THE WEBS WE WEAVE

The large spider works through the night, weaving her web back and forth in a tedious pattern while swinging from post to post. By morning, she will have created a beautiful work of art for some, and a deadly trap for others. As I sit and enjoy the sunrise, she rests calmly a few feet away in her new home.

I marvel at this web, at the intricacy of its design. It is unique to her, and will never be exactly duplicated again. Should a gust of wind or a larger creature damage this web, she will simply go back to work tonight and resurrect her web anew. For this little lady is a creation of God, and as such she too has the ability to create. She has a gift, a talent, which in its own way adds beauty to this tiny corner of God’s universe. The spider will use her talent daily, persevering against all obstacles and setbacks while battling against the elements of nature. She will go about her business, hardly acknowledging my presence. Still, the spider’s efforts will not go unnoticed. I find myself truly amazed at the fruit of her labors. How could she have bridged such a large gap between posts? How did she create something so intrinsic and symmetrical? How did she do all this in one night with no architectural plans like I would need? Of course, the answers do not lie within the spider, but rather with the hands that created and molded her. The same hands that created and molded me. What glorious webs of beauty might I weave this day…

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

MOVEMENT IN THE DARKNESS

It is late on a summer night. The air is heavy and warm, while the moon shines down from above. Stars twinkle in the sky, creating a drawing on an otherwise blank canvas. Trees stand as immense shadows seeming to hover over me, occasionally swaying gently in the light breeze. All around I can hear crickets and frogs, their noise sounding like some great orchestra or choir gradually reaching a crescendo. Alongside me, a large spider is busy spinning her spectacular and artistic web. Suddenly, a bat flies past me, disappearing as quickly as he had appeared. Life busily proceeds, even in the darkness.

God’s creation never stops. Out here, growth occurs – even as the world goes dark. Out here, spiders create a masterpiece and frogs sing – even as the world goes dark. Out here, shadows that lurk are simply signs of life – even as the world goes dark. I find it amusing that as a little child I feared the darkness with such ferocity, and as an adult I see its beauty with an equal passion. Perhaps it is my appreciation for God’s glory which is reflected everywhere we take the time to look. Or maybe it is my faithful hope that God’s light shines brightest in our darkest hours. In any case, on this evening, I just take a deep breath. There is movement in this darkness. God is here. Amen.

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

PEACE, SHALOM, SALAM

On a sunny summer day, Lake Ontario was glistening. With each wave, the surface of the water would produce little sparkles seeming to dance in a calm and rhythmic pattern. The waves themselves moved up and down in such a coordinated way as to make it look as if the lake was a living body taking breath after breath. As every wave reached the shore after its long journey, the loud and yet peaceful noise of water crashing into rocks filled the air. Meanwhile, just above the surface, a cool breeze rode those same waves across the waters and onto the shore.

For several hours my wife and I simply observed the calming sanctuary that is God’s creation. Seagulls soared above the water, their wings spread wide as they surfed the winds, gliding effortlessly and calling out as if children at play. A beautiful maple tree emerged from a rock, proving once again that no obstacle can stand in the way of God’s desire to produce life. Large boulders and small stones stretched out before us as a canvass, having been carved, molded and shaped by the artist that is the waves of the lake. Finally, puffy snow white clouds floated across the sky in the distance providing a backdrop for an otherwise endless piece of art. God had sculpted this place on this day, and we could not bring ourselves to take our eyes off of the ever shifting scene. This was God at work before our very eyes. This was pure sabbath rest. Peace. Shalom. Salam.

-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)