Pastor’s Piece: How delightful
Last night, Rebecca and I drove to a nearby movie theatre to see “Free Solo,” a documentary about American rock climber Alex Honnold. “Free solo” is a term for climbing without the “gear” (harness, rope, pulleys and anchoring devices) that most climbers employ to prevent themselves from falling to their deaths. Free solo climbers carry little more than a bag of chalk to keep their fingers from getting moist.
Alex Honnold has taken free soloing to a realm that’s left even his fellow climbers slack-jawed. In 2017, he free soloed the 3,000-foot granite face of Yosemite’s El Capitan in less than four hours. It’s difficult to comprehend Honnold’s preparation, physical ability, concentration, and fearlessness. At times, he relied upon the slightest of depressions for a handhold.
It is hard to look at still photos of Honnold climbing, let alone to watch video footage. In fact, one of the veteran cameramen who helped document the ascent frequently looked away from his viewfinder for fear he would have to witness Honnold’s fall.
The intent of this little review is not to encourage you to see the movie. You might well judge Alex Honnold’s efforts amount only to a foolish daredeviltry.
But what I loved about “Free Solo,” the thing I could never have anticipated, was Honnold’s behavior upon reaching the top of El Capitan. There was no fist-pumping or raising of index finger skyward or other gestures of victory or conquest. Instead, Honnold walked around for some time and sat down for a moment or two, smiled from ear to ear all the while, and intoned the words: “How delightful…how delightful…how delightful.”
It takes some openness to receive the fruit of one’s labors with pleasure, a little clearing of time and space within. The month of Thanksgiving surely provides opportunities for such clearing and receiving and opportunities for uttering unexpected words of delight.
3-part repentance topic concludes Bible study
The Women of the ECLA (WELCA) will conclude the three-part Bible study on repentance at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 13, in the upper fellowship hall. The topic focuses on I John 1:8–9 called “Turning points: Turning as the church to the world”: “The word repentance often refers to an invitation that brings people into the church. But what happens when the church turns outward to the world? When the church has been complicit in abuse, racism, anti-Semitism and other attitudes and practices that lead away from God’s reign, what happens when the church repents?” The Bible study is written by the Rev. Meghan Johnston Aelabouni and can be found at the Gather magazine’s website. For information, contact Shirley Toppenberg at 634-4946.
Family Promise volunteer dinner scheduled
The volunteer appreciation dinner for Family Promise volunteers will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 27, at the Cheyenne Berean Church, 5716 Powderhouse Road. RSVPs should be made to Margie Sewell at 631-1815. Ascension served two families in the program during its rotation with St. Paul’s Lutheran Church October 28–November 4.
Book Club chooses Potok’s ‘The Chosen’
Ascension’s November book selection is Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen.” Potok was a rabbi, doctor of philosophy and author who wrote acclaimed, best-selling novels about Jews living in New York City. He was especially concerned with the dynamics of modern versus orthodox Judaism. “The Chosen” is a wonderful story of two boys who met as adversaries but became friends. Pastor Wes will share impressions and notes from a lecture given by Rabbi Potok that he attended in Claremont, California. Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, at the church. Discussion questions will be available at the rear of the narthex on Sunday, November 18. Readers, unite! Come to Ascension Book Club!
Birthday Party for Jesus – Dec. 1
All Sunday School children Pre-K through 5th grade are invited to the Birthday Party for Jesus on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the lower fellowship hall at Ascension. We will have advent crafts and games, will decorate the church tree, have lunch and enjoy cupcakes and ice cream! Any questions or offers to help can contact Jo Hobbs at 638-1512.
St. Paul’s to host Thanksgiving Eve service
A joint Thanksgiving Eve service with all three Cheyenne ELCA congregations will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 21, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. However, you are encouraged to arrive early at 6:15 p.m. and grab a cup of coffee and purchase baked goods from St. Paul’s youth for your Thanksgiving meal (or to enjoy immediately!). This is a fund-raiser to revamp the youth room off the kitchen, and a variety of goods will be available for purchase. Donations are also welcome.
Wednesday evening Advent services and meals
This Advent season the three Cheyenne ELCA congregations will join together for combined Wednesday Advent meals and services as follows:
December 5 at Christ;
December 12 at Ascension; and
December 19 at St. Paul’s.
A meal will begin at 6 p.m. with the service at 7 p.m.