Dec 24 2010

Night Carol

DSC_0034

Night has fled before the light

A Savior born, the welcome sight

Angels sing the glorious ‘frain

And shepherds come, their homage pay

Alleluia!

Mary holds her child dear

Amidst the cold and dark and fear

Her life a joyous offering

To raise in love the child King

Alleluia!

And on this night the future grace

To bring us home from sin and hate

Was revealed, the Word made flesh

God’s living gift to conquer death

Alleluia!

O seeker come and see this sight

O faint of heart, come know God’s might

Know all the truth in God’s own Son

This night, our Lord, our Savior’s come!

Alleluia!

(Words and music: Susan Forshey, 1999)

DSC_0019

(In lieu of a Christmas tree this year!)


Dec 24 2010

Welcome Little Child

nativity-icon

From a Christmas sermon by St John Chrysostom (349-407 AD):

“What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. God Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger…

For this God assumed my body, that I may become capable of God’s Word; taking my flesh, God gives me his spirit; and so God bestowing and I receiving, God prepares for me the treasure of Life…I take my part, not plucking the harp nor with the music of the pipes nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ!

For this is all my hope! This is my life! This is my salvation! This is my pipe, my harp! And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels and shepherds, sing:

Glory to God in the Highest! and on earth peace to all of good will!”


Dec 20 2010

Mary’s Prayer

DSC_0304

If I say yes, where will it lead?
All my life was planned until your angel came
If I say yes, what will it mean?
To accept this life, my child, your Son, the King

Be it done to me, according to your word
Be it done to me, by the working of your power
Be it done to me, my life is yours, my heart
I am your handmaid, my Lord, I am your handmaid, my Lord

If I trust you to guide my steps,
Will I shed more tears than laugh, in the days to come?
Will I wake lonely in the night?
Will Joseph still be at my side?

Be it done to me, according to your word
Be it done to me, by the working of your power
Be it done to me, my life is yours, my heart
I am your handmaid, my Lord, I am your handmaid, my Lord

If I let your Spirit fall on me
Will you give me the strength I need?
When I see my Son
When I see my Lord
When I see my God
Torn and bruised because he loved. . .

Be it done to me, according to your word
Be it done to me, by the working of your power
Be it done to me, my life is yours, my heart
I am your handmaid, my Lord, I am your handmaid, my Lord.

(Words and Music: ©1996  Susan Forshey)

****

Grateful today for…

Mary’s “Yes!”

A lovely dinner with Holly and Matt and family.

Lunch with Julie.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Singing in choir, especially “Once in Royal David’s City”

Chasing Jane through the church.

Playing hide and seek in the church with Jack and Jane (and what wonderful places to hide!)

Shaker eggs

Rides to church on cold, dark mornings

Sunshine glowing on snowy mountains


Dec 13 2010

Patience

DSC_0515

A quiet day of sunshine, writing and prayer…deep in Advent waiting, working on my dissertation and cooking a batch of soup.

“Instead of asking why the help has not come, the person at prayer learns to look carefully at what is actually going on in his or her life,… and ask, ‘Could this be the help that God is providing?'” (Eugene Peterson, Earth and Altar, 76)

Meditating on this poem by Teilhard de Chardin as I write:

    Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
    We are quite naturally impatient in everything
    to reach the end without delay.
    We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
    We are impatient of being on the way
    to something unknown,
    something new.
    Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
    by passing through some stages of instability
    and that may take a very long time.

    And so I think it is with you.
    Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
    Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
    Do not try to force them on
    as though you could be today what time
    — that is to say, grace —
    and circumstances
    acting on your own good will
    will make you tomorrow.
    Only God could say what this new spirit
    gradually forming in you will be.

    Give our Lord the benefit of believing
    that his hand is leading you,
    and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
    in suspense and incomplete.

In gratitude for….
Sunshine after a pouring rain weekend.

Singing in the Bethany choir and the little community we are.

Words. No matter how much I wrestle, I still love them.

Lovely dinner with Anna, Maggie, and Erin at a yummy vegan restaurant, Plum. Who knew faux cheese could taste so good?

Delightful conversations at church yesterday.

Ornament making with Jack and Jane, with Sam and Alex.

Glitter–everywhere, especially in hair as a shimmery crown.
A wonderful sermon on Peace.

