The sweetest place on earth

There is an inconspicuous business that could be considered a hidden gem located on Route 23 in eastern Lancaster County just outside the town of New Holland. Now, please allow me to be a little more accurate so as not to be accused of spreading fake news. This place of business is very well known in Lancaster and the surrounding areas, but not so much in the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. This particular location houses what I have come to know and experience as my favorite eatery on God’s green earth. To be exact, it’s a bakery. But it is not just any old bakery – no; this Achenbach’s bakery – home of the Long John.

Maybe you’re wondering to yourself as you read this what exactly a Long John might be? Well, let me briefly educate you and expand the horizon of your culinary knowledge. A Long John is a simple pastry that is about 8 inches in length, 1 and a half inches in height and width, and is covered with frosting. I tend to favor the vanilla, however many will declare their allegiance to the chocolate or peanut butter frosting as well. Either way, that’s it – a simple pastry covered in frosting.

You’re probably thinking to yourself about right now that it doesn’t sound too impressive. Well, let me tell you this – it doesn’t really look too impressive either! But I don’t judge my pastry on how impressive it looks but on how it makes my taste buds dance for joy. As the saying goes – sweetness is my weakness, and of my cravings for all things sweet, Achenbach’s Long John’s are the proverbial cream of the crop. I’m not sure how the angels descend from heaven to anoint this particular treat, however the very mention of it causes my mouth to begin salivating.

Psalm 119:103 says: “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” If you would have a taste of this particular Long John, it would be difficult to imagine anything sweeter to the tongue (I’m pretty sure it’s due to the massive amount of sugar contained within the icing). But my simple question to you today is this: What if we desired the Word of God in our lives in the same way that we craved this delicious concoction?

Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that pastries or baked goods aren’t your thing, and that’s ok. Then simply imagine a food/beverage that is – a juicy steak grilled to perfection, a dish from your favorite restaurant, or maybe it’s a cold beer at the river lot on a Friday night after a long week of work. Either way the analogy holds true. What if we craved the Word of God in our lives the way we did our favorite food/beverage?

Unfortunately, for many of us, simply contemplating this will only lead to further questions in our lives. For example: What if God’s people cared a little less about the appearance on the outside of the cup and spent a little more time and effort cleansing the inside? What if we were so focused on the Holy Spirit throughout the day that we actually saw the opportunities that God laid out for us to be able to bless others instead of missing them in the hustle and busyness of our lives? What if we invested in our children’s spiritual development by spending time in God’s Word the way that we did in youth sports? What if we actually lived as though we believed the words that are written in the scriptures and took them seriously such as: Where two or three are gathered in my name…; or If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…

King David loved God’s Word and his statutes – it is echoed repeatedly in his psalms. We tend to think of God’s Word and instructions as being constrictive on us, but David experiences the opposite. Imagine the freedom that would accompany and define our lives if we choose to live by God’s statutes instead of our desires? The result, I would offer, might just be the sweetest experience of our lives!

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Scott Garman, pastor of Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Church in Mill Hall.

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