Reimagining Church Together

Spring Was On the Way

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

It was mid-March. We were having roller coaster weather as the low-and high-pressure systems battled each other; but our sunny back lawn needed mowing. I’m not able to follow the mower around anymore, though I’ve done it for many years and for a number of years many lawns a week. Now I rely on Larry (my oldest son) who lives across town and Skyler (my grand son-in-law) who lives next door. Larry usually mows the back yard and Skyler does the front one. However, at the time Larry wasn’t feeling well so I asked Skyler to mow the back lawn, even though I knew he was busy at the time.

A couple of nights after that request I had a dream. Dreams are rather common for me; but usually by the time I waken I only remember that I dreamed, not what I dreamed. It was different with this one in particular. I was sitting in the dining room looking out over the backyard when Skyler rounded the corner of the house to edge the lawn before mowing, BUT WHOA. WHAT’S THIS? He wasn’t just walking along carrying the edger. He was riding an emu, and the emu held the edger in his mouth. Skyler hopped off the emu to plug in the electric powered machine, positioned it in the emu’s mouth, hopped back on the animal, and guided the bird around the whole yard. When that job done, they went to get the mower.

When they returned the emu was pushing the mower, and Skyler was astride the animal. He hopped off the emu, started the mower, positioned the mower handle in the emu’s mouth, and again got on the bird. The only time he got off the emu was to empty the mower bag. While that dream was short, it was very entertaining.

Two days later, when I heard the backyard gate being opened. I rushed to the dining room and waited. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT! It was just Skyler carrying his edger. Well, I’ll stay where I am, I decided. Perhaps he will use the emu for mowing only. After all, that edger was rather difficult for the emu to hold and maneuver. BUT…THAT WAS NOT TO BE! Skyler was following and guiding the self-propelled mower, just as everyone else did when mowing the lawn.

emuWithout the emu, watching the lawn being mowed wasn’t too exciting; but at least the lawn was mowed. Ahh, the smell of the freshly mown grass. A wonderful sign of Spring, my favorite time of year with nice temperatures, lawns greening, trees leafing and some blossoming, and flowers appearing.

But wait a minute! Something is different this Spring. Coronavirus is taking an around the world tour; and now there is talk of it making second and third visits to some places. It’s wreaking havoc everywhere. So many deaths. So much suffering. The stay at home orders. 6 ft. distancing. Face masks. No gatherings of over ten. Many businesses closed. Many people without jobs. Etc., Etc., Etc. 

As a result of Coronavirus’ world tour, “we are going through a valley of the shadow of death”, to paraphrase words of David in Psalm 23. It’s harsh, even if we aren’t personally infected with the virus! This is a situation in which our faith is being tested; and we have to work to keep it strong.

Unlike Skyler, who does not need the help of a “dreamland emu” to mow the lawn, we DO NEED help nurturing our faith during this pandemic, help from other believers and from God. We need to call on the Lord repeatedly and confidently, assured that the Good Shepherd will be with us and his rod and his staff will comfort us.

Wayne Haas

Wayne Haas

Retired ELCA Pastor
Member of St. Paul, Ontario OR

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