Nuff Said: Monday musings, pray constantly, it's fall y’all, and baptism reflections
“Nuff Said” is a part of a series that includes random musings, things that made me go “hmmmm” on the interwebs and perhaps an occasional meme or dad joke.
I normally don’t have time to write on Monday mornings. Today is different. Our church had a busy day yesterday with normal services and then our annual Harvest Hoedown at a stereotypical pumpkin patch/corn maze. We rent the whole place out, feed everyone hot dogs and then spend the evening line dancing in the barn.
So I and our staff have the day off today. Which is why I’m writing/reflecting.
“When the media forgets, we can’t forget to pray. A powerful God is still working in the silence.”
I must be reminded to pray before and after crises become “fashionable” to acknowledge on social media with #hashtags or profile posts. Prayer does not begin and end when world events burst onto and then fade from the headlines.
"Notes from the Trail" is a reader-supported publication. When you become (or invite someone to become) a subscriber, you’re an encouragement to me, and in a sense you’re saying, “Write more! Do it again.”
It’s fall y’all
I took this shot while on a run on a local trail the other day, and I had to toss in a quote I had bookmarked recently for reflection:
These are such incredible days of beauty here in southwest Virginia. I’m sure it’s equally so where you are. Here in Blacksburg, crisp, cool/cold mornings wake me quickly as I exit the house. I’m dazzled and hypnotized by the hills and valleys draped in morning fog. A brilliant color palette has just begun to dapple the trees. and the emerging leafy artistry hints at soul-satisfying gazes to come.
As the leaves fall, the scratchy sound underfoot reminds me of sweaty yard work ahead. The display of divine genius and creativity layers restfulness upon everyone I see. My barista at Barnes & Noble quickly engaged me in agreeing nods when I commented on the fall beauty and weather. “It’s almost spiritual, isn’t it?” she said with a knowing grin.
Fall is wonderful living parable instructing us of the beauty that can result when we let things go.
“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead…”2
I stumbled across this article3 and was mesmerized by the outdoor baptismal pools near Sugar Hill, Georgia. They date from the 1940s and reveal a commitment in time and place to celebrate Christian conversion.
“There are many traditions that are passed down over the generations, but very few rites of passage like baptisms that have lasted and been a part of the human story for centuries.”
Not just “centuries,” but milennia. Christian baptism, especially, is a beautiful rite - no matter the location - that portrays vividly in living experience a reality that has already taken place in someone’s soul as they have expressed faith in Jesus.
Churches in the 20th century began locating their baptistries indoors, often tucked away into a nook above and behind the worship platform. This increased convenience. It also increased the amount of people who could witness a baptism and thus be impacted by someone’s story.
Our church uses a Rubbermaid cattle trough for baptisms. We ask those being baptized to provide a brief testimony about their baptism on video. We then baptize outside, inviting family and friends to gather round and subsequently show the video of the testimonies and the baptisms at the end of the service. We feel this strikes a balance between the intimacy of ceremony and the joy of public declaration.
One of the things I love about the video is the snow in the background during the outdoor baptism. The tank is full of warm water - they don’t want to get out. ;) The joy and willingness of people to demonstrate faith and obedience through baptism is a constant encouragement to watchers.
I rarely share sermons here, but we’ve been in a study of Revelation since January. We are nearing the conclusion! I taught on the last battle in Revelation 19:11-21 yesterday, and if you have time, I believe it has profound relevance for your own spiritual processing and preparation.
That’s… nuff said!4
Philippians 3:13. The rest of the apostle Paul’s thought communicates what to do after letting go: “I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (v14) The emptiness that results from “letting go” must be replaced by something (Someone) more ultimately fulfilling, or the yawning hole left will be filled by other mundane, meaningless things that will have to be “let go” in the future.