Just Because #20–LIGHT Still

Part of a sporadic, only-on-Thursdays series of just The Word and pictures.
What God’s been speaking to me this week….just because. You can see the other posts here.
Jesus said,
“For a brief time still, the light is among you.
Walk by the light you have 
so darkness doesn’t destroy you.
If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going.
As you have the light, believe in the light.
Then the light will be within you,
and shining through your lives.
You’ll be children of light.
John 12:35,36 The Message Bible
~~~~~
echoing, still, that this blog, my words, our lives 
would shine, reveal and bring glory
because of the Light of Jesus.

Witches Can Be Right, Giants Can Be Good

     In Stephen Sondheim’s play “Into the Woods” a small disparate band of villagers are thrown together to fight a resident evil—a destructive, bloodthirsty giant—who is attacking their homes and lives.
     Of course, the beginning of Sondheim’s story is none of that—terrifying, scary or full of witches and heroes.  No, the first half of the play is a Happy Ending in the Making, as all fairy tales prove to be.
     Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel—the usual suspects in the familiar children’s tales—are all mixed in to one larger story of facing difficulties, making choices—the right ones—and forging ahead in life even when there is loss and death.
     Families are united, disaster is averted, a miracle occurs and a child is born.
     The second half of the play is when an earthquake—literal and figurative—upsets the landscape of their lives forever. They are forced to realize life does NOT end happily ever after. There is evil in the world,there are giants to be faced and one’s friends are often a mix of people one would never associate with.
     Cinderella’s prince turns out to be a philanderer, the baker’s wife (who gave Little Red her basket of goodies) is killed by the giant. Rapunzel’s prince is blinded by thorns in an attack by Rapunzel’s overbearing mother, the witch, who also chops off Rapunzel’s hair, banishing her to a solitary island.
     Other losses occur. Jack climbs the beanstalk, returning with his golden harp, only to be followed by the angry giant whose monstrous, green vine comes crashing down, killing Jack’s mother.
     The motley remaining crew must  march into the dark and foreboding woods, fight the evil that wants to destroy them, pressing on to victory regardless of the cost. But not without grave losses, adjustments to their way of life and a willingness to stand up for what is right.
     In the end, the Baker and cast sing “No One is Alone”, a moving song about the power of facing down evil and what happens when we rise to the occasion—you find out who your friends really are:
Witches can be right,  Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right,  You decide what’s good.

Just remember (Just remember)

Someone is on your side (Our side…Our side)

Someone else is not.

While we’re seeing our side-(Our side….Our side)

Maybe we forgot
They are not alone.
No one is alone

Hard to see the light now. Just don’t let it go.

Things will come out right now. We can make it so.
Someone is on your side,
No one is alone.

You read that correctly—Witches can be right, giants can be good.

Why?

Sometimes we don’t know what we believe or who we really are
until we are faced with an evil that is out to destroy us.
Because we have to decide what is right,
we have to decide what is good.
Saturday morning I joined about 126 people from all walks of life, a similar band of disparate folks of all ages from 10 different denominations in our city.  We waved our signs and silently stood in protest in front of our local Planned Parenthood offices.

We banded together to do what we could against the evil that is allowing the  killing of babies to harvest their organs.  (I can hardly believe I’m typing those words.)  Is there anything more wicked, more twisted, more evil?

This is not right. This is not good.
  
Saturday’s event in my fair city was part of a nationwide protest where people of faith banded together. Banded together to shed light on the dark, evil, life-destroying practice of murdering children and selling their body parts for research.

I can’t say anymore about it—the videos are incriminating and eye-opening and should shock you to your core.
If you do nothing else today, will you find out who your legislators are and tell them to defund Planned Parenthood?
Will you join with me and thousands of others across the country and fight this evil?

We are not alone.

By Turning, Turning we Come ‘Round Right

Simple Gifts
‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
~~~~~~~~~
“Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) in 1848. Aaron Copland includes the orchestral piece is his delightful composition Appalachian Spring.’ My favorite singing version is by Judy Collins (of course). You might also enjoy this one with Yo Yo Ma and Allison Krauss.

Finding our Way in the Dark


So it’s Sunday morning and the Guest Pastor is wearing a lampshade on his head. (Yeah, that’ll happen when the Senior Pastor is stuck on a plane with the mission team trying to get home from Texas.


The lampshade is one of those ivory-colored, flute shaped (well, upside-down flutes) where the circular opening at the top is 6-8 inches across then opens out to a wide, wire rim to support the shade.


It makes a perfect hat.

And why, you ask, does he have a lampshade on his head?  He’s talking about the way God’s word shines a light on the path of our lives as we walk. Since I’ve tuned my heart and mind to the ways that God’s light works in this world–shining, revealing, reflecting his glory (the theme of of this blog) my ears perk up. Well, my eyes do too.

Pastor D. is talking about knowing God’s will for my life–because I know God has a will for me and it can be known.  How?  By running to my friends to ask them?   Chatting with the Pastor on a Sunday after church?  Chalking up circumstances to see how they play out?  All of those are a piece of the puzzle. But……..
Bottom line?  95% of God’s will for us can be revealed through His word. 
If we want to know God’s ways, we need to know His Word.


Walking in the light of God’s word and knowing his ways…..this is the Scripture he shares with us:

“And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deut. 10:12 KJV)


Pastor D. also shares from Psalm 119, verse 105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” then reaches into his crinkly, blue Ikea bag. When he pulls out the lampshade, a lightbulb goes off (sorry about that)–what a perfect illustration!


Unfortunately, there is no long range spotlight that goes down the pathway of my life 150 feet in front of me.  No, at the most, it may be only a ten foot radius at my feet.  And the path forward is actually difficult to see (as the lampshade is covering my eyes). However, with my view down at my feet I can clearly see the path before me a few steps at a time.

And if I’m stuck?  Can’t see what’s next? 

He admonishes us, “Go back to the last time you said ‘yes’ to God (or ‘no’). Start there. Then move again.  And again. And again.”  

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d always prefer the searchlight. (Or the spotlight—even better.) I’d like to see the Way Ahead part of my life, be prepared for what’s coming, delight in the bright future and all.  

But what if the future is dark?  Because there will be dark days.
I will need God’s light then most of all.

When the way is dark and friends aren’t around, I have Jesus with me, His word in my heart, my head leaning towards Him, listening for His voice to say, “This is the way, walk right here, even if it’s just one step at a time.”

Here’s to taking the next right step as He lights the way in the dark.

~~~~~~~~~~~
Linking with Kelli and the Unforced Rhythms Community (formerly known as Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday) altho’ I’m gonna use this for ALL the days…….

Push Through–Notes from My Journal


I was sitting outside on the deck last week, writing my ‘Sabbath on the Page’ (LL Barkat phrase) and thinking about our family’s recent journey through a very difficult season.
Here are the notes from my journal that day:
~~~~~~~~~~~
Sit outside on the deck in the drips of a dreary day and you might be gifted with a glimpse of sunburst through the clouds.  

But you’d miss it if you went inside too soon (avoiding the chill and the gray).

Why don’t we stay through the gray to get to the other side of the hard and heavy, like steel, that would steal our joy?

We are too quick to turn rather than be tried and then miss the gift of telling others of the Light that was seen through that small crack.

We’d miss the glimmering hope 
that can become blinding joy–
we’d never see the bright glory in it at all if it weren’t
for the darkness revealing the shining gift on the other side.

Push through.
~~~~~~~~~~~
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose

photo of Elliott Bay, Seattle by my daughter Leah Johnson