Published by The American Tract Society, this copy is 150 years old and was probably used by Sunday School teachers. The handwritten note inside says “Hickory Grove, SSL No 179, 1871.” Grace Abbott or The Sunday Tea-Party is the story of young Grace trying to keep Sunday special and devoted to God. It’s hard to do, though, with the tea parties and the mean girls tempting Grace to put aside what she learned about the Sabbath. In the end, Grace does prevail!
A friend and fellow church member, artist Susan Savage depicts her Christian faith through paintings. Earlier this month, Susan presented this stunning oil-on-canvas painting, titled Delivered, to our church, where it now graces a wall in the prayer room.
Excerpts from her statement about the painting:
A shiny silver vessel sits triumphantly atop a nest of sharply pointed thorns. A red ribbon weaves its way through the torturous thicket and pours itself out behind a draped white cloth. The material substance of the silver vessel, delivered from its own refining fire of tribulation, stands as a testament to what Jesus Christ endured on the cross, and serves as a reminder of His loving and redemptive sacrifice for humankind.
This painting exemplifies the foundational core of the Christian faith. It is a reminder that Christ died in our place to rescue us from our sins. He died that we may live. Because of his sacrifice on the cross, His shed blood, and His resurrection from the grave, those who believe in Him are given victory over physical death.
"But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together in Christ. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing: It is the gift of God ..." (Ephesians 2:4,5,8)
Visit her website to see more of her extraordinary paintings.
Most of the time my dreams are made up of disconnected scenes that don’t make sense and weird, sometimes scary, situations. I usually wake up and (1) am thankful that it was just a dream, and (2) wonder about those people in my dream whom I’ve never met. Fascinating. This dream “stars” my brother and me, and is another quirky one. This time, though, most of it had a meaning that was clear and wonderful to me.
The car would not start, and they were in the middle of a street that was full of men and women walking in all directions.Continue reading
Written for a friend in despair
It is amazing to me,
a wondrous endeavor.
Think of the butterfly:
Its plain beginnings,
its ragged shell,
its captured wings.
Has it gone unheard?
The lilies and the sparrows know:
He cares with a cupped hand.
He stoops down with a lift
as sure as the first Day.
He was, He is,
live your struggle while fixed to Him,
a holy silk.
We do not want,
should not expect,
and will never have
All we want is for them
to make their God-given responsibilities a priority:
to teach, guide,
protect, provide for,
and love in His ways
the children He has given to them.
I do not think that is too much for a child to ask.
I do think that is too much for a father to carry
on his own.
God’s plan is a wife; she, his treasured helper.
But the great submission of man
is to yield to and depend on
the Heavenly Father.
A father will never be perfect,
but he can look to the One who is.
Too often, a father will finally bend
when the sweat of death lies on his brow.
I saw my father’s release at that divine exchange:
too late for a child
but a gift tearfully received
by a long-suffering me.
We don’t want perfect fathers.
We only want them.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(Father’s Day is celebrated in the United States every year on the third Sunday of June.)
I am working to turn this poem I wrote into a song:
no offending color
All the same
All that matters
It’s the beating of the heart
the working of the brain
the moving of the blood
All the same, all the same
It’s the Spirit of God
it’s the soul that remains
tell your brother that you love him
give your sister her place
And a very good Day
when the Lord comes down
and He carries it away
He’ll bring His color
and nothing else will remain
All the same
All that matters
Throughout Spring 2020, I was too concerned about COVID and my health to walk into the local gardening center. I ached for the day when I could roam the crowded and too narrow aisles once more. Never again would I complain about the long lines. And when I finally did go in for my Spring shopping spree a few months ago, I didn’t have a single thought of discontent. Though no one could tell, I was smiling behind my mask as I swiped my card through the machine because I purchased more items than were on my list, as usual.
Gardening is my special pleasure.Continue reading