1386. A true worship of God, therefore, can neither be contained between the four walls of a sacred building nor restricted to the boundaries of religious tradition. ~J. Philip Newell

The Christian church is not a building,
but a body of believers united in Christ.
Its role is to worship God, nurture and edify
and reach out to a suffering world.
~Robert Velarde

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What Is the Church?
Excerpts from an article by Robert Velarde

When most people hear the word church they probably think of a building. Maybe it is a fancy building or a simple building where believers gather. But biblically speaking, a church is much more than a building. In fact, some would say that the church is not a building at all, but is all about the people.

The early Christian church had no buildings, at least not in the sense of what we would consider church buildings today. First century Christians were often persecuted and, as a result, often met in secret usually in homes. As the influence of Christianity spread, eventually buildings dedicated to worship were established and became what we know today as churches. Church structures facilitate the role of God’s people, but they do not fulfill it.

When speaking of the church, theologians often use terms such as the visible and local church as opposed to the invisible and universal church. The visible and local church is, of course, the physical churches that we see around us and around the world, as well as the members of those churches. The invisible and universal church, however, refers to all believers everywhere and is one church, united in Christ, not many physical churches.

In the temple of my inner being,
in the temple of my body,
in the temple of earth, sea, and sky,
in the great temple of the universe
I look for the light that was in the beginning,
the mighty fire that blazes still from the heart of life,
glowing in the whiteness of the moon,
glistening in night stars,
hidden in the black earth,
concealed in unknown depths of my soul.
In the darkness of the night,
in the shadow of my being, O God,
let me glimpse the eternal.
In both the light and the shadows of my being
let me glimpse the glow of the eternal.
From SOUNDS OF THE ETERNAL
by J. Philip Newell

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea. ~Job 11:7-9  ✝

**Image is the remains of Tintern Abbey in Britain. It cannot contain God nor the light.

1253. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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She,
In the dark,
Found light
Brighter than many ever see.
She,
Within herself,
Found loveliness,
Through the soul’s own mastery.
And now the world receives
From her dower:
The message of the strength
Of inner power.
~Helen Keller, a poem
by Langston Hughes

My son, pay attention to what I (God) say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. ~Proverbs 4:20-22  ✝

**Helen Keller was born with the ability to see and hear. At 19 months of age, she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain,” which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind.

1243. Pay attention. Be astonished. And tell about it. ~Mary Oliver

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way
by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees
to live among. If you’re Emily
(or Natalie), a garden will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

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When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

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Anything that touches.

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God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

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Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

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In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

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All important ideas must include the trees,
the mountains, and the rivers.

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To understand many things you must reach
out of your own condition.

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For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

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Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

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The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

Stop and be astonished… ~Excerpt from Isaiah 29: 9 ✝

**All images taken by Natalie; the 3 collages by Natalie

1047. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~Dale Carnegie

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Living with chronic pain is not a choice. No one in their right mind would choose to live with pain day after day as well as have to give up things they love to do because of it. And just because others can’t see it or feel it, doesn’t make it any less real or painful for its victims. Pain changes people; nevertheless these people get up everyday and push themselves to do their best, and all they ask for and need is understanding and compassion and not to be treated as if the pain in not real. The only lie they tell is when someone asks how they are and they say, “I’m fine.” Chronic pain sufferers are not striving to get sympathy and/or attention; they are just trying to get by the best way they can. Everyone fights some kind of battle in this life, but because chronic pain is not visible, chronic sufferers can only pretend to be happy and well which is an example of how truly strong they are and how extremely good God is to give them the strength and fortitude they need to carry on.

“Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.” ~Job 16:6  ✝

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. ~2 Samuel 22:33  ✝

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. ~1 Chronicles 16:11  ✝

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts Him, and He helps me. ~Excerpt from Psalm 28:7  ✝

**Image found on Facebook

939. Silence is the universal refuge… ~Henry David Thoreau

When I am alone I can become invisible.
I can sit on top of a dune as motionless as an
uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound
of the roses singing.
~Mary Oliver

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You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
~John O’Donohue

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ~Matthew 11:15 (ESV)  ✝

837. Each time dawn appears, the mystery is there in its entirety. ~René Daumal

I wonder if the mystery
is hidden in Creation. In plain sight.
~JoAnne Silvia
at: https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/about/

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Earth is crammed with heaven, and
every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees, takes his shoes off.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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When we understand the outside of things, we think we have them.
Yet the Lord puts his things in subdefined, suggestive shapes,
yielding no satisfactory meaning to the mere intellect,
but unfolding themselves to the conscience and heart.
~George MacDonald

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The true mystery of the world is
the visible, not the invisible.
~Oscar Wilde

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JoAnne made her comment above in response to my post yesterday, and I thought it too profoundly provocative not to repeat along with the thoughts of others who have made similar  remarks.

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes light. ~Ephesians 5:13  ✝

**Images via Pinterest