From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
Life is something that happens to you while you're making other plans.
The Scriptural Lessons for the Second Sunday in Lent
There are five Sundays remaining to bring us to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
"...I will make you very fruitful...I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come , to be your God, and the God of the descendants after you..." Genesis 17:6,7
"...my strength is dried up like a potsherd and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth... you lay me in the dust of death...Dogs have surrounded me...a band of bad men have encircled me...they have pierced my hands and my feet...I can count all my bones... people stare and gloat over me...But...you, O Lord, are not far off...O, my Strength... come quickly...to help me..." Psalm 22:15,16,19
"...it wasn't through the law that Abraham and His offspring received the promise that he'd be heir of the world...but through the righteousness that comes by faith..." Romans 4:13
"...Jesus then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law and that He must be killed and after three days rise again...He spoke plainly about this...and Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him..." Mark 8:31-38
We feel so grateful for the sure knowledge that, in trying times, when we do what we can do, you will do the rest. You give us courage to take-on the new day and the assurance that restful sleep will be ours in the night. Your strong and loving hand is upon us. We can take courage in knowing that your perfect love will cast out all fear, as well as, keep us safe from harm. Therefore we praise you with all our being. Grant us wisdom in these days and allow us to be the love of Christ with all compassion. Be with our American troops overseas and with our police and fire department on duty, and as well, the leaders and Jesus people of our congregations. We commend ourselves into your hands. We're blessed. We're made whole.
In Jesus' name, Amen!
The following is a meditation jotted down by one of our SpiritCare coordinators, the former
Activity Director at the Coastside Adult Day Health Center in Half Moon Bay. Her name is Chase Montara. Among other excellent qualities, one could sense immediately, in Chase, a powerful, compassionate spiritual presence. That quality became even more apparent to me as month upon month in 2019 passed. It was a pleasure to serve loving senior
participants she led and guided. Recently, Chase became the Church Coordinator for the Congregational Church of San Mateo, here in the Bay Area. I was touched by her rather moving "written sketch" she gave me. One could easily understand by the subject matter why Priscilla and I found it especially compelling to share with you.
It goes like this...
Anyone who has loved a dog will not find fault with the analogy made between dogs and God. We need only be greeted upon our return by the full body wag of our beloved companion to experience unconditional love. Hold your dog's gaze for a few minutes, if you can. Stare deeply into those eyes and you will find out how comfortable you truly are with being fully loved.
As a child, I did not understand what love was. I was told often. I spoke love often in return. But, there was a hollowness to the words, an un-returned canyon echo. I'm not sure why. But the longing to understand love was first fulfilled by my dog. When she returned my handshake for the first time. I was undone by the connection.
Allow yourself to be undone. If you can, let yourself be loved a little.
Chase Montara, 2019
Thank you, Chase, for a simple, but great lesson for all of us to take to heart. As Jesus took His very human, but sacred heart, to the cross, He had His divine heart broken, that folks like you and I may know the power of God's unconditional love to make us whole. You know, often I sense the unconditional love of Jesus, in the evening when I settle down on the couch, as Cooper hops up on my lap, and gently licks the finger on my left hand.
Many blessings to you and yours as you continue our heart journey with Jesus in Lent.
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Greetings to each of you! May you remember that you are blessed and loved. And that you are in our prayers. I am sure that I have shared Psalm 23 with you all, but today on my morning walk I found myself reciting this beautiful Psalm. What surprised me was that I was reciting the King James version. I thought I would share it with you today.
Many faith communities, including SpiritCare and the church I serve are finding ourselves in a time of discernment. How do we go forward? Budgets have taken significant hits. We have not been able to gather in person for a year. What does the future hold?
I think that is why Psalm 23 came to me this morning. It is a beautiful reminder that even in this time of Covid, we are all being led and that indeed, "our cups runneth over." We have more than we realize. The enemies we face are our fear and lack of trust.
