Back Porch Seminary

I am a Christian.

And I am waiting for something.

To say I have no control over the situation is to say all.  The USPS and the airlines and the individual mail carriers on their good days and bad and the cars they drive and the wind and the rain and the butterfly wafting his wings in the rainforest have more to contribute to this than I do.

So I, the wait-er with no part to play in the delivery of documents through 14 hours of time zones on a firm and approaching deadline, sit in the seminary of the back porch and wait.


I tell God in our time together that I know He sees the documents in their dark and obscure mailbag in the hold of a plane that is somewhere in all of Asia.  The papers in their fat envelope, one of a million similar envelopes, are as lit up and on top of His desk as His angel itinerary for the day.  This is so true and so comforting.

And then without conscious choice, I forget that He, Himself, is the divine Mail Carrier who appoints delivery on a perfect schedule.  Instead I go sit in the what-ifs of three months from now assuming the documents never arrive and plan B is my responsibility.

Then His word calls me back.  And I read that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”   Psalm 45: 6.
And His name and His praise cover this earth – this earth and this back porch:
As your name, O God, so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.”  Psalm 48: 10

Pondering His absolute sovereignty, I look up at the pecan trunk that crumbled and collapsed in last night’s wind.  With it went the slumbering woodpecker fledglings and now daddy woodpecker, the beautiful one, is as distressed as Rachel who wept for her children but refused to be comforted because they were no more.

I also listen to this morning’s addition to the bird chorus – our neighbors’ adult grandson who is profoundly autistic.  When he comes to visit, he strides their backyard and screams incoherent distress to the heavens. He is part of the morning chorus.

And for a moment the lost documents pale beside the magnitude of the grand redemption story we are in.  Sorrow and glory always entwined, and glory triumphant.  With the certainty of the story’s end, there is no getting wrong this chapter about documents delivered or undelivered.  He will make right out of whatever happens.  How could it go wrong when the kingdom is an everlasting kingdom?

But the deadline is tomorrow, and . . .

His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom!

Even the tiny world of the back porch confirms this.



A Thousand Little Throats


This morning I was on the porch a little earlier than usual.

The sun had not yet crested the ridge to the east, so the thick trees and bushes and grasses were still shadowed and jade gray.  No gold showed yet; no beams came in low through little openings in the crepe myrtle, oak leaf hydrangea, and Japanese maple.


I didn’t catch the first ray pouring its thin line on the grass.  I only realized it had arrived because of the bird chorus.  A thousand little throats, just doing what they were made to do, what they couldn’t help but do – herald the morning and its Creator.  Such variety!  Such depth and width.  Such harmony.

Three kitten-cats chased each other through the greening dawn as if hired specifically to illustrate “Cat Siblings At Three Months.”


And I with my Bible and coffee, feet on the wicker table from my mother-in-law from her mother-in-law.


Thoughts lead to thoughts.

And I knew my friend Jill, whom I was meeting soon, was on her front porch with her Bible.  And my mother was on her back deck with hers.  And you were in your spot with yours.

And it hit me what a prayer-soaked hour that is when we are all doing the same thing.  What a powerful hour!  What praise and thanks are lifted up to God.  What petitions are made for those we love, for those in pain, for those who don’t know Him and we long for.

That hour must sound to God’s ears as beautiful and harmonious as the bird chorus that heralds the suncrest over the ridge.

Lord, use the unified song from a thousand little throats
in the early morning
to do your mighty kingdom work!