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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Frail and Glorious - VI

an English-American rock band
When my heart, ears, and eyes are open, "crumbs" seem to fall at my feet faster than I can gather.  Yesterday, I had a feast of crumbs...but not the kind I had expected.  For example, I heard this song by The Pretenders playing in a store.  I didn't realize it was playing until I found myself humming a long.  Once I realized, I continued to mindlessly hum, until...

...until I stopped and really listened to the words of this song.

Oh, why you look so sad?
Tears are in your eyes
Come on and come to me now

You don't know what to do
Nothing you confess
Could make me love you less

When you're standing at the crossroads
And don't know which path to choose
Let me come along

And when...
When the night falls on you, baby
You're feeling all alone
You won't be on your own

And, my favorite lines:

I'll stand by you
I'll stand by you
Won't let nobody hurt you
I'll stand by you
Take me in, into your darkest hour
And I'll never desert you
I'll stand by you

Yes, I know.  The Pretenders are a rock band, but here's the thing... I believe God uses what he has available that will reach my heart and soul and yesterday it was an English-American rock band who brought me a word of grace and scattered crumbs of love and nourishment at my feet.
Brain - Fog

I have been a bit discouraged, but, no I haven't been in my "darkest hour". My brain has felt foggy as I have worked through this chapter. It has seemed as though I'm "getting it" but then I'm lost...again. The words of this song reminded me that I am loved, in all my squirrelishness, my fogginess, and that I am never alone.  And yes, I do "know" all of that. Yet hearing those words in those moments...

...they were greatly appreciated crumbs of grace.

Macrina says that we do not full appreciate the great honor it is to be brothers and sisters in the family of God. and that each time we choose the cheap grace of being uninvolved, the baptismal waters dry up a bit more and we leave each other still further in the dust.
" God's great compassion, our splendor is rescued from the dust that settles on it. Through the dust we see the face of the risen Christ and our own face of glory. We are frail and glorious creatures. This is the gift of baptism...The invitation of baptism is to be like God, which means being like Jesus." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 24)
Frail and Glorious
Remember when I journaled about the frailty and the glory of the cross?  Macrina reminds me that there were two frail and glorious moments in Jesus' life that richly bless me.
1. Jesus was born in a manger to two peasants and surrounded by livestock and shepherds.
2. Jesus was killed as a thief, in poverty, outside the walls of Jerusalem. 
One man, born in a manger and killed on a cross changed the world.  The manger and the cross became glorious, just as my frail moments can become glorious.

Yesterday, I received another gift, another crumb.  I decided to go ride a bike to nowhere before returning to my office to work. There was construction on the street to the health facility and while sitting, I saw a sign for a garage sale.

"Oh, what the heck..."

I admired the landscaping along the walk leading to the garage, but other than that, there wasn't much I was interested in until...

...there have been several of those "until" moments the past couple of days. On a table toward the front of the garage I spotted a small book, "The Book of the Shepherd" by Joann Davis.
"...set in a mythical time, in an unnamed land, 'The Book of the Shepherd' tells the tale of a shepherd, Joshua, who is troubled by the harsh code of an 'eye for an eye' that governs his world. Called by a dream, the shepherd sets off on a journey to find 'the new way.'"
Shrugging, I thought, "Well, it will give me something to read while I bike to nowhere." But, once again, this little book that did not say anything that surprised me....offered me crumbs of love, grace,....

I'm going to write some words and phrases from this little book, but I've got to get out of here to be present for an emergency heart surgery on one of my congregants this morning.  I was supposed to be involved with the set-up and last minute work for tomorrow's workshop!  But... I'm a pastor...  But, more than that, I am a woman who cares about people and this morning there is an elderly man and woman who's independence rests on her health.  There are daughters anxiously waiting for some good news.  There are grandchildren, one of which I officiated at her wedding two weeks ago...and great-grandchildren...all frightened and worried.
Darcie .... Sandi

It is moments like this that I struggle with some of Macrina's thoughts about the waters of my baptism drying up because of being uninvolved.  Once again, I was surprised and touched as my congregation spread word of needed prayers yesterday.  I was surprised and touched as people thought of ways they can help.  I was surprised and touched...because once again I saw the Church reaching out in love....and I wasn't really surprised as much as being fully aware.

I get discouraged by the Church and her lack of being "uninvolved" at times. Yet, I am beginning to appreciate that those moments are often "MY" definition of "involvement."

I become critical and judgmental, missing the grace of crumbs that are all around me. When I miss the crumbs, I become hungry, I begin to feel lost and then I am frustrated, sad, a bit angry... which then prevent me from seeing even MORE crumbs of grace and love!

Another crumb that was dropped at my feet yesterday was the discovery of JJ Heller.  I suspect I will be using her a lot within this journal.  If I could write, I would write the same words I have heard from her! Praise God for people like JJ Heller who put words to my thoughts!

Invisible Love by JJ Heller....

If my arms could reach around You
I would never move
If my eyes could see You
I'd have no faith left to prove
The wonder of invisible love

This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible love

When I fall I feel Your arms before I reach the ground
Lord, I know Your whisper, though I've never heard the sound
The wonder of invisible love

This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible...

Some day there will be no time to mind
I will be Your long awaited bride
We will dance away the night

This is how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible love

It's how it has to be
With You and me
The wonder of invisible love

God, your love is invisible, only if my heart is not present in the moment. Over and again, you feed me, you nourish me, you offer me living water...all in abundance if my eyes and heart are only opened to receiving your gracious gifts.  Thank you for the blessing of those crumbs that come from unexpected places! Rock bands, garage sales...and JJ Heller.  Just when the grayness of life begins to feel crushing and I become critical and judgmental, you offer me light.  This morning Lord, I lift up to you all the farmers that are watching gray and rainy skies.  You know their needs and you know each of their hearts....  Lord, I lift up to you Pat, her husband and all the family as they gather together in anxiety and in hope.  Help me to truly be present to them.  Help me to be mindful of the crumbs you offer me so that I might be able to offer them crumbs from my abundance. AMEN,

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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