Today's Lectionary Text
As a deer longs for flowing streams,
Many Great Plains Conference staff members, as you might imagine, spend a lot of time on the road.
And with them comes one of the requisite hazards of driving in Kansas or Nebraska – deer. A few summers ago, two of our staffers hit a total of three deer on the backroads of the two states. Jokingly, we don’t let them forget it.
I almost suffered my own deer encounter a few weeks ago. Just as I had turned into the entrance for Camp Chippewa, a large creature came bounding in front of the conference’s Toyota Rav4 that I was driving. A simple tap on the brake avoided any damage to myself or the animal, but it did give me a heart-stopping moment.
It’s one of the side effects of living in the Great Plains: You either have your own deer-vs.-vehicle story or great tales of a near-miss. My collision tale came when I was a junior in high school, as I was headed north on U.S. 15 from my part-time job in Clay Center, Kansas. My car was unscathed enough to make it to the nearest town, Washington, to call the sheriff’s office and my parents.
Both arrived at about the same time. The deer was still alive, and a sheriff’s deputy was ready to take a gun to the struggling animal. Never liking the sound of gunfire, I sat in my parents’ backseat and waited. As I crossed the highway, I heard another shot – the deputy had missed the first time.
Deer, as highlighted in the first verse of Psalm 42, are a dichotomy. They’re elusive, sometimes graceful animals when we see them at a distance, but up close can prove to be dangerous. The image of a deer panting for the water – which is also the basis for one of my favorite of the newer United Methodist hymns – is serene and calming. And it nicely illustrates the need we have for God, as we lap at the stream of his never-ending love and eternal salvation.
Prayer for Reflection
Dear lord, sometimes we are like those deer – tranquil one minute and menacing the next. Help us remember that you are our stream, our source for sustenance in our daily lives. Amen.
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