What Happened to the Pumpkins?

Brendan Armitage

Our thanks again to Brendan Armitage for this week’s devotion!

Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

—Mark 14:36

Our genteel display of winter squash, in reds and tans and oranges, had been rather cruelly mauled, as you can see in the picture above. I thought of the movie, Alien, that perhaps some thing had cocooned in my gourds. My eldest, no fan of nature, assumed the worst, that there was some sort of super predator in our yard, ready to eat him next. We investigated, but our years of watching forensic examination shows failed us, and we learned nothing about the criminal in our midst. Of course, the superpredator was nothing more than a squirrel. It smelled the seeds, and had dug through the rind to nibble on the food within.

My thoughts initially turned to loss, that we no longer had our Fall decorations and that I would have to remove them from the property. Yet more work for me. At some point later, my anger turned to recognition that the squirrel had not recognized my squash as decorations, but simply as another food source, with which to survive the upcoming winter famine. How often are we the homeowner in this example? Perhaps we’re the driver attempting to maintain 8 car lengths between ourselves and the car ahead of us, only to find that cars keep pulling out in front of us on Lititz Pike?

How often are we the squirrel? Waiting for seemingly hours to get onto Lititz Pike, you see a small gap in the traffic. Relieved, you step on the gas and you’re back on your busy way. God provides, but in mysterious ways. We ask God for guidance as to how to get the shopping done when we’re already tired, and instead we get 3” of snow. We are not God. We are God’s servants. The servants don’t get the briefing on the big picture and all the particulars. We get the title. “God is Love”, and we get our marching orders “take care of my sheep”. That’s about it. No detailed plans or nuanced understandings of how one action interacts with another. No reasoning behind potential setbacks, untimely injuries, or early deaths to our plans, and to us. Not for we servants, we squirrels.

There’s a wonderful old hymn, no longer in our hymnal, entitled “Trust and Obey”.
The third stanza is this:
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet. Or we’ll walk by His side in the way. What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.

The chorus is just as direct:
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

We all have our own agendas, our own to-do lists, things we have to get done, as does God and his agenda for us. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Be a good shepherd. So, when your agenda is trampled and eaten by others for the fifteenth time today, and you can’t seem to get anyone to help you with your to-do list, step back from your frustration. Take a deep breath. Trust and obey.

Pray for the recognition that we are all servants, that it is a blessing to be a servant, that as Christians, all we aspire to is in the word “servant”. What our society sees as a diminution of status, God has turned around and made the title of ultimate respect.

Servant. Squirrel. Child of God. God moves in mysterious ways. See you in church.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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