The Moment of Detachment

dandysunset4

dandytransparent

This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying – the delicate seed-globe must break up now – it gives and gives till it has nothing left.

The hour of this new dying is clearly defined to the dandelion globe:  it is marked by detachment.  There is no sense of wrenching:  it stands ready, holding up its little life, not knowing when or where or how the wind that bloweth where it listeth may carry it away. It holds itself no longer for its own keeping, only as something to be given; a breath does the rest…
~Lillias Trotter from  “Parables of the Cross”

dandysunset2

dandysunset9

Might I ever stand “ready” as a field of dandelions in full-puff, seeds preparing to detach in response to a breeze or a breath?

This readiness feels very much like the peak of labor in childbirth, a moment that feels as if time has stopped – the inevitability that one can never go back to the way things were. This “crowning” of the new life as it emerges means the surrender of the old life and its resultant emptying.

May I turn my head full on to the breeze, giving and giving until I have nothing left.

Only then, only then, is there a moment of detachment that leads me to eternity.

dandysunset1

dandyperfection

Preparing the Heart: A Quickening Spirit

winterpine

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a quickening spirit.
~1Corinthians 15:45

snow225147

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God.
~Romans 8:22-28 from The Message by Eugene Petersen

blackberrysnowball

…like Mary, I believe that we too can become pregnant with God.
~Luci Shaw

There is a distinct and memorable moment in pregnancy, around 16 weeks, when there is an undeniable awareness of movement within the womb–initially a fluttery feeling, but then over the next few days, there are tickly sensations, then rolling, then pushes. It is referred to clinically as “quickening”–an emphatic evidence of life within–and there is a profound acknowledgment that one’s life is no longer one’s own. It is now shared.

Jesus is called the “second Adam” through his death and resurrection, a quickening spirit now shared with us, so much more than the simple life and breath of the first Adam. The spirit lives and breathes within us, fluttering and rolling, pushing us from inside, creating in us more than we ever could become on our own. We are startled by its presence, amazed by its touch, forever transformed, pregnant with possibility and never, never to be the same again.

snow12201337

Preparing the Heart: Open the Door

sunrise11261

My soul waits for the LORD more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.
Psalm 130:6

sunrise1111

Strange how one word
will so hollow you out.
But this word
has been in the wilderness
for months.
Years.

Prepare, prepare.

It may feel like
the word is leveling you,
emptying you
as it asks you
to give up
what you have known.

It is impolite
and hardly tame,
but when it falls
upon your lips
you will wonder
at the sweetness,

like honey
that finds its way
into the hunger
you had not known
was there.
~ Jan L. Richardson from Circle of Grace

 

novtreehouse3

As a child, it seemed to me the wait for Christmas Day took forever.  December 25 became the focal point for everything.

Now, old as I am, I’ve found the wait, the preparation itself, becomes the point.  We watch Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, Anna, Simeon, and even Herod wait.

In a community of believers, we prepare and wait together, encouraging each other through the hard times.  And there are plenty of hard times.

More significantly, Someone Else waits for us.

“I stand at the door and knock.”  Revelation 3:20

When will we be ready to end His wait and open the door to our hearts?

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
~Christina Rossetti from “In the Bleak Midwinter”

Preparing the Heart: Anticipating Advent

novtreehouse

The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton.

In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen.

You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you’ve never been and a time you have no words for.

You are aware of the beating of your heart…The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens.

Advent is the name of that moment.
~Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

olh1125

We are on the brink, waiting, wondering what is to come next.

The moment of silent expectation suspended between what we anticipate will happen and what actually does happen is a moment of sweet tension and longing.  Many find Christmas to be an anticlimax to the build up beforehand.  In the true spirit of Advent, that can never be the case.  The preparation for His coming merely foreshadows the joy we feel when holding Him close, seeing His face and knowing He is God in flesh.

He is with us, He is in us and our hearts, jubilant,  beat like His.  And sadness flee away.

o come desired of nations,
whom priest and prophet long foretold,
will break the captive fetters,
redeem the long-lost fold.

o come in peace and meekness,
for lowly will your cradle be:
though clothed in human weakness
we shall your god-head see.

o come, divine messiah,
the world in silence waits the day
when hope shall sing its triumph,
and sadness flee away.
(Author M. Pellegrin)

rainyrose1125

 

Anticipating God Among Us — Advent 2015

hydrangeabrown3

blueberryleaf7

 

‘Twas much, that man was made like God before,
But, that God should be made like man, much more.

~John Donne from Holy Sonnet XV

 

For the sixth year of daily Advent preparation on this Barnstorming blog, I intend to focus on the consideration of the profound mystery of the incarnation of Christ, through scripture verses, the words of thinkers, theologians and poets, along with familiar and not so familiar sacred hymns and songs.  It is a privilege to seek, find and share words and music to lead us on a contemplative journey through these last days of our fading autumn into the stark and empty winter of our souls.

It is beyond our wildest dreams that God should be made of human flesh,  even more so than His creation of man and woman in the image of God.

I hope you will join along with me over the next twenty seven days of Advent.

This is God’s initiative going beyond anything man or woman has dreamed of.
~Raymond Brown, The Birth of the Messiah

 

dandyhair

frostyrose

bleachinghydrangea