This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open — pools of lace, white and pink —
and all day under the shifty wind, as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies, and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise, their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness gladly and lightly, and there it is again — beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open. Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever? ~Mary Oliver fromNew And Selected Poems
White peonies blooming along the porch send out light while the rest of the yard grows dim. Outrageous flowers as big as human heads! They’re staggered by their own luxuriance: I had to prop them up with stakes and twine. The moist air intensifies their scent, and the moon moves around the barn to find out what it’s coming from. In the darkening June evening I draw a blossom near, and bending close search it as a woman searches a loved one’s face. ~Jane Kenyon “Peonies at Dusk”
This coming weekend, I will bring our peonies to the graves of those from whom I came, to lay one after another exuberant floral head upon each headstone, a moment of connection between those in the ground and me standing above, acknowledging its thin space when one more humble and silky life shatters, its petals slowly scatter, lush and trembling, to the wind.
Let my soul rise up to meet You As the day rises to the sun Let my soul rise up to meet You Let that patient kingdom come
When’s the last time you felt steady in the chaos? Hear the sound when the seed falls to earth Is it time to give up your destination? Slow me down, let love do its work Let my soul rise up to meet You
As the trees and hummingbirds lead the chorus They work so hard, and their center so still Is it time for a change in direction? Slow me down where I bend to Your will
Slow me down Slow me down Let love do its work
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The old church leans awry and looks quite odd, But it is beautiful to us, and God. ~Stephen Paulus “The Old Church”
A little aside from the main road, becalmed in a last-century greyness, there is the chapel, ugly, without the appeal to the tourist to stop his car and visit it. The traffic goes by, and the river goes by, and quick shadows of clouds, too, and the chapel settles a little deeper into the grass.
But here once on an evening like this, in the darkness that was about his hearers, a preacher caught fire and burned steadily before them with a strange light, so that they saw the splendour of the barren mountains about them and sang their amens fiercely, narrow but saved in a way that men are not now. ~R.S. Thomas “The Chapel”
It’s just a boarded-up shack with a tower Under the blazing summer sky On a back road seldom traveled Where the shadows of tall trees Graze peacefully like a row of gallows…
The congregation may still be at prayer. Farm folk from flyspecked photos Standing in rows with their heads bowed As if listening to your approaching steps. So slow they are, you must be asking yourself How come we are here one minute And in the very next gone forever? Try the locked door, then knock once.
High above you, there is the leaning spire Still feeling the blow of the last storm. And then the silence of the afternoon . . . Even the unbeliever must feel its force. ~Charles Simic, from “Wooden Church” from The Voice at 3:00 A.M.
The church knelt heavy above us as we attended Sunday School, circled by age group and hunkered on little wood folding chairs where we gave our nickels, said our verses, heard the stories, sang the solid, swinging songs.
It could have been God above in the pews, His restless love sifting with dust from the joists. We little seeds swelled in the stone cellar, bursting to grow toward the light.
Maybe it was that I liked how, upstairs, outside, an avid sun stormed down, burning the sharp- edged shadows back to their buildings, or how the winter air knifed after the dreamy basement.
Maybe the day we learned whatever would have kept me believing I was just watching light poke from the high, small window and tilt to the floor where I could make it a gold strap on my shoe, wrap my ankle, embrace any part of me. ~Maureen Ash “Church Basement”
Mom, You raised your hands while we sang this morning like I’ve never known you to, but I guess until recently I’ve never really known you in a church that let you feel alive.
There is so much wrong with churches overall, comprised as they are of fallen people with broken wings and fractured faith, we who look odd and lean awry, so keen to find flaws in one another when we are cracked open and spilling with our own.
Yet what is right with the church is who we pray to, why we sing and absorb the Word- we are visible people joined together as a body so bloodied, bruised, being healed despite our thoroughly motley messiness.
Our Lord of Heaven and Earth rains down His restless love upon our heads no matter how humble a building we worship in, or how we look or feel today.
We are simply grateful to be alive, to raise our hands, to kneel and bow in a house God calls His own.
The old church leans nearby a well-worn road, Upon a hill that has no grass or tree, The winds from off the prairie now unload The dust they bring around it fitfully.
The path that leads up to the open door Is worn and grayed by many toiling feet Of us who listen to the Bible lore And once again the old-time hymns repeat.
And ev’ry Sabbath morning we are still Returning to the altar waiting there. A hush, a prayer, a pause, and voices fill The Master’s House with a triumphant air.
