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2014-065 Ordinary blessingsOrdinary blessing are what keep us going.
We are used to thinking about the big blessings of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost, which is good, for they are important things to think about. Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Jesus. Christmas and Good Friday and Pentecost are important, but Easter is the chief festival of the church year.
If Lent ended with Good Friday, Good Friday with be Death Day and Lent a time of despair. Ordinary blessings wouldn't matter much. We would put flowers on graves to mask the awful emptiness of death and try to eke out some meaning in the vanity.
But Good Friday isn't the end of the story.
And because of that, ordinary blessings do matter.
We see God in the ordinary...
...the beauty of God in the flowers
...the face of Jesus in the poor, the alien, and the oppressed
...the mystery of knowing God in the smile of a child for its mother and father
...promises of creation renewed when the sick get better an
2014-064 GrowingToday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the forty-days of introspection and repentance leading up to the sorrow of Good Friday and the joy of Easter. Even for non-Christians it's a good time to reflect on the ways we have not lived up to the standards we strive to live by and to make amends to those we have hurt or wronged by our actions. For Christians, the standard is the love of God, and the one before whom we kneel in repentance is first and foremost God himself.
We received the sign of ashes this evening. As we filed across the front of the church, Pastor Chris inscribed the sign of the cross with oil and ashes on our foreheads. Sitting in ashes or applying them to ones body is a sign of grief and contrition reaching back thousands of years. It's an external sign to signify an internal reality.
That's one way we grow during Lent; we grow in self-understanding and humility as mature persons who accept responsibility for our own misdeeds.
2014-062 ReturnThe way I work these prompt-a-day musings is to look at the prompt early in the day so it can wriggle around in my head for a few hours before I try to write something in the late afternoon or evening. As I write I think of an image to go with the words. Sometimes the image comes first.
"Sojourn", yesterday's prompt, is such a common biblical theme that I knew right away where I wanted to start writing. And I had just scanned in a roll of negatives from the Yashica-D. There was one badly overexposed image that had a surreal "just passing through" feel to it I thought would fit well. I worked it up and posted it on deviantArt so I could use here.
As I thought about today's prompt, "Return", the idea that kept wriggling around my head was "coming home". I looked through my gallery for an image that would convey the idea of not simply house, but home. I picked this one from a year and a half ago.
God grant you blessings on your way and a home to return to.
2014-061 SojournThis world is not my home I'm just passing through
my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door
and I can't feel at home in this world anymore.So wrote gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley.
The older I get the more I feel the truth in those words. We are sojourners in this life, temporary residents who soon will be gone.
The older I get the more those words don't sit right. They are close to the truth and drastically wrong. We are sojourners, yes. Like Abraham we walk the length and breadth of a land of promise not yet ours. We feel like strangers not because we don't belong here but because the power, prestige and wealth this world craves are, in the Apostle Paul's eloquent words, a crock of dung. They are, it must be said, most inviting dung, except that the more we have of them the more they smell like death.
We were created for this world, we are part of it; we feel it in our bones. The first two chapters of Genesis tell the
2014-060 VerdantWe should see green this month. But not today.
March is about promises, the promise of Spring, the promise of green grass and bright flowers and birds and squirrels and mosquitoes. The seasons roll through one after another. You can count on it.
As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.
So said God to Noah when Noah came out of the great barge after the flood and offered up sacrifices to the Lord his God.
It's a promise; you can count on Spring because you can count on me.
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. On Ash Wednesday Christians have for centuries received the sign of ashes on their forehead as a symbol of repentance and contrition as we enter this season of somber reflection. Lent is the flip side of Advent. It looks forward to the death and resurrection of Jesus just as Advent looks forward to his birth. It is about the blood on the Christmas tree. It is about promises kept a
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Lilyas has dedicated herself to making our community a brighter place with her vibrant artwork and infectious enthusiasm for interacting with others in our community. It has certainly paid off, as many deviants flock to her page on a daily basis to let her know how much of an inspiration she is. We absolutely agree, and couldn't let all that hard work go without recognition, so it's with great pride that we bestow the Deviousness Award for March 2014, to ... Read More