Let us continue to remind one another and ourselves to hold on to our courage and our love. Has God ever abandoned us? Isn't God always doing something new in this world? As we pray, let us envision our hearts as a serene, beautiful lake. Let us imagine that we are there with Jesus and there is only the peace of his love. May we know that all is well and that we are right where we need to be.
From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
TAKE TIME TO MEMORIZE THIS VERSE
"above all...love each other deeply...because love covers over a multitude of sins" 1 Peter 4:8
WHEN WE SUFFER - NORMALLY - WE DRAW CLOSER TO THE LORD
"...therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin..." 1 Peter 4:1
THIS SEEMS SUCH A PUZZLING VERSE AT TIMES
"...for this reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit..." 1 Peter 4:6
GOD IS GOOD FOR HIS PROMISES
"So God said to Noah, 'This is the covenant I've established between me and all life on earth.'" Genesis 9:8-17
BETTER TO LIVE BY GOD'S GRACE THAN TRY TO PROVE TO GOD YOU CAN MAKE IT BY YOURSELF
"I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me...No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame..." [David] Psalm 25:2
Lord God, We are happy to give thanks and praise you --- in general --- for all things, obviously good and seemingly bad, because we're called to do so. However, in addition, we want to praise you and thank you...on this particular day...at this particular time...that your great, extraordinary love --- your heartfelt concern for us --- your perfect plan for our lives --- isn't just some kind of "quick fix" to make us feel good for the moment, or relief us from painful, unpleasant experiences in the past, including deep-felt regrets, as though they were some kind of accident, without purpose in the long run. We have learned to understand that all things work for our good when we focus in on your unconditional love, and we freely choose to place our trust in you. That doesn't mean that we expect to be made exempt from suffering in our lives. Lord, we are ready to take on this day. Help us to rediscover joy and peace, even during the pandemic, and to be the "hands and words" of Jesus to at least one other person this day. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!
Brothers and Sisters, we want to continue to pray for our friends in Texas, and other places in the United States, who are experiencing extreme cold, and lacking the bare essentials for present conditions. Please pray for the people of Myanmar, Hong Kong, politically, and the entire globe, during the present pandemic. We continue to pray our seniors [being confined] to keep them healthy.
The prescribed texts from the Scriptures today are fascinating. In recent years, 1 Peter has really grabbed hold of me, especially the text in the third chapter. 1 Peter 4:8 is a verse to really take to heart. It implies to me that if we get into the habit of truly loving those whom God has privileged us to live with, it will pretty much take care of a multitude of guilt feelings regarding sin that could well keep us in a personal prison. Therefore, I buy the gist of the verse whole-heartedly. It is incredibly freeing and powerful medicine for the soul.
What is Saint Peter in 1 Peter 4:1 suggesting? It's been my experience that those who suffer a great deal in life are in a "special category" spiritually. Suffering helps us to be like Jesus, and yet, people will do anything to avoid pain, myself included. Genuine faith tells me, however, that those who follow Jesus should be willing and prepared to do God's will, even when it requires suffering.
We can overcome sin and suffering when we focus on Christ and what He tells us to do. Pain reveals our true values. In the larger view, people who suffer for doing good in this world win a great battle against their sinful nature, which fights to enslave them.
Note the difference in subject matter between 1 Peter 4:1 and 1 Peter 4:6. 1 Peter 4:1 give us the idea that suffering has a positive aspect in that it focuses our lives into the direction of Christ and the things of the Spirit of God. That doesn't happen in all cases, but it happens often.
1 Peter 4:6 is about something else. We are alarmed by the phrase, "...preaching even to those who are now dead..." as well as the rest of the verse. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer (Catechism, page 862) provides a perspective for us, "...we pray for them, because we still hold them in our love, and because we trust that in God's presence those who have chosen to serve Him will grow in His love, until they see Him as he is..." However, Peter's letter has a more powerful element to it.
Things are brought into focus for us as we fall back to 1 Peter 3:18-21, from the fourth chapter. It tells us that Jesus' suffering and death were not in vain. Jesus didn't die, Jesus didn't come to earth, to die without ultimate purpose and significance. He wasn't a victimized "religio-political figure" of that time who fell victim to the powers that be in Jerusalem during the 1st Century A.D. Jesus came to provide salvation for human beings by the shedding of His blood and His glorious resurrection . At this point Saint Peter states that Jesus was put to death, but made alive...to make a most unusual life-giving proclamation and offer to the most unlikely audience.
That remarkable proclamation was made to "imprisoned spirits". Well, who were the imprisoned spirits? They were human beings who had been in Hell, [better translated as, Hades, or, Gehenna], for thousands of years. They were the men and women, who lived on earth, during the time Noah was the building of the ark (Genesis 6:5,6,12):
"...the Lord saw how great was the wickedness of the human race had become on earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time...the Lord regretted that He had made human beings on earth, and His heart was deeply troubled...God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways..."
They were then drowned in the Great Flood. Because of their wickedness they were consigned to Hell, or Hades, or Gehenna. Would that be their fate for eternity? What message did Peter want to present?
1 Peter 3:18-21 is the only place we could look to find the Scriptural authority for the phrase from the Apostles' Creed, "...He descended into Hell..." in regard to Jesus' action after His death on the cross.
Peter's proclamation simply declared the remarkable compassion of God in sending His Son to redeem "imprisoned spirits", men and women experiencing eternal damnation and to offer them salvation and relief from everlasting suffering. This portion of Peter's first letter is indeed remarkable. For years I was puzzled by the third and fourth chapter of 1 Peter.
Finally, Saint Peter suggests that only eight human beings were saved after the Great Flood, namely Noah and his family. The phrase, "...saved through water..." puzzles me. The image doesn't seem to fit. I understand that these eight people were saved from drowning as they traveled through the waters of the flood. However, they were not saved, as we're baptized, by being either dunked or sprinkled. They were saved by the ark despite the flood waters. I can assume that the ark, or any ship or boat, could be a symbol for the Church, the vessel, [or instrument, or organization] that preserves the Word and the Way in order that the Lord God --- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit --- can dispense blessed assurance and peace.
On the other hand, Peter's phrase: "...and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you..." seems very significant to me, especially within the context of the Genesis account. Considering that we're all sinners, as were the ancients of the Genesis text, in the Sacrament, we're sort of drowned in the waters of the baptism unto death in order to become a "new creature" or a "new being" in Christ Jesus.
Saint Paul puts it this way, in Romans 6:3-6:
"...don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death... we were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His...for we know that our old self was crucified with Him, so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin --- because anyone who has died has been set free from sin..."
When we are baptized (like the ancients) we die...to self and to "me first"...in order to live in God's grace, forsaking things most human beings treasure. It's not so bad to live a blessed life style which gives such ultimate peace, joy, and love. With these three we really prosper in this life and eventually end up living eternally in great glory with Christ. It's good to let go of many of the pleasures of the fabled affluent life so that we can focus upon living gracefully, growing daily in the Word, and blessing others.
It is my sincere desire that your Sunday is a pleasant and fulfilling experience.
Be confident. Be good. Be healthy. Be safe. Be well.
The Lord really loves you --- just as you are,
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
Lenten blessings to you all. May your hearts be at ease. We are praying that good health and peace are returning to your communities and that all is well in your homes.
Scripture: Luke 4:1-4
"And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. ' And Jesus answered him,“It is written, ‘[we] shall not live by bread alone.'"
Some years ago I often visited a woman who had lost her sight. She frequently expressed gratitude for a Sunday school teacher she had when she was young. That teacher insisted that the children memorize scripture, and it was a habit that she kept up even as an adult. Being able to recite some of her favorite passages brought her much comfort when she could no longer read the Bible. I am not good at extensive memorization, but I do like knowing some very short pieces of scripture that I can use as prayer. "Be still and know that I am God," helps me when I am restless or worried. "Be not afraid," is another that I often use.
This scripture from Luke is the beginning of the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert. When the tempter showed up, Jesus did what my friend did. He quoted scripture that he had memorized, and that gave him strength to not fall for temptation's trickery. Here, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: "He humbled you by making you hungry and then feeding you the manna that neither you nor your ancestors had ever experienced, so he could teach you that people do not live on bread alone."
People often think of Lent as a time of giving something up. Yet, I think it goes deeper than that. It is a time to reconnect and deepen our relationship with Christ. Please remember that your faith journey is unique. May your time with scripture and prayer bring you closer to God this Lent and always. It is true: we do not live by bread alone. That would be opting for a very poor diet when we are continually offered so much goodness.
I leave you with the first verse and refrain of the beautiful hymn, "Be Not Afraid" written by Bob Dufford. May we all heed these beautiful words of encouragement.
From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
My dear wife, my sweetie-pie, has loves me after fifty years plus...unbelievable!
As human beings we may stop from time to time, but time itself is relentless. Most of us have spent summer, fall, and Christmas at home this past year, and now in 2021, we are at the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday, lending itself into Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter.
Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021
What is this day all about?
What is the Service of the Imposition of Ashes all about?
We kind of get the gist of Good Friday and Easter, but what about Ash Wednesday? Well, it takes place forty days prior to Holy Week. Now let me check that a minute. Hold on! Yes, sure enough. There are forty days from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday.
The designation of forty days has always provided in the Scriptures a strange extended sense of Divine presence in our midst...we sense something more than change, it's a transition, or a sacred journey, or Godly intervention of huge proportion.
It rained in the narrative of Noah and the Ark for forty days and forty nights. It was God's way of starting the human story over again.
So, too, you and I, as human beings, bound in God through Christ, touched significantly and powerfully by the Holy Spirit, need these symbolic forty days to experience that same sense of God's intervention, holy journey and spiritual renewal. You know, I'm not so much into "spiritual renewal" as I am in Holy Spirit transformation. Spiritual renewal to me sounds much too "churchy".
I need personal transformation. I need the Holy Spirit to take control of my life. Otherwise, I'm much to inclined to do my own thing...and I know what my own thing is! Freedom to me is being "bound up" in Christ Jesus. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but really, left to my own device, I will certainly imprison myself in one way or another.
Do you know what your own thing is? Go ahead. I won't tell.
Some people end up wondering why Easter...that is...Resurrection Sunday...just doesn't make it for them. Yes, they love the Holy Communion Service on Easter Sunday, but somehow something sure is missing. Human beings like you and me need the traditional time recommended by our Forbearers to experience the transforming power of God in this season of the year. I love it when there is congruency between what is happening inside of me as the things are happening lending themselves into Spring from Winter.
It is because we need to diligently prepare for something momentous to happen in our lives. God is not going to "zap" us without us and our human will being involved. We need to consent to "going out of our way" to receive the greatest blessing we could receive in life. We don't have the ability to just rise up at the last minute on Easter Sunday morning to receive the full benefit of what Resurrection Sunday is all about. We need to allow our special dish to cook and then simmer. God doesn't force religion upon us.
Saint Paul got it right. He could've made a name for himself apart from matters of faith, but there was something inside of him, that made him sit up and notice...that made him seek after God. He became the "young lion" of Judaism. He was smart, he was wise, for everybody's benefit, except his own. He really made a name for himself. He got so religious, he got involved with persecuting the followers of Jesus. He got lost, at first. in religion, but then, he was saved by faith. It took an encounter with Jesus Acts 9:1-19... because he was so hard-headed and intelligent. Sometimes we can be so smart, we're dumb. Please note the words of Jesus,
"...if the light within you is darkness, it is indeed a most profound darkness..."
It's time in the Church that we accept the wisdom of the early Church Fathers and Mothers and those who followed them. That's one good reason to start your journey to Holy Week early this year in the traditional way. There are Lenten guides available, but your best bet is always the Bible...
Die to self.
We need to go ahead, as is dictated by the things we normally proceed to do in the midst of pandemic. We also need do all the important things we have to do, but in the process, observe Ash Wednesday, and the forty days of Lent. It would be excellent, I am thinking, to share it together on zoom, along with Scripture reading, personal comments, and some really "down-home" prayer.
May you be blessed and uplifted this day. The journey begins on Wednesday!
Scripture: John 14:2 King James Version
"In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
My beloved dog is about 12 years old. My husband and I are guessing his age. We adopted him a decade ago through a rescue agency when he looked to be about two years old. During this time of working at home, he has been a great companion, and even though right now he is curled up sound asleep on the couch, I find his presence is comforting, and I think he is happy that I am here as well.
Holy One, thank you for showing us the way. Thank you for understanding our fears when we cannot see our way forward. Yet, because of your love, we know we can continue on this journey. We thank you for the beauty that is with us today, and the beauty that awaits us. May we never forget to pay attention to the ways your love is being made known to us. Amen.
Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, Associate Pastor
San Lorenzo Community Church, United Church of Christ
Gracious Lord, today, as many of us enjoy one of the great American past-times, we'd ask --- as you protect us from the coronavirus, and the other variants from it --- that You protect those who will perform in the Super Bowl today. And as we watch, we know you want us to, and you encourage us to enjoy, sit back for awhile and relax, to be entertained...but let us not become addicted to entertainment and make it the most fulfilling thing in our lives. May we sense a renewed call to service: to your Holy Church, to our neighbors, to strangers in our midst and on our street-corners. For things beyond our control, my we re-learn the powerful means of peaceful prayer...for our beleaguered nation...for our Church leaders...for overseas, especially for the Russian people in this time...these things we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday. Being the son of a Wisconsin high school football coach, I've got memories...
Over and above this, it was simply "excellence in extreme boredom" --- and it thrilled Wisconsin fans. Yes, boring, but precise and perfect. You'd be making a mistake if you didn't give it all you had, your potential, put into action. Play after play, the Packers would mow their opponents down. Although, to some, it was boring, you could hardly expect the Packers to let up or to lose. With Lombardi, a football team wasn't meant to fool you with this "reverse" and that "fake punt". You either did exactly, excuse me, exactly, the way Lombardi told you to maneuver or you sat on the bench.
Even "the Golden Boy" of 50s-60s college and professional football, Paul Hornung who died recently in November, 2020 was benched in a game to his great embarrassment. No player was exempt from playing up to one's potential. You just might have to sit on the bench until, in Lombardi's view, you decided to "play football". Lombardi was tough, but he was completely fair, and very rarely wrong, about his game and his players. He was the ultimate master at the game. Probably more important, he loved his players and he loved their performance. All on the team were convinced of that and played their hearts out for him.
And there was a reason for that.
Let me explain something to you. If a regular person were to shout at you, that would be one thing. If Coach Lombardi were to shout at you, that is, yet, another thing you could not imagine until you'd see some of the old game flicks on television...but note this...
Whether the player was black or white, Lombardi was tough --- and trust me, they wouldn't want him to shout at them, single you out --- but he loved them --- and they implicitly knew that. All players came to believe that they were highly privileged to play for him --- that they were --- and in playing football for him, they learned all they needed to be successful in life as human beings for the rest of their days, at home, and at work.
As an Italian-American raised in Brooklyn, he knew what it felt like to be made fun of, to be overlooked and under-estimated. He suffered it, and hated to see others suffer because of it. Before Green Bay, Wisconsin, that was his lot. Thus, when a player did the job, and lived up to his potential, he was on the team, and became a star. I may be mistaken in this, but Lombardi was the first professional to coach blind to color.
There is something I didn't know about Lombardi.
Vince Lombardi was a genuine Christian from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He truly loved and respected the Lord Jesus Christ. However, he didn't go to Mass every Sunday. He went to Mass every day. On Super Bowl Sunday, he wouldn't go out on the field until he had received Holy Communion. Dad told me Lombardi should've been canonized as a Roman Catholic Saint. However, the Church claims he never performed two miracles. "That's crazy...", he said. "He performed miracles every Sunday afternoon."
One Sunday when the Packers were playing at home, as usual, Vince Lombardi was in his home church in Green Bay. In those days, during home games, the church was always packed because Lombardi was always worshipping when at home. The priest asked him to tell the congregation the reason for his success. Lombardi got up and told the congregation that one's priorities need to be correct and in order. He continued, "You always need to put God first...Your family second...and the Green Bay Packers third..." The congregation immediately popped up from their pews and cheered...The priest gave the congregation an extra treat, by saying, "...thus endeth the sermon for today..."
Now what does the story about Vince Lombardi have to do with a Sunday message. How could I relate Lombardi's story to the vision and the wisdom of the Scriptures. We can start with the passage in the Bible where Jesus proclaims what the greatest commandment in Holy Scripture is:
"...Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God, the Lord is one... love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength..." Deuteronomy 6:4,5
Jesus is asked by the Expert in the Law what the greatest Scripture is in Matthew 22:37: "...love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind..."
Jesus continues with verse 38-40: "...This is the first and greatest commandment...and a second
is like unto it...love your neighbor as yourself...all the Law...and the Prophets hang on these two..."
God came first in Vince Lombardi's life. Family came second for him, and that, we'd have to conclude, included his players. He loved them by pushing them for all they were worth to do their best, and, to do their best consistently. He applied the same wisdom to himself. Nothing fancy=Lombardi.
What if we were to follow that wisdom in the church...[leaving the shouting part out]. You know, there are so many priorities imposed upon folks these days. Christians get caught up in the shuffle. What if we were all...as a team...to put God first in our lives. I mean, really, first. I think you'd agree that being part of a local church family would be greatness, even spectacular...doing nothing more than all we are able do, reaching our potential, for the sake of Christ. Not as a last minute sort of thing,or squeezing time in there, but as a priority...giving God the best we have. Nothing fancy=my church.
That is Vince Lombardi's legacy for the Church of the 21st Century. The game this afternoon will probably be more exciting than prior Super Bowls were, way back then, but the craft of "making excellence in performance seem boring" will never be surpassed in our time. Nor will the depth of love in a coach's heart be more convincing and intense. Yet, Vince Lombardi was far from being a perfect man. Imagine having the coach we have. The Lord Jesus Christ. He doesn't shout, but when we do our very best for Him with all the gifts He's given us, we experience a one time greatness, never again repeated.
Saint Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: "...don't you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?...Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training...they do it to get a crown that will not last...but we do it to get a crown that will last forever...therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly...I do not fight like a man beating the air...No, I plummet my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize..."
We are ready, Lord Jesus, to allow you to coach us and guide us to greatness.
We surrender to your guidance. Thank you for loving us as You do. Thank you for shedding your blood that we can be made whole.
From Rev Sue Ann Yarbrough
May each of you know God's grace and peace, both in times of challenge and in times of rest. That well is always there for us. Let us remember to pause and quench our thirst.
Scripture: Luke 12:25-27
"Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? If you can’t do such a small thing, why worry about the rest? Notice how the lilies grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these."
When we find ourselves worrying, we learn to pay attention to our thoughts and not let them run amuck and lead us where we may not want to go. When I read this scripture, I envision Jesus looking at the flowers, admiring their beauty, and taking a deep breath. Jesus certainly had concerns. However, he also knew when to pause and pray. May we also learn to pause and simply be in the presence of God and the wonder of it all. When we pause and give thanks, we get a glimpse of eternity, and we know it to be beautiful.
Yesterday I was reminded of the beautiful "How Great Thou Art." Let us close with the first verse of this timeless hymn.