Consider the Lilies

Lilies 1

Through heavy curtains
Morning steals in–
Gray, sullen, frowning,
As though carrying a grudge
Against yesterday’s tumultuous birth
That scattered its gold everywhere,
Bursting through windows,
Streaking through the willows,
Blushing the face of the pond,
Then rousing soft twitterings
Tucked under feathered wing.

But this day arrives, perfunctory,
On schedule since its Genesis.
Duty bound to serve, and bestow
Its allotted measure
Of mercy and grace
Upon pilgrims passing through,
Who, because of the somber gray skies
And the sun’s truancy,
Are apt to fail to consider
The lilies of the field
Whose faces are lifted up
In celebration,
Regardless.

By Lena Coapstick
Copyright 4-22-09

When Lena wrote this poem ten years ago, she was in the last stages of a valiant struggle with Cancer and would pass away later in the year.  Our Marble Women’s Ministry Blog honors her today and her family who shared this amazing poem with us.

The Easter Lily represents Christ’s resurrection, a new season in Christianity and rebirth.  In a way, sharing this poem about lilies on our blog this Easter, we give Lena a chance to reach and inspire more people.

Lena was a self-taught poet, who lived her entire life on a farm in Indiana.  Her works were published in her community and statewide.  Her favorite American poets were Mary Oliver and William Stafford.    She had a love for nature and found joy in music.  Many who loved her shared that she created beauty in everything she put her hands and heart to.  And even a when she was facing difficult times, she always looked at life with great hope.

Another thought from the poet:

“There are no detours on a spiritual journey.”  Lena Coapstick

A Blessed Easter!

Sunrise on Easter

The sun always rises.  Slowly.  Quietly.

Sometimes amidst rain.  Sometimes amidst wind.  Sometimes covered by clouds.

But slowly, quietly, the sun always rises and shatters the darkness.

God always comes to us.  Sometimes quietly.  Other times through a cacophony of unexpected events and “life turned upside down” experiences that stop us in our tracks.  But God always comes to us.  God comes to shatter the shadows and pierce the clouds of our lives.

On this Easter Day, may you feel the glory of God’s rising and the clarity of God’s brilliant light.  Look for the light.  Move toward the light.  For the sun always rises.  God has risen this day for you, to bring you God’s radiant and glorious light.

Reverent J. Elise Brown, Ph.D., Executive Minister at Marble Collegiate Church.

From the Cocoon

Kintsugi:  “The art of precious scars”

Kin = Golden
Tsugi = Joinery

 

Quilt

I was doubly blest recently not only to have attended the Marble Women’s Retreat, but also to have shared that powerful weekend with my mother.   She happens to be a talented quilter with a vision for truth.  At the retreat, I had an opportunity to share my story, and I wanted to mention Kintsugi as the process we undergo as we move into our authenticity as women of God.  I couldn’t remember the name Kintsugi, but when I described the process to her, she knew it immediately and gave me its name just in time for me to speak.

The very afternoon we returned from the retreat, she presented the above quilt that she had recently made for me as a gift.  It had been waiting for me the entire weekend.  I hadn’t known anything about it, but the power of it had taken hold long before I even knew it existed.

On the back of the quilt, she included a pieced-together definition of kintsugi from various sources:

“Japanese philosophy which says that broken pieces carefully repaired with lacquer and gold render the breaks beautiful and strong.  There should be no attempt to disguise the damage because the repaired piece is now more beautiful than the original.”

Her own words continue, speaking a truth that, I truly believe, is meant for each and every one of us:

“In the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient.  You have repaired yourself in a deeply beautiful, prayerful and thoughtful way.  You are stronger today than you have ever been.  Your scars are truly beautiful and what you are today is a perfect example of ‘the art of precious scars.’”

Thank you, Mom.

Shared by Karla Hendrick

At the Place where the Land Ends…

St.MichaelsMount

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

 

I came upon this sundial while visiting St Michael’s Mount in the Cornwall region of the UK on a stellar day last September.  I stood there and gazed out revering the vastness of the ocean with the sundial approaching high noon and the nerd inside me thought of the space-time continuum.  The scripture points out that no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end…..not even Einstein and the scripture urges me to behold and adore all the beauty that unfolds before me in the present because it is beautiful in its time.

Shared by Laurie Aksynowicz

Click here to learn more about St. Michael’s Mount, Marazion, Cornwall, UK.

Let it Spill?

Spill

Spilling –

The act of causing (or allowing) something (or someone))

 to fall unintentionally.

The results:

Puddles, splatter, poisoning, confession, betrayal, guilt, release, relief,

in confidence, in pain, playful, first link in a chain of events.           

