We Can Bloom, Even Between a Rock and a Hard Place

 

Bloom through the Driveway

Many people have witnessed a plant growing in the middle of a cement sidewalk or noted a flower springing forth from the middle of a concrete wall.  At the side of my driveway and up against the cement wall of my neighbor’s foundation, a small purple little flower demonstrates the possibility of growth under the most difficult of circumstances.  The picture above is of that pretty flower that blooms.

God expects his people to bloom wherever they are planted.  

In Philippians 1:12-14, the Bible tells the story of how Paul bloomed while he was in prison.  He realized that his current situation was not as important as what he did with the time he had.  Paul was facing release or execution.  He befriended the Roman soldiers and wrote letters encouraging Christians who were afraid.  Like Paul, we all must look for ways to bloom even when our movement is limited by law and could be dangerous to ourselves and others.

Here is the scripture:

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.  As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.  And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

The Bible is filled with stories of hope.  Hannah. Mary. Ruth. Esther. Elizabeth. Rachel. Hagar. Martha. Rebekah. And many other stories of hope…

These women bloomed.

Once a plant blooms, it is thriving and flourishing and produces fruit; and once the fruit is produced, a seed develops, which ultimately produces a harvest.  We are witness to the countless people producing, like those who are sewing masks.  And everyday people who serve as essential workers in healthcare, grocery stores, delivery, truckers, public transportation, assisted living and nursing homes, EMTs, our National Guard and law enforcement, and all of the people cleaning in stores and healthcare facilities.  And parents.  And teachers.

A person can bloom wherever they have been planted just by helping others, which shows the love of God, and also when using one’s gifts and talents that God has given them.  People of faith must bloom wherever they are planted.  

Thank you for joining us for the Marble Women’s Ministry Lenten Blog this year.  We hope the blog inspired you and gave you some hope in this truly difficult season.  Please let us know what you thought of our blog.  And we hope you continue to pray for all who need our prayers right now.

Marcie Doll

Hope

 

Hope Sun 1

I barely can sense it’s shiver of awakening.

But.

I stop in stillness,

Searching for the shimmer.

In a drawn down lip-line,

In a shallow breath,

In a tear-drop caught in its passage.

My consciousness whispers that it’s there.

My footsteps inch toward it.

It must be!

Because.

I hope for it.

By Susan Ceely Phillips

Hope Sun 2

 

Amen Grammie…and thank you for joining us this year!

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For the last lenten blog post for Marble Women’s Ministry this year, I wanted to share a cute story and to honor my Mom too, who played a large role in finding some of the special poets and other contributors for this year’s blog.  And a few times, she had to listen to me when I was overwhelmed a bit.

The picture above is of my Mom, Lynn Doll and her twin granddaughters, Catherine and Chandler (I mentioned them in the “Magical Thinking” post earlier).  We were on vacation together in Bermuda.  All smiles for sure.

You see, my Mom puts her heart and soul into everything she does, but her prayers before a holiday meal, well these are particularly special to me.   She prepares for this important moment and does not forget anyone who needs prayers, our late family members, and all around the table.  I am still not sure how she can go from preparing the meal a few seconds before, to sharing a carefully prepared prayer that is so thoughtful and most of the time leaves me a bit teary.

Well you see there was this one Easter.  Chandler who was 5-years-old at the time was sitting in front of a plateful of food and she was ready to get started.  To her, my Mom’s prayer had gone on a bit too long.  Chandler interrupted the prayer by saying in a stern and definitive voice, “Amen Grammie!”  Then my whole family erupted into boisterous laughter, as a child can say the darndest things! And the prayer was finished that year. My Mom had to throw in the towel.

Honestly, it is a moment that my family will treasure forever.  “Amen Grammie!”  Well it gets said at every holiday meal now.

Now to all of the followers of this blog….

Thank you for joining our Marble Women’s Ministry Blog for Lent this year, a growing community from around the US and world who join us each day.  Praying with a Camera this year was an idea that I had and I so enjoyed looking at the pictures and the stories behind them.  We had another focus, honoring the poetry of women to guide us on our lenten journey.  Our team hopes that the daily blog gave you an opportunity to add something positive to your lenten journey and also helped you to focus more on what is important in this life that you are leading.

We had many contributors who have been a part of our blog for many years.  But these year, our circle expanded and many new contributors felt moved to share their pictures, poems, and stories.   Thank you all for putting your heart out there for all of the readers!

And finally…  If you are local to NYC, our Women’s Ministry is sponsoring a 4-part program: Bold Authenticity: Answering the Call to Greatness with Greta Muller starting on April 29th.  Click here to find more information and to sign-up.

We wish you a blessed year and we will be back at the start of the Advent Season.

Marcie Doll and the Marble Women’s Ministry Team

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.

God’s Glorious Contrary Ways

Nails

Who’d ever put treasure in frail jars of clay?
Come to us in our failure not strength,
Choose the weakest and least,
The discarded, not kings,
Recruit from the gutter for His family?

Who’d take objects of scorn:
Vile cross, crown of thorns,
And die to slay death,
Conquer hell, sin and grave?
Who’d pick children and slaves
The most frightened not brave,
Broken, outcasts, poor, lost,
As the ones He would save?

Only One ever did
Humblest King in our midst,
Calling sinners to Him
To be cleansed, made brand new;
Who took Love as His sword,
Fought to win us to God,
Loving Savior from heaven,
Jesus Christ, one true Lord!

“I have come to call not those who think they are righteous but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” Luke 5:32 (NLT)

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

© 2019 Karen DiProspero

Jesus Jar

 

Light Always Breaks Through

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If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139: 11&12

Today is Good Friday, the day on which we remember the crucifixion of Christ. Though it is a day filled with sorrow, it reminds us that even when it seems that death and defeat will be the last words, the light of God will break through. With God, light always overcomes darkness. With the light and love of God, we can overcome the darkness in our lives.

Dr. Michael Bos
Senior Minister, Marble Collegiate Church

Landmark for Peace

MLK and RFK

I did not know about this speech, the one that Robert F. Kennedy gave on the evening of April 4, 1968, the day Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.   This impromptu speech given by a man whose time on this Earth was not long, but he did not know that.  To calm a city at the brink of riots.

This picture has RFK reaching across the divide to MLK in bronze and there is a gap.  My visit moved me to tears and reading the speech made me think of a time such as this.

It was a beautiful night in Indianapolis when I visited with a sky full of wispy and puffy clouds.

Here is the speech given by Robert F. Kennedy on April 4, 1968:

“I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight.

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort.

In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another.

Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.

For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.

My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.

So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that’s true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.

We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.

But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.

Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.”

Shared by Marcie Doll