Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Week IV - Day 3 - The Cup Brimming Over

Typing the title I immediately thought of the 23rd Psalm.  Somewhere I have a great rewrite of this familiar psalm. Maybe, if I am lucky, I will run across it today. Until then, Selah has a great rewrite...

Amen...and amen!

I love the stories Joyce shares of her childhood.  Today, she remembers visiting great-aunt Ida when she was around four - five years old. Joyce says she looked forward to this visits because her aunt was both generous and kind.  I had some generous and kind great-aunts, but I think my mom was afraid of what my brother and I might break in the homes of our "greats."

Anyway...Joyce remembers a time when Great-Aunt Ida took her coin purse, unzipped it, and put all the pennies in her hand.
Small children still love
a handful of pennies!
"The bounty of those few pennies sent me into a tizzy of happiness." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 140)
Joyce compares her feeling as a child with a handful of pennies to the feeling she has today when she thinks about God's generosity toward her. She writes,

Yet, another poem that isn't Christian,
but still I believe points to
the God we worship.
"I am ever amazed at how God keeps on extending care and kindness to me no matter how I feel or think, no matter what mood I am in, no mater how loving or nasty I am. God keeps offering welcoming love and abiding peace to me...In a way, God's love is like having a "bottomless cup." I can drink and drink from the abundance of God and there is still more love to be poured into my heart." (Ibid)
I can almost see Joyce as she is like she is sitting here in my living room with me:
I think I used this once before, when I had no idea where to
begin or where to end on choosing a picture of this world.
"When I lean back and reflect upon the gifts I have in my life, I realize that the generosity of God is beyond my comprehension. Nothing I could ever do would "earn" all of these gifts that are freely and lavishly given. I marvel at the gift of my inner and outer life. I am astounded at the daily guidance I receive. I am in awe at the way the world works and at how the intricate human body restores and renews itself. I look at the universe and wonder who this Creator Power is to be so generous with colors, shapes, patterns, and designs. I remember people...and I know without a doubt...I have been touched by Divine Love." (Ibid)
It feels as though Joyce is bringing all the weeks, the many devotions, the many images...and pouring them all into my cup as I sit and listen...
Romans 5:5
"The scriptures often speak of the abundance of God. This divine love is described as being poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5). The book of Joel tells of God's Spirit being poured out on all humanity (Jl 2:28). The psalms use many images to proclaim the generosity of God's gifts. Our lives, too, are a testimony to the generosity of the Divine Giver. Today is a day to step inside the abundance of God and to enjoy what you find there." (Rupp, p 141)
Breathing in: Brimming over...
Breathing out: ...with your love

My cup, my life is full to brimming
with God's blessings and love.
Set your cup before you.
Pour water into it so that it fills tot he very brim, ready to wash over the edge.
Sit and ponder how full the cup is.
Close your eyes and picture God's love filling you.
Let your entire being receive this love.

Scripture: Psalm 36:5-9

My cup brims over when...
I have difficulty receiving God's abundance when...
Generous God,...

 My cup brims over when... I began to write, "When life is going well..." and that would be true.  When life seems to be behaving without huge surprises or large bumps throughout my day, I have the sense that my cup is brimming over with blessings.  Yet, in hindsight, I have been able to identify those times when my cup was brimming over during the dark and difficult times of my life...but in that moment, I did not recognize my cup was even able to hold love...hold blessings. All to often in those dark moments I felt broken beyond repair, angry, sad, and so very lonely.

I have difficulty receiving God's abundance when... So, my question this morning, what do I need to do now, when life is not that difficult, that will sustain me when it becomes dark.  Because, the reality is we do walk through dark valleys again and again and again...

Because I am a child of God does not mean I will not know hardship or pain.  It does not mean I will not have times of extreme sadness.  It does mean, that I can continue walking...walking through that dark valley and not be afraid.  That is what it means to be a child of God, but how do I prepare my heart for those times?

I had piled so many "good" things
in my heart, there was not room for God.
In the past I would have been seen as a "good" Christian woman.  I served as an elder and a clerk of session. I sang in the choir and taught Sunday School.  I led lessons for women's study groups and I baked meals for those in mourning or hurting.  I "did" all the things a good Christian is recognized as doing....I was being Martha of Bethany.  But, when I could no longer "do" when it was I who needed the help... I became a lost child.  I had ignored my Mary's heart for so long, she was not able to find her way through the clutter that had become my life.

some of the spiritual disciplines that
work for me, enrich my life.
The journaling, the time of quiet, the music, the readings....all these things are spiritual disciplines that work for me...I KNOW they work because when I faithfully practice them, I am more sane, I am wiser, I listen better,...I am able to "be" in my do-ing or even inability to do. I do not know why this is so difficult for me to accept.  Partly, it goes back to my EGO demon that projects an illusion of control and I buy into it! I know that an athlete, a musician, a surgeon...whatever it might be...if they do not practice daily...they loose the muscle, flexibility, the mental sharpness...The same is true for me. If I do not practice the disciplines that make my heart strong and focused, then life will be difficult, even when the sun is shining. But faithfully practicing then even in the darkness, because I have "memory" that comes only from daily intentional practice, I can walk through recognizing my cup is brimming over with God's love, grace, and mercy.

Generous God,...  There is a part of me that is a bit afraid as I near the end of this book. Journaling online has been a new experience...a good experience! Yet, Joyce's book has made it easy by the way it is laid out in short devotions.  God, I am stronger for these weeks spent with Joyce! I celebrate that new awareness and the disciplines that have taken root over these weeks, but...I don't know if I can maintain this on my own...of course I can't.  Again, that is my EGO demon...suggesting "I" can do something.  Lord, it is only by your grace and your Spirit that I continue on this path.  Help me to stay focused on you.  Help me to see you in the brightness of the sunlight and in the darkest gloom.  And God, that darkest gloom bit? When it comes, help me to be aware that I am walking through the dark valley AND that you are with me. Help me to also be aware that I am walking through the sunlight and that you are with me. God, help me to 'be."

Extravagant God, Generosity beyond comprehension, Bestower of all that I need, Thank you for the immensity of your kindness. Praise to you for the endless out-pouring of your love. My being proclaims your goodness. 

As I pour liquids of any kind into a cup, a glass, or a bowl, I will smile inside as I remember how generous God is in filling my life with blessings.

As a little girl, college coed, and young adult...I LOVED Ed Ames. While I struggle to pull out the images of him as Don Quixote at Starlight Musicals the music has never left my heart.  Imagine my delight when I discovered this video from a PBS special in 2008.  Plus the songs on this video - Try to Remember and My Cup Runneth Over. After listening to these, I did find The Impossible Dream...oh my does that song speak to my idealistic heart...and he does it so well.

Question to would you live and walk through each day, being aware that God sings this life song to me each day....watching me...with my cup runneth over with love...

Ed Ames - My Cup Runneth Over and Try to Remember: 

Try to remember when life was so tender and love was an ember about to billow....

He sings of remembering "deep in December", yet my prayer is that I remember through the dark valleys so that I might remain faithful.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. My computer has not let me respond lately; please know that there have been lots of responses typed, but unable to be sent.