From your pastor…
For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth over and around us lies,
LORD OF ALL, TO THEE WE RAISE THIS OUR HYMN OF GRATEFUL PRAISE.
(For the Beauty of the Earth, verse one, #92, The United Methodist Hymnal)
In New Orleans, the March winds usher in rains, sunshine, warmer days, and Spring! We don’t wait for April for our flowers to bloom. The azalea bushes in front of the church are already beginning to bloom, and they are glorious when they are filled with flowers! If you did not get to see the tulips at City Park, they were gorgeous. On Facebook, one of my clergy colleagues took pictures of all the Iris blooms in the Sculpture Garden at City Park. She posted over 20 of them, and each one was more beautiful than the last one. Every flower was unique in color and design. They were vibrant and glowing, even on a Facebook post.
We are blessed in New Orleans with City Park, Audubon Park, LaFraniere Park, Jean Lafitte Park, Bayou Signette Park, Joe Brown Park, and there may be others I do not even know about. So many cities are what my husband Jeff describes as “concrete jungles.” But we have wonderful parks with old oak and magnolia trees, and countless types of flowers, and hundreds of species of birds who migrate through and roost in our park systems. The problem is, how many of us get out there and enjoy them?
Besides the awesome parks we have, my favorite place is on Lakeshore drive on the Lakefront with the view of sea gulls, sail boats, pelicans, terns, ducks, and Lake Ponchatrain. When the time changes and I get off work with daylight, at least once a week, I grab a to go supper from Robert’s, and go to the Lake and have a supper picnic while relaxing at the Lake. The waterfront brings peace to my soul. You can smell the salt in the lake water which reminds me of the beach! Just taking the time to watch the clouds go by, the fish jumping at sunset, and the array of colors as the sun goes down over the waters renews and re-charges me.
For me, being in nature, is my healing place. As the hymn reminds us, we need to offer God thanks and praise for this beautiful place in which we live. Yes, the problems of the world can overwhelm us at times, but that is when we need to take some time out, and go and bask in the love of God expressed in the sky and the water and the earth!!
When I leave the lakefront, I am always a little sad, because I know I have to get back to my busy schedule. If you do not have time to visit a park, just look outside your front door and see the beauty in your own neighborhood. I saw a photograph at Touro Hospital of a big dog sticking his nose through a hole in the bottom of a big, wooden fence. He was not free to leave his yard, he could not see beyond the fence, but he was determined to stick his nose out into the freedom and at least smell what was going on out there. If your eyes can see, and your nose can smell, and your legs can get you there, you are indeed blessed beyond measure!! Praise God for the beauty in your life and the people who love you! Amen.