Nov 15, 2011

Magnify Him with Thanksgiving

Magnify Him with Thanksgiving... Psalm 69:30 KJV

Vibrant fall colors
speak to the bounty of God’s gifts just as the vibrant musical talent of a very young Christian singing artist Rhema Marvanne speaks to the depth of faith. Read Rhema’s story and share in her joy as she uses her stagger musical gift to sing: I Thank God.

Recording God’s gifts with the treasure trove of beautiful women in the Gratitude Community. Today I'm sharing selected blessings that nurtured faith.

Magnify the Lord with thanksgiving [for]:
faith stories that affirm belief (79).
Sunday school teaching that brings peals of laughter (116),
hands making gifts of love for pilgrims on a spiritual retreat (120).
hymns sung with joy and reverence (121).
groups devoted to missions, study and prayer (223).
powerful teaching in Sunday’s sermon (249).
the Spirit within that seeks God (376).
Holy Communion followed by prayer at the kneeling rail (459).
an opportunity to teach women’s Bible study class (550)
Spirit lead scripture to compose prayer (575)
hearing a ‘quiet voice’ urging me to listen for the benefit of another (630).
traditional preparations for Advent (678)

Nov 13, 2011

Welcome One Another - Christian Hospitality

A six week season of hospitality and celebration is fast approaching. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years the food has to be planned, the house must be readied, clothes, decorations, gifts; all must be attended to. Hospitality requires intentional orchestration, a point our pastor’s message brought to my attention today.
The sermon’s message was taken from Romans 15:7.
“Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
Our Pastor spoke of hospitality, of being a warm welcoming congregation reflecting God’s love, inviting all who enter our sanctuary to be embraced by acceptance.
Whom do I welcome? Do I approach others with God’s acceptance? Do I greet and welcome folks who attend …sometimes or who always sit alone? Do I offer a hand in introduction to visitors in my pew or in my Sunday school class? Have I invited friends to attend church events with us? Have I participated in the church’s outreach missions to the un-churched?
But even more to the point of Paul’s words, do I live a Christian hospitality in my daily life? Did I give a smile and whispered support to the mother struggling with her teenager in a restaurant? Did I email a note to a woman who was absent from the week’s Bible Study class? Did I suggest a lunch date to an elderly person who I know is struggling? Did I greet walkers on the path that were not of my race or class?
Hospitality requires intentional orchestration.
As the Pastor closed the sermon he reminded us,
You may be the only Jesus some will ever see.

Nov 10, 2011

Fall Purple, Disguises, Shapes, and Choice ~ Photo hunt

Camera on hand, cool winds rustling leaves everywhere, fall colors shimmering in the sunlight.  The season offers a brilliant welcome for a day of seeking pictures for this week’s Scavenger Hunt Sunday.
Purple mums nested among red ones in the crisp shade of a shrub row made a lovely contrast in color. I envision pairing theses lovely blooms with phrases of bountiful thanks.

It was not until I wandered close to the water’s edge that I realized the protrusions topside extended to a submerged root structure. Shaded water and drowned leaves disguised the presence of a long fallen majestic tree.

The hanging fish wind chime swinging from a friend’s porch caught my ear and my lense.  Modifying the light accented the various shapes and created an edgy deep water feel.

The final choice reflects a photo of the fragile beauty seen in spent blooms of autumn. The rose lingers past its prime but its classic form and muted coloration gives a sense of remembrance and romance.

Nov 8, 2011

A Blessing Can Have a Long Legacy

Gratitude for a blessing can have a long legacy. It can be written across the soul early in life, raised high and often, knowing full well its precious value. It feels meager to record it once on my current listing of gifts. Blessing number 681 has brought knee-bending thanksgiving for almost fifty years.
#681 Thanksgiving Lord, for a full lifespan with my father.
A 1959 transport lands on a mid-west international runway. The door opens. The young Lieutenant onboard has been away from home for a year, flown halfway around the world to return. He doesn’t wait, jumps off the plane with duffle bag in hand and runs to the four young children racing for his arms.
In 1966, at the same international airport, a commercial airliner arrives from LA. Several passengers are on the final leg of their travel from Saigon including the same soldier, a Major now, wearing pilot’s wings on his uniform.  Mama is teary with joy but allows us, dad’s six kids, to reach him first, to tackle our father at the gate. This was the first of two more homecomings over the next three years from that small divided Asian nation.

Our father was a soldier, a Veteran of war. Even so, I never knew that he received the Bronze Star until well into adulthood. Today our soldier is 82 years young. Every Veterans Day I call my humble soldier to tell him how honored I am by the service he gave in the years of his prime and how blessed I feel to have had him present  these many decades since. He always deflects my words by saying we all served, the whole family. It weighs heavy on him, those years, the impact they had on us all.

There was a cost. But there was also growth. I clung to God early. I learned faith in childhood through trials beyond childhood concerns. I experienced the strength that can come only from the Spirit within and the depth of joy that only the hand of God can deliver.

My heart deep thanks to all members of the Armed Forces this week of  Veterans Day 2011.