Beginning to Awaken


By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast — a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines —

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches —

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind —

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined —
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance — Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken
~William Carlos Williams “Spring and All”

January wraps up
with much of the country
in deep freeze,
covered in snow and ice
and bitter wind chill.

Yet outside begins to awaken–
tender buds swelling,
bulbs breaking through soil,
in reentry to the world
from the dark and cold.

Like a mother who holds
the mystery of her quickening belly,
so hopeful and marveling,
she knows soon and very soon
there will be spring.

Preparing the Heart: A Quickening Spirit

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

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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.

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Begin to Awaken

frost125144

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By the road to the contagious hospital
under the surge of the blue
mottled clouds driven from the
northeast — a cold wind. Beyond, the
waste of broad, muddy fields
brown with dried weeds, standing and fallen

patches of standing water
the scattering of tall trees

All along the road the reddish
purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy
stuff of bushes and small trees
with dead, brown leaves under them
leafless vines —

Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches —

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind —

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf

One by one objects are defined —
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance — Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted they
grip down and begin to awaken
~William Carlos Williams “Spring and All”

It is still January
with much of the country
in deep freeze,
covered in snow and ice
and bitter wind chill.
Yet outside begins to awaken–
tender buds swelling,
bulbs breaking through soil,
in reentry to the world
from the dark and cold.
Like a mother who holds
the mystery of her quickening belly,
so hopeful and marveling,
she knows soon and very soon
there will be spring.

frost12514
frost125146
iriswinter

Lenten Reflection–Filling Softly

photo by Josh Scholten

When all nature is at rest, not a leaf moving, then at evening the dew comes down — no eye to see the pearly drops descending, no ear to hear them falling on the verdant grass — so does the Spirit come to you who believe. When the heart is at rest in Jesus — unseen, unheard by the world — the Spirit comes, and softly fills the believing soul, quickening all, renewing all within. Robert Murray McCheyne

Amidst the hubbub and chaos of modern life, there comes a time when I must quiet myself, voided of selfish desires, hushing harried pointless ambitions. I seek rest and renewal within a freshening of purpose.

When I am thus silent and still, receptive, emptied of self, I am ready.

It is then I am touched, filled oh so softly. Without fireworks or thunderclap, or dramatic collapse. As the Spirit descends like silent dew onto my longing heart, I wake restored, a new life quickened within me.

It is that simple. So gentle.

photo by Josh Scholten

Advent Meditation–Quickening Spirit

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 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, and never, never to be the same again.

1 Corinthians 15:45