Sunday, July 23, 2017

Oh, Sunday! Held in the Rows of an American Church Today.

Oh, Sunday! Ready. Set. Gather with the saints wearing jeans, capris, leggings and such.  I saw saints with sparkling white teeth smiling at me and I heard the tickling sounds of laughter inside a big ole brick house called an American church today.  I felt the feelings of family and I knew I belonged.

Then, in long soft rows of loved ones, I listened to their sturdy voices rising, snugging me in tight with gathering glory, swaddled safe within sounds of songs swelling, and us gatherers grounding our hearts together in the sacred Sunday morning time. My voice rang out with the singing ones, the loving ones with the eyes full of HIM!  I held hands, hugged friends, kissed soft lady faces, gave high fives, and learned new things--  new things from old places, like an ancient “living” word in a big book with a big binding that binds us all together still.

We are always finding what seems new in the old.  Yes, I am, too. And we confide to a feeling of being yet “young inside” the weathered skin with new, soft wrinkles—young because in this place all remember to open wide as a child. I glance back now, in the night, in my soft bed on the little farm and see myself strong in the mix of it all-- even me, even now.   Yes, even me!  And are we all a little dazzled by the idea of belonging?  Sunday is coming again in pursuit of the prize!  -- a gathering church that knows how to hold one another and then how to hold the world.   

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Don't Look Back Too Long

Ever open an album, a box, a disc or a memory stick and find the photos of that mysterious thing called "times past"?   I opened the old oak cabinet this week with the 6 memory sticks in it.  I picked up the box on the piano full of the prints of moments from many yesterdays. When the stick is plugged into this laptop my memories are flung up onto this white screen, transporting me helplessly back to another time in my life.  It feels a bit like, "Hang on my heart!  Hear we go!"

We built this farm with little children around our feet.  Goats and chickens, Basset hounds and rabbits, ponies, donkeys, guinea foul and guinea pigs are memorialized along with the four tiny faces of my little ones.  I wanted something special for my special loves--those 4 little roosters ranking 1st in our hearts.  We gave the gift of growing them strong and kind around a family of fur and feather-bearing friends.  I wanted to share with them a part of who I am and what calls to the inside of my heart as well.  And often that is a large brown goose, an emblazoned red sunset,  or a jersey cow.

Over the years, which is really another way to say, "During the season that time shifts into warp speed",  I saw our 4 little oak trees spread out around this place, growing in body, mind and spirit until, at once, somewhere in the warp, they were looking at me from grown up eyes  and telling tales of their own dreams and plans.  The roosters still crow here and the goats call to me from the field when I arrive home, or walk out on the porch, but the sounds carry across a farm that is in a fevered flux. 

Everything is changing here.  My heart radiates thank yous as I walk on the grassy lawn that leads to all the delights of home. And if a farm could hear me, I would say to my Four Oaks, "Thank you for what you've done for me.  You've held me kind and tight when I came outside to grieve over a loss or a big problem.  You thrilled and awed 4 little ones, and gave them adventures with snakes and woods and fields to run in until they weren't little any more. With your tall trees you've delivered squirrels and beauty, shade and swings and climbing things.   In the gardens we've heard poetry and God.  We've plucked and eaten from vines and bright blue skies. You  wake me up with a fresh sound every morning, proving that what is new to me is also ancient and true. You helped to raise my four little oaks trees, for which you earned your dear name, Four Oaks Farm, and I am forever grateful to you, little farm.  I remember the day I prayed to have you and the way you sit sweet and fresh amid this big world, by the gravel road,  in a river valley.   Thank you that most of the tears I have ever cried on this place have come from a well of happiness." 

But, I won't look back too long today.  I must stop myself soon, for looking back can slow the heart for forward things and forward is the only place that hope grows green and lush on a farm like this.  And growing is what a farm is for, after all.

Forward ho.