Lauritzen Gardens

Stepping across the
threshold of the botanical gardens
We relax into the lovely
August evening.

Enduring humidity
and heat just a few days ago, breathing in
cooler air refreshes like
a sip of iced tea.

Wandering on the paths of
wonder are young spirits ranging from barely
four to a nearly eighty-four
and in-between.

Scented salmon-colored
roses are most exuberant and fine while
pink and red blooms have spent their
fragrance by now.

On this nearly still night bright
yellow butterflies extend wings until
wide as the span of a hand and gracefully
glide in our view.

Twelve hearts blessed while resting
near the reflecting pool and hearing the
divine speak through creation and
scriptures of love.

End of summer days seem extra
Precious as blooming flowers fade and insects
And frogs warm up for another
summer sonata.

Psalm 19

19 Heaven is declaring God’s glory;
the sky is proclaiming his handiwork.
2 One day gushes the news to the next,
and one night informs another what needs to be known.
3 Of course, there’s no speech, no words—
their voices can’t be heard—
4 but their sound[a] extends throughout the world;
their words reach the ends of the earth.
God has made a tent in heaven for the sun.
5 The sun is like a groom
coming out of his honeymoon suite;
like a warrior, it thrills at running its course.
6 It rises in one end of the sky;
its circuit is complete at the other.
Nothing escapes its heat.
7 The Lord’s Instruction is perfect,
reviving one’s very being.[b]
The Lord’s laws are faithful,
making naive people wise.
8 The Lord’s regulations are right,
gladdening the heart.
The Lord’s commands are pure,
giving light to the eyes.
9 Honoring the Lord is correct,
lasting forever.
The Lord’s judgments are true.
All of these are righteous!
10 They are more desirable than gold—
than tons of pure gold!
They are sweeter than honey—
even dripping off the honeycomb!
11 No doubt about it:
your servant is enlightened by them;
there is great reward in keeping them.
12 But can anyone know
what they’ve accidentally done wrong?
Clear me of any unknown sin
13 and save your servant from willful sins.
Don’t let them rule me.
Then I’ll be completely blameless;
I’ll be innocent of great wrongdoing.
14 Let the words of my mouth
and the meditations of my heart
be pleasing to you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Navigating These Times

When the news tends to make people more contentious, it is good to immerse oneself in nature. While taking in God’s creation, heart rates slow down. The world that we cannot control anyway, dissipates for the time being.

Of course, these issues are important but not so much that they keep us from being in relationship with our families and one another. By all appearances, this is one of those times that it seems important give the job of judge back to God so that we can settle into a place of calm. While holy anger certainly has its purpose at times, how can we serve others (or sleep) if we are constantly appraising if our friends and family have it right or wrong?

Last night, few words were spoken while a group from Saint Paul walked the gardens together in safety. It was so nice to hear the birds sing and allow our hearts to compose blessings of gratitude as the scene of each garden unfolded. The order of the Victorian Garden is stunning, but no less so than the wildness of the Black-eyed Susans and bright zinnias. With all of our senses, we are reminded that God is present.

May each of you know that you are loved and treasured as God created you. Prayers for peace, love, hope, and serenity be with you.


Rev. Marta Wheeler

To view or download a PDF version of this devotional, click here: Devotional MW 2022-08-10