Simply put… I am drawn these days more to nature… the woods… the wilderness. Simplicity… John the Baptist and his message of hope for the One Who is coming-Whose Presence will change the world.
Since COVID-19… our pastor, Jeff Kackley, has taken the early morning 9:00 service outside. When he called earlier this week he told me how this group of church members are really loyal now to this new ” tradition ” and he wants to continue it as long as possible… with exceptions to cold or rainy weather.
Jeff started off calling everyone last Sunday to the wilderness for support, simplicity and serenity. All three attributes are badly needed these days. And what is it about being surrounded by trees, woods, and birds… even an owl? Almost immediately one can feel the stress dissipating through our pores. Suddenly we are all breathing normally again.
John the Baptist-now he was quite a character wasn’t he-a man who lived along the fringes of society. He decided early on-that was where his lifetime niche would be.
Yes we all remember John. He lived in the wilderness, ate locusts and honey and wore camel hair clothing. He was sort of this eccentric character who told everyone to “prepare the way of the Lord” and get ready for the birth of a new king. And he promised that those who did prepare the way of the Lord, would see the salvation of God”
Now you might think he would have a tough time attracting listeners, much less followers, except perhaps extremists, but such was not the case-steadily his diversified followers were increasing. Why? He was promising everyday citizens that hope for a better life rested in the One Who was coming bringing change to the troubled world order.
He would speak gently, quietly, accepting everyone through their hearts-not faces or races. He wanted peace and love to rule over prejudice and hate. No more wars-instead love of fellowman would take precedence over greed and power.
Jeff took time to set the stage for Jesus’s arrival amid corrupt, immoral tyrants in high, middle and local political offices. It was as if Pandora’s box had been re-opened a second time spilling out so many troubles that the thought of a quiet, deserted wilderness and a man of God prophesying Hope was a powerful catalyst to the downtrodden and weary.
***I think that is why I jumped at the invitation to return to the mountains this Thanksgiving … I could feel the stress leaving at the sight of the first mountain range!
So until tomorrow… don’t we feel a similar desire to escape this complicated world and worship in the woods-find peace in nature… the wilderness?
Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh