Friday, February 24, 2012
In An Altar in the World, Barbara Brown Taylor writes concerning Biblical brushes with God: "People encounter God under shady oak trees, on riverbanks, at the tops of mountains, and in long stretches of barren wilderness. God shows up in whirlwinds, starry skies, burning bushes, and perfect strangers. When people want to know more about God, the Son of God tells them to pay attention to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, to women kneading bread and workers lining up for their pay.
"Whoever wrote this stuff," she writes, "believed that people could learn as much about the ways of God from paying attention to the world as they could from paying attention to scripture."
I sat on my couch this morning here in the sunroom, Bible open in my lap, but the effects of a late night sinus headache had left my mind dull and my eyes dim. I listen best with my eyes closed, and that's when I heard it ... off in the distance. Being an oddly warm morning for late February, I arose and opened the window and then went back to my position. Again, I listened. It was now stronger. I could hear its approachment through the pines long before I could hear its encroachment on the chimes hanging just outside the window. And then it was upon me. The wind.
It is not difficult to correlate the wind with the Holy Spirit. John 3:8, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." And who can't get excited when reading Acts 2? "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting ... All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit."
And so I couldn't help but lay my head back and let my listening become prayer. Sometimes words are necessary. Other times they are not ... such as this morning when what was really necessary was to just pay attention and know God.
Just an ordinary moment....
Sunday, February 12, 2012
While having lunch Thursday, I received a call from my mother saying that Mr. Richardson had died. And though he is now free from the pain that racked his body for years, it was sad to know his wife of 50+ years would have to face tomorrow without him.
Shortly afterwards, I headed to a friend's house to spend some time with her. On the way, I stopped for a cup of coffee, and while there, inquired of the barista concerning his very pregnant wife. He proceeded to tell me that she had been manhandled by her father which precipitated quite the altercation between this young man and his father-in-law -- ending with some very serious threats.
As I made my way on down the road, my eye caught the sight of a woman wearing a leg brace placing flowers on 3 small crosses in the right-of-way. I couldn't help but wonder if she had been the only survivor.
I finally arrived at my friend's home, and whereas her spirit is free, a cyst on her brain stem and the subsequent surgeries has left her quite dependent upon a wheelchair.
I had not been home too long when my husband walked through the door and in his hands was a beautiful male cardinal he had found in the back yard. It appeared its right wing was broken.
In a split second, my mind replayed all the scenes above, and then it was as if the Holy Spirit winged His way into my own heart and lit with these words: I care. "I care about the widow. I care about the battered woman. I care about the grieving mother. I care about the crippled wife. And, yes, I even care about My winged creation."
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press,
And the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary,
The long night dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Frank E. Graeff
Beloved, He cares.
Just an ordinary moment...