Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Day 35, April 17, 2020
“All things bright and beautiful”

We live in a wonderful world. Times like these try men’s souls (Thomas Paine), but even as trying as these times are, we still live in a wonderful world. Some of God’s critters have dropped by to remind us that we live in a wonderful world.

A woodpecker pecked feverishly this morning, his staccato beat seeming to hammer home the message that we live in a wonderful world. A whistle pig decided to drop by our dining room window just so we could find a few moments of joy watching his jolly little self decide what might be the next item on the menu. A dreary day was suddenly transformed when two of the brightest red cardinals used their recess to have a dashing and daring game of tag. A clueless coyote stood enraptured with some unseen events that kept him mesmerized for several minutes. We watched and waited to see what was occupying his attention, wondering if we might even catch a glimpse of the Roadrunner. No such luck. Still, we were happy that old coyote stopped by. Three deer decided to dance in a field as we took our morning jog. They were beautiful. A mother fox recently took a leisurely stroll down our street accompanied by her kits.

During the summer months we have the great blessing of worshiping in our outdoor Chapel in the Pines. Surrounded by God’s amazing creation, in the shadow of the tall pine trees, with birds singing and the sun shining, it just seems so natural to sing…

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all
Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings,
God made their glowing colors; God made their tiny wings.

During these times that try men’s souls, nature has given me pause to reflect on the bigger picture. A while back I wrote about seeing a group of turkeys numbering in the thirties. I complained about “Those turkeys” who were not practicing social distancing. Well, I am happy to tell you that someone must have added the turkeys to our church email list, because they got the message. The other day I was in the parking lot by the Honey Dew Donut shop and I saw a turkey. He was all by himself. The turkey was practicing social distancing! The angels in heaven rejoice when one lost sinner repents. Hallelujah.

A couple of years ago the turkeys were unrepentant. They were violent. Julie thinks it was their mating season, but whatever the reason they were wreaking havoc. At church, a cluster of them would chase people to and from the building. Safe haven was only found in a car or inside the confines of the church. The turkeys were on the warpath.

The turkeys were on the warpath that year, until one Sunday morning. I was getting ready to lead worship at the Chapel in the Pines. Three turkeys entered the parking lot. My mind went to the worst-case scenario. “Uh oh! This is not good. This is not going to end well. I sure hope they turn away.” They did not turn away. They walked right toward me. They walked right toward our Chapel in the Pines. I stiffened up, preparing to meet the challenge. I stood between the turkeys and the walkway leading to the chapel. As they drew closer, as my pulse quickened, as my heart fluttered, they veered slightly to the right and walked around me. Then they proceeded to make their way to the Chapel. They stayed a few minutes and then quietly moved on.

That morning the long anticipated peaceable kingdom, promised in the prophet Isaiah, seemed just a little closer. As those turkeys gave up their warring ways and came to church for a few minutes, I couldn’t help but think of that glorious day when the “wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will die down with the goat, the calf and the lion and yearling will be together…and the lion will straw like the ox. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)

These are times that try our souls. These are difficult days. But God is with us. God is with us and one day this whole world will be brought together in a kingdom filled with love and life, a kingdom filled with God’s peace and God’s presence. One day that kingdom will come. While we wait, let us keep an eye out for creation. Let us keep an eye out for God’s bright and beautiful creation. As you hear the woodpeckers pecking and marvel at the cardinals racing through the sky and the flowers blooming with radiant colors, give a prayer of thanks for this wonderful world in which we live.

With the love of Christ,