The old church leans awry and looks quite odd, But it is beautiful to us and God. ~Stephen Paulus
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For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning – not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last. ~Frederick Buechner from The Magnificent Defeat
Into this world, this demented inn, in which there is absolutely no room for him at all, Christ has come uninvited. But because he cannot be at home in it – because he is out of place in it, and yet must be in it – his place is with those others who do not belong, who are rejected because they are regarded as weak… With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world. He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world at its worst. ~Thomas Merton from Watch for the Light
As a physician, I’ve provided care to many homeless people, but I’ve never known homelessness myself. However, I have been room-less and those experiences were enough to acquaint me with the dilemma for Joseph and Mary searching for a place to sleep in Bethlehem.
It was my ninth birthday, July 26, 1963, and my family was driving to Washington D.C. for a few days of sightseeing. We had planned to spend the night in a motel somewhere in eastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania but my father, ever the determined traveler, felt we should push on closer to our destination. By the time 11 PM rolled around, we were all tired and not just a little cranky so we started looking for vacancy signs at road-side motels. Most were posted no vacancy by that time of night, and many simply had shut off their lights. We stopped at a few with vacancy still lit, but all they had available would never accommodate a family of five.
We kept driving east, and though I was hungry for sleep, I became ever more anxious that we really would never find a place to lay our heads. My eyes grew wider and I was more awake than ever, having never stayed up beyond 1 AM before and certainly, I’d never had the experience of being awake all night long. It still goes down in my annals as my longest birthday on record.
By 2 AM we arrived in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and my dad had reached his driving limit and my mom had declared we were not traveling another mile. We headed downtown where the brick Harrisburg Hotel stood some 10 stories high, an old structure in a questionable area of town, but the lights were on and there were signs of life inside.
They did have a room that gave us two saggy double beds to share for eight dollars, with sheets and blankets with dubious laundering history, a bare light bulb that turned on with a chain and a bathroom down the hall. I’m surprised my mother even considered laying down on that bed, but she did. I don’t remember getting much sleep that night, but it was a place to rest, and the sirens and shouts out on the street did make for interesting background noise.
Some 12 years later, I had another experience of finding no room to lay my head after arriving late at night in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, with supposed reservations at the local YMCA for myself and my three student friends traveling together on our way to Gombe to study wild chimpanzees. We landed at the airport after midnight after a day long flight from Brussels, managed to make it through customs intact and find a taxi, only to arrive at the Y to find it dark and locked. It took some loud knocking to rouse anyone and with our poor Swahili, we were able to explain our dilemma–we were supposed to have two rooms reserved for the four of us. He said clearly “no room, all rooms taken”.
The host was plainly perplexed at what to do with four Americans in the middle of the night. He decided to parse us out one each to occupied rooms and hope that the occupants were willing to share. He looked at me, a skinny white girl with short hair and decided I was some kind of strange looking guy, and tried to stick me in a room with a rather intoxicated French man and I said absolutely not. Instead my female traveling partner and I ended up sharing a cot (sort of) in a room with a German couple who allowed us into their room, which I thought was an amazing act of generosity at 2 AM in the morning. I didn’t sleep a wink, amazed at the magical sounds and smells of my first dawn in Africa, hearing the morning prayers coming from the mosque across the street, only a few hours later.
So I can relate in a small way to what it must have felt like over 2000 years ago to have traveled over hard roads to arrive in a dirty little town temporarily crammed with too many people, and find there were no rooms anywhere to be had. And to have doors shut abruptly on a young woman in obvious full term pregnancy is another matter altogether. They must have felt a growing sense of panic that there would be no safe and clean place to rest and possibly deliver this Child.
Then there came the offer of an animals’ dwelling, with fodder for bedding and some minimal shelter. A stable and its stone manger became sanctuary for the weary and burdened. We are all invited in to rest there, and I never enter a barn without somehow acknowledging that fact and feeling welcomed.
There are so many ways we continue to refuse access and shut the doors in the faces of those two (plus One) weary travelers, forcing them to look elsewhere to stay. We say “no room” dozens of times every day, not realizing who and what we are shutting out.
With all the material distractions of our age, it is small wonder we pay no attention to who is waiting patiently outside the back door of our lives, where it is inhospitable and cold and dank. Few of us would invite our special company into the barn first and foremost. Yet these travelers don’t seek an invitation to come in the front door, with fancy meals and feather beds and fresh flowers on the cupboard. It is the dark and manure strewn parts of our lives where they are needed most. That is where He was born to dwell amid our messiness, and that is where He remains, in the humblest parts of our being, the parts we do not want to show off, and indeed, most often want to hide.
