The newness of prayer

My husband just returned from a trip out west. In Seattle, Washington, he boarded an airplane after 6 a.m. and was in Albany, New York before 6 p.m. Seattle clock time was 3 p.m.

A nine hour trip that took him 3,000 miles. Doug went from sixty degrees Fahrenheit to one degree. From flowering rhododendrons to shimmering frosty trees and three feet of snow on the ground. Kinda funny.

Two hundred years ago, this reality was  not experienced.

Today, people take travel excursions regularly and know to take a winter coat to wear over their shorts and t-shirt when they arrive at their destination.

When we are praying, take this disparity into account. Too often our prayers don’t work, or wander around aimlessly, because we are trying to repeat a prayer that was experienced yesterday. We are only taking into account what the physical senses say now.

Prayer is to experience the glorious ever-expressing God. Prayer is to be prepared for a God expressing more gloriousness, more life, more love, more truth.

I think the Buddhists glimpse the importance of “being quiet” in order to stop the interrupting human mind trying to direct our prayers. “A coat will only make you sweat,” says the human mind.

The Science, or knowledge of Christ, Love is directing our prayers and revealing the newness and beauty and balance we need today. It’s our right to experience the new.

rhododendron_vulcan frost trees snow

Global maple syrup grading system

Here in upstate New York, maple farmers are in the middle of their hectic season. Some farmers tap up to 18,000 maple trees, from which drips sap when the weather warms up during the day. The sap is boiled down to syrup. The farmers are family owned and operated, many selling maple products on the farm.

New York State Maple Weekends are the last two weekends in March, during which the public is invited to the farms, to see firsthand the operation. www.mapleweekend.com

As of January 2015, New York State began grading maple syrup according to a global standard, a move spearheaded by the International Maple Syrup Institute more than ten years ago.

Previously, grading was based on color descriptors and states and provinces had their own grading systems. Now the descriptions grade according to color and taste and all states and countries use the same system.

The new labels are: Grade A Golden; Grade A Amber; Grade Dark; and Grade A Very Dark.

Grade A Golden is identical to what was Grade A light amber. And, the Grade A Dark is virtually what was classified as Grade B. But it’s all still delicious natural pure maple syrup.

It doesn’t surprise me that this “new grading system” could be related to the Bible.

I read in the Bible, historical content showing humanity grading one another. But, in the thousands of years covered in the Bible, there is a noticeable shift fighting for equality. We have a God that loves us all equally.

From I Corinthians

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Tom Kauffman at maple syrup chart cropped

Summer is not surprising us…

Poets have written for centuries about the effect of spring. In year 1922, T.S. Eliot penned:

-April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Summer surprised us…

The Wasteland

Thoughtful poetry aside, I’ve found no one here in upstate New York carrying an element of “surprise” in regard to upcoming warmer weather. More like, “We’re ready, get on with it Mother Nature.”

But people are keeping their spirits up.

We trust nature to turn the tide. Spring and summer can’t be stopped. Interestingly, with the added human inventions of heat and lighting, I also find many people have been very busy during the winter.

Inside projects and renovations are getting accomplished, baking, painting, scanning seed catalogs and ordering plants.

Activity is normal and we learn to balance our physical and spiritual activity, both in the winter and the summer. Although the seasons come and go, God loves us all and we can maintain a sense of purpose and hope.

4_seasons-1600x1200

Maleficent film review

Disney’s film, Maleficent started out with a big clash between the human world and the world of fairies. My first thought was, “This is a movie for children?” I’m not into attacking, fighting, and destruction for children.

But, I hung in there and watched the entire movie. There was a lot of flashing, flying around, spectacular imagination. At the age of sixteen, Maleficent was kissed by what she thought was true love.

Years later, her kisser betrayed her. Maleficent became revengeful and bitter.

When her ex-lover got married and had a baby, they named Aurora, Maleficent put a spell on Aurora, she would prick her finger when she was sixteen and fall into a coma. Yep, Sleeping Beauty.

So, sixteen years goes by and Maleficent’s heart warms up. Her bitterness melts like snow and waters her love for innocence and goodness. She even wants to trust love again.

But, Aurora does prick her finger and fall into a coma. Oh, I forgot to mention that just before her sixteenth birthday, Aurora meets a dashing young prince.

In a coma, Maleficent brings the prince to Aurora, hoping his kiss would awaken her. No such luck.

After the prince was gone, Maleficent stands near Aurora and says, “I’d ask for forgiveness but what I did was unforgiveable.” She then leans over to kiss Aurora on the forehead, and surprise, ha, Aurora wakes up.

I loved the movie.

Yes, why not re-write the Sleeping Beauty tale with a little reality.

Oh sure, I’ve met couples who have truly love one another since they were sixteen, kudos to them, but love is more. Love is great. Love is contrition, patience, forgiveness, humility, and care. Love doesn’t even have to be related by blood.

maleficent2

Prostituting ourselves

Although prostitution is ranked rather low on the scale of suitable employment, there are a couple of times in the Bible when prostitutes themselves ranked high in the work of God.

In the book Joshua, the prostitute, Rahab, saved the spies sent to Jericho to scout out the land before the children of Israel moved in.

I’ve never entered the trade of prostitution in its common definition, however a friend enlightened me to a broader meaning. Prostitution doesn’t only pertain to sex. It can be anytime someone sells their abilities, talents, or time for an unworthy purpose.

This broader meaning causes me to step back and ask myself as a freelance writer, Do I ever sell an article I wrote for an unworthy purpose?

Do I ever sell my time for an unworthy purpose?

Do I sell my talent to speak before a crowd for a selfish or shameful cause?

I don’t particularly want to prostitute myself. I don’t want to spread lame opinions. I don’t want to try to convert someone to a certain lifestyle even if I think its godly.

I want to use my skills for worthy things…like Rahab the harlot did.

“Then [Rahab] let them down by a rope through the window, for her house was built into the city wall, so that she lived in the wall. 16 And she said to them, “Go into the hills, or the pursuers will encounter you, and hide there three days until the pursuers have returned. Then afterward you may go your way.” 17 The men said to her, “We will be guiltless with respect to this oath of yours that you have made us swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household. 19 Then if anyone goes out of the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we shall be guiltless. But if a hand is laid on anyone who is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head. 20 But if you tell this business of ours, then we shall be guiltless with respect to your oath that you have made us swear.” 21 And she said, “According to your words, so be it.” Then she sent them away, and they departed. And she tied the scarlet cord in the window.” Joshua 2:15-21, ESV

Rahab

Exfoliating my mind

While living and working in the desert my skin would get dry. I didn’t think about much other than I purchased jugs of skin lotion and applied the lotion all over my body, every night after a shower.

Somewhere along the line I heard an expert say that dry dead skin is constantly falling off our bodies. The dead skin, however can cling to the body and make it difficult for the skin lotion to be absorbed.

I looked at my skin and found flaky dead skin all over. The dry skin was an impediment. Basically, it blocked the lotion I applied from reaching the skin. I scrubbed harder in the shower to get rid of dead skin. I also applied less and less lotion until I got to the point of rarely needing it.

I think back on this experience from a metaphysical view and can glimpse how thoughts of fear, envy, and anger are dead thoughts. Negative thoughts do me no good. And if I let negativity cling to my mind, they can even stop me from absorbing good (moisturizing) thoughts that come my way.

lotion

Get a divine perspective

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based satellite system that provides location information. My husband has a GPS gadget in his truck to tell us where we are and where we are going when we are in unfamiliar territory.

The GPS system is based on a rather large view of the world, from outer space.

But it still has its limitations.

The other day, a large delivery truck driver was following directions from a GPS and he turned onto a narrow road, in upstate New York. Snow, snow, snow everywhere on the backroad. The poor guy slid and the truck tipped over.

Although out in a rural area, the emergency services were there quickly and no one was hurt thankfully. We can follow the GPS, with its large world view, however the shortest route is not always the best route.

The incident reminded me not to lose track of following divine guidance.

Divine guidance comes from a divine view, seen and heard as I heed intuition. The divine view involves hope, faith, understanding. It’s not afraid to ask for directions from the locals.

“Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.” Ps. 66:5

gps

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers

%d bloggers like this: