Good morning on this sunny, cloudy day in June. It is Sunday, and I usually do not walk with you on Sunday. However, today I have a few moments to sit down at my desk (which I have just straightened out) to visit with you. I hope you are well this day and that you have plans that will bring you some joy in your life. In these days, we seek to lift ourselves out of the momentous problems before us with little avail. The news and the conversations of loneliness and frustration seem to drag us down into almost the depths of despair. Life is far more lovely and precious than that, and we need to STOP and count our blessings and lift up our heads to higher thoughts and promises of the future.
When I think of the early Christians remaining faithful to Jesus even as they were tormented and persecuted. In times like these, one needs to ask what was their hope? It was that God was in control, and if life was not perfect here, it would perfect in eternity with the Lord. Now some would say that is an excuse not to change things here on earth but to me that is false reasoning. There is one thing on earth that we cannot change and that is death. Sooner or later in our lives, we are forced to recognize that death is part of life. So, for me, this life is a processing of the soul, as stated by the poet William Wordsworth, and we are here to build a soul worthy of eternity. Knowing we will fall short of perfection, we turn to the love of Jesus and to God to carry us through our humanity to our divinity. This is a happy thing. This is why we should rejoice each day in spite of the turmoil around us. Yes, these are difficult times, but we can meet the challenge of them for we have our strong Christian faith, built firm within our hearts.
As I hear the calls for change and witness the challenges to our American way of life and history, I know that action is a necessary part of our life; however, as was said by our Lord, acts alone do not bring salvation without a faith behind it. Evil has a way of representing itself as good until it is unmasked by the life and teaching of Jesus. Each one of us needs to ask the question: do I truly attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus revealed in the Sermon on the Mount?
When Jesus was questioned of his loyalty to Rome or to Israel and God, He took a coin and asked those who questioned Him whose picture was on that coin? It was Caesar’s image, and Jesus replied, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” In this world, we live with imperfection, and we need to change the things we can change. When we cannot immediately change them, we must hold fast to our strong faith and pray for strength to work in peace for goodness against evil. This is a time to build a strong faith as well as to take peaceful, wise actions; but faith is and has to be first or we lose the battle against evil and its many disguises. Evil always lurks among the good. So now, my friend in all our confusion and isolation, it is time to read your Bible, to pray often to God, to be encouraged to build an indestructible set of beliefs that allows you to even confront death without fear. I pray each day for my faith to be that strong. But it will not be if we do not build it now for future use.
I’m going to go in another direction now….
Have you noticed all the chipmunks scampering around this year? Here in New Hampshire, it is impossible to drive down a road without seeing chipmunks scampering to the side of the road. They say it is because last year was a bountiful acorn year. Do you think those little creatures might have said a word of gratitude to God? Perhaps so.
As I have seen those small creatures, they reminded me of a happening years ago on my place called Greenhill. I had a well dug, and there was a large pile of earth off to one side of the well. It was autumn, and it was time to get ready for the winter. I went down to make sure the heat was on in the pumphouse beside the well and to level out that pile of earth. As I struck the earth with the plow on the front of my dad’s tractor, I uncovered a hole and a chipmunk popped out in great haste. As he fled, I got off of the tractor and went over to the hole I had uncovered. I could not believe what I saw. There was a hole about eight inches in diameter, and it was filled with dead leaves and acorns. It was packed full for the winter ahead of Mr. or Mrs. Chipmunk. I wondered if that chipmunk would be wise enough to take what had been stored to another place so I left the well site and went home until later in the day. I returned in quietness and stood watching my homeless friend. There was a stone wall near the well, and the chipmunk was carrying his store to a new place in the wall. The hole I had uncovered was now almost empty of its contents.
Think about it – that little creature had prepared for the winter and suddenly a human made earthquake had come upon him. What was he to do? Well, to me he had the faith that he could find and build a new safe place for the winter. He carried his larder to a new home – I think, perhaps, to an even better home than before. A disaster struck, and our tiny friend was able to go on in his life with comfort and strength for the coming winter.
I want to be like that chipmunk; how about you? When disaster comes and when we cannot control all that is happening in our lives, we have a plan; that plan is to have a vital strong Christian faith that will always carry us from darkness into light. With prayer, God will tell us what we should do; with the Bible, we have a guide; with our fellow Christians, we find strength with Jesus, our constant companion. Build like the chipmunk did – a house for the winter; and if desperation comes, you will have the faith to guide you to your future. Eventually with faith, I believe is an eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Until next week –
“May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”