The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you. The night is quiet. Let the quietness of God’s peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace ” (A New Zealand Prayer Book)
This prayer seems oddly fitting for the close of Advent’s first day. We are prepared on this first Sunday to stay alert as the dance between light and darkness swirl in tension before us. In the time of winter when nature’s light wanes, we live in the shroud of night. A time to seek safety and warmth – to hold the promise of light close to our hearts.
Advent is filled with words and images soaked in the hope for morning. God enters this world, lantern held high, calling for all to draw near. A lantern bright enough to shed light on the whole world.
For now we will hear about the coming of this lantern bright- encouraged to live in hope and directed to prepare. Night continues to be dark. May our fears rest in God who is always near. May we look ahead, grateful for the gift of hope and faithful to prepare for the birth of a new day,
Every tree and plant in the meadow
seemed to be dancing.
I have become particularly aware of our intricate relationship with nature as seasons change in these mountains. Having been raised in a family of readers, I remember campfires by tents and evenings at home sitting near as my father read to us. Stories filled with details that stirred our imaginations and dreams. There were wardrobes that opened into new lands where animals talked and creation was alive and invoked. Trees and caves, rivers and beaver dams were as important to the story as were the humans and animals. (yes, Narnia was always near)
Listening to these stories awakened my relationship with nature. As I grew older it was easy to see animation in a grove of aspen trees, gain respect of the protective strength in mountains and watch the ocean tide move in and out in the rhythm of its own music.–
As I ride through hills which turn to open fields and in turn to deep woods, I am drawn into the part of creation we are so often too busy to notice. The colors are gone on the mountain tops, leaving a stark and open view. And as I have recently described, I am intrigued by nature’s detail only revealed in the bare winter. With no foliage to cover imperfections, the landscape bears the ice and cold, trusting the earth to hold firm. Trusting the earth to support its inhabitants who huddle in wait for the first blade of green.
The stories we read as children told of a land called Narnia, a world where all of creation came together, relying on one another in the harshest of winter and the joy of spring. As winter begins I am grateful for this perspective – not just ideas from a book but a way of relating to all of creation so to nurture gratitude and respect. May we all learn to do this as a way to preserve the world around us..
“The moon is a loyal companion.It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.” (Tahereh Mafi)
As the trees have shed their leaves this fall, the view from my office window has changed. Each day I have enjoyed a new frame of the mountains stretching beyond my eyesight. Tonight that view has surprised me with the moon. Always my delight in any of its stages – it rises by my side like a friend arriving to share a few moments at the end of the day. It is just passing – as all moments, this moon moves on its way as quickly as it arrives. As it rises into the night, I sit and watch. It is fall and we are missing hours of daylight but when the sky darkens early, there is more time to enjoy the moon’s presence. Tonight I am thankful for nature’s rhythm. A rhythm that includes me!
When you find love, You will find yourself. Rumi
Most often the search for love is intended to fill a void – looking beyond in hopes to bring love home. No doubt when found, words are unending with joyful and sincere descriptions of the heart’s discovery.
(Image and quote found on Rumi FaceBook page)
How often does this experience bring us full circle? The love so eagerly sought becomes a reflection of ourselves. As if a mirror is held before us, we see the image of our longing.
This journey is never in vain. Its path is filled with moments of discovery and opportunities to prepare for love’s arrival.
As always I give thanks for Rumi – his wisdom welcomes the seeker with patience and peace.
A friend shared this song last evening. At the close of another tragic and fear-filled day I found great comfort in these words and beautiful voices. Thank you, Roger Hutchison (The Painting Table).
My prayer today – for all families grieving loss of their loved ones and all injured from the violent attack in DC, may they know the presence of love’s comfort and strength.
Artist- Roger Hutchinson
Each year at this time I love to sit under the night sky’s canopy. The cooling fall air most certainly encourages this annual practice. Drawn to night-after-dusk, I can be found reclined in my wheelchair searching for the furthest star – child-like in wonder and awe.
I wake this early morning of September 11, and remember. This day, 12 years ago, we watched in dis-belief as our skies filled with pain and devastation. It was a day completely out of our control. A day when things unknown and unimaginable would change our lives forever.
This morning I look into that same sky, large enough to be filled with wonder and danger – I honor the many people whose lives were lost, whose hearts were broken, and who gave all they had to aid with compassion, prayer and strength.
It is September 11- a day to remember. The sky above is humbling in its vast expanse. I am grateful it is large enough to hold all the memories and prayers that will be offered like “…whispers that pass between the stars…” on this day. Let us take a moment to look up and remember all the innocence surrendered. May God extend mercy and peace.
(quote by Steven Charleston)