I look at a brass rubbing my grandmother made over 40 years ago. She was living in England at the time. Immortalized in a photo, she smiles at the camera. While she was still living she and I had found it buried in a box with a bunch of others. She had me tape it to the back of her largest framed piece. ( the one above)
She, wearing her knitted cap to keep her hair out of her eyes, looked and felt smart. She was fifty-something, tall and pretty. Later she would tell me this was her favorite age.
On this day she and her friend, Cecilia, take a train to a nearby village. Cecilia was a wonderful photographer, always armed with camera and film. They walk a short way to the church. She finds a monumental brass of a long dead knight, his likeness now immortalized in stone, marking his grave.
She brushes the brass clean, places the white butcher paper over the figure, and tapes the corners. She draws out a vibrant blue from her waxes and begins rubbing the paper. Over and over the surface she rubs and rubs. Blue wax transfers the etching to her paper, capturing the image.
Over forty years have passed, she would be in her 90’s now.
And I pause.
She and my grandfather etched upon their own son’s life: Some of it good, some of it not.
He and my mother have etched upon mine: Some of it good, some of it not.
I am just shy of having lived to the age she was in this photo. I am realizing that the rubbings they have left are just that, waxy residues of their dreams, hopes and failures. And I am slow to judge realizing I have left my own waxy residues upon my children’s lives.
With fresh eyes, I tape the corners securely to the Stone of my choosing. His monument the one my heart longs to copy, the impressions He left on this world by His life and teachings the most beautiful:
Mercy triumphs over judgement.
He is not willing that any should perish.
Love never fails.
Taking wax in hand, I rub with renewed strength and focus, breathing petitions of help for a work that will reflect His grace.
(My version, Oct. 25th, 2014)
For want of a prayer the father was lost.
For want of a father the mother was lost.
For want of a mother the child was lost.
For want of a child the dream was lost.
For want of a dream the hope was lost.
For want of hope the battle was lost.
For want of the battle the family’s kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a father’s prayer.
Our only son has been in a foreign country working on a ranch with two families. It has been their life’s work. He, some young blood to get some physical jobs done.
He comes home Friday and if it is in the Lord’s plan, if he arrives safely and on time, I will get to see his face, hug that man child, and probably cry buckets of tears.
During the six months he has been gone I was led to fast….from sugar, Facebook, t.v. and movies. Whenever these desires came upon me instead I would pray for him, for them, for other young men and women who the Lord has placed in my life.
I have lost over 20 pounds during this time. This result I am thankful for. It is one of the tangible effects of these last six months fast. Something I can feel, I can see, I am joyful about.
But what about the things unseen?
Do my decisions have effects that I am not even aware of? I am sure of it, even though I don’t see it.
Another friend entered the sugar aspect of this fast with me, together we have prayed. We have felt burdens on the same days without knowing each other were experiencing the same things. There has been a mutual spiritual war we have entered into. Against our own fleshly desires foremost. With an awareness of a battle on the periphery of our spiritual vision but still very real.
Another aspect of growth has been the growing awareness of sinful thoughts and attitudes within myself when I have become annoyed at family, friends, situations. And the Lord has been quick to show me my error. My own surrenders have been accomplished faster, with the tangible offshoots from those being immediate. The lasting fruit has been better communication, humility and abiding peace within the relationships or within myself.
Now I would like to clarify here that I confess my salvation was purchased by Jesus Christ alone, by grace alone…no work on my part imparted this beautiful gift to me. My understanding is that sanctification is the ongoing, spiritual struggle that occurs between my flesh and my new God imparted God honoring desires. Paul speaks about this in Chapter 7 of the book of Romans found in the New Testament of the Holy Bible.
There have also been relationships that have seemed to explode before my eyes…shrapnel flying…pieces lodging within my own heart as I was caught in the cross fire. I have had to stand sentinel and pray. I hope and wait for forgiveness between the parties, for healing, for true and lasting restoration. These are all outside of my ability to create. They are a work of God. They are the convicting work of His Holy Spirit. He is real, concrete and only He can set captives free.
He longs to.
And yesterday as I was grieving the passing of Robin Williams, the fractured relationships in the lives of those around me, hurting people….I mused that sometimes our perspective becomes inverted.
That when I sin, why do I shake my hands at God as if He were to blame for all my actions? He is Good. I am most definitely not.
Nor do I know any good people. I know broken, hurting, forgiven, bitter, angry, joyful, restored, surrendered people. But no good people.
