Stalk the Gaps

nch20141

The gaps are the thing.
The gaps are the spirit’s one home,
the altitudes and latitudes so dazzlingly spare and clean
that the spirit can discover itself like a once-blind man unbound.
The gaps are the clefts in the rock where you cower to see the back parts of God;
they are fissures between mountains and cells the wind lances through,
the icy narrowing fiords splitting the cliffs of mystery.
Go up into the gaps.
If you can find them;
they shift and vanish too.
Stalk the gaps.
Squeak into a gap in the soil,
turn, and unlock
—more than a maple—
a universe.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

nch2014

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Advent Sings: Hidden Power

photo by Josh Scholten
photo by Josh Scholten

His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden.
Habakkuk 3 from Habakkuk’s Prayer

His hand
as a tiny newborn gripping his mother’s finger, clasping her mortality
His hand
as a toddler holding his father’s hand, following his every dusty footstep
His hand
as a child throwing and catching, dirty with work and play
His hand
as a teenager learning his craft, sanding and measuring
His hand
as a young man holding God’s Word and learning to keep it deep in his heart
His hand
as a itinerant teacher gesturing and flowing words with movement
His hand
as a healer touching feverish heads, driving out spirits, making the blind to see, raising the lame to walk
His hand
as a servant washing dusty feet, breaking bread, pouring wine, making breakfast
His hand
as a Son gripping tight His Father’s in fervent prayer for relief and release
His hand
as a sacrifice pierced by the nail aimed at us
His hand
as a risen Savior rolling away the stone at sunrise
His hand
as ascended King of Kings, His power no longer hidden.
His hand
holding heavens where flashes His glory upon our faces
Forever and Ever.

Grace and Gratitude

photo by Josh Scholten

Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.
Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo.
Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening.
~Karl Barth

Nothing separates our thankfulness
from the gifts we’ve been granted.
We have been given life, certainly.
But that is not all,
though more than plenty.

Beyond imagining,
we are given forgiveness.
Offered a new life,
undeserved.
An opportunity to
make things right again
by forgiving
the unforgivable.

It is possible to be grateful every day
without knowing grace.
Many voices raised today
speak of thankfulness.

But to know the gift of grace–
experience its resounding clarifying brightness,
its gentle, compassionate merciful touch
every day, every hour, every moment
every breath,

we must respond, thundering
our gratitude at the spark of God,
echoing unending thanks
in our every breath.

photo by Josh Scholten

Peeling Off the Covering

photo by Josh Scholten

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito. And the incognito is not always easy to penetrate. The real labor is to remember to attend. In fact to come awake. Still more to remain awake.”

― C.S. Lewis from “Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer”

The older I get, the more I recognize the need to be alert and awake to the presence of God in the crowded world around me.  It doesn’t come naturally.  We humans have an attention deficit, choosing to focus inwardly on self and ignoring the rest.  If it isn’t for me, or like me, or about me, it somehow is not worthy of our consideration.   We wear blinders, asleep.

We need help to recognize the presence of God, to peel the layers off the ordinary and find Him at the core, incognito.  We need help to attend to where He is, invisible in plain sight.

Tell us where you found Him in the crowd today.  Share how you stay awake to Him as He walks next to you unrecognized.  Tell us how your heart burns within you, knowing He is present.

Your input is needed here: God Incognito