Preparing Through Parable: Getting the Message

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Every happening, great and small, 
is a parable whereby God speaks to us, 
and the art of life is to get the message.
…Listening to great music, or reading great literature,

an inner rhythm is detected and the heart rejoices,
and a light breaks which is none other than
God’s love shining through all of creation.
~Malcolm Muggeridge from his lecture “Christ and the Media”

 

For Lent this year, each day will be devoted to a story Jesus told –his parables–
to help each of us “get the message” in a way we might not otherwise.

Whether about a lost coin, a wandering sheep, a light hidden from view,
or a hypercritical older brother:  the parable told is about me and choices I make.

 

compostjanuary

 

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Every day is filled with stories told
and I feel too rushed to listen,
to take time for transformation
by what I see or feel or hear,
no matter how seemingly
small and insignificant.

When I pause
for the parable,
it makes all the difference:

A steaming manure pile
becomes the crucible for my failings
transformed into something useful,
a fertilizer to be spread
to grow what it touches.

An iced-over water barrel
reflects distant clouds
above me as I peer inside,
its frozen blue eye focused
past my brokenness
to mirror a beauty
far beyond.

An old barn roof awaiting repair
has gaps torn of fierce winds,
allowing rain and snow
and invading vines inside
what once was safe and secure,
a sanctuary exposed to storms.

I am looking.
I am listening.
Getting the message.
Badly in need of repair.
To be changed, transformed,
and to become part
of the story being told.

 

missingroof

 

 

Listening for the Message

ice216

Every happening, great and small,
is a parable whereby God speaks to us,
and the art of life is to get the message.
~Malcolm Muggeridge

Every day is filled with stories told
and I feel too rushed to listen,
to take time for transformation
by what I see or feel or hear,
no matter how seemingly
small and insignificant.

When I pause
for the parable,
it makes all the difference:

A steaming manure pile
becomes the crucible for my failings
transformed into something useful,
a fertilizer to be spread
to grow what it touches.

An iced-over water barrel
reflects distant clouds
above me as I peer inside,
its frozen blue eye focused
past my brokenness
to mirror a beauty
far beyond.

An old barn roof awaiting repair
has gaps torn of fierce winds,
allowing rain and snow
and invading vines inside
what once was safe and secure,
a sanctuary exposed to storms.

I am looking.
I am listening.
Feeling in need of repair.
To be changed, forever changed.

compostjanuary

missingroof

A Bell is Rung

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“In the end,
coming to faith remains for all a sense of homecoming,
of picking up the threads of a lost life,
of responding to a bell that had long been ringing,
of taking a place at a table that had long been vacant.”
~Malcolm Muggeridge

“I was still ringing.  I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

When that sense of belonging takes place,
when our eyes and heart have opened
and we know we have found home,
our joyful ringing never ceases.

We have been lifted and struck by coming to faith.

Lenten Meditation–No Comfort

photo by Josh Scholten http://www.cascadecompass.com

Your rebuke has broken my heart;
and I am full of heaviness:
and I looked for some to take pity,
but there was none; and for comforters,
but I found none. Psalm 69:20

So at last I may understand, and understanding believe; see my ancient carcass, prone between the sheets, stained and worn like a scrap of paper dropped in the gutter, muddy and marred with being trodden underfoot, and hover over it, myself, like a butterfly released from its chrysalis stage and ready to fly away. Are caterpillars told of their impending resurrection? How in dying they will be transformed from poor earth — crawlers into creatures of the air, with exquisitely pained wings? If told, do they believe it?

Is it conceivable to them that so constricted an existence as this should burgeon into so gay and lightsome a one as a butterfly’s? I imagine the wise old caterpillars shaking their heads — no, it can’t be; it’s a fantasy, self–deception, a dream. Similarly,  our wise ones. Yet in the limbo between living and dying, as the night clocks tick remorselessly on, and the black sky implacably shows not one single streak or scratch of grey, I hear those words; I am the resurrection, and the life, and feel myself to be carried along on a great tide of joy and peace.”
Malcolm Muggeridge

photo by Josh Scholten http://www.cascadecompass.com