Old Log in the Woods

September 3rd (the day before Labor Day) is the first Sunday of the Season of Creation. It’s ‘Forest Sunday’ when we consider how the living forest feeds us even while the dying forest feeds everything. Consider this amazing poem by Gwen Frostic:

The Log in the Woods
The old log in the woods will never be a great tree again, things
never go back,
Yet lying there, covered with moss, it is creating new life,
which in turn will be great and beautiful….
The fish eats the insect, the bird the fish, The mammal the bird, and the insect the mammal,
as each, in universal rhythm is creating new life,
for there is no life except life which comes from life…
Waters flow where daisies grew, Trees grow where swans once swam
All things upon this earth are developing into new things,
from what is here must come what is to be…. There is no other material.

Log in the Woods

Gwen Frostic from These Things Are Ours, ©1960 pub. by Presscraft Papers, Benzonia Michigan.

This poem causes me to reflect on the life of the church. The ebb and flow of people who’ve come before us to create a place of nurture to a congregation of faithful, Spirit-filled stewards. Like the forest ever regenerating itself, the church is called to do the same. It’s not as easy as it was 20 or 30 years ago because the church’s value to society has decreased. So… if we are the old log “covered with moss,” how are we called to create new life when the model of church growth [bring in new members] doesn’t work any longer? How do we market ourselves or present ourselves to the St. Louis Park community so they see who we are – faith-filled, justice-seeking contributors – and what we value [fill in the blank here]. How is Union developing into a “new thing”?

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