Pastor Tenny - April 11, 2022
It’s old, but it runs better than it ever did.
Many of you know that I have a restored antique tractor. It’s a 1941 John Deere Model B. Hearing it do its “putta-putta-putta” as it dutifully tows a wagon-load of people up a hill takes me back to my childhood. I love that sound! And so do many others.
Dad bought the old used tractor when I was about 10 years old. Dad remembered when the farmer from whom he bought the tractor, bought it brand new! As the second owners of the tractor, we found many uses for it (along with the 1939 John Deere we already had) on the 3-acre farm we called home in Ohio. As a kid, most Sunday afternoons were times to go out and drive the tractors (or anything else that had a motor!). A few years ago, when Dad was ready to part with it, we brought it to North Carolina, and with the help of a friend at church and several people in the antique tractor club I belong to, it was restored to better-than-new condition!
Last weekend, our tractor club held its annual (but, postponed for 3 years due to COVID) farm show and festival. While Saturday was a windy and chilly day, we had a great crowd! Lots of people—many of them old enough to have stories about how they drove a tractor on the farm just like one of the tractors on display, and many of them young enough to win a trophy as they pumped a pedal tractor with all their might in the kids’ tractor pull.
Our old tractor ran all day, pulling one of the wagons that took people for a leisurely ride, deep into a pasture alongside some woods. Elsewhere, kids were jumping in bouncy houses, others eating BBQ sandwiches while listening to bluegrass, and some just sauntering past old farm machinery as they replayed old memories in their heads of times gone by.
As I looked over the crowd throughout the day, I saw smiling faces. I heard shrieks of joy as a child won the rubber duck race, powered by old-fashioned, hand-operated water pumps. I saw friendly conversations about the proper use of a bracket on a John Deere “Roll-O-Matic” mechanism. I saw families together, enjoying the outdoors, enjoying being together, snuggling closer as the wind whipped our faces in the wagon. I witnessed many bright and talented high school students volunteering to help in so many ways, giving up their weekend to serve others.
And I wondered…
Is this what the peace that Jesus talks about is like? Is this what serving, loving, and caring for your neighbor is like? Is this like what Paul was describing as he wrote… “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)?
Marveling at the joy that filled the day…I pondered, “What would the world be like if we could all gather together, like this—everyone at peace, everyone smiling, everyone eating BBQ and ice cream, drinking lemonade, and riding a wagon pulled by an old tractor?”
Is this a glimpse of heaven?
I don’t know.
But, I do hope that somewhere in heaven, there is the peaceful sound of an old 2-cylinder John Deere “putta-putting” its way across a gorgeous meadow, pulling a wagon-load of saints, who are smiling, snuggling together, and marveling at the incredible beauty of God’s creation.