And that is, of course, a place where there is always plenty of room.
Jesus, Jesus, rest your head. You has got a manger bed. All the evil folk on earth Sleep in feathers at their birth. Jesus, Jesus, rest your head. You has got a manger bed.
1. Have you heard about our Jesus? Have you heard about his fate? How his mammy went to the stable On that Christmas Eve so late? Winds were blowing, cows were lowing, Stars were glowing, glowing, glowing. Refrain
2. To the manger came the Wise Men. Bringing from hin and yon, For the mother and the father, And the blessed little Son. Milkmaids left their fields and flocks And sat beside the ass and ox. Refrain
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Who has not considered Mary And who her praise would dim, But what of humble Joseph Is there no song for him?
If Joseph had not driven Straight nails through honest wood If Joseph had not cherished His Mary as he should;
If Joseph had not proved him A sire both kind and wise Would he have drawn with favor The Child’s all-probing eyes?
Would Christ have prayed, ‘Our Father’ Or cried that name in death Unless he first had honored Joseph of Nazareth ? ~Luci Shaw “Joseph The Carpenter”
It was from Joseph first I learned of love. Like me he was dismayed. How easily he could have turned me from his house; but, unafraid, he put me not away from him (O God-sent angel, pray for him). Thus through his love was Love obeyed.
The Child’s first cry came like a bell: God’s Word aloud, God’s Word in deed. The angel spoke: so it befell, and Joseph with me in my need. O Child whose father came from heaven, to you another gift was given, your earthly father chosen well.
With Joseph I was always warmed and cherished. Even in the stable I knew that I would not be harmed. And, though above the angels swarmed, man’s love it was that made me able to bear God’s love, wild, formidable, to bear God’s will, through me performed. ~Madeleine L’Engle O Sapientia in A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation edited by Luci Shaw
The hero of the story this season is the man in the background.
He is the adoptive father who does the right thing rather than what he has legal right to do, who listens to his dreams and believes, who leads the way over dusty roads to be counted, who searches valiantly for a suitable place to stay, who does whatever he can to assist her labor, who stands tall over a vulnerable mother and infant while the poor and curious pour out of the hills, the wise and foreign appear bringing gifts, who takes his family to safety when the innocents are slaughtered.
He is only a carpenter, not born for heroics, but steps up when called. He is a humble man teaching his son a living, until his son leaves to save the dying. He is strong and obedient, a tree bowing low to give up his fruit.
This man Joseph is the Chosen father, the best Abba a God could hope for.
When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he He courted Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
Joseph and Mary were walking one day Here is apples and cherries so fair to behold
Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild: Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child
Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger he flew Let the father of the baby gather cherries for you!
Well, the cherry-tree bowed low down, bowed down to the ground, And Mary gathered cherries while Joseph stood down.
Then Joseph took Mary all on his right knee, Crying, “Lord, have mercy for what I have done.”
When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he, He courted Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee.
Don’t be afraid To take Mary as your wife For the child in her Is of the Spirit Don’t be afraid To take Mary as your wife For the child in her Is of the Spirit Don’t be afraid
[Chorus] She will bear a son And you shall call this one “Jesus” She will bear a son And you shall call this one “Jesus”
That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly,dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. ~Ray Bradbury from The October Country
Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn. ~Leo Tolstoy
A few days of heavy rain in November transforms our farm to mush. Puddles are everywhere, the ground is saturated and mushrooms are sprouting in the most unlikely places. It’s ideal weather for the trumpeter swans and snow geese who glean in the nearby harvested cornfields, filling up on dropped corn kernels. They fly overhead to head out to the fields, noisily honking, their wings swooshing the air as they pass over.
The wet weather means chores are more challenging on our farm. Some of the stalls in the barn have started to get moist from the rising ground water, so the Haflingers appreciate diving into fresh shavings for a good roll and shake. I can appreciate the relief they feel as I like getting back to solid footing too at the end of the day. Much of my day also seems to be spent navigating slippery slopes and muddy terrain, both real and figurative.
It isn’t always apparent what ground is treacherous from appearance alone. The grassy slope heading down to the barn from the house looks pretty benign until I start navigating in a driving rainstorm in the dark, and suddenly the turf becomes a skating rink and I’m finding I’m picking my way carefully with a flashlight. The path I seek is to find the patches of moss, which happily soak up the water like a sponge carpet-like, so not slick to walk on. Even if moss ordinarily is not a welcome addition to lawn or pasture–I appreciate it this time of year.
