PATH-OF-TOTALITY

This time of year is hard for me.  In part, I know it is because I dislike – intensely – the heat of deep summer and the sinus swelling humidity that tends to go with it.  I surely hope that when Yeshua comes again, or I when get to Heaven (whichever comes first), that there are no such things as humidity and 90+ degree heat.  Hmmmm…then again…maybe the new body we get won’t have sinuses and are impervious to heat. Oooo…super powers….   Seems there are always more and more things I wonder about in the quiet of the day when I just let my brain roam.

However, the real reason this time of year is tough is because I miss the excitement.  The excitement that always pulls at me hard all year round – but really hits exceptionally hard in late August.  Getting a classroom ready – outlining a direction I want to go with a new group of students – incorporating things I learned over the last few years – discarding things that didn’t work – getting a class list and praying over each student and their family – greeting co-workers in quiet hallways and praying for them, our school district and challenges ahead.  Now that is excitement.

This year all my Grands are in school.  One taking his first steps into more formal education.  The oldest two starting their first steps away from  the parental nest and entering college.  Excitement everywhere.  In NC, double excitement layers over the initial days as schools prepare to show students in real time the first “path-of-totality” solar eclipse in anyone’s lifetime.  While there have been many total and partial eclipses over the years, it is rare that one eclipse will be able to be seen in every state of the United States as either a total or partial eclipse.  The last time it happened was 1776.

It is interesting to note that in Jewish tradition, the day of August 21st ends as the solar eclipse ends.  Thus, begins Rosh Chodesh and the new month of Elul.  This intrigues me in several of ways.  First, this festival honors the faith of Jewish women who stood their ground when everyone was pressuring them to give up their gold to make the “golden calf”. Secondly, Catholic tradition also has a holy day on the 22nd of August called the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Third, the month of Elul triggers a month of repentance that leads into the Jewish High Holy Days.

Women who stand in their faith – Jewish and Gentile.  A month of repentance. A sign in the sky. Is it any wonder, I am intrigued? Is there a hint in all of this that God wants us to see or is it just a rare natural occurrence that stirs us with its beauty?

My teacher self always whispers there is something to learn in everything we see, everything we do, every encounter, every circumstance – even in the very day-to-day activity of life.  So why not a solar eclipse?   Remember the old story? That long ago in separate countries far, far away from here, wisemen set out to follow a star.  They didn’t know exactly what they would find.  They just had faith enough to follow the sign.  A sign that was foretold long before them.  A sign in the heavens.

When I look at those three things, the one that pulls at me the most is the month of repentance.  Our country is hurting.  It has strayed from the days of standing on foundational rock and instead, slides to and fro on the shifting sands of society’s tidal waves. Perhaps the solar eclipse is meant to be a reminder – a call.  Just as teaching calls to me every August to remember, perhaps Our Father is calling out His own reminder. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”~Matt 3:2

Tomorrow is the 21st of August. Tomorrow is the 29th of Av.  Tomorrow is Monday.  Tomorrow is, for some, the start of school. Tomorrow is the “path-of-totality” solar eclipse. Tomorrow is exciting.  Tomorrow is hard. Tomorrow is full of possibilities and choices.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if women of faith chose to stand united on the firm foundation of His WORD? 

Wouldn’t it be interesting if all the children of Our Father chose to experience a month of repentence on that same firm foundation?

Wouldn’t it be interesting to seek a sign just as the wisemen did so long ago on the Path-of-Totality?

 “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:  And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth’ and it was so.  And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light on the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”~Gen 1:14-19nasa_eclipse_map

Advertisements

SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

Back in the ol’ days when families were large and relatives rarely moved further than 30 miles away, cousins were part of the fabric of our lives.  They were at our home or we were at theirs. We played.  We went to church together. We played again. Their parents babysat us for various reasons. We played and played and played. We went to family reunions.  Where – you guessed it, we played some more. We were family. 

Now Mom was not the best cook in the world, but her sisters definitely made up for it. Aunt Polly could make real spaghetti that didn’t come out of a box.  Aunt Nancy made fried chicken to die for while Mom only made the cereal-coated, baked kind.  And – dessert at either house was mouthwatering.  However – to be fair – Mom could make some really good desserts – – -when she didn’t get busy doing something else and burn whatever was in the oven. (Unlike most of my cousins and friends, I had no idea that chocolate chip cookies weren’t mean to be hard and burned on the bottom until I went to college.)

Gonna take a sentimental journey.
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a sentimental journey,
To renew old memories.

This has been a week full of sentimental journeys.  Sentimental journeys that included my cousins. I LOVED going to my cousins’ homes – whether for a week of “camp” (while Mom and Dad had their own “vacation”) or just for a day of family “get-together”.  Didn’t matter if we only went across town or drove for an hour.  It was a “cousin” adventure.

This week has been one of those weeks when the bittersweet memories have drifted across my brain on a fairly regular basis since I’ve been recovering from an inner ear infection.  Most times, I don’t have a great re-call of my childhood.  Not sure why, but when something triggers a memory, I am blessed with some tears and a smile.  This week one of my cousins decided to join the rest of the McCaskey clan in heaven so the trigger was pulled back.

Got my bag, got my reservation.
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
Long to hear that “All aboard”

Mike was one of those baby cousins that I tended to ignore on most of our visits. One – he was a boy. Two – when he was born, I was entering my teen years.  Except for getting paid for babysitting, I didn’t care much for babies. They are cute, but they don’t do much.  I remember Aunt Nancy’s house because there were lots of cousins, there were babies, and there were bunk beds. Bunk beds, to my way of thinking, were the absolute wonder of the world. There was lots of space to run outside. There were new games of pretend to enact.   And – they got 2 more TV stations then we did – or maybe they just got a different station then we did.  After all – homes that got 3 stations all the time were hard to find.

Pretend games of being a flying horse who could change into a human was my favorite.  But one time, when the McCaskey sisters had a mini reunion at Aunt Nancy’s house and all the cousins were there, the 3 girl cousins decided to take on the way too many boy cousins.  I remember we blockaded the bedroom door and were jumping from bunk bed to bunk bed. I was a midnight black panther who, of course, could change into a person.  Eventually, I was set loose from the confines of the bedroom and led the chase of all who dared torment us.

How it ended – I have no idea.  I just remember the chase, the laughter, the meals, and the love of family surrounding all of us as we fought, played, fell on each other and prayed together at night where I got to sleep in one of those dreamy bunk beds.  Sentimental journeys always bring a treasure forward in this crazy brain of mine. Bittersweet or not – I love walking backwards for a short time and just letting the memories push me towards home. 

Never thought my heart could be so ‘yearny’.
Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that sentimental journey,
Sentimental journey home.

Blessed is God The Father of Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah, The Father of mercy and The God of all comfort, He who comforts us in all our afflictions that we also can comfort those who are in all our afflictions, with that comfort by which we are comforted from God.”~2 Cor 1:3-4 

WADE IN THE WATER

“Children wade in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water…”

When you have water behind the ear, ya just feel like you are wading in water that has definitely been troubled. The boat tips and rocks while the thunder booms – it just happens all inside your head instead of on the outside. Bright side – I can stay dry when this happens. No jumping in the water for me.

I keep trying to look past these troubling waters waiting to see the bridge that I know is out there. You know the one – the “bridge over troubled waters”. The bridge that is sturdy. The bridge that will lift me out of the waters. I know it is out there, just waiting round that next bend in the waterway. All I need to do is get a hand hold on it and pull myself up.

Seems like there are lots of “troubled waters” in this world. The days of just enjoying the Land of Milk and Honey seem far away. The days when I could just focus on me. Then I remember that is probably what got the world into all these crazy waters in the first place. Me vs. we.

I remember back in my college years feeling much the same way. I just wanted to focus on me – what I wanted – where I wanted to be – the happy ending at the end of the fairae tale. Sitting on The Oval, singing with friends from choir, picnicking with a special fellow on a hillside or losing the watch my father gave me in Mirror Lake during the traditional dunking – contrasted sharply to those of dodging protesters, plugging my ears to the sirens, hiding behind cars, cancelled classes, May 4, 1970.

“Look over yonder, what did I see?
God’s gonna trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming for me
God’s gonna trouble the water.”

Troubled waters exist in every generation. During the Civil War, this song was often associated with Harriet Tubman [Moses] and the escape route to the north. It was not a Land of Milk and Honey then, it is not a Land of Milk and Honey now. Land masses are made up of humans who tend to choose sin-of-me first and grace-of-we later.

I like to think that God troubles the water to remind me that He is still there. When I have calm waters, I tend to just cruise on the surface of that easy current. Gently rocking to and fro. Drifting wherever it seems to carry me. Not looking beyond the next bend. Relying on my physical sight instead of my spiritual sight. Until – the storm arises – the cascades appear – the water dries up – or – scary thought – the boat develops a hole.

“Jewish mystical tradition teaches that divinity flows into the world through desire, ours as well as God’s.”~Rabbi Marcia Prager

in times of troubled waters, I pull out the WORD and look at passages that remind me that when God troubles the water good things happen. I especially like the story in John 5 where God sends an angel to “trouble” – stir up – the waters in the baptismal pool. It reminds me to be aware – strong enough in my faith to recognize the differences that exist in troubled waters. Some are meant to be jumped into – and others you look for the bridge or rely on the Captain of the boat.

“For an Angel descended from time to time to the baptismal and moved the water for them; whoever first descended after the moving of the water was cured of all sickness whatever he had.”~Jn 5:4

The good news – troubled waters don’t last long. Just long enough to get one thinking and searching out those bridges or jumping in to grab the miracle. However – there are days when my head feels like it is taking a pounding on every side of the boat – slipping and sliding with the rollicking motion that makes my stomach roll even more – when all I really want is to curl up and read Zechariah 14 over and over. Where everything and everyone will be inscribed with the words: HOLY TO THE LORD.

“On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite [deciever] in the house of the Lord Almighty.”~Zech 14:20-21

In the mean time. troubled waters exist. The boat rocks and I bury my head in the WORD – not the sand – the WORD. Don’t want to miss my chance at grabbing that miracle or the bridge that will give me a handhold out of these troublesome waters. The good news – Christ is actually captaining my little boat with me and even if I miss the bridge – miss the miracle, He holds it all in the palm of His scarred hand. He calms the water, turns the wheel in the right direction, and points the way home. Ani Lo.

“If you don’t believe I’ve been redeemed
God’s gonna trouble the water
Just follow me down to the Jordan’s stream
God’s gonna trouble the water.”

ANI LO

Weather perfect. Patio swing while reading a book even more perfect. Watching the humming birds and the butterflies dart around the garden beyond perfect. Days to whisper, “Ani Lo. Ani Lo.” These are the kind of days that make one forget that the gates of the original perfect garden are locked and guarded by the flaming sword of an archangel.
 
The curse began on that day. Hiding in the bushes. Furtive glances. Rebellious excuses. Until that one special day when the curse was broken. But once again – the Bride rejected the gift. Locked, hidden gates until the Bride gathers her wits (which – even now – seem to be severely hampered by the Bride’s own selfish desires), makes the journey through the desert to the Promised Land with shouts that reverberate against the land, “Ani Lo. Ani Lo.”
 
“The entire people raised their voices and cried out,
and the people wept on that night.”~Num 14:1
 
By Jewish calendar, tonight’s sundown is the beginning of the 9th of Av. A cursed day. A day when the Jewish people rejected their Father’s gift and mourned their fate instead of rejoicing at the wedding feast of their people to a new land.
 
Actions have consequences.
 
Jewish tradition teaches that a day which should have been spent rejoicing and dancing became a day for mourning and rending of clothes for real. A day that continually brings sadness to the Jewish people. A day to fast and remember that actions have consequences.
 
There are many incidents recorded in Jewish His-story on this day.The first temple (423 BCE) – the second temple (69 CE) – both destroyed on the 9th of Av. Continuing through the centuries like a slithering serpent always striking the Jewish people on the same day. A few of many:
133 CE – final Roman conquest.
1290 CE – Jews expelled from England.
1492 CE – final date the Jewish people were allowed to live in Spain.
1914 the War to end all wars that continued into WWII and the Holocaust began on this date.
 
