A Thanksgiving Sermon from 2010

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Baba and Zoe at Hawk Mt.

Zoe Grace Scholtes and her grandfather at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Visitor Center, November 2010. Photo by Bonnie Scholtes.

My original plan was to drive down route 183
to take a look at what I might see.
Because in October  1975
my wife and I were on the drive
from Minersville, where we then lived,
to visit family in Sinking Spring
And on that trip I suddenly said,
‟Bonnie, my dear, take notes for me
About the various things we see,
for I feel a sermon beginning to brew;
these things can be tossed into a homiletical stew.‶
And that‵s what happened. A year later the notes became a sermon called
Thanksgiving Along Route 183.

I thought it would be fun to do a remake of that sermon from so many years ago.
But alas, there were so many other things I wanted to do.
All summed up in the picture I hold;
A picture whose story wants to be told.
It‵s a photo taken by my lovely wife
of an important event in our granddaughter‵s life.

I‵m kneeling down as proud as can be,
And standing there right next to my knee
Is twenty-two month old Zoe Grace
Making her very first visit to a special place.

For we decided the time was now here
To introduce her to Hawk Mountain cheer.
The photo is taken just before
Walking through the visitor center door.
And there she made her grandfather proud
Whenever she said the word ‟eagle‶ aloud.
And I introduced Zoe to a staff member I know,
Who said, ‟Hey, I have a live owl that I might show.‶
We looked at the owl and the displays for awhile,
And when we left I was beaming a smile.

Now if it had not been so cold that day,
I would have taken her through the gate way
That puts you on the trail to Lookout South;
Once there, I would have opened my mouth,
and said:

‟Zoe, my precious, learn to scan the sky,
You’ll see not only birds, but clouds racing by.
And learn to wait out occasional showers,
And you’ll delight in rainbows lovely as flowers.
And learn the names of birds large and small;
Be thrilled and fascinated by them all.
The hummingbird here and gone in a flash,
The merlin flying swiftly in its dash.
The red tail hawk sighted all year long,
The chickadee with its familiar song.
My precious Zoe, sit and learn patience on these rocks;
forget about watches, forget abut clocks.
But keep your eyes scanning the skies,
And you’ll see many a wondrous surprise.”

Well, you’ve all been very kind tonight,
Allowing an old, doting pastor to talk about his favorite things.
But what does all this have to do with Thanksgiving?

Well, repeat these words after me.
Thank you God . . .
For children we love. . . .
For birds that soar high above. . . .
For the beauty of a mountainside . . .
For the joy of spending time outside. .

And help us, Lord, . . .
To always keep in mind . …
The many ways that you are kind. . . .
And may your Spirit. . . .
Open our eyes. . . .
To daily delight. . . .
In your surprise. . . .
Amen.

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