To Have Faith Like Abraham…

It’s interesting to start out in one direction only to end up in another. The drawing below started out as a broken heart, as I pondered and sat with the sadness I felt over situations around me. However, the more I sat and drew, the more at peace I felt. And when I was done, and it came time for a title, as I looked at the drawing, all I could think was “Abraham.”

The Book of Genesis reveals many trials and tribulations as well as triumphs. Within its pages is the story of the man who started out as Abram, but ended up as Abraham. And while he, like any human being, was not perfect, his life and relationship with God serves as a great example; both are marked by perseverance, faithfulness, and trust. Abraham sought to do the Lord’s will…to do right by God.

Despite the circumstances around him, Abraham was able to see what God had done for him, how God had provided for him, and how God had been with him. To look at Abraham’s life is to see the light of God shining in, shining through, and filling up the holes created by human experience.

Even in his own failings, or perceived failings, Abraham chose God…chose life, time after time. With Abraham, there was always room for God, for the desire for God and to do right by God. There was a confidence, hope and trust that was constant; there was also a sense of freedom. Abraham knew who he was before God and allowed God to help him as he strove to embrace and live out his part of salvation history.

“Abraham” – “The father of many.” To have faith like Abraham…to allow God to shine in us, through us, and beyond us, wherever we go.

FaithLikeAbraham

 

Take Flight and Soar…

If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts. – Psalm 98:5

While I was searching for a photo, I came across a few that one of my brothers-in-law had taken and sent to the family a couple of years ago…an eagle taking flight.

Looking at the images, “God is in charge.” These are the words that pop into my mind. Such a freeing thought. God is in charge. God who created the eagle and not only gave it wings to fly, but also to soar. As I ponder how magnificent it is to see the eagle take flight and soar, I believe that God has the same in mind for all creation. How inspiring, filled with hope, and so grateful to God it makes me feel.

There is excitement as I step in to all that this day holds, both the known and the unknown. I wonder, “Will I recognize the gifts and blessings around me in the midst of all that is on my plate today? How will I cooperate with God?” Then I stop myself. I call myself back to the eagle in flight, about to soar, and I think, “Let go and let God.” How freeing!

eagle1eagle3eagle4

Photos courtesy of DMB

When Truth Comes…

Sometimes it can be hard to know what the right thing, the good thing, to do in a situation is…And sometimes, it can be even harder to do that thing.

Growing up, I remember singing a hymn at church that had the words, “All of you who have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia.” It was one of my favorite hymns. I recall singing the words in English, Greek and Arabic during liturgy.

What I remember most, though, are the feelings that were evoked and how deeply touched my soul was as I was singing alongside fellow parishioners. There was no organ or instruments (although I have come to appreciate and enjoy their presence in the years since).  Just a church full of people responding and singing, and it seemed everyone was responding and singing. How good and uplifting it was…the Truth proclaimed and fully alive…Spirit so present.

As I reflect on that time and on doing the right thing, the good thing, now, I think about what it means to me to be created in the image of God and to be a disciple. I believe with all of my heart and all of my soul that despite what the world around me may think or say, or even do, I am called to do the right thing and I have been given (we all have been given) the gifts to do so. It is a call from birth, and my faith and religious tradition tell me it has been sealed through Baptism, and that through God’s grace I am capable of answering that call, doing what is right, no matter what the circumstances.

I remind myself of my experience when I pray about a situation honestly and with openness. That is, when I pour my heart out to God, sharing more than what I would like to see or how I would like to see it…Sharing all my thoughts, hopes and fears, with a heart that desires to do right by God, more than anything else, the path for me to take becomes very clear.

Sometimes the path calls me to say, “No. I will not go along.” Calling me to stand up and speak up, loud and clear, in the name of love, truth, mercy and justice. I need to trust that God, who led me to it, will see me through it, and even though it may be difficult and may cause discomfort or pain, I need to do it, because it is the right thing, the good thing, to do. In doing it, I am brought back to singing that hymn as a child…How good and uplifting it is…the Truth proclaimed and fully alive…Spirit so present. Alleluia!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Col 3:16-17

Remembering…

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Goethe

November…leaves falling, crisp cold air, fireplaces rolling…a time of harvest…a time of thanksgiving…a time of remembrance. As I adjust to shorter days and longer nights, I reflect on all that is and remember all that has passed. It is interesting how time can change things.

What once seemed so far away is closer with each hour…with each day…with each year. What once seemed insurmountable is now but a memory…a valued piece of history along the journey. As I look back, there is sadness…there is joy…but mostly there is gratitude.

From the old…

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you says the Lord,
plans for your welfare and not for woe,
so as to give you a future of hope.
When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.
When you look for me, you will find me.
Yes, when you seek me with all your heart,
I will let you find me… – Jeremiah 29:11-14

What remains is truly priceless—memories…love…and so many blessings, far more rich than and more loudly…more deeply than the hurts and the disappointments.

To the new…

But as it is written:
“What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard,
and what has not entered the human heart,
what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

Constancy, an unwavering presence, love and hope for the future. A heart capable of seeing new adventures…exciting perhaps daunting or unexpected at times, but also opportunities and potential blessings through whatever may lie ahead. A faith that has a history of overcoming…of surviving…of a Love that conquers all. While there may be plenty that is bigger or more powerful than me, there is nothing that is bigger or more powerful than my God.

It is all good. In God, we trust. All will be okay…the fight has already been won. God…Time…it is all thanksgiving.

On Time from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

And an astronomer said, “Master, what of Time?”

And he answered:

You would measure time the measureless and the immeasurable.

You would adjust your conduct and even direct the course of your spirit according to hours and seasons.

Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.

And that that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment which scattered the stars into space.

Who among you does not feel that his power to love is boundless?

And yet who does not feel that very love, though boundless, encompassed within the centre of his being, and moving not from love thought to love thought, nor from love deeds to other love deeds?

And is not time even as love is, undivided and placeless?

But if in your thought you must measure time into seasons, let each season encircle all the other seasons,

And let today embrace the past with remembrance and the future with longing.