A Bright Sadness: Stitched With His Color

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

~W.S. Merwin “Separation”

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
~2 Corinthians 1:20

…you can read my heart, I hear you say:
For once be present to me, I am here,
Breathe in the perfect love that casts out fear
Open your heart and let your yea be yea.

Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when
I see your full-eyed love and say Amen.
~Malcolm Guite — “Amen”

We become restless and uneasy in our separation from God, broken and empty, feeling unknowable and unloveable — we need mending and stitching with God’s colored thread.

Our answer to Him should be “Yes”, over and over.

God tells us “Yes”, again and again, that we may know Him as He is one with us, part of our lives’ weave and tapestry.  Mere mortals like us experienced God born of flesh, as He walked, ate, slept among us.

Christ became the Yes, the consistent thread in our lives, the covenant God made with us. Still we pull away and say “No” as the unloveable are wont to do,  regularly and emphatically.

When young Mary was told the implausible and incomprehensible would happen to her, her response was not “No way–go find someone else”.  Her response was “Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.”   

She says, in essence “Yes!  And Amen!”

How often do we respond with such trust and faithfulness, accepting Christ as the ultimate “Yes” from God, who ensures our everlasting salvation?

Let it be. Let Him run through our lives like a thread that never breaks. Let our Yes be Yes.

The Beginning of an Uprising

sunrise81144

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
~Karl Barth

sunrise10915

There is much shouting and gnashing of teeth going on in our country right now.  Some from the streets, some from computer keyboards and screens, and some from inside the halls of government and a certain White House.

We need to stop shouting and clasp hands in prayer.

Prayer is always easier for the youngest among us.  It can be amazingly spontaneous for kids — an outright exclamation of joy, a crying plea for help, a word of unprompted gratitude.   As a child I can remember making up my own songs and monologues to God as I wandered alone in our farm’s woods, enjoying His company in my semi-solitude.  I’m not sure when I began to silence myself out of self-conscious embarrassment, but I stayed silent for many years, unwilling to put voice to the prayers that rattled in my head.  In my childhood, prayer in public schools had been hushed into a mere and meaningless moment of silence, and intuitively I knew silence never changed anything.  The world became more and more disorderly in the 60’s and 70’s and in my increasingly indoctrinated mind, there was no prayer I could say that would make a difference either.

How wrong could I and my education be?  Nothing can right the world until we are right with God through talking to Him out of our depth of need and fear.  Nothing can right the world until we submit ourselves wholly, bowed low, hands clasped, eyes closed, articulating the joy, the thanks, and the petitions weighing on our hearts.

An uprising is only possible when our voice comes alive, unashamed, unselfconscious, rising up from within us, uttering words that beseech and thank and praise.  To rise up with hands clasped together calls upon a power needing no billions and no weapons and no walls ~ only the Word ~ to overcome and overwhelm the shambles left of our world.

Nothing can be more victorious than the Amen, our Amen, at the end.

So be it and so shall it be.

Amen, and Amen again.

sunrise109151

Turn Aside and Look: Let My Yea Be Yea

floweringquincejapan2

wateriris

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
~2 Corinthians 1:20

floweringquincejapan1

When will I ever learn to say Amen,
Really assent at last to anything?
For now my hesitations always bring
Some reservation in their trail, and then
Each reservation brings new hesitations;
All my intended amens just collapse
In an evasive mumble: well, perhaps,
Let me consider all the implications . . .

But you can read my heart, I hear you say:
For once be present to me, I am here,
Breathe in the perfect love that casts out fear
Open your heart and let your yea be yea.

Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when
I see your full-eyed love and say Amen.
~Malcolm Guite — “Amen”

camelliapinkjapan

Our answer to the invitation to be loved —  when we are restless and uneasy, when we are broken and empty, when we feel unknowable and unloveable —  should be “Yes”, over and over.

God tells us “Yes”, again and again, that we may know Him as He is one with us.  Mere mortals have experienced God born of and from the flesh, as He walked, ate, slept among us.

Christ became the Yes,  the covenant, the contract God has made with His people.  We are bound to Him, even when we pull away and say “No” as the unloveable are wont to do,  regularly and emphatically.

When young Mary was told the impossible, the implausible, the incomprehensible would happen to her, her response was not “No way–go find someone else!”.  Her response was “Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.”    She says, in essence “Yes!  And Amen!”

How often do we respond with such trust and faithfulness, accepting Christ as the ultimate “Yes” from God, who ensures our everlasting salvation?

Let it be. Let our Yes be Yes.

