I returned from church this afternoon in time to take a long walk afield. It was in the high-fifties and sunny. A walk on a Michigan autumn evening is a sacramental act. The sky is October blue, the trees brushed with color. The corn is dry and brown but it’s been rainy and we are still ahead of the first frost, so the grass is green and lush.
After my walk and sat out on the porch and read draining the very last drop for the bottom of the cup of this sweet Lord’s Day. Finally the sunlight dropped into the trees. The evening grew chill. I stepped down into the leaf-strewn yard and looked west one more time to where the sun and dropped behind the trees just in time to see a perfect V-shaped flock of geese cross the sky over the farm honking their way south and west over the line of trees.
Your Default Home Setting
Last week I received permission from the woman who owns the land north and east of Bittersweet Farm to freely walk her property. The generous gesture moved me to tears. It is a large tract of land including farm fields, wetland and woods. So I set off exploring on a brisk October Friday.
When I dress for work Hazard ignores me but he can tell when I’m dressing for a walk and he tails me around the house while I’m getting ready as if to say; “Take me too. Take me too.” I took him along and walked due north of Bittersweet Farm along the rocky, overgrown fencerow. We had covered about a mile going north in to the field behind that, skirting the east side of a low spot and woods. So two long fields run end to end north of us and woods is north of that. Beyond that, further north, is the Falling Waters Trail. Just south of the woods I let Hazard off his lead. He would run ahead and I would call him back before he got to far.
We repeated this an half-dozen times then I got distracted by a huge deer rub and about twenty Sandhill Cranes fishing and sunning in the pond in the south edge of the woods. I surprised them and they all rose into the air flapping their huge wings and calling out with their loud rattle-like call. They flew over the trees and east out of sight. By the time I climbed back to the high ground little Hazard was nowhere in sight. I called to him. He didn’t come.
I called Lois and told her that Hazard was lost. We prayed we could find him before Hope got off work. I turned and started the long walk back to the house. Along the way I called for Hazard. I worried that he might have strayed onto the property west of us where we don’t have the right to walk. It took me a half hour or more to get back to the line of trees that separate the two fields north of the house.
When I walked along the north side of the thicket I could hear Hazard barking. A smile came to my face when I realized that when he could not find me he beat it strait for home. No one was there but he was standing on the porched barking for someone to let him in.
He has a powerful instinct for home.
This week at Bethel I started a series of messages about Jonah, the prophet who, when he received his assignment, thought he could flee from the presence of God. I told the people this: There are three things I want to tell you about fleeing from the presence of God.
First, it is natural to flee from God because of our sin.
Second; It is Impossible to flee from the presence of God because of his power.
Third; It is foolish to flee from the presence of God because of his mercy and love.
The rest of the afternoon I sat in my chair and did some reading. Little Haz curled up on the ottoman at my feet, safe, secure, and well-fed. Take a lesson from Ole’ Haz. Train your soul to run for God whenever you are lost or lonely our burdened with guilt or shame.
Summit Township, Michigan
October 15, 2018
Here is a little treat for you. This is a short clip from a Camp Barakel Men’s Retreat in October. My little brother, Nate is playing the piano, so my brother Kevin sent me this clip.