Comment from Ken: Never knowing where we are going on our walk I like to believe God walks with us and directs us. He does – That we believe.
Scripture: Matthew 22: 37 – 40
34But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question,
testing Him, and saying, 36“Teacher, which is the
great commandment in the law?”
37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Good morning. Come, come right inside our home. You are soaking wet; come and sit by the fire in my study. We walk inside again. Our New England weather is, as a person said to me this morning when I had an appointment with my doctor, like the lottery; that is rather true for any planning we do for the next day. Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. It was warm like a spring day, not a day at the beginning of the month of March.
What a pleasure it was to walk out yesterday. So much of the snow has melted that one can see some green here and there on the landscape. It was a promise of warmth and new life. Now you know that my favorite season is autumn, but living here in New Hampshire with so much forest, fields and brooks I am reminded of my dad’s farm in Barrington, New Hampshire so spring is more appreciated and evident here than it was in the city.
The brooks are overflowing, and it will not be long before the pollywogs will be swimming in them. I used to love that at the farm. Suddenly in the spring, there would be a thousand pollywogs in the brook between our lower and upper meadow. I can only speak for boys here, but when I was a boy, how we loved pollywogs and to bring them home in a jar. I wonder how many girls felt the same way? And now, even though it is not yet spring, the mud season has come upon us.
All winter long, I have driven down beautiful dirt roads. Graded in the autumn and then frozen solid by the cold, they were not much different from roads that had been covered with asphalt. Now that has changed. Much of the frost has gone out of the soil during the warm February we have witnessed and now many of those roads are soupy. That’s right – soupy. If I drive my truck down one of those roads, it becomes covered with mud. It is not at the point where you could become bogged down, but that day is coming.
How I remember my foolishness years ago at Greenhill Farm. It was this time of year or a little later, and I decided to go down into the meadow in my old 1934 Ford. Down I went until suddenly just over the brook and into the left side of the lower meadow my car came to a halt. Tires spun as you revved the engine and mud splattered out from the wheels, but there was no forward motion. That car was stuck almost down to the axel. So I had to get it out of the mud. The easiest way, I thought, would be to drive down with my old ice truck and pull my Ford out with a chain. Up to the barn I went, started my truck, made sure I had a heavy chain and just as I was a short distance over the brook, my truck mired down. Now I had my car and my truck sunk in the soft earth. Off to the barn again I went this time to get my dad’s tractor; you are right – the same thing happened. Now I had three motorized vehicles stuck down in the meadow. I was about to head for the barn again wondering what I could do now when I saw my father coming out of the barn and heading down into the meadow.
My dad was so good at solving problems no matter what problems you faced. He was an incredibly patient man unless you were making him late for an appointment; he was not so patient then, I can assure you. But on the farm, he was relaxed and at home as he had been when he was a young boy. I saw him carrying, or lugging a couple of planks and a jack. Down he came never saying anything but kind things as we jacked up the tractor, put the planks under the wheels and off I drove the tractor out of the mud and up to the barn. Next, we jacked up the car, and again we used the now muddy planks to get the truck out of the mire. I drove that back up to the farmhouse. Finally, we did the same thing with the old Ford. As we went back to the barn together, my father had a statement to make to me.
“You know, Kenny,” he said, “ the horses had more sense than you do now for they knew enough not to go down to that lower meadow when it was mud season. “
How I loved and respected my father; I could tell you a thousand wonderful things about him. He was a rather silent man but so understanding and so very wise. He had strong moral values, and he held fast to them. His religion was one of logical reasoning and conviction and one that was open to new thoughts and questions. He was so familiar with Bible stories, and he would tell them to us when he was combing my sister’s hair or when we were traveling in our old 1939 Buick. My dad was devoted to Jesus Christ and was a strong member of The American Baptist Churches. He was human, too, but always compassionate and loving. Any problem you had you could discuss with him and know he would give you his true thoughts without condemning you if you held a different view. Most of the time, you knew he was right, and you should follow his way.
Now I have to be careful here, but when I think of God as Father which Jesus taught us, I have a wonderful image of what a father should be. My dad, I believe, had many of the characteristics of God, the Father. When he was disappointed with you, you could tell by his demeanor. My brother Milton will always say that when he disappointed our dad, he could see a sadness and disappointment in his very eyes. That, over all else, struck at my brother’s soul and at mine too. You never wished to see that look.
Many might think that my father was too strict, but he sought to live by his faith, the Ten Commandments and the saying of Jesus that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.
One of the saddest things in this life is when a child does not have a good image of a father. Some people have a difficulty is seeing God as a Father for their father was not a person who was upstanding and principled, but was rather the opposite. I feel so blessed that I had a dad who encompassed the best ways of a father. He loved you but expected good things of you. Perhaps that is why I always love to tell stories of my dad so that others, as well as myself, may understand the perfect father that our loving God is and always will be.
Loving Father, hear our prayer this day. We speak from the depths of our heart asking that we might live by the beautiful faith that You disclosed to us in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us this day, and every day to remember the Ten Commandments and to love You and our neighbors through the entire world. Amen.
Until our next walk, “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.” Amen.