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
Here is just one flower poking its head out of the ground in late February. It’s beauty is noticed by people passing by and by my photographer’s eye.
Sometimes God speaks to me in a small, beautiful part of creation. A verse in an old hymn comes to mind this Lenten season as I see this flower that is showing me the beauty of our Lord, Jesus Christ — “When the sun of bliss is beaming light and love upon my way, from the cross the radiance streaming adds more luster to the day.” (In the Cross of Christ I Glory)
When I remember my baptism during this season, I feel God’s welcoming and quenching love and remember the water that symbolizes my new birth in Christ. May this season remind me that I am loved by a God who shows me an exquisite treasure nearby just waiting for me as a gift to enjoy. I am his and he is mine.
Thanks be to God!
Kathleen Norris made this comment about a particular community – the church. “The church is the place where all should be made to feel at home, educated or not, wealthy or poor — all just ordinary, flawed people who gather because they need to be reminded that God made us and accepts us and loves us and wants us to share that love with others.”
What? You want a place for people to just drink coffee and chat with each other during Christian Education hour on Sunday morning? I had missed the point back then, that community is not necessarily established by just sitting in a class together during that hour. It requires time and effort for many people to establish a community that matters to them within the church. So, connecting with people around the coffee pot on Sunday morning can be just as important as the learning taking place in a classroom on Sunday morning! Connecting – that’s what people should do in a church community!
Moving to a new city where I did not know anyone except my family, forced me to think about what type of community I wanted to be part of. After almost nine months I have begun the process of becoming part of several communities. I see that it will take time and work, but I have already been blessed with new friends that value the concept of “community” in a similar way as Kathleen suggests.
Women’s Bible Study
I mourn the loss of several communities in the city I left behind – the Women’s Bible Study group, my knitting group, and the Saturday Breakfast Bunch. And most important, the church body with which I worshipped. So, it was one of my top priorities to find a new church and establish myself in a new “community.” I am also finding “community” in special interest groups at the retirement community in which I live.
At some points in my life I am not sure what I would have done without “community.” The experience of an entire church community surrounding me with care plus action when my child was hospitalized and no family members were nearby to care for the other child. I will never forget what “community” did for my family during this difficult time. I want to be a responsible and active member of a community that cares for people in this way.
Arctic Cathedral, Tromso, Norway