And I was thinking how human nature, in its bentness as C. S. Lewis would say, climbs the summit of insolence with sinful act after sinful act, with proud decision after proud decision to finally reach the mountaintop to only rail at Him for all our sins. Shaking fist at the heavens. Isolated and alone atop that freezing, barren pinnacle. Frozen in hatred and unforgiveness.
He, the good One. He, the Holy One. Me, the created one. Me, the selfish. Me, the needy one.
What audacity is it to blame my brokenness on Him? To blame our worlds brokenness on Him?
That further illuminates to me how broken we truly, intrinsically are.
Does He leave us on those mountaintops, frozen and alone? Proud and aloof?
No, He stooped down and laid down His life that He might impart it to those very ones that railed and nailed and scorned and rejected. His life in us, the only hope of glory…in this life and in the one to come.
Revelation Chapter 5
And I weep with sorrow at the hurt, at the loss, at our pride. The seeds sown, the weeds grown, the tangled mass of thorns, this present hell, here and now, choking out life.
And I weep with joy for His love, His mercy, His grace that He longs to pour out on humanity. When His seed received, His fruit grown in us, the weeds dry up and blow away on the wind.
He has become my Vanquisher. His name is Jesus Christ and I am thankful to call Him my Lord and Savior.
WE are His harvest.
We ARE His harvest.
We are HIS harvest.
We are His HARVEST!
Hello. My name is Sarah. I am a Christian.
I also love science. These are not mutually exclusive facts.
In college, I enjoyed, yes enjoyed, Inorganic Chemistry 1 & 2, Organic Chemistry 1 & 2, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology. I ate those classes up, smacked my lips and longed for more.
The secular science classes stirred my philosophical side to life and prodded me to start asking the big “Why?” None of my teachers had those kind of answers. None even attempted to answer. Where man fell short, God intervened. And in a lab one day, my whole world shifted and inverted as He answered my first prayer. The prayer that began with Who are you?
But I digress.
Because of my love of nature and our understanding of our world, automatic articles from science outlets arrive in my email box at regular intervals. I like to read a variety of such. Varying sources do not discourage me. They do not have to line up with my beliefs about creation. Sifting through the beauty and intricacy of our known world, man’s “theories”, some hypothetical, some proven, makes my brain happy.
This weeks fun pondering?
This article came from EarthSky News via The Royal Astronomical Society.
My mom had shared articles with me about the “God” Particle when it was first being discovered and shared with the world, she thought it good fodder for a story I am working on. I agreed.
The physics and the math are way to complex for my brain, but the general concepts I am able to enjoy pondering.
And as I read this latest bit of science news I wondered at scripture. That it has the answers.
Paul, a zealous God following Pharisee, had an intimate, blinding experience on a road. This led to his repentance and understanding that Christ, was indeed, God. This heartfelt knowledge would cost him his life.
He wrote a letter to the Colossians relating a fundamental belief of the early church, that all things, ALL things are held together through Christ.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
I think we will find, at the end of the age, that He is the one holding all things together. All things. And yes, I do believe it is that simple.
Top ten ways to live life as though you were at the beach:
- awaken with a sense of adventure
- take a friend by the hand and go look for treasures along the shore
- begin the day with thanksgiving and awe at the beauty of His creation
- inhale deeply, exhale slowly
- enjoy the freedom in Christ that is your gift from Him
- love deeply
- learn to surf the waves of life, realizing that being capsized is part of the ride, get back on quickly
- beware of the sharks that would devour your peace and joy
- watch out for the undertow, i.e. bitterness, envy, gossip
- immerse yourself in His forgiveness that you may extend it to others
(beauty in the mundane, 2014)
Nearer than Home and than dearest,
Nearer than near or than nearest;
Nearer than breath,
Nearer than death
Is the sweet spirit of Jesus.
Dearer than all that is nearest,
Dearer than dear or than dearest,
Dearer than sight,
Dearer than light
Is the communion with Jesus.
I hear a classical strain of music and I think of You.
I see a sunrise, beams broad, light so light and I think of You.
The storms roll through and thunder and flash and You are there.
I feel the love of my friends and I know You orchestrated our meeting.
I feel the hug from my children and I am amazed at Your love.
Oh Father, my heart is fixed on You and I thank You.
You, my Music. You, my Light. You, my Awe. You, my Gift Giver. You, my Love.
You, my All in All.