Monthly Archives

February 2017

A Prayer of Trust (Thomas Merton)

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MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I am following your will does not mean that in fact I am doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

Primary Wonder (A Poem)

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In the busyness of these days, this poem of Denise Levertov may call us to pay attention to what matters most (Leighton).

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention; they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; caps and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything.
rather than void; and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire

Two Prayers For Fear-Filled Times

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For our fear-saturated society this prayer of George McDonald is salutary:

Keep me from wrath, let it seem every so right:
My wrath will never work thy righteousness.
Up, up the hill, to the whiter than snow-shine,
Help me to climb, and dwell in pardon’s light.
I must be pure as thou, or ever less
Than thy design of me – therefore incline
My heart to take men’s wrongs as thou tak’st mine.

Another prayer I like of his

Be thou the well by which I lie and rest;
Be thou my tree of life, my garden ground;
Be thou my home, my fire, my chamber blest,
My book of wisdom, loved of all the best;
Oh, by my friend, each day still newer found,
As the eternal days and nights go round!
Nay, nay – thou art my God, in whom all loves are bound!

Leighton Ford

Introducing An Artist, Melanie Spinks (Leighton Ford)

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Melanie Spinks is a gifted artist whom I met through Gordon-Conwell Seminary here in Charlotte. She had a successful career as an artist in Charleston, SC, before completing her seminary work and then sensing a call back to Charlotte.

Melanie works in multi-media – her sculpture and painting works are quite outstanding. One of her major installations is a high display in the new hall of mission at the seminary here – quite impressive!

I am also impressed with her call to serve the Lord in art – both in her own works, and encouraging other Christian artists, and making a bridge between churches and artists. She is also a gifted speaker and writer.

I have been privileged as a friend and mentor to know Melanie, to sense her keen theological mind, and deep love for Christ and the church.

Please read her artist’s statements on her website, view her work – you will be impressed and delighted.

Her works ‘Your Promise, My Peace’ (above) and ‘The Heavenly Anthem’ (below) will give you a taste.

To see more, just click here.

Patinated Metals with Silvered Glass

Readings For A Valentine (Leighton Ford)

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“Science tells us that the more symmetrical a face is, the more beautiful it is …

“More often than not it is the inner beauty of heart and mind that illuminates the face. A smile can completely transform a face. Ultimately, it is the soul that makes the face beautiful. Each face is its own landscape …

“This is also the grace that love brings into one’s life. As the soul can render the face luminous so too can love turn up the hidden light within a person’s life …

“When we say to someone: ‘You are beautiful’ it is … a recognition and invocation of the dignity, grandeur and grace of their spirit …

“When we affirm another’s beauty, we affirm something that cannot be owned or drawn into the small-mindedness or emotional need.”

-John O’Donohue in Beauty

 

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

-2 Corinthians 3:18

Civilized? How About Just Civil?

By | Reflections/Essays | No Comments

Gandhi was once asked what he thought of Western civilization. He said he thought it was a good idea!.

Consider these words of William H. McNeill, a Canadian (!) who taught at the University of Chicago. Arnold Toynbee described his book The Rise of The West as the most lucid narrative presentation of world history that he knew. It’s a pretty hefty volume in both senses – weight and weightiness.

“Civilizations may be likened to mountain ranges, rising through aeons of geologic time, only to have the forces of erosion slowly but ineluctably nibble them down to the level of their surroundings. Within the far shorter time span of human history, civilizations, too are liable to erosion as the special constellation of circumstances which provoked their rise passes away.”

Does that make you wonder where we are as a “civilization” – certainly in terms of our civility?

Leighton Ford

Holy Laughter (Leighton Ford)

By | Life with God | No Comments

Nancy Malone, a Catholic writer/teacher, author of Walking a Literary Labyrinth quotes H. L. Mencken’s definition of puritanism: “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Of course that’s from that very irascible Baltimore journalist

Not all puritans are that grim.

Malone also writes,

“I often look around in church at the utterly expressionless faces singing ‘Alleluia! Alleluia!’ and wonder why we don’t let our faces know what our lips are saying.”

I have noticed that dullness in worship from time to time (and have been guilty of it myself).

So I like to remind myself from time to time of C. S. Lewis’ more encouraging conviction.

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

 

Leighton Ford

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