Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 1Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The cottonwood is the state tree of both Kansas and Nebraska. The tree was important to European settlers as they came to the prairie, not because it was prolific, but because they were remarkable when they stood tall above the grass treeless plains. They became landmarks. They became places where people met to transact business.
The cottonwood seems an unlikely choice for prairie life, for it requires something which can be hard to find on the prairie -- water. A mature tree can require hundreds of gallons of water a day. Those great cottonwoods marking the trail also often marked a source of water, for if that tree had grown to maturity its root system reached a point where it was able to constantly find water.
The Psalmist says those who follow God’s way are like trees planted by streams of water. I believe if we live our lives constantly being renewed by the living water offered us by God, not only do we grow and bear fruit; but like the cottonwood trees that marked the trails on the prairie, we can show the way to those who are following us.
--Pastor Michael Turner
Auburn, Kansas, UMC*
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, as we seek to nourish ourselves in the love and grace you offer us every day, may our faith root us deeply so that we are always close to you. And as we grow, may our strength and maturity show others the way to the living waters you offer them. Amen.
* Editor's note: This devotional originally appeared Feb. 16, 2019; Turner has added Topeka Grace UMC to his charge.
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