Monday, May 25, 2009
These yellow poppies were growing in my sister's yard in Portland, Oregon, where I just visited. I vaguely remembered "Poppy Day," when we bought artificial poppies and wore them to honor dead soldiers.
Memorial Day was started to honor those Union soldiers who were killed in the Civil War. It was expanded after World War I to include all those Americans killed in war or military action.
As I was praying that they might rest in peace, I thought that I would pray for everybody throughout the world who had died in war, including our enemies. As I prayed it occured to me that in heaven they would all not only be at peace with God and in themselves, but with one another. No one would be enemies in heaven. Then I prayed that that may soon be true here on earth.
Friday, May 8, 2009
I took this picture just a few days ago. I remembered that not long ago I saw that this tree had been pruned and looked stunted. Pruning a live branch almost seems like murder, but the result is fullness of life.
Yesterday I used for prayer chapter 15, verses 1-8, of the Gospel according to John. Jesus is using the imagery
of the vine and branches to emphasize our lasting union with him. The word "abide" dominates the passage. We abide in Jesus and he abides in us. One of the most important emphases in all of John's Gospel is the intimate relationship between Jesus and his disciples.
Jesus says that this living, lasting union will bear "fruit," another frequent word in the passage. In my prayer I found myself at first wondering what fruit I ought to be producing. It gradually dawned on me, however, that living a life of contemplation was itself "fruit." In our world that demands work and results it is hard to value being over doing. In the prayer Christ's word "pruned" me to be even more dedicated to prayer and reflection.
The other line in the passage that means a lot to me is "Without me, you can do nothing." In one of the very brief prayers that I say every morning as soon as I get out of bed I switch that around to, "Without You, I can do nothing." Full life comes from living and growing in Jesus.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Today is Tchaikovsky's birthday. He's my favorite composer and the Violin Concerto my favorite piece. I've been listening to his music much of the day. It's a good reminder for me that God does not always come in order and stillness. Tchaikovsky's music thrills me and lifts me out of myself. Almost too much.
An appropriate picture? I immediately thought of this sunrise over the sea that I took a few years ago.