Monday, October 29, 2007

Church and Haunted House

What a lovely Sunday here in Iowa yesterday! Sunshine the whole day long. The colors in our church's stained-glass windows were distilling the sunlight beautifully as our little congregation absorbed the Divine Service. Pastor doesn't chant very well, poor guy.......probably he can't help it that he can't stay on pitch. Husband said later, "Why doesn't he just speak the parts instead?" Good question.

I had attended the Bible class before church. There we continued our study of the "End Times", but today's section was on how the Mo-Synod Lutherans have correct Christian doctrine, and no one else does, evidently. Pastor also read a declaration put out by the Synod in the 1930's stating that we hold no belief in millenialism, the rapture, etc. That is fine with me. Dwelling on those weird beliefs can cause myriad problems for people.

It was also Reformation Sunday, so one of our hymns was Martin Luther's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" of my all-time favorites. Even as a Baptist kid, I loved that hymn, although a different version of it than what we sing here in the Lutheran church. These words from that version in our Baptist hymnal have always stayed in my mind: "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing. Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing." The words are different in the Lutheran versions, probably due to varying translations from the original German.

Little of the day's sermon comes to mind right started out with something about the right to bear arms, the 2nd amendment to the Constitution of the U.S. After that, I must have become distracted by the cute babies in front of and behind us......we had entered the service a bit late, so we sat in the back, in the "zoo section", as Husband calls it. It brought back memories of when our own four children were little, and we sat back there every Sunday, surrounded by other families with babies and toddlers. Fathers in suits with shoulders supporting chubby baby faces, every now and then a toothless smile and burp, followed by spit-up oozing down. Mothers rummaging in diaper bags, looking for a favorite book or some Cheerios, or a little notepad and pencil to give to a pouty older child who had scooted to the end of the pew. Occasional squawking and screeching, and the sound of a book or toy hitting the floor......those were special times.......all far in the past now. Most of those babies have grown up and left the area, although a few remain. In fact, the brown-eyed baby girl in the pew ahead of us was being held by her father, who once was a cute baby himself who would peer at us from over his own father's shoulder! Ah, the cycles of life.

After our Sunday noon meal, I headed out into the gorgeous sunshine for a nice, long walk. Our two dogs trotted happily along with tongues wagging and smiles on their faces. Even a black and white kitty, Tuxedo, joined in with our ragtag little troop of walkers.

Late in the afternoon, my sister dropped off her three kids.......I had called them earlier to see if they would go to a haunted house with me. It was being put on by the ELCA youth groups in our nearby town to raise funds and collect canned goods for the local food bank. The youth leader is my son's girlfriend, so I wanted to be supportive and attend the event, but I had to round up some kids to go along with me. My oldest niece is fifteen, so she didn't come in a costume, but her younger sister, a fifth-grader, and brother, a second-grader, were dressed as a witch and a cowboy train-robber, respectively. My nephew was very excited to be going to a haunted house.......he said he wanted to get really, really scared!

The haunted house was set up in the basement of the old dance hall on main street. It was the perfect old, dark flight of stairs led down to several scenes of macabre mayhem. A bizarre dentist's office......a creepy cemetery with heads, arms and legs reaching out of graves.......a ghoulish dining room with horrid things on the menu.......a glowing monster rising out of a casket.......all accompanied by spooky howlings and growlings from here and there, and cobwebs everywhere! I laughed and laughed----it was such great fun. My little nephew, however, announced afterwards, in disappointment, that he had not been scared at all! So after some trick-or-treating on nearby streets, at whatever houses still had porch lights lit, we decided to go through the haunted house again! By then, quite a crowd had gathered and we had to wait in line for our turn, which was not so bad------it was great to see the good turn-out for some community fun. My son's friend had spent a lot of time planning the haunted house and setting it up, and I was happy for her that it was a success!

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