It’s Sunday evening now, the sixth of June. It’s been a beautiful day. The sun is low in the sky nearing the golden hour. It is casting its slanting beams across the rich green grass in the yard below my window. We call our home Bittersweet Farm, but we really don’t grow any crops or raise any animals here. I like to think of myself as a gentleman farmer, but the truth is all we grow is a couple acres of grass and some trees. Lois has her well-tended flowers, bird baths, and bird-feeders, but Bittersweet is a farm in name only. Yet it seems to be the right name for it.
When it was time to get to the church this morning it was hard to leave. Bittersweet is especially beautiful in the golden hours… the first and the last hour of the day. I often drive east and turn around in the early morning and then drive slowly past the place thanking God for his great kindness in preparing such a retreat for us. Toward dusk I love to sit outside in the cool of the day and listen to the every-evening concert of birdsong.
We do have a “barn” and “chores.” That is farm-like. We feed the birds. We keep the place tidy. We trim and mow and try to take good care of our stuff.
The Preacher’s Wife Candle Co.
Saturday Lois set up her candle display in the shade of a Maple for a show in the northern Indiana countryside. It was a warm day but a steady breeze and the shade of the Maple gave her a pleasant place to make conversation and display her candles. Lois called her candle operation The Preacher’s Wife Candle Company.
Her candle scents are often more life flavors: Peach Tea, Freshly Picked Orange, Banana Bread, Coffee, Lavender, Carmel Corn, Maple Sugar Cookie.
We work together raising the canopy, setting up the display and putting out the fragrant candles. I like talking to people. They often say, “You must be the preacher?” I returned to be sure I helped her break down and pack things away. We were home well before dark and Lois was happy with her show.
After the show I followed the road along the river that ran through south central Michigan through towns and villages, farms, and clusters of homes.
I spent just a few minutes in the Lowry’s Bookstore in Three Rivers, but left without buying anything. I have a large personal library, filled with fascinating things to read. This morning I started a chapter at a time through Michael Card’s latest book The Nazarene. I want to read through again the major works of C. S. Lewis. John Piper’s huge tome on Providence waits for me on on the landing library outside my room and I pass it every time I leave and every time I return at night. I have always believed that having so many wonderful things to look forward to contributes to my emotional well-being.
The Lord’s Day at Bethel was especially good. More and more people are returning to worship and we are seeing people we have not seen for a long time. Bethel is a singing church. The singing brings me to tears. Pastor Leo, one of our elders and our long-time former pastor administered the Lord’s Supper this week. In the month of June I am completing my preaching through the book of Revelation with my final four messages on the last four weeks of June. Yesterday’s message was entitled “Is Heaven Your Heartland?”
I love Michigan and I loved the Ohio of my youth, but more and more I realize that Heaven is my heartland. The New Jerusalem and the New Earth. I’m already making plans. Take a few minutes to read the last two chapters of the Bible. Sunday I reminded the faithful to be sure they do all they can to see to it that those they love are there, and learn to give clear directions to any who need to know the way.
June 8, 2021