Week 2 Day 1: Consider the Lilies
Week 2: My Relationship with God
Wookbook Exercise: My Garden Plot
Watch: Week 2 Day 1: Consider the Lilies
Pick something in God’s creation to “consider” today. What did you notice or observe?
Answer: Click here to write your answer.
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Transcript of Video:
In this phase, we will be exploring our relationship with God. Out of all the elements of creating a Rule of Life this is probably the central part. Jesus came to offer us abundant life and through his teaching, through his life, death and resurrection he has offered us this wonderful way to come home to God, to receive that life, which is his promise to each one of us. And I think in my own experience my own relationship with God deepens in proportion to my own life of prayer. Prayer is the lifeblood. It is the very thing which binds me to God and God to me. And during this phase, we’ll be exploring ways in which we can develop and grow our own life of prayer with God.
I love the way that Jesus, who came to teach us about God and help us to come to know God, didn’t do that through very difficult theological concepts. Jesus preferred to talk about God and about the kingdom of God through very simple images, using the very ordinary things of life, which were so very familiar to his hearers. He would say, “Consider the birds of the air or consider the lilies of the field,” when he was trying to help them not be so anxious or not to worry so much. Don’t worry, consider the birds, consider the lilies. And what I like is that word he uses, ‘consider’. We see the word consider and we assume it just means think of them or just imagine them for a moment. But that word in the original Greek is a very special word and it actually means look at very carefully. Look at it and consider what you are looking at. Spend time looking at those lilies – and what do they say to you? What do they reveal to you about God and about yourself? I think one of the best things we can do, I think, in developing our own life of prayer is practicing simply paying attention. Actually look and consider and spend time looking at something in creation, looking at it and marveling at it, wondering at it, and allowing its deep mystery to come to you and change you and reveal something of a mystery of God the Creator. I think this is a wonderful way of deepening our relationship with God.
And during this phase, we’ll be offering various ideas, reflections, to help you in your own growth in your life of prayer with God. And at the end of the phase, we’ll be encouraging you to gather together some ideas or thoughts, which have come to you, and offer you some tangible ways in which you may incorporate them, so that you may enrich your own life of prayer, and enable you to receive in a new way the abundant life, which is God’s gift to us all.
– Br. Geoffrey Tristram
I considered the rain early this morning, about 15 minutes before sunrise. There was a heavy shower with no wind; the rain drops fell almost perfectly vertically to the earth. Hardly anyone was awake in the neighborhood and all I could hear was the rain drumming upon the earth. I noticed the trees at the perimeter of the lawn, standing still and allowing the rain to saturate their leaves. The leaves were so wet that the excess water cascaded off them. I thought about me, and how often do I stand perfectly still and allow God to shower his love/word/guidance/blessing (etc.) upon me. So often I don’t stand still and receive what God is sending; I am in motion, going somewhere, anxious to do something. The trees had a lesson for me this morning: be still and know that I am God.
Today, May 16, still early spring, I am considering the flowers in our yard around our house, The Daffodils and Narcissus have been in bloom for a couple of weeks already. The leaves on the Lilac bushes are only beginning to grow flower buds barely visible and our beautiful Jumbo Purple Iris have lots of strong, sharp long leaves but not a bud yet. To my dismay, an animal has come into the flower bed and eaten most of the leaves of one Iris clump. That made me feel very sad. But paying attention to these blossoms and how they will bloom in their time makes me think of God’s ways. So very gentle and trust worthy, so many colours and patterns, tender, vulnerable beginnings, yet for over twenty years these flowers have come up at this time of year in their own order. I am awed, I rest in awe in the presence of God.
Rain and muck kept me from going out today so I studied God’s creation indoors. My precious Weimaraner, Champ, was visited by my daughter’s weimie Oslo. Oslo seems to be the alpha male and Champ, although bigger, is afraid of Oslo. He literally shivered from fear when Oslo came around. But he has protected me from perceived danger on three occasions, causing us to buy a $10,000 fence.
He is the sweetest dog but of course we can’t have him biting people.
His love for me is greater than his fear of danger. I can’t comprehend his love for me, actually. This dog would do anything to protect me – I have no doubt. He watched over me while I recuperated from two broken knees and, as a result, is seldom far from my side.
While Champ’s love for me is undeniable and incomprehensible, God’s love for me is infinitely more so. God gave his SON for me. Mind boggling.
