The leaves are changing color and I am back to wearing a jacket in the evenings, as the temperatures are cooler than just a couple of weeks ago.  I have already begun making preparations for whatever winter weather may be coming... hopefully a couple of months away.  It is obvious the seasons are changing.  I was speaking to a colleague not long ago who was frustrated with what seemed like a lack of respect for his position in the community and within his congregation.  Other friends, in other lines of professional work, also mentioned the same type of lack of respect for the position they held in the community.  Some of these were police officers, others were teachers, one was a doctor and another an attorney.  Perhaps people/cultures go through seasons of change as well as nature.
     Indeed, we seem to be in a climate of change in our nation.  Granted, some of my memories are a little fuzzier than they once were, but I remember treating my elders with more respect than what is allotted today.  In another area, I remember times of economic prosperity in this country.  Wow, that season sure changed in the last decade... and does not look promising of a turnaround in the near future.  Blame for our worldly woes is something that has not changed very much.  I can remember my parents talking "politics" when I was a kid.  I must admit there are times that I find myself wondering if I am being manipulated/controlled by some force greater than myself.
     Is "Big Brother" watching?  Are there people in the government whose sole job it is to make our lives hell on earth.  Is our health care system one in which "treatment" is the only option, rather than "cures?"  Will taxes really be the death of us?  Having recently attended a conference on "The Cross Between Spirituality and Mental Illness" I discovered that such thinking/wondering from time to time is not abnormal... dwelling upon it to the point of obsession and depression is abnormal... call me! 
     In my daily "talks" with God, he reassures me that he is still very much in control of my life.  The "challenges" that he presents unto me are to help make me a better person.  As I now find myself in the "Autumn" of my life, I have found a couple of things to be true.  The first is that I am still trying to hang on to the "Summer" season of my life, and will continue to do so until my strength gives out and I lose my grip.  The second, is that by learning to trust in God more fully, I am at peace within my soul.  This is a peace that transcends world economies and governments, even my health and seasons of my life.  It is in those quiet, alone times with Jesus that I remember from my seminary days that the most important pastoral work I ever do, will be that which is done while on my knees, with eyes closed and head bowed in submission to his holy reverence.  I respect your authority Lord Jesus... you earned it!
Rev. John F. Bargar, Pastor