Advent!

Wonder

December 13, 2013

Karen Wang, Rough Hewn

Read

Luke 2:8-9, Luke 2:17-18, Psalm 77:11-20, Psalm 139

One of my favorite words in the Bible is the word: selah.  It’s tiny and often overlooked as just this strange extra word scattered throughout the Psalms.  I love it because it’s meaning isn’t really able to be defined completely, so the closest some have come is saying that it means:

Stop and consider the weight of…

The psalmists used it, I’m sure not only as a musical notation, but also because they wanted the reader, the singer to literally pause and consider the weight and truth of what was being sung.

Karen Wang, Rough Hewn, Advent, Wonder

Today I am struck by the ways in which God puts selah into our everyday lives – things to stop us in our tracks and cause wonder.  Things that make us feel small and him rightfully so much bigger than we can even put together in our pea-sized brains. The view of a mountain landscape after a hike. Standing at the edge of the ocean listening to it roar. Looking in the face of your newborn child. Watching a space shuttle launch into space. Laughing with friends during a shared meal. Standing at the base of a waterfall. The moments between the hit and the homer. Waiting in the darkness as the photographic image begins to emerge underneath the developer…

I could seriously go on for days and days.

I need to have the reminder of being the created thing that gets to revel in the Master’s creation – daily, somehow. Know like, the shepherds did, that outcast though I may be, I have been included into God’s big and wonder-filled story.

Selah.

Respond

Take a moment today to look closely at something small – all it’s details and intricacy – and then stand before something big – something vast and loud that makes you feel small.  Thank God for how wonderful he is!  Take a look, too, at something you have made or been a part of making – thank God that this small act of creativity is a reflection of his image as the Master Designer and Maker.

20130824-0591

Listen

 Þau Hafa Sloppið Undan Þunga Myrkursins by Ólafur Arnalds

Watch

Photos by Karen Wang .

 

Advent!

Light

December 12, 2013

Kristen Hallak, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

John 1:1-13, Isaiah 60:1-3Matthew 2:1-10, Psalm 27, Psalm 37:6-7

“Hush!’ said the Cabby. They all listened.

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it…

‘Gawd!’ said the Cabby. ‘Ain’t it lovely?’

Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it , as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves who were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.

‘Glory be!’ said the Cabby. ‘I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.’

IMG_8237-Edit

…Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey. A light wind, very fresh, began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing…The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose.

Digory had never seen such a sun…You could imagine that it laughed for joy as it came up. And as its beams shot across the land the travellers could see for the first time what sort of place they were in. It was a valley through which a broad, swift river wound its way, flowing eastward towards the sun. Southward there were mountains, northward there were lower hills. But it was a valley of mere earth, rock and water; there was not a tree, not a bush, not a blade of grass to be seen. The earth was of many colours: they were fresh, hot and vivid. They made you feel excited; until you saw the Singer himself, and then you forgot everything else.

It was a Lion. Huge, shaggy, and bright it stood facing the risen sun. Its mouth was wide open in song and it was about three hundred yards away.”

— C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

IMG_6836-Edit-2

“I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put my self in the path of its beam.”

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Listen

Glósóli by Sigur Ros

Holy Light by Phil Wickham

Big thanks to Kristin Hallak for sharing your lovely images.

Advent!

Rejected

December 11, 2013

2013-08-09 17.24.09

Read

Luke 2: 6-8, Psalm 118:20-24, Isaiah 53:2-6

There is a house in my neighborhood that I pass by pretty regularly.  When I first moved here, I remember it being the least likely house you would ever want to live in, let alone buy.

Try and remember that one house on your block, the one you walked the long way around or laughed at because it was so run-down – this is that house.  At one time, I’m sure, this house was new and fashionable, standing tall with it’s bay windows and Victorian charm, but when I find myself walking by it my heart tends to hurt a little. Hurt because it just looks so sad, but most of all because it was clear to me after a number of times passing by that someone had bought it and was trying to fix it up and rarely would I see any major progress.

