Worship Sunday at 10:30

Bethany Evangelical
Lutheran Church

Ishpeming, Michigan † Est. 1870

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Pastor's Reflections

The cold grows colder, even as the days
grow longer, February's mercury vapor light
buffing but not defrosting the bone-white
ground, crusty and treacherous underfoot.
This is the time of year that's apt to put
a hammerlock on a healthy appetite,
old anxieties back into the night,
insomnia and nightmares into play;
when things in need of doing go undone
and things that can't be undone come to call,
muttering recriminations at the door,
and buried ambitions rise up through the floor
and pin your wriggling shoulders to the wall;
and hope's a reptile waiting for the sun.

If you keep track of such things, you might remember that I used the first couple of lines of this poem, simply titled February, two years ago in my February Outlook article. This year you get the whole thing. If I was a poet I would have written these words because the image created by Bill Christopherson, the poet who did write it, quite accurately conveys how I feel about February. I don’t think I would call it depression or even Seasonal Affective Disorder as it’s called these days, more like a general malaise that slows you down and makes it harder to get out of bed on dark, cold mornings, harder to stay motivated.

Even back when I was teaching school, I remember that February was often a month I would just have to grit my teeth and grind through. The school year was a little more than half over but still had a long way to go, winter was beginning to get too long. It was a month I would wind up thinking about doing something different with my life. Those thoughts always went away until I decided to go to seminary!

In the church there are some years when Lent starts in February and that provides a new focus but this year Ash Wednesday isn’t until March 6th so we wind up with a longer “Sundays after Epiphany” season. It’s a season that includes some great stories but still can feel like a post-holiday lull following Christmas. Add to that the fact that here at Bethany we have increasing numbers of people gone to warmer places for the winter or at least for a few weeks so attendance is lower with February attendance being about the lowest.

As I write this though, I also think about a day like yesterday, a day that while cold was stunningly beautiful with blue skies and sunshine on the white snow. Or I think about a day like today, still cold but with a gentle snow falling, snow that won’t amount to anything but will add a fresh layer of whiteness to the landscape. At least for awhile, the shadow of malaise lifts and with that there’s a reminder that while life has its peaks and valleys, good times and others that aren’t so good, for most of us we are blessed beyond anything we deserve…even in February.

Pastor Geier


Bethany Lutheran Church
715 Mather Avenue
Ishpeming, MI 49849

Phone: 906-486-4351
Fax: 906-486-9640

Rev. Warren Geier, Pastor

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one such child in my name
welcomes me, and whoever
welcomes me welcomes
not me
but the
one who
sent me.”


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