Dissonance

22 03 2017

   
There are some days when pieces of life seem egregiously out-of-tune with one another.

 Last night we received word that the daughter of dear friends had lost her extended battle with a particularly vicious disease. As I have sat in my home throughout this morning one of the pairs of cardinals that make their home in the trees along our property line has been vigorously, relentlessly singing. I thought to myself, they cannot know that today is not a day for song; their song does not fit with the anguish of the loss of a daughter, mother, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, aunt, and friend.  Today, they should be silent.

 As the morning has progressed, and the cardinals have continued to sing I began to wonder if perhaps their song is being sung across a wider expanse than our current, physical line of sight allows us to view. Perhaps there is, on this day, a hope that has been realized, a wholeness that has been reached, a peace that has been found, a life that has been finally and forever restored. Perhaps, in the unknown and indefinable space through which we move from this life into eternity the hand of Immanuel, God with us; our ever-present help in time of trouble reached out again, and was grasped with joy. Perhaps that is why the cardinals are singing today; perhaps they are in tune with an eternity that we cannot yet see.  Perhaps, on days like today, their song is the evidence of things not seen.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1





Look – LentPhotos (2016 #3)

13 02 2016

One of my favorite vacation spots is The Great Smoky Mountain National Forest, and when I’m there, I spend as much time as I possibly can outside, in the forest. I don’t go there for the resort accommodations, or the shopping, or the restaurants. I’m there because because I love what it looks like, more than any place else I know. The fog hanging across the tops of the mountains, the glossy rhododendron leaves clustered in the shady undergrowth, the streams breaking through a crack in the rock face to cascade down into a breathtaking waterfall. It a beautiful place. 

 No matter what else you are seeing, the one thing that everyone is always looking for is the black bear. And so, regardless of what else I am doing; walking, driving, eating, fishing, talking, sitting, I am also looking for bears. This photo was taken on my most recent trip to the Smokies we spotted one, that black blob on the right side of the picture is a bear

My spiritual walk has a lot of parallels – my relationship with God isn’t an activity that I do on Sundays. It is woven throughout all the my life. When I am talking to someone, I am looking for God in them. When I am walking, driving, eating, sitting, reading, shopping…I am looking for God, and unlike the bear, He always reveals Himself to anyone who is looking for Him.

  





How Lovely is your Dwelling Place

2 02 2016

I hope your heart will be challenged as mine was.





LectionaryLens

9 01 2016

  





Epiphany – LectionaryLens

7 01 2016

Matthew 2:1-12
Today begins the season of Epiphany, a time when our focus is on the revelation of God as a human being in Jesus. This is the day that celebrates the arrival of the Magi, to worship Christ the Lord.  
As a parent I suppose there are always things we look back on and wish we could do differently – having a greater focus on the Christian calendar rather than the Hallmark calendar is one of those changes I would make if I were doing things over. The story of the Magi has so much potential for learning within it; following the light of truth as we pursue God, bringing our best gift as worship, discerning truth, accepting change…lots of lessons contained in their story.

One tradition that marks Epiphany is the chalking of the door. It is a tradition that comes from the welcome that Mary and Joseph extended to the Magi into their home. As Christians, we invite Jesus to daily dwell in our home with us, and to be a participant in all that happens in our home. Our conversations, our comings and goings, the decisions that are made regarding our home and family. We ask Him to bless our home and all that happens therein. The way we can symbolize this with our family is taking chalk and marking the header of our front door; 20 + C + M + B + 16. The markings bookends, 20, 16 is the year we are entering. The letters, C,M,B represent two things, first the initials of the names traditionally given to the Magi; Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar. It also stands for the latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, β€œMay Christ bless the house.” The + signs represent the cross, which is always present in our view of Jesus.  

Make this a time when your family gathers together for a few moments, acknowledging the end of the Christmas season with the arrival of the wise men, and a family prayer asking for God’s blessing on your home through the coming year.  

As you see the chalk inscription each day, let yourself be reminded that you have invited God to be present in all that happens in your home. And as the chalk fades with time, remember that physical possessions are always temporary and they are always secondary to things of eternal value.

  





Getting On In Years – AdventPhotos (2015#22)

22 12 2015

Bill and I just celebrated our 29th anniversary, so it was in late December, 1986 when we returned from our honeymoon to a living room filled with wedding presents yet to be opened. We received some wonderful gifts, and I can’t think of any that I have treasured more over the years than the milk glass vase in today’s photo. It was a gift from my Grandma Reese. It wasn’t new, she gave it to me from her small assortment of milk glass because “it was one of her favorites.” She had owned it for a number of years, so I’m not entirely sure how old it is, but I know it’s old. It’s original use was to be a planter or vase, but since we’ve already established that keeping plants alive is not something I do well (or at all,) I have repurposed it. I’ve used it to store baby bottle rings, then sippy cup lids, then plastic tableware. I’m quite certain that when this vase was made, no one even considered the possibility that one day it would be used to corral forks that people would use one time and throw away, but that’s one of the benefits of hanging around for a while and making yourself available; you just might get to do something that you would have never thought of in an earlier time and place. Like a stable, that was used for a nursery, like a manger that was used for a crib, like a King who was made a sacrifice.
  





Word – AdventPhotos (2015#16)

14 12 2015

John 1:1 & 14