I have joined the ranks of those in Fort Frances who may sometimes be seen wearing clergy shirts. Mine resembles our new police uniform shirts (black) so as not to be easily visible by night—only mine has a little target at the neck.
Since we arrived here in July, I have been a bit like an old bull klutzing his way through the bush, and sometimes feeling like a calf still getting his legs. It’s a dangerous time.
It feels a bit dangerous just writing this article as a new arrival to a bunch of people that I don’t know. Walking, wobbling on new terrain has been a great opportunity to discover anew something of what faith and trust is. We wobble like a newborn or an old bull. We flounder like a fish out of water. We are vulnerable in faith. That is what trust is.
Mostly I am grateful for the grace of God which welcomes the wobbly, the floundering, finds the lost, and gives life to the dead.
Our new lives here have begun out of the death of our old lives there. And it has begun amongst welcoming, hospitable people. The people of Zion Lutheran have given us loving space to wobble in. They, and many of this area, guided us through unfamiliar ground and waters. Thank you!
I’m still not sure what to say when people ask, “So, where ya frum?" I think I’m expected to say, "East" or "West." Maybe I should just say, "The Canadian Shield.” That’s close to being home for many of us although there may be a few differences in semantics from one corner to the next.
For instance, we lived eight years along the Ottawa River, where folks called certain fish “pickerel and pike." Now it’s "walleye and jackfish." We lived in places where Thanksgiving was called "Thanksgiving" and not "the first day of winter.” But that’s okay.
There’s a distinct Swedish flavour to the water in my church. I wonder if I should drink it. I may start pronouncing my German “Keffer" more like "Kefferson.” That’s okay, too.
Whether I am where all rivers flow east or west, I have been drowned with Jesus Christ and raised with Him also. More surely than the great eagle raises dead pickerel or walleye from the waters, Jesus Christ raises us all.
Only, He doesn’t eat us up but makes for us a banquet. After all, He was a floating fish once, too, you know.
Brian V. Keffer (son)
Pastor, Zion Lutheran
Church, Fort Frances