Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...

Baby Bison, don't tread on that pretty flower...
Custer State Park, SD; June, 2010

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Columbia, TN, United States
I am a Christian, married over 43 years to my gorgeous first wife; in 13th year as professor of education at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN; 4 children and 9 grandchildren.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Footprints

Footprints are what we leave behind when we take footsteps. When the old hymn summons us to “follow the steps of Jesus where e’er they lead,” that lyricist is actually encouraging us to walk in the prints made by those steps. Peter indicated as much when he stated: To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21). So let’s ponder this idea for awhile and see where it leads our thought-steps.

The first important footprints left on the surface of the newly created Earth that I can imagine were those formed by God as he strolled around in the lush paradise of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8) – notice that God is no fool; he chooses to eschew that tropical garden when it is hottest, and only visits during the more pleasant temperatures – probably early morning or late evening. God was playing the original Hide ‘n’ Seek looking for Adam and Eve…but it wasn’t a game. They had just sinned; they knew it; God knew it. Satan knew it, although he had already slithered into hiding as well with his serpentish hiss. After a few moments God called out, Where are you? To which Adam, not being very good at H and S, immediately answered giving away his position and hence losing the game…badly. He never got a rematch. He compounded that blunder with a lame excuse about, “Not having a thing to wear.” The excuses came flying fast and frivolously from that point on and soon snake is belly-groveling, Eve is laboring painfully, and Adam is a filthy mess from working in the dirt all day. So what about those first footprints of God? Gone and forgotten perhaps – until this blog. An angel with a fiery sword kept future archeologists from excavating the garden site and unearthing any left-behind divine prints or other fossils. At least that seems to be the case until the flood. The garden of Eden probably was drowned out and destroyed by the same deluge that covered and killed all the other plants and animals…except those in the Ark that Noah constructed, of course. But that theory of the final days of Eden will need to wait for a subsequent blog.

I’ve seen many films and shows and read many books and stories in which man or beast follows a trail of footprints and signs that lead over meadow sod, forest undergrowth, or desert sand. Then there is the inevitable rock outcropping which the pursued always finds for a crucial part of the escape that throws the hunter off the track. Or perhaps a stream crosses the path and the question becomes “Upstream or down?” When John Wayne sent his troops upstream while he went down (in Rio Lobo), it led to his capture by the same gold-absconding, train-robbing Confederates he was chasing. The vanishing wagon tracks and hoof prints led to the thickening of that plot and the remainder of the movie. Of course the Duke wins the day and becomes “comfortable” with the ladies (you’ll have to see the flick to discover the rest of the story).

We’ve all read or heard about the poem “Footprints” in which Jesus carries the author when the two sets of side-by-side sandy prints become one. It’s a valuable and comforting thought that God is right there with a hand or a lift as needed. It’s also rather soothing to have such a “human” deity looking out for us. Jesus weeps, gets hungry and thirsty, needs time alone, talks to his father, works, sweats, bleeds, gets angry, comforts his mom...the list goes on of that God’s personification. All of that shouldn’t be too surprising since we were told way back in Genesis 1:26 that we were to be made in God’s image and after his likeness (and Jesus’ as well – notice the “we”). So I’m absolutely sure that when either the Father or the Son are walking on terra firma, they leave footprints. Want to join me in looking for them?

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