So, on this 4th day of adventure, I’m reflecting on this day of rest…this day the LORD has made and REJOICING in it!
Normally we would have worshipped together with our hometown congregation of Jesus followers. Today, we woke up to our phone alarms set to witness an amazing sight – God’s unique design for today’s sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. This was our place of worship today.
A very small congregation, including several dogs, assembled to watch expectantly the vibrant colors of pink and then orange bubble up from under the ocean surface and into the awaiting sky. And today’s sunrise was the most beautiful to date, causing me to sing, “How Great is Our God!”
Yes, today is the day the LORD has made…we will be glad and rejoice in it!
I’ve been pondering our different kind of Sunday - now that we’re all packed cozy in our truck and headed back north toward home. The Holy Spirit is comparing and contrasting in my mind the Sunday morning meeting; the one to which we’re accustomed and the one we experienced today at the beach. I recognize from deep within, He is highlighting for me the awkward and overwhelming designation of being a “newbie” in an established social order.
You see, this was our first time bringing our dogs to Sunday sunrise. Last night before we went to sleep, we verified the expected time of sunrise with Siri. We both set an alarm, and got right up, as the pups were ready for a new day...of adventure!
Of course, first thing, they needed to get outside to take care of business. Since this wasn't our backyard at home, we had to get dressed, run a brush through our hairs, swipe some deodorant and swish some toothpaste around our teeth for a moment. We were going out in public after all...
We were out of our normal morning routine for sure, and at the last moment, STFM became unavoidably detained. Needless to say, by the time I got the pups outside, day was dawning. Just as I had done with my own young sons on many Sunday mornings, I hurried the pups along trying to get to the glorious main event before missing it completely…hopefully with some semblance of a thankful, joyous countenance upon arrival.
Well, a bit frazzled, we arrived on the serene scene just barely in time. We made a stir as we tried to find a good vantage point from which to participate in the rest of the celebration. Hurriedly, I tried to secure the pups leashes under my feet and set my phone for a couple of snapshots of the gorgeous painting in the new day sky.
The pups didn’t care about the beauty of the sunrise. They were excited to meet and bark with all the other dogs who had gathered with their people. Yes, the other dogs (their people too) noticed; how could they not? I realized immediately we were the obvious "newbies" and we were doing it all wrong!
People and dogs were turning to stare at us; some with disdain and others with pity. I tried often to apologize and let everyone know, “It’s our first time” and “We’re working on our discipline. They’re pups yet, you know!” Most everyone walked on by with their well-behaved canines, encouraging them not to get distracted by such bad behavior.
And then one dear woman, holding only a camera, quietly moved toward us with a smile. She looked into my eyes and spoke words of encouragement. Her kind words regarding the beauty and energy of our young pups helped me to relax a bit.
She mentioned she has a terrier, similar in breed, a rescue also, but older. “They do mature and settle down with age”, she tenderly encouraged. She drew her very expensive camera up to her eye and took a few snapshots of our “adorable pups”. Before she left us, she complimented my bravery to try a new thing.
The kind woman (God’s gift of grace in the moment) ignored my obvious weaknesses, and encouraged us to persevere. She understood the truth of our situation; without her pointing it out we were already glaringly aware of our shortcomings with regard to acceptable dog behavior within this small congregation. I wonder, perhaps she had worn my flip flops on a previous day!
So, on this fourth day of adventure, my prayer is one of thanksgiving. Yes, my gratitude is lifted to Father for the adventure, which has been declared "mostly successful" by STFM. More so, I am grateful for the life lesson I carry home with all my shells, pictures and memories. With an expectant heart I ask the Lord for encounters with "newbies".
Indeed, if you keep the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.
Oh dear Father, thank You for every adventure becoming a teachable moment because You love me so, and You are fulfilling Your promise to purify and craft me more and more into the Holy image of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus thank You for every "newbie" You will allow to cross my path from now on. I ask You to daily remind me and empower me through Your Holy Spirit to encourage, love and accept "newbies" as You have loved me and showed me great GRACE! In Your Holy and Righteous name, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I trust and have my being. Amen!
Blessings of GREATEST JOY on our amazing adventure journey with Jesus!
Psalm 118:24, James 2:8