Rev. Paul's Inspirational Message
"Written in the Sand"
As a child, I spent lots of time at the beach because the Atlantic ocean was only 60 miles away from my home in Philadelphia, PA. This made it convenient to often go to the beach in the summer. Sometimes our trips would be “day trips.” These were times when my mother would pack a lunch, and the family would jump in the car and make the hour trek to the beach for a day of fun. There were other times when we would spend a weekend or even a week there. What I enjoyed most of all was playing in the sand. I loved to build sandcastles and dig holes that I hoped would remain there forever. However, as the day wore on and the rising tide, eventually, the ocean waves would wash my days’ work away, leaving a clean slate where I could begin the next day again. As I became an adult, my love for the beach did not waiver. All of my vacations include time by the water. This was encouraged and affirmed by a spiritual mentor, Mother Irma Gwynn, who told me to, “Stay by the water, and God will speak to you.”
 
When I made Cleveland my home, I soon realized there were many beaches in and around the city that I could enjoy. I have been blessed with many spiritual insights while walking at the beach and talking to the seagulls. I find the beach to be a place of peace and calm, whether crowded or empty. But, there is one important lesson I learned -- never expect the beach to be the same as when you left it. Driftwood that was present yesterday, will be gone today. Seashells that litter the beach today could be completely gone tomorrow. Water and wind are two of nature’s most aggressive change agents. They will not allow the beach to remain the same.  
 
In many ways, our lives are like this. All of us would like to think we can build and arrange our lives in ways that will be unaffected by the shifting sands of time, but it is not possible. It has been said that “times change and we change with time.” Hence, our paths are written in the sand. They are subject to change with time by the will, power, and hand of God. We would love to be able to control the path and direction of our lives. Unfortunately, we cannot do this. God is the master architect, and only God determines the path and direction that our lives will take. God charts the course for us today, but we cannot determine what tomorrow will hold. 
 
So today, I want to encourage you with some time-honored wisdom. Hold lightly to the things you love, for they are not yours forever. Live in the moment and inhale life, because it is fleeting. Love people now, for tomorrow is not promised. Walk in the light, for Jesus is the light and the only firm foundation.
 
Peace and Love,
 
Rev. Paul


Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr., Senior Pastor
Mt. Zion Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
216-791-5760, mtzioncleveland@gmail.com
Mt. Zion Congregational Church, UCC | mtzioncleveland.com