Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Here in this place

There is a hymn by Marty Haugen called "Here in This Place." It's one of those songs that gets stuck in my memory and shows up at the oddest times. The song seems to be about the church, the building, and all the life and faith events that happen there. This Place is a place where all are welcome and all are fed. Not usually a Christmas hymn, but today I beg to differ. For it is the place of Jesus' incarnation that all are gathered and all are fed.

Read the first verse, in the midst of Advent:

Here in this place, new light is streaming,
now is the darkness vanished away.
See, in this space, our fears and our dreamings,
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Gather us in - the lost and forsaken,
gather us in - the blind and the lame.
Call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of our name.

At the moment I'm listening to Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt" as I travel to and from work. Yes, Anne Rice of Vampiric fame, has written a fascinating novel on the life of Jesus from ages 7 to at least 8. (I'm not done yet!)
Today, Jesus' older brother (son of Joseph, and his first wife) told Jesus what happened on the day of his birth. Young Jesus had learned that he was born in Bethlehem, and that the only room was the stable. Now he heard his brother tell of Mary, who at the birth wondered "Why? Why here in this place?" After the Angel Gabriel had announced this birth to Mary, and confirmed it with Joseph. After Elizabeth's son jumped for joy! Why was he born in a stable?

Mary's questions were soon answered as the Shepherds came to worship the new-born Christ the Lord. The one the angels announced once more, and this time they said it plain and clear: "You will find him lying in a manger, in a stable"

Christ was born, here in this place, for us to see, and know and worship. This place is a stable in Bethlehem, a cathedral in Rome, a church in Harper's Ferry, the home where you live and pray, and sing. The more I listen to (open this in another window and let it run) the hymn, and read through all the verses, the more I believe it is a Christmas Song.

Friday, December 04, 2009

From Generation to Generation

Psalm 90; A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

How many times have you celebrated Christmas? 20, 40, 85? The story never changes, the ending is always the same. But the celebration is never the same! From Generation to Generation the story has been told of God Incarnate: in the flesh.

Born as a child in a stable.

Laid in the hay by a very human mother.

Looked after by the ever-patient Joseph.

Announced by angels.

Visited by Shepherds and Kings.

But the telling is never exactly the same.

There are perhaps more tellings of this story than any other. More books, more sculptural depictions (Nativity Set) more plays and programs and music about this one birth, than about any other single person in the world.

This oldest story has one message: God love you so much that He came to visit in person, to save you from your sins.

The most told story has a million meanings. May you find meaning in the story of Christ's birht this year.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall into creativity

Christmas is coming and my mind is getting fat! So are the piles of unfinished craft projects I think will be awesome for Christmas. There is a glue batik project awaiting the dye, and a fall leaf thing that needs rescuing. I've got the jar ready for the first grade art project, ( now were did the tissue paper and plastic jewels go?) So many ideas, so many distractions! An I wonder why it takes J forever to get his clothes on when there are so many things to play with along the way.

Thank goodness God is never distracted.
Ps 121: 1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;

From where shall my help come?

2 My help comes from the LORD,

Who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not allow your foot to slip;

He who keeps you will not slumber.

4 Behold, He who keeps Israel

Will neither slumber nor sleep.

Never will the LORD let you fall or be forgotten on a sewing table while He runs off to play with some other toy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A prophet to the nations!

4 The Lord gave me this message:

5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4,5

This image of one of my newest nieces is cool, blue and beautiful. Two little girls were known before they were born, who are loved now that they are born, and will be forever held in highest regard!

Will they be prophets like Jeremiah? Of course they will! They will learn the Word of the Lord, and proclaim it to the nations. Imagine this if you will. These infants already have a global following and an international family. Before their eyes even opened there were people around the world rejoicing in their birth. Just the publication of this note proclaims the joy of the Lord in at least three countries!

If the Lord God has known and loved these tiny little girls, then surely the Lord God knows and loves you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holy Visions, Daniel!

