Sustenance

Weather not always balmy

obstacles appear

amid swirling wind and storms

former experiences illumine

strong ropes:

faith, hope, love

Biblical passages apply over centuries

these guide

provide balance

become sources

of courage and strength

when mountains overwhelm

grasp ropes tightly

 

 

I Corinthians 13

“ And now these three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest

of these is Love.”

 

 

Lynn Doll

©2020

Under God’s Umbrella

Years ago, my Mom gave me a copy of Holly Gerth’s book, Under God’s Umbrella:  Gifts of Hope & Encouragement to Shelter Your Heart in Life’s Storms.  The book is available from Dayspring and other religious book stores.

Holly shared this prayer:

“Lord, my heart is in the midst of a storm right now.  Please help me to be honest with myself and with You about all that I am feeling.  Amen.”

I have a great number of feelings right now from fear to anger, despair, hope, uncertainty, overwhelming sorrow, alone, resilient, mad and even strangely connected through technology.

This quote from Annie Johnson Flint was found on the opposite page of the prayer:

“God has not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.  But God has promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way, grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.

All of this was found in the chapter, “It’s OK Not to be OK.”  Recognize and call out the emotions that you are feeling and remember that we are all Under God’s Umbrella.

Shared by Marcie Doll

Umbrellas

 

 

 

 

CHALLENGING TIMES? INDEED!

We are encouraged and strengthened by Bible verses that help us go through challenging times – times such as the present – that test every part of our character. During times such as what we are experiencing presently, it is important that we engage our mind and our heart with these good Bible verses to aid us as we go through these hardships. They will encourage us to keep pressing forward with a positive attitude.

Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you,  do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 “But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

Romans 5:4 “And endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes,  and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious,  and it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalms 9:9-10 “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”

Philippians 4:6 “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Proverbs 3:5-8 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,  and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.”
 It will be a healing for your flesh and refreshment for your body.”

Psalms 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength,  a very present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.”

Psalms 50:14-15 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call on me in the day of trouble;  I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Psalms 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

Galatians 1:3-5 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

I pray that we will repeat these verses over and over so that we will be encouraged and have the Word of God deep in our heart.

 

 Agatha 

Heal the World

At times when the world is dark, I just need to hear this song.

Heal the World by a German School

Heal the World by Kids Artists

Heal the World by Connie Talbot

There's a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could be much
Brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You'll find there's no need to cry
In this place you'll feel
There's no hurt or sorrow

There are ways to get there
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make it a better place
For you and for me

If you want to know why
There's love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares of joyful giving
If we try we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear of dread
We stop existing and start living

The it feels that always
Love's enough for us growing
So make a better world
Make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

And the dream we were conceived in
Will reveal a joyful face
And the world we once believed in
Will shine again in grace
Then why do we keep strangling life
Wound this earth, crucify its soul
Though it's plain to see
This world is heavenly
Be god's glow

We could fly so high
Let our spirits never die
In my heart I feel you are all my brothers
Create a world with no fear
Together we cry happy tears
See the nations turn their swords into plowshares

We could really get there
If you cared enough for the living
Make a little space
To make a better place

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

You and for me


Words and Music by M. Jackson

 

A Prayer Board

Prayer List

My current prayer board in my home office is crowded, jammed, overflowing, packed, and crammed, but it is not filled.  Each week, I update the board and use it in my morning prayers.  Collectively praying for those who need our prayers each day matters.  And it helps me to have a visual prayer list.  Who is on your prayer list this week?

Pray.  Stay at home if you can. Flatten the curve.  Take care of your family and your self.  Be safe. Pray.

 

Shared by Marcie Doll

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks…let’s take a virtual hike together this Saturday.

Earlier this week, the National Park Service posted these virtual hiking videos….you may get a chance to visit these spots, but right now, virtual will have to do.

Bryce Canyon:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWbR6N5tYaQ
Devils Postpile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3Sf_EJcjws
Redwoods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74_BBhDMxkI
Grand Canyon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLaLmEW0hWg
Zion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Jn0p9YpMCI

If you are looking for something different than a hike, the main site for the National Park Service is chock-full of resources and fun activities. https://www.nps.gov/index.htm

Come and let’s take a hike together!

“Every natural object is a conductor of divinity and only by coming into contact with them… may we be filled with the Holy Ghost.” – John Muir

 

 

A Reflection: “What is Lent For?”

If in suffering you can no longer give thanks for God’s

goodness and have no taste for paradox, from where comes

succor if nothing’s real but whirl of pain and echo,

“Why am I forsaken?”

 

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani  . . . .

What is the meaning of our brother’s ending cry of sorrow?

Was it despair that all hope is lost – there is no loving abba?

Or was his cry a lament to love itself, the living tissue binding

us all together?  Did he intend to point us past the sorrow

of the psalm he prayed and knew by heart to its ending praise

of ancient promise, remembered?

