secret

“The secret to joy — is to keep seeking God where you doubt He is.” 

-Ann Voskamp

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the possibilities of clay

There’s this bearded man I met
who loves clay. There must be

something of Adam in him, he is
that red, that ready. Between

his strong clay-colored palms
he rolls glistening balls of the stuff,

each its own small, malleable planet.
Then, before firing the beads, he thrusts

a wire through each from its north
to south poles. Kiln-hardened,

they will then be ready to offer themselves
for decoration—brilliant pigments

in wild and quirky designs
according to the artist’s

God-fired imagination. Glazed,
strung on strings, they will become

jewels hurled into the world to show
that humble earth can turn beautiful,

can have worth, can even bring in cash
for those with little else to sell.

-Luci Shaw

he does love us, doesn’t he?

“Standing in the dark, looking out to the light, the hallway light, I don’t know how God answers all the begging prayers.

The begging prayers of mothers who’d like to wring death’s thin neck and make that child well.

I don’t know how God hears the wail of the woman howling raw for that one man to come love her right. The ache of the daughter rejected by the icy parent. The choking breath of the man crushed hard by a weight of debt.

There is this thrumming everywhere – the tears falling, a hard rain into His bottle and He has to hear. Shalom holds me tight, our hearts beating harder against each other in the dark.

She whispers it, “God does loves us, doesn’t He, Mama?”

And I nod and this is always the question and maybe this is all our faith really is — Faith is this unwavering trust in the heart of God in the hurt of here. Unwavering trust all the time though I don’t understand all the time.

God is always good and we are always loved.

Loved enough to be shaped into goodness of Christ Himself.”

 

-Ann Voskamp

autumn rains

Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

-Joel 2:23

longing to live life in his company

“Trust this, live in Jesus’ company, and you become a citizen of a new world, the world in which God’s rule has arrived.  You will still be living in the everyday world in which many other powers claim to be ruling; but you will have become free of them, free to co-operate or not, depending on how far they allow you to be ruled by God.  And what you do and say will become a sign of what is coming.  Your life will give a foretaste of God’s rule; and it will be directed to inviting as many as possible to come under the same rule, and to resisting the powers (natural and supernatural) that work against God and seek to keep people in slavery.”

-Rowan Williams, Tokens of Trust

so easily wrapped up

“I have a strong feeling that my intellectual formation is just as much a hindrance as a help to prayer.  It is hard not to desire good insights during prayer and not to fall into a long inner discussion with myself.

Every time some kind of insight comes to me, I find myself wondering how I can use it isn a lecture, a sermon, or an article, and very soon I am far away from God and all wrapped up in my own preoccupations.  

Maybe this what makes the Jesus prayer so good for me.  Simply saying, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” a hundred times, a thousand, ten thousand times, as the Russian peasant did, might slowly clean my mind and give God a little chance.”

-Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary

present

At light-speed, God-speed,
time collapses into now so that
we may see Christ’s wounds as
still bleeding, his torso,
that ready sponge, still
absorbing our vice, our toxic shame.

He is still being pierced
by every hateful nail
we hammer home. In this
Golgotha moment his body –
chalice for the dark weeping
of the whole world – brims,

spilling over as his lifeblood
drains. His dying into the earth
begins the great reversal –
as blood from a vein leaps
into the needle, so with his rising,
we surge into light.

-Luci Shaw, from: What the Light was Like

born in God’s thought

“I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of;

for to have been thought about,

born in God’s thought,

and then made by God,

is the dearest, grandest and

most precious thing in all thinking.”

-George MacDonald

trinitarian breath prayer

Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth:
Set up your kingdom in our midst.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God:
Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Holy Spirit, breath of the living God:
Renew me and all the world.

-N.T. Wright

when it’s too big (repost-rachel held evans reflection on syria)

When it’s just too big….

All that’s left is prayer and fasting.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

All that’s left are tears and ash.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

All that’s left is to acknowledge your smallness.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

All that’s left is to sit in quiet with the world and beg for peace and wisdom and clear paths.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s enough because it’s all that’s left to do.

So be faithful, and do it.

Be helpless for a while.

Be at God’s mercy and pray.

-For the rest of this beautiful piece view here