This past winter was very long for many reasons, few of which had to do with the weather. But the arrival of spring, like the rising of the sun, the unfurling of the seed, the need in us to love and be loved, never ceases to amazes me, and yes, does trump in the end, the cruelty, the suffering, the anguish of unanswered questions. We only see one side of the tapestry: the underside. And it is knotted and bumpy and frayed, faded in color and with a hint of design but none of the vibrancy of eternal perspective or the complete comprehension, let alone appreciation of, heaven-faced glory.
The Localization of Grace: Bringing Home God’s Peace ~ at Faith Today
On Writing, My Writing Process and Work in Progress hosted by Anita Mathias at Dreaming Beneath the Spires about Faith and Art in 21st Century Oxford
Obedience. What does it mean to be obedient? Lately I have found myself particularly pondering this question from a faith perspective. Scripture tells us that the Lord prefers obedience even to sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22); but often, I have to admit, the two feel one and the same. Being obedient can seem a sacrifice – so difficult to yield up one’s will to that of God, or how, in good faith, one is perceiving God’s will to be. How are we to live our lives by such nudges and tappings, such “sensing” or attempts to discern? I want the plans laid in concrete, the exclamation mark of instant reply. I desire my hands on the reins and the path clear ahead. I want a “sign,” confirmation, something written in the sky. But so often we are met with silence, and is it, as CS Lewis put it, really an answer because it is the only Real answer? Continue Reading…
It is Good Friday, the most paradoxical of days. Living the day feels like a contradiction for a Christian, at least, often, for me. On one hand, we hold close the grief of what Jesus did on the cross. On the other, we are to be glad, for it is “Good” – the death of this God-as-man gives atonement for our sins, bridges the otherwise unfathomable gap, His body hung on the cross the strange exclamation mark to “It is finished” and in which we now must live out the conclusion.
Good Friday, the one day in the liturgical year on which I feel the most conflicted. A river runs through it, through me. My core consists of moving currents, most seemingly at odds: despair and hope; degradation and exultation; disbelief and faith; sorrow and joy.
In The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris chronicles her extended stays among the Benedictines. The aspect that she found most intensely memorable about those living the monastic life was their hospitality. This unwavering genuine generosity, this putting of other before self, is the hallmark of a fruitful relationship in Christ. During the past few challenging months, I am reminded again by that hospitality shown by those I live among here, in my very own church, and far abroad, when I visit other churches. The common denominator of true hospitality does indeed set the Church apart from the World. For when churches fail, as they will given they are institutions made up of fallible people like everything else, they really fail. But when they succeed, indeed, there is nothing like it! Enjoying such hospitality at the hands and hearts of Christ’s followers surely gives the best foretaste of the Kingdom to come.