By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 8/29/17 (Tue)
I often talk to pastors in my line of work and some of them are more firm than others regarding the Bible, the church and their congregations.
Some teach the Bible just as it is written, some take the time to put their sermons into words everyone, including children, can understand and others deviate from the Bible and teach life’s good lessons with a Christian message.
There’s also the occasional pastor who is much like a salesman saying you have to go church on Sunday morning and begins to put pressure on you to comply.
I was brought up in a Christian home but my parents said it was never mandatory that we go to church. As long as we maintain our morals and continue to believe in what the Bible teaches us, then my folks were OK with that.
I mentioned this to one of the pastors one day and told him that rather than attending church, I often listen to Christian radio broadcasts as a method of worship for a busy individual.
“Oh no, you have to go to church,” he told me. “The church building is the house of God and it forms the foundation of religion.”
OK, I understand that the church building is important to a lot of people and the beauty in many churches is stunning.
However, I like to think of church in another sense, one that makes God’s creation obvious to me every Sunday morning.
Many of you know that I operate a vegetable business outside of this job, going to farmers’ market and delivering to people who choose to have produce taken to them.
That means that after working full time at the newspaper, I go home change clothes and head out to the garden to either pick produce, knock down weeds or water plants.
And since we attend farmers’ market on Saturday, that makes Sunday a full working day because I get a lot of work done during an eight or 10-hour day without interruptions.
But alas, I’ve learned to take my own interruption after my Australian friend Judy told me one time that I was working too hard and needed to just stop and smell the roses.
I took her advice several years ago and never looked back.
I try to get out into the garden early on Sunday morning and spend an hour just observing – watching what God has placed in front of me and some of it is absolutely amazing.
For instance I’ve seen baby fox playing, marten, weasel, badger, blue herron, raccoon, beaver, turtle and the list goes on.
One day I was walking along the rows just looking and about 8 or 10 feet from me was a beaver nibbling on something. When it noticed me, it wasn’t startled at all, but instead just started waddling forward as I moved, staying a safe distance and at about the same pace.
There are times I’ll sit in the dirt and watch the bees work on the borage blossoms. The New York Times called bees “the angels of agriculture,” and they could care less if I’m sitting there or not. They’re only interested in the blossoms on the borage plants.
I’ve gone to the garden when there was dense fog in which I couldn’t see any more than 20 feet in front of me.
There’s no wind, not a sound, just humidity dripping off the leaves, something that humans couldn’t duplicate in a thousand years, but there it is to ponder.
I’ve also spent some Sunday mornings in the garden during the other extreme – winter. It has its own kind of beauty and when you see those interesting things in nature like spinach growing under autumn leaves, it proves God’s work is never done. He creates that winter wonderland for us to enjoy rather than curse as we often do.
After my hour of observation, I’ll say a prayer and go about my normal work to get ready for the next market. And when I’m working out there in the evening, I’m often listening to J. Vernon McGee or Dr. James Dobson on the radio.
When I was in the military, we were always given the option to go to the chapel if we chose. If not, the chaplain would come out to the work site every Sunday and provide a Bible study, prayer and sometimes communion for those who wished to attend “church” in the woods.
I guess I learned this style of religion from my parents, grandparents and the Army, especially my grandparents who loved nature as much as I do.
There’s something truly amazing about a flower with thick dew on it or a turtle that’s laying its eggs among newly planted potatoes.
It’s nature, it’s heavenly and it’s God’s way of showing me at least, his wonderful creation.