Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sad Neglect

Blogging is like housework. When neglected it piles up, then taunts, then haunts.

Neglect is the mother of procrastination. Procrastination leads directly to overwhelm.

There are reasons why I have not been at my post of late.

Alas, on paper those reasons look alarmingly like excuses and excuses neither enlighten or impress.

The all consuming task of late has been an adult Bible study during the Sunday School hour.

It seems that when there is a vacancy, the pastor or spouse are the ones to fill those spots.

So it came to pass.

This is not something for which I volunteer. Ever.

This time however, it was to teach one. Now that is my joy. But the whole business expanded, extended, blew up and before long it was a full blown class situation with all the challenges and stretching which such events demand.

Confession being a good thing, it truly has been a joy, and perhaps this the first time so for many years. In two weeks, however, it will come to an end. There is relief but also a shadow of sadness. A teacher always is the one to learn and what has been studied and digested for others has been life-changing for this teacher. I am most grateful to our ever-faithful God and ministering Spirit, the illuminated Word plus the trail markers left by the Faithful in generations past.

But now there is gratefulness at once again being able to return to 'selfish' reading - working my way down those ever-present chair and bedside stacks. What is more, Spring is knocking at the door and the garden calls my name:)

Now I leave you with today's thought of importance- the following for this weeks' lesson:

How I long for you to grow more certain in your knowledge
and more sure in your grasp of God Himself.
May your spiritual experience become richer
as you see more and more fully God's great secret, Christ Himself!
For it is in Him, and in Him alone,
that men will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2.2,3, J. B. Phillips translation.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Thought: Brief But Mighty

"Great God! Our lowliness takes heart to play
beneath the shadow of Thy state;
The only comfort of our littleness
Is that Thou art so great."
~Fredrick W. Faber.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snippets, Commonplace Books and Mother

Long before email there was the United Postal Service and Mother.

Hers was a life-habit of collecting bits and pieces. These were literary, poetical, historical and scriptural. They were lists of an author's books titles; they were speeches read, notes on sermons heard, biographical sketches. These were written on old envelopes, blank checks, 3 x 5 cards, any paper previously used. (Mother recycled long before that became the thing to do.)
Some were typed, others hand written.

In the early days these treasures would be stuck in books, placed on the windowsill over the sink or mailed to us children. Those mailed did not necessarily have a letter of explanation included, just a quote or pithy saying in an envelope. (But in my early days of mothering, anything from the mailbox was a treat.)

In the early years these mailed snippets were glued in blank books - commonplace books for safe keeping. Later they were just stuffed in whatever I was reading at the time.

To this day, books inherited from her flutter forth these snippets. They are part of my rich heritage. It is always a touch that warms the soul and brings a smile.

This Day once again, Mother long gone, visited me.
And so for you this day, Dear Reader, a sampling.

Meet my Mother. You'd have liked her.

"We are an Easter people
and Alleluia is our Song".
~ St. Augustine

"Here lies a piece of Christ
A star of dust, a vein of gold,
A china dish that must be used
In Heaven when God shall feast the just"
Robert Wild 1609-1679
"He gives me joy in place of sorrow;
He gives me praise in place of fear.
He gives me sunshine for my sadness;
And beauty for ashes here."
"I find, I walk, I love,
but oh the whole of love is but my answer Lord, to Thee.
For Thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
Always Thou lovedst me."
Blessings This Day.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Slowly Learning Lessons

Anne Shirley said "it was a long lesson to learn". Oh how true, oh how slowly by slowly we grasp important Truths.

In our first ministry there was a sainted elderly lady, adored and honored by all. Yet frankly, I found her annoying. Too big a coward to admit such heresy aloud, this guilty secret was kept locked in my heart.

The problem was, she, elderly and infirm would flutter and chirp bird-like "this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." This was her common response to nearly every question posed. Well of course. Everyone knows the Lord made this day, whatever day it may be.

AND THEN. After a life long fretting pattern, a practiced 'what-if' song, and borrowing trouble from the future, my Lord dropped into my life the reality of those words scribed, then chirped long ago. It came as a swift, sharp, shock, a sit-up-and-take-notice event.

From the bosom of our family, our Lord in His wisdom - and timing - took one much loved. That was (and is) agony enough. But it was in the dying process that the life lesson was framed. There was the day by day, moment by moment grief of the loving wife, a daughter. She ministered with grace, with courage and mercy. Valiantly bathing each step of her pilgrimage with tears. It was in the knowing that a fit, athletic body was being worn away by disease; that a vital ministry was being cut short. It was standing by the grave in the rain, with honor guard posted, surrounded by those most dear singing "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow".

Finally, the light began to dawn. Each day truly is "This Day". This Day is the only day of certainty. This is the day to accept, to delight in, to accomplish the task at hand. The clarity comes when remembering that the first day created was looked upon as being very good. That the God who made that day as well as this is still present with us. The print of His finger is upon each dawn. Some how any fear is lessened, perhaps even put to rest when recalling this.

He "loads us with benefits daily" says the Psalmist. Or as in another translation : "Who bears our burdens and carries us day by day, even the God who is our Salvation! - Selah/pause and calmly think of that"'.

That's our Reality. This is The Day. So, Dear Reader, let us accept the gift of This Day. Let us embrace what ever fills This Day and truly rejoice in it knowing that the joy of the Lord is indeed our strength.

(There it is. I am now the old lady chirping!)