2013-10-07 17.33.26

It has become a habit that every time I head down to the lake for a run or to the local coffee shop, I look for any progress on “the House”. Some days I’ll see small sections of shingles put on, or a painted side of the house, or scaffolding going up out front.  Roses were planted one day in what I can only assume will be the front yard and eventually stairs showed up to help folks get up to the front door, but there have been long stretches –  especially in the winter – when there has been no change at all. I always wonder during these times how it is for the owner to be living in such a mishmash of a house. Isn’t he embarrassed? Has he given up thinking the current state is “good enough”? And why is he remodeling this house in such a weird order? And so slow!

I got a clue into my heart and the bigger purpose God had for this house in my life a few months ago when I passed by and was literally made speechless by the amount of progress the owner had made on the house since I hadn’t been walking that way as regularly.  I stood there amazed by the beauty I could see shining from the new paint and parts and was cut to the heart by the Lord telling me that this house was me…

Leah Dankertson, Rough Hewn, Advent, Rejection

“Leah, I bought you when no one else thought it was a wise choice.  I have and never will be embarrassed to live in you, even when you have rotted shingles and no front stairs on the outside and no heating on the inside. I know you think the order that I fix you in is weird and strange and exasperating, but I will never give up on you and in the end you will be beautiful.  Because when I bought you that day, I didn’t see all the work I had to do, but the beauty of what you could be. Restored. New again.”

2013-06-22 21.38.38

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Respond

Whatever rejection you’ve had in your life or this year, bring it to Jesus today. Reflect on the reality that He takes the weak things of this world to shame the wise – how might He want to use your weakness? Pray today for those who may feel alone or rejected or cast-off this holiday season.

Listen

Advent!

Journey

December 10, 2013

Karen Wang, Rough Hewn, advent, Journey

Read

Luke 2: 1-5, Matthew 2:1-2, Psalm 119:105, Deuteronomy 2:1-7, Job 23:10, Matthew 4:19-22

I love adventure stories. Especially the large sweeping adventures that stretch a character and produce hero’s from ordinary and unlikely people. I like how more often than not, the people chosen for a task or quest usually weren’t even looking for it to begin with, but suddenly found themselves caught up in something bigger than themselves. All reach a moment, it seems, when they must decide whether they will turn back in fear or trust in faith that moving forward is the only option.

If you’ve never read Hannah Hurnards allegorical novel Hinds Feet on High Places, I would highly recommend reading it.  I relate so closely to the main character Much-Afraid and her eagerness to have a new name and to no longer live with her Fearing family, but to live in the “High Places” with the Shepherd.  I’ve included two larger portions from a part of her journey I can certainly relate to right now in this season – when you are following the path you were told to go on and it seems you are finding yourself farther and farther away from your desired destination – in the opposite direction in fact! Who will I trust when the journey gets rocky, hard to understand, off course, unclear, good enough, impossible…or seems to be taking too long?

“This,’ said the Shepherd quietly, ‘is the path which you are now to follow.’ So they turned westward with the High Places right behind their backs and came in a little while to the end of the desert. They found themselves on the shore of a great sea.

‘It is now time for me to leave you, Much-Afraid,’ he said, ‘and to return to the mountains. Remember, even though you seem to be farther away than ever from the High Places and from me, there is really no distance at all separating us. I can cross the desert sands as swiftly as I can leap from the High Places to the valleys, and whenever you call for me, I shall come. This is the word I now leave with you. Believe it and practice it with joy. My sheep hear my voice and they follow me.

‘Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you heart it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy…”

20131104-0027-2

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Karen Wang, Rough Hewn, Advent, Journey

“I think,’ said the Shepherd gently, ‘that lately the way seemed easier and the sun shone, and you came to a place where you could rest. You forgot for a while that you were my little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and were beginning to tell yourself it really was time that I led you back to the mountains and up to the High Places. When you wear the weed of impatience in your heart instead of the flower Acceptance-with-Joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you.’

Much-Afraid blushed. She knew how right he was in his diagnosis. It had been easier to accept the hard path and to be patient when the sea was grey and dull than now when the sun shone and everything else around looked bright and happy and satisfied. She put her hand in the Shepherd’s and said sorrowfully, ‘You are quite right. I have been thinking that you are allowing me to follow this path too long and that you were forgetting your promise.’ Then she added, looking steadfastly into his face, ‘But I do tell you now with all my heart that you are my Shepherd whose voice I love to hear and obey, and that it is my joy to follow you. You choose, my Lord, and I will obey.’

The Shepherd stooped down and picked up a stone which was lying beside her feet and said smilingly, ‘Put this in your bag with the other stones as a memorial of this day when for the first time you saw Pride toppled over before you, and of your promise that you will wait patiently until I give you your heart’s desire.”

Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places

Respond

Reflect today on the journey of this past year? How have you changed? What have you learned? Where do you feel stuck? How has God worked change in you by his grace? Thank Him for the ways he’s lead you. Where might he be leading you next? Ask Him for faith to follow Him into the next year.

Karen Wang, Rough Hewn, Journey, Advent

 Listen

 Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron

Watch

(You can grab Josh Garrels album from the film The Sea In Between over at Noisetrade right now.)

Breath-taking photos today by the adventurous Karen Wang.

Advent!

Hope

December 9, 2013

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

Psalm 42:11, Micah 7:18-20, Job 13:15, Romans 5:1-5, Hebrews 6:13-20, 1 Peter 1:3-5

“I am your friend,’ answered the Medicine Man.

Without warning, a cold chill gripped Willie’s heart. He had never had a friend.  What if he didn’t know how to be a friend? The Medicine Man was so generous and good, so kind and loving. Surely I will fail him, and then I will lose my only friend, thought Willie.

‘Oh, Señor,’he said through his fear, ‘please tell me what it means to be a friend! I want so much to learn.’

‘Do not let your heart be troubled, little brother. I will tell you the kind of friend I am, and then you can decide for yourself what kind you would like to be. Willie, if I speak to you with beautiful words that make you feel important, but do not love you, I am not your friend. If I share all my knowledge with you so that you understand all the mysteries of the universe, but do not love you, I am no friend at all.  If I give all my food to feed your family and take care of all your needs, but do not love you, I am not your friend.’

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

‘Little brother, I will always be patient with you. I will always be kind to you.  I will never be jealous of your other friends. Even though I am the only son of my father, I will never put on airs with you. I will never be snobbish. I will never be rude to you. I will not be friends with you to get what I can; I will not easily be moved to anger with you. I will not brood when you disappoint me. I will not rejoice when you do wrong things, but I will rejoice when you are true to yourself. There is no limit to my forgiveness of your faults, to my trust in you, to my hope in you, to my power to endure all the trials of friendship with you.’

‘Willie, listen closely now. I will never fail you. Prophecies will cease, tongues will fall silent, knowledge will pass away, but I will not forget you. I will never cease being your friend.”

–from “Finding the Father”, The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

“The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity—hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory—because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear.”
J.I. Packer, Knowing God

advent_jennylinquist-25

“Make my messes matter, make this chaos count…”

Listen

Jupiter by Sleeping At Last

Additional Reading

“A Sure Hope for the Future.” by R.C. Sproul

Photography by Jenny Linquist.

Advent!

Comfort

December 8, 2013

Leah Dankertson, Chelsey Scheffe, Rough Hewn Advent
Read

Micah 5: 2-5, Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:31, Isaiah 43, John 10: 14-15

“Faithfully and quietly surrounded by benevolent powers, wonderfully guarded and consoled, thus will I live this day with you and go forth with you into another year.

Still will the past torment our hearts Still, heavy burdens of bad times depress us, Ah, Lord give our startled souls the grace for which we were created. And if you pass to us the heavy, the bitter cup of pain, filled to the brim, we will accept it, without trembling from your good and beloved hand.

But if you wish us to rejoice once more in this world and the brilliance of its sun then the past too we will remember and so our entire life will belong to you.

Leah Dankertson, Chelsey Scheffe, Rough Hewn, Advent

With warmth and light let flame today the candles that you have brought into our darkness. If it can be, bring us together once again! We know your light is shining in the night. When the silence spreads around us deeply, let us hear that full sound of the world stretching out invisibly around us; let us hear the children’s praising song.

Warmly protected by benevolent powers, with confidence we wait for what may come. God is with us at evening and at morning and most certainly at each new day.”

