September 28

            Those of us of a certain age or older might remember asking our parents why we had to do certain chores or why we couldn’t do certain things. We might also remember sometimes getting non-answer answers, such as “Because I said so,” or “If Tommy jumped off a cliff, would you?” Or even these classics, when we did something really wrong and got a severe punishment: “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you,” and “This is my house, and it’s my rules.”
            Those and many other parent “answers” may have cropped up in our lives, and at first, they seemed to satisfy us. But after a while, “Because I said so” just isn’t enough. We need to know why these rules are in place. If we were lucky, our parents explained the rationale behind the rules, usually something along the lines of “We love you, and we just want to make sure you’re safe.”

            To some, the Bible seems to be chock full of rules; so many, in fact, that it seems impossible for anybody to live up to those rules. To us, some of those rules seem ludicrous, such as the rule against eating shellfish. But upon reflection, it seems to me that the Bible has the same over-arching theme our parents had: “I love you, and I want you to be safe.” Although this doesn’t mean we’ll always follow the rules, as long as we confess what we did, God will always forgive us, because He still loves us. And that’s the best rule of all.

September 14

Recently my husband and I took an overnight trip to Shenandoah National Park. I wanted to go there not only because I love national parks and hadn't spent much time there before, but also because my father spent time there in the Army during WWII on training maneuvers . He wrote about some of his experiences in his memoirs. In fact, he spent Easter morning 1943 there and wrote:

“Each night we pitched out tents in the mountains. This in itself was quite an experience to be enclosed in all the trees. We were there over Easter Sunday and it was a free day. I think I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Sunday morning. It was warm and the sun was shining as I sat along side of the clearest water I think I had ever seen in a stream coming down the mountain. It almost made me forget about what was going on all over the world at the time.”

Reading this, I see where I got my love and appreciation of nature and creation. I treasure that, even more since my father died. I feel like I carry a piece of him around with me in my heart. I was able to walk in Big Meadows and look at the same stars that my father looked at so many years ago. 

I think it is similar to carrying Jesus around in our hearts. And even though we haven't seen Him, we know that Jesus walked on this earth and had some of the same experiences that we do. We can remember that and carry Him in our hearts until we are with Him.

Matthew 28:20 …And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Loving Jesus, Help us to know that You are always with us in our hearts.  Amen.