One of the first things I do every spring is to shovel the snow piles down to a meltable level on the parkway between the sidewalk and the street. I want to see green grass as soon as possible. Of course, that doesn’t happen all by itself. It needs a little help.
Call me a glutton for punishment, but I take a thatching rake…not so much to remove thatch (which really isn’t as common as most people think it is)…but to give the grass a fighting chance against winter’s shrapnel, diseases, pebbles, and junk.
- It helps me to get after the tiny bits of debris that fall off the ash trees all winter. Dead buds. Little twigs. They’re nasty trees, quite frankly, and the regular rake with its wide spread tines is not up for the challenge. If I were a regular leaf rake, I’d hang my head in embarrassment at being so ineffective…like I had to go back to rake school and take Raking 101 all over again.
- But the thatching rake also combs the turf into a spiky Mohawk of uprightness. It looks like a carpet when I’m done, or like a cat that I petted backwards if it would let me. (A dog would let me. Just sayin’.) Anyway, by getting the blades of grass upright instead of matted down, there will be air, blessed air, that gets between the blades and it fights (using nature’s own methods) against snow mold that blights the lawn something awful. And I do mean awful.
- And finally, it provides a way for the lawn fertilizer and spring rain to get to the root system and help the grass to green up and grow.
I only use the thatching rake in the front yard. The back yard—with its poor drainage and tons of shade—has tender turf that wouldn’t survive the thatch rake. But I don’t have ash trees there so that’s good. The willow is the back yard’s enemy. Late to drop, early to leaf, and with slender branches dropping any time of any day if someone even speaks the word “wind” within hearing distance, it’s another trash tree. Sorry to break the news to all those willow lovers.
So in the back yard, I use the leaf blower on high to blow the willow leaves into a little mound, I pick up the branches, and the grass gets blown to an upright position. It will be similar in appearance and in a favorable position just like the front yard, with half the actual effort.
And all the while that I’m doing lawn care, I’m thinking theological thoughts because I am SeminaryGal. I consider how there are things in our lives that drop all kinds of junk upon our souls and get wedged into our spiritual self. Some things seem so small that you wonder, could they really be a problem? Yes, they can because they can work their way into places that big sins can’t reach. They are easier to overlook because they’re so small, but when they accumulate, they can be quite significant in their impact on our spiritual lives. And they’re more readily justified to remain there because of what hard work it is to remove them. I think about how getting my soul garden to be beautiful requires more than just some superficial spring cleaning.
Jeremiah 2:22 Although you wash yourself with soda and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign LORD.
Hebrews 10:15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” 17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” 18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another– and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Questions for today:
- What might be some small sins that are easily overlooked? In general and in your life.
- What are some habits that accumulate into a lifestyle, even if they aren’t sins per se? Let me start you with the excuse we often give and you can fill in what the excuse is about. “I’m just so busy that I don’t have time to_____.” “If there weren’t so many hypocrites at church, I’d have an easier time ___________.” “I can’t find a church I like because none of them ___________.” You can add yours from there.
- You may have heard the quote attributed to half the people on the planet, “”Sow a thought, and reap an act. Sow an act and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a destiny.” In what ways is this true? In the Hebrews passage above, how can God intervene by cleansing us from all unrighteousness by the blood of Christ? How does being “born again” give us a destiny that does not reflect our past actions, thoughts, and character?