7 Sing to the Lord with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre!
8 God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth;
God makes the mountains sprout green grass.
9 God gives food to the animals— even to the baby ravens when they cry out.
10 God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner.
11 No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love. (Psalm 147:7–11)
April showers bring May flowers, and what to May flowers bring? Pilgrims!
As I write this, there is a wonderful, fresh, gentle rain outside. The rain is alternating back and forth between a steady soak and a quiet drip. I have the porch door open to allow the fresh air, the songs of chirping birds, the gentle rustle of leaves from the occasional breeze, and the peaceful rhythm of the rain into my den. All these are a welcome comfort after what has been a cycle of storms, pollen, and stress. There is a golf course tee box behind my house; on days like this I know the golfers, who often loudly share profanities as they comment on the trajectories of their tee shots, will be staying home and dry. Their absence even more accentuates and compliments the natural symphony in progress.
My house is surrounded by azaleas of many different colors. I also have a rose bush, clusters of irises, daisies, several camelia bushes, and flowers I have not identified yet. (I’m more versed in rocks than plants; I’m working on it.) There are pine trees, tulip poplars, oaks, persimmon, dogwoods, and my beloved fig tree. For a while there last month, our property looked as colorful as the land of Oz; the pollen covering our driveway made it the ‘yellow concrete road’. The blessings of spring’s eruption of life came with watery eyes, several boxes of tissues, and a sneeze or two (hundred). Some side effects we accept as a matter-of-course; we’d much rather have the spring and all that comes with it than a forever season of lifeless cold.
After the long, chilly, winter of Covid, the spring and the roll-out of the vaccine has slowly begun returning life to normal. While the world and the nation, communities and churches, families and civic groups all try to adjust to the new routine of a world still coping with a disease that continues to sicken and take lives, finding solace in simple blessings, like the sound of a gentle rain and nature, can be lost in the business and noise of life. We must be intentional, I think, to stop and smell the flowers. Interestingly, that wise saying is attributed to the golfer Walter Hagen, who said “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
The Psalmist of Psalm 147 reminds us “The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love”. Thank-you, Lord, for seeing us through one of the darkest winters of our lives. Thank-you, Lord, for the spring in progress. Thank-you, Lord, for Jesus, the Prince of Peace; in this season of Easter, of new life, we honor the sacrifice He made so life is available to us. We marvel at how much you treasure us; and wait upon your steadfast love. Amen.
– Pastor John Tomlin