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Out Our Way: Consider the sage and the meadowlark - Luke 12:22-32


Last updated 5/22/2020 at 7:43am

Our our way, this is the time of year Charlie and I most enjoyed riding for the brand and checking the herd. The calves are lively and even the old bulls in "the Good Old Boy's Club" off from the main herd are not so grumpy. Indeed, the whole caboodle seems to be in a good mood. Charlie on Jet and me on Doc are especially feeling our oats. Doc, despite having four left hooves when at the canter, snorts and tosses his mane with sheer glee as we head out.

Spring has come and the cycle of life has begun again.

The cold winters in Montana can get really cold and the snows deep - but come spring, that is forgotten. Come March or April when I saddle up again, the cinch is tight around Doc's girth and the belt is on its last notches on mine. I step up and find my winter fat is making it hard to get my foot up high enough. When I manage to start climbing up, Doc turns his head and lays back his ears as if to say "Hey - one at a time!"

But by mid-May, the fat is worn off us both, the muscles are toned up, and the open pasture beckons with all it delights. Charlie and I ride out to Tiger Ridge in his truck and trailer, saddle up our horses and take off at a light trot to where the main herd is. We ride up and over the first ridge and then it hits. The smell of the sage that has grown back after the winter and the call of the meadowlark. 

In Judea and Galilee 2000 years ago, even city folk were not that far removed from the everyday blessings of similar sights and sounds and smells. Jesus certainly alluded to the smells and sights and sounds of the "big open" of His day - the lilies of the field and the birds of the air were things nearly everyone knew and experienced. I don't know what the flowers or local bird life of ancient Israel were like, but having ridden in fields of wildflowers in the Bear Paws and amongst the sage of the Tiger Ridge, I assume folks then were as blessed as Charlie and I were by such sights, sound and smells.

Now, I grant you, folk in the urban centers of the world may have a harder time finding such blessings. Yet even in such places I have found gardens, parks, and trees on boulevards. So even city folk know and are blessed by the "lilies of the field" if they have a mind to look. I have also seen pigeons and sparrows and others in big cities and know of folks hanging bird feeders from their apartment windows.  

So it is, even city folks as well as rural folks know and are blessed by the lesson of the lilies and birds of the air ... if they have a mind to look and accept it. And what is that lesson loudly proclaimed by sage and meadowlarks, dandelions and pigeons? That the God of creation did not create and walk away, but remains alert and in charge. As the sagebrush and dandelion, the meadowlark and city pigeon are not filled with anxiety about tomorrow, but know - and are not disappointed in that belief - that God is taking care of them, so Christ calls us to trust and be assured that God does not slumber or ignore us. 

In the midst of "the winter of my discontent," to quote the "Bard of Avon," I sometimes doubt or forget that promise. But then I saddle up (at least in my memory these days) and ride to the ridge where the breeze blows, the sage perfumes the air and the meadowlark exults in its song. And I consider the sermon God sends me via the sage of the prairie and meadowlark of the air.

Hard to believe in the midst of so much rejection and hurt, but Jesus says I am more valuable and loved by God than the sage or the lark. The world may - and often has - rejected me, but God declares in the perfume of the sage and the melody of the lark that He has not.

Consider the prairie sage and the meadowlark ... and know God loves you even more than these.

You are not forgotten but are the beloved. 

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Brother John


The Rev. John Bruington is the retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Havre. He now lives in Colorado, but continues to write "Out Our Way." He can be reached for comment or dialogue at [email protected]


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