Scripture: Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
It is too late for a walk now that the time has changed. It is five ‘clock and it is quite dark outside. Guess you will have to join me here by the stove in the living room. You think I am getting lazy? You think I am afraid of the cold? It is thirty- six degrees outside and I for one am much more comfortable right here near the fire.
How are you this evening? Have you had a good week? This has been a week of continuing work on my new room. I have been staining and brushing a final coat of polyurethane on the woodwork and the room is nearing completion. The electrician accomplished his final work and now we have lights and outlets in the unfinished room.
There has been a huge change for Molly this week for she is now trained to an invisible fence. How wonderful it is to let her run outside free, as a puppy should be. We are both very nervous about her being outside alone so we are constantly watching her and she still has a long leash attached to her collar just in case she goes beyond the fence. She is a quick learner and we believe that she is secure and safe now within our yard. It is amazing how she has captured our hearts and is such an important part of our family.
It is Sunday night and my thoughts have been flying back to a very long time ago, back to the years 1951 and 52. Those were my years at Hebron Academy in Maine. On a Sunday night all of us in the academy were required to attend Sunday night chapel. For the most part no one really wished to escape that evening time of worship. We had excellent speakers and we sang many familiar hymns. It was far different from the required morning worship for the Protestants. The catholic students attended church outside of Hebron but we who were not catholic, had to suffer a boring sermon Sunday after Sunday. Sunday night all students, catholic protestant or Jewish were required to attend the chapel service. And as I just said there were not any complaints for the service was short, interesting and devotional.
One of the speakers was a Mr. Hupper who had defended the captain of the Titanic in suits against the company even though the captain had died in the tragic sinking of his ship. How interesting that was. Sometimes it was a former student who related wonderful, funny memories of his years at Hebron.
So on this cold, dark Sunday night I could not help but think how wonderful those services used to be. Sunday night at Hebron was always somewhat of a lonely night for you were away from your home and in a rather isolated community in Maine. The service of worship with all of your fellow students present and the singing could not but make you feel spiritually better and happy inside.
In a very different age even the Jewish students attended chapel. And they too sang the familiar Christian hymns. One would today think that was offensive but back then a teacher, Barnitz Williams explained to the Jewish students that they should be familiar with the Christian religion. He felt the singing of hymns and the worship service could only build better understanding between the two faiths. Again it was a time when a Jewish writer could write the most beautiful Christmas Carol, White Christmas. Irving Berlin loved the traditions around Christmas and he looked forward to them even though he was not a Christian. Today we seem to be so afraid of offending someone that we no longer appreciate or can even celebrate some of the differences and take part of them into our daily lives. The chapel service at Hebron with all of us present made for a great beginning of a new week and a wonderful content spirit inside as we returned to our dormitory.
To end your Sunday listening to a hymn or singing one, to end your day thinking of God and of the world in which we dwell, to thank God for life and to ask God for strength and courage for a new day is so appropriate as a day comes to a close.
Tonight when you leave me picture me sitting by a warm fire in a happy loving home, under the guidance and love of a merciful compassionate God. I love God for all he has given to me in my now long life. What a blessing I have had from my birth until this very evening. Oh life has not always been easy, the journey has sometimes been painful and uncomfortable but it has been a journey God has allowed me to take for all these year, and just think – He gave me (and You) Jesus to uphold, love and guide us all night and day.
Good night my friend, go home safely this Sunday night and don’t forget to say your prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude to a loving God and a forgiving savior. In my evening prayer I will remember you – please remember Dale me and even Molly.
O God, dear loving God watch over us as darkness falls on a cold autumn evening. Fill our hearts with the warmth of your love on our journey in life. Hold our hands and lighten our burdens by your strength and wisdom, in the name of Jesus Christ who has always brought light into the darkness. Amen.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”