God, thank you for being the example of perfect love. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to practice that love here on earth through caring for your creation.
Today I noticed a tree that was cut and yet to me still looked so strong and sturdy and a cross bar like appearance if checked a second time assumes or takes on the shape of a cross, there on the ground. What comes to my mind as I think on it now is the wood of the cross. For me a tree takes on a special meaning of something to hold on to, that can carry my weight- I need God to help me, by taking me along on the path of goodness.
This morning, as I stood outside looking up at the stars, I noticed that the sky had a grey hue about it as the strongest of the stars still looked down on me. Underneath these stars was a series of grey clouds formed in the shape of a hockey stick. It was as if God was wrapping the stars up to put them away for the approaching daylight. As this is happening, ever so gently, a soft breeze floats across my face. To me, this is happiness as I watch God’s creation in action.
This morning, I am aware of the splendid pallette of colors in Creation. The sky is magnificent in the sharpness of its blue hue. Against that, the many different colors of leaves, both those still on the trees and those that have fallen. during the changes of seasons, I think about the necessary changes in life cycles I live through, and the cycles in nature that are necessary for growth. I am grateful that as a child we heard so many parts of the Bible that resonate in my mind. This morning, I hear “How mighty are thy works, oh Lord.” ” The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showerth his handiwork.” “……..Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these (lilies)” When I see how God guides and protects us, even at moments when my thoughts stray from focus on Him, I am grateful.
I considered trees. God created them useful; birds, animals, people live in them. People make boats and houses of their wood. He created them beautiful, different colours, different shapes and sizes. Trees have a hidden life in their roots, and in forests they can actually join together sharing nutrients and water.
In the very beginning Adam and Eve ate from the tree they should not eat from, at immense cost to humanity.
The Son of God was hung on a tree and died, to create a way back to God, by paying our debt.
I have not spent enough time in nature lately. But when I drive my daughter I often point out little miracles we pass each day. I am drawn to a memory of earlier this week when I was driving past a lake on the way home I noticed the lake in the brilliant cold sunshine was covered with whitecaps. It is usually more serene. In considering why this image spoke to me I think it is because I am feeling in turmoil in my life. In a way this is reassuring though as I know just as the lake is usually calmer my life will pass into a calmer period and if I can just enjoy the turbulence as I found beauty in the waves all will come round in the end.
This reminds me of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem – I saw this morning, morning’s minion
dapple-dawn-drawn falcon. I had not thought before that Hopkins was considering the birds of the air.
I was out of the country, and not able to receive WIFI and so, am ‘catching up’ on this Lenten series. Life giving indeed. My houseplants withered while I was away…from lack of attention. I only need to look at them to see that they are thirsty. I wonder the degree to which I notice my own thirst God. When I do not water with attentiveness, the garden of my soul, I show my neediness through parched interactions, wilted energy, dried up, canned responses.
Parched interactions, canned responses. I, too, am familiar with these. You are gifted in expressing these states of being. Your post has made me consider them, and realize my need for God.
Today I considered the wind. It was very strong and closed my boss out on the roof as he was talking with some roofers about a roof leak. It was strong and powerful and slammed the door shut. Then tonight we talked about its power and how it kept us from walking the dog because of its strength. It amazes me that basically a bit of air that is collected together to create a powerful force of nature and how it can be good or bad depending on what it touches.
Forgive me for cheating a bit, but I have to use what I observed in years past. My consideration goes to the beautiful forest that surrounds a hiking trail in the White Mtns; when I was in better shape, I would volunteer to maintain the trail. The shear variety of terrain, flora and fauna I observed in 3-1/2 miles often had me just stop in my tracks, and try to take in the experience of my journey. What was supposed to be a 2hr hike took me almost 4hrs. Beautiful waterways, three varieties of trillium, at least three colors of lady slippers, low-bush blueberries, hemlock, maple, beech and alpine forests, the breezes, and the forest air. I thank God for it all.
I wrote about the frogs singing and forgot to mention that sometimes it takes the water of God’s grace and mercy to quench my dryness and lack of voice during a time of mourning. It took the frogs to help me hear my own heart lighten up again. My soul is singing again along with the frogs.
I am aware that there are finally frogs singing again here
in drought-stricken Southern California. A recent rain
and warmer weather probably enabled this and I am
thrilled to hear them sing, croak, whatever you call what they do. It makes me smile.
