… Grandma told me some stories about the rumble seat, and how her dad preached on the “evils of the rumble seat,” where grandma and her friends were caught “making whoopee.” Makes me smile.
Now that I’m serving as DS, I’m driving around my district and conference, and putting more miles on my car than ever before. I’m seeing the land, and learning the town folklore stories, and seeing things from the ground up. It is a great way to experience what is happening in the world and in the church.
I’ve noticed that the church has a central place in many locations. And yet that center has shifted. She is becoming the important historical marker, and the place to go for special family moments, as well as the gathering space to connect with people. She still draws people to her sanctuaries as sacred gathering spaces.
Like at Christmas. This time when we wait in Advent longing, for the birth of our hopes and dreams to come true, people will gather in the sacred spaces. The land and the people of the land all have hopes… Hopes for peace. Hopes for finding loved ones lost. Hopes for meaningful work. Hopes for any work. Hopes for family and love and life….
I wish everyone could experience circuit-driving. And peace on earth. And goodwill to All. May your Advent-Christmas be the experience of dreams made real. And, oh, be careful of the rumble seat…