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Longing to heal the ugliness in others,
I find my only weapon may be
My own acceptance of my acceptance
In the beloved.
Help me, Father, to express my trust
In You and in Your reconstructive
Work around me by embracing
Your delight in me.
jmc 4/11/12


(C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Lucy’s gift from Father Christmas)

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Love (III)
by George Herbert


Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.

 

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?

 

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.

poem is in the public domain
text taken from poets.org (http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/love-iii)
and (http://www.poetryoutloud.org/poem/173632)

 

and Ralph Vaughn-Williams set it to music! a bit operatic, but if you like Vaughn-Williams . . .

 

From thirsty, parched soul
To bubbling fountain
Christ makes you the miracle

This summer God brought the concept of praising Him to mind, and I found it to be something that I really do not completely understand, especially as I ponder what it is like to receive praise from others and to give praise to others. If you have any insights on the topic that you’d like to pass on to me–ways that you have learned to do this very thing–I would love to read them.

I wrote this senryu as I was doing my month-long senryu/haiku exercise in February:

PSALM 150

At the end of the day
At the end of the psalms
Praise the LORD

2-18-2011

My friend posted a book excerpt that touches on the state we are in now–a state of missing something and longing for it and trying to get it back again. The book calls it “the feeling that quit at the Fall.” (Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller)

Read the excerpt here–http://meditationsfortheliminal.blogspot.com/2011/03/from-searching-for-god-knows-what.html

It struck me that he calls it a feeling. And it is a feeling. And the absence of it is a feeling. There’s an Adventures in Odyssey episode about God’s search for man that has Adam talking about what it was like after the Fall. His ultimate word on it all was that nothing could ever be the same again. And I’ve been pondering that. Especially in the light of the human relationships I know and enjoy. There are certain things that can happen in our relationships that take away the friendship, the openness, the trust that was there. And nothing is ever the same again. And there is an emptiness, a hole that needs to be filled. That’s what we are looking for as a human race–we are constantly seeking that condition that relationship that existed before the Fall.

The thing is that it goes both ways. It’s really easy to see the loss on our side. We, the offending party, lost the trust and the relationship and the ability to know and feel secure in God’s love. But He lost something, too. He lost us. Anyone who has ever been sinned against, who has ever been betrayed, lost the ability to trust someone, been deeply disappointed by son or daughter or student or friend knows this feeling. And God, being God, must feel it more deeply than we feel it.

There are only two paths away from a fall like this. And neither one is the same as before the fall.
1)  Things can be worse than before. And they usually are. There is distance, pain, separation, distrust, shame. And lots of other things we generally call “negative emotions.”
2) Things can be better than before. And that actually seems almost impossible. Miraculous at best.

But aren’t all the best things in life truly miracles?

these thoughts came from reading an Elisabeth Elliot piece called “Dwell in Christ, Dwell in Love” from her devotional book The Music of His Promises

What is unsettling
Me? Why am
I not “serene and whole”
And at home in
Your love? Is it because of
Remodeling?
Redecorating?
Some building project
Restructuring
The fabric of
My heart? Is it that
I have run away from home–
Camped out?
Taken up
Temporary residence
Elsewhere?
Or is it something else
Altogether different yet
Not so dissimilar?

Lord,
Do I
Reflect back
To You Your love?
Do others see it
In me? Do they feel it
Solidly, silently true,
Warm and real, full and free?
Does it radiate
From You through me?
I want more
Of Your
Love.

This post should, most likely, be some piece of poetry . . . preferably by me and not someone else . . . or so I’ve been told 😉

However, since it’s late at night and I shouldn’t even be up right now, let alone on the computer,
And since I haven’t written any poetry lately,
And since I haven’t gone through old poems in a while to see if there are any new ones to post,
This will have to do,
For now =)

So I had forgotten to add a link to a blog that contains some student writings that are really quite fun: Around the Writer’s Block. Check out the pantoums. And if you want something to sink your teeth into, there are the essays =)

And then there is the blog of the friend who does cakes for a living–you should totally check out the pictures! She’s amazing! Cakes by Suzy is as fun as the name implies =)

Finally there’s the one I found most recently. Meditations for the Liminal is not for everyone, though there was definitely something there for me. It’s primarily for those who have found themselves hurt by those who looked very spiritual and turned out to be modern-day Pharisees (probably because they themselves truly knew nothing of God’s love). It’s for those who are “liminal” as the author explains: those who have found themselves “in between,” so to speak–not easily categorized as “Fundamentalist” but also not willing to deny the things that are fundamental to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have been moved by the way the blog explores Who Jesus is–something that we all find ourselves coming back to again and again as we grow in our Christian lives. Growing closer to God and learning to be more like Christ inevitably leads us to ponder what Christ is really like. =)

So now I am going to conclude this post and head for bed . . . maybe. 😉

Another excerpt from an old journal:

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Does water whisper to the trees? I suppose only a tree would know. But You’ve been whispering to me. I cried in staff devos on Thursday as Faith spoke on finding solitude with You. My heart longs for it–even as I fear it. . . . Perhaps that’s why I wait so long to come to You each day. Maybe I think that if I can somehow accomplish something before I ope Your word, I will find praise for my actions in its pages, a “well done” from Your lips, and see not the muddy, bumbling girl I truly am. Ach! Who knows!
But deep in my heart, I do thirst for solitude with You.

