May the Fourth. . .

May 4 came around a couple of weeks ago, and, as Star Wars fans know, it’s the day to wish our friends, “May the fourth (force) be with you.” It’s silly but it brings back a memory of a group of editorial coworkers attending the first showing of the movie back in 1977. We were awed by the stunning graphic effects and amused by the reckless heroics of its characters. Though “the force” portrayed in the movie was more pantheistic than Christian, I related it to how God’s powerful Spirit pervades the universe. When Jesus ascended he left his followers this astounding spiritual force. A comforter, a teacher, a guide, the third person of the holy Trinity, given to us out of God’s love. He’s still here and he’s always available.

Ducks Are Back

The ducks are back. It’s Spring and the mallard ducks are back to lay and hatch their eggs. The couple that visit my yard every year wander around looking for whatever they can find to nibble on so I have to be careful. When I left the other day, they were in my driveway, and, when I returned that evening, they were in my drive again. Some of the ducks at the lake near me have ducklings following them, but none following this couple yet. I worry because the lake has a lot of turtles, and the larger ones eat the babies. Yes, it’s the harsh way of nature, but I tend to care more for the cute, fuzzy ducklings than the ugly predatory turtles.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wishing all you mothers and other caregivers a wonderful Mother’s Day. My children bought me flowers for my patio pots and flower beds, and my daughter and son-in-law planted them for me. This year we celebrated brunch at another daughter’s home, with the girls contributing the food, which included quiche, scones and grilled potatoes. What a treat to be cooked for! The memories flowed, as we looked at photos of mothers gone from us and reminisced with stories from their past. How thankful we are for our faithful mothers and grandmothers, God’s gifts of love.

Three in One

My family, including my great grandchildren, love and request my deviled eggs for almost every family get-together. As I crack and peel egg after egg, I’m reminded of when I was a child going to Sunday school. Our teacher sometimes used a flannel board to teach us about the Bible. To explain how God could be a Trinity, three in one, she used the example of an egg. It is one egg, but it has a shell, a white layer and a yolk in the center. There are other not-so-simple ways theologians describe the indescribable Trinity, but truly understanding him and the loving relationship of the triune nature of God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is a study I believe it will take an eternity to master.

Flying High

Most cows ignore them, the large egrets that hang around cow pastures searching for insects. But a brand new calf is a different matter. I saw him slowly edging up to the long-necked, long-legged bird. When he got too close, the snowy-white bird spread its wide wings and gracefully lifted off into the air. The little one learned that day some creatures aren’t earthbound like him. Have you ever wished you could fly, like a bird? I have. Soaring around looking down on the earth below would be so much fun. Although adventurous types tried over and over, it took humans thousands of years to invent ways to safely fly. I guess God figured we could get ourselves in enough trouble without having that skill as well.

With Bows Attached

My daughters rarely give me anything without a bow attached. No matter how small or common an item it comes with a bow. It made me think about giving, in whatever way, for various family celebrations or Christmas gifts, charitable donations or church offerings. Do I really give with a bow attached or out of some sense of responsibility or obligation. Well, if I must, I must. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m not generous. The Bible has something to say about that way of giving. It also has something to say about those who give great amounts out of show. Any giving without love attached is not joyful giving. Let’s bring all our gifts, especially those before God, with bows attached. He loves the cheerful giver!

Pray Anyway

The prophet Samuel was highly disappointed when Israel asked for a king. He had served as a judge and God’s prophet for practically his whole life, but now the people preferred a king. Samuel described the economic and personal sacrifices they would have to make if they had a king, but they were determined. When he said they were rejecting God, they didn’t change their minds, but realized they might be in trouble. Afraid, they asked Samuel to pray they wouldn’t die. Samuel’s reply, “Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23a). Even though the people had rejected him and God, Samuel continued to pray for them. He said it would be a sin against God not to.

It’s Spring!

A few weeks ago I was burning wood in my fireplace, now suddenly the stark dark limbs on the oak trees are bursting with fresh green leaves. The blackberry vines climbing on the back fence are filled with blooms. Tiny figs are popping out on my fig bushes. Daffodils and tulips are blooming in my flower beds. It’s like the earth has come alive! Don’t you love Spring? It’s as if this season points to how Christ’s sacrifice changed everything. Jesus, the light of the world, conquered the dark powers of evil and death and brought us everlasting, eternal joy.

The Southern Goodbye

While preparing breakfast, I noticed my neighbors down the road saying goodbye to some friends who had spent the night. It was fun to watch because I knew the procedure. First, you mention you need to be leaving. After some discussion about whether or not you really have to go this soon (10 minutes at least), your hosts follow you outside to your car. While you load your bags, more discussion about hating to see you go so soon and how much they enjoyed the visit (10 more minutes). After you enter your car, at least 5 more minutes wishing you a safe trip and ya’ll come back soon. In the South if you plan to leave someone’s home at a certain time, start 30 minutes ahead of time!

Who’s Guilty?

As those of you who read these blogs know, I’ve struggled these last few weeks with why Jesus had to die in such a painful way. He died for our sins, but couldn’t he have died without being flogged half to death and without the cruel tortures of crucifixion? His death was prophesied, yes, but how could a merciful God of love do nothing to prevent such a horrendous death for his Son. This Easter morning, God reminded me who clamored, actually demanded over and over, for Jesus to be crucified. The instigators were the religious authorities of the time and the common people. It was me!