Another challenge is pushing a wheelbarrow with two 60 pound bales of hay back up that slope to the stalls for the day’s feeding. There is no traction underneath to help my feet stick to the ground for the push uphill. I can feel particularly foolish at this futile effort–my feet sometimes slide out beneath me, landing me on my knees down on the ground, soaked and humiliated, and the wheelbarrow goes skidding right back down to the barn door where it started.
Trusting the footing underneath my feet is crucial day to day. If I am to get work done most efficiently and make progress, I must have solid ground to tread. But the stuff of real life, like our farm’s ground, doesn’t come made to order that way. Some days are slick and treacherous, unpredictable and ready to throw me to my knees, while other days are simple, easy, and smooth sailing. Waking in the morning, I cannot know what I will face that day–whether I need my highest hip boots to wade through the muck or whether I can dash about in comfy house slippers. My attitude has something to do with it too–sometimes my “internal” footing is loose and slippery, tripping up those around me as well as myself. That is when I need most to plant myself in the solid foundation that I know will support me during those treacherous times. I need my faith, my need to forgive and experience forgiveness, my family holding me as I fall, and to help pick them up when they are down. Without those footings every day, I’m nothing more than a muddy soiled mess lying face down on the ground wondering if I’ll ever walk again.
There is good reason I end up on my knees at times. It is the best reminder of where I would be full time if it were not for stronger Hands that lift me up, clean me up and guide my footsteps all my days.
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…wealth and cleverness were nothing to God — no one is too unimportant to be His friend. ~Dorothy Sayers from “The Man Born to Be King”
No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look Down on others, those who have no need even of God – for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit there can be no abundance of God. ~ Oscar Romero
No one wants to admit to being needy. It is, after all, allowing someone else to have strength and power to deliver what one is desperate for.
Relinquishing that control is painful but it is more painful to be so poor that one is hungry without food, thirsty without drink, ill without medicine, cold without shelter, alone without God.
When we are well fed and hydrated, healed, clothed and safe in our homes, it is difficult to be considered “needy”. Yet most of us are ultimately bereft and spiritually impoverished; we need God even when we can’t admit our emptiness, or we turn away when He offers Himself up to us.
Despite the wealth with which we surround ourselves every day, our need is still overwhelmingly great; we stand empty and ready to be filled with his abundant and lavish gift of Himself.
Helpless and hungry, lowly, afraid Wrapped in the chill of midwinter; Comes now among us, born into poverty’s embrace, new life for the world Who is this who lives with the lowly, Sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger? This is Christ, revealed to the world In the eyes of a child, a child of the poor
Who is the stranger here in our midst, Looking for shelter among us? Who is the outcast? Who do we see amid the poor, the children of God? Who is this who lives with the lowly, Sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger? This is Christ, revealed to the world In the eyes of a child, a child of the poor
Bring all the thirst, all who seek peace; Bring those with nothing to offer. Strengthen the feeble, Say to the frightened heart: “Fear not: here is your God!” Who is this who lives with the lowly, Sharing their sorrows, knowing their hunger? This is Christ, revealed to the world In the eyes of a child, a child of the poor ~Scott Soper (1994)“A Child of the Poor”
“He (the professor) asked what I made of the other students (at Oxford) so I told him. They were okay, but they were all very similar… they’d never failed at anything or been nobodies, and they thought they would always win. But this isn’t most people’s experience of life.
He asked me what could be done about it. I told him the answer was to send them all out for a year to do some dead-end job like working in a chicken processing plant or spreading muck with a tractor. It would do more good than a gap year in Peru.
He laughed and thought this was tremendously witty. It wasn’t meant to be funny. ~James Rebanks from The Shepherd’s Life (how a sheep farmer succeeds at Oxford and then goes back to the farm)
In our barn we have a very beat up old AM/FM radio that sits on a shelf next to the horse stalls and serves as company to the horses during the rainy stormy days they stay inside, and serves as distraction to me as we clean stalls of manure and wet spots in the evening. We live about 10 miles south of the Canadian border, so most stations that come in well on this radio’s broken antenna are from the lower mainland of British Columbia. This includes a panoply of stations spoken in every imaginable language– a Babel of sorts that I can tune into: Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, French and of course, proper British accent English. But standard issue American melting pot genetic mix that I am, I prefer to tune into the “Oldies” Station and reminisce.
