Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. Gosh, those words are engraved on the hearts of so many, that it really gets to the heart of what it means to deeply know Jesus Christ and to understand that we don’t understand everything! That God knows so much more than we do and we need to trust in that; especially in this day and time that we are in with so much concern and worry for the health of the world. You know? I was just so very inspired by Laurel Hill’s reading of the scripture of 1st Samuel. I reflect on this in terms of the shepherd boy David and how he was the unlikely one to be chosen as a leader. He was the youngest, he was out doing the the dirty chores of tending to the sheep… There was one who was to come. One who was to be anointed by God to lead the people in a way that other people may not be able to lead. It’s not easy tending sheep and I’m sure you’ve heard all of these sheep metaphors before. We think of our pastors as shepherds of the church. But you know? We have this other great metaphor that comes out of this storytelling about David. We understand Jesus to be of that Davidic line. That is the heritage of Jesus and during the the Advent season, we sometimes talk about Jesus being the the “shoot from the root of Jesse” like a tree stump that has these shoots coming from it and there’s the one that is Jesus that grows to be the big strong tree in which we are rooted and grounded Now when we are in the season of Lent, we sometimes think of the tree in more negative terms. We have songs that talk about Jesus hanging upon the tree– We are mindful that the cross is made of planks of wood and crucifixion is not an easy death. But in this season, the season of Lent, there are things that we need to die to spiritually. There are things that we need to give up and let go of in our lives and simply by the orders that we have been given by our government, we’ve had to let go of a lot of things. Especially the way we think that things ought to be. Thank you for contributing. That was my dog Vinny. He needs to preach too sometimes. So anyway, I’m gonna break away from filming me right now and I want to take you to an actual stump that is in my yard that has shoots coming out of it. So follow me. Here is our co preacher today, Vinny. Hi, how you doing? There he is. And we will go into this bed of ivy here and take a look at this stuff that was recently created. We had the gardeners come out here… Gosh– a few months back. You might remember in December we had a portion of the fence knocked out in the backyard here. You can see that this stump is rather large. There was a big tree here, but it was growing old and dying and if you look to the side of this where Where the sun– hits the tree stump, you can see all of these roots coming out. Just a lovely image and reminder of our savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Are you coming this way? He’s a little confused it seems. Why is mama here? Filming this this stump and these things? You can see there are multiple shoots here and that’s really kind of how we are in terms of our outgrowth of the generations. A really lovely metaphor. It’s a really lovely metaphor for how the generations continue to grow and prosper and I want to take you to this redwood over here this majestic tree. That is in the yard, let’s just pan up it a little bit. It goes really high. It just doesn’t seem to stop. There it is. Such a beautiful tree! And at the very bottom, There are these lovely shoots. Even though this tree is not dead. There are little shoots next to this tree. I’ll come around here and we can see that There’s even a smaller tree next to this one that is just so grand and There are shoots over here as well. Now, I talked to my gardener son and he said: You know? those are sucker Sucker shoots. Because I had asked him, you know, could you possibly transplant these? into something else and plant a tree elsewhere and he said no, it doesn’t really work that way and I was a little disappointed but, you know? That’s also a lesson that these shoots, these springs that spring up, they really can’t survive without the parent tree that it originates from. Generation and generation and generation. Just look at the size of that trunk! This tree has to be hundreds of years old. It’s been around long before I was around and It’ll probably be here long after I’m gone and yet, we have over in this part of the yard a tree that had to come down and so really, that’s the way it is with us in our spiritual lives. Sometimes there are large trees that we can’t imagine being without. And yet there comes a time for letting go. And even though it seems that we’ve lost a tree here in this stump, we have these shoots to remind us that there is new life here. Let’s get back to that story about David becoming The Anointed One again. We go back to the scripture and it says, but the Lord said to Samuel: Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature because I have rejected him. For the Lord does not see as mortals see. They look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. And that is something for us to hold on to in these days as well. The Lord looks on the heart. We know that we have people in leadership, many of them who are doing the best they can in this global crisis. We also know that it’s people in a time of crisis that become unlikely heroes. Gosh, aren’t the the heroes in the supermarkets there for us and helping us out right now? People that you wouldn’t think would have “necessary jobs” to fulfill, but they do. We know that the people who are in health care need to be working right now, but we’re also finding that stores need to be open. Banks need to be open There are so many necessary things that it’s causing us to figure out what we hold fast to. I also remember about David that he was small in stature, but that didn’t mean that he was any less of a leader. You might remember from the Hebrew Bible that David was the one who slayed Goliath with simply a rock in a slingshot. You know? Right now we are having to lean on our wits and our ingenuity. You know, it’s not because David had all kinds of brawn, but he knew what kind of trajectory to use. He knew what to do with this slingshot and rock to get to the end result. And that’s what we’re going to be seeing a lot of in these coming days and weeks. We’re going to be seeing some innovation. Another great tie-in to the David story is Psalm 23. The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. What a calming and reassuring scripture this is for times like this! If you were moved by the reading that Laurel gave today, I would suggest that you share that with a friend. You can also share this whole worship service with other people and give them a little bit of encouragement at this time. You’ll have to forgive me for being a little distracted there are these wonderful hawks that keep circling and I’m wondering if they’re looking at my little dog. So it might be time for me to wrap up my thoughts about now I do hope that you are coping well throughout this crisis. I do hope that you will keep in contact with your local church so that you can be uplifted and encouraged through troubling times and the next thing we’ll do in our worship service is to go to a video That has us singing, “How Great Thou Art.” Being out here in nature, it’s one of those songs. That is really important to sing and to just give praise to our God and our Creator for the blessings that we do have, that we count in our lives and to live life in every moment and to enjoy it. So be blessed this day, friends and I’ll come back to you at the end of “How Great Thou Art” and singing that and we’ll have a word blessing.