Monthly Archives: February 2015

SITTING ON THE FENCE

winter 2015cThe quiet of the night has arrived. Snow piling up on the grass. Temperatures dropping. Street lights reflecting on the whitening, silent cul-de-sac. Writing, while continuing in my head, has not made it through to my fingertips until tonight. Waiting. Pondering. Seeking. Sitting on the fence.

David’s prayer circles round and round, “I am your servant, give me discernment…” Ps 119:125

Since Epiphany, there has been a distant call echoing through the busyness which I usually find filling my day. It makes me restless and unsure of what it means. Praying for clarity. Praying for signs. Praying that I am wise enough to listen.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” (Isaiah 45:3)

I know His WORD. I know His pormises. I know His voice. I know deep in my heart of hearts where the Light is leading. I drag my feet a little more. I wait in the Land of Later. ‘One more sign,’ I plead. ‘One more encouragement,’ And then I hear His gentle laugh as He replies, “A kick in the butt, perhaps?” I lay my head down on pillow and smile.

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Lk 9:58

I wondered if Jesus dragged His feet at times. There is no place that really says He did..except…at the wedding feast when He told His mother, “My time has not come”, and she continued to prod Him forward. I profess that He is my role-model, so I guess that is my kick in the butt. That old idiom starts rattling from the depths of my memory banks “Get off the fence, Brynie”. It’s hard. Don’t want to. I like the laziness of this new life. Seriously???

Tomorrow will be another snow day. A new National Geographic waits unopened on my table. Plenty of food lines my shelves. Warm clothes, water, flashlights, candles for that “just-in-case” moment. In a few hours, the angel dogs will be dropping their ball at my feet and waiting to play in the white stuff. Hubby will be awake and working on the plans for the new, even smaller home he wants to build on our 4 acres tentatively named Covenant Pines or Kaufman’s Covenant (we probably won’t know till we live there). And me? I’m still dragging my feet, but maybe tomorrow, we will start doing the research of where I “think” I am being led. That’s what Lent is all about. Getting off the fence and starting the journey.

[Akiane art/personal photo]

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DEEP UNTO DEEP

deep-calleth-unto-deepThere is a deep holiness about Ash Wednesday. Harmonic deep waters that flow under me and takes me into a world of which I know little, but one of which I yearn to know so much more. Looking up I see a narrow gate that stands between me and there. I merely have to walk up the hill and walk through. Deep calls unto deep~Ps 42:7.

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.” John 2;1

Yeshua chose to walk up that hill. From that pivotal moment in Cana when his mother looked at Him and said, “They have no more wine”. He knew. Deep called unto deep. He hesitated. Human flesh rebelling. Logical, lineal thinking running interference to sacred, spiritual wisdom. “Woman, why do you involve me?My hour has not yet come.” Deep called unto deep again. Her eyes locked with her child’s. A love prayer floating between them. Seconds? Minutes? Eternity? God time superceded man time. Yeshua nodded, as His eyes lifted to the night skies, and He took a deep breath. Rabbi Yeshua turned back to His mother and Love emanated between them. She nodded as she spoke aloud to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” Deep called unto deep.

Life becomes exceedingly complicated when deep comes to deep. Ash Wednesday reminds me of how truly complicated life can be. Deep continuing to call unto deep. The steep path Rabbi Yeshua chose to travel became even rockier and steeper. A dark shadow fell upon the miracle healer, the sought after rabbi, the hunted curse of the priestly Sanhedrin. Did He talk to His mother? His disciples? The birds of the field? His Father? I smile because I know the answer, ‘Of course He talked to His Father’. Deep calls unto deep.

As I draw an ashy finger upon my forehead and breathe in the essence of frankinscence from my oils, I tremble. I watch the news and see those who stand firm in their faith. Through the swing of the sword, slash of the knife, the heat of the fire……they stand. And I? I tremble. The shadow stands over our world tonight just as it did when Rabbi Yeshua looked down the road towards Jerusalem. Deep is calling unto deep. Can I stand like Him or the 1 or the 21 or the 45? Can you? Can our country? The path is getting rockier…steeper…scarier. The gate appears narrower than it did before at the top of the mount.

