Have you ever cried out to God as Psalm 130 describes? Out of the depths of your being?
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 130: 1-2
I have done that during difficult days in my life. Did I receive immediate relief or an answer directly from God? No, but I did feel cared for and renewed in spirit with the knowledge that my life was under God’s watchful eye and that God’s mercy would forever be available to me. The photos illustrate the light that is always present no matter how stormy the rolling waves of the sea of our life become. Hope is present if we will only raise our eyes to the light.
In a few weeks the Church will celebrate the resurrection of the Light of the World and the fullest extent of God’s mercy toward human beings! Until then – “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning…” Psalm 130: 6a
The rain was present with me last week as I traveled for several hours Southwest of Seattle area to a lovely home on the shore of Hood Canal for a few days rest and retreat from life in my small apartment. My significant other and I grabbed our cameras and headed out in the drizzle to see if it was true that forests and trees are more beautiful if the sun is in hiding and the air is moist. God led us away from the water and mountain views for a short time to a place where every color of green existed! The sight of trees covered in fluffy, bright green moss was again a confirmation of the Creator as artist with a palette full of every imaginable hue of green. All the days and weeks of rain had left this masterpiece for us to enjoy.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23: 1-3 I was reminded of the text for this week, Psalm 23, as I took in all the beauty that surrounded me. We were guided along this path to see and photograph the beauty along the way. I was truly blessed to be here. Look around you this week, even in the rain, to see for yourself the Artist’s work displayed.
Here in the Seattle area, winter still visits us with cold air and rain these days. This week, hope for Spring has come in the form of two sunny days. Feeling the sun in my face and the illumination it gives to all growing things, I noticed where I live that trees are starting to bud and bulbs of daffodils have sent green leaves and bright yellow flowers through the hard ground. This all prompted a visit to a nearby botanical garden on one sunny day. The images that follow were scenes from gardens I walked through that were very uplifting and confirmed my hope that the winter is giving way to a new season.
Psalm 95 says – Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord, let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Water that reminds me of my Baptism and flowers showing me the indescribable artistry of the Creator who set all things in motion in the beginning.
Do you need some comfort today? Right about now, waiting patiently for some spring weather to show up, I could use some comfort. In fact, I would welcome comfort just about anytime! Where do you find comfort…how does it come to you? From a good friend, your pastor’s words, a smile from your spouse or child, a special quiet place? For as many people reading these words, there are as many different ways to experience comfort.
Lent is not really a time that I hear much about comfort, but in the Lectionary for this week is Psalm 121 that holds words of comfort from God for all of us. Living in the Pacific Northwest, when “I lift my eyes to the mountains,” I am reminded of God, my help. It is always comforting to me to know that — The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121: 8
Grand Teton National Park
I have been thinking a lot about justice this week. How easy it is for me to give it lip service but not much action.
When Jesus was baptized, it was God’s announcement to humanity that a new and positive plan was going to begin and the “justice and righteousness” that the prophet, Amos, declared in the Old Testament would become a never-failing stream throughout time and history. Soon after this event, Jesus advanced to the next step, the temptations by Satan, confirming his humanity and identity with us and with God. God is love. God loves everyone – period! God is the great equalizer.
As I travel this Lenten Journey with Jesus, my prayer is to be aware daily of injustice of any kind in my community and in the larger world and act for change as I am able, especially to change my judgmental attitudes.
“Jesus has come to transform people, not to exclude them. He has come for the seeming losers, and not to create a country club for the supposed winners.” Fr. Richard Rohr
“Let justice roll down..” Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
After abstaining from the discipline of writing during Lent last year, I have again embraced the writing of a weekly post during the season of Lent 2017. My early mornings are spent reading and meditating. Unless I write down my thoughts and feelings from those times, I soon forget where I was going spiritually. I lost many weeks of thoughts last year by not recording them here. This year, I am up to the challenge!