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

Listen

Amazing Grace  by Sufjan Stevens

Photos by yours truly, and typography by Chelsey Scheffe.

Advent!

Expect

December 7, 2013

song.luzbratcher

Read

Luke 1:39-45 & 56

What do you do when you wait?

Do you read a magazine? Busy yourself with other activities? Binge on netflix? Go for a walk, do a puzzle…stare out windows? Get impatient? Excercise?

While I confess to have done all of these at one time or another (or let’s be real, sometimes all at once), I’d say though, more than anything else, I find myself daydreaming of that thing I am waiting for.  Creating elaborate play-by-plays that would rival any Monday Night Football. Imagining what it will be like, look like, sound like, and feel like once that thing or person or experience comes.

What the “not waiting anymore” will look like.

Luz Bratcher, Rough Hewn, Advent, roughhewn

I think we can all agree it’s always different. That thing. When it finally arrives. Sometimes not as good as what we thought. Sometimes better.  Either way, though, it’s usually just different.

What did Mary expect mothering the Son of God to be like?  What did the people of Israel imagine their Messiah to be like? How would he come?  For sure he would come with guns blazing, a political rebel and conquer Rome. Right? He would be loud and large and in charge.  He surely wouldn’t come by way of some no-name girl from Nazareth. Or be born in some random cow trough. Or hang out with such unlikely friends. Or let himself be falsely accused and killed.  Surely not.

But that’s the thing with expectations…different.

Luz Bratcher, Rough Hewn, Advent, roughhewn

“I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God’s saving powers. Our temptation is to be distracted by them. When I have no eyes for the small signs of God’s presence … I will always remain tempted to despair.”

Henri J. M. Nouwen, Gracias! A Latin American Journal (1983)

Luz Bratcher, Rough Hewn, Advent

Respond

Are you where you expected to be?  What are your expectations right now? Give those to Jesus today. Thank Him for the ways in which he has exceeded and changed your expectations.

Listen

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus  by Kings Kaleidoscope

luzbratcher2

Grateful today for beautiful photography by Luz Bratcher

Advent!

Song

December 6, 2013

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

Luke 1:46-55, Luke 2:14Hosea 2:14-23

Sound breaks in. You breath in and out. Your heart beats. Steady. Steady. Steady. You barely know it yet, but…

you are awake now.

And what comes after can only be described as being caught up in one long epic song. Every heart beat, water splash, flock of birds, zooming car, sunset, coffee date, meal with friends, belly laugh, wink, breeze….are the lyrics of a magnificent song.

We sing out – rocks and trees and moms and delivery men, and children, and oceans, and sunsets – “You are God, who made us.  We love you. We are small and out of tune. We need you. Will you come and make all things new?”

advent_jennylinquist-35

He sings back to us, “I love you. I made you. I hear the sharp notes and discordant chords and am coming to rescue you.”

Jenny Linquist, Rough Hewn, Advent

Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Immanuel’s name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.

When he came, the angels sung,
“Glory be to God on high;”
Lord, unloose my stamm’ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I?

Did the Lord a man become,
That he might the law fulfill,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

No, I must my praises bring,

Though they worthless are and weak;
For should I refuse to sing,
Sure the very stones would speak.

O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Ev’ry precious name in one,
I will love thee without end.
John Newton

advent_jennylinquist-31

Respond

Listen to some of your favorite songs today. Thank Jesus for music and song and how it allows us to connect with Him in an altogether unique way. Feeling inspired? Try your hand at writing a song or poem.  Tell the Lord what He means to you. Tell a story.  Make a declaration like the angels did.

advent_jennylinquist-33

Watch

Listen

Every Breath  by Gungor

Today’s incredible photography comes from the talented Jenny Linquist.

Advent!

Listen

December 5, 2013

Chelsey Scheffe, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

Luke 1:26-38, Genesis 18:9-14, Jeremiah 32:17, Job 42:2-6, Matthew 19:26, Proverbs 3:5-6

“Mary was not chosen because of any human merit, not even for being, as she undoubtedly was, deeply devout, nor even for her humility or any other virtue, but entirely and uniquely because it is God’s gracious will to love, to choose, to make great what is lowly, unremarkable, considered to be of little value. Mary the tough, devout, ordinary working man’s wife, living in her Old Testament faith and hoping in her Redeemer, becomes the mother of God.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

Chelsey Scheffe, Rough Hewn, Advent

Mary was a nobody who became greater than everybody, simply because God came to her and she responded in the humblest possible way. She reasoned, she doubted, she surrendered, she connected with others. You can, too.

