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By Dan Baumgartner on
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Oct 11 in Musings
So, it’s October. Haunted houses spring up on empty lots. Pumpkins appear in stores. It is fall, and this week for the first time- I felt it. It’s harder to notice in Southern California. Just hints, really. The darker mornings. A bit of cooler breeze earlier in the evening. The quicker sunset. The grapevines on the garden fence actually showing a few colors. 
Ernest Hemingway once wrote a eulogy for a friend, which some people speculate may have been for himself as well:
            “Best of all he loved the fall … the fall with the tawny and grey, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies.
In the big city, we are less tied to the rhythms of God’s good creation. The four-season pattern is muted, and we encounter much more concrete and far less soil. We are far removed from crops and anxiety about weather. One of the beautiful things about Los Angeles is the climate. I love it. But I also miss the seasons and the internal rhythms they help create. I find myself needing to be more intentional about establishing a cadence for my soul.
Faith patterns look different for everyone. Personally, I need morning space. I often arrive at the office quite early and sit outside on the patio. A cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. With berries. Right now, a devotional of Frederick Buechner’s that points to scripture. My journal and prayer list. This rhythm permeates the rest of my day and evening. The awareness of God’s presence from the time the sun rises persists through sometimes chaotic days or evenings. I need it today. And tomorrow. And the next day. Without it, I find myself less prayerful, less perceptive and more impatient.
In our community at Hollywood Pres we have other rhythms. Certainly, our worship gathering on Sunday mornings is a pattern that week in and week out grounds us. Perhaps a weekly or monthly home group steadies some of us. The church calendar helps too, moving us in these days from the new beginning of Kick-Off Sunday toward Forest Home in November, onward to Thanksgiving and then the arrival of Advent. We rehearse the gospel story in various ways throughout the year, but always the Advent of the Christ in winter, and the death and resurrection of Jesus in spring.
These things are signposts that guide us, and help our souls pay attention to God’s presence. As the fall unfolds, I encourage you to think of the rhythms that sustain your faith. And even here in Southern California, don’t forget to look around...and above the hills the high blue windless skies.
        See you soon,       
                 Pastor Dan

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