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Monday, March 26, 2007

I Love this!

I love this George Bernard Shaw quote that Inward/Outward sent today! I have so often in my life felt myself changing and then felt confined by others' thoughts of who I had been and should be...

Enjoy the quote!

Making Assumptions
George Bernard Shaw

The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lovely Holy Spirit

Today's selection from our friends at Inward/Outward (the link is not working, so you'll have to check it out yourself if you want!)

Holy Spirit
Hildegard of Bingen

Holy Spirit,

giving life to all life,
moving all creatures,
root of all things,
washing them clean,
wiping out their mistakes,
healing their wounds,
you are our true life,
luminous, wonderful,
awakening the heart
from its ancient sleep.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Divine Invitation

Divine Invitation
You have been invited to meet
The Friend.
No one can resist a Divine Invitation.
That narrows down all our choices
To just two:
We can come to God
Dressed for Dancing,
Or
Be carried on a stretcher
To God's Ward.
~Hafiz

Friday, March 16, 2007

Missional Beauty...

Emergent Self wrote a post recently about whether or not beauty is missional. When I read that post, my response was immediate and quite passionate... "of course it's missional!" And I immediately remembered a time in my life, a very quietly important time in my life where beauty was missional for me and it clearly made a difference...

At an extremely low point in my journey, sort of the point where I had just hit bottom and was coming to my senses enough to sit up and dust myself off and look around me at the pit I was in; I came across an art gallery on the Uof MN campus...

One of the artists had made a path in the middle of the gallery, completely out of things from nature. There were little stick "mile-markers" with leaf "flags" attached... I was curious about the piece so I went over and read the write up from the artist. And this is what the write up was: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." (Proverbs 3:5-8)

And I was gripped, right then and there. I received the promises and I asked God to show me how to trust him and not lean on my understanding...

This was the hand of God reaching into the pit and giving me a "hold" and then (as I think about what has happened since) he patiently has kept his hand there as I have been climbing out of the pit... he is always present, always patient... like a parent's hand helping a toddler to walk...

After remembering this, I starting thinking of all the times when God has touched me and it has "turned" me (to me that is the definition of "missional": to cause to turn)... beauty was always involved.

I can not imagine experienceing God without beauty... I think it is as Emergent Self quoted Sr. Catherine Michaud, "Without beauty religion becomes moralistic, flat." That is how I have tasted it when God has been served up without beauty.

To me, beauty is the ultimate feminine expression of God... not being beautiful... but the way in which God offers his beauty -- constantly for any who may notice -- and his humility in offering without demanding breaks my heart.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mommy...

Zion (4 years-old): Mommy, when I walk on my tippy-toes I want you to call me "Magic Tippy-Toes".
Mom: "Oh! O.k., Magic Tippy-Toes!!"

*Smile*

Friday, March 09, 2007

Kindness Etched in Stone...

This was printed in Turtle River Press by a reader, but the source is unknown:

Two friends were walking through a desert. Along the way they had an argument and one of the friends slapped the other in the face. The one who was slapped was hurt, but without saying anything wrote in the sand, "Today my best friend slapped me."

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After recovering from the near drowning, he chiseled on a stone, "Today my best friend saved my life."

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, "After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand, and now you etched in a stone. Why?"

The other friend replied, "When someone hurts us we should record the injury in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it. But when someone does something good for us we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it."

I like this story for the intentionality with which the offended person looked at what happened and wrote it in intentional places... preserving the relationship... also, to me, it pointed out that these two things (hurting and helping) happen in relationship and how we deal with them hurts or preserves the relationship.

I have had a most powerful experience, lately, of how to forgive. To prayerfully "speak" to the person that I need to forgive and write a letter to them telling them exactly what is the debt that they owe me and then choosing for Christ (who has already paid that debt, and mine) to have it, not me. I wrote "I cancel this debt against you, and I will give Christ all my pain, bitterness, revenge and anger. I trust Christ to lead me to true forgiveness." Then those letters were nailed to a cross and eventually burned.

This was a powerful act for me. Instead of hiding my face from my anger, denying it, saying "I'm fine!" I was given words to legitimately accept that someone does owe me a debt, yet I knew/felt how Christ had already paid the price and that if I receive his forgiveness for myself, I can not demand to hold onto revenge for other people.

I am so grateful for the tools that Christ has purchased for us. Because we are still in a time where things happen and we need to forgive, but it is one of the hardest things to do: body, soul and spirit.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Amazing Kids...

On Abbey Way's first Guesthouse Sunday, the children made a Psalm in Children's Chapel.

We were discussing "trust"; particularly how we can trust God because of who he is and how that is more reliable than trusting anyone or thing else.

We looked at tools that remind us of who God is and why we can then trust him. Tools like: music (worship), the cross (he gives everything), the Bible (he is the Word), the candle on the altar (light), the prayer tree (he is always present to our prayers) and Psalms... to name a few...

We focused in on how Psalms help us. How they help us to express our feelings, what is in our heart, and to remember who God is.

We grouped everyone up and I passed out strips of paper. I asked the kids to compose a line of a Psalm, telling me "why (they) can trust God because of who he is." We then took the strips of paper and put them in order and we had a Psalm.

It was amazing to read that Psalm to them. We were all seated back in our circle and I could just feel the electricity and excitment in the them and in the room! The Psalm was a wonderful declaration!! I am so proud of them. The adults that helped had been instructed to not change spelling or word order... we let it be the kids' own language.

Then a wonderful artist in our community took the Psalm and made it into a poster so that we can put it in our chapels at Abbey Way.

Check it out! Jan posted it on her blog!!