I am not a contemplative person. Not one given to long periods of quiet meditation. Although I understand the value of silent and thoughtful reflection, that is not my nature. However, last week as I sat in my backyard I was reminded of how important it is to stop my ceaseless activity and be renewed.

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A gentle breeze was blowing as I sat in the swing watching the birds flitting to and from our bird feeders. The bright red flowers of the Crocosmias in my wife’s beautiful garden had not yet appeared but their sword-like leaves swayed and the leaves of the Japanese Maple began to flutter in the wind. Three chipmunks scurried along the rock wall and paused to eat some of the bird seed that had fallen to the ground.

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There was hardly a sound. Just the creaking of the swing as it moved back and forth. It was a silent and sacred moment. Refreshing. Renewing.

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As I looked around at the beauty of our small space nestled between sub-division house on either side and behind. I sensed the Voice of the Eternal saying, “Be still and know that I am God.”

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Observing the seemingly carefree way the birds and the chipmunks went about their ways and seeing the beautiful flowers of the garden I remembered the words of Jesus, “Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith?” (Matthew 6:26, 28-30)

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Sitting in that relaxed environment I found the words of a familiar hymn running through my mind:

This is my Father’s world,*
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
he shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Jamie Jenkins

* Words to the hymn, This Is My Father’s World, by Maltbie D. Babcock

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