To the Word

Reflections on the call to live by the Word of God

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Location: Mud Creek, Tennessee, United States

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Old Spiders and Old Paths

Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls . . .” – Jeremiah 6:16a

These past few weeks have been spider time in East Tennessee. There seem to be more webs than usual this fall, particularly those large, beautiful ones woven by garden spiders.

Walking the other day down New York Avenue, I saw a web that really caught my attention. It was big, filling most of the space between two bushes. This one was a little unusual, though, in that it clearly had been there a long time. The web had begun to look ragged in places—a thread broken here, a bit of leaf sticking there. But perched in the middle was the spider, ready for whatever fell into its once-beautiful net. Somehow this scene of a determined spider on a well-worn web filled me with a momentary bubble of joy.

In a culture obsessed with getting and having every newest thing—shoes, clothes, entertainment, cars, houses, you name it—it’s encouraging to remember that sometimes the old things do just fine. As old and worn as that spider’s web had become, it obviously did what it was there for—keeping the spider alive!

Our best things are old, too. The Gospel has been around a long time; the love of God even longer. As much as human beings misuse and ignore the Word of God, the Father still calls us back to life in him through the grace of Jesus Christ. For nearly two thousand years saints have walked the path of discipleship in the joy of salvation and the peace that passes all understanding.

I realize it’s risky comparing the love of God to an old spider’s web. The parallels only go so far, after all. But, in a world that tries to tell us old is bad, it’s good to remember that God’s loving grace is the oldest and best gift we can ever have.

Copyright 2004, New York Avenue Church of Christ


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