Mid-week Pastor’s Update 2-9-23

My apologies for getting this update out a day late! The week has been over-full (of blessings!) so far.

Anaheim SDA Church

Mid-week Pastor’s Update

February 9th, 2023

“Consider the [flowers] of the field, they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was not arrayed as one of these!” Matthew 6:28

Blessings and greetings in Jesus’ name, dear church members & friends!

Though we had “groundhog day” last week (which occurs at the mid-point of winter), it seems like we’ve been having spring-like weather recently! I hope you’ve been enjoying it as much as I have. 🙂

I know I’ve mentioned the beauty of our surrounding hills and mountains recently, but as I’ve driven around this week (including down to the San Diego area a couple times) I’ve been spotting something new: strikingly bright orange and yellow patches of poppies here and there! They are like a giant ‘accent’ of neon brightness on the hills, as if God were marking the hills with a giant highlighter pen!

Analysts say that a “super-bloom” might be on its way, given the pattern of rain and then sun we’ve been having, and I for one would welcome it! I remember going with my family out to the hills north of Lake Elsinore a few years ago, and, despite the difficulty of navigating the bus system and the like to get there, we enjoyed ourselves greatly.

It is no wonder that, in the early 1900s, the state of California adopted the Eschscholzia californica as its state flower. It is such a bright and optimistic presence that blossoms up surprisingly! To me it really puts an ‘exclamation point’ on nature’s already beautiful display.

Our focus verse above reminds us that Jesus directs us to look at flowers (Lillies specifically) and consider God’s goodness toward us. While they didn’t have poppies there (I don’t think, hard to look up), they were familiar with nature surprising them with beauty. Given the right conditions, a scruffily-surrounded dirt road between towns that people might have traversed a thousand times, could for a time become a splendorous highway of artistic beauty!

Jesus gives this lesson in the context of advising us against peoples’ inclination to stress themselves out in making livelihoods for themselves. Jesus frankly tells us not to worry, but to trust the same God who arrays the fields and hills with splendor to provide for us as well. (see the full teaching in Matthew 6:25-34).

To me, it’s like Jesus is saying “look how God decorates so lavishly! He doles out beauty exuberantly! Better than a king in his elegance! Don’t you want to let Him lead your life too?”

I also like the idea that the small patches we’re currently seeing may be a mere “first-fruit” hint to a much larger “super-bloom” to come. That can also be true of us as Christians! We’re told that there will be a revival that encircles the world in the last days,* and perhaps we can be God’s “early-bloom” evidence, promising the greater, later bloom to come.

However you look at it, these current natural surroundings are a delight. A secularist can enjoy them on the surface, but we can appreciate it on a more profound level, acknowledging our benevolent creator. Even in a sinful world, evidences of God’s handiwork and care are around if you see them. Sometimes it takes intentionality! But there is no doubt they’re there.

I pray we would be, similarly, a significant part of God’s exuberant beauty in the world. May our homes, workplaces, schools, etc., be blessed by our presence in them.

May God bless you and your families the remainder of this week and beyond.


Pr. Mark Tatum

* I’m referring here to the “latter rain” of Joel 2:18-32, & Hosea 6:1-3, & James 5:7. Also see Revelation 18:1 for a symbolic description of it.

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