This is a photo of clouds I took yesterday at midday up in Linville. It was so dramatic. I was reminded how often God spoke in the Scriptures through the clouds. It’s as if his voice comes a bit at a time until suddenly the clouds burst and it becomes clear. I have written about this in my new book , A Life of Listening, which comes out in September.
Last week I spent a day and night in a small house on the Blue Ridge Parkway, an annual overnight retreat for some younger friends, all in ministry.
Turns out all of them are dealing with father issues – one whose father recently died, another whose dad has had a series of strokes, the father of the third recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
We have shared joys in ministry and family together; this time we shared losses. And the following words I read reaffirmed the need for spiritual friendships.
When life is hard, what I most need is not always what I want. What I want is for life to be easy. What I want is for someone or something to come along and make it all go away. But I need tenderness. What I need is to be loved. What I need is a companion for the journey. – Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist
Yesterday I saw The Biggest Little Farm, amazing story of a young couple who took a run down infested farm in California, and in seven years saw it turn into a virtual (almost) paradise. See it and you may never read Psalm 104 about God’s greatness in creation – from grass to springs to cattle to plants – to the food we eat today – in the same way again.
If I went back where I came from it would be my native Canada. A great country. Before that it would’ve been Gods country Wherever that is. The perfect country. For now I am glad to be here, for the most part. But I am still longing for that heavenly country.
We often think that God only acts in grand, majestic ways, but the reality is that God first acts amidst the ordinary, routine events of our lives. Unless we are watching, we miss encounters with angels; unless we are watching, we miss the ways in which God is changing our lives; unless we are watching, we miss the ways in which God is changing the world.
-Br. James Koester, Society of Saint John the Evangelist
This morning, early, I sat outside our son Kevin’s condo in the mountains, and was drawn to look closely at two pots over flowing with white and blue and violet flowers.
Also this morning I read that the Welsh poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, remarked of an individual bluebell that “I do not think I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful … I know the beauty of our Lord by it.”
I would like to be able to see as deeply and clearly as Hopkins did the beauty of the Lord in each minute part of His creation.
On this cold November Sunday morning, with the temperature down to 28 degrees, I feel a kinship with the Kentucky farmer poet, Wendell Berry, who imagines himself going out into the cold of his farm, opening a stall, and finding inside a family breathing.
There is the Child, bedded in straw, the mother kneeling over Him, the father standing in belief.
He imagines standing with one hand on the door, looking into another world and writes
we are here
as we have never been before
sighted as never before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.
He makes me wonder, what would it be like today, for me, to have my eyes opened to some unexpected, holy place?
“We must let our light shine, make our faith, our hope, our love, manifest – that men may praise, not us for shining, but the Father for creating the light.”
George Donald in The Hope of The Gospel.