Ash Wednesday…Deep calls unto deep. And I tremble.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”.~1 Cor 15:58

[Google images]

SHROVE TUESDAY

pancake_1400cYesterday was a change-over day. As I gathered the Christmas candles from the windows, those final vestiges of Christmas, the darkness appeared a little darker,,,a little scarier. The bright reds of Valentine love were replaced with the gentler shades of shamrocks, little faeries peeked out of their hiding places and whispered, “Spring” to my home, and a transition began within me as well.

Today is “Fat Tuesday”.  It is the literal translation of Mardi Gras. Raised by an ex-king cakecommunicated Canadian Catholic (because he married a protestant), my mom always called it “Shrove Tuesday” which means to strive – to confess. Celebrations from Epiphany to now are culminating as the King cakes and paczki are replaced by fasting, sacrifice and confession. The Lenten season has almost arrived on my doorstep.

I looked out the window for a while tonight. Watched as the snow/sleet mixture covered our front yard as the dogs romped and slid around, enjoying the rare chance to roll in such cold whiteness. My approach to the Lenten season has been different this year. The usual enjoyment has been missing. I’ve been —- I don’t know what I’ve been. Contemplative, perhaps is the closest word I can find. I’ve been reading a lot, praying more and digging into my faith with a big ol’ shovel.

I turn from the window and listen to the dogs and the hubby snore. I smile as their noisy breaths become synchronized. Mumbles emerge out of each of them as the snow/sleet mixture piles a little higher outside. The night has become quieter, and I am listening. For what I do not know. But I am listening.

According to Jewish tradition and law, we are in the middle of a Jewish Shemitah year (Sept. 24, 2014–Sept. 13, 2015). A time to honor God by resting the land and forgiving debt. The 7th year of a 7year period. 2015 is also a Jubilee year (the 7th year of 7 consecutive Shemitahs or in other words – the 49th year in a 50 year period).The 50th year then becomes a year of freedom for the Jewish people. It makes you wonder how closely the Jewish nation is tied to our nation, when you consider the recent history of Shemitah years in 2001 and 2008.

So as Lent approaches once again, I find myself waiting by the window. Listening. Watching. Praying. It is the nature of Lent. It is what Rabbi Yeshua did as He turned His feet towards the cross. I can do no less.

“Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” Lk 29-31

[Google images]

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THE ENDS OF THE EARTH

From the ends of the earth I call to You…”

“From the ends of the earth”… seems like a hyperbole, doesn’t it?  We all know that David wasn’t at the ends of the earth; after all, logic tells us that there are no “ends of the earth”.  Even the North and South Pole are not the “ends”; they are part of the whole circle as much as the cozy warm house you are sitting in right now.  (I know this because I have a childhood friend who is “wintering” over at the South Pole this year, and he is on FB almost as often as he was before he left home.) At the same time – we all know what the perverbial “ends of the earth” feels like.  We have all been there at one point or another in out lives.  

Lonely.

Empty.

Dark.

Desolate.

The “ends of the earth” are a spiritual reality in this world.  It is that spot in our DNA that yearns for something beyond our understanding…beyond our logic…beyond the physical realm as we know it.  That one place only we can know; that unique broken space of time in our individual journeys.  We recognize it all too well and recall far too easily.  That place where we stood alone in  a darkness so heavy that it pushed on our shoulders until we felt as if we will crumble like a cookie.  That place with tangible strong fingers with broken nails  that wrapped around our heart, seized our breath and strangled all thoughts as quickly as they formed.

No  hopes.

No dreams.

No future.

No Light.

“I call as my heart grows faint;”

It is a place that Rabbi Yeshua chose to go 2000+ years ago.  A three year journey to the “ends of the earth”.  He started a journey knowing where it was leading, and still, He turned His feet and stepped upon that very path.  The amazing thing – unlike all the other patriarchs, prophets and sinners that had come before him – His heart did not “grow faint”.  Instead, the beat of His heart picked up on the tempo of His Father’s.  His voice gained strength and echoed throughout the land the WORDs His Father had taught Him.  His miracles boldly proclaimed the love He had come to share.

“lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” — Psalm 61:2

Unlike David, He didn’t need to be led anywhere. He knew exactly where He needed to be and that is where He went as the “ends of the earth” surrounded Him and pushed upon His shoulders. He, too, felt those strong fingers as they tried to squeeze His heart and seize His breath. But – He stood upon His Father’s Rock. He leaned in prayer upon it when He could no longer stand. He threw back His head and spoke His WORD. He declared His Father’s promises by His words and deeds. He stood as a man who trusted His Father implicitly- even as He face the ultimate “ends of the earth”.

