1039. Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan. ~Albert Schweitzer

Oh to relive
those Old Sundays,
those sacred things…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

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My faith journey began long ago at a time when I was young enough that all I knew was unmarred innocence, youthful unawareness, and blind acceptance of what I’d been told and taught. In handmade, starched and often white organdy dresses and on feet in meticulously polished white shoes I’d enter with my family, as I’d been taught, solemnly and quietly into church buildings with their tall steeples and large, sonorous bells that called the masses to worship. Inside there was the unmistakable aroma of old wooden pews, time-worn Bibles, and tattered hymnals that spoke of countless others who had come before us to worship. And because it was a time of greater formality, we were greeted at the doors by ushers in dark suits wearing white carnations in their lapels; these men and/or women would hand us freshly printed programs as they led us down the aisle to a pew with red velvet cushions, cushions that had seen many a day and been sat on by a multitude of churchgoers. Somewhere along the way to our seats, I would encounter an image of the Christ who was portrayed as a man with soft brown hair and a sweet face. When all who had heeded the call to worship were seated, the acolytes would march in under gothic arches carrying state and national flags in the glow of blue, red, green, and yellow light streaming through the stained-glass windows. On their heels came the choir and the robed pastoral staff. Once everyone was in place, choral voices led us in songs before we were implored to make affirmations of faith and recite the Lord’s prayer. Then came the giving of tithes in gold offertory plates, before we drank from silver chalices filled with the “Blood of Christ” and took from a silver plate the bread wafer that symbolized the “Body of Christ.” All the while these sacred things were taking place, a large pipe organ played softly in the background behind flickering candles and pretty flowers on altars covered in sacramental cloths. Finally by the time all was said and done within the hallowed gray, stone walls, we had sung a number of old familiar hymns, shouted amens, listened to a tutorial sermon, bowed our heads for the holy benedictions, read words of Scripture, raised our arms and voices in praise, and prayed for friends and neighbors as well as the hungry and the needy. And all of it was fervently carried out in hopes that God, was then and would always be with us, listen to our pleas, and answer our prayers.

Sadly at a church after we moved here I witnessed such widespread hypocrisy and intolerant prejudice by clergy and church members alike that I stopped going to church and turned away from Lord and His teachings at the age of 19.  However, the Good Shepherd would not let go of that which was rightfully His and so He pursued me for the next two decades as He does all of His wandering and lost “sheep” until one day I turned to listen to His voice again. Soon afterwards I chose to walk back into a church, and fortunately it was one where sincere sanctity appeared to be palpable and devout holiness seemed to permeate all that and who had gathered to honor and consecrate the Almighty, the Holy Spirit, and the Christ. It felt like home and I knew I was home. As sentient beings, everything we encounter evokes some kind of emotional response from us which affects both flesh and psyche. So powerful and evocative are such experiences sometimes that there have been people who are healed of life-threatening diseases by constantly picturing themselves in times and places of the past wherein they were happy and well and sensed the presence of the Almighty.

Experience life in all possible ways –
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter.
Experience all the dualities.
Don’t be afraid of experience,
because the more experience you have,
the more mature you become.
~Osho

The sacred pathway is
not hard, children
know it…
~S. Michaels at https://5wise.wordpress.com

…if I(Paul) am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory. ~1 Timothy 3:15-16  ✝

**All but one image via Pinterest; collage by Natalie, and one photo of Natalie

698. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower. ~Samuel Smiles

Finger-like ancient
flowers dating back to the
reign of Edward III

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Freckled are your tube-
like prettily colored bells
that look like a glove

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And are a lurking
place of the wee folk who clap
the fairy thunder

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Stately foxglove with
the lambs-tongue-leaves you thrill
the eye and heal hearts

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But beware to all
who know not you can kill a
man as well as heal

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Favorite of mine
are you in the garden but
grow you not in heat

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So it is that I
must find you early in the
year to grow in pots

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Where a favorite
of the buzzing bees and
my camera are you

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Because you see
I love your freckly poetry
of apostrophes

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My blogging friend, Bette Stevens, posted this week that April is national poetry month, and so I set out to write a series of haikus about a favorite flower of mine. I’m certainly no poet but I had fun trying to tell some of the lore about this flower in haiku fashion. Along with the verses are photos I’ve taken and others I found on Pinterest.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8   ✝

580. Once more on our morning walk we tread upon carpets of gold and crimson, of brown and bronze, woven by the winds… ~John Burroughs

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson

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With every north wind that blows the landscape decomposes more and more, and the air grows a little wilder with falling leaves. After each assault layer upon layer of the leafy insulation blankets the lawn and beds in more warmth to protect them from coming winter’s icy blasts. Above, the branches, if not already bare, are now dotted with only a smattering of leaves. They, the ones too tenacious to let go so far, cannot hold on much longer though because the winter solstice will be upon us in less than a week. These brisk northerly winds have also taken a toll on the once verdant and supple, ornamental grasses. Many of them have begun drying out and taking on a shabby, tattered look, but among the shades of brown, remain a few tinged with glorious color. Autumn may be beset with more gray than sunny days and quelling blows night after night, but some continue to hold a measure of winsome smiles and “honey’d leavings.” And as the lusty song of life plays on, earth yet murmurs, “come play again with me,” a call, way, way too alluring for me to ignore.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. ~Isaiah 40:8   ✝

443. August bursts on the scene like a matchflame in the heat and haze of crimson sunsets. ~Edited excerpt from a poem by Elizabeth Maua Taylor

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When the blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles
nobody owns, I spend



all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking



of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is. In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.
~Mary Oliver

Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. ~Leviticus 25:10  ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace! Like Saint Hildegard Lord, may I too be a feather on your holy breath and spread, like seeds, the gospel abroad.