“…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”~Rm 5:3-5
 
Rabbi Yeshua was raised with Jewish traditions and His-story. He understood that actions have consequences. His actions broke the curse but not the people. He couldn’t demand they accept His wedding gift. After all, free will was a gift from the beginning. All He could do was offer the gift and wait to hear her response…
 
“Ani Lo. Ani Lo.” [google images]

THE BLESSING CUP

“I will give you the treasures of darkness…”

The first time I read this verse was in college. Like God’s first people, I was roaming a desert. A hot, dirty, messy and full of dangerous serpents desert. Hissing. Snapping at my heels. Catching my eye with all their flashiness serpents. Drawing me deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

“…riches stored in secret places,…”

Perhaps it was the prayers of my parents – perhaps it was because a job as a church soloist kept my eyes and ears opened – – perhaps I was just lucky I wasn’t completely pig-headed – – – or –
– – perhaps it happens to all desert wanders – – – – that there are always moments when water bubbles up, manna drops from the sky into a blessing cup and a voice calls out. “Here I AM! Here I Am!”~Is 65:1

“…so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”~Is 45:3

I found a blessing cup today when I went to Goodwill. I immediately reached out to touch it. It was a 1976 copy of “The Living Bible”. The soft green, leather was the same as the one that traveled with me when I wandered my own personal desert in the early 70’s. It had been a gift from a friend who had been lost in that desert with me. Over the years, it somehow disappeared from my bed-stand.

The blessing cup of my past had re-appeared. God never forgets His promise no matter how minimal or how large. Smiling, I needed this reminder today. I also wasn’t surprised when it kept popping up in my devotions and daily wanderings for the rest of my day.

His WORD is full of stories that remind us of this. One of my favorite “His-stories” is that of Zacharias and Elizabeth. You probably know the story – faithful, loving, Godly couple who never lost faith even though they had never had their dearest prayer answered – – to have a child.

Here’s the Jewish wisdom behind story. Zacharias is actually Zicharvah in Hebrew. His name means, “God Remembers”. Likewise, Elizabeth is Elishevah. Her name means “Oath of God”. When they married and became united as one, their names gave a message, “God remembers oaths of God”. Better yet, when Elizabeth gave birth, they named him, John or Yochanan, which means, “Grace of God”.

The blessing cup is full tonight. The daily water turned to rich, sweet wine. Drinking it in, I close my eyes and seek His presence. God remembers His promises and brings grace to the world.

It is good to find treasures in darkness – riches stored in secret places – because it is then we find the blessing cup. Blessing cups that are always waiting to be found even in a desert filled with serpents. [google images]Patricia Polacco Blessing Cup

MOUNTAIN OF ATTITUDE

Like usual, many thoughts have flitted through my head over the last few hours. The living stream of water has a tendency to do that to me. Posts on FB tend to do that as well. Conversations with friends and family rank right up there.  I think I see a patern emerging. Flittering thoughts are like butterflies – roaming from one flower – to a tree branch – to the dirt in front of me where I touch its black and blue wing with wonder.

One of those thoughts stuck with me all day. It was an image more than a thought of words. The image of the three crosses on a hill. The crowd thinning out as the sky darkened. Weeping, huddling stragglers all that remain. A thief on one side. A murder on the other. A man with a crown of thorns in the middle.

I’m not sure why this image has been in my head all day. The clarity of it – the starkness – the hauntingly, lonely sound of weeping. I wonder again. Would I have wandered away with the masses? Disappointed that the One in the middle did not provide more of a show like He had just a few days ago when He came to Jerusalem? Would I have laughed and derided Him like my contemporaries? Would I have laughed and cast lots for his meager, bloodied mantle? Would I have fallen to my knees like His mother in pain and sorrow?