Timothy Keller, “The Mother of God” from Encounters with Jesus series

sit-with-me(listen)

Though I am small, my God, my all,
You work great things in me,
And your mercy will last
From the depths of the past
To the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
And to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might,
Put the strong to flight,
For the world is about to turn.
–from The Canticle of Turning

Chelsey Scheffe, Rough Hewn, Advent

Respond

Today find a moment to be still and listen.  Listen to all the sounds around you, the cars, the wind, the white noise, kiddos playing…wherever you are.  Thank God for the reality that we don’t need physical hearing to hear His voice.  Bring to Him today in prayer the concerns and hopes and circumstances that feel big and impossible in your life. What feels too big for Him to be able to do (or even care about) in your heart and life?

Listen

Mercury  by Sleeping at Last

Photos and artwork by (the inimitable) Chelsey Scheffe.

Advent!

Darkness

December 4, 2013

Christy Frey, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

Isaiah 9:2-7Isaiah 42:16, Psalm 139: 7-12

 It’s pretty obvious there is something broken.

I see it on the news. I see it out there in the world – on the bus, waiting in line, in traffic – but most of all I see it in me.  Deep down.  Darkness, brokenness, selfishness, pride, contempt, bitterness, anger, rage, lust….it’s down there and I’d much rather keep all that darkness hidden away in the dark.

I don’t know what you’ve experienced, but I have had literal “dark nights of the soul”. Nights filled with fearful thoughts, anxiousness and panic.  I’ve felt feelings so low that I wasn’t really sure what to feel anymore, or if I could trust them.  I’ll never forget those times, some of the scariest and darkest of my life, but not for the ways you might think.

Cause the darkness is also the place that the spirit hovers over (Genesis 1:2), the place where covenants are made (Genesis 15:12-21), the place in which God dwells (Exodus 20:21), and in my own fearful nights He was the literal physically felt shield around me (Psalm 18:28-30).  It was in the inky blackness of the night that Jesus so quietly came and in the consuming darkness that He gave his life for me (Matthew 27:45-54).

He is Emmanuel. God with us. Which means he is with you and I in all the darkness, too, inside and out.

Christy Frey, Rough Hewn, Advent

“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,the Lord will be a light to me.
I will bear the indignation of the Lord
because I have sinned against him,
until he pleads my cause
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall look upon his vindication.”
Micah 7:8-9

 Respond

Try not having as many lights turned on today.  When you find yourself in the dark today, pray for those that may still be stuck in darkness or despair – needing rescue and light to break into their world.

IMG_3097

Listen

Push Your Head Towards The Air  by Editors

The Lament of Eustace Scrubb  by The Oh Hello’s

A big thanks goes out to Christy Frey for sharing her beautiful images.

Advent!

Wait

December 3, 2013

Rough Hewn, Leah Dankertson, Leah D., Advent, U District

Read:

Psalm 62, Psalm 27:14, Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38, Romans 8: 19-25

Have you ever wondered whether you were waiting in vain?

I think about that when I see things like genealogy’s in the Bible – especially Jesus’.  I wonder about these people in the list – waiting – waiting for the promised heir and King to come and “ransom captive Israel”. Most of them didn’t even get to see, like I do, that they were a part of the story of the coming of Jesus Christ.

And I think that’s the thing about waiting.  It always feels like we are in it and never outside of it.  Waiting for the bus, for a friend, for a spouse, for the microwave, for our number to be called, for a file to load…we wait. Alot.  And we need things from the past to remind us that there really is something happening in the waiting.  That God is faithful and working and that there is a point to all of this.

wait2

So last night I was looking through old journals and came across this list :

“Lord, I bring to you my desires for friendship…

  • to have a group of like-minded individuals.
  • to once again have tons of belly laughs.
  • girlfriend(s) to have talks, prayers, coffee with, laughs with
  • a group of mostly single men and women that we can support one another
  • To have people want to know me
  • To once again have “discovery” talks with people. The ones where you share your experience and back log of stories and experiences. The ones that are hard to walk away from.

