Verse for the year

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Be sure to stay busy and plant a variety of crops, for you never know which will grow — perhaps they all will.

Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NLT)

And if hail comes, or storms come, or no rain at all comes leaving the crop less than expected? Replant! Replant! Replant!

And pray for fair weather for the crops this time around. Also, don’t forget about crop rotation.

Thought for the Day

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From Sacred Space this morning:

There are very few people
who realise what God would make of them
if they abandoned themselves into his hands,
and let themselves be formed by his grace. (St Ignatius)
I ask for the grace to trust myself totally to God’s love.

I note this because it echoes what I have said to others over weeks and years, not as a general principle but as a personal principle. Abandoning oneself into God’s hands is akin to leaping off a cliff, and unlike the scene from Indiana Jones the salvation isn’t in finding a hidden bridge heretofore unseen without the leap, but instead leaping off, falling the thirty or forty feet to the ground and finding oneself not dead because of it. The leap isn’t to cause our harm but because we need to go into the depths where God’s grace can form us, and this only happens far below the ridge from which we leaped. Others stay and dance, look down and look around. Those who leap, leap into the depths to find new trails and new visions and new realities. But, the fall… it’s bruising and breaking. There’s no getting around that.

This is why there are very few who realize what will happen, and very few who will even believe when others talk about it. To be one who leaps and trusts in God’s ultimate salvation to save and to shape us is a foreign reality. The peer pressure keeps us from leaping. It’s a foolish thing to leap from a cliff, but it is a really foolish thing not to. And once you do leap, there’s no way back, so one might as well do some exploring and see what turns up, and see how God proceeds to shape.

I pray for the grace to trust myself totally to God’s love. I pray for faith, real faith, even as I am bruised and battered and a wee bit lost here today in the deep chasm.

A Sea Story

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Everyone said he shouldn’t be doing this. Well, everyone being Tony and Kris. They’re the only ones he told. It’s too dangerous, they said. What if something breaks, they asked. You don’t really know how to use the radio, they pointed out. Ah, but it was the adventure, the challenge, the open air and clear skies which beckoned him. It was the call of nature upon his weighted soul, entreating him to forsake the vagaries of society with all of its artificiality. The natural world spoke to him, and too long he went without the conversation which empowers his being. He listened to the call, because his soul demanded it of him. Not often does one’s own soul command action, but when it does… when it does…

Scott knew that only amongst the stars and clouds, birds and waves could he find whatever it was he lost. He did not mind the solitude, he cherished the time to think. Indeed, he needed the time to think, in a place where others could not interrupt him with all of their own pressing concerns. It was true, he was very good at what he did, which often made people irritated, for good reasons, but that often kept him from the things he wanted to do, and the things he needed to do. With all that happened over the past several weeks, he simply could not go any longer without finding some sort of re-centering. So here he was.

A strong breeze from the northwest blew, puffing out his shirt and messing up his wavy brown hair. He stood, letting the breeze blow in and through him, filling his lungs with its new air. It was still early in the morning, the sun not yet sure it wanted to rise. He laughed when he left the cabin into the cockpit and saw the single sea gull sitting on the top of his mast. This bird, with its demanding call, was the reason he was up right now, but it did not bother him. On certain mornings, beautiful mornings of strong breezes and brilliant sunrises, it is a boon to be woken up before the body would have naturally stirred.
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Evening Constitution

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The problem, you see, is she really is mostly right. She has a point, a great point, but how would it be for me simply to admit that? The whole system would fall apart, everything I’ve built and worked for, the very foundation of our relationship would crumble into a pile of rubble and refuse, you know. Birds would no longer sing, the sky would be gray, the shine of the sun would be diminished. Wailers would mourn, and dirges sung.

Alright, maybe not. But still, I wouldn’t be happy about it all. What does one do when suddenly one is confronted with the Truth in its barest forms, Truth that speaks not only to the present and future, but also the past, a past that cannot be changed? Even worse is when so suddenly and clearly one realizes the perspective of literally everyone about one’s own being and soul, and realizing this perspective is totally different than the self-perception depended on for years.

What does one do? One takes a walk, leaves, you know what I mean. One begins to analyze the situation in some kind of neutral terms, keeping the “I’s” and “me’s” out of the conversation, so still retaining control over the concepts. One doesn’t figure oneself out, one figures out a topic or generalization. Honestly, though, it is not ‘one’s’ problem. It’s mine, you know. And she’s right about it, it is the problem. But what can I do now? I can’t go to bed tonight and simply wake up a new person, fresh and clean, unstained by my own contributions to myself.
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Ode to Summer

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Ode to Summer

random rumination

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A moment of quiet, a small bit of peace, even the birds pursuing soundless tasks. The sky bright and clear, sun-filled yet cool. Peace abounds.