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (Is 7: 9)

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Outta Here

seaofgalilee1900_1“Stick it in your ear, Dear, I’m outta here.”

Sometimes – if I am smart enough to listen and to observe all the obvious hints – there are themes that seem to outline my days.   Themes – like – love your husband extra hard today because he needs that extra love to get over a hump in his road;  take dinner to a friend whose husband is battling through cancer treatments once again ; pray for the leaders of this great country because they are confused by so many things in our crazy world;  pray for Israel and her people in the midst of her enemies.  Then there are the themes that shake my world because they encourage me to…get out of the boat…take a leap…jump from the skillet into the fire…  You get it, right?  Sometimes God poses a challenge in those tiny sign posts. And today – I think He went overboard (so to speak) trying to get my attention.  God was hitting me where it hurts…aiming below the belt…taking me to task…

(Ugh – He must have also been handing out a huge cache of idioms as well.)

I love my comfort zone. I love the ease of a slow Sabbath day.  Watching a movie, curling up with a book, playing fetch with my dogs, talking on the phone with an old friend.  Playing and singing songs on my piano.  I even love sitting in my recliner watching my preacher from the comfort of an old chair.  Pause the video, bacaktrack, check the Biblical reference, chuckle over a silly line that he throws in every couple of minutes, cry when the Spirit moves me. I am the proverbial “homebody”.  I have a comfort zone and I love it more than I can say —- until God throws down the gauntlet once again.  Do I pick it up or casually step over it?

“This is the day I get to play,
Watch me, God, along the way.
When I run as fast as I can,
Or build a castle in the sand,
While on a swing and flying high,
Or chasing a yellow butterfly.
This day will be the best of all.
Jumping, skipping, throwing a ball.
Keep me safe. Watch over me and then
Tomorrow, dear God, can I play again?” ~Treasury of Bedtime Prayers by Max & Denalyn Lucado.

It was a simple prayer written for children  that started me thinking how it could be applied to adults – or maybe –  even – to me. As I shared it on FB, I wrote above it: “What a great prayer for all of us on a late Sunday morning – to build a castle – to swing into life – to run towards our goals – to jump and skip and throw all we have into our lives and to trust God with all we do. Amen and amen.”  I didn’t think much about it, until the next thing popped up.hand prayerHmmm…another children’s prayer.  Ok, I thought to myself, this is a prayer day.  I guess I should be on a prayer quest.  What can I read? What Bible verse is needed? Will I miss it?  I was already internally talking to God – too much so – because I obviously didn’t hear Him clearly .

When I tuned into the WORD and shut up, I finally heard His voice clearly. It wasn’t totally about prayer…prayer was just part of it.  Child-like faith was another part of it. (I always love God’s metaphoric speech – when I am wise enough to recognize it.) Mostly, today’s theme was about starting a new journey.  Step-by-wobbly step.  Like a child learning to walk, I am to begin.  And, like a child, I am to have the faith to step out of the boat.  I remind myself that Peter got out of the boat many times – As Simon, when he was called to follow an itenerant rabbi (Matt 4), when he asked this same rabbi for permission to leave the boat and walk upon the water(Matt 14), when this rabbi changed  Simon’s name to Peter and built a new church (Matt 16)…to name just a few.

The gauntlet still lies on the ground.  I continue to look at it and wonder if I am gauntlet-thrown-downbrave enough to pick it up once again.  “I am getting too old for this,” I argue in my head.  Letting my internal dialogue rage, I continue, “It is a journey that will take me out of my comfort zone – AGAIN (sigh) and onto a road that I may not like – at least – in the beginning” (I am pouting rather loudly by this point in our conversation). “Have I ever liked any of Your roads at the beginning?  I think not!”

But if I have learned anything about God at this point in my puny life, I have finally figured out that He keeps His promise.  God loves me.  He loves the risk-taker that I usually keep tightly locked away within me. I know that He reaches out to bless those who choose to pick up His gauntlet as He has always blessed me in the past.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He keeps His promises. I just need to kneel down and pick it up.  I am smiling right now, laughing at myself because even though I whine and drag my feet and roll my eyes (just like all children everywhere), my hand is already reaching out and my eyes are looking up at the Light on my path.

“Outta here, Dear, so stick that in your ear.”