Silent Saturday

This print of an original artwork by David Arms hangs in the dining room of our home. It is rich with symbolism, as is all of David’s art.  On this Saturday that is called silent because Christ has been crucified but not yet risen, I stand and consider the meaning portrayed by the artist and more importantly, the meaning and mystery of all that Christians celebrate in their remembering during Lent, the week called Holy, and this time when we wait in vigil and anticipation of Resurrection.  I am Eastering.  Each year that passes (now 76 for me) I am more aware of all that I do not know yet all that I know that I have been given.  The name of this painting is The Last Supper.*

*This is the story of the Last Supper portrayed symbolically. The sparrow is the most common and lowly of man. The blackbird represents sin. The nest with the three eggs (home in heaven with the trinity) is where this scene is leading. The floating table meaning God is in control. And most importantly, the white dove is Jesus.

Turning

lenttreeTurning

the turning days begin

reaching into soul search

dark with unknowing

each step on this road

closer to liminal light,

distant dawn of Grace

 

A journey, a pilgrimage! Yet, as we begin it, as we make the first step into the “bright sadness” of Lent, we see far, far, away – the destination. It is the joy of Easter, it is the entrance into the glory of the Kingdom.  ~ Alexander Schmemann

 

Praise

I have been on the verge of complaint some mornings lately.  We have had so many consecutive days of pewter colored skies, bleak landscapes, and dreary, rainy weather. But I believe in finding sacred moments in the ordinary and this, for now, is the ordinary. So I put the garden planning on paper instead of the ground, plan more ways to use the indoor time, and am reminded to praise God for his glory displayed in shadow as well as light.

mist

…and in the mist.

 

We praise thee, O God, for thy glory
displayed in all the creatures of the earth,
In the snow, in the rain, in the wind, in the storm;
in all of thy creatures, both the hunters and the hunted…
They affirm thee in living;
all things affirm thee in living;
the bird in the air, both the hawk and the finch;
the beast on the earth, both the wolf and the lamb;…
Therefore man, whom thou hast made
to be conscious of thee,
must consciously praise thee,
in thought and in word and in deed.
Even with the hand to the broom,
the back bent in laying the fire,
the knee bent in cleaning the hearth…
The back bent under toil,
the knee bent under sin,
the hands to the face under fear,
the head bent under grief,
Even in us the voices of the seasons,
the snuffle of winter, the song of spring,
the drone of summer,
the voices of beasts and of birds,
praise thee.  ~ T.S. Eliot

Source: Murder in the Cathedral

Waiting

fog

Winter Fog

bare branches reach

waiting in a gray veil

to wear green again

On Christmas day,  Nora and I rode in the back seat of our car to church, watching for trees. She said the leaves were all gone away and I agreed.  I said they would come back in the Spring and be here for her birthday. This is an often repeated story recently as she widens her 2-year-old world to pay attention to things that go away. I thought of this the last few days in our early morning fog. Most mornings, I can see beyond our fence and across the lake to a house that is being built there.  I see duck families and herons on the water. But the fog here obscures all but the most pronounced and closest objects. So it is with these days approaching year’s end.  I know what recent days have looked like, but the new year coming holds no clear vision for me.  I am called to trust, to practice discernment, to watch for markers that remind me I have been and will be guided.

“Spiritual discernment asks us to pay attention…on many levels:  to sensus fidelium ( the collective ene of the faithful), to read widely and deeply the best ancient and contemporary thinking, to pray, to attend to the prick of conscience, to watch, to wait, to listen.”

~from “Passing Angels: The Arts of Spiritual Discernment” by Wendy M. Wright in Weavings, November 1995

Light for My Path

Clear shining light,

Mary

s childbeacon

Clear shining light,

Mary’s child

Your face lights up our way

Light of the world,

Mary’s child,

Dawn on our darkened day

 Geoffrey Ainger

Advent is neither just a period on the church calendar nor my personal one. Advent has become an important preparation time, a time to reflect on my path, entering into the darkness of unknowing, opening to new possibility and radical availability.   Light coming into darkness.

Saying Grace

IMG_1941

Most days begin with prayer and thanksgiving – for years now I have kept a gratitude journal.  This reminds me to focus on all the everyday ordinary blessings I receive as grace.  When we gather for a meal as a family, we hold hands and give thanks for our food. Nora calls this our “Maymen.”  The table is the same one I mention below in an excerpt from my blog post in 2014.

I am remembering childhood meals around my Terrell grandparent’s table in Smith County, Texas. There were hearty breakfasts with farm fresh eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy,  dinners (at lunchtime) that often included  peas and tomatoes from their garden and an iron skillet of cornbread cut into wedges.There were suppers, often the same food reheated or a bowl of soup, and Sunday dinners after church. There were holiday meals at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas where the table and kitchen were both filled with chicken and dressing or a ham, plus those garden fresh vegetables which had been put up into canning jars. To follow, there would be an assortment of sweets – cookies, sweet potato, pecan, and mince pies, and often a pound cake. The food and occasion might vary, but there was always the same beginning: This, too, was something I could count on.  Papa Terrell would say grace. Today we may say a blessing or give thanks, but he always said grace.  The words were always the same, and rattled off so quickly I could never understand them.  But his posture spoke to my heart with no need for words.  Over 70 years later, now I see him clearly in my mind:  gray head bent forward and bowed in humility.

“We offer grace at table as a form of waiting with confidence…reciting such a prayer is sometimes referred to as a way of preparing to receive all that has been granted to us. We offer grace in amazement that even the good things we have rejected are being offered again. And then we eat, and the food meets an earthly need of our souls, and we are made whole.” – Cynthia Rigby, W.C. Brown Professor of Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary*

For me, the calendar days designated to Thanksgiving are a wonderful approach to  beginning of Advent exactly because of this waiting with confidence…preparing to receive all that has been granted to us. Our family will gather once again around the old oak table, the very same one that Grandma loaded with food and where Papa said grace.

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