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Pastor column: Summertime: This is my Father's world

Pastor Jim Bender

Having moved from Kansas to serve at Trinity Lutheran-Hudson, what strikes me about this northern Midwestern culture is the power of summer. Call it an agreed upon "Annual Sabbatical," in which we all step out of our normal routines, step down from our duties and step back to relax a bit. Being a pastor, it means the sanctuary is much more empty (although, I do hope it is much more full at the local church near the lake cabin!) Summer is a perfect iced-brew of the kids being out of school coinciding with the best season of the year following the long winter. Finally, the long days, the warm weather and green world, the blue water and hot dogs and swim suits and soccer balls and baseball bats and fishing rods and sandals and tents and vacations! Finally! We all agree—let's go enjoy it and make the most of the summer.

A member of Trinity invited the church to see her beautiful landscape. We sang in our gathering together, "This is my Father's World." The first two stanzas speak of what one hears and sees and invites us to rest in his creation and in his creative power and surrounding presence. The third stanza struck me—as opposed to stanzas one and two, where all is beautiful and serene, the author Maltbie Babcock pens, "This is my Father's world; Oh let me not 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!"

Pondering the beauty of the created world around us trains us to know its Creator. When the circumstances of life, or an unforeseen mood, take over and we see no more beauty but only the "wrong seems oft so strong," then we still, nevertheless, in faith exclaim "This is My Father's World!... God reigns."

God reigns in the rain or the sun. In whatever season of life you now enjoy, or endure, God reigns. Summer's birds, leafing trees and bright flowers have demonstrated his reign. I hope you took the time to enjoy your Father's world and strengthened your faith in him as you relaxed in his creative powers. But now we return from summer's idyll. But, "why should my heart be sad? The Lord is king, let heaven ring; God reigns, let the earth be glad."

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