** Photo via Pinterest

384. June-O most noble Greenness…You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries. ~Hildegard von Bingen, 12th century Benedictine Abbess

I’m glad to be alive, to see and feel
The full deliciousness of this bright day,
That’s like a heart with nothing to conceal;
The young leaves scarcely trembling; the blue grey
Rimming the cloudless ether far away…
~William Allingham

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What Wordsworth called “the fairest daughter of the year” has dawned, and now that June, spring’s last born child who gives birth to summer, sits on the throne, she’ll afford us a last look at spring’s beauty before she steps down and yields to the burning flames of the summertime sun.

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Now summer is in flower and nature’s hum
Is never silent round her sultry bloom
Insects as small as dust are never done
Wi’ glittering dance and reeling in the sun
And green wood fly and blossom haunting bee
Are never weary of their melody
Round field hedge now flowers in full glory twine
Large bindweed bells wild hop and streaked woodbine
That lift athirst their slender throated flowers
Agape for dew falls and for honey showers
These round each bush in sweet disorder run
And spread their wild hues to the sultry sun.
~John Clare

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. ~Psalm 100 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

297. Hand in hand, with fairy grace, will we sing, and bless this place. ~William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright

No child but must remember laying his head in the grass,
staring into the infinitesimal forest
and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies.
~Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish poet

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Digitalis, from the Latin Digitabulum, a thimble, derives its common name from the shape of its flowers that resemble the finger of a glove.  It’s a flower we call Foxglove, which delights to grow in deep hollows and woody dells.  However, it was originally called Folksglove because that’s where they, fairies or “good folk,” were thought to live.  Folksglove is one of the oldest names for Digitalis (Foxglove) and is mentioned in a list of plants as old as the time of Edward III.  The earliest known form of the word is the Anglo-Saxon foxes glofa (the glove of the fox, and the Norwegian name Revbielde that translates to Foxbell alludes to the Fox.  It is a name which may have come about from a northern legend about bad fairies who supposedly gave the blossoms of Digitalis to foxes to be put upon their toes so as to soften their tread when prowling amongst the roosts.

I adore Foxglove and believe no other flower in the garden lends itself better to stories of fairies and elves than it does.  Its dangling thimbles or gloves or bells or fingers or whatever one might call them look like enchanted, magical places where children would naturally look for the “wee folk” to lurk.  Nor is it surprising that there have been suppositions claiming the mottling in the flowers mark, like the spots on butterfly wings and on the tails of peacocks and pheasants, where elves have placed their fingers.  Though no longer a child, I have to agree in part with the writer Charles de Lint who penned, “We call them faerie.  We don’t believe in them.  Our loss.”  Sometimes, it does one a world of good to remember what it was like to be an imaginative child, full of awe and wonder and given to flights of fantasy.

Happy is he who still loves
something he loved in the nursery:
He has not been broken in two by time;
he is not two men, but one,
and he has saved not only his soul but his life.
~G. K. Chesterton, English writer, poet,
and lay theologian

If we opened our mind with enjoyment, we might
find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side.
We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam,
and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower.
~Samuel Smiles, Scottish author

May the Lord give you increase, both you and your children.  May you be blessed by the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  ~Psalm 115:14-15   ✝

294. March is a month of expectation… ~Emily Dickinson

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O such a commotion under the ground
When March called,”Ho there! ho!”
Such spreading of rootlets far and wide,
Such whisperings to and fro!
“Are you ready?” the Snowdrop asked,
” ‘Tis time to start , you know.”
“Almost, my dear! the Scilla replied,
“I’ll follow as soon as you go.”
Then “Ha! ha! ha!” a chorus came
Of laughter sweet and low,
From millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.

“I’ll promise my blossoms,” the Crocus said,
“When I hear the blackbird sing.”
And straight thereafter Narcissus cried,
“My silver and gold I’ll bring.”
“And ere they are dulled,” another spoke,
“The Hyacinth bells shall ring.”
But the Violet only murmured , “I’m here,”
And sweet grew the air of Spring.

O the pretty brave things, thro’ the coldest days
Imprisoned in the walls of brown,
They never lost heart tho’ the blast shrieked loud,
And the sleet and the hail came down;
But patiently each wrought her wonderful dress,
Or fashioned her beautiful crown,
And now they are coming to lighten the world
Still shadowed by winter’s frown.
And well may they cheerily laugh “Ha! ha!”
In laughter sweet and low,
The millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The promise of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace in the ground, purified seven times.  ~Psalm 12:6   ✝