I found beauty today in the lovely colors the morning sunlight made through the stained glass windows of my church. It was a lovely and peaceful morning, filled with Lenten sensibilities.
So I am starting out a week late- but today I am and will consider the rain. It is washing away the remnants of winter and God is preparing the ground and providing the moisture for plants that will follow in a few weeks. So on this sunless day, knowing the spring is near since the robins cover the yard, I will put my tomato, pepper and eggplant seeds into the starting soil. These little specs will stir to life and grow into healthy plants with a little care from me. Likewise in the process I will also give care to other aspects of my life.
Walking by the Chattahoochee river, I noticed the strong, old, trees which were on the banks whose roots were drawing on those waters for life. In the same way, I must spread my roots into God’s living water so that I can bear fruit and be strong.
…the 1st warm day of 2016..going outside for my first run, which ive done hundreds of times, but havent seen nature on the bike path since last Fall…bye!
As a city boy, I do not have that much experience with nature as commonly understood; but now I am considering my orange bush, on which the sun has just begun to shine. I “look” at that bush every day but I have rarely “considered” it. I ask God to open my eyes and to help me consider his handiwork in every person I meet and in every object of nature I encounter, and to grant me the gift of wonder.
A wonderful insight into what I have been missing! Although I have considered nature for most of my 75 years, I have failed to consider the beauty of the people we know, and the strangers we meet. More nourishment for my soul. Thanks
I noticed two small black birds sitting on the fence. Just sitting. Not doing. Sitting. Being God’s creation. I want to be more like those birds. please God
Sunlight- it is warm and everywhere and safe and brings a feeling of safety and protection. The dark can be scary, but sitting here in N Cal after a storm, seeing the light and feeling the warmth brings me peace.
Today we had colder weather and last night a storm which made the roads slippery. As I watched the emmence snow fall and saw how it glazed the roads I wondered if I was going to have a problem driving. I could not get over how strong the storm was. What power it had in a short few minutes to change the way for me getting home. It caused me to be grateful for any glimpse of salted road I could find. It made be realize how lucky I was to have a warm car. Safe roads and a safe way home. I cut short any more I had to do to save it for another day. Anything that I though was important before that moment seem very small as I focused on what was in front of me. Just like a feeling of praying for priests and finding a devotional saying the same thing. God is in control. I just don’t realize it sometime and in those moments am reminded of it.
I looked out our bathroom window at the birds flitting around the feeders. Thanks to my wonderful husband, the feeders are always brimming. They are like a good neighborhood coffee shop. Everyone comes to enjoy a bite & talk with friends. These lovely feathered friends teach me patience. I watch how they ‘stage’ themselves to go into the big feeder, each waiting until the ones before are done. Oh, how they love the suet yet there is no fight over primacy, just patience for when a space near the food will emerge. They amaze me. You’d think in this cold time just before the mating season, they’d be trying to beat each out for the first & the last morsels. Unfortunately, that is how I think sometimes. ‘Oh, I better get over to the store so I can get some of that asparagus’. Gotta make sure I’ve got mine! These birds teach me a good lesson each day. There always seems to be enough to go around! I think of our former Rector’s words to approach life from the perspective of abundance. Good words!
Our dog, who recently passed away always seemed to live in the moment she had a rhythm in her humble existence which provided a sense of continuity and to the day. She was always there to offer her simple but calming presence and to humbly receive whatever might be offered to her. Hopeful expectation sometimes, but rarely lingering disappointment No worries about what would come tomorrow. What we could learn from such a simple and humble life.
I considered the tree in my front yard. It’s only February but the weather’s been unseasonably warm (unseasonable in the season of Lent) and the buds are present! Tree buds! How do they know? What tells them it’s time to start the process? The process of growing? I guess it’s the same with me…something “taps me on the shoulder” or “gives me a kick (gently of course)” to get with it.
I watched a flock of blackbirds this morning as I was leaving home and driving to work. These birds had alighted on a neighbor’s front yard and were either feeding or drinking water from a recent rainfall. What impressed me was the beauty of the birds and their symmetry as they stayed together as a flock. This beauty and symmetry reminded me of God’s imprint on nature.
We recently added another bird feeder to the viewing area outside our solarium. This one is a squirrel-proof tube feeder especially designed for the little birds we see most often at our other feeder: nuthatches, titmice, chickadees, and downy woodpeckers, with occasional finches. It’s mounted on a bracket attached to the railing of our second-story deck. The birds fly in from the trees in our back yard and in the woods beyond. The titmice, nuthatches, and woodpeckers grab onto the wire cage that surrounds the tube and proceed (often head-down) to the ports to get the sunflower seeds. The chickadees land on the small wire perches under the feeding ports, as do the finches. The nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers, and titmice are grab-and-fly eaters that pick out seeds and fly away with them into the trees. But the finches sit on the perches for longer periods, as if lost in thought, picking out seeds one after the other before departing. The approach of other birds doesn’t seem to bother them, whereas the grab-and-fly eaters are mostly quite skittish. What I’m observing is the result of millions of years of development resulting in big differences in feeding styles, not only among species, but probably among individuals of the same species (although I haven’t identified individuals well enough yet to see those differences). Yet all are fed from a common source—in this case, our feeder. What does that say about how my species gets fed by God; how God feeds me in particular, despite how my approach to the “feeder” differs from others’; and how, in the economy of creation, all are fed?
At the moment, I am considering the snow outside my window. Of all its properties, the one coming to me the most is how snow insulates the plants slumbering beneath it. Snow cover, despite its cold, acts as a blanket that helps the plants stay safe so they can emerge in a little while to shine their beauty forth again. This happens in our lives, too. Sometimes it can feel as if our lives are frozen in time, trapped under a snow blanket of our own. When that time happens, it helps to consider that spring always follows winter and that the very things immobilizing us for the moment may well be protecting us in some way we do not understand.
This has blanketed me with blessing. Thank you so much for sharing your gentle wisdom.
Peace be with you.
The thing that came into my mind when thinking about this was my retreat time at Mt. Alverin retreat center in Wappinger Falls, NY for winter convocation with the Brothers of BSG. One morning I woke up really early and looked out my window to see deer in the snow. I watched as they just moved around like nothing was going on. I sensed a peace and joy in them which is what I want to find in everything I do but when it comes to my job it doesn’t work out to good.
i’m a little late in writing this but on Sunday the 14th, I visited a lovely family and took them communion. There, I saw the grandmother, suffering from a very sick liver, but overcoming the need for a transplant and glowing in her love of her first grandchild. There, I saw the 6 year old great niece holding her newborn little cousin, embracing her, kissing her, loving her. I also saw the aunt (the six year old’s mother), just four days from giving birth to her second child, a boy. It was such a tremendous place to be, filled with love, anticipation, thankfulness for life and renewed life, and a life to come. What a gift to this growing, loving family. What a beautiful thing to consider.
I love watching birds- those that feed from our feeders and those flying above me or perched in trees and on wires. I wonder what they think of us ever busy humans. They make me slow down and see what’s happening in the world around me – beyond my normal routine.
I have picked a kernel of corn. Holding it in my hand, rolling it with my fingers, I started to think about the parable of the mustard seed. I marvel that the kernel of corn has all the materials to grow into a corn plant and would eventually produce several ears of corn. Then also I think about ” consider the lilies of the field, they do not sew and do not reap….” How marvelous and specific is The God we worship!!
Today I considered the bright sunshine of summer, the falling Eucalyptus leaves, and the heat it was 35 degrees Celsius, then out of nowhere the breeze started and the whole world cooled off, or so it seemed. After such a beautiful day, I thought God was good he always helps, he commands the wind to blow to cool all his people down, because he loves us.
Friends took us in their boat yesterday while we are in Florida with our children and grandchildren. Our friend turned up the speed, other boats sped by and bounced us in their waves, our grandchildren- 8 ad 4– laughed and went with the bounces, a pair of dolphins rose and dived next to us—all dazzling signs of God’s liveliness. But they all went by so fast that each was hard to “consider.” On the way home, we slowed down while passing through mangroves, and I looked and saw a gray ibis, absolutely, perfectly still amid the green. It caught my attention and held it. Thanks be to God.
As I drove in the early morning before dawn yesterday morning, I considered the bare branches of the deciduous trees reaching their limbs skyward. There are dense growing out from the trunk of the tree, and yet they don’t appear to be tangled or twisted. They harmoniously reach for the sky filling out the tree in a beautiful silhouette against the cold, dark morning. They are a piece of God’s artwork, and I give thanks for their beauty bare as they are in the winter. It reminds me of a song, “In God’s time, God makes all things beautiful in God’s time.”
It was hard not to notice the wind today. It was blowing very hard and changing a brilliant sunny day to very cold. I noticed how it whipped the trees around and blew clouds of snow in the air. It made me think of how this invisible force has shaped our world. I once visited the mountains in Utah and it was there I leaned that the giant mountains there originated from winds blowing material from the east coast all the way to Utah. I made me aware of the creative force of God in the world. How patient, how persistent, blowing grains of sands to move and make mountains.
I have noticed how people find such appreciation in winter sun. It has expanded my appreciation too. Thanks everyone.
Today I enjoyed the moon. It was overhead all day and into the night where I live. I am always comforted by the moon, and today was no exception. As I walked into church this morning, as I hiked in the park this afternoon, and as I drove to and from a friend’s house this evening, it sat as a silent and beautiful witness. Not unlike the Holy Spirit — always present, lovely and waiting, unobtrusive, and yet a commanding presence.
I have been watching a hive of wild bees today. I have no idea why these bees picked a hollow limb on a old oak tree in the back yard, but they did. I am intrigued by how busy they seem to be. Yet, I know they only have one thing to do and that is take care of the queen. I think my prayer life is a lot like those bees. I am often so busy I forget to pray. But, my life should be like those bees…I should be busy doing the one thing God needs from me and that is conversation with Him. I will get busy now doing just that!
We’ll check on this – thanks for letting us know
I consider the consolidating beauty of the garden view from this my favourite chair. This is a garden space that has three seasons of growth. Two original fruit trees taken out, two other trees not properly planted that only lasted a short time. And now, having taken careful note of what actually works well here, rejoicing in the daily growth surges of this late summer time in north eastern Victoria Australia. Sure that includes weeds as well as ripening fruits. The chickens do their best. There is more than enough in this small view to ‘consider’ with grateful thanksgiving.
Today I considered a pebble. It was very beautiful, in different shades of brown. On one side it was marbled.
It made me aware of the mystery and beauty of all that God has created. I felt like I was with God and I studied the pebble.
Responding from Bush Australia where summer is slowly moving to (at least this week) hints of a cooler autumn, this land gives different images and answers for Lenten considerations.
My yard offers obvious evidence of a tendency to over-plant, to underestimate how things grow, as flowers and shrubs and herbs and weeds all blossom into one variegated mass of almost over-ripe life waiting for harvest and/or autumnal diminution.
So these over-planted beds might mark my Jerusalem and I guiltily wonder if the lesson is to plant fewer seedlings. Now, from the perspective on mid-February everything is a bit overripe: But, My God, they were lovely this last spring!
I guess there is time to consider these growing questions and still wait for answers to bloom in another season.
The word ‘consider’ to me means recognise, the purity of the flower, the love a dog gives you, the love a parent to a child, the love of God. When I consider these things I feel so humbled, I ask myself how much do I love my dog, child, parents, and God. Can I increase my love for them? Can I love God more than the other things? My answer is I am trying very hard.
I consider my life to be sacred, I have the Holy Spirit in me, I must take care of myself, in order to take care of others, I don’t put myself first by any means, I take care of my mother, my furry children, I must feed them, cook for them, love them, unconditionally, which is sometimes very hard to do, but I am trying, and I know I must not judge. I try my best every day.
i REALLY enjoy these responsive gatherings. One gets to see others’ views/viewpoints and as such they may trigger some memory or realization.
The first person to answer today used the word “mindfulness” or being mindful. To me, those depict more time spent than the word “consider”. It seems that Western society discourages being too mindful of things in God’s beauty (nature) because such consideration is not a means to an end. I find myself being more mindful these days.
I’m thinking again about the winter tree, the one that loses its leaves in the fall and remains bare until buds start up in the spring. I’ve always been fascinated by the appearance of such trees standing out against the sky. You can see the bones of the tree in a way that is totally hidden during the leaf on season, yet it is that structure that supports the tree through all its seasons. A brief study through Google reminded me that, while the tree is dormant, a lot is happening. Nutrients produced in the leaves are drawn into the stems and branches as the leaves lose their green, and then transported through the rest of the tree. The tree itself is protected from disease that could enter through the moisture in the leaves during freezing temps, if the leaves didn’t fall off. And of course a lot is happening below the ground during the dormant state. Energy not needed for the leaves goes instead to produce healing and growth in the root system. All of these things I can see happening during dormant times in my spiritual life, times when I feel like that tree that looks so bare and almost dead, but that is actually being supported and strengthened. Spring will come.
My original post was going to be about the cold winter’s day walk my wife and I took early this afternoon. It was about 20 degrees, but the sun was shining brightly on the sea of white snow; in dazzling contrast to the deep blue sky above. This, plus the birds were abundant, calling, scolding, and flitting happily about. They seemed very confident that spring is on its way, and we were happy, and I thanked God for the beauty of the moment.
Now this evening I discover that I’ve had the good fortune to click onto this page before it had a lot of answers, so I took the time to read all of the posts above. And I observed that many of us are kindred … loving nature, loving life, enjoying a winter’s day. And considering this for a while makes me smile very deeply inside, and thankful for the opportunity to share the simple warmth of companionship on a cold day with some good folks whom I’ve never met.
That’s lovely. Thank you!
thank you stan, I feel the same way. ~Darby
…use to sprouting my garden seeds and as i type my garden is sprouting in my window…
…for a long time i’ve considered how seeds sprout in dirt
and darkness…and it is the crushed flower or dried up basil leaves that produce the seeds
I am looking at gently falling snow. It is simple and pure and fills the air outside. I pray to be able to abide more fully just like the fullness of the snowflakes.
As I went out to pick up my mail yesterday and heard the crows cawing as usual. Then I suddenly realized that I also heard a songbird singing!! They’re returning to my area (the southwest) already, a sign that Spring is on the way. In another couple of months, the hummingbirds will be back! The birds are all returning in their appointed times!! And I can savor each ones’ return!!
I can see a woodpecker at the birdfeeder, one of God’s magnificent creations. The sun has returned from behind the clouds and the afternoon is beautiful.
I considered my beloved and aged Labrador, Sky, and wondered at his marvelousness; the perfect beauty of the body that has served him well, his complete acceptance of the present moment, the purity of the love he gives.
I had a geranium in the garage…left over from the summer…the garage was cold and this poor plant was struggling…some green left but not much.. I brought it inside..trimmed it, turned over the earth and watered it….we shall see!!!!
Considering my own impatience as I experience miscommunication with a friend, waiting on her one Sunday afternoon, at her home…I will ponder the word “consider” and consider a red cardinal who looked at me. It’s a cloudy, wintry day and the tree-lined creek by her house is sits in front of my car window with seemingly dead trees and bushes.. adding to the on this dreary Valentine’s day, two years since my sweetheart husband died. Then, two pairs of cardinals fly into one tall bush, leaving one beautiful red one who stayed behind to look at me. I considered him to be a red valentine for me this day! Then, I considered how brightly and beautifully he stood out amongst the blah of the boggy, bleak landscape, and I considered him like a Christian, standing out vibrant against the landscape of the world. He was still, as he considered me, and I was still as I considered him! Then, all of a sudden, his partner/mate and the other couple of cardinals came to get him, so he could go back to their fellowship and community. I considered the cardinal today! He was bright and beautiful, still and wonderful, alone and yet together, singing and then quiet, moving from one encounter to the next….I am glad to have had the time today to consider the cardinal! Oh, here comes my friend!
I enjoyed the disparity between seeing the green, leafy trees through the window beyond Brother Geoffrey, hearing birdsong – and the cold wintry day outside my window! I consider the beautiful white covering of snow, happily beneath a sunny, clear blue sky today. Beneath the snow, the ground hibernates, grateful for the frosty yet insulating quilt above, gathering strength for its upcoming season of productivity. To everything there is a season.
My first consideration once out of the warmth of bed and of the touch of a loved one next to me is of the sunrise to which my usual response is “Wow.” A bit later the birds at our feeders as well as our “home cat” speak to me of a loving response to our God as they sing in various tones: “all we have to offer you is thanks,”
A large grey dove is sitting on my balcony, and it reminded me of the Holy Spirit like a dove, descending upon Jesus at his baptism and the words that were spoken This is my beloved son, and I feel blessed/
Today I was struck by this. I live where it’s bitterly cold in the winter so when I take my tiny 5 lb dog outside to use the bathroom it’s not exactly my favorite thing to do in the world . Today it was zero out but by some miracle the sun was shining brightly! When I had him out my face was warmed instantly & I felt so happy. I could interpret it very simply & observe that when I’m cold God provides warmth, but on a more deep level, I can find God again when I feel lost, alone & cold. If we really LOOK he is everywhere and that’s what fills me with hope & faith.
Today one can’t help to consider the extreme cold contrasting the bright sun light. There is little warmth in that sun light today as the cold has gripped the earth. But the light of the sun is bright and reflecting off the snow blinds us with light, with hope and with love which the cold cannot destroy. My prayers go out to those who are without heat and feel only the pain of the extreme cold. May God’s love warm their spirits and raise them up.
A cold virus is worth considering. It’s certainly screaming for attention right now. My thoughts often turn to the fruitless trees of the Gospels. The one whose caretaker begged to give special treatment for a year. The one that Jesus cursed. Perhaps others. John’s vine dresser can be considered in the same vein. The fruitless seedlings of the sower.
What have I in my own outdoors to consider? That I can’t grow decent grass, despite occasional years of special treatment. Naive and inadequate, indeed. I could call in a lawn service. But I want a lawn that survives neglect. Like my parent’s Zoysia. Alas, too much shade were I am. Surviving neglect is pretty much how I want everything in my life. Rewarding industry is another desire. Inspiring industry might be a more Gospel approach. I do many things without reward. But I thrive on the doing, not on the outcome. Maybe that’s more a Tao approach than a Gospel one. I don’t particularly thrive on not-doing, but not-doing is so frequent and natural, I hate to be in a world where not-doing tends toward chaos and ruin. A gracious world survives neglect — might even thrive on the same. My lawn is not gracious.
I write this morning from Portland Oregon. This morning,as many mornings in February, a light intermittent rain is falling. It is impossible for me to miss the significance of rain in God’s creation. A drop of water, taken by itself, seems insignificant. That drop of water, by itself or in combination with other drops, nourishes and forms elements of creation. It is far from insignificant. Not enough drops and we die. Too many drops and we die. The drops fall to us pure. In the time they spend on earth they can remain pure or become polluted and dangerous. The lessons included in a drop of water, the rain, and their applicability to us seems inexhaustible, pretty much like the rain in Portland today.
I am considering the extreme cold we are experiencing this weekend. My feet, hands, nose and cheeks hurts when exposed to the air. The horrible sound of the car turning over as it is started. Seeing people’s breath in the air. The welcoming warmth when entering our house. There is a comfort in wearing a bulky sweater and thick socks. There is also a special feeling being next to someone under the covers at night, snuggling, feeling the heat from their body. These are all gifts from God.
Today I choose to consider the warmth and light of the sun… Today is the coldest day of the year to date.. Minus 11 at my home in voluntown yet I feel the Suns warmth through the window and note it’s shining… The sun is truly present… Tomorrow we expect snow and probably won’t see the sun but I know it will be there bright and warm supporting life.
There is 18F outside, very cold for my spot in NC. As I went for our morning walk with my dogs, I touched the bird feeder and it is empty again. It had been cold for last few days and birds are gathering around feeders in incredible amounts. The birds are not in the sight at the moment, but I hear few chirps, little talks and some are for me, that is why I know to check the feeder. I replenish the food and now am “considering” the activities around the feeder. There are few gorgeous cardinals (and few of their less colorful females); few blue jays; large red-headed woodpecker; a couple that I see everyday that for sure is a family of dove, but not sure what exactly they are – smaller that a white dove and of a tan color, maybe quail dove; multitude of finches – different colors and sizes (the smallest ones are barely bigger than hummingbirds); some other birds I don’t know. About 50 birds of sizes from very small to large of different colors and different flying stiles are feeding at the same time and the traffic around the feeder and on the ground is working in an impressively efficient way. The feeling is not of business but of harmony. How do they establish the rules of cooperation? Instead of arguing who eats from the feeder or from the ground and pushing each other, they just focus on the task – pick that sunflower seed. I smile and gratefully take my message of the day: focus on the purpose and walk towards that direction. Be aware of stepping stones and obstacles, deal with whatever day brings, but focus on the goal. Remember that others around you are here to pursue their goals – let them, be happy for them, don’t get on the way.
To me consider involves observation and not just a quick glance. As a lover of nature I enjoy birds, the chipmunks under the feeders and my beloved dogs. Birds always seem to know when extra food is provided for them in anticipation of the bad weather predicted in the next few days. The chipmunks are so cute, scurrying around and my dogs seem so in tune with what’s happening, living in the moment. None of these worry about what has happened in the past or what the future holds. Let’s enjoy the here and now.
To accept that life goes on, creation will be here for future generations of us to witness.
I am looking out the window from my desk. I am looking at a tall pine tree with an extraordinarily thick trunk, dotted with patches of pale green lichen in a seemingly random pattern, some patches large and thick and others smaller and less dense. The trunk is patterned throughout with lozenge-shaped declivities, which I image are the tree’s stretch marks from its inexorable increase in heft. I never really thought about this before. There are a few knobby points emerging from the lower half of the tree, where branches have grown and subsequently fallen off. I am on the second floor, yet still not high enough to see where the branches that still flourish are attached to the trunk. I do see one bough hanging down, gently bobbing up and down in the wind. What I often notice about trees is that they offer no resistance to the wind, other than the natural resistances that shape, location, gravity provide–situational resistances. Even when I do the baby pose of yoga I am not fully relaxed. If I relax my legs, my shoulders are tense. If I relax my shoulders, the lower half of my body stiffens. At the edged of parts of the trunk I see little green furry tufts sticking out–perhaps a different kind of lichen. I am imagining how soft they are to the touch.
Much of the time, all this considering leaves me breathlessly searching around for a place to begin. Maybe God is trying to point something out to me with my hestitation and lack of confidence but for some reason it eludes me
This morning as I read this it is -10 degrees outside and I can see the wind whipping the branches of the trees outside my kitchen window. The trees do not fight or rage against this terrible weather. They accept it and wait patiently, trusting that the spring is coming.
As I look out my window in the dawn of a new day, I see the tangle of dark tree branches against a beautiful pink and orange sunrise. My soul feels Gods’ Presence. It never fails to stun me.
On those few mornings when the sky is so black,the trees are almost invisible , I have a glimpse of what my life would look like without God, but soon remember He is with me in the dark as well as the light.
Very beautiful put.
Consider Lucifur and Gabriel, my noble labs.
Lucifur’s is on guard. He growls at any distant threat. He sits looking out the window, focused on the area he sees at risk, where he’s seen threats before. Looking for turkeys, deer, coyotes, any movement that he doesn’t approve.
Gabriel lies at my side; my hand is on him. He pops up when I move my hand to type. Where is my attention? Why isn’t it where it should be, on him? What is distracting me from what should be my primary focus? So now I am typing with one hand, the other on him.
Now they’ve had a treat and are outside. And here comes the barking. Maybe that’s for teaching me patience.
Consider Lucifur and Gabriel. They are not my kin nor even my species. Yet they protect me and seek my attention and seem to love me. So, perchance, God’s protection and love, which is not motivated by need for our protection or our worship or our obedience but comes patiently and non-judgmentally, irrespective of our impatience, ingratitude and distraction. It is just there. Or, in the case of God, who is not visible to our eye, we pray that it is there, we hope that it is there, we conceive it to be there.
Beautifully said. Thank you
Considering with God in-spiring me seems akin to recollection. In two motions I think of God in all things AND all things in God. Otherwise I’m considering things just for my own use. St. Augustine urged us to love what God loves and I want that way of relating to creation.
I really like this “consideration” of the word: consider. Strikes me as being like “mindfulness” which I use in my yoga practice. For me to consider something is to be deeply present with something or someone. Prayer for me is to be deeply present with God, to consider my relationship with God.
Today I went fishing in my addled for someways in which I have been considering God in my life.
My thoughts exactly Randy — although I reached that conclusion from my tai-chi practice, which has many similarities to yoga, particularly the “chi kung” exercises. I was on an overnight camp-out with my husband & son over the weekend in Central TX, and was awestruck yet again at how many more stars one can see away from the city. Even with the moon almost halfway to full, there was such an incredible abundance I had to stop, every so often, and admire a new cluster I had previously overlooked. The second thing I noticed was that the moon itself was casting shadows, so that on our evening hike we were treading over the silhouettes of tree branches. Later my husband told me that he got up after moonset, and had to look over his shoulder because the morning star was shining so brightly.
Consider the beauty of God’s created lights — that guide your way so that you can walk, even in the dark — and have been doing so for millions of years.