BE NOT AFRAID

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“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

(John 14:27 KJV)

Last Sunday was Easter Sunday, a special day that holds a reverent image upon the pages of my memory, an anchor in the landscape of my life’s history. With special days like Easter or Christmas, I gauge the passing of the years. It seems Easter and Christmas holds a special magic upon one’s time, as we stop to pause and inspect upon the memories of those that have passed. Easter has so much imagery embodying the occurrence that one cannot help but fill the soul with it. A time of renewal both in nature and in man. A co-existent promise in the higher realm that life is still blooming anew rather than moving to a final gloom of disaster. The story of Easter itself, that of a higher love, a God which loves His creation so much that He is willing to sacrifice His Son to save it. For the Kingdom of God finds their hope in this story of salvation and those of ignorance a message is found in need of sharing. This then, Easter, is a time when Nature and Man comes together in the promise of a new birth of life. Demonstrated in the bursting blossoms of spring and the exalted spirits of man.

At the Church on the Knoll Brother Simms spoke upon that very thought and I truly wish I could remember every word as to share it with you. For the life of me, I shamefully admit, I cannot even remember the text Brother Simms used from God’s Word. In Brother Simms homespun way he brought the message to us in a way that we left the service filled with joy and charged with the desire to follow the true light. In fact the whole service that day was special. Special in that I, and I am sure the others, wish every Sunday could be such a fellowship of Blessing.

We gathered at the Church in the morning glow of sunrise with a Prayer of thanksgiving, that on this day so long ago the tomb was found empty. Brother John led us in Prayer and before the Amen Sister Mary added her praises. As she finished we all, one by one, added our own praise to glorify our Heavenly Father. It was a moving event that we, brothers and sisters of the church, should share such personal moments of His presence. A great start, one I ponder that what a wonderful life this would be if every day started in the same way. And, why does it not? Surely in Heaven it shall at the throne of our God and Father.

After the mornings prayer the table was set for a church breakfast. Now I want to tell you my friends that there is no better food to be found than what was served Easter Morning at the Church on the Knoll. There was more than I could describe but I certainly devoured more than I should. A large plate I fixed with four cornbread biscuits spread out as a foundation. Upon them I laid a heaping layer of country sausage gravy. On top of the gravy I paced two farm fresh scrambled eggs with cheese melting on them. Around the dripping sides of my plate laid long strips of pork bacon fried real crisp but not burnt. Slow brewed coffee with real cream thick in butterfat. Now that is what flavor is folks. I could not resist, just could not resist, the homemade toasted bread dripping with Martha Lilly’s blackberry preserves. It is a wonder that I was able to stay awake for the service. Which may explain why I can’t tell you more of Brother Simms message.

After the service we gathered again in the rear where the children searched for Easter Eggs. Plastic ones filled with little treats for the youngsters of our church family. As the laughter and joy of the hunt faded with the scarcity of Easter Eggs, Brother John led us in a parting prayer. It was my friends an Easter Morning without comparison. Least till next year if we are not already at home with our Heavenly Father.

I found myself committed that the rest of the day should be dedicated to complete laziness. Thus I did, as I do so well, and found myself sitting upon the front porch. Here I sat exercising my ankles motivating the old rocker. The old rocker is an amazing instrument of slothfulness and certainly one of man’s greatest of inventions. Mine was rescued from the old cabin I live in.

Behind the old Lively Feed Store where I know find my employment, there is a path. It winds around the hill beneath the Crawford home and faints down the side to a hollow. There a small cow path that I used to follow when I was a kid, which leads to a small creek. Following the creek, as it slowly rises between two tall wooded hills, it opens up into a meadow filled with grass and wild flowers. The creek bares off to the lower side of the meadow and along the perimeter wild raspberries grow. On the backside of the meadow against a hill that shoots near straight up is an old abandoned log cabin. One’s imagination can fill the history of this log cabin at a moment’s glance. Inside it are four rooms. First a living room with the middle of the cabin divided between a bedroom and a dining room. The back of the cabin is the kitchen still with its old wood burning stove, kitchen counter and a well pipe. Between the living room and dining room is a stairway to the two upper bedrooms. Off to the right of the log cabin is the old outhouse for those privet moments of meditation. I so often in those early years at Ballengee dreamed of going back someday and finding that log cabin and just moving in. Life there would be so peaceful. In the years that have passed I have felt I’ve paid my dues. I’ve done my bit and fought my battles. I feel sometimes that I have earned the peace, which abounds in the meadow where that old log cabin stands.