There is a strange comfort in listening to songs that I enjoyed 40-50+ years ago, and I’m somewhat miffed and perplexed that they should be called “oldies”. Oldies always referred to music from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, not the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s! I listen and sing along with a mixture of feeling ancient and yet transported back to my teens. I can think of faces and names I haven’t thought of in decades, remember special summer days picking berries and hear long lost voices from school days. I can smell and taste and feel things all because of the trigger of a familiar song. There is something primordial –deep in my synapses– that is stirred by this music. In fact, I shoveled manure to these same songs 50 years ago, and somehow, it seems not much as changed.
Or has it? One (very quick) glance in the mirror tells me it has and I have.
Yesterday, I Got You, Babe and you were a Bridge Over Troubled Waters for this Natural Womanwho just wants to be Close to Youso You’ve Got a Friend. There’sSomething in the way ICherish The Way We Were and of courseLove Will Keep Us Together.If You Leave Me Now, You’re So Vain. I’ve always wanted it My Way but How Sweet It Is when I Want To Hold Your Hand. Come Saturday Morningwe’re Born to Be Wild.
Help!Do You Know Where You’re Going To?Me and You and A Dog Named Boo will travel Country Roadsand Rock Around the Clock even though God Didn’t Make the Little Green Apples. Fire and Rain will make things All Right Nowonce Morning is Broken, I’ll Say a Little Prayer For You.
I Can’t Get No Satisfactionfrom the Sounds of Silence —If— Those Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head. Stand By Me as It’s Just My Imaginationthat I am a Rock,when really I only want Time in a Bottle and to just Sing, Sing a Song.
They just don’t write songs like they used to. I seem to remember my parents saying that about the songs I loved so well. Somehow in the midst of decades of change, there are some constants. Music still touches our souls, no matter how young or old we are.
And there will always be manure that needs shoveling.
I A shaded lamp and a waving blind, And the beat of a clock from a distant floor: On this scene enter–winged, horned, and spined – A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore; While ‘mid my page there idly stands A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands . . .
II Thus meet we five, in this still place, At this point of time, at this point in space. – My guests parade my new-penned ink, Or bang at the lamp-glass, whirl, and sink. “God’s humblest, they!” I muse. Yet why? They know Earth-secrets that know not I.
~Thomas Hardy – “An August Midnight”
There are so many more of them than us. Yes, insects appear where we don’t expect them, they sting and bite and crawl and fly in our mouths and generally be annoying. But without God’s humblest knowing the secrets of the inner workings of the blossom and the soil, we’d have no fruit, no seeds, no earth as we know it.
Even more humble are our microscopic live-in neighbors — the biome of our skin and gut affecting and managing our internal chemistry and physiology in ways we are only beginning to understand.
God created us all, each and every one, from the turning and cycles of smallest of atoms and microbes to the expanding swirl of galaxies far beyond us.
Perhaps the humblest of all, found smack-dab in the middle of this astounding creation, is the intended Imago Dei.
Two legs not six or eight, two eyes not many, no wings, no antennae, no stinger.
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18: 9-14
Not like the others:
we want to believe we are better, special, untouched by the sins of the world.
We are fooling ourselves.
We are all alike in our need: humbled and hobbled, lame and broken.
God’s mercy acts as glue to our souls in pieces and we are made whole.
Humbled to holiness and wholly humbled.
May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand. He prepares me with parable.
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited.9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place.10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests.11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14: 7-14
In the unspoken hierarchy of what makes a church function, I’m a kitchen lady and always will be. I remember those very women from my childhood church of the fifties and sixties– their tight-knit ability to function as if one organism, swarming in aprons among tables set up in the fellowship hall and bustling around in the back by the stoves with steaming pots and pans and the occasionally dropped plate.
They kept the rest of us alive, those church ladies, by feeding us efficiently and plentifully and never ever sitting down. I would occasionally see them eating standing up in the back of the hall, chatting amiably among themselves after the rest of us were served, but I knew they carefully wrapped up the leftovers during the clean up to deliver to shut-ins who couldn’t make it to the church supper.
I knew I was destined to become a kitchen lady, shy and introverted as I am, hiding myself behind huge plates of food and piles of dish cloths. For me, it is a place of comfort and clean up filled with plenty of leftovers for anyone who needs them, and that just about perfectly describes the kingdom of God in my book and His Book.
May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand. He prepares me with parable.