Thursday, November 13, 2014

Glass Beach
On the day that I make them My jewels. Malachi 3:17
Early twentieth century residents of Fort Bragg, California disposed of their trash by throwing it onto a nearby beach. Cans, bottles, tableware and household garbage accumulated in piles over thirty feet high. Even when residents stopped depositing trash on the beach, it remained an embarrassmenta disgusting, malodorous dump beyond human reclamation.
Over the years, however, wave action broke up the glass and pottery, and washed the rubbish out to sea. The pounding surf rolled and tumbled the glass particles in the sand, frosting and smoothing the surface and creating gem-like sea glass, which it then deposited on the beach, creating a kaleidoscopic beauty at which visitors now stare in amazement.
Perhaps your life has become a dump, a foul, disgusting mess beyond human reclamation. There is one who loves you; who waits to redeem your ruined and ruinous life. Just give Jesus your hearts affection and ask him to make you pure and clean. Believe in the slow work of God (Teilhard Chardin). He may tumble you a bit; it takes time to smooth away the rough edges. But He will never give up until he makes you one of His jewels.

When He cometh, when He cometh
To make up His jewels,
All His jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.

Like the stars of the morning,
His brightness adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.
William Cushing

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Reaching Out in the Darkness
How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,
That thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.
—George MacDonald. “A Diary of an Old Soul.”

Our old Westie sleeps curled up at the foot of our bed. That’s been her place for 13 years or so.
Normally she doesn’t move or make a sound, but lately she’s been pawing us gently in the middle of the night. At first we thought she wanted to go outside, and tried to accommodate her, but that’s not what she wants. She just wants to know that we’re there.
She’s in her nineties now (in dog years), nearly deaf and partially blind. She can’t see well in the darkness and can’t hear us move or breath and feels insecure. So when she touches me now I just reach down and pat her on the head and assure her that I’m there. That’s all she wants to know. She takes a turn or two, settles down and goes back to sleep.
Confused in the darkness? Grieving, fearful, guilty, doubting, discouraged? Not sure of God? Reach out for him. Though you may be in darkness the darkness is not dark to him.[1] He could make the darkness light if he chose to and step out of it into plain sight. That would be no trouble to him because, though unseen, he is nigh. He has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”[2] It must be true. Put your hand into his outstretched hand. He is there.
David Roper

[1] Psalm 139:12
[2] Hebrews 13:5

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Daily Grind

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” —Colossians 3:22

The high school I attended required four years of Latin instruction. I appreciate the value of that discipline now, but back then it was a grind.

Our teacher was old school: She believed in drill and repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition! “Repetitio est mater studiorum,” she intoned over us several times a day. “Repetitio ad absurdum,” we muttered under our breath.[1]

I realize now that that most of life is simply that: repetition—a round of ordinary, dull, uninspiring, lackluster things that must be done again and again every day. “Repetition is reality...our daily bread,” Kierkegaard said. But, as he went on to say, “It is the bread that satisfies with benediction.”

It’s a matter of taking up each duty, no matter how mundane, humble, trivial, or onerous and asking God to bless it and put it to his intended purposes. In that way we take the drudgeries of life and turn them into holy work, freighted with unseen, eternal consequence.

Gerard Manley Hopkins said that, “a man with a dung–fork in his hand and a woman with a slop–pail” are doing the work of God if they “mean it that way."

Knowing my heart, I’ll have to “mean it” several times a day.  

Teach me, my God and King, 
In all things Thee to see;
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee!
—George Herbert    


[1] She did, however, enliven some days by leaping up on to her desk and reciting passages from Caesar’s Gallic Wars!

The Purpose That Is Purposed “This is the purpose that is purposed with regard to the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretch...