How about some music?

While writing yesterday’s blog, “Ordinary,” I had a song running through my head. It was Sarah McLachlan’s Ordinary Miracle, which is all about how the ordinary things are actually rather miraculous – like how seeds grow, and birds learn to fly, and spring comes again. So I thought I’d share that with you today, with the hopes that you’ll spend some time looking for ordinary miracles all around you:

This lovely little bit of Scripture set to music by Andrew Peterson. This is “Romans 11 (Doxology)”

And this offering from NEEDTOBREATHE, “Banks,” which Bear Rienhart (singer) wrote for his wife, but also speaks to me of how God loves us – wanting to hold us close but never hold us back:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, may you sing songs to the Lord!

Ordinary…

Every once in a while in a Bible Study or other spiritual conversation setting, I hear people of faith wondering how their ordinary life makes much of a difference for God. They will point out that they’ve never gone on a mission trip or done anything really “above and beyond” in the name of faith.

But for every single person who has ever asked such a question, this is also absolutely true:

Sometimes it is the small kindnesses we do for each other – an encouraging word, a ride to a doctor’s appointment, being present for a friend, things that might seem quite ordinary – that make a big difference in the life of another. And really, every difference made, matters.

So here is a prayer for the “ordinary” acts of faith that all of us do:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, may you know that you make a difference, that is far from ordinary.

Wordless Wednesday!

(Because this just made me feel better about the train wreck I’ve felt like lately. I’m reminded of a Caedmon’s Call song that says, “I’m so thankful that I’m incapable of doing any good on my own” – the implication being that being incapable makes one rely fully on God who IS capable. Maybe I need to see my train wreck as a blessing in disguise that makes me lean all that much more on the strength of my Saviour…..so maybe not all that wordless today, after all!)

Courage…

This has been around for a long time, but every time I come across it, I’m thankful to read it again:

This is probably the kind of courage we need right now. Not to roar, but to simply keep going. To keep trying. To keep holding to our faith, even in the midst of times that are more trying than anything we have ever lived through.

It is courage to not give up. It is courage to look for the good in each day. It is courage to simply be kind. It is even courage to rest, when that is what you need.

So today, I pray courage for you – not the roaring kind, but the quiet and steady kind. And when your courage is failing, I pray that God will supply you from his endless riches what you do not have in yourself.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, be courageous in the Lord.

Meme Monday!

Oh boy. I’m actually type-in-between-one-and-two. I’ll set a first alarm, but usually when it goes off, I’ll re-set it for much later. I could not HANDLE being straight-up type 2!:

Singing this one out (if you don’t know the song, it probably aren’t up on your 2000’s pop music):

Yup, I learned my lesson:

Hee hee!:

I for it EVERY SINGLE TIME:

The good old days…:

What I imagine when someone says they saw their first Robin:

Charley Mackesy always writes and draws wise things…his work has been a balm to my soul throughout this year:

Biblical humor! (And also, I totally want to go there!!! Doggy cuddles rule!):

And finally, this blessing for your day:

Until tomorrow, dear friends, keep on laughing and thinking and drawing closer to God!

Worship Resources!

Since this week was St. Patrick’s Day and I didn’t really acknowledge it on the blog, I thought I’d use some Irish resources this week.

Let’s start with St. Patrick’s breastplate:

This gorgeous version of “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” with beautiful Irish landscapes:

A couple of Irish quotes:

This version of Be Thou My Vision, which was used one Sunday in the fall when Graceview was able to meet in-person for worship:

And finally, another prayer from St. Patrick:

Until tomorrow, may you be blessed and be a blessing, dear friends.

Praying while dealing with brain fog…

Even those who have endured the pandemic well are understandably struggling with brain fog these days. It’s been a long and upsetting year and we are all tired. So I thought I’d share this little graphic of a breath prayer that a friend posted on Facebook the other day:

Each “receive” is meant to be a deep breath in, and each “release” a slow breath out. And if you pay attention, you’ll see the “receives” are the fruits of the Spirit.

May this simple prayer help you to find a way to pray even while dealing with brain fog, even when your own words fail you.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, know that God hears your prayers and has mercy on you.

Hope…

In times that feel unendingly hard – Dr. Theresa Tam was not wrong when she said that the fight against COVID-19 would be a marathon. She said that, to the best of my recollection, sometime in April or May last year. It was a long, long time ago. It comes back to my thoughts regularly. Because it’s not just a marathon we are in, it’s one we hadn’t trained for. The secret to completing a long distance run is training – doing it again and again, raising and lowering your distance, so that you get used to the strain it is on your body.

I think we can all agree that we don’t want to do this again any time soon. But when you haven’t trained, that’s when injury can occur.

We are in a marathon for which none of us have trained. And it’s painful, and it’s exhausting, and I hate to say it – in my context at least – it’s still pretty far from over.

So what do we do when we are hurting, when it feels unending, when we are exhausted?

We hold to hope.

As Andy Dufrasne in the Shawshank Redemption remarked, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

So let’s spend some time thinking about things that give us hope. Let me make you a list: the snowdrops I found on yesterdays walk, which means that Spring is on its way; the text from a friend telling me he had gotten his vaccine, which means that one more person I care about is protected from the virus; the longer days, which mean in the not too distant future it will be warm enough for balcony time; the prayers and words of support from congregants and friends, which mean I am not alone and I am cared for; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which mans I have never been unloved.

I encourage you to make your own list – and feel your spirit brighten as you do.

Until tomorrow, dear friends, hold to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful!