Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Love's as...


Love's as warm as tears,
Love is tears:
Pressure within the brain,
Tension at the throat,
Deluge, weeks of rain,
Haystacks afloat,
Featureless seas between
Hedges, where once was green

Love's as fierce as fire, 

Love is fire:
All sorts--Infernal heat
Clinkered with greed and pride, 

Lyric desire, sharp-sweet,
Laughing, even when denied, 

And that empyreal flame 

Whence all loves came. 

Love's as fresh as spring,
Love is spring:
Bird-song in the air,
Cool smells in a wood,
Whispering "Dare! Dare!"
To sap, to blood,
Telling "Ease, safety, rest,
Are good; not best."

Love's as hard as nails,
Love is nails: 

Blunt, thick, hammered through 

The medial nerves of One 

Who, having made us, knew 

The thing He had done,
Seeing (what all that is)
Our cross, and His.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

godly wastefulness

Last week's sermon was, "Lent is about wastefulness."
That got everyone's attention. It was an encouraging sermon about enjoying God in lavish, even wasteful ways as Mary did when she poured out $15,000 worth of oil on Jesus' feet. Judas pointed out, as we might have done, that it could have been given to the poor. Rather than agree with Judas, Jesus commended Mary.
This lovely sunny, breezy SoCal Saturday morning, I sat down to read a bit. I pulled "Angels in the Architecture" off my shelf and opened to the chapter "Worshiping With Body". I will close here with the first few paragraphs of the chapter.

We so often lead lives forgetful of the fact that our God is very shocking. Amidst all our fragile piety and devouring busyness, we have a Lord who steps in and COMMANDS us such things as, "Thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever they soul desireth; and thou shalt eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household". (Deut, 15:26) Such unthriftiness. Such waste. Such gluttony. Such winebibbing. Such is a command of our Holy God.

For some reason foreign to our modern ears, God tell us that celebration is central to pleasing Him; it is central to leading a good life. Modern American life has no time for serious celebrations as did life in centuries past. We've got work to do; projects and deadlines press us. And yet for all our industrial-strength pragmatism, few if any truly important things get accomplished. We have forgotten that celebration isn't just an option; it's a call to full Christian living.
Celebration is worshiping God with our bodies, with the material creation He has set up around us. Celebration - whether in feasts, ceremonies, holidays, formal worship, or lovemaking - are all part of obeying God's command to "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength" (Deut. 6:5; Mk. 12:30). We are to show our love for God not just with one portion of our being (the spiritual aspect); we are to love God with our whole body, heart and strength and legs and lips.

Complaint is the flag of ingratitude, and it waves above the center of unbelieving hearts - "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful" (Rom. 1:21). Yet by grace, God's redemption and creation ought to keep us in a perpetual state of thanks which bursts out in celebration at every opportunity.

He depicts this redemption not in terms of intellectual satisfaction or quiet piety but in terms of an extravagant feast: "And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (Is. 25:6) - choice pieces, well--refined wines and fat things!! - all the blessings which anemic moderns say we shouldn't have. Redemption doesn't appear to be a low-cal, cholesterol-free affair.
Douglas Jones, p. 79, 80

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lewis on helping others

One reader asked Lewis for a list of Christian books he would recommend for a friend of hers who was struggling emotionally and spiritually. Lewis replied that “where people can resist or ignore arguments, they may be unable to resist lives.” He added that his correspondent herself might be more pivotal in her friend’s spiritual healing than any book he might name.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

pouting and tantrums

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
I don't think it is supposed to apply to super great, award-winning pouting sessions and tantrums. You know, the kind regularly exhibited in the grocery store line when the child in front just ahead has received the fifth "NO!" to the request for candy.
I pout too much.
There. I said it.
Why do I think anyone owes me anything! Why do I think God should make a bumpless road for me to walk! How can I be reading my Bible and think my life should be different from anyone else's life! Who do I think I am! And why don't I choose to remember that God has given me all that I need! Why do I turn inward, emotional arms wrapped defensively and tightly around the very heart that claims to trust God!
I resist maturity at almost every turn.
I am re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia. Aslan sometimes purrs, sometimes growls, sometimes roars to get the attention of the pouter, tantrum-thrower and miscreant. He sometimes corrects with a look, sometimes with a word, sometimes with a swipe of His paw. As Mr. Beaver said, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course he isn't safe! But he's good, I tell you!" Aslan's growl was always followed by words of disappointment, correction, forgiveness and a nuzzle in the great furry mane.
If you see me pouting, remind me that "Aslan" is just around the corner.
I'd prefer not to hear the growl, not to disappoint God. I'd prefer to train myself to think that whatever lack or ill or bump in the road that has me pouting and throwing my hissy-fit was meant to drive me deep into His furr.

Monday, March 22, 2010

in sight

Insight and in sight.
Understanding is seeing....
In the midst of the care and concern in the family, there were some light moments, as well. Here are a few.... in sight.
One is dedicated to Ruthie and several invoke Uncle Scott!!
Click the forward button - these will play!!
crazy Gracie keeps me laughing

feats of strength featuring the cousins Mel and Rach.

Doctor Linnea and Grocer Linnea with a shout out to Uncle Scott

More singing - I didn't say it was good but we enjoyed it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a thread

Dad just came through sugery. He is weak and in serious condition. Lee arrived this morning from Vermont and is with Mom.
I was just there last week - haven't even been back a week. He was in the hospital exactly a week ago.
Gracie just arrived at a beach condo in S. Carolina for a much needed and long overdue vacation with her family.
Kathy is in Africa but we are emailing just now. Strange that the one to whom I am connected right now is on the other side of the world. We met at the Throne just a while ago.

Dear God.... ...Tho' much is taken, much abides;
And tho' we are not now that strength
Which in old days moved earth and heaven,
That which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate,
But strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Ulysses, Tennyson

I love you Dad and Mom. They are yours, dear Lord.