 

peach2japan

camelliajapan7

 

Beginning an Uprising

purplepetunia

 

Whatever happens. Whatever
what is is is what I want.
Only that. But that.
~Galway Kinnell “Prayer”

redhydrangea

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
~Karl Barth

spirea2016

Prayer is easiest for the youngest among us.  It can be amazingly spontaneous for kids — an outright exclamation of joy, a crying plea for help, a word of unprompted gratitude.

I’m not sure at what age I began to silence myself out of self-conscious embarrassment, but I stayed silent for many years, unwilling to put voice to the prayers that rattled in my head.  In my 1960’s childhood, prayer in public schools had been hushed into a mere moment of silence, and intuitively I knew silence has never changed anything.

Nothing can upright this tipped-over disordered world until we are right with God, talking to Him out of our depth of need and fear.  Nothing can upright the world until we submit ourselves wholly, bowed low, hands clasped, eyes closed, articulating the joy, the thanks, and the needs filling our hearts.

An uprising is possible when a voice comes alive, unashamed, un-selfconscious, rising up from within us, uttering words that beseech and thank and praise.  To kneel down is to rise up with hands clasped together, calling upon a power needing no weapons, only words, to overcome and overwhelm the shambles left of our world.

Nothing can be more victorious
than the Amen,
our Amen,
at the end.
So be it and so shall it be.

Amen, and Amen again.

begoniagold

…the room was filled by a presence that in a strange way was both about me and within me like a light or warmth. I was overwhelming possessed by someone who was not myself.  And yet, I felt more myself than ever before.  I was filled with intense happiness and almost unbearable joy as I had never known before or never known since.  And overall, there was a deep sense of peace and security and certainty.
~C. S. Lewis

emmagibson
portrait of Dan’s mom, Emma Gibson, praying, by granddaughter Sara Lenssen

In a Daze, Dancing

sunset42716

mejierreflection

I go my way,
and my left foot says ‘Glory,’
and my right foot says ‘Amen’:
in and out of Shadow Creek,
upstream and down,
exultant,
in a daze, dancing,
to the twin silver trumpets of praise.

~Annie Dillard Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

 

Every day should be a day of dancing,
of celebrating the fact we woke afresh,
a new start.

If I’m honest, not much feels new.

As I stumble about in my morning daze,
readying myself for the onslaught to come,
I step out and mumble “Glory”
and then “Amen”
until I really feel it
and believe it
and live it out.
Amen and Amen again.

sunsetshoot3

IMG_6332

To Clasp Hands

emmagibson

 

rockwell_worship
Freedom of Worship by Norman Rockwell

To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.
~Karl Barth

Prayer may be easiest for the youngest among us.  It can be amazingly spontaneous for kids — an outright exclamation of joy, a crying plea for help, a word of unprompted gratitude.   As a child I can remember making up my own songs and monologues to God as I wandered alone in our farm’s woods, enjoying His company in my semi-solitude.  I’m not sure when I began to silence myself out of self-conscious embarrassment, but I stayed silent for many years, unwilling to put voice to the prayers that rattled in my head.  In my childhood, prayer in public schools had been hushed into a mere moment of silence, and intuitively I knew silence had never changed anything.  The world became more and more disorderly in the 60’s and 70’s and in my increasingly indoctrinated mind, there was no prayer I could say that would make a difference.

How wrong could I and my secular education be?

Nothing can right the world until we are right with our Creator through talking to Him out of the depth of our need and fear.  Nothing can right the world until we submit ourselves wholly, bowed low, hands clasped, eyes closed, articulating the joy, the thanks, and the petitions weighing on our hearts.

An uprising is possible when a voice comes alive, unashamed, un-selfconscious, rising up from within us, uttering words that beseech and thank and praise.  To rise up with hands clasped together calls upon a power which needs no weapons, only words, to overcome and overwhelm the shambles left of our world.

Nothing can be more victorious than the Amen — our Amen — at the end.  So be it and so shall it be.

Amen, and Amen again.

 

stgiles

rainbowfarm3

Every Flake of World

bakerwhites

creepermaple

dewweed

Nature’s silence is its one remark, and every flake of world is a chip off that old mute and immutable block.

The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega, it is God’s brooding over the face of the waters…
Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing.

~Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk

 

I listen for silence, and in my listening make noise,
distracting me from the beginning and the end
that is noiseless.
I listen while praying,
having been taught
this is all there is
and ever will be.

Amen.

creeper2015

fidalgomoss

weed9715

bakerwhites3