Psalm 119: 73-80
Jeremiah 24: 1-10
Romans 9: 19-33
John 9: 1-17
Tenderness gets out of bounds
Like scent escapes the rose –
It pushes into crevices
And leaves the heart exposed.
A moment’s gone, a flower fades
But nothing’s quite the same –
It’s something you remember
Like the rose remembers rain.
Anna W. Rice
Deuteronomy 11: 18-28
Hebrews 5: 1-10
Lately I have been thinking about my life and what I want to do next. Part of my consideration is reviewing what I’ve already done. Thinking about what I would like my life to be about. How am I using the time I have? Is there something I could accomplish? Have I helped people? How can I be of service in the future?
Some days here, I feel I’m on a retreat. I do physical labor. Keeping fires going. Getting in wood. Housekeeping chores. Then I spend time sitting and being quiet.
There’s a tree in the front yard that I’ve developed a closeness with. Just spending time looking at it. It’s a wonderful tree. So alive and beautiful. Watching its branches dancing in the wind. Imagining myself dancing with it. Watching its leaves turn yellow in the fall. It was so beautiful! The, watching as the leaves fell. It was sad. I didn’t want the leaves to fall of the tree. But when it became bare, I saw a broken limb just hanging there. It seemed out of place. I even went out and tried to knock it off bit it was too high and too big. Some time later, a most unusal thing happened. While I was looking at the tree, a strong wind came up, and blew the limb off. I actually saw it loosen and fall to the ground. What a dramatic moment! The tree released it. Then the branches were lighter and freer. They went up higher. What a gift to have witnessed it! It felt like a gift from the tree to me. After consideration, I gathered some of the broken limb as firewood. It seemed the right thing to do. Part of the cycle of lie.
So maybe it’s ok to do the small things. maybe it’s ok that I haven’t saved the world yet.
Something else touched me; I would like to pass on – from A Course in Miracles (page 474). “The Christ in you is very still. He knows where you are going, and heleads you there in gentleness and blessing all the way.”
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
Hebrews 10: 16-25
John 18:1 – 19:42
Today we remember the cross of Christ. Yet all too often people miss what was important. In the movie “The Passion of Christ” Mel Gibson implies how much Christ suffered is what matters. Yet this is not the point for Christians.
Paul reflects, “For just as by the one man’s (Adam) disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:10) In the great “Christ hymn” in Philippians 2:6-11 he makes the point clearly. Christ “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”
The great British Congregationalist theologian, P. T. Forsyth, insists salvation is not due to punishment suffered on our behalf but to obedience in place of our disobedience. “The active and effective principle in the work of Christ was the perfect obedience of holy love which he offered under the conditions of sin, death and judgment.” Forsyth sums up pungently: “The atoning thing was not obedient suffering but suffering obedience.”
Lashes do not save; humiliation does not save; suffering does not save; but the “obedience of holy love” led to lashes, himilation, and suffering. How awe-full!