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

architecture-art-colorful-161154
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

One of those places…

Hangzhou

This is a picture of my silhouette at West Lake in Hangzhou, China.  For many, this is a place on their bucket list and is listed in the book, A 1,000 Places to see Before you Die.  For many centuries, this lake has inspired a nation and many artists and poets have created masterworks with the beauty they found along the lake.  The lake is sheltered by hills on three sides and has numerous pagodas, temples and spectacular gardens around the shoreline.

One Song Dynasty poet wrote:

Sunny water waves its glow,
Misty rain tricks the hill.
Plainly or gaily decked out like Xi Zi,
West Lake is always alluring.’

When I visited on a rather gloomy day, it looked like winter with barren trees and a mist in the air.  But I felt an overwhelming feeling of God’s presence at West Lake.   Even in winter there is beauty and peace to be found by all who visit.  The birds chirped in song to remind me.

I know that spring will come soon and while I may only see the bare branches and the gray sky, God is at work. As the days warm, I know that those branches will be in bloom in just a matter of weeks.

It’s a matter of my perspective here on Earth.  From God’s point of view looking down on Earth, the sky is always blue.   I need to remember that my perspective is often limited.

Shared by Patricia Wu

 

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

Rainbow…

Sausalito

12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  Genesis 9:12-15

Shared by Patricia Wu

Cloud Angel

Cloudangel

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” -Psalm 91:11-12
“See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” -Exodus 23:20

Have you ever looked up at the sky and an angel appeared?   This picture captured the moment, where the light and the clouds formed an Angel with wings, looking down on all that afternoon.  You may not see an angel when you look up to the sky, but I do know they are watching out for all of us on Earth.

Shared by Patricia Wu

Draw the Circle Wide

Hands

This is a picture of hands in a circle at one of our retreats several years ago.  We all have temporary tattoos of butterflies and hearts on our arms.  Though we all have different colors of skin, we are united in the transformative spirit of growth and support at this retreat.

It reminds me of the hymn by Mark Miller with lyrics by Gordon Light called “Draw the Circle Wide.”  With all of the anger you see on social media, we need to really think about how to connect ourselves with others in more genuine ways.  We may not agree, but we can be in community together to help our world.

Here is a version of “Draw the Circle Wide” to watch and listen to.

Shared by Marcie Doll