An interim pastor comes January 10th!

The worship song, Hear us, a prayer for when I don’t know what else to do except pray.


Dec 8 2010

Love or Fear

DSC_0528

This morning I pondered 1 John 4:18.  When I say morning, I mean 2am, the standard hour when anything that might worry me shakes me awake and starts whispering. The past six months, since moving to Seattle, I’ve been very grateful for the strength to roll over and go back to sleep.

But this time, it was about writing a dissertation chapter, due this coming Monday. Everything from general incompetence to the lack of future job opportunities to silliness like, “I don’t know how to form coherent sentences anymore,” listed themselves in my thoughts. Needless to say, it’s a vulnerable area.

I’ve asked many times in the past five years whether this path toward PhD-ness is really God’s call or my ego. I’ve asked many times in the past six months, so-totally-joyfully-wonderfully-grateful to be back in Seattle and at my church, whether I can eke out 200 pages of academic writing, battling the fears that steal sleep and energy, or whether I should raise the white flag.

DSC_0523

To surrender to fear doesn’t seem the best option. It might be the easy way, but not the way, as a daughter of the King, to live “to the praise of his glory.” Fear is not our inheritance in Christ. I can write this chapter, this dissertation, with God’s strength. To give up in the face of fears that tell me I can’t write it would mean calling that truth into question.

However, battling the fear, plowing through, doesn’t seem to be a good option either.  All the energy goes into the war and leaves little for much else. And the past year has shown me how much more there is. This Advent of Joy is overflowing with abundance.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” (Romans 8:15)

I don’t want to live focused on winning a battle.

DSC_1121

So, in comes 1 John 4:18:

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror!” (1 Jn 4:18, Amplified)

The focus is on the Love, not the fear. When Love draws me on, fear cannot repel me.  And God is Love, so God casts out the fear. Not me.

Rather than focusing on all the fearful whispers, I’m focusing on Who is the Love that beckons and all the ways He comes into daily life.  Those people, those experiences, those realities which are Love made flesh, Immanuel.

What this means for the chapter, I’m not sure. Somehow in following the Love, rather than focusing on the fear, an answer about writing the dissertation will become clear.

But for now, this gives me a much better response to those 2am anxious whispers.



Dec 6 2010

Sword Fighting

DSC_0119

Sometimes I’m sure I rattle when I walk or think or talk or simply stand, paralyzed.

Chains, binding and heavy, clank about me.  Doubt. Worry. Fear. Sadness.

I read about children in Ethiopia, whose home is a pile a trash, who drink rain water that collects among the garbage and eat whatever they can scavenge.  I pace my apartment, feeling the weight. I read the article and unmistakable rattling echoes under the words. My heart hurts. All is not well. The chains are not only on me, but on the world.

Clanking and whispers. What good can an easily-tired introvert do?

I can pray. Love and pray. For the children, for people who can go and give homes and food and water and love. For the strength to do something myself.

Amid the whispers and rattling, I wish I had one of those awesome magic swords like in the stories I love.  High King Peter’s Rhindon. The Sword of Griffyndor. Frodo’s Sting. Arthur’s Excalibur.  With it, I would go to work breaking the chains that bind, myself, the children, the world.

Clank, rattle. Those swords don’t exist.

DSC_0121

Then, suddenly, surprising me, my thoughts change. A real sword breaks a chain, out of the blue.  Snap!

“Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph 6:17)

DSC_0476

Jesus answered Satan’s temptations with scripture as he fasted in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). So today, I pray Ephesians 1:16-23 for you, me, and the world:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of our hearts enlightened, that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Jesus, may we live the power of love you have given us. May we hear the sound of chains breaking.

***

In gratitude today for…

The Word of God and the words of Ephesians.

The bible found in the garbage by one of the Ethiopian children, and his ability to read it and share the Word with others. A person threw away the Word of God and God used it!

For the YWAM team who visited the children and brought help. For the photographer who makes these young faces real and present to me thousands of miles away.

God’s faithfulness as I wrestle with words to write.

Tim Dearborn’s sermon of hope yesterday.

Advent wreath making at Holiday Magic.

Reconnecting with my friend Amy.

Watching young Jack create a aluminum foil suit of armor so he can play High King Peter.

Music, especially “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.”

holy experience

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...