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Thirst (A Poem)

By | Poetry | No Comments

Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell: grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers by which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.

Mary Oliver

You Are Where You Are Meant To Be (Richard Halverson)

By | Prayer | No Comments

Wherever you go, God is sending you.
Wherever you are, God has put you there.
God has a purpose in your being right where you are.
Christ, who indwells you by the power of his Spirit,
wants to do something in and through you.
Believe this and go in his grace, his love, his power.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Dr. Richard Halverson (for many years chaplain of the U.S. Senate)

Hope and Endurance (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections and Readings | No Comments

This morning in a blog by James Howell, pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church of Charlotte, I found these quotes.

“Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty
that what we are looking for is going to transpire.”

“If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified.”

From My Utmost for His Highest
Oswald Chambers
February 22.

Somehow they spoke to my condition today – so I want to share them with you – perhaps they will speak to you too.

Watching Nouwen During Lent (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections/Essays, Videos | No Comments

In the last few days I have been listening to a series by the late Henri Nouwen on The Life of the Beloved.

I never met Henri, and he died (quite young) before I might have.

But through his writings – and this video series – I feel as I have met him. His face is strong, his voice powerful.

The video series can be found on YouTube – here.

As I see him speaking to a large group  I hear God’s voice – the “first voice” as Nouwen describes it – saying again what I personally need to hear, over and over.

The voice that said to Jesus, “You are my beloved” speaks also to you and me.

These talks have been good for me these Lenten days – they may be for you too!

Leighton Ford

Stone (A Poem)

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The first book of a poet should be called Stone
Or Evening, expressing in a single word
The modesty of being part of the earth,
The goodness of evening and stone, beyond the poet.

The second book should have a name blushing
With a great generality, such as My Sister Life,
Shocking in its pride, even more in its modesty:
Exasperated, warm, teasing, observant, tender.

Later books should withdraw into a mysterious
Privacy such as we all make for ourselves:
The White Stag or Plantain. Or include the name
Of the place at which his book falls open.

There is also the seventh book, perhaps, the seventh,
And called The Seventh Book because it is not published,
The one that a child thinks he could have written,
Made of the firmest stone and clearest leaves,

That a people keep alive by, keep alive.

D.M. Thomas

Beauty, Song, and St. Patrick’s Day (Leighton Ford)

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I have been reading the book Beauty by the Irish poet-philosopher John O’Donohue.

He writes about the beauty that is in music this way: “Often in the human voice things long lost in the valleys of the mind can unexpectedly surface.”

This made me think about my dear brother-in-law Billy. At 98 years old he is profoundly deaf. He can’t hear me speak because my voice is deep and he can’t hear Jeanie because her voice is soft but I have found that if I sing he can hear.

Some months ago we were with him and as usual he couldn’t hear what was being said so the four of us who were with him decided to sing some of his old crusade songs: “To God Be The Glory”; “My Jesus, I Love Thee”; “Blessed Assurance”.

When we stopped he said, simply, “Sing more”.

So we sang “How Great Thou Art” and when we finished he quietly breathed “Amen”.

I believe that the beauty of music touched the deep beauty of Christ
in his soul.

It led me to think we ought to be more like the Psalmist, singing his great songs of praise and sometimes desolation, and like Paul who encouraged us to sing to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs the beauty of the Spirit through our voices.

And perhaps on this St. Patrick’s Day we should consider being more like the Celts, whose soulful and haunting music has touched and touches so many souls. In classic Celtic music the melodic line moves up and down the primary chords. Students of music tell us that this is because such a melodic progression makes it easier to sing in harmony – so that the gifts of each can bring richness and beauty to the whole.

Leighton Ford

The Paradox of Solitude (Thomas Merton)

By | Reflections and Readings | No Comments

It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. It is pure affection and filled with reverence for the solitude of others. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say…

For us solitude means withdrawal from an artificial and fictional being of level of being which men have fabricated in order to keep peace with death…

Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

A Tree For Me (Leighton Ford)

By | Poetry | No Comments

When I was in college, and got down and discouraged

I would sometimes climb a tree near where I lived

and sit there a while.

Somehow it helped.

Perhaps it made me feel like a boy again, shinnying up a tree.

It may have been the trunk gave me a sense of being held

by something strong and sturdy.

Perhaps the spreading branches gave me a wider view

or maybe they were a hiding place

if I didn’t want to be seen.

I’m not sure why it helped.

All I know is that I hate it

when one of the great ones

gets cut down.

 

Leighton Ford

Can The Church Be Revived? (Leighton Ford)

By | Reflections/Essays, Uncategorized | No Comments

Can the church be revived? One gazes at the apathy, the division, the jealousy, the materialism and feels like an Ezekiel set in the midst of a valley full of bones. Surely many a pastor has echoed Ezekiel’s sigh “Lord they were very dry”.

“Can these bones live?” asked the Lord. And Ezekiel answered in effect “Only God knows”.

But the Lord God commanded and the prophet spoke his word and the bones came together and the flesh upon the bones. Then the breath of God blew”,,,and they lived and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:10).

Is this not how revival will come? With an agonizing awareness of our deadening lack of spiritual power. With an honest confession of our total inability to do anything about it, of the failure of our absurd attempts at artificial respiration…

God’s visitations come at a time of hungering, a time of breaking up, a  time of sowing, a time of resting, and then a time of reaping (Mark 4:26-29).

Adapted from The Christian Persuader