Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday, February 28th

During a recent time of reflection on retreat, I wrote the following psalm:

Creator God, ruler of the universe -
     along the shores of life, 
I seek your presence
               I long for the light
                                of your campfire in the darkness.
Around every bend in the river
    I hope to find you calling me from a distant shore.
The rapids have often overtaken me - 
                                    breathless I find myself on the other side.
Are you aware of my journey?
       Are you aware there are days 
                         when the sun beats down upon me 
      and I desire shade and a place of rest?
My friends taunt me from the shore - 
                     waving banners and cheering
       unaware of where I've been 
                                   or where I'm going.
When the river consumes me
      and beats me against the rocks -
Will you be there?
River maker - 
            bring calm to the waters ahead. 
And when I face the rapids 
            help me to see you on the other side.
Help me to remember when you tossed me a line
    and pulled me to shore
             and I found rest in you.
Creator God - ruler of the universe -
You are my guide and comfort,
                       in you I find peace and rest.

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand." 
- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday, February 26th

This weekend we visited our niece and her family on Friday night in Birmingham. Her daughter Bowden Ann will soon be 2 years old! We told Jessica we were coming to see her and Doug. If the truth be known, it was all about Bowden Ann. Almost 2 - she is full of energy and full of chatter! Looking into her eyes one sees innocence, imagination, wonder.... 

During our visit in Birmingham, Lisa and I also visited some dear friends, Sigurd and Sara Bryan. Lisa and I had Dr. Bryan for our Survey of the Old Testament class at Samford. We have said many times that in his presence we felt like we were on holy ground. Sara is the organist at Shades Crest Baptist Church - our church home when we got married. Looking into Sigurd's eyes one sees humility, kindness, gentleness, love, joy, peace, goodness, faithfulness....


Today we often find ourselves so busy that we fail to look others in the eyes. We fail to see what might be going on there - 



You can assume you know what is going on in someone's life -
                                  but when was the last time you looked into his or her eyes?

Open my eyes that I may see....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday, February 24th

What is repentance? 
What are images and words that come to mind when you hear the word, "repentance"?

The words "I'm sorry." can seem trite. I remember when my children were little if one hurt another he or she would try to get by with simply saying the words, "I'm sorry." It wasn't until I made him or her look at the other in the eyes and say it that I think he or she truly meant it. Once the eyes met and the words were spoken, the tears began to flow.

With the word repentance in your mind, take a look at the painting "Repentant Mary Magdalene" by Simon de Vos below. What does it say to you about repentance?

There is a way that appears to be right, 
   but in the end it leads to death. 
Proverbs 16:25

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23rd

The mark of the ashes has been washed away. Reminded of my humanity I faced a new day today. As with any day I could have gone with the flow and allowed the motions of everyday to guide me and to speak to me. I have discovered that living life in this way leaves you numb - unaware of people - unaware of nature - unaware of life. 
Look at the crocus bulb. If the crocus bulb relied only in itself - it would remain a dull, fuzzy looking object and over time would simply dry up. Taking that same crocus bulb and planting it in the ground and allowing it to interact with the earth, the sun, the rain...all of nature, it becomes a beautiful flower and message of hope - spring is coming! - to all who pass by. 

A friend shared these words with me today:
In this portion of his "Psalm of the Great Reversal
Jerry Webber describes his journey in light of David's:

I've lumbered through life with this illusion
that the center of life is about what I do for You,
that I need to find great and small things to do for You;
When all along,
You've wanted to do something in me!
You've desired to build a life of meaning in me
a life animated by Your Spirit,
and lived from the soul,
inside out!
David had it backward;
he didn't need to build a house for You.
You wanted to build a house
inside him!
This is my own Great Reversal:
The shift in consciousness
to which I open myself daily,
as You build a life of meaning within me...
To this Reversal, I open myself.

Like the crocus...God desires to work in us and through us!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ash Wednesday
occurs on the first day of Lent - the seventh Wednesday before Easter. On this day ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful to remind them of death, of the sorrow they should feel for their sins, and of the necessity of changing their lives. The practice, which dates from the early Middle Ages, is common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Episcopalians, and many other Protestants.

"Honesty before God requires the most fundamental risk of faith we can take: the risk that God is good, that God does love us unconditionally. It is in taking this risk that we rediscover our dignity. To bring the truth of ourselves, just as we are, to God, just as God is, is the most dignified thing we can do in this life." --Gerald May

Psalm 8
O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; 4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? 5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

What a week for Ash Wednesday! Looking at the night skies we see Venus, Mars AND Jupiter!!! What a marvelous sight!! Most of us have only seen them in models in public school classrooms - styrofoam balls floating above our heads! 

Beginning this Lenten adventure - we pause to examine ourselves AND look at God. In the next 40 days, my prayer is that we will discover more about ourselves and God as we travel together 

and in the process our lives will be changed.

God be with us!