Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent Poem

You keep us waiting.

You, the God of all time,

Want us to wait

For the right time in which to discover

Who we are, where we are to go,

Who will be with us, and what we must do.

So thank you ... for the waiting time.

- John Bell

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Home Again

Returning from Mozambique is difficult on many levels. The 6 hour time distance plus the very long plane ride wreak havoc on the body. Finding the right time zone is a challenge. Catching up with work is difficult. And discovering what has happened at home while you were gone can be disconcerting. For us, this year, it meant learning that Bruce's mom had suffered a severe stroke, and was not expected to recover, and then just last Wednesday, she died, and now is living in Heaven.  A lot has happened in a very short time.

This morning my devotions were from Genesis 9:8-17. God put the rainbow in the clouds as the sign of his promise to never again destroy the earth with a flood.  The following poem reminds me that Bruce's mom has entered heaven, and instead of suffering pain and loss, she is enjoying the "light which never shall decay." For that we are thankful. 

A Prayer of Gratitude
The rainbow bending in the sky bedecked with sundry hues
Is like the seat of God on high, and seems to tell these news -
That as thereby he promised to drown the world no more
So by the blood which Christ has shed He will our health restore...

Unto such joys for to attain God grants us all his grace
And send us after worldly pain in Heaven to have a place,
Where we may still enjoy the light which never shall decay
Lord, for this mercy lend us might to see that joyful day.

- Adapted from "Gascoigne's Good Morrow" by George Gascoigne (1542-1577)

Monday, April 13, 2009

10 More Days!

Bruce, Rachel, and I are getting ready to head to Mozambique in only 10 days! I know the time will fly by. There are still a few things to prepare, but I think we're in pretty good shape. It will be good to be on our way, and doing the work God has prepared for us to do. Every day I have to remember to TRUST God. Worry is not an option. Trust is a choice, though. It doesn't come naturally. Sometimes, I just think, "I can't do this! I'm not qualified." Then I remember the Apostle Paul's words from I Corinthians 12:9 - But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you,for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ's power may rest on me.  

O Lord, Help me to trust You!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Prayer for Effective Ministry

Fill me, O Christ, with wonder, love and praise, that I may praise you, God with us.
O Lord, be my light and my strength.
O Lord, in my weakness, perfect your strength.
O Lord, make me your messenger.
O Lord, arm me with the sword of you Spirit.
Lord Jesus, speak to me that I may speak for you.
Lord Jesus, help me to speak the truth.
Enable me to show how sweet it is to love you,
to weep with you, and
to rejoice with you.
     - Anonymous

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beneath Thy Cross by Christina Rossetti

Am I a stone, and not a sheep, 
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon -
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Prayer for Entering into Lent

"O God of peace, who has taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in trust shall be our strength: by the power of your Spirit lift us, we pray, to your presence, where we may be still and know that you are God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Book of Common Prayer, page 832
as quoted by Ruth Haley Barton

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The More I Learn the Less I Know :-(

I am a college student this month. An interesting experience. I'm taking an interim class at Calvin College. It meets every afternoon for three hours. That's a huge chunk out of my day. I'm studying African Cultures and Traditions through Folklore, hoping to learn a bit more about the African customs in Chinhangane. We've read a couple of books, and several short stories. The professor is a Kenyan, married to a Tanzanian. I love it when she shares stories about her personal life. She said she hasn't been able to find any folk tales or myths from Mozambique, but some of her stories sound similar to things I have encountered in Mozambique. I'm still trying to decide whether to audit the class or take it for credit. I'm just not sure I want to write the last paper.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Some Good Advice

"Start with God - the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning."
- Proverbs 1:7 (MSG)

Monday, January 5, 2009

If your life was music...

If the moments of your day-to-day life were recorded as musical notes, what kind of music would they make? Would they sound like a breezy pop song or hard-driving rap music? Or would they sound like a beautiful symphony with structured pauses that give resonance to the notes?
- Eugene Peterson