A man was walking along a trail high on a cliff when he slipped and fell. As he fell, he managed to grab a tree root. The terrified man had no way of getting back up, so he started praying.
“Please God, come and save me! I know you will come. Please come God!”
From the top of the cliff he heard a voice call down, “hello, I have a rope and I am going to throw it down, grab a hold and I will pull you up.”
The man said, “No that’s fine, God will save me, I know God will come, I’m a good person, God will come.”
“Ok” said the voice.
The man continued to pray, “Please God, I know you are there and can hear me, please come and save me!”
From along the cliff face the man heard a voice, “Hello, I’m rock climbing and can come over and help you get down, can you hold on for 10 minutes?”
The man said, “No I’m fine, God will come and help me, I know God will come.”
“Ok” said the voice.
Now the tree root was getting a bit weak and the man was getting worried God might not show up in time. So, he prayed, really hard. “Oh God, please, please! I’m begging you to come and save me! My tree root is weakening, and I am so afraid! Please God come save me!”
A third time the man heard a voice, “Hello up there, we have gathered some friends and we will get a lot of hay and pillows below you to break your fall. In just a few minutes you can let go and we will catch you.”
But again, the man said, “No thanks, I’ve prayed, and I know God has heard me and God will come and get me down, thanks anyway.”
“Ok” said the group of voices.
Suddenly the root broke and the man fell to bottom of the cliff and died. When he reached heaven and saw God he asked. “Why didn’t you come and save me, I prayed and prayed?”
God smiled and said, “I did come, I sent a man with a rope and you turned him down. I sent a climber and you turned her down. I sent an entire village, but you turned them down as well. I simply assumed you wanted to die.”
The moral of this story is our prayers are answered always, but often not in the way we expect. This story also illustrates a point for today’s world. We have the answers in front of us, we just don’t want to see them. The Holy Spirit has given us the tools to fix our problems but if we don’t wish to use them, then well, She is going to assume we simply want to die.
P.S.: Notice, It was a man who fell from the cliff, if it had been a woman, she would have grabbed that rope in a heartbeat. Women understand a gift when it is given.
I stayed home from church today. I stayed to make soup with the Holy Spirit. Not
just any soup mind you, but my own Vegetable Soup. You know the kind, soup
filled with chopped fresh potatoes, celery, carrots, turnips, garlic and
shallot and fresh herbs. All of them carefully
chopped up into bit sized pieces.
There is something comforting about chopping vegetables, watching the pile grow. Each vegetable adding their own special color, fragrance, and appeal to the pile. Shallots and garlic add their pungent scents, while potatoes add earthiness and carrots and tomatoes add a bit of sweetness. I did notice that the carrot coins kept rolling around the counter as if they wanted to escape. Celery’s spiciness is always appealing to me. I love the color contrast between the red pepper and the parsley it always makes me smile and HS, that’s Holy Spirit for those of you not on speaking terms, said, “my favorite is the hot banana pepper you add in just the right amount to give a bit of heat to the soup. Please don’t tell Jesus that he thinks I’m weird.”
HS, and I discussed the value of each vegetable and whether
or not it was suitable for such a wonderful soup. We pared and peeled when
needed and over-all we decided I had picked good vegetables from the market. HS
also reminded me that I had some fresh tomatoes that would add a nice bit of
freshness. These were the last from my garden, so I offered a prayer and HS
blessed them. I mean you can’t have too many prayers or too many blessings, can
I then went out into my garden and HS and I picked rosemary,
sage and fennel. Thanking each one for their contribution to the soup. We only took a little of the thyme because it
needs to grow a bit more, it’s a bit over picked, and HS said the basil was
just too tired and needs to go live with her now.
HS asked if I had any frozen or canned vegetables available
and looking through the freezer, I found a packet of squash and peas adding
them to my growing pile of vegetables. In the pantry, I found corn, beans, and
garbanzo beans which when rinsed to remove excess salt (who wants that in their
soup) added them to the bowl.