I was fortunate to have been able to purchase this homestead of the Lively family. The old cabin with its roof gone and the porch collapsed and barely a path leading to it. Proudly the old rocker rested upon the collapsed porch coated in a green moss. On this Easter afternoon I rediscovered it and employed it to my peaceful pace of relaxation.

As I moved back and forth, so to my mind drifted in and out of today and yesterday. Days gone by and the events that has brought me here and shaped me to who I am, lessons learned and mistakes made. I’ve had my share of good. I’ve had my share of bad. There are times I am not sure about. Still trying to decide and this is good too. But of the bad times, well now they don’t seem so bad. I suppose, as time has moved, the stings of those events have mellowed. Then maybe knowing how they worked out has made it all right.

Brother John came by and saw me sitting on the porch rocking. I think he saw the value of spending time this way and stopped and took position on the porch swing. I know it must have been the call of leisure as Brother John usually found interesting things to converse over. But he said nothing beyond a greeting and just moved back and forth on the swing. His presence did interrupt my thoughts as I began to wonder what he was wondering. I wondered if he was wondering what I was wondering which was wondering what he was wondering. This became a quagmire for me and I could not escape it. I suppose I should have asked but did not want to destroy the peace of this Sunday afternoon.

Willie Crawford came by and must have also seen the value of this un-active activity. Willie too stopped and joined our company. Willie is not able to be silent and was excited about the baseball game he had attended on Saturday. It was just a community baseball game.

Ballengee has a community team, which belongs to the sate league. I am sorry to report that we seldom make the playoffs but we are not a team to be beaten easily either. Today we played the Talcott Trojans, which is a very tough team. As Willie went on to report, they were not tough enough to beat the Ballengee Bobcats.

As Brother John and I sat moving back and forth on the porch, Willie sat on the edge of the porch resting his back against the column. Willie told us of how the Trojans would get on base and then they’d score a run. Then the Bobcats would get on base and then they’d score a run. This went back and forth throughout the game with the result that the Bobcats beat the Trojans by one run. And Willie said it drove him mad. Willie was so afraid that the game would end without the Bobcats gaining that one run needed to win. With a splash of exasperation Willie said that if only he knew how the game would end he might have enjoyed it better.

I said, Willie that is the point of it. Not knowing for that is the excitement of the game. Willie said he knew that was right but still this game was a bit over taking for him. Now Willie was just all stressed out and was glad to find a peaceful porch to relax on.

Willie sat there and near panted as Brother John and I continued to move back and forth. I found myself in near agreement with Willie that maybe if we did know the end what we go through would not seem so bad. Perhaps it is cheating but then we could see the value in the efforts of our trials. I then discovered that as Brother John and I were moving back and forth that he was wondering the same thing I was wondering.

Brother John, in his quite, forbearing way looked over at Willie and said, “Be not afraid Willie for in life we do know the end. God has it all planned from the beginning to the glorious end. All that comes our way Willie works for good to those who love Him. And the Father sent us His Son that the door to Heaven shall be opened to us if only we follow Him there. For He is the light that we follow and all the trials we go through He is there to sustain us. He defeated that which we fear the most Willie, death. He arose from it that we might live through Him. So we know the ending Willie and we can choose our path unto life or unto death. You need not worry Willie, be not afraid, for we know our destination through Jesus. Keep you eyes upon Him Willie, and all we go through is but a moment before an eternity in glory with Jesus. Amen Willie?”

And Willie said, “Amen.”

Copyright: 2001 Thomas N Kirkpatrick

Durant Bible College

 

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