Every year around this time, I invite the congregation out to the farm. It is Apple Day. We pull out the old apple press that George and Mary Jo Dvorak gave me many years ago, after they were no longer using it.
This year, for the first time, Apple Day featured a pumpkin labyrinth. We made the labyrinth out of straw and placed the pumpkins about 5 feet apart along the way. The earliest families to arrive helped finish laying the straw. The kids got more and more excited as they saw the path circle itself farther and farther from the center. Finally, it was complete. Now it was time to walk.
As my helpers lined up at the entrance, I explained to them that a labyrinth is not a maze. A labyrinth has no dead ends. If you stay on the path, you will get to the center, even though there will be times when you will take a turn and suddenly feel like you are walking farther away from it.. You just have to trust the path.
They began, like almost all kids I have ever seen in a labyrinth, not by waking but by running. They rushed to the center, turned around, and rushed out. Along the way, they commented about the journey:
“Wait, the path goes this way?”
As new families arrived on the farm, they would head out to the labyrinth. By then, the kids who had helped build it were no longer running. They had slowed down. They were walking, sometimes very slowly. Then, they picked up rakes and began tending it, keeping the straw together in rows so the path remained clear. The labyrinth was working it’s magic on them.
At the end of the day, children lined up for one last walk through the labyrinth. This time, each child got to choose a pumpkin to take home with them. The pumpkins were made possible because of the Phyllis and Ralph Swanson Endowment, established to support the children and youth of our church.
So this story that started with October jack-o-lanterns ends with November gratitude. For George and Mary Jo. For Ralph and Phyllis. For older kids watching over younger kids. For all the saints who tend this community along the way.[For more stories from Apple Day, and pictures, go to the Comma Blog at universityucc.org/the-comma/]