I was out walking with my camera recently and was drawn to certain flowers blooming in the cold Washington air. For several days I had been watching their pretty white heads pop up in several hidden areas around the campus walkway. I don’t think it is a coincidence that they helped me recall a scripture verse from the Lectionary text for Ash Wednesday from Psalm 51:7…”Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” These stunning, pure white, tiny blooms are a reminder to me of God’s mercy and grace. My prayer is that I will remember this special gift to me throughout this season and especially on Easter morning.
Winter Snow Drops
What is this? Who created this lovely, iridescent, shiny fabric?
On a sunny day in January, I walked to the end of the dock over Lake Washington. Something sparkly caught my eye. When I looked to see what it was, I could hardly believe my eyes! The railing on our marina dock held this lovely piece of artwork. I had my camera in tow and at that moment felt overwhelmed by the gift I had been given. A tiny member of God’s creation had used its instinct to do what it does best.
At that moment I felt a kinship, a kind of peace, with the tiny spider as I was using my own creativity to record this treasure to share with my readers.
This is my last post for the Lenten season 2015. The thought I leave with you this week is again from Psalm 139 , verse 14 this time: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Peace be with you all.
Mt. Rainier view from Crystal Mountain ski area
Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, states a premise that I hadn’t thought about very much, but stood out today as I read it: “I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.” In Genesis, chapter 1, verse 3, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ … and he separated the light from the darkness.” So, instead of just a light showing us the world from the very beginning, a darkness changed the look of it for us. There must be a reason God did that.
As a photographer, I find it interesting that the switch from dark to light that is visible to us is one of the most beautiful sights in the sky on some mornings. And, the reverse is also true when we look up in the evening to see the spectacular change from daylight to darkness at the end of certain days.
Midnight Sun in Norway
UP of Michigan sunset
Did the creator want humankind to notice and think about the importance of these two daily events in our lives and learn to appreciate both equally? I have experienced dark things in my life. I chose to not let them destroy my faith or keep a hold on me. The light always came back to me in full force and even in a stronger presence than before the dark encircled me. I know that it was both the dark plus the light that gave me many valuable lessons to learn and put to use in my daily walk in this world.
Thanks to Dr. Taylor for her enlightenment about living in the darkness.
This morning Psalm 107 invited me to add to my Lenten Journey. I was surprised to read “…Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – …” If that is not a big prompt, I don’t know what is!
Going on in verse 2 and 3 “…those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.” I meet people in my community every day that have been “gathered” from all compass points around the globe. My faith is not located in a particular church or location on the map, it is within me and God reminds me daily that although the Midwest is hugely ingrained in me, I need not travel back there to recapture my spiritual side. The Pacific Northwest is now my home and the Holy Spirit has accompanied me. Thanks be to God.
Posted in Chicago, Faith, Michigan, photography, retirement, seasons, travel
Tagged Faith, lent, Lent flower photography devotional CovenantShores, MercerIsland parks photography fall, Psalms, retirement, spirituality
My busy schedule has slowed enough for me to put down some thoughts during this Second Week in Lent. Like the Psalmist’s expressions in Psalm 139 that follows, I have not always realized how much God pays attention to my thoughts and feelings, always knowing the content of them. I don’t try to run to the farthest limits of the sea, but I do run from God’s call to me as if I know best what my needs are. If only I would let God accomplish what God had in mind for me from the beginning, my life would show the light of God’s love for every human being I encounter.
Forgive me, Lord, and help me to be more confident in the strength of your hand guiding, leading and keeping me. May my lighthouse shine strong because I am following you. AMEN
You have searched me
and known me.
You know when I sit down
and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts
from far away.
If I take the wings
of the morning
And settle at the
farthest limits of the sea.
Even there your hand
shall lead me,
And your right hand
shall hold me fast.
Psalm 139: 1-2, 9-10
my home on Mercer Island, Washington
Midnight Sun in Norway
Big Sable Lighthouse, Ludington, Michigan