Wednesday, January 18, 2017

I've heard it in the chillest land...


Bethany has been doing a school project with this classic poem by Emily Dickinson.
I thought about it this morning when I saw this sweet bluebird at the zoo.

"Hope" is the Thing With Feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.


I heard--and saw--plenty of hope in the chillest land this morning.
Photographers have to be some of the most hope-filled people around.
If you're carrying a camera around, it probably means you're expecting good things to happen!
Today I saw that my driveway was a skating rink, which means a nasty drive to school,
but the zoo's not far away.  This is what it looks like when I get "called in to work".





As I saw these little creatures that God made out in the cold,
I thought about how tenacious hope is.



I thought, too, about the end of the poem that says
"it never asked a crumb of me".
As Bethany observed, hope is a gift.
A gift that, by the grace of God,
is offered to all.





My venturing out was rewarded, of course.




The worst of conditions from a human perspective
are glorious from other perspectives.


Out of adversity, hope.
May hope sing its song in your heart,
loud and clear, what ever your circumstances today!


Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Relay


For a long time I have viewed the life of faith as a relay, 
the baton passed from one generation of believers to the next.

I love the depiction of it from the book of Hebrews, 
where a long list of heroes of faith
(spoiler alert: most of them didn't look all that heroic at the outset!)
is given in chapter eleven,
and then summarized in the final verses :

"Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary,
got their hands on what was promised.  
God had a better plan for us: 
that their faith and our faith would come together
to make one completed whole,
their lives of faith not complete apart from ours."

(Hebrews 11:39-40, The Message)

Then in the next verses, the beginning of chapter twelve, 
the author uses the language of the relay race--
those whose leg has already been run 
cheering the others on until the end.

One of my favorites finished his leg of the race this week.
Bob was one of the most faithful people I have ever met,
running with all his being to the very end
to introduce people near and far to Jesus.
He prayed as though he required it to breathe.
He was one of the founders of our church,
and he loved it fiercely.
He never had physical children, 
but no father ever took his role more seriously
than Bob took his role as a spiritual father
nurturing the next generation of believers.

How I will miss running with him.
But I'm so encouraged to know he sees the finish line
from where he stands cheering the rest of us on.