I spent time last weekend with my grandparents in Missouri. Grandma and Grandpa have been married for 66 years and they still farm just south of the Iowa line. While Grandma is legally blind, she knows the lay of the land well enough to mow the lawn so perfectly that you can see the lines coming down from the old red barn.
The red barn was one of my favorite places as a child. It is a place where we would go every morning to gather eggs with Grandma, check on the young livestock, and feed the countless kittens who slept there at night. And while the contents of the barn have changed significantly during the years, there are some things that never change.
We had biscuits and gravy every morning on the farm last weekend. If I was not awake already, someone was knocking on my door at 6:45 to tell me that breakfast was almost ready. Once the biscuits, gravy and sausage had been consumed, Grandma reminded us that there was cake and cookies in the kitchen - eating cake and cookies after breakfast is perfectly normal at Grandma and Grandpa's house!
Grandma and Grandpa still create an amazing partnership. Grandma cooks and Grandpa does the dishes. Since Grandma's eyesight has deteriorated, Grandpa reads the mail, papers and magazines to Grandma, allowing her to learn more than she ever wanted to know about Grandpa's favorite subjects. And, Grandpa still thinks that this world is "going to hell in a hand basket." Things are only getting worse, according to Grandpa. The only chance of things getting better is if a Democrat is elected President in 2008, according to him.
And, Grandma and Grandpa will tell you that they go to church every day. While they rarely walk inside the doors of a church building, they will tell you how every day is an opportunity to worship God when one is in the middle of such beautiful creation. The yellow covering the body of the finches catches Grandma's eyes enough to let her know they are nearby. The smell of freshly cut crass is like incense pouring out of a sanctuary. The view from the screened porch of the sun rising above the horizon is enough to send forth God's presence upon her. "With all of this, who needs to go to church?" Grandma asks.
I left the farm early last Sunday morning to drive to Kansas City. The sun was starting to rise. I was the first one on the gravel road that day (and perhaps the only car to drive down the road since it was a Sunday). As a result, I saw about 15 bunnies go across the road. I then saw birds of all colors and sizes fly into the air. And, I looked back at the white farm house and the red barn one more time.
I later went to worship at a large church in Kansas City. And while the worship was beautiful and impressive, my mind kept returning to scenes from the farm.
"The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." Psalm 24:1