“Come, O thankful people, come, Raise the song of harvest home….”
After a summer when it hardly rained and when harvest anxiety grew with each succeeding sunny day, it’s good to remind ourselves of the goodness of God. True, the harvest was disappointing – at least compared with the standard of recent years, but it wasn’t (for most farmers) as disastrous as had been feared. Thank you, God.
I suspect I’m no different from many of you – I get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks and forget to take notice of God’s goodness. Yesterday I read the following rather arresting memory from well known author Frederick Buechner:
“[One] winter I sat in Army fatigues somewhere near Anniston, Alabama, eating my supper out of a mess kit. The infantry training battalion that I had been assigned to was on bivouac. There was a cold drizzle, and everything was mud. The sun had gone down.
I was still hungry when I finished and noticed that a man nearby had something left over that he was not going to eat. It was a turnip, and when I asked him if I could have it, he tossed it over to me. I missed the catch, the turnip fell to the ground, but I wanted it so badly that I picked it up and started eating it anyway, mud and all.
And then, as I ate it, time deepened and slowed down again. With a lurch of the heart that is real to me still, I saw suddenly, almost as if from beyond time altogether, that not only was the turnip good, but the mud was good too, even the drizzle and cold were good, even the Army that I had dreaded for months.
Sitting there in the Alabama winter with my mouth full of cold turnip and mud, I could see at least for a moment how if you ever took truly to heart the ultimate goodness and joy of things, even at their bleakest, the need to praise someone or something for it would be so great that you might even have to go out and speak of it to the birds of the air.”
— Frederick Buechner in The Sacred Journey
….and death, too. Most of you know that my Dad died a week and a half ago. It was bittersweet – his dementia was by that time profound and deep. On Saturday my siblings and I gave thanks for the life of Bob Pleva. My Dad was a character – and maybe that’s putting it charitably – but we all loved him and he bequeathed to each of us (to the extent we were willing to recognize it), invaluable gifts. I’ve been missing him for many months as his dementia worsened. I know I’ll miss him more in the days and years to come. Thank God for the gift of missing him.
Oh yes….two weeks ago Piper Renee Greensides Pleva was born into our extended family – my 2nd grandchild. I’ve not even met her yet (that will happen next week), but already I love her and am thankful to God for her.
You too, have things for which to be thankful. Rehearse those things. Call them to mind.
God is good! God is good, indeed!
With Great Hope!
Iowa Conference Minister