 

We will never stop these questions pouring from us.  Lent

remembers “the tears of all things” – lacrimae rerum,

a world of tears of seemingly blameless suffering; a world

God made and loves and sees as good, as it is written.

 

Lent remembers we will be stripped of our carefully constructed

meanings, certainties, illusions, even our consolations,

to our primal animal sorrow.  Lent reminds us, Momento mori,

remember your death.  But of what use is remembrance if it

cancels life and life’s meaning?

 

Of what use are the words of those who cared enough to leave

their psalmic response in dialogue with our bewildered questions?

Facing into suffering and death, a choir of voices of our

foremothers and foresisters pray that we remember love is not

concerned with sin but with the sanctuary within that remains

blameless and whole in God’s mothering.

 

Their psalm resounds in polyphonic harmony –

. . . in God without end . . . all is well and shall be

well and all manner of things shall be well . . .

. . . trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be . . .

. . . we must just be . . . as simple as the growing corn

or the falling rain.

 

Sr. Wanda, CSJ, responding to the question, joins the choir from

within her small apartment in a meadow to sing her single word

beautiful in simplicity – spring.  Word spoken stirs, wakens.

 

Lent simply is as the beauty of the lily simply is – mystery never

fully solved, question never fully answered within our human mortal

time.  Each must live and respond in her own way of seeing and

claiming fulfillment of love’s promise – tears of sorrow bringing forth

new life that from the beginning has always known our Easter name.

 

 

Notes

Woven into my narrative verse reflection are words of women to whom I return for spiritual companionship:  women who cared enough to take time to form in words what they learned as they lived the human story of sorrow and joy, Lent’s passion and suffering and mortality preceding Easter’s joy:  women who’ve shown me a face of God and a theology different than the theology I was early taught – a theology that was sourced more in judgment and blame than in a heart opened to the source of infinite good.  Julian of Norwich wrote Revelations of Divine Love in the 1300s during the plague of the Black Death.  Her words, “All is well and shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,” resound through the centuries.  They reflect her experience of God as our mother in infinite making, loving, caring.  St. Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, and her poems and prayers, record her “dark night” trial of faith. Though she died painfully of tuberculosis near the end of the 1800’s, she left us her prayer, “You must trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.”  Etty Hillesum’s  An Interrupted Life is a compilation of her diaries and letters, a testament of her refusal to hate and rant against the Nazi regime that intended to annihilate every Jew as less than human.  Writing during the Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s, she perished with her family at Auschwitz in 1943.  Spiritual director, Sr. Wanda, CSJ, lives in a small apartment duplex in a meadow.  When I meet with her, I like to think of her as one of the “spiritual mothers” (desert ammas) of the 4th and 5th centuries AD.  The living words of these women resonate.

 

Margie Dimoplon

God’s Plan

Genesis 45: 4-13 (NIV)

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.  Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.  I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you.  Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

 

For many of us reading through the bible this year, the reunion of the sons of Jacob is emotional. Joseph, Jacob’s favored and beloved son, was sold into slavery by his brothers. In Egypt, he was falsely accused by his employer’s wife and spent several years unjustly imprisoned. He endured many years of hardship. Yet, Joseph did not seek revenge on those who wanted to cause him harm. Nor was he bitter. When God gave him the opportunity to shine, Joseph was ready. And he gave God the glory. Joseph saw his journey and suffering as part of God’s bigger plan to save not just himself. God’s plan ultimately saved all of Israel’s children. Joseph forgave and reunited his extended family.

 

Heavenly Father, even as we endure unpleasant circumstances, may we continue to see the workings of your hands and your favor in our lives. Help us understand that we have certain experiences and situations because it is to your glory. Help us to always trust your plan for our lives and to wait on your deliverance.

AMEN

Shared by Annemarie Edwards

My Sister Maria

 

I was raised Catholic and never read the Bible until I joined Marble Collegiate Church.

 I have joined the one year Bible reading workshop and  am now reading Genesis. It was the Joseph and his brothers story that resonated with me and jogged my memory. The Bible will do that to you. I drew a parallel between my relationship with my sister, Maria, now deceased and Joseph’s  brothers. It has taken me my entire life to realize that she didn’t love me.  She was hurt, angry and I could have repaired any damage at the time, but  I didn’t read the signs, or  didn’t recognize them. She was never affectionate or spend time with me talking “girl talk”  and I think now that it was because I could point to my Dad  and she didn’t  even know hers. I was the apple of my father’s eye and it now is apparent that she envied and felt marginalized because of it. I certainly didn’t pay much attention.

I regret not knowing Maria . And will live with that regret: envy and hate are powerful emotions. They can be chased out with  love, understanding and prayer. I include Maria in my nightly prayers and hope that she knows how much I miss her.  As Saint Therese of Lisieux says, “May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given you.”

I pass on to you dear sisters this: Repair, Replenish relationships because it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s what Jesus wants us to.