At lunch today somebody told me about the two delightful duck families on the La Salle River that flows through our colony. Thus, shortly after, BlackBerry/camera in tow, I battled millions of mosquitoes, trying to get a family photo. It's a gorgeous day - bright blue skies with snow-white clouds floating overhead. Even though the water is rather murky, the reflections are still pretty. Birds chirp in the nearby trees, while frogs join in this melodious summer song. The mosquitoes add their irritating buzz, but it's their sting that stole some of the serenity. It's difficult to get some decent footage with one arm flailing at flying pests. Still, this is such a serene scene, but I simply can't stay and wait to get the ducks all together, not without getting stung to death, anyway. The ducklings are quite brave already and venture far away from their mama.
Just the same, the few minutes I spent by the water, had me thinking about the message I heard this morning. At this time we're observing Pentecost, which is why I can spend time beside the river in the middle of the day, instead of in a classroom. This morning's service called to mind Jesus praying in the garden, while Peter and the other disciples slept. Not long after, one of the twelve, possibly even Peter, was quick to draw a sword, when Judas, the betrayer and company captured Jesus in Gethsemane. Just as quickly, Jesus admonished him, "Put your sword back in its place. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword." Matthew 26:52. That same evening, Peter denied knowing Jesus, three times. At Pentecost though, we see a new and bold Peter, one who is not tired, and bravely stands up for Jesus, wielding a wondrous weapon, but this time the sword of the spirit. With the mob mocking the disciples, deeming them drunk, Peter preached a powerful and sobering sermon, which ultimately, many 'gladly received':
"When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
Besides reflecting on the morning service, my time at the river, brought to mind Brian Doerksen's beautiful song, 'The River'. There's something about the serenity and beauty of nature which always makes me feel close to God. I was also reminded of another story, same theme, set along the same river, I wrote a few years ago: Value of a Second Language. Nothing to do with 'speaking in tongues', though. Or maybe it has.All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts chapter 2, verses 37-47.