A moment just to sit, to listen to the silence, to let the so gentle rhythms of the early afternoon seep into this oft raucous soul. The sound of a distant mower, rasping and scraping, ends this, but only slightly.

What wisdom is there, what news pray tell? What is the soul within being told? Only the gentle silence, mildly broken, is heard. The yearnings so deep, addictive. Yearning for the yearning, just to feel the life. The stillness, occasionally torn, speaks peace even to this.

What say you my soul to the rest without? Content shall you be? Dare say thankful? ‘Buts’ and ‘Ands’ assert, their inharmonic cackling more disturbing than the mowing and now hammering. If peace within can ever be grasped, then all that is outside has lost its power.

To pray, to rest, to simply be and become, letting the gentleness of the present whisper to my soul. To be on the ship in the middle of the storm, Jesus asleep, yet still calm in my heart, having faith, that is the becoming I seek

Daily Prayer

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I’ve gone through the lists of various daily devotionals and prayer aids. I’ve seen what’s out there.

This is, in my opinion, the best resource for a daily consideration of God’s work in one’s life keeping us thinking about his work, his Scripture, and his presence with us. It leads us through consideration of our day in the classic pattern of thoughtful prayer.

It is a sacred space.

change of pace

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Eden

a question about society and those who live near me

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Maybe a parent could answer this question for me. I drove off to get the mail this afternoon (we do not have home delivery in these here hills and depend on PO boxes). When I came back, the intersection where I turn to come home was lined with parked cars. It’s a bus stop, where yellow school buses drop off the youngsters after a fine day of educatin’ and schoolin’.

So, there are mothers, and some fathers, parked along the street, waiting at the bus stop to drive their assorted and various kids home.

Why don’t they just drive to the school and pick them up there? I don’t get it. Is is somehow more fashionable to wait at the bus stop rather than drive the extra 2 miles to the school?

It was a curious thing to me.

Now, back to watching the birds. My realization on this topic this morning came upon viewing a flicker sitting on my balcony for a good while. I realized flickers have the personalities of doves with the bodies of woodpeckers. Makes for a curious bird to watch indeed. Gentle… but with that fierce sharp beak, just in case. Reminds me of some people I know.

I took some pictures, but they came out terrible as I had to take them through a sliding glass door, with strong glare in the background. You’ll have to imagine the flicker. Go ahead. Imagine the flicker. Come on. There, that’s it.

Now I realize it’s 4:00 and I never did get around to eating lunch. It’s nice when that happens I think. Means I’m busy and busy in an interested in what I’m doing sort of way. But, since it’s four and I’m not similarly busy and do realize I need to eat a bite or two, I thinks that’s precisely what I’ll get about to doing.

Sunday Morning

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The tattered remains of his soul was limp within him. No longer was it useful, no longer could it have any purpose or provide any counsel. It was done with, it was destroyed. The effects of the previous months had shattered him from the inside. Though his body was not harmed, and indeed he may have yet before him a fruitful existence, the soul that provides true essence was lost, it was gone. And it was the very doctors of the soul which had succeeded in finally ridding it in this man.

He had approached his first taste of church with some caution. It was not really his first time, but it was the first visit in so long that he thought of it as his first. He had been a part of all the celebrations, and meetings, and events when he was a child, when his mother and father took him along with them as they sought answers to their own profound unanswerable issues. The memories of the older women in their Sunday dresses and large hats fawning over him, being included at times in the conversations of the older men, making him feel grown up, still filled him with a vague warm glow.

He sang all the songs, even won some prizes for being the best at memorizing some Scripture passages. “So God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son,” he still could say. He knew the basics, said The Prayer, but when his parents left when he was 12 he left with them. The questions in their soul went apparently unanswered, as their divorce soon after seemed to indicate. There was no question about his going back once he hit high school. The Christians, everyone called them, were a rather sanctimonious bunch in general, and their parties were simply terrible. More of the exact same stuff he did as an 8 year old, except trying to be a little more ‘contemporary’. They sang songs, they gathered around the pole and prayed. There were of course people who weren’t like this, but they were the exception.

So here he was sitting in a church, newly built following a faux Spanish mission look, invited by a friend from work, a cute friend, a friend he would like to get to know more. Her long blonde hair and infectious smile caught him the moment he first saw her, but she had some deep spiritual leanings, which always seemed to get in the way of quick romantic pursuits. If putting on the religious show was something he needed to do to get things moving, then he would play that game as long as needed. The churchly affect was rusty, but recoverable. He sat there in the blue chairs, padded and modular, singing, listening, shaking the hands of those around him. The pews he recalled from when he was young were lost in a more vague business seminar kind of atmosphere. He was also surprised not to see a cross, or any of the other typical accoutrements of the old time religion. Names were exchanged, as were smiles, but he didn’t really remember who anyone was by the time he sat down. There was only one name he cared about, and hers he already knew.

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