After browning the shallot and garlic, adding chopped fresh turmeric
and a couple strands of saffron (yes. I use saffron) I dumped all of the chopped,
frozen, and canned veg’s into the pot along with vegetable broth, water, and
all of the chopped herbs. HS asked me “will
you be adding the secret ingredient” and I said “Shhh, If I tell it wouldn’t be
a secret.” HS blessed our efforts and
our soup is now simmering to wonderful goodness. We are currently considering baking a loaf of
I suppose you think I am weird, imagining I am cooking
alongside the Holy Spirit. Well one, I don’t care what you think, and two, how
do you know I wasn’t. You see I often
feel I am not alone, that someone walks beside me, or sits with me as I read. I
guess I could be insane, but I rather think that it doesn’t matter. I sit and meditate, I offer prayers, and they
must go somewhere don’t they. So why couldn’t the Holy Spirit come and spend
time with me as I cook?
I’m not one to run around and brag or tell people “Jesus
saves” (he doesn’t by the way, but I’ll save that thought for later). I rather
let what I do and say inform people. I will share this soup with others,
guests, (Luke hint, hint) and of course my husband will enjoy our efforts. I have been known to take soup to those who
need it because feeding others always brings a smile to their faces, and mine,
besides it is a mandate of the Holy Spirit.
To create something that will nourishes others is such a
wonderful feeling. To feel the vegetable
in your hand, pick it from the ground or vine gives me a connection with all
creation. I know where my food comes from, how it was grown I watched the sun shine
on the baby plants and the rain water it. I watched as the bees pollinated my
tomato blossoms and herb blossoms and we shook the dirt off of potatoes,
carrots, and onions, so yes, I know where my food comes from and who to thank.
I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with the HS to offer my thanks
for food that feeds my body as her presence feeds my spirit. So, if I think the Holy Spirit is right there
with me in the kitchen it means I know who to thank for all I have
“Why not share your recipe and a prayer, now that you have
made everyone hungry?”
“What a wonderful idea.”
“Ok, here is my Basic Vegetable soup recipe for you to
change up and make your own.”
My prayer for you is:
Holy Spirit, we ask you to bless the ground that nourished our
vegetables, the sun that shone upon them, and the rain that watered them. Bless
the hands that harvested and carried them to us and bless the hands that
prepared them. May this soup bless our
bodies as you bless our souls. AMEN
Ruth’s Vegetable Soup (This recipe freezes well)
4 cups vegetable broth or 2 cups broth and 2 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Vegetables: (all vegetables are optional, add meat if you wish)
Carrots (diced), Peas, Corn either Fresh, frozen, or canned
½ of a small to medium shallot, diced
1-3 garlic cloves, minced,
1 15oz. Can diced tomatoes
1 or 2 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
½ to 1 red pepper, diced
Either 1-3 small hot banana Peppers, or 2 chipotle peppers, (+1 to 2 tsps.
adobe sauce), Diced
and Herbs: (change up the herbs to your taste)
1 teaspoon dry Turmeric or 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh
few threads of saffron
1 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
½ teaspoon Herbs de Provence
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Melt the oil and butter in a large soup pot, add the onions
and garlic. Add the turmeric and saffron, cook until the onions are soft and
golden. Add the celery and peppers to
the pot stir until covered in the turmeric liquid. Add the rest of the vegetables, broth (or
broth/water), herbs and spices. Simmer
for 1 to 2 hours until all vegetables are “al dente.” Serve hot with fresh bread. If you wish top
with sharp cheddar cheese and chives.
Note: This is an
easily modified recipe. You can add
squash, or other vegetables, or change herbs or spices (I use Turmeric because
of its anti-cancer properties). Fresh Parsley is lovely. You can add meat to this but I am a
vegetarian so that is problematic for me.
I have been trying to make sense of the events of the last week. The deaths of two black men at the hands of the police, the Dallas Police targeted and killed, and the bombings in Iraq and Turkey. And, just today a new shooting in Michigan. My heart is filled with sadness and tears and I could only cry out to God “Where Are YOU.”
“God where were you . . .
when suicide bombers chose to end their lives and take the innocent with them?
Where were you when 29 men and woman
enjoying a night out were used as target practice?
