Forgetting What I was Taught

I’ve been learning some things about my adoptive hometown and the people that populate it. First of all, Gladbrook is not afraid of cold weather. The good souls of my hometown go out in subzero weather to deliver goodie bags. I sit shivering in my home because I am freezing all the time. To begin with, my office is always cold. I mean winter coat cold. So I pray for heat on a daily basis. But the cold doesn’t affect my blessed Iowan congregation. I feel a little wimpy on Sunday morning, but my sturdy people go out in the snow and ice anyway.

Lately, my congregation has downsized itself. Unfortunately, many of our older believers are choosing to return home to the Lord. I’m never sad about that. I know they are going on to Heaven. I also get the greatest of all honors by doing their Celebration of Life service. The families, the children, and the friends share with me precious stories of growing up in Gladbrook. We learned how to work. How to help our neighbors, and how to worship. We had fun on Saturday night, but on Sunday, Mom had us in church. This was part of small-town living. It is what made us strong.

Our strength as a society, as a community of faith made, gave us that extra power. Many of us band together during the holiday to share the good news and joy of the season. No one minces word about Merry Christmas and tosses in Happy Holidays or Sparkle Season. In Gladbrook, we still celebrate Christ’s birth.

Pastor Tim Ayers of the Peace United Church of Christ in Gladbrook, IA