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July 12, 2020

On longer trips, I often pray and meditate and often there is a song that leads me into a particular prayer or meditative thought.  Recently I was driving and one of the stations I listen to regularly on SiriusXM is the Grateful Dead station.  This day, one of my favorite songs came on:  Ripple.  Jerry Garcia singing “There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night; and if you go no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone.”
“You have to wonder how someone as grim as Bard was descended from Girion, king of Dale, the most fabulous Toy Town of Middle-earth.  You see, when Thrain was King of Erebor, ‘the merry town of Dale’ was nested just south of Lonely Mountain.  The dwarves had branched off from metalworking to creating magical toys, which were sold in the toy market of Dale.  So why was Bard so grim?  Well, part of it was that he was born with grim genes.  Another reason was that when Smaug attacked Erebor, he also burned down Dale, killed its warriors, and devoured its citizens.  Only Girion’s wife and son and a few others escaped.  Dale was now charred ruins, its memory a source of pain, and Bard was a king in exile.  Bard, however, had risen in the ranks to become captain of the archers of Laketown.  The people there admired his courage, but they wished he’d lighten up.  He was constantly prophesying about floods, poisoned fish, and other disasters.  Well, what could he do?  This night, when the people saw a burning light rushing their way, Bard instantly knew it was the dragon and urged a call to arms.  Immediately the town mobilized.  Some men destroyed the bridge that joined Laketown to the shore so the dragon couldn’t simply walk into town, spewing out flame.  Others soaked the wooden buildings.  Every container was filled with water.  The archers gathered under Bard’s command.  Then Smaug came in fury, breathing fire!
Yes, our world too has problems and frankly, it’s just depressing to think about them so much.  We want everyone to lighten up and, practically speaking, what can we do to fix everything that’s broken?  Besides, if we think too much about these huge problems, we’ll only start to despair.  Now, we may not be able to deal with the whole world’s problems, but we can deal with the issues in our local part of it.  And we must.  ‘A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.  The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences’ (Proverbs 22:3) We’re not going to be held personally responsible for fixing the hole in the ozone layer, but we can start with our own lives.  There’s no sense in thinking about nothing but problems, or the immensity of them will overwhelm us.  Jesus said, ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own’ (Matthew 6:34).  We do need to take today’s matters seriously and do what we can to take care of them.  Beyond that, however, we simply have to trust God.”  (Ed Strauss, A Hobbit Devotional)
Our journey is our journey alone.  Many may walk with us, but our journey is our own.  Today I see more and more people being so serious and worried and down on most things.  Is this the journey and path we want to remain on?  Not me.  “If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine and my tunes were played on the harp unstrung;  would you hear my voice come through the music, would you hold it near as it were your own?”  (Jerry Garcia)
In the midst of all the news, the problems, the noise…  are we hearing God’s voice?  Are we focusing on the negative or on the positive around us?  Yes, there is positive things but are we looking?  God reminds us that if life is getting us down, come to the fountain who is Jesus Christ!  “Reach out your hand if your cup be empty.  If your cup is full may it be again.  Let it be known there is a fountain that was not made by the hands of men.” (Jerry Garcia) Just where you are – that’s the place to start.  God bless and God’s got this!

About Rev. Bud Budzinski

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