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

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week V - Day 7 - An Easter Morning Integration/Review

Charlie Parker 1920-1955
I discovered a great quote last evening that goes well with all I've been reading and writing.  It is by Charlie Parker who some consider, along with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, to be one of our most influential musicians.  Learning that Parker was an American saxophonist and composer adds another layer to this insight: "If it ain’t in you, it can’t come out of your horn." 

While I am not crazy about jazz, I do enjoy good saxophone playing... Just for fun on this Easter morning....another way to lift up praise!

If I cannot hear the music within my heart, no matter how talented I might be, it isn't going to be much more than some well played notes.  Meaningful music comes from one's heart.  True compassion...likewise.

I have spent a lot of time reflecting and writing about the difference between do-ing and be-ing for the past few days.  At one point I remembered reading a devotion by Chuck Swindoll that addressed these same "words". Miracles of miracles, I actually found it!

My high school graduating class had its thirtieth anniversary reunion a number of summers ago. I'm sure they had a ball. A blast would better describe it, knowing that crowd. You gotta understand the east side of Houston back in the 1950s to have some idea of that explosive student body . . . a couple of thousand strong and a lot of 'em mean as a junkyard dog with a nail in his paw.
Since I wasn't able to attend the reunion, I decided to blow the dust off my yearbook and stroll down nostalgia lane. Faces aroused smiles and stories as one memory after another washed over me. Funny, I remembered a project we seniors were given before the yearbook went to press back in '52. We were asked to think about the next twenty years and answer, "What do I want to do?" The plan was to record our dreams and goals in the yearbook, then evaluate them when we met again at each subsequent reunion . . . you know, sort of a decade-by-decade checkup. Some of the goals are not fitting to repeat, but some are both interesting and revealing.
Several said: "Make a million bucks."
• "Win all-American honors and play professional football."
• "Be the concertmaster of a symphony orchestra."
• "Finish medical school and have a practice in Honolulu."
• "Become the world heavyweight boxing champion."
• "Make a living writing short stories, plays, and novels."
• "Travel abroad as a news correspondent."
• "Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse."
All sorts of goals. Some admirable, some questionable, some crazy, a few stupid.
Without wanting to sound needlessly critical, as I look back over three decades, I think we were asked to answer the wrong question. What we want to do is not nearly as important as what we want to be. And the longer I live the more significant that becomes. It's possible to do lots of things yet be zilch as a person.
Doing is usually connected with a vocation or career, how we make a living. Being is much deeper. It relates to character, who we are, and how we make a life. Doing is tied in closely with activity, accomplishments, and tangible things—like salary, prestige, involvements, roles, and trophies. Being, on the other hand, has more to do with intangibles, the kind of people we become down inside, much of which can't be measured by objective yardsticks and impressive awards. But of the two, being will ultimately outdistance doing every time. It may take half a lifetime to perfect . . . but hands down, it's far more valuable. And lasting. And inspiring. (Chuck  Swindoll, Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life, Zondervan Publishing House)

"Be-ing" cannot be measured but it will ultimately outdistance "do-ing" every time...IT MAY TAKE HALF A LIFETIME TO PERFECT! I got a really late start...
I cannot "be" without taking time to pray, journal, worship... I cannot snap my fingers and just make it happen, this relationship between me and Christ.  Change My Heart O God needs to become my daily prayer, if I want to serve and "be" as God intended for me.
Missionary - Sarah Young
Sarah Young, author of Jesus Calling wrote in yesterday's devotion: 
Keep your eyes on Me, not only for direction but also for empowerment. I never lead you to do something without equipping you for the task. That is why it's so important to seek My will in everything you do. There are many burned-out Christians who think more is always better, who deem it unspiritual to say no. 
In order to know My will, you must spend time with Me - enjoying My Presence. This is not an onerous task but a delightful privilege. I will show you the path of Life; in My presence is fullness of Joy; at My right hand there are pleasures forevermore. 
Being a disciple requires that
I "do" by "be-ing"
Luke's story of Martha and Mary continues to be my mental image of all these lessons. While many often make Martha out to be "wrong" I am beginning to  think that is not what Jesus intended.  His church would never have grown and be-come if disciples did nothing more than sit and contemplate his teachings. It took took do-ing to build Christ's church. Yet, without taking time to pause and be in his presence, I am not doing his work because I am not be-ing present within the do-ing.

I have found two psalms I plan to hold in the weeks to come as I strive to 'be":Psalm 141 and Psalm 16. I have read these words from several translations, and for now, I will use the words from The Message by Eugene Peterson:

Psalm 141:1, 3
 1-2 God, come close. Come quickly! Open your 
ears—it's my voice you're hearing! 
   Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising;
      my raised hands are my evening prayers.

 3-7 Post a guard at my mouth, God,
      set a watch at the door of my lips.
   Don't let me so much as dream of evil
      or thoughtlessly fall into bad company.
   And these people who only do wrong—
      don't let them lure me with their sweet talk!
   May the Just One set me straight,
      may the Kind One correct me,
   Don't let sin anoint my head.
      I'm praying hard against their evil ways!
   Oh, let their leaders be pushed off a high rock cliff;
      make them face the music.
   Like a rock pulverized by a maul, let their bones be scattered at the gates of hell. 

8-10 But God, dear Lord,
      I only have eyes for you.
   Since I've run for dear life to you,
      take good care of me.
   Protect me from their evil scheming,
      from all their demonic subterfuge.
   Let the wicked fall flat on their faces,
      while I walk off without a scratch.

And, Psalm 16:    
1-2 Keep me safe, O God, I've run for dear life to you. I say to God, "Be my Lord!" Without you, nothing makes sense.

 3 And these God-chosen lives all around—what splendid friends they make!

 4 Don't just go shopping for a god. Gods are not for sale.
   I swear I'll never treat god-names like brand-names.

 5-6 My choice is you, God, first and only. And now I find I'm your choice!
   You set me up with a house and yard. And then you made me your heir!

 7-8 The wise counsel God gives when I'm awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart.
   Day and night I'll stick with God; I've got a good thing going and I'm not letting go.

   9-10 I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. 
You canceled my ticket to hell - that's not my destination!
11 Now you've got my feet on the life path, 
      all radiant from the shining of your face. 
   Ever since you took my hand, 
      I'm on the right way. 

One thing I am learning is that God has provided teachers from nearly every corner of life, if my eyes and ears...and heart are open to seeing the lessons. If I had the time, it would be interesting to count all the different places my teachers have come.  Music...and many kinds of music. Art. Social Science. Video. Conversations. Judaism. Islam. Buddhism. Nature.Children. Elderly and the Dying. My grandmother's cup. The Wednesday Lunch Bunch and those who send me email messages.

And, most importantly, teachers immersed in God's Word and my spending prayerful time reading scripture passages from both the Hebrew and Christian texts.

This entire entry is a collection of thoughts and wisdom, from many sources.  God, Creator of all I am and me to continue seeking your face within the ordinary and the extraordinary...all the pieces that make up my daily life.  AMEN.

Finally...on this Easter Morning...Christ has Risen!  He has Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!

Happy Easter and Many Blessings! Sandi

1 comment:

  1. I hope to work on my be-ing in relationships with others. In order to do this, I need to focus on be-ing in my relationship with Christ.
    Thank you for leading two wonderful services this Easter day and a moving service on Thursday.