Where are you when cops shoot people,
when people shoot people,
when cops are targeted,
When people die, the good and the bad?”
God where are you . . .
when we are filled with emptiness by shooting after shooting,
when bombings and assaults become common place?
Where are you when we turn the news on and
another child has died, another cop is killed,
another person of color, differing abilities, or characteristics is assaulted or killed?”
“Why Oh God do you not answer?”
God said “I am there . . .
Holding the bodies as they bleed,
I am there leading the survivors’ out of danger.
I am there, holding the victim’s family’s in my arms
I am there in the broken hearts of witnesses, law enforcement.”
“When the darkness is greatest
I will sit with you, and listen to your sorrows,
I will hold you in my arms when you are weary.”
All I can do is lead the dying home to my arms,
to comfort those left behind, if they let me.”
“When pain and grief grip you
I will be there to tell you everything will be alright.
When you scream into the night,
I will come and comfort you,
I will dry your tears, and wrap you in my embrace.”
“I will be there when you are weary and in pain,
I will be there to lift you up, and comfort you,
All you have to do is call”.
God said, “I cry when you do not hear my voice, and
I cannot stop you from harming each other,
that choice is yours alone.
“All I can do is encourage each of you to stand up for justice and mercy.
All I can do is hope your hearts will soften
and let the love I have for each of you awaken your love for each other.
All I can do is wait for you to choose the path of justice, mercy, love and peace
between your selves and all that is created.”
God says “I gave you the choice of right or wrong,
It is up to you to choose. I will not make that choice for you
nor will I force you to choose one path over another!”
“You asked for freedom, it is your responsibility to choose.
Choose to use that freedom wisely.”
“And of His Signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you might find peace of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion al-Qur’an 30.21
With one silent laugh
You tilted the night
And the garden ran with stars. – Jalal-ud-Din Rumi
To love someone, especially someone who doesn’t expect you to love them, may be the most important of the spiritual practices. Love is a grace of God given freely to all and as Oscar Hammerstein wrote “Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay. Love isn’t love till you give it away.” God put love in our hearts to be shared with all creation, not just humanity but animals, flowers, and yes, even rocks. To truly love is as close as we get to being the image of God.
This week share your love with a family member, a friend, an adversary, an enemy. Let the love in your heart out and be God’s image in the world.
Psalm 32:11 Be glad in LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart
The Psalmist says to “shout for joy, all you upright in heart,” but I am not very joyful, this year and in all honesty I don’t feel ‘upright’ at the moment. I have been listening to the news, which is something I should stop doing, and all I hear is hate for those different from us. Different in skin color, gender preference, in faith’s, in cultures you name it and someone has said they need to be ‘controlled’, or denied services, or denied entry into our country. I have see the faces on the news of those who say this country should only be for white, Christian, heterosexual and English speaking people and they aren’t handsome faces.
There are days when I am fearful of the path our country is headed down because there doesn’t seem to be many who are willing to stand up against the voices of hate. When those who we are supposed to trust and respect fill their messages with hate the targets of that hateful speech become targets of violence because people feel they now have permission to act out their own fears in a violent way.
Where is the joy for the families of the victims of the San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and Oregon mass killings? Where is the joy for the congregations of the churches and Mosques that have been set on fire? Where is the joy for the refugees struggling to survive in a world turned against them? On Christmas Morning we will open our presents, eat fine meals, and enjoy the company of family yet so many will be remembering loved ones not at the table, or won’t have presents or food to eat.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of light into the world. That light came into our world in a stable not a palace. Jesus’ parents were poor struggling peasants not rich CEO’s of some big company. Yet they managed to find joy in the simple presence of cattle, a donkey, and sheep, can we be so fortunate to see joy in the simple things? Joy in a simple meal, a child’s smile, the wrinkled face of a granny or grandpa. Joy in giving socks, gloves, hats, scarves to someone on the street, joy in the presence of a loved one, or in the warmth of a companion animal. That is what Christmas is about not gifts, or table burdened with enough food to feed a small village. Can we offer that joy to someone who might not have joy without our help? So on your list of gifts add a few more. Put down sock or gloves for homeless, visit a neighbor or elderly person who will be alone this year, better yet invite them to join you for Christmas day in your home. I guarantee that your Christmas will be brighter and more joyful for giving your presence and being the gift.
