Grab your boots and let’s head for the woods, or even the swamp if you’re really up for an adventure. The Creator of the woods has left his fingerprints everywhere, and they are there to help us on our journey through life. We can kick at the leaves as we walk, stirring them with our feet, and then wonder about their identity and why they are no longer attached to the tree. But those leaves aren’t there by random chance; nothing in the swamp is random, and neither is our life. God has a plan and purpose for us, but there are lessons we must learn, and those lessons are vital to our survival. They are the lessons that lead us to the ultimate question, the question of lordship. Who will be Lord of your life?
Catch a glimpse of God in Leaves, Lessons, and Lordship, by going hunting down in the pines, or fishing aboard a tiny ship. Take a trip up the hill to cut a Christmas tree; or spend your morning looking for the gardener. The author will have you laughing one minute, and praying the next. Which is a lot like life. So, as the owl hoots, find a comfortable spot, and read on!
Excerpt from: Background Noise
The road going down into The Pines was dark. Tall trees at the top of the hill, where the road left off, would shield the sky of any natural light, be it morning or evening, pre-dawn or post-sunset. To a young boy, the darkness was an adventure, but also a place of fear and mystery. A southern swamp, which adjoined The Pines, was a fine breeding ground for noise, with cranky birds chirping, hooting, whistling, and rustling in the tree tops. A stray coyote bark would stir the blood to a new level. Each noise took on a life of its own, and monsters would quickly materialize. Theodore Roethke* was quoted once as saying: “All bushes can’t be bears.” Try to explain that to a young boy as you try to walk silently through the pre-dawn darkness towards a deer stand. Try to explain to him that the booming hoot of a great horned owl, or the screech of a screech owl, is not a demon charging out of the woods, but rather the Creation of God, waking to a new day.
I wonder if maybe some of that pre-dawn angst might have been present on that day, that day that changed the world. It was a busy time―the population of the city was swelled like a bad ankle sprain. Typically, the pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the Passover would flood the city, overwhelming innkeepers and shop owners. The demand for food, and the need for animals for the sacrificial offerings were big business. And that is what we would have heard: the distant murmur of commerce, the sound of bellowing oxen, and bleating sheep, and the fluttering wings of turtle doves. In the murky pre-dawn darkness of the courtyard, the sounds of hushed voices could also be heard. Agitated voices, whispers of execution, muted curses, and the coarse speech often associated with the mob were instead floating through the darkness. We know the events of that morning moved from the courtyard to a hillside, from threats breathed, to threats conceived, and to the fulfilment of what was once jealousy. Sounds in the pre-dawn darkness, were in fact demons at work.
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