Yesterday morning I preached from the corner of the roof of Bethel Church without my wool topcoat for the first time. It was 65 and sunny. My preaching spot during these unusual times is directly over my corner study. The Bethel parking lot is almost full of cars evey week. (There is still room for you). It was wonderful to be able to preach in the open air with the full sun on my head. The Cumings Family led worship (James, Ashley, and their daughter Charis). They are a great gift to Bethel. Charis, their oldest, has been accepted to study at Wheaton and will begin there in the fall. Her parents met at Wheaton.
Out on Bittersweet I’ve been enjoying the steady progress of spring from the south-facing porch. It looks out over a wooded hill. How it thrills my heart to see the leaves opening first on the bushes near the ground then on the tree–tender, light green. This is our third spring on Bittersweet. This week the forest floor is purple with violets of some kind. In fact patches all over our two acres are carpeted with these delicate violets. I think the Clarks planted beans in the north fields Sunday night and today.
I had a nap today with a grandson. He hated the idea. (He will love it when he reaches age). To help him we played a game.
“Let’s pretend we are cowboys on the open range. We worked all day and we found a little swail by a crook in river to make camp, build a fire to keep the cold and critters away, and bed down for the night.”
“Can you hear the coyotes?”
“Can you stir the fire a bit?”
“Got it,” he says.
“Great, let’s snuggle under this cover and keep warm.”
He snuggles. We sleep. Deeply.
It will be years before he understands the simple delight of an afternoon nap curled up under a nice blanket with a five-year-old boy.
It made me think. How many simple delights do I overlook every day, gifts from God, simple gifts:
- like violets on the forest floor
- dropping stones in a stream
- hearing a new birdsong
- watching bats over the meadow at dusk
- having a long conversation with someone you love
- hearing waterfowl overhead
- walking along a lovely stone fencerow
- looking on a blue sky
- stumbling on just the right passage of Scripture at just the right time
- hearing a kind word of encouragement from a friend
- listening to the Ashoken Farewell by Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
- Bonaparte’s Retreat by Aly Blain
- Jules Massenet, Thais Meditation performed by Itzhak Perlman.
It’s almost nightfall out on Bittersweet Farm. It’s been a good day. My prayer for you and for me is that the Lord would give us the good sense to notice the simple gifts that lie all around us, things we would miss if they were ever taken away.