Meditations for a Mindful Advent Queen Anne Christian Church
Slow down . . . seek hope
Buy less . . . create peace
Eat less . . . embrace joy
Worry less . . . give love
Prepare your heart for new birth.
An Advent Prayer
God who causes stars to burn and energy to flow,
may Your presence be made known to us in new ways.
When we wonder where You are, shine Your light in new ways.
When we wonder why bad things happen, help us to find all of Your goodness.
When we feel hopeless, help us to become Your hope in the world.
You have created us out of stardust, and breathed into us life.
In You, all things are possible, and all things are created new.
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, as we await the birth of the light of Christ
may we come to know You in new ways on this journey of faith. Amen.
Joy – The Third Week of Advent Light three candles and pray “An Advent Prayer.”
Laughter is carbonated holiness.
— Anne Lamott
I would love to live like a river flows,
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
— John O’Donohue
Questions Morning:In anticipation of the day, where might you add levity and playfulness?
Evening:As the day ends, where did you find laughter and ease?
Offer a prayer for those in need of joy; include yourself.
for I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
Giver of abundant gifts, on this Thanksgiving we celebrate . . . we celebrate. Ah what are we celebrating God? It seems to me that we have nothing to celebrate, nothing to be thankful for, except empty hearts and soulless comments.
Too many children are dying before our eyes on beaches, in stormy seas, in mountain passes, and refugee camps. Too many are blinded by their fears, unable to see the path to your love. I don’t know God, I can’t really think of something to be thankful for this year, you see my eyes are clouded with tears and my heart is screaming in pain for those who are being denied entry into our so called circle of love. By the way if it is a circle of love would there really be boundaries?
God I don’t know how to say this but I do believe we humans have failed you and maybe it is time to pull the plug on this experiment. We are tired, I know I am, so please just let us go and let us be thankful for the too few moments when we recognized your love and shared it with the world. Let some other species give being your priestly people a go at it. That task is very plainly to difficult for us. Dogs would be a good choice they love without condition just by being who they are, yes; Dogs would do a good job of being your treasured people.
So I guess I do have something to be thankful for. I am thankful for your love, for your compassion, your presence in the darkest of times. I am grateful for the times we danced in the sunlight, and sang at the moon. I am grateful for your faith in us when we have no faith in ourselves. I am thankful for the many blessings you have given us, sunrises and sunsets, a newborns smile, oh so many gifts. So if it’s alright with you God I will lay my gratitude down at your feet and if it pleases you Lord, I would like to come back as a Dog. AMEN
On Face Book I follow the Anam Cara Ministries page, which posts daily meditations. I often find one that makes me stop and think and last week the following post drew my attention:
Artistic Afternoons: Look up. (Right now.) What do you see? Write about it. Anam Cara Ministries, November 4, 2015.
I stopped and just looked around me. Looking up I saw the wind chime I made from small bells given to me by a friend and origami peace doves made by another friend, when the window is open and a breeze comes through it rings as I work at my desk. There are books, all of which I’ve read, on a shelf above the window. There is a decorative bird cage which I occasionally use to put in small special items, often my grandchildren. And, hanging on the side of the cage are 2 scarves I was given at an InterPlay session. As I looked at these I realized all of them are part of me, and they connect me to family and friends, present and past, which are part of my life. In each there is the memory of love shared. I am grateful to Anam Cara for giving me a priceless gift of memories.
I was grateful for the being reminded of loving memories I had been too busy to notice. From time to time we all need to be reminded to remember events and people in our past; to remember old hurt and forgive them, or linger on the memories of old friends. Today I offer Anam Cara’s gift to remember, to forgive, and linger over fond memories of gifts past. It is a simple practice of observation and being in the moment. So today “Look up. Maybe look around you. What do you see? Write about it.”
