Falling Leaves

They’re charming; are they not?  Falling leaves; that is.  I know that they make a mess, but they breed nostalgic reminiscences, just as spring flowers stir romantic feelings.  I believe that it was Soren Kierkegaard who remarked that a young man’s thoughts looked earthward in spring and heavenward in autumn.  Do allow; please, for this middle-aged man’s ramblings to be directed to earthly concerns but all the while be reflective of heavenly considerations.


Black and White or Bust:  I had thought that the racial divide was diminishing, but perhaps I am naïve.  The eruption of racial tensions over the last several years has been terribly disheartening.  Black lives do matter, but so do all lives, even lily-white ones like mine; similarly, white men have been complaining that they have been forgotten in recent decades, but it would be helpful to remember what black men and women endured for many decades prior to recent ones. 


Martin Luther King envisioned a day when the color of one’s skin wouldn’t matter.  I believe that it will always matter, but for reasons other than the all-too-familiar ones that find their origins in the blight of racism.  It is an aesthetic issue for me:  I believe that black skin is beautiful.  Two of my step-daughters are half-black, and they are lovely to behold.  My other step-daughter is half-Egyptian, and she is; also.  My grand-daughter is a quarter Irish, a quarter English and half-black, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize a beautiful young girl when you see her.


 It is also a spiritual reality:  The Kingdom of God is populated by men, women and children of all races and ethnicities.  Every tribe, nation and ethnicity will be throwing their crowns at the feet of Jesus when all is said-and-done.  My lovely little church, which will have a place at the crown-throwing ceremony, is comprised of black and white, Asian and Hispanic, and we have had islander and Indian amongst us as well.  We share partnership in the Gospel with two preponderantly African-American churches in town.  I praise God for the riches of His mercy and grace that He has so adorned my life with such beautiful manifestations of His divine beauty.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, and neither would God!


Political Peregrinations:  It’s a log road with no turns, as the old saying has it.  The journey is long and often meandering in its way.  Take our recent political history.  Eight years of Bill Clinton, followed by eight years of George W. Bush, followed by Barack Obama for the next eight – Now; nearly one down and three, if not seven, to go with Donald Trump.  Some of you thought you’d never see the end of President Clinton, Bush or Obama.  Some of you similarly fret over the current occupant of the Oval Office.  It really does appear to be a long road with no turns; doesn’t it? 


 I encourage you, whatever your political affiliation:  The country is greater than any one man, and God is greater than the country, even one as dear to us as our own.  We would do well to heed the instruction of God’s Word:  


“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2.1-4).


It may run against the grain of our political flesh, but it is what God wants of us.  Christians in Communist China want to be known as good citizens of China; hence, they pray for their leaders, notwithstanding the enmity of the political leadership towards the Gospel.  Jesus taught us that prayer can move mountains, and we know that it can move God to change hearts.  We would do well to pray for our governing leaders; also –They certainly need it!


Last Call:  I am old-fashioned, so I would encourage you to find a good church near where you live.  Make sure that it is grounded in God’s Word and that it is welcoming of newcomers.  God honors those who honor Him, and if ever we needed His protective cover, it is now.  Think of your children, given the current climate of threat and danger.  They will need to know that there is something more than extra-curricular activities to whom and to which they may turn as crisis strikes.  Think of your own souls.  God has been so good to those of us who live amidst the comforts and the opportunities of the western world.  It is behooving of us to be thankful and to worship Him.  Our children have returned to school; let us, then, return to God’s House – an old-fashioned notion; to be sure, but a wise and good one.  There is beauty to autumnal foliage, even as it falls, as there is wisdom to autumnal reflections, wisdom that is urgently needed as the world around us appears to be falling apart.


Rev. Bradley E. Lacey

Pastor, First Baptist Church at Conshohocken

October 2017