The group was gathering and she took her seat on the edge.
She is a beautiful.
How beautiful the hands that served
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
Small. With large eyes. But this is not her beauty.
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
She is quiet. Her spirit is gentle. And those eyes take in so much.
How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin and bore it instead
As we jockeyed for positions within the group, listening to one another. . .
her eyes search the edges. When we spoke to her, she looked at each one of us individually and spoke slowly, present to each one at a time.
How beautiful the tender eyes
That chose to forgive and never despise
The leader told us to gather in groups. If we were sitting alone, we should look around and join the group closest to us.
I was glad that tonight, I did not have to look around and make the awkward shuffle to join a group of strangers. I was with my group. (My group? What does that mean?)
How beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her groom with His light in her eyes
I noticed that when the discussion began, she had moved from the shelter of the big group.
I looked around the room, eyes straining to the edges. I wish I had been thinking, “Is there someone we need to invite over?” but I don’t think I was thinking much at all, except mulling over the disucussion in our group.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
And then I saw her.
She had gravitated toward the edges. Her head tilted close, she was listening. . .to a beautiful white head turned toward her, their shoulders nearly touching.
She had gone to the edges. She had taken the bread and the wine with her.
How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How beautiful the hands that serve
How beautiful is the Body of Christ.
Now you are the body of Christ. . .
~1 Corinthians 12:27
The lyrics of Twyla Paris' song "How Beautiful" are astoundingly beautiful when paired with these images from The Passion of Christ. This is difficult to watch, but if you can bare it, the meaning will take your breath away. . .
Jesus said to His disciples, “Offenses will certainly come,
but woe to the one they come through!”
~ Luke 17:1
“I often say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts.” ~ John Bevere
“His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.”
~ Isaiah 9:6
A Prayer for the Prince of Peace to Rule over Your Life
Peace over your mind.
Peace over your eyes.
Peace over your mouth.
Peace over your heart.
Peace over your way.
Peace rise up and strengthen your spine.
Peace over your finances.
Peace over your household.
Peace over your children.
Peace over your work place; Peace over you and between you and those in authority over you.
Peace over your enemies; Peace over your fears; Peace over your worries; Peace over your health.
True, lasting, healthy Peace that restores your strength, protects your dignity, dispels shame, and lifts up God.
Peace that begins in reconciliation with God.
Peace that does not tremble at offense, nor cowers before meanness, nor lies down belly-up in timidity.
Peace that makes you brave. Peace that allows you to stand up to bullies and gossips and offenses (sometimes without saying a word). Peace that never allows you to become mean, or spiteful, of vengeful. Peace that is thick with compassion, bowed with humility, and piercing with forgiveness. Peace that knows, "but for the grace of God. . ."
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
~ Philippians 4:7
Photographs taken on the drive home.
This is really good stuff.
i made a new friend on Facebook and this came across her feed, and honestly, i've watched it twice, and a few minutes ago made my daughter sit down and listen to it.
Dr. Brene Brown on Shame. . .
if you read my post from yesterday, then you'll understand how important Dr. Brown's words are to me.
i bet they are pretty significant to you, too.
Here's one more. . . .Six Types of People Who Do Not Deserve to Hear Your Story. . .
So many of us need to hear these messages way down deep. . .so many of us need to know the Dignity and Strength God has placed on us. . .Think enough of yourself to say, "i share my story with people who have earned the right to hear my story. i honor you when i share my story."
Be strong, my friends.
Perhaps you'd like to click here, and i'll meet you in another post on "Clothed in Strength and Dignity."
Founder's Inn popped up in a quick google search, a sleepy, colonial, twenty-six acre hotel adjacent to Regent University, right off the interstate, and minutes from most of our activities.
Outside, stone balustrades encircle terraces, a rose garden marches a symmetrical cadence to the edge of a lake floating an elegant swan, and beneath the glassy surface, huge carp glide silently.
We had dinner in the green and wood paneled Hunt Room where horse tackle hung in elegant state and a pool table invited community gathering. Here i learned what a Craft Burger is. . .
Early morning, sunrise (or was it the Craft Burger guilt?)beckoned me to a walk around the lake before i climbed to the second floor gym over the spa.
That gave my two Sleepy Heads enough time to get ready for breakfast in the Swan Terrace. It was still very early and very quiet when the girls settled me down in a space tucked near the edge of a crystal clear pool, open to a blue and white cloud-happy sky.
There i lingered all day, missing a wedding shower so that a pulled shoulder could heal. Families (the people attracted to Founders Inn are quiet, happy people) came and went as i journaled and read and prayed and swam.
The sun rose and slid back down again, and my darlings returned for an early dinner before we left.
There was a changing room and showers in the Flowering Almond spa for our use. i am quite sure Flowering Almond is a Biblical reference. Can you recall its reference? I am thinking of two. . .
The trip on the next day to the fairy-tale wedding was closer to home. As we headed west, my face sun-kissed, i recalled that the Nuns I had once taught under had begun each school year with a Retreat, a quiet day of contemplation, nature walks and a shared meal near a pool.
I belive that at Founders Inn those long ago Retreats had Found me. Father was reminding me of a lovely way to end the summer. . .
This Labor Day weekend, i shall set aside more time to study that reference to the flowering almond. . .will you meet me there?
The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments . . .
The sunshine of a Sunday afternoon in August draped the yard in a golden veil, and i rested on the small deck on a cushioned lounge, book on chest, staring up at a blue sky framed by the tip topmost branches of green leafy oaks.
Suddenly, without warning, the slight hummingbird (that had been sipping from the last of the orange trumpets in the drapery of honeysuckle) zoomed to within inches of my nose, his diminutive wings a humming blur.
Startled, i forgot to breathe. He studied me (the mirrored reflection of my glasses? the bright colors twining on the book?) intently. Then zoom, he was gone.
A gift. In the midst of long thoughts, a gift of Creation. A mystery.
Deeply grateful, i contemplated the tear-bright sky again.
The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than
. . .
to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation;
from the world of creation to the creation of the world.
~Abraham Joshua Heschel
Sometimes, i have found, grief is not limited to the passing of those who are dead. . .but for those relationships with the living which are no more. . .
Elisabeth Elliot disclosed six ways she has found help in the midst of loss and sorrow:
“First, I try to be still and know that He is God. . . . Stillness is something the bereaved may feel they have entirely too much of. But if they will use that stillness to take a long look at Christ, to listen attentively to his voice, they will get their bearings. . . .
"The second thing I try to do is to give thanks. I cannot thank God for the murder of one [husband] or the excruciating disintegration of another, but I can thank God for the promise of his presence. . . .
"Then I try to refuse self-pity. . . . Amy Carmichael, in her sword-thrust of a book If, wrote, ‘If I make much of anything appointed, magnify it secretly to myself or insidiously to others, then I know nothing of Calvary love.’. . .
"The next thing to do is to accept my loneliness. When God takes a loved person from my life, it is in order to call me, in a new way, to himself. It is therefore a vocation. . . .
"The last of the helps I have found is to do something for somebody else. There is nothing like definite, overt action to overcome the inertia of grief. . . .”