Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Delicacy Of Hope

Walking along the edge of the pasture today, I found a stopping place for the deer.  Secretly the deer hide here, behind a small stand of  pine trees and through the  branches, they watch the path which follows along the pasture, entering the woods. It is a sanctuary.

Like all sanctuaries which we are attracted to, the time comes pretty doorwhen we begin to direct our gaze beyond our dwelling place – like the curving path where the daintiest and most charming blooms lie just beyond;  or the almost ethereal clearing in the woods where the filtered light from above beckons us; or through the thick underbrush where the secretive Brown Thrush manages to walk on through the thicket always just beyond our gaze.

  Whether in the garden or on life’s road, our awareness of movement garden 4 through space and time is a gift we should not ignore despite how charming these spaces and the secrets they hold from time to time may be.  From room to room we are beckoned.  Beginning with  gentle anticipation or hope, we begin to feel a hunger that sharpens over time.  Gazing beyond the things of this world, one’s anticipation heightens slowly along with our imagination; and we begin to consider new thoughts of hope that are strange to us.”Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things.  To have true hope, we must abandon ourselves to Him and His love. Hope is a confidence that He deposits in our souls and it knows no limit. It is the gateway to comtemplation as we dwell in Him…moving on…moving on.

Finally over time, we will say as the psalmist did:

As the deer yearns for  streams of water,

                                so I yearn for You, O God.

My whole being thirsts for God,

                                for the living God.

When shall I come and see

                               the presence of God?

My tears became my bread day and night

                               as they said to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These do I recall and pour out my heart

                               when I would step in the procession,

when I would march to the house of God

                               with the sound of glad song of celebrant throng.

How bent, my being, how you moan for me!

                               Hope in God, for yet will I acclaim Him

                                  for His rescuing presence.   Ps. 42

Good friends, it is rare if we have not experienced great darkness in our lives . For those of you who are walking through trials, may you share the hopeful vision of this psalm. 

Hidden within this Psalm is the word “arag” meaning “Yearns.”  This word appears only twice in the bible.  Although the meaning is uncertain, some think it may refer to the sound a thirsty deer makes as it drinks, and others to the animal’s bending its neck toward water.  So subtle…gentle…suggestive of little consequence… yet in time, it will lead to steps of joyous commitment.

For the times when our lives are enfolded in persecution, hopelessness, poverty, isolation, sickness…abandon yourselves and and present circumstances; looking beyond…for His rescuing presence as you trust in His mercy and obey Him.


Behold He stands behind our wall;

He is looking through the window,

Gazing through the lattice.”  Song of Solomon 2:9  


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Love’s Extravagance

washing feet

Then  Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus,

and wiped His feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.


Mary, who casts aside all regard for those around her, those who might misunderstand and criticize; Mary with her long hair let down, in extravagance, - so much  in love.   It is as if no one else was there, only Jesus and Mary.  We are shocked by her boldness.

And yet… do we not all long to be like Mary…to fill the air with our extravagant love?  He longs for you to draw near to Him as Mary did and feel how He loves you.  You cannot help but respond and that is what made Mary special; she was compelled by His love.  “A bruised reed, He shall not break and a smouldering wick, He shall not quench.”  The Lord will  inflame you with His love and you will become extravagant.

What will you give in response to His love? Paul said, “I have been grasped by Christ and now I am grasping Him.”

William Barclay writes: “…the whole Church was filled with the sweet memory of Mary’s action.  A lovely deed becomes the possession of the whole world and adds to the beauty of life in general, something which time cannot ever take away.”

What will you give in response to His passion…or will you say, “I never knew.”