Maybe, don’t do it.

Shared by Susan Ceely-Phillips

Hold On

SAMSUNG CSCBetween rooms at the Melk Abbey in Austria, I came across this staircase, called the Baroque Staircase.  The staircase winds around and it looks like it will never end.  Stone stairs that circled an opening in the middle that to me represented infinity.  There is intricate iron work and friezes on the wall that have been in the abbey for over a hundred years.   I could hear my Mom’s voice telling me in my head to hold on.  And I did.

While the staircase looked like it went on forever, I had hope that I would get to the bottom safely.  I held on.  I was going down this staircase, but I could have walked right back up.

And I could not help but think of a stairway to heaven for this one.  I was in a spiritual place.  And I could not help but think about the scripture that I read when I need to shift my perspective.  That leap of faith scripture…

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 New International Version (NIV)

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Shared by Marcie Doll

Mouths of Babes

14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

My three and a half year old granddaughter Lucia, not only came to me, but spoke up:   “Lita, I don’t like it when you are here because you don’t cuddle!”

At the time, we were in bed and I was reading to her.   I felt a little pin prick at my heart and I know that I turned a bit red in embarrassment.   Truly though, I felt hurt.  At first I did not realize Lucia was telling me what she wanted.  And now I know, I needed to take notice.   She felt that an important part of our relationship should be cuddling while I read to her.

Sometimes from the mouths of babes, a message comes from God and we need to stand at attention and take notice.

Recently, I told Lucia that I’m taking cuddling classes and even ask her from time to time, how am I doing?  Lucia will tell me the truth for sure.

People tell us every day what they want and need from us. Do we listen?

Jesus tells us in those moments of prayer when silence enfolds us what he wants and needs from us —  listen to His message of love and blessings and step forward with grace knowing that He will always give us what we need.

Enjoy the Advent season and let’s all listen together to the spiritual nourishment that this season provides for us all.

Shared by Carmen Matias

In the Bleak Midwinter

For so many, the darkest days of the year that lead up to December 21st, the first day of winter are bleak.  Last night, I watched coverage about a massive snow storm in Romania and the rainy weekend the Northeast endured where many are wondering when the rain will end.

My Sunday was spent in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area shopping with a friend, laughing all the way and attending a wonderful children’s Christmas Concert at a local church.   The children sang their hearts out!  And then there were the angels.  Oh! How they lit up the stage in their wings and waved to the audience of family and friends.  Exactly what our angels are supposed to do in our lives, make us feel like we are valuable and protected.

On our drive back to my hotel, I kind of forgot the bleakness I oftentimes see this week of darkness.  It was strangely a spectacularly beautiful day here in the Twin Cities with a balmy temperature of 48 degrees.  And the sunset had some of the most fabulous colors I have seen in the week leading up to the shortest day of the year.  Hoping that you have one of those days soon!

So, if you have one of those bleak midwinter days, listen to this.  Susan Boyle’s voice somehow makes the day better.

Listen to Susan Boyle singing “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

1. In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

2. Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

3. Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

4. Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the Beloved
With a kiss.

5. What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

Shared by Marcie Doll

Grace

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2: 8-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
Anne Lamott

“Grace, then, is grace,–that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.”
Alexander Whyte

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.”
Sarah Ban Breathnech

Shared by Agatha Pratt

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I HAVE LEARNED THAT GRACE

 

  • Is from God
  • It means all the good gifts we enjoy so freely in life
  • Are the gifts that we perceive it in the skills and intelligence of ALL God’s creations
  • Is the wondrous gift of being human
  • As humans we are given a unique and special place in the created order
  • Is God’s gift of redemption focusing clearly in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Is the assistance given to us when we choose to become the people that God wants us to be
  • Is the knowledge of full and total acceptance by God without condition, deserving it and without question.
  • Knowing that we are cherished, loved and guarded from ultimate evil
  • Is knowing that we are valued, honored and respected
  • That we do not have to earn or deserve such care, it is simply there for us as a gift
  • Is given to us at God’s initiative
  • Is an expression of God’s love for us, of God’s desire, of God’s unconditional acceptance
  • Is an expression of the very nature of God’s being
  • Is God’s protection of His children
  • Grace is the difference between Man and God. God has the ability to “forgive and forget.” Man, on the other hand, has the ability to forgive, but not forget. Another difference is that God always forgives, while not all of us are capable of forgiveness.
  • Is the difference between Man and God. God has the ability to “forgive and forget.” Man, on the other hand, has the ability to forgive, but not forget.
  • IS ALL AROUND US

Shared by Agatha Pratt