Back in the boat, I am caught and confused by today's bible reading. (according to the list by ECLA that pops up my blog) Daniel 8:1-14 One Ram and one male goat, and more strange horns than you find on most deer.

Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one that
spoke, "For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering,
the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary
and host to be trampled?" And he answered him, "For two thousand three
hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its
rightful state."
Daniel 8:1-14

It's the kind of vision that can mean nothing and anything. It can be "translated" into a hundred cautionary tales, and God only knows which one is right. It's the time in the church year that we are presented with these apocalyptic tales and allowed to wonder at the connections between Daniels visions of 3000 years ago, and the nightly news. who is the all-powerful RAM? What MALE GOAT comes to trample on the Ram and assume the burnt offering and the host?

I don't know...

I live, I love and I laugh.

I try to give myself and my sacrifices to the God who made me and loves me.

I lift up the Host and the Cup and recall the lamb who died on the cross so that bloody sacrifices would no longer be needed.

I pray to the Spirit that my visions make more sense than Daniels.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Back in the boat

It's been too many months. For reasons know and unknown, I haven't made the words of my heart known as the words of my fingers. But I'm back and the words are burning holes in my mind.
I've been leading Art Adventures for Jonah's first grade class. With the MIA, a group of volunteers go into clasrooms to share great art with the newest great artists. I got so excited about spending my tuesdays doing art with the kids, I asked if I could continue on my own. So I started to browse art project ideas. From that artist woman, and on around the community of art teacher bloggers. Then I stumbled on some unschooling-homeschooling blogs. My favorite at the moment is Ordinary Life Magic and 5 Orange Potatoes. Lovely photos, and fun crafts and experiments.
Makes me feel a little bad for not homeschooling my precious little ones!

But wait, isn't a day trip to the Kelly Historic Farm for Threshing day a serious home-schooling activity?

And reading at the cabin, not to mention anywhere else?

And things I don't have photos of:

Cooking, baking and eating.

Painting, drawing and building mable mazes.

Discussing the origin of babies and broccoli and chickens at all hours of the day.

I could not avoid homeschooling my kids, and vacationschooling and weekendschooling. Everywhere they go they ask and they learn.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Let's hear it for the boys!!

My Three Kings!!
The cousins ushered on Christmas Eve, and their stair step smiles brightened every one's afternoon. In the Christmas Story, these three could have played the Kings pretty easily, and they do consider themselves "Wise Guys!" But his week's texts of the day put them in another story, one that is touched off by the first Wise Men.

The Magi from the East come to pay homage to a new King, an infant King. In their innocence they inquire at Jerusalem, perhaps thinking that the present King has had a son. This would have been a easy visit. Come in, give gifts, and head home. But no, this was no known Son, this was the Son of God, come to rule on Earth, and in the land of Israel, where secular power was not to be taken for granted. Since Herod had not just celebrated the birth of his own son, this news was disturbing, and he began the plot that would end some thirty years, ( and how many Herods) later. He feigns interest in the child, and sends the Magi on their way.

HA! Like God is going to be fooled by one man's lies. Jesus is visited, and whisked away. The part that twists at my heart is the next lesson. Herod, outfoxed by God, and avoided by the Magi, sends out his own hit squad, and rather than worry about which child Jesus might actually be, he has all the infant boys killed in one small town. That story always makes me hug my boys even tighter.

The lesson of the day for January 7th is from Exodus 1, where boys were again targeted for destruction:
Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, "Every boy that is born to the Hebrews
you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live."

Again, one gets away, but many others are killed. Why do so many have to die, and the savior is saved? Why can't the God of all creation stay the hands of the soldiers and soften the hearts of the kings who order these executions? Does it make it any easier for us to hear the news of ethnic cleansing today, to know that somehow God didn't have the ability to stop the violence thousands of years ago, and God can't stop it now? Where is the savior out of Africa, or Bosnia, or South/Central America? Who will put an end to the fear and violence in the world?

Will it be you?