The Lord’s Prayer. What a simply beautiful and beautifully simple prayer. I’ve been studying it, allowing myself to sink deeper and deeper into the power of its every word strung together like fine jewels.
(Last week and) for the next series of entries, I want to open up the treasure that is this little prayer, and deposit my humble words of awe and tribute. My hope is that you may join me to just sit, soak and soar together, and knit our hearts closer and closer to our most wonderful Gardener.
Oh Father! Make Your most splendid Kingdom’s way to come and replace all our little ‘kingdoms’: all our idols and rules and benchmarks and self-absorbed and self-serving models; all our yardsticks of performance and expectations that we create in our own name and our own image. Bring them under Your rule, Abba.
Make Your impeccable way to come in and soak and overtake my heart, overtake all our hearts and minds and spirits and souls and bodies. Break up all the innocuous, all the hefty destructive patterns within us and around us, and keep us sensitive, mindful, wise and avoidant of their ploys, plying and schemes, of their cloaked lures.
Make Your most perfect desire and will to come in and define me Papa, in this family, in this home, on this street, in this community and city and country, in this global family. Make it to come in all our places of work and rest and play – in every corner of our minds and in every drop of our days. Make Your strength to bring Your fullness and complete health to all of us in our spirits and so our bodies. Make us as beacons that sing, shine and cast the warmth of your light far and wide! Oh Father, empower us so we may we have the courage and strength to stand, and to stand victorious against the ways of this world; to kneel before You when we find it hard to stand; to be humble and mannered as is becoming children of the loving King, and act in grace as we live, and lead by our living. May we rightly tend all Your Creation – this beautiful earth and all upon it – so the glory of Your heavenly will be done here on this spectacular sparkling globe!
Yes, help us Papa, to think and act smack-dab in the breeze and flow of Your will, Your will for the very best-ever for us that is beyond our wildest imaginations of utter fulfillment. Help us, help our spirits to partner with your Spirit – your very Heart that is connected to our own innermosts. Help us to break free of worldly constraints, to resist them with growing ease by Your strength suffused in us, and follow only You! Make us Your hands and feet and lips and hearts so that we may be Your messengers; messengers that live out the Truth of your Love that sweeps up this world and sets it ablaze with yearning and passion for You.
Oh yes, Father! Make Your Kingdom to come to rule in the place of all our kingdoms, and make Your will to be done in all ways – always!
Soil and Seed
The sun rises later and sets earlier now. The days are cooler, and the nights cooler still. Fall alights our landscape.
As my eyes followed the sunrise’s warmth stretching over the back garden this morning, I thought about how many transitions this precious little patch of land has undergone and how many memories it has been stage to and witnessed. Though still a work in progress, this past summer it has greeted many a bloom, many a bbq gathering, many a lingering in wonder in its sounds, smells and sights – and has even been a part of wedding pictures!
It has long been host to many a heart-felt discussion, multiple moments of silent tears and contented joyful contemplation, and many a gathering of fellowship and celebration. And, of course, it has been playground for our children and their posse of friends, taking full advantage of the small ‘treehouse’ and slide and swing we once had. As if it were yesterday, I can still hear them as youngsters holler and hoot with joy.
“Again! Again! Again!” my guys as toddlers used to whoop with glee when my husband or I would swing them high in the air, flip them upside down, or spin them around. And each time we did, their delight would tickle our hearts and warm our souls. We found as much merriment in these moments as they did, both as reliving bits of our own childhoods, and as parents relishing their children shimmer with joy. Their cheers and chortles have transformed as they have grown older, finding things that delight and thrill them deep into their bones, and we are still just so blessed to share in their fun.
Our Gardener too is all about “Again!” and I suspect His heart swells with joy when we whoop with glee as He tickles our delights and ignites our hearts and minds! I suspect too, that He is right alongside and enjoying it as much as we do! Granted, there are some again’s we’d rather not be subject to (nor really would He for us either I suspect), but if we push and persist through their itchiness and discomfort, we will find occasion to again join in with Him in shouts of triumph and delight.
Not so sure? Take a look around and take your hint from the shouts of triumph in all our Gardener’s Creation!
“Look!” He exclaims:
In the Fall, when diverse leaf after leaf is soaked and sun-dyed in mind-blowing variations of reds, garnets, scarlets, mahoganies, ochres, butterscotches, lemons, ambers, and saffron. When the leaves softly drift to the ground to spread protection from the coming cold. When tree after tree is laid bare to reveal the beauty of the undulating landscape dotted with winding fences and secret paths, puffs of scrub and store of stone.
“Faith!” He cries:
In the Winter when flurries of unique flake after flake fall on our noses and pile layer upon
glistening layer atop cars, streets, hills and valleys. When the sun warms us through our winter packing during the day and bursts through the trees creating a glittering pathway on the ground that directs the eye to the glory of His warmth in the sun. When the sparrow fattens, and the skis glide effortlessly over the crunching fluff, or skates gnaw into milky ice.
“Hope!” He calls out:
In Spring when the heat of the pattering and glistening rain melts the snow like butter, and buds begin to yawn and stretch to peak through the soggy ground. When chartreuse shoots spring from damp tree branches, and robins quarrel over nesting territory in their limbs. When the geese noisily reappear after their vacation south, and the squirrels stand back to remember where they’ve buried their nuts. When the air begins to soften, the sunrises greet us earlier and dip on the horizon later.
“Believe!” He declares:
In the Summer in the smell of freshly-cut grass and new dewy rain, and in the heat of the noon-day sun. When foliage and posey open in crescendo after crescendo, when a lettuce leaf sprouts, a flower appears on the tomato plant, a strawberry peaks from its bloom, and a bird finds another worm to feed her family. When the cardinal serenades and the cricket chirps. When the nights are comfortable and warm, and barbecues, balconies and backyards are gathering places for leisurely meals, laughter and easy conversation.
“Again!” He announces:
When the sun rises each morning and awakens His beloved, His Creation, and sinks into the hammock of the horizon each night in rest.
When the clouds one by one skim across the sky, playfully shaped for our imaginations drifting together in a slow dance, and evaporating into and then reappearing to transverse the powder blue, azure, or Persian blue sky.
When the waves of the mighty ocean sweep in to lick the shoreline, and back out to add to their strength in the sea.
When there are wee chicks peeping in nests, babes gurgling in their cribs and bouncing on knees.
“Triumphant!” our glorious and generous King exclaims, lavishing again and again His love and celebration as every chapter comes to a close and harkens a new, glorious and surprising twist in character development and plot line! And just as my husband and I delight at every phase along with our boys, so I am convinced our King does with us.
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23)
So, just as some ‘agains’ we might be far from enjoying right in this moment, take heart and dare to hope in the nod to His heart in all of His Creation. Look and see, and consider.
Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right— Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil. (Joel 2:23, The Message)
Let’s not only marvel at this season of Fall as the Father’s triumphant and celebratory firework finale, and debut of yet another ‘again’ in the majesty of an additional, fresh, completely new and marvellously distinctive season. Let’s likewise consider our own ‘agains’ – our own autumns – as with intrinsic beauty and as debuts of coming most assured and spectacular glory! Let’s allow Fall to remind us to look upon this very season in our lives as one with mysterious beauty and with inherent purpose, and look ahead and forward with expectancy to the splendour that awaits anew, that renews soul, and shapes spirit!
For aren’t we all His gloriously redeemed Work in triumphant progress?
“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.”
(Isaiah 43: 18-19, The Message)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has great mercy, and because of his mercy he gave us a new life. He gave us a living hope because Jesus Christ rose from death.”
(1 Peter 1: 3, International Children’s Bible)
Soil and Seed