1387. In the early Celtic churches, earth, sea, and sky were, rather than enclosed sanctuaries, the temple of God. The high-standing crosses were gathering places. ~J. Philip Newell

The world is holy.
We are holy. All life is holy.
Daily prayers are delivered on the lips
of breaking waves, the whisperings
of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.
-Terry Tempest Williams

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The church is not a building, but a body of believers with a specific nature and purpose. These biblical roles or ministries of the church are foundational to it. Worship is God-centered and Christ-centered. It is not about entertaining Christians with flashy displays or presentations, but about expressing our love by worshiping our Creator. We are to praise and glorify God in worship. As such, every Christian needs to be part of regular fellowship and worship. Edification is also a role of the church. It involves edifying believers, but also nurturing, building up or helping believers to mature in Christ.

Evangelism is also a key role of the church. This means reaching out to a lost world with the Good News about Jesus. Since people often have questions or doubts about Christ and Christianity, knowing the truth and being able to defend it is also part of the role of the church. But beyond evangelism in the sense of reaching out with the gospel, the church must also express compassion and mercy tangibly by helping others. In following Christ’s example to love others, the church, too, must seek to make a real difference in the world while not neglecting to share the message of Christ. If a church fails to fulfill any of these key roles – worship, edification, evangelism – then the church is not functioning as God intends. Granted, there are times when churches face challenges and struggles to one degree or another, but a healthy church seeks to overcome such challenges in a way that honors God and His intentions for His church. (This paragraph and the one above it are excerpted from an article by Paul Velarde_)

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:19-20  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1382. Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon…

…A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed,
we would launch one. It would explode high in the air-
explode softly-and send thousands, millions,
of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth –
boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either –
not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four,
with the sharpener built right in.
~Excerpted lines by Robert Fulghum

Today I ran across this photo that I took one afternoon last fall. I had been outside looking for signs of coming fall when I noticed a large patch of weeds in my front flowerbed. After I sat down to pull them, I heard a strange, fiery kind of noise overhead. It wasn’t a fire breathing dragon as I first feared it might be but instead this hot air balloon making its way right over the top of my house. The big bright balloon was a colorful, fanciful thing, and for some strange reason the first thing I thought of was Fulghum’s whimsical parody about a Crayola bomb. At least to me the balloon looked like something that might be on a mission to drop something fun on those of us below. In fact the balloon itself almost looks like a crayola drawing. Then as I pondered writing about the pretty thing, I remembered the old 5th Dimension’s song from the 70‘s wherein the listener is hears “Would you like to ride in my beautful balloon…

Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon.
The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon;
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon.
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky.
Suspended under a twilight canopy
We’ll search the clouds for a star to guide us.
We can float among the stars together,
you and I, for we can fly.”
~Excerpted and edited lyrics
by the 5th Dimension

Something extraordinary had turned an ordinary day into one of delight especially for my inner child.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into eternal continuity that keep us.
Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.
So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.
~Excerpt from TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US,
by John O’Donohue

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. -Psalm 23:6 ✝

 

1379. Poetry is a packsack of invisible keepsakes. ~Carl Sandburg

Poetry should…should strike the reader
as a wording of his own highest thoughts,
and appear almost a remembrance.
~John Keats

Some of you know that I was an educator for 31 years. What you don’t know is that in the 8th grade I declared to family and friends that I would never become a teacher, especially an English teacher. But as it turned out I did become one and though it was not my first or second chosen teaching field, I ended up teaching English for half of my career. And like all else whatever we spend time doing has a profound influence on our lives. I’ve always had a great respect for literature and writers and storytellers. One of them. as I mentioned in a recent post, is Mary Oliver. When I read her poetry it’s as if she has been writing what dwells within my heart and soul. They are so accurate and she does it in a way that had I her ability I would have written them myself. But ya know, we don’t all have to be gifted to tell tales of our lives which might be what someone else needs or longs to hear. And I believe I can say with certitude that there’s not a single one of you who are reading this who were not profoundly impacted by at least one teacher in your life. Secondly, my guess is that their influence had little to do with academic subject matter. I expect it was stories they told or wove to reach you and teach you that made all the difference in your life. So never be afraid to share you grief and joys, triumphs and sorrows, whatever it is you hold dear or keep close for you never know when or where a listening ear will find remembrance and/or life-sustaining importance in them. ‘Tis even more important that you do so if the tale(s) tell of God’s grace, mercy, faithfulness, and abiding love for His children!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. ~Acts 20:24 ✝

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver

Photo of grasshopper on rose taken in her yard by Natalie

1376. Outside the open window the morning air is all awash with angels. ~Richard Wilbur

open your eyes
to the beauty around you,
open your mind
to the wonders of life,
open your heart
to those who love you,
and always
be true to yourself.
~Maya Angelou

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May the touch of your skin
Register the beauty
Of the otherness
That surrounds you.

May your listening be attuned
To the deeper silence
Where sound is honed
To bring distance home.

May the fragrance
Of a breathing meadow
Refresh your heart
And remind you you are
A child of the earth.

And when you partake
Of food and drink,
May your taste quicken
To the gift and sweetness
That flows from the earth.

May your inner eye
See through the surfaces
And glean the real presence
Of everything that meets you.

May your soul beautify
The desire of your eyes
That you might glimpse
The infinity that hides
In the simple sights
That seem worn
To your usual eyes.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. ~Matthew 6:22 ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

1360. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you. ~Rumi

The Wine and the Cup

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The wine of divine grace is limitless:
All limits come only from the faults of the cup.
Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.
Grant a great dignity, my friend, to the cup of your life;
Love has designed it to hold His eternal wine.

~Rumi

But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. ~Excerpt from Galatians 1:15  ✝

**Image found on Pinterest; specical effects done on iPiccy

1357. Late February, and the air’s so balmy snowdrops and crocuses might be fooled into early blooming. ~Gail Mazur

It’s only approaching mid-February rather than late February hereabouts, and there are no crocuses yet nor snowdrops blooming for us, but it is balmy enough for the quinces, daffodils, and saucer magnolias to have been fooled into blooming.

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oft treacherous is
winter when it proffers not
cold nor snow nor ice

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But instead betrays
the garden with lies that spring
has indeed arrived

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So that daffodils
and quince and magnolias
flower too early

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Leaving them in great
peril from a forth coming
late wintry, hard freeze

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So who’s to say that
‘tis the month of love when
deceitfulness lurks

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But as for the Lord: … but I(God) will not take my love from him, not will I ever betray my faithfulness to him. I will not violate my covenant or alter why my lips have uttered. ~Psalm 89:33-34 ✝

**All photos taken by Natalie except for the first one. I found it on Pinterest today.

 

1345. There are hundreds of languages in this world and one transcends all, the language of love. ~Julie Parker

Beneath the chaos, YOU ARE STILLNESS.
Beneath the pain, YOU ARE JOY.
Beneath the fear, YOU ARE LOVE.
~Julie Parker

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I believe Love is everywhere. I believe Hearts speak to hearts. I believe Souls know each other long before they meet. I believe we are in this world to create Heaven on Earth. I believe everything we encounter is a call to remember a language our Soul has known for eternity. I believe we are Love… ~Julie Parker

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May the Love you are
blossom into Being.
With each unfurling petal
May you know the beauty of your Soul.
May you sow seeds of Love
through every season.
~Julie Parker

“‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.’” ~Leviticus 19:18  ✝

**Images found on Pinterest; borders and special effects done by me on iPiccy.