The Pastor’s Piece – April 14, 2024

The Pastor’s Piece


April 14, 2024

Why did Beethoven get rid of his chickens? All they said was, “Bach, Bach, Bach.”

Well, it’s springtime and that means there’s work to be done outside. Last winter early on, when we had a bunch of deep snow, our heifers decided to get out. My pasture has a permanent fence on two sides and a two-wire electric fence around the rest of it. For the most part, the fence holds the cattle in. Occasionally, a calf or maybe two will find a way to get out, but usually it’s no harm done – They get out and flex their freedom eating all the green grass nearby while all the others look on longingly. But then, when it’s time for a cool drink of water, they start running around the outside perimeter of the pasture bawling and wanting to get back in with the rest of the herd, but have no idea how to do that. Then the others start mooing and things can get a bit chaotic at that point. That’s when we notice all the commotion and go about getting them back in.

But last winter the whole herd got out at once. I was on my way home from someplace when a sheriff deputy called and gave me the news that our cattle were out. I recruited some help and we rounded up the herd and got them in – eventually. It was a task trying to chase cattle in snow that was up past your knees. And hard snow at that. There was a crust on top that broke through with each step. By the time we had corralled the herd, they had passed through the two wire fence about six times, leaving it in shambles. And that’s where I left it. The calves could spend the winter in the barn if that’s how they showed their appreciation. But, alas, now spring has arrived. The grass is green and it’s time to mend the fences – and the barn doors.

A couple weeks ago we had a late winter blizzard that blanketed everything in six inches of wet snow. Just after the snow, the wind blew pretty hard. I looked out my window and saw that my barn door was hanging precariously from the track it slides on. At first I thought it was blown off the track, but upon closer inspection, I discovered the track had come loose from the wall. Fatigue. The lag bolts holding it in place had deteriorated and worked loose from the board to which they were attached. I imagined I’d have to replace the whole thing, and that seemed like a big project, so I let it go and tried to forget about it. But the trouble was, when you looked out the sliding glass doors toward the barn, all you could see was that eyesore. So one day last week when the weather was balmy and warm, I set out to repair the barn door. 

When I first stepped out the door it was cold and the wind cut right through me. So, I retreated back to the house and retrieved my winter coat, hat, and gloves. That was more like it. I went to work and lugged my ladder, drill, new lag screws, impact socket wrench, blocks, props and anything else I might need for the job. Once I got moving around, I soon discovered that I was too warm with all those clothes on, so they found themselves in a pile on the grass nearby. I drilled new holes through the steel on the track two inches away from the old holes where the deterioration had taken place and I began to reattach the track. While I was working, I noticed some clouds approaching from the west and it looked like rain was imminent. About that time the wind picked up, and within a minute or two, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It went from 68 to 48 in no time. I had to bundle back up to finish the project. Just as I got done, it started to rain lightly, then more heavily. Then the wind began to blow. A couple of trips from the barn to the shop and I had my tools securely back in place and I watched from there as the rain pelted down and the wind blew. The barn door stood straight and secure, the weather couldn’t touch it now. And that is very satisfying.

Those things in our hearts parallel our experiences in the physical realm. So while we’re fixing broken fences and barn doors in the spring of the year, when new life bursts upon us, maybe we should consider mending other fences too. Just saying. “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall,” (Malachi 4:2). 

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin).