Lifting hearts to God in thanks and praise.

Posts tagged ‘resurrection’

Stand Forever

A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.

Isaiah 40:6-8

I wake up sometimes and ask God, what shall I write? Lately this verse has been coming to mind. I’m a bit strange, I suppose, in always having liked this image, that people are like grass. It is God’s image, and oddly enough, I find comfort in it. Why?

Grass is beautiful. A field of grass, with perhaps wildflowers in it, is alive. It responds to the breeze, and invites us to wander in it, to pick the flowers, to imagine cattle feeding. I drive through hills that most of the year look pretty brown (the cows still eat the brown) but currently are green for a few months. The rains came late this year, and when the hills finally did get the rain they needed, it was such a joy to drive between them on my way to work or church.

Grass is a non-count noun. It’s plural in its concept so that to count it you need to add the word blade (a blade of grass) and people are so plural to God. He gives us a reframing perspective here: you aren’t alone. You are part of the mass of humanity, and taken as a whole it’s a fleeting mass. But as a whole it works together, sustains a field by its presence.

Grass is responsive to the wind. “The wind blows over it and it is gone, and its placeĀ  knows it no more,” another passage (Ps. 103:16) says of the flowers of the field. The image of the wind bending the grass, blowing away the dandelion puff perhaps, is bittersweet when linked to the length of life. But we know seed is spread by the wind. Wind is the Spirit of God in biblical metaphors, and this leads me to a favorite verse about the Spirit: John 3:8, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Responding to the wind in this verse carries the idea of obeying and not fully comprehending…following where led by God. Yes, responding includes following into death. But always the grass metaphors end positively.

Unlike grass, the Word of the Lord stands forever. The passage in Psalm 103 follows with “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” Lives are short here on earth, but God’s word is eternal. His word is his everlasting love given in covenant and commandment, and is full of the grace of forgiveness and restoration. Peter, when quoting our Isaiah passage in I Peter 1:24&25, ends, “And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” The good news preached is the final Word of God: Jesus. This week we celebrate his grassy life: his beautiful love, his life among men, his responsiveness to the Father even unto death, and his standing forever.

The Word of God will last, because he who knows our lives to be short, although beautiful, communal, and responsive has promised that it will stand forever. If the Word of God will stand forever, he’s what we need to tie our lives to, his the wind to turn us, to lift and transplant us, to receive our seeds, and in the end, to carry us home.

All thanks and praise to God!

Resurrection takes Love

This blog has been sleeping for a while, and I’ve been doing other things: Facebook, teaching Eng-002 (Composition) at Westmont College, directing the Villette Musical that Ravinia wrote in 2016 and a group of her friends performed in May 2017, and taking an RV trip across America (dreams come true).

But the theme of this blog: Lifting Hearts to God in Thanks and Praise, that’s always timely, and the freedom of content here beckons me once again. I have some writing projects in mind for 2018, and so I thought, I should resurrect Highheartedly.

It turns out resurrecting a blog is a big deal to me. I spent the month of February not doing it! Many good things happened in February that could have been written about, pictured, reflected on…and the month of Love went by. “What I learned in February” comes out tomorrow on some of the blogs I read, and on this last day of the month I am thankful for the whole month, the building up of love, the work of God behind the scenes and holding me so that I can come back to this quiet place on the internet and write again.

It wasn’t enough to write about Amy’s visit and our Saturday jaunt to the beach where we were blessed to see whales and be reminded how nature soothes our souls.

It wasn’t enough to write about how I was getting to preach a sermon on Sunday and how nervousness made me speak faster than I should have, but how people responded and Ravinia’s eyes glowed…but how while there is not unity on this issue I do not personally wish to become a female pastor.

It wasn’t enough to write about my mom’s birthday, the 11th since she died.

It wasn’t enough to write about how Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday coincided and we ate a marvelous meal on Mardi Gras and had two Valentine’s parties before an evening Ash Wednesday service for which I am grateful. The season of Epiphany was 40 days this year, making a satisfying similarity to Lent in the church calendar.

It wasn’t enough to write about lunch at Jeannine’s on Coast Village Road and how we returned there, finally, after the fire and the mudslide damage to be greeted by the hostess who offered me a slice of birthday cake which we’d missed in December.

It wasn’t enough to write about going to see The Crucible at the PCPA last Wednesday and getting to be interviewed afterwards, feeling vulnerable as we walked away but then relieved when we saw the video on Facebook and how the editing was well done.

It wasn’t enough to write about the Winter Ball that got delayed to February 24 (so now what theme will it have?) and my uncertainties and fears and ineptitude but God’s provision and reassurance both from people who came and helped and enjoyed the time, and from the remembrance that this is a gift I am giving to my daughter who asked for a ball, and the money I spent was certainly within the gift budget, after all!

It wasn’t enough to write about Dad’s decline in Parkinson’s related issues and my need to step up nursing him: attentiveness, almost bullying him into taking a shower after all…and God’s grace in an upswing for Dad’s condition and an upswing in family relationships too.

But all these things together are enough. In all these things, God is to be thanked and praised.

So here I am again, loving God and loving the people he gives me.

All thanks and praise to God!