Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm not really sure what to write today... I don't really have the intellectual energy to make an argument for something or even an interesting observation. However, I finally remembered to bring my camera to school so here are a few photos. Today was a different kind of beauty with it's rainy wet greenness, but both kinds of days have reminded me how much I am thankful for spring!



I think I'll also share with you a verse I read earlier in the week that has been on my mind quite a bit:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."
Ezekiel 16:49

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unmaking makes the world

I feel the need to rest, so I turn to one who is better at resting - and writing- than I, and share with you a poem by Wendell Berry. I feel as though I have been in this place (in the poem), and hope to return again some Sabbath soon.

The year relents, and free
Of work, I climb again
To where the old trees wait,
Time out of mind. I hear
Traffic down on the road,
engines high overhead.
And then a quiet comes,
A cleft in time, silence
Of metal moved by fire;
the air holds little voices,
Titmice and chickadees,
Feeding through the treetops
Among the new small leaves,
calling again to mind
The grace of circumstance,
Sabbath economy
In which all thought is song,
All labor is a dance.
The world is made at rest,
In ease of gravity.
I hear the ancient theme
In low world-shaping song
Sung by the falling stream.
here where a rotting log
Has slowed the flow: a shelf
Of dark soil, level laid
Above the bumbled stone.
Roots fasten it in place.It will be here a while;
What holds it here decays.
A richness from above,
Brought down, is held, and holds
A little while in flow.
Stem and leaf grow from it.
At cost of death, it has
A life. Thus falling founds,
Unmaking makes the world.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ebenezer

What a day! All Israel assembled - people coming from all over in repentance, affirming their commitment to return to God. Many had traveled since dawn; some had started days before. Samuel pleaded with God for them while the people fasted and confessed. Yet just as it seemed that God would show mercy a rumor of terror swept through the crowds. Their enemies, the Philistines, had heard of their meeting and were already closing in on them. The people begged Samuel to continue praying for them, hoping for rescue.

There was no doubt that God had heard. A thunderclap which shook the ground caused panic and confusion amongst their enemies. Within hours the remaining Philistines were miles away, fleeing in fear.

Then Samuel did a curious thing. Before all the people he took a great stone lying by the road and had it set on end in a prominent location. He gave it a name. He called it Ebenezer (meaning stone of help), saying "Thus far the Lord has helped us"
(my retelling of the story in 1 Samuel 7)

When was your latest Ebenezer placed? What was the occasion? Perhaps, like myself, you need to learn to choose larger, more obvious stones as markers - something not easily overlooked.

I will close with a few lines from one of my favourite hymns:
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
(Robert Robinson)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Artistry in Time

1400's. B.C. An entire nation (over half a million men) is freed from slavery through a miraculous event remembered as the Passover. In order that the Egyptians might free the Israelite people, God strikes down firstborn son of everyone in Egypt - but passes over the homes of the Israelites, who are 'covered' by the sign of a cross painted on their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. (Exodus 12)

This story of the exodus, as well as the giving of the law are some of the most defining and important parts in the history of the people of Israel. Yet something seems incomplete. Israel is a wayward people under God's kingship. Even when God gives them a king, there are problems and eventually they end up in exile. Yet a remnant remains, and Passover is still celebrated (even to this day!).

Even when God dwells among the people at the tabernacle, the people cannot really approach God, who is holy. A huge curtain hides God's earthly presence. Something is still to come. Prophets look forward to it; the people hope.

30 A.D. Hope. Hopes crushed. A man who is also God dies a terrible death on the very day of Passover. Christ becomes the passover lamb, and the justice and holiness of God is satisfied in this sacrifice. The curtain of the temple tears from top to bottom. This time it is not a nation brought out of slavery - this event means freedom for the entire human race. Freedom from sin; freedom to know God.

Yet - the story is not done. Our savior does not leave us to our own devices, morning his loss and trying to live like free people. This man who is also God is resurrected! He lives, and is spirit dwells among us. And he will come again as King.

2010 A.D. Hope. Rejoicing. This is the power of the resurrection. Who could have imagined such a terribly beautiful salvation?