Lord, I eventually want to have a “home” that I can invite others into. I want to experience and cultivate a sense of community.  I want to know and be known.” —April 2, 2005

Back then I was fresh out of college, living back at home with my parents, no job, no boyfriend, and the career I had been dreaming of since I was ten felt like something you try to grasp with oily hands.  I was lonely and felt like after a lifetime of waiting, I was waiting yet again.

Today, though, I can’t help but smile. I smile because what seemed to be just a random list in a random journal is today, by God’s grace, a reality I get to move and walk and dance around in. I finally get to see it.

I want to remember this today, this evidence of his faithfulness, when I want to doubt Him or grumble or try to grasp for more control.  Ultimately, though, I want to remember the faithfulness of His sending His Son Jesus to be with me, so I don’t have to wait alone.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me. — Micah 7:7

wait4

“Now is the time to see what great strength comes out of silence – and not without struggle. Obedience to God means, first of all, waiting, having to waitsustine Dominum – waiting for the Lord. The first thing then is to accept the fact that one will have to wait.  Otherwise obedience is undermined by an implicit condition that destroys it.
To say that I am a child of God is to say, before everything else, that I grow. That I begin. A child who does not grow becomes a monster. The idea “Child of God” is therefore one of living growth, become, possibility, risk, and joy in the negotiations of risk. In this God is pleased: that His child grows in wisdom and grace.
God is the Father who fights to defend and rescue His child. The life of the Child of God is not in the “development of spirituality” but in obedience to the Good Shepherd who seeks him, knowing he is lost.  It is in solitude that we recognize, with a shock, how lost we have been, and that now we are found, rescued recovering conscience, returning to ourselves, to Truth, carried by Him who has sought and found us.
Thomas Merton, “Waiting for God” from end of 1965, V.334

wait5

Listen

Another Story  by The Head and the Heart

Ten Dead Dogs  by Wild Sweet Orange

Additional Reading:

“God Who Takes His Time”

Advent!

Promise

December 2, 2013

Britney Baer, Rough Hewn, Advent

Read

Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12:1-3, Exodus 34:10, Psalm 89, Psalm 2:7-9, Isaiah 42:1-4, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ezekiel 36:26-27, Mark 1:15Luke 17:20-21, Deuteronomy 7:9

God’s promises are given to us through the Son

God decreed a time for making promises and a time for the promises to be fulfilled. The time for making promises was the time of the prophets, ending with John the Baptist, the last prophet. From then until the end is the time for the fulfilment of promises.

God is faithful. He has made himself our debtor, not by receiving anything from us but by promising us so much. The promise alone was not enough for him: he wanted it in writing, so that he could be held to it, practically entering into a contract with us that listed the promises he was making. In that way, when he began to fulfil his promises, we could see the order of their fulfilment by looking in Scripture. Therefore the time of the prophets was (as I have said so often) the time of making promises.

He promised us eternal salvation and an unending life of blessedness with the angels, and an imperishable inheritance, the joy of seeing his face, a dwelling-place with him in heaven, and the fear of death removed from us through the resurrection. This is, if you like, his ultimate promise. We look forward to it, and when we reach it, we will want nothing more. But as to how this final end is to be reached, he has also told us in promises and prophecies.

He has promised to men that they will be like God; to mortals he has promised immortality; to sinners, righteousness; to the lowly, glory.

IMG_9697

Indeed, brethren, because what God promised seemed incredible to men – that from mortality, decay, weakness, lowliness, dust and ashes they should become equals of the angels of God – he did not only sign a contract with them to convince them. He sent, not just any prince, not just any angel or archangel, but his only Son. The road by which he was to lead us to the end he had promised us – through his Son he would show us that road.

Even so, it was not enough for God to send his Son to point out the way – he made his Son the way itself, so that we can go on our journey guided by him as he walks along his own way.

–Saint Augustine’s Reflections on Psalm 109

Listen

Fix The World Up For You  by James Morrison

Photos by the talented Britney Baer, who blogs over at Bare Tribe.