At different points in my life, I could have answered any of those questions with a resounding, affirmative answer. Denied. Ridiculed. Hated. Loved. Wept.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you whenever they revile you and persecute you and they say every evil word against you for My sake, in falsehood. Then rejoice and triumph, because your reward is great in Heaven, for just so they persecuted The Prophets who were before you.”~Matt 5:10-12 [ABPE]

He knew. Even as He spoke the words to the crowd, He knew. He outlined the whole thing in His Beatitudes. Faith is a mountain of attitude. Blessed are those who figure it out for they become HUMBLE at the bottom of the mountain of faith. Surrender. Face the ugliness of personal sins. Crawl on hands and knees to the base of the mountain ahead humble. It is then I see Him. The Man in the middle walks down the mountain and reaches out His callused hand that has a name carved in its palm.

Mine. My name. My sins.

MOURN-ing, crying, remembering, He comforts and leads my faltering steps up the mountain. MEEK-ly, I follow. Stumbling here or there, but the earth feels more sturdy under my feet. Wishing I knew the way. Wishing I had a map. Instead, I trust this Shepherd who walks where mountain goats fear to tread.His RIGHTEOUSNESS becomes my constant companion, and contentment fills my soul.

Looking down the other side of the mountain, I still wish I had a map. The first few steps are more confident. MERCY seems an easier step. Contented, full, I view the step where He stands.  It looks easy, but praying for enemies and old hurts are never easy in reality. The deceptive step shows me how hard MERCY remains for me.  His hand reaches again, and I feel the MERCY in His touch – see it in His eyes.  Forgiven, I step down.

Aching. Weary. But strangely – eager.  Eager to see God.  Eager to be His child once more. I can see the places where the stone has been cut just large enough to hold my feet. PURE IN HEART and PEACEMAKER footholds waiting. Yet, the Shepherd has given me some practice at both of them, so I have a little more confidence. I’m just a little leary of that last attitude, and yet – even so – I know the Shepherd will guide me forward and through it as well – – – in His timing with His grace.

Climbing a mountain is formidable without a guide. Scraped knees. Calloused hands. Sliding back down when a foot slips or a hand-hold breaks way. My Shepherd guides me through the hardest places as I climb down the other side. The difference is the faith that cushions every step I take. The peace that passeth all understanding. The freedom to choose purity of heart. The absolute freedom of freedom of Love and Faith. The freedom to climb a mountain of attitude and smile even in my frailty. [google images]

BEATITUDE ATTITUDE

For most of my life, I have struggled with learning the Beatitudes. Seriously! As a 10 year old, I remember lying under the canopy of my dream bed, memorizing them for the first time. For some reason beyond my memory file folders, I had decided to add them to my nightly bedtime litany of prayers while Mom braided my hair.

Lord’s Prayer. 23 Third Psalm. Prayers for family. Now-I-lay-me down-to-sleep-amen-prayers.

I have memorized poems, multiple lines in multiple plays, songs, other Bible verses and quotes by the hundreds. But for whatever reason – the Beatitudes seem to have an attitude about sticking around and hanging out with me. They stick in my head for a mirco-second, only to evaporate as quickly as a shallow puddle on a hot, sunny sidewalk.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit…”

Believe me, I have felt “poor in spirit” when it comes to these 8 verses. What was it? Was it me? Was there a message buried in this? When I first retired to NC, I thought, “Okay, I’ve got time to do this now.” I wrote them – memorized them – pooofffff!!! It was so frustrating. I needed to figure this out, and I needed help.

“…for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”~Matt 5:3

Often answer-to-prayer-blessings have a way or manner of showing up when you least expect them. Earlier this summer, when a local minister began a series on the Beatitudes in his weekly newspaper column, I thought, “Cool. 8 Beatitudes – 8 weeks study. This time, I can get a handle on them.”

“Blessed are the humble, the broken. the servant, the lost…”Rev. Stephen Crotts.

Green pen.

Note cards.

And – after prayers have been said, I repeat them all and hop into bed.

Once again, I think I have them in my head. It is too soon to tell if they will stick around for the long run or pull another attitude and head for the hills. However, I think Our Father is not leaving anything to chance this time. After all when He answers faith prayers, He usually blesses them beyond compare. With that in mind, guess what my church minister is doing his new series on? You got it – “The Attitude of Blessing”.

