“He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” Acts 9:4-6 NRSV
Nobody plans on getting up in the morning with plans to fall on the ground. Maybe you can relate to how strange it seemed when you were first asked by your primary care provider, “Have you recently fallen?”
Falling is not fun. Ask anybody who has fallen and they’ll speak the truth about this. It’s something many actively try to avoid everyday. It’s something so vital in a hospital setting that those prone to falling get a free FALL RISK bracelet. It’s something that can suddenly disrupt a normal day. Like it did for Saul.
Saul was doing his business, breathing threats, seeking letters, and binding those who belonged to the Way, so that he could bring them to Jerusalem. That was his work. That was his day. That was his way. But Jesus had other ideas, and shined a light in his day that caused him to fall to the ground. Saul got grounded.
It’s a humbling place to be grounded, Amen? Like those days when a parent shined light on your wayward ways, and you were grounded from [This is your story and you can fill in the blank here]. Jesus has offered Saul a grounding. “Let’s get down to business, Saul, and why not work from the ground up, as we have a dialogue about what you’ve been up to?”
Arriving a few minutes early to Wares Chapel for a meeting a few weeks ago, I was pulled to the prayer garden that sits under some pine trees, adjacent to the photo above. A holy friend had seen me enter the garden and approached, sharing a helpful word about the garden and the waving wheat field before us. It was a moment of being grounded, hearing the sound of the wind blowing through the wheat. Appreciating the work of the farmer who had planted and was caring for this crop. Overwhelmed by the beauty, the peace, and the presence of the Holy Spirit in that quiet moment.
I think I’d like more of these grounding moments. Speak to me, Jesus, and let’s start from the ground up.
Friends, as we passed by Earth Day last week, I offer a couple of ideas from our colleagues who serve on the district’s Creation Care team.
Keep the conversations going with your family, with your coworkers, and with your churches and communities. Get grounded and praise God for the beauty of creation.
- Green Church initiative https://nccumc.org/creation/green-church-initiative/; https://nccumc.org/creation/files/2021/02/NC-GreenChurch-Initiative-012821.pdf
- Find a tree and get under it. Read Genesis 1:11-12, Psalm 1:3 and Revelation 22:2. Read a copy of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein or watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFQZfeHq9wo
- Younger children could draw pictures on the Earth Day theme and they could be displayed in the back of church or taped to the ends of the pews
- Encourage congregants to try out a more ecologically sustainable journey to church by walking, biking, taking public transit, or organizing carpools.
- Check out Rev. Leslie Mills’ (Wares Chapel) creation care sermon series: CreationCare (1).pptx
- Read this article about Earthkeepers and reach out to Rev. Logan Jackson (Ocracoke) for more information: https://umcmission.org/april-2022/new-earthkeepers-focus-on-island-communities/
See you on the ground,
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