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Pastor’s Corner Pastor Mark Keefer, pastor, Chapel Methodist Church Gladbrook, Iowa

April 4, 2019
Northern-Sun Print
What joy! A remarkable winter is now behind us and spring has sprung. I give thanks that, as I enjoy the warmer days and watch the snow finally melt from our yard, our house is not in harm’s way from flooding. I pray for those who live in flood zones, and pray that little destruction of property and loss of life will occur in those areas where rising waters threaten. “There is a time for everything under heaven,” the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us. The challenging days of snow and mud are soon to be followed by warmth and green vegetation. I rarely reference the Song of Solomon in the OT, but I was led to 2:11&12. From The Message Bible we are told to look around, for “winter is over; the winter rains [snows] are over and gone. Spring flowers are in blossom all over, the whole world’s a choir – and singing!” Granted, this book of poetry is expressed with the theme of two lovers. Still, I can only feel my own spirit yearning for the birds of spring to return with their songs, and the beauty of summer’s colors. In this rural setting of Iowa in which we live, it won’t be long before the farmers are tilling the soil in preparation for another year’s planting and eventual harvest. What a wonderful part of the world in which we live. The four seasons may offer their own challenges and storms at times, but the variations of beauty each offers are blessings. In the midst of this beauty, though, we are pummeled with the national and world news of hate and terrorism. What a contrast from God’s desire for His creation, His peaceable kingdom. Daily, we are confronted with the options of despair or hope. We are not the first to be in this situation. A study of history, both secular and biblical, reminds us of mankind’s inability to reach out, as Christ would have us, and be a good neighbor to the least, the lost, and the lonely. In our lifetime, we have been blessed with no wars on our own homeland soil. This nation that has been blessed by God continues to assume it will always be that way. Biblical history reveals what happens to nations that take God’s blessings for granted. Will our nation eventually suffer as others have, by not learning from history? Paul cautioned the Corinthians to not be complacent with the blessings of God – we must not “try the patience of the Lord beyond the limit…Let him who thinks he stands secure take care lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:9, 12) Christian calendars have us in the season of Lent, a six week season of preparation prior to Easter. This preparation is not the external preparation of seasonal decorations and a family dinner. It is the internal preparation for a renewed attitude and appreciation of God’s blessings. My prayer for me and you is that we listen carefully for the Word of God, and we do not take His blessings for granted. His instruction for our well-being surrounds us as surely as the beauty of His creation surrounds us. May the promises of spring and new life strengthen our spirits in a world that challenges us. The Desiderata reminds us, ‘With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’ I invite you to worship with others during this Lenten season to gain strength and hope in the promises of God. May His blessings pour abundantly over you.


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