Fall has finally arrived in the Northwest. The trees are shedding their leaves, my garden is clean all ready for winter, and the air has turned cold. The land is preparing to sleep until the earth shifts again and the warm sun returns. I took a walk through Yost Park with the dogs the other day and the air was rich with the scent of wet and rotting leaves. This is a time for animals to prepare for the coming winter when food is scarce and the land is cold and wet.
Fall is also a time for us to slow down, to sit with a cup of warm tea, coffee, or coco and let the seasons turn. A time to pull out the afghans and a good book. It is also a time of reflection. It is a time to remember the joys of spring and summer and the many joyful moments. A time to ask ourselves questions: what have I done this year that will leave it a better place? Have I spent time caring for others, standing up when injustice rears its ugly head? Have I taken care of my own spiritual needs? Have I remembered to stop, recharge and renew myself so that I will have the energy to be present to those in need? This is the time to look back at what I could have done better, and to look forward to how I will improve. It is also a time to reflect on how I have done my best with all I have even if I didn’t achieve all I wanted to; remembering that doing my best was enough.
This week I challenge you to sit down with a warm cup of something, or maybe a glass of wine, and spend some time on your past year. Let the joys and celebrations provide the energy to improve what didn’t go so well. Laugh, cry, and dance your memories of spring and summer. Remember the sun and wind on your face. Look back at your achievements and at what didn’t get done. It is a time to forgive yourself and others. Were you the best you could be? As the summer ended did you leave the earth a better place, did you care for the disadvantage, or do something to respond to the many, way too many, disasters of the last year? Look toward the coming year and ask yourself how can I be someone who cares about mercy, justice, and peace? How can I care for my own spiritual well being? These aren’t easy questions, and they may take many days to reflect on. But it is dark early now, and it’s cold outside so curl up in your lap robe and reflect on who you are.
May the coming days of fall and winter be a time of rest for your spirit and a time to prepare for the next spring and summer.
Genesis 1:1-5:1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.
3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:1-5 is one of my favorite scriptures and I have read, and reread it many times. I can imagine the pleasure God had at that first light because light always gives me pleasure. To see the sun rise in the morning gives me great pleasure. The sky goes from velvety black to a dark blue and the birds begin their morning song. Then the first threads of sunlight break free of the horizon and begin to paint pinks, violets, and rose in the sky. The color increase to oranges, and yellows until the Earth turns just ever so slightly and the first sliver of the bright sun is visible. Now there is a grand chorus of bird song to add to the majesty of the morning. For me that is pure magic.
I grew up on a farm in Ohio and before dawn I went out to feed, cattle and horses. In the dark I would stop and watch for the incredible start to the day. I simply love morning! I love the return of light! At those moments I can understand how ancient peoples came to worship the sun. To them it was magic; they didn’t know about the earth’s rotation, they weren’t even sure that the sun would return. For them the welcome sight of the light of day meant they had survived the time of dark and fear and now there was light and hope.
Light warms our home, Earth and produces the chlorophyll for plants to grow and provide the food for all of us animals, humans included. Light, warm light, life giving life. The very air we breathe is dependent on light and the process of photosynthesis. Our very lives depend on the light that comes from our medium sized star we call the Sun. Without the warmth of the light our planet would be a cold and barren hunk of rock without life. God breathed the breath of life over the waters and that breath was preceded by light.
Now our planet, in its journey around our sun, is tilting it’s northern face once again away from that life giving, warming light and that means shorter days and longer, colder, dark filled nights. Oh I know the darkness has its place. It is a time of rest and renewal for plant and animal alike. And as a person who has lived with the land I know plants and animals need that time of rest, whether it is one short night or the long winter nights. But I am a creature of the day and already I yearn for the warmth of the spring morning when the sun rises with the trumpet of bird song.
On December 21st I will rejoice and offer a prayer of gratitude as the earth once again tilts the northern hemisphere back to the sun. Spring will come again, just as it has every other year. I will watch with growing anticipation the shortening of the night and lengthening of the days. And when that warm spring morning comes the birds and I will be there to welcome the return of the light.
May the light of God and the Universe give you joy this day.