Sunday, May 22, 2011

First Article Season

A small, new, green tomato appeared on the plant potted on our deck -- the first one of the season.  As I think about this wonderful transformation from bloom to fruit, I am reminded of how much that spring and summer are First Article seasons.  God's creative work continues to abound for our gracious appreciation and consumption.  That which He began, He does still -- bringing fruit to the earth and, in spite of the fall and sin's stain over His good creation, there remain many occasions for us to rejoice in how very good His work is.

I remember at an uncle's funeral the Pastor (who did not know him) spoke of him as a farmer kneeling down and running the soil through the earth and giving thanks to God for the miracle of creation.  But of course, my uncle did not do that.  As a typical farmer and Christian, he questioned God when the rain did not come or when it came too much.  He fretted and worried about sweltering heat of the day upon the crops he had work so hard to plant. He was frustrated when blight or pest threatened his livelihood.  He tossed and turned all night at the prospect of prices dropping and his crop not being worth as much as he had hoped.  That is how we all do it.  We see our labors and expect much in return but God is the mystery and God is the key.  For all our labors and all our hopes of harvest, God is the miracle in between that turns the seed into plant and the bloom into fruit or grain.  Even when a sinful world out of skew with God's design steals some of our planted treasure away, God is still God and God is still merciful.

Of Creation.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

Daily and richly.... Luther got that right.  He provides for this body and this life, protects from all harm, guards and preserves me from all evil... all I can do is acknowledge His merciful care, give thanks as an unworthy but grateful recipient of His largess, and share His bounty with those around me...  A summer setting for a truth good all year round...

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