Pastoral Ponderings—Berry Nice
We’ve been camping over the weekend—in our yard at least! At the edge of the woods and by the pond, it’s not exactly a getaway, but it’s still a place of great peace and tranquility, and helped us shift focus while camping to doing some of the farm-centric things our property needs help with. When we moved into the place last summer, our predecessors had said there are LOTS of berry bushes all around, but the place has been overgrown for some time, so when we looked around, we saw a few here and there, but were disappointed to not find nearly as many as we were led to believe.
Well, with the clearing up of some of the overgrown areas this spring, and especially this weekend, guess what we’ve found? LOTS of berry bushes– it’s been a berry nice discovery! We were expecting the black raspberries, as those were the few we had already seen, but we were particularly excited to find several blackberry patches too, and we had a new friend over who identified several patches of service berries as well. I don’t even know what that is, but it’s still exciting to find out about! (If you know anything about service berries, we’re all ears!)
Ever feel like your life has gotten overgrown? There seems to be a connection here—when the acreage was overgrown, it’s not that the blessings of the berries weren’t there—they were all around last year too, but we just couldn’t see them, and not being able to see them, those abundance of blessings were not really accessible to us. I think it’s probably the same with our lives. When we let our lives get overgrown with all the clutter of things that act like weeds—things that really aren’t all that important, or true, or honorable, or lovely or admirable—those “weeds” sap our energies and block our ability to see and access to the abundance of blessings God has growing for us all around.
In the same way that you might say “What fun is it to have acres of berries in your yard if you can’t get to them?” what good do God’s blessings do us when they’re invisible and inaccessible, despite their being all around us? Sometimes we need to do some weeding and clearing not just in our yards and gardens, but in our lives as well, so we can better see the blessings God has already planted all around us. That’s a big part of what our Christian Discipleship is all about—clearing out what’s overgrown and getting in the way of God’s blessings, and opening our eyes to see what God already has in store for us! Regular prayer and reading of scripture, and connecting with others who can help us better focus on God’s blessings are all key elements to getting all that’s overgrown in our lives under control. And then we can better get to those blessings—berry nice blessings indeed!
Keep on weeding—Pastor Jim
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. THEN the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4: 8-9, New Living Translation)