upon returning to the Mayo Clinic
in November 2016

“Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off?”
—Jeremiah 23:23 (NRSV)

We walk in right before the service starts
Since eight o’clock is early, even with
The change to Central Time. The font is just
Ahead, white marble like the one back home
But smaller. Turning toward the altar, we
Select a bride-side pew as usual.

Bell rung, those present stand as usual
When servers, clergy enter. Rite I starts;
The stained-glass windows brighten. Calmly we
Progress through collects, song, and lessons with
The order as our guide. We feel at home
At Calvary Episcopal, but just.

The fault is ours, not theirs; we both are just
Too comfortable with what is usual
And proper at our own Good Shepherd home.
The Gospel read and praised, the rector starts
A sermon on uncertain times, ends with
The question, “Just or unjust—who are we?”

For us, there is no easy answer. We
Find comfort in the Creed and Prayers said just
Before the Peace. Although we shake hands with
The few around and smile as usual,
You balk at introduction. The rector starts
Announcements for the ones who call here home.
Worldwide it seems the chickens have come home
To roost. The larger Church needs more than we
Can ever hope to offer. Advent starts
Two weeks from now. Is God not more than just
Through Christ, no matter how unusual
The challenges which each of us deals with?

Collection taken, we continue with
The Great Thanksgiving, meet and right like home.
I sit; you choose to kneel as usual,
The last time for a while. Come Tuesday we
Face surgery again. Some autumn! Just
As my recovery concludes, yours starts.

Communion goes as usual. Fed, we
Exit, with jackets zipped or buttoned, just
As blessed as if at home. The future starts.