Finding God in Thin Places

I made the mistake of reading the news early on Saturday morning. We were all sitting around the fire, reading books and snuggling. The girls started playing and I checked my Blessingphone. Over and over again this year, I’ve read the news with a heaviness and disappointment. Many of the laws passed (or trying to be passed) won’t really affect our family much. In some cases, we may even benefit from them. And yet, my neighbors, Bea’s classmates, strangers on the street all will be impacted.

After my initial despair, I read from the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. This year, I’ve been reading the story of the Birth of Jesus each morning. Perhaps I’ll read an additional devotion along with it, but I want to immerse myself in this story. I need to be reminded.

We’re just five days into Advent, but I’ve read these two chapters five times now. I am struck by the obvious fact that Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby. Of course, we see the manger scenes, we know this about the first Christmas. Yet, I was reminded that Jesus coming as a baby was a big disappointment to many people. They were hoping for a Savior. A King. A Powerful Ruler to lift them from oppression.

They got a helpless baby.

Right now, I long for a Powerful Jesus to return, to redeem this world, to bring about a new earth. I don’t imagine this happening quietly or peacefully but with a grand show. I read the news and I think, Come, Jesus! Now is the time to return!

I empathize with those who could not see the Savior of the World as a baby. In many ways, Herod had more faith than I do, believing that this small human could disrupt his power.

I like the idea of Jesus entering this world as a baby, entering Jerusalem on a donkey. Of peace and hope being powerfully intertwined. But when I get antsy for change and when the powers of this world seem overwhelming, I wonder why Jesus chose the upside down path. Why couldn’t he come, sword flashing, power evident, to get rid of all the “bad guys” and restore justice?

I’m reading In the Sanctuary of Women by Jan L. Richardson. In her study of St. Brigid, she explores the soul of time. She talks about time being intertwined, like a Celtic knot, past, present, and future all linked and mixed. She explores thin places – those spaces where heaven and earth touch and the veil is thin. She reminds me that God cannot be more there than here and that if God occupies everywhere then the mystery is finding God in all of these spaces.

So, this Advent I am finding God, even in the spaces that seem hopeless. I am finding God both in the sweet family moments of lighting candles and reading ancient stories and I am finding God in politics and ways I can show love and hospitality to my neighbors. I am opening my eyes to these thin spaces, where heaven and earth touch, where suddenly Jesus coming as a helpless baby really does make sense.

BLESSING

May time spiral well for you,
leading you around
and around yet again
to the landscapes where remembering
offers redemption and grace.

Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, pg. 85

Where are you finding thin spaces in your days? How do you experience hope as you anticipate the smallness of a baby-savior?

A Blessing for Community

On Sundays, I thought I’d highlight a blessing to start our week. Since this series ends on Tuesday, I thought I’d post a song that embodies what I’ve learned in this month. The Wailin’ Jennys song, One Voice came to mind. For me, it’s a beautiful image of how we’re created to live in community.

ONE VOICE by The Wailin’ Jennys

This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice

This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you
Helping each other to make it through
This is the sound of voices two

This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony
Surrendering to the mystery
This is the sound of voices three

This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us

This is the sound of one voice
One people, one voice
A song for every one of us
This is the sound of one voice
This is the sound of one voice

BackyardThis post is Day 29 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

A Blessing for Walking Humbly

On Sundays, I thought I’d highlight a blessing to start our week. This week’s theme is walking humbly and this song from Heatherlyn Music immediately came to mind. Heatherlyn was our artist in residence at church a year ago and her music has changed the way I worship.

EVER by Heatherlyn Music

Peace, ever
Joy, ever
Following you
Light, ever
Love, ever
Radiating through

Hope, ever
Faith, ever
Strengthening you
Life, ever
Breath, ever
Nourishing you

And everywhere you go, may you always be home
And everyone you meet, be messengers of peace

Let your light shine through
And your heart ever be true
Move in grace and gratitude
And walk in wisdom, sharing all that’s good

Peace, ever
Joy, ever
Following you
Light, ever
Love, ever
Radiating through

And everywhere you go, may you always be home
And everyone you meet, be messengers of peace

May we choose courageously
May we hope defiantly
May we love outrageously
And walk on lightly, in humility

Beauty and laughter, ever filling you
Friendship, affection, surrounding you

BackyardThis post is Day 22 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

A Blessing for Kindness

On Sundays, I thought I’d highlight a blessing to start our week. This week’s theme is kindness and this song from Alright Alright immediately came to mind. China sang it at our first MOPS meeting this year and I fell in love with the message she sings.

 

BE KIND – by China Curtiss Kent
Be kind to yourself ‘cause who’s gonna stand up to you when you’re mean to yourself in your head?
Be good to each other, you are the gale for the sails.
Be noble for you are made of stardust
Shine on little heart shaped stars!
Be humble for you are made of earth, and we walk in the garden you’re becoming
Be careful with your words they are diamonds
Love your foes even when they ambush your heart
Take care of the poor, share what you have
Be kind.
Your face, your face is a big bowl of sunshine
Your smile, your smile could stop every war
My heart my heart is yours for a lifetime
Be kind to yourself ‘cause who’s gonna stand up to you when you’re mean to yourself in your head?

 

BackyardThis post is Day 15 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

A Blessing for Justice

On Sundays, I thought I’d highlight a blessing to start our week. This week’s theme is justice and these words from St. Francis seemed a good way to set the tone for our reflections.

May God bless you with discomfort,
At easy answers, half-truths
And superficial relationships
So that you may live
Deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression,
And exploitation of people,
So that you may work for
Justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain,
Rejection, hunger, and war,
So that you may reach out your hand
To comfort them and
To turn their pain to joy

And may God bless you
With enough foolishness
To believe that you can
Make a difference in the world,
So that you can do
What others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness
To all our children and the poor.

Amen

St. Francis of Assisi

BackyardThis post is Day 8 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

Dwelling in the Mysteries of This Journey

We’re in a season of neediness. Bea needs me to walk her to school, to pick her up, to sit beside her as she does homework. Elle needs me to read with her, to get her dressed, to make her lunch, to put her to bed.

IMG_5757These are needy times and it’s easy to imagine life when they can make their own lunches and do their own homework. (Does that ever happen?) But even in the midst of this intense time, the patronizing voice of moms farther along can be grating: Just hang in there. It gets better! Don’t worry moms of littles, this terrible season doesn’t last!

While I’m eagerly anticipating independence, I don’t think this is a terrible season. I know I’ll miss the days of neediness. Of snuggling on the couch and holding hands as we walk home from school. I’ll miss the ease in which secrets are shared and words of comfort are accepted.

I was reading Jan L. Richardson’s In the Sanctuary of Women this morning and she offers this blessing:

That you may have
the wisdom to know the story
to which God calls you,
the power to pursue it,
the courage to abide in its mysteries,
and love in every step.

This blessing can be applied to so much of my life right now, but today I’m choosing to frame it in this season of motherhood. That I may be wise to this story of raising small humans and that I may remember to love every step of this mysterious journey.

How does this blessing speak to your particular season? How are you learning to dwell in the mysteries and love every step of this journey?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “accept.”