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Monday, July 26, 2010

Mascot Roller Mill, Lancaster County PA
Mascot Roller Mill
Built in 1760 along Mill Creek in eastern Lancaster County, PA.
For 250 years it has stood the test of driving rains, rising streams, and roaring winds.  Undoubtedly it has a strong foundation!

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"Digging Deep"

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete" (Luke 6:46-49).

On Saturday we attended a wedding. Our neighbor's daughter, a young lady the same age as our daughter, got married. For the past several summers she has watered Brooksyne's flowers when we go on vacation and that's no small deed.  The blessing for us was that she seemed to enjoy the chore and even though we tried to pay her for her services she always gave it right back to a charity.  Perhaps the reason she has such an attitude is that she comes from an old order Mennonite family with an inborn work ethic.  Many of our readers enjoy our observations as we interface with "Plain" groups and we will share some reflections concerning the wedding service below.  (Plain people is a name given to the old order Amish and Mennonite groups in our area.)

In one of the three messages preached at the wedding the minister made an interesting point I hadn't considered before. I have long enjoyed Christ's teaching concerning the wise and foolish builders (which is an analogy to life) but have always focused on the account that concludes the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew.

The minister instead shared from Luke's account where he added an interesting detail. This was on a different occasion and as a preacher I know that we tend to preach sermons and tell stories a bit differently each time unless we read verbatim from a manuscript which I sure don't think Jesus did.

In Luke's account these words are included concerning the man building the house, "who dug down deep." The minister was stressing the need for a good foundation in marriage specifically and life in general.  Building a good foundation requires "digging deep" which invoves greater effort and persistence.

Post hole diggerAnyone who has used a post hole digger is tempted to stop early when encountering rocks. The effort increases the deeper we dig although deeper is better. This spring my friend Ken Pierce and I set two posts for a sign and encountered some very obstinate rocks. We decided it was deep enough and, so far no problem, but we both knew it would have been better to go deeper!

All throughout Lancaster County there are many old stone mills, normally situated along streams for the water power. I took the photo above of the Mascot Roller Mill in Eastern Lancaster County along Mill Creek. When we first moved to this area in 2001 we lived around the corner from Risser's Mill, an impressive three story cut stone mill, erected nearly 200 years ago along Little Chiques Creek. It stood next to a covered bridge that we regularly crossed when we lived over that way. Sadly an arsonist burned the bridge to the ground eight years ago.

Don, the present owner of the mill, gave us a personal tour which has been closed since 1940. He described the great effort made by the builders to lay a firm foundation with layers of huge stone going down far below the surface.  He told us that the foundation went as deep in the ground as the building stood above the ground!  Brooksyne and I were astounded as we sized up this three story mill and considered the time and labor expended as laborers used primitive tools to chip away deeply into solid earth.  These mills were built to last and, although few are still used now due to our current way of life, they stand strong to this day. Their longstanding resilience is attributed to their deep, strong foundations.

We consider the call of Christ to "dig down deep."  A song we don't hear much anymore is "Deeper, Deeper" which conveys this thought. We want to encourage our readers today to dig deep for a solid foundation in life:
  • Dig deeper in the Word.
  • Dig deeper in developing and maintaining obedience to God's commands.
  • Dig deeper in pursuit of holiness.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer: Father, our faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as our chief cornerstone.  It is through Him that our whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple bringing glory and honor to Your name. May Your indwelling Holy Spirit transform us into Your image day by day.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Reflections on a "Plain People" wedding service:

The wedding was held in a large Reception center that is used for these types of functions by a variety of churches.  The building was large enough to host both the service and the meal in separate sections with an estimated 300 in attendance.  We walked through the reception area with the tables all set up for the meal to the room where the service was held.

The service started at 9:30 with the bride and groom walking in together from the side and taking a seat directly in front of the ministers.  Two hymns were sung Acapella with oustanding harmony. The acoustics were very much alive and it was heavenly!  After the first stanza, Ester looked at Brooksyne and mouthed very expressively, "Wow!"

Three different ministers shared challenges from the Scriptures to the couple and for all in attendance. It was excellent sound Bible teaching, the type we all need to hear with practical challenges. The people were very attentive and respectful.  We were heartened as we sat behind a young couple who following along with an open Bible as the ministers read from a number of different passages.  We like to see open Bibles in church!

There were lots of babies and at any given time one was crying but the mothers were attentive and took them out to care for their needs.

The exchange of vows is done very quietly and is actually a small part of the service. There was no display of affection as is typical in most weddings we attend (the wedding kiss or even holding hands). Toward the conclusion of the service we were all asked to kneel at our seats (if we were able) while one of the ministers said a prayer ending with the Lord's prayer. The service concluded with two more acapella hymns ending with "Take Time To Be Holy".  That struck us as a very appropriate song.

We were ushered out row by row by the younger brother of the bride (who often feeds our pets when we're away) and we walked through the line and greeted the newly married couple and family and then waited a few minutes to be seated at the meal. People were friendly although we were by appearance outsiders. Several sought us out guessing that we were "the neighbors."  The meal was served family style with large platters of food passed down the table beginning from the inside.  It was a very good country lunch!

We visited for a few minutes after the meal and then when others began leaving we departed as well around 1:00 as I recall.

Some additional observations:

Black pickup truckThis particular group has the distinction of driving black vehicles although the vehicles varied from thrifty to luxury.  Some young people told us the black pickup parked right in front would be used by the couple to depart in.

As we walked in people carried in wedding gifts; many unwrapped since it is customary to display the gifts for others to see, during the reception.  We walked in behind a man carrying a ladder with a shovel duct-taped to it.  Now that's a very practical wedding gift and much more useful than some wedding gifts!

Old rusty mower
On the way home from the wedding we passed this old side sickle mower in front of a barn.  Brooksyne said it looks a little like a turkey - skeletal, that is!

Ice cream & fellowship 7/25/10
Last night we had a group of friends over for an evening of ice cream & fellowship.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"How Firm A Foundation"
  Vocal Video   Instrumental Video  

"Take Time To Be Holy"  Video  Instrumental with lyrics (This was the hymn we concluded the service with at the wedding.)

"Thy Mercy, My God"  Video  Nice lyrics (posted)

This interesting website chronicles mills. This man sure put a lot of time into this project! This specific page has photos and some information about Risser's Mill, which we mentioned in today's message.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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