Monday, May 2, 2016

"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable." ~ Joseph Addison

View from the Mount of Olives
Welcome to the month of May, here on this Monday, the 2nd day already, in this, the year 2016. The opening words of a little song written by the great poet, Robert Burns, put it like this: "It was the charming month of May, When all the flow’rs were fresh and gay." My wife has a head start on that one. She has our place looking great and the flowers do look fresh and gay. Back in the day, we used 'gay' to describe something cheerful and lively. Look it up today and the predominating definition is quite different than that. As it relates to the Burns' description, it would have most likely been a reference to brilliant and vibrant colors. We are aware of the use of nature in The Scriptures. The word flower actually appears 54 times in our King James Bible. I love reading the commentary of Dr. Alfred Edersheim, (1825-1889). He was a Jewish convert to the Christian faith and a prolific Bible scholar. Here's his description of what Olivet would have looked like in the time our Savior would resort there for prayer and rest: "Olivet was always fresh and green, even in earliest spring or during parched summer--the coolest, the pleasantest, the most sheltered walk about Jerusalem. For across this road the Temple and its mountain flung their broad shadows, and luxuriant foliage spread a leafy canopy overhead. They were not gardens, in the ordinary Western sense, through which one passed, far less orchards; but something peculiar to those climes, where Nature everywhere strews with lavish hand her flowers, and makes her gardens--where the garden bursts into the orchard, and the orchard stretches into the field, till, high up, olive and fig mingle with the darker cypress and pine. The stony road up Olivet wound along terraces covered with olives, whose silver and dark green leaves rustled in the breeze. Here gigantic gnarled fig-trees twisted themselves out of rocky soil; there clusters of palms raised their knotty stems high up into waving plumed tufts, or spread, bush-like, from the ground, the rich-colored fruit bursting in clusters from the pod. Then there were groves of myrtle, pines, tall, stately cypresses, and on the summit itself two gigantic cedars. To these shady retreats the inhabitants would often come from Jerusalem to take pleasure or to meditate, and there one of their most celebrated Rabbis was at one time wont in preference to teach. Thither, also, Christ with His disciples often resorted."

I don't know about you, but, when I read that man's description, I can see the scene in my mind's eye. I know the language is somewhat archaic for today, but, I'm so thankful for him and so many others who add to our understanding of The Scriptures. God, as Creator, has all of nature to ascribe to Him His rightful place. "From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised." (Psalm 113:3) As we observe these changes in seasons we would do well to remember the words of the song, 'This is my Father's world':

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.
I open my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”
This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

This is my Father’s world, should my heart be ever sad?
The lord is King—let the heavens ring. God reigns—let the earth be glad.
This is my Father’s world. Now closer to Heaven bound,
For dear to God is the earth Christ trod.
No place but is holy ground.

This is my Father’s world. I walk a desert lone.
In a bush ablaze to my wondering gaze God makes His glory known.
This is my Father’s world, a wanderer I may roam
Whate’er my lot, it matters not,
My heart is still at home.

That song was written in 1901 by Maltbie D. Babcock. He used to go for scenic walks and would say as he left, "I'm going out to see my Father's world." That's not a bad way to look at it and it would do us all good to think about it in those terms. Okay. A little long today but I do hope it was a good start to the brand new month of May. Be sure and tune in tomorrow for a very special announcement. May God bless us all is my prayer. Amen. ....More later.

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