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

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All is grace.

Take time to be holy. The word 'holy' does not mean 'goody-goody'; it means set apart for sacred use. That is what these quiet moments in My Presence are accomplishing within you....This process requires blocks of time set aside for communion with Me. ~ Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

A needed reminder this morning as busy days continue... Busy days that contain "good" things, yet if I don't allow Jesus to be born through me within my encounters, I fear they are only empty encounters.

In her devotion book, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, Joyce Rupp writes:
Words, words, words, and more words, 
Spoken, written, throughout history and life. 
None can compare with you, the Word, 
A message complete and all-encompassing, 
Sent forth to humanity from the Great Heart 
T speak the completeness of all words: Love. 
O Word of the Holy, your message is alive, 
Written in covenantal script never to be erased. 
May each common word coming forth from me 
Echo the magnificent love of you, the one Word.
In Chapter 5, What in the grace?, Ann writes of a time when her world is turned upside down with the words,
 Levi's hand went through a fan in the barn!" (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 80)
Hard eucharisteo, times for which it is difficult, gut wrenching, to offer up gratitud.  A horrific accident, the death of a loved one, a senseless act of violence....

As she continues writing her thoughts through this experience and as she remembers other such times, the truth that what she sees, she sees through her lens of perspective.
Only the Word is the answer to rightly reading the world because The Word has nail-scarred hands that cup our face close, wipe away the tears running down, has eyes to look deep into our brimming ache, and whisper, 'I know. I know'. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 87)
Ann comes to the realization that life is not a mix of grace moments and curse moments, but that all of life is grace - an "ugly/beautiful" paradox in which God is always present and always at world, no matter how difficult the circumstance.
Le laid peut etre beau - The ugly can be beautiful. The dark can give birth to life; suffering can deliver grace. (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 99)
Thomas Aquinas defined beauty as id quod visum placet - beauty as that which being seen, pleases. If all the work of transfiguring the ugly into the beautiful please God, it is a work of beauty. Thus, holding such a realization, Ann asks me to consider:
Is there anything in this world that is truly ugly? That is a curse? (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 99)
I've been working on my sermon for this coming Sunday, the text is Luke 2:1-20 but I've backed up a bit and have thought about the events that led up to Luke 2 and what it meant for Mary to say, "Let it be with me just as you say." (Luke 1:38)  When she agreed to this plan of God's, her life became complicated....  Big time complicated.

As I have thought of all these words and images, of Voskamp, Luke, Job... I have held the truth that suffering has nourished grace in my life and that pain and joy are arteries of the same heart - that mourning and dancing are but movements in God's symphony of beauty.

When I stay focused on The Word, I know within my heart that it is my perspective that labels something as being "good or bad".  That in this world, God is always good and that regardless of my circumstances...I am ALWAYS loved.

That means everything....EVERYTHING is eucharisteo.

I am reminded of this truth every time I come to The Table.  At The Table I am reminded... I am told TO REMEMBER... that out of pain and suffering God transformed the world.

All is grace only because God does transfigure.

O Lord, I may read and write these truths...I hold them....yet it is only by your Spirit that I can "live" this truth as I walk through this world that, when I see though "my" lens, holds so much pain. Help me today to see through your eyes, through the lens of your Word. AMEN!!

This week I am focusing on Mary and her response to take part in God's plan, but Joseph.... Joseph is often a forgotten character in this transforming event.  Michael Card offers a wonderful song...that is one of my favorite songs of Christmas.

Oh...might I be able to surrender and trust God to work through the things that seem "bad/painful/despairing..."

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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