2024-03-19 14:34:11

2024-03-19 14:34:11

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Don’t Touch!Don’t Touch!

Today, early in the morning, I approached an unfamiliar object on the beach, just above the water line. Its label warned that it was dangerous, phosphorous-filled, and should not be touched. The finder was asked to notify the police or military. The discovery saddened me. In the midst of so much serene beauty, under skies still washed with dawning light, I had stumbled upon something that hinted of death and destruction, something unconnected with the morning’s beauty. I remembered the passage from Philippians where we are told to think of what is pure and lovely. I tried to fix my thoughts on the right, the pure, the admirable, the excellent, and the praiseworthy. As I reported the object to the park ranger, my duty was complete. But now I need your help, Lord to find a way to live in this world with its unpleasant realities and still reach for you and your perfection of goodness and beauty. Help me find beauty even in the midst of ugliness. May I put aside this ugly object and try to be an agent of peace and beauty in a troubled, violent world. Amen.

One Piece of ShellOne Piece of Shell

When I walk on the beach at the water’s edge, I sometimes see an object just ahead in the surf. When I reach the spot, I discover it’s a piece of shell sticking out of the sand, just one, solitary shell. And yet, that one shell has deflected the water, creating a small barrier, and the sea has to divide in two around it. If I unearth the shell and hold it in my hand, it’s difficult to believe one piece of shell has such an effect on the ocean, and yet my eyes have seen its power. If one shell, by sticking up, can have so much impact on the mighty water, what could one person accomplish? What if I were to talk openly about my faith, tell others what God has done in my life, give God the praise for any success I’ve had—what impact would that have on those around me? Forgive me, Lord, when I am reluctant to speak out, when I feel powerless, when I am afraid to confront the evil that flourishes in the world. Keep me in mind of that shell’s power, and help me to be a servant of good. Amen.

Thanks GivingThanks Giving

Our first Thanksgiving on the island seemed strange. After all, I was accustomed to Puritans and northern Indians, a barren November landscape, food designed to warm the body and ward off chills. Here on the island Thanksgiving is often celebrated wearing shorts and sandals, in tees and tank tops. The food is lighter and less filling, fit for warm weather. Eventually I came to understand it doesn’t matter what the participants wear or what they eat—what’s important is what’s being done. The harvest is in, whether that harvest is northern crops or southern cotton and sorghum. God has manifested once again his bounty and his love. Our giving of thanks has nothing to do with dress or the formality of service; it is intended to be a sincere acknowledgment of our dependency on God and his open hand of generosity. Thank you, Lord, for the bounty you share with us throughout the country and the world. May we share this bounty with one another as you have been generous with us. May we praise and thank you for all you bestow. May we make each day a day of giving thanks to you. Amen.