“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3)
About the photos: Some weeks I don’t take many pictures, and our explorations don’t take us much further than the edge of town to this little trail. I think my favorite part of it might be this gentle, if somewhat deceiving, start through the alders, before it quickly switches to the steep ascent more worthy of it’s local nickname “Heart Attack Trail”.
This week, even as we’ve enjoyed sunshine and a summer season that is lingering, I felt the chill in the mornings, and noted the shortening of the days. I found myself looking for fall.
Unlike the yard full of maple trees I grew up in, though, our island forest is not a showy place in the fall at first glance. This is mostly for sheer lack of deciduous trees. We do have alders sprinkled throughout the conifers, but when their leaves fall, they are green and brown, and only a little yellow.
Yet, there are lovely changes and autumnal colors to find; one has only to pay a little closer attention.
I found these little yellow leaves dotting the boulders of a beach this last week, falling like confetti from shrubs along the shore.
I also found these bales of seaweed washed up that were lovely shades of rust and mahogany. I think these are actually their color regardless of the season, but since I found them in September, I’m claiming them as fall colors.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.
He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals the deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him.” (Daniel 2:20-22)
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone takes your cloak, do not withhold your tunic as well.
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what is yours, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return...
…Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)
I’ve been thinking about this passage from Luke ever since I read it this last week. This goes so against the grain of our culture, and frankly, our human nature. We are so programmed to fight for our rights. But do good and lend, expecting nothing in return? And not only that, but do it for the people who don’t like you or treat you badly? Why? It doesn’t make sense!
But Christ’s kingdom isn’t just one more democracy or republic on Planet Earth, and neither are the laws that govern it commonplace or ordinary. It’s so otherworldly that it literally is upside down to everything we’re used to here. It’s so completely contrary to everything our culture and our flesh tells us, there’s no way to fuse the two together and have the “best of both worlds”. It requires a complete mind shift, a transfer of allegiance from the kingdom of this world to heavenly kingdom of our Father, a transformation from darkness to light. It’s called being heavenly minded instead of earthly minded, being visionary instead of short-sighted, realizing that success and “winning” according to God’s standards has a whole new definition, and recognizing that the rewards of heaven will far, far surpass the fleeting pleasures of this world.
That’s a lot to think about when a bully is making fun of your child, or someone treats you unfairly, or that neighbor wants to borrow something yet again and you’re pretty sure you won’t be getting it back if you agree. But I wonder what would happen if we were all brave enough and radical enough to respond 100% according to God’s ways? I don’t know for sure, but there’s a clue in Luke 6:35:
“Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.“
About the photos: This is a mix of shots from a hike we took up One Duke Trail, and a few from the gardens around our house. The white flower pictured is a new-to-me wildflower called Mountain Marsh Marigold, which I was delighted to discover along the muskeg when we were hiking. The pink flowers are a gorgeous domestic flower that someone planted in the gardens by our house before my time. I don’t know what they’re called, though—can any of you tell me?
P.S. If you’re new here and wondering what “Project 52” is all about, you can go here to read more!