Okay then – – –

Cool.

8 Beatitudes – 8 weeks.

Green pen in hand.

Note cards.

And – after prayers have been said, I repeat them all and hop into bed.

God is good all the time. All the time, God is good.  [google image]

beatitudes

42 SEGMENTS

Most mornings find me walking with the dogs and Hubby busy doing something important – like earning money for us to spend on the fixer-upper or bartering for mushrooms from a local grower in our neighborhood. Each of us on our own separate journey and yet – a joint journey as well.

“I remember how eager you were to please Me
as a young bride long ago,
how you loved Me and followed Me
even through the barren wilderness.
In those days Israel was holy to the LORD,
the first of His children.”~Jer 2:2-3

Jewish traditions have the people studying the Torah and holy books every week of the year. They do it in order; each week dedicated to teaching and reminding them of the depths of the journeys – massei – that they have taken together as a people both in the past to the present day. The studies are taught the same week year after year.

The interesting thing for me is that rabbinical wisdom says these 40 years are the blueprint of each individual’s spiritual journey as well. Our own personal journey in the desert – the dry place far from the Source of Life. The blistering of feet on hot sand of choices. The parched throat from lack of not drinking from the streams of living water. A place where the physical challenges the spiritual – pushing the individual/tribe forward to fall – to find its knees of – teshuva/repentance – to stand once more in the shadow of the cross.

Jewish wisdom says that there are 42 segments of the tribal desert journey – good and bad – as there are 42 segments in our personal desert journey – good and bad – but all leading to a reunification between the Father and His prodigal children.

“But he who looks into the perfect Torah of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” ~Jm1:25

I really need to study this desert journey of the Jewish people instead of just giving it that cursory nod that I have in the past. Looking at the different segments of their journey and comparing it to my own faltering – stopping dead in the desert – throwing down the tablets of law – finding the stream of living water – energized enough to start the journey once more.

Most of the time when I am walking the dogs, I keep my eyes focused on the next hill, cars that are coming a little too fast down the our road, or how close I am to that promise land in the middle where I can sit on the swing on our neighbors’ porch and see the neighborhood world from a different vantage point.

Jewish wisdom also says that as the journey progresses, the less we see overt miracles. Hence the name – a journey by faith not by sight. As long as I don’t lose faith in that Land of Milk and Home/the Promised Land or the One who is preparing my room, I know that no matter how challenging or scary the journey is – how much my knees or feet hurt – how thick the dust storm is that clouds my sight, I will make it. The Living Waters supply the Word that keeps me from thirsting for I know ‘…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Rm 8:28

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me”~Jn 14:1

[google images]

KHANAN-YAH

I am – officially – my mom.
 
When I was little, all the drapes in the house would be pulled closed on freezing, snow-capped or sizzling, burn-the-feet-on-the-stone-tarred-road kind of days. I swore that would never happen at my house. In fact – who wants drapes at all? Who wants a darkened house when trees, the richness of the sky and flowers and critters are so much better?
 
[sigh. double sigh]
 
I do.
 
I’ve found that not only does it save me money on that dreadfully high end-of-the-month-bill, but it sucks me right back to being 7 or 9 or 15 or 18 or 66 – curled up in a scratchy, over-stuffed chair, reading a library book, Chico in my lap, and the soft hum of the fan lulling me deeper into whatever imaginary world caught my attention that day.
 
“The Grace of God touches our lives, that removes our blindness, and allows us to see.”~Rabbi Cahn, p195, Mysteries
 
Rabbi Cahn re-tells the story of Saul of Tarsus being blinded as he traveled to Damascus to continue his persecution of those who continued to follow Yeshua. I love reading Cahn’s stories of the New Testament because he always brings forward the Jewish wisdom that most of us have never heard – – – like a scraper that has come through, widened, smoothed and cleared the path I have been traveling for years.  My inner child takes over and makes me just want to skip down the path because I know home is just around the corner.
 
“Now there was a believer in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him in a vision, calling, “Ananias!” “~Acts 9:10
 
Actually – Ananias is the accepted English translation of the Hebrew name Khanan-Yah. How many times have I read this story? Acted it out in Bible school? Sang it in song? Yet – I didn’t know the story behind the story. After all – how important is the name of the man that Saul saw after being blinded by the Glory of God? I didn’t know that Khanan-Yah in Hebrew means “Grace of God. Thus, the man who touched Saul 3 days later became the first person Saul saw was – – – wait for it – – – was named “Grace of God”.
 
Thus – Saul became new by the “Grace of God” in more ways than one.
 
Now really – how essential is that to the story? How powerful is this loving Father who never misses the smallest detail as He continually reaches out to us in every story recorded in His book? Again, I ponder those small details that rush at me and in wonder my breath catches deep in my soul.
 
Home – where there are no drapes on the windows.
 
“Then Khanan-Yah went to the house to him and laid a hand upon him and said to him, “Shaul, my brother, our Lord Yeshua who appeared to you on the road, when you came, has sent me so that your eyes would be opened and you would be filled with The Spirit of Holiness.”~Acts 9:17-18 Aramaic Bible in Plain English.
 
As we age, we realize that parents are much smarter than we originally gave them credit for. Tonight, the house is quiet. Hubby is riding the 4 wheeler. The TV satellite is quiet due to a nearby storm. The fan is humming, and I’m curled up in my recliner, kitty stretched out by my side, writing words on a computer, and drapes on the windows.
 
[sigh. double sigh]
 
I still prefer not to have drapes anywhere in my house, and as soon as this hot weather passes, they will probably come down and be stuffed in the linen closet until they are needed again. This summer has been full of surprises that reminded me of my parents. The century plant my mom gave me in college bloomed for the first time – ever. We hung a swing just like the one we used to have in our yard when I was a kid. We hung drapes to cover our windows.
 

Homes are a reflection of us. Our pasts. Our needs. Our hopes. Our dreams.  Our future. And – I guess – until Yeshua Christus comes again, I will need drapes occasionally, need to enjoy the darkened quiet while a fan softly hums, need to skip down a path – a path towards home that has been prepared just for me. But sometimes – I sure wish I could skip a little faster.

 

HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON…

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”
 
I often wake up with songs in singing in my head – sometimes two at the same time – and don’t even ask me how that is possible because I have no idea. I just hear them weaving together as if they were always meant to do that. Then I spend the day with two songs singing on and off in my head.
 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah…”
 
When I was little, “Battle Hymn” was a big part of my life. We sang it in school, church and most every year my dad directed the local legion show. Patriotic songs were always that grand finale that brought down the house. Between “God Bless America” and “Battle Hymn” that post WWII crowd was on its feet at the end of every show and this Daddy’s Girl logged it all in her heart.
 
Julia Ward Howe was always a familiar name, but like most things you learn in the early years of life, it faded. So tonight I got busy and looker her up. Apparently,- like me – she heard things such as lyrics and poems in her head at night as well. One night in 1861, she woke up and wrote the lyrics that became “Battle Hymn”.
 
“Glory, glory, Hallelujah…”
 
Like many of us, she had problems to overcome – a motherless childhood, dreams not fulfilled the way she thought they should be, decisions she regretted, living in a country steeply divided, a war-torn nation. By 1862, “Battle Hymn” was published in the Atlantic Monthly and the country had found a rallying point.
 
Anyway – this morning as I was beginning that slow process of trying to convince my eyes to open, the last verse of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was singing loudly in my head. I don’t know if the whole song was sung before I woke up or whether it was just the last verse that serenaded me awake. But there you go.
 
“His Truth is marching on…”
 
There is something powerful in those words that she wrote in the middle of the night. Something that transcends our finite time lines. Something that circles and calls to me every time I sing it or hear it. Something that speaks just as the Father speaks. Something that speaks to a “Daddy’s Girl”.
 
He speaks creatively.
He speaks with love.
He speaks through a man who broke His gift of tablets on this date thousands of years before (17th of Tamuz).
He speaks even though the temple destructions.
He speaks through His Son who was born across the sea…
 
“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
while God is marching on.”
 
“His Truth is marching on….”