Last night was a night that–although not bad, not tragic, not melodramtic even–left me thirsty. I wasn’t even sure what I was thirsty for at first. Milk didn’t do the trick. Airborne (the hotcider version yuk!) definitely didn’t. When I found myself disappointed that I had recently finished a childhood favorite book and started reaching for another, I realized what I was thirsty for.

O God, thou [art] my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; ~ Psalm 63:1

“God, I need to be near You tonight. I need You to be near me. I guess basically I just need a hug from You.” And that’s about as far as I got with my nightly Bible reading before I fell asleep in my chair. Waking up about an hour later, I stumbled up to bed. Guess He knew I needed sleep, too. =)

When people talk about hearing God’s voice, it seems as though it’s going to be something either audible or mysterious or both. And I admit that sometimes I have wished He would just thunder out of heaven His instructions for me or that He would have a bush burst into flames in my pathway (without setting fire to anything else and without consuming the bush–especially if it’s pretty) and speak to me out of it. But He doesn’t speak that way, and (much to my relief) when He does speak it isn’t mysterious at all, either. It just IS.

Sometimes when He speaks it’s like having a friend or family member that’s humming a tune which gets stuck in my head. Like this morning: when I woke up I had the song “Peace Be Still” by Ron Hamilton going through my head–Peace be still,/ Peace be still./ Hear His words come softly/ Through the storm/ Through the night/ Bringing perfect rest./ When the thunder crashes loudest/ And the waves grow wild and high,/ Jesus hears my cry,/ And He whispers “Peace be still.” [from memory, so I apologize for any errors!]

Sometimes when He speaks it’s like getting a letter or e-mail from a friend that has just exactly the right words in it for the moment I am in–a friend who knows how I think and how to explain things so I understand them. Like a few days ago as I was reading through several Psalms and kept noticing things that had to do with satisfaction. I had asked Him a few days before if it were really truly possible to be filled up rather than empty inside (there are just some days when one feels completely empty! and it seems at those times that one has never really been full, ever). And there were the verses . . . and I understood them and was satisfied.

I don’t know why I am surprised. And in a way I’m not. It’s more that I’m at home in them and amazed that I’m so welcome.  Psalm 32:7 says to God “Thou [art] my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.” [I love the word “Selah.” It means “stop and think about it.” And it makes me laugh with delight to think that poets in Israel used to put it in just like that.] And He HAS been doing just that. I’ve been tired and discouraged, and somehow there’s a song in my mind that reminds me of how much He loves me. I won’t have any clue where it came from (not the radio, not another person); it’s just there! And it will answer perfectly the issue I’m facing. Oh, it won’t tell me the magic combination that will make all troubles vanish: it just reminds me that He is my deliverer after all.

<>Like today. My boss is under a lot of pressure. Totally understandable. But she got mad at me–really mad for . . . I’m still not totally sure if it was me or just a combination of things. I tried to apologize for the confusion I had caused her unintentionally, but she was not ready to hear anything I said. And I was persona non grata for the rest of the time I was at work. I remembered a verse my pastor had shared last night (I don’t even remember why he shared it, but I remember thinking “oh, yeah! that verse! I remember that one!”):Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  I Peter 3:9

But I saw no way to do it, not if any words I said would be brushed away like so many snowflakes. I prayed that I would be able to speak words before I left that would bless her. And then I remembered the verse about praying for those who despitefully use you. So I thought, “I can at least pray a blessing on her.” And I started to do that. [Please don’t take this as me being “holy and always kind” and all of that rot! I was shaking on the inside and a little ready to run and a little angry myself because I was only trying to help! And I felt like hiding in a corner and didn’t even know how to look her in the face anymore–ok, there’s the melodrama in my nature coming out =P] And before I left, she was ready to talk. She was able to tell me how she needs me to communicate with her and why she was so frustrated. I don’t know if she heard my explanation, but it doesn’t really matter. What is really cool is that I had the chance to bless her, to tell her that even if she decides this job is not for her, I’m glad I have gotten to work with her. And I think she heard that. Maybe. But I got my chance.

He’s doing it. He really is. Compassing me about like He said He would.

I’m a little flabbergasted.

*flabbergasted vs. awestruck: flabbergasted is what happens after the awe has struck =)

Oh, God of dust and rainbows, help us see That without dust the rainbow would not be. ~ Langston Hughes

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