Today at church I found the following story in the bulletin. It seems to be all over the internet on inspirational blogs etc. and so maybe me writing about it is overkill, but it really struck me when I read it so bear with me. The story goes…
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.” Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:
1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
7. China’s Great Wall
While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.
The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”
The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”
The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the ‘Seven Wonders of the World are:
1. to see
2. to hear
3. to feel
4. to taste
5. to smell
6. to laugh
7. to love and…
The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous! A gentle reminder – that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.
At this time of year we become particularly in tune with those wonders the girl listed. As we step out our doors we breathe in deep breaths of fresh air and smell that unique spring mixture of thawing soil, manure, and things beginning to grow. We are greeted by sights of receding snow, birds in the trees, and the budding of bulbs and grass. More important than seeing them, we hear the birds, the spring peepers, the sounds of children out playing in the yard and speeding by on bikes. We feel the amazing touch of the sun on our faces sometimes with a hint of breeze. We touch, perhaps holding hands with someone for the first time or the first time in a while. We enjoy the taste of fresh maple syrup and look forward to tasting fiddle-heads and other local produce. We are so much more likely to laugh at this time of year as our hearts lighten after the long winter. Most importantly, we love!
May your love reach out to all you meet in the coming days so that they may also recognize the 7 Wonders of God’s World!
– Quoted here from http://kanika-sweetzz.blogspot.ca/2013/03/seven-wonders-of-world-inspirational.html#sthash.WSRyFtA0.dpu
Father God, you sent your son into the world, not to condemn the world but so that the world may be saved. We thank you for this good news, the center of our faith. We thank you for the freedom to meet here to worship you.
Jesus, life of all the world, source and sum of all creation, we give you thanks and praise for your work in this broken world. Where there is hatred and devastation, even there we see signs of the new world to come. We see pockets of beauty amidst devastation; hear of miraculous escapes from certain death. We see people giving of what little they have to help others. We see people risking their lives to fight against tyranny and even natural disasters as they work to put out fires, hold back floods. We pray that we may continue to see signs of this hope in all the coverage of despair. We pray that you strengthen us to be, in some small way, one of those agents of hope to others.
Jesus, living word we give thanks that you who know our every need, give us life. We give you thanks for all the seemingly ordinary ways in which you bless us every day; for waking up each morning with a whole new day to explore, for our jobs, for an unexpected smile, for chances to get together with friends and loved ones, for the signs of spring after a long winter. We pray that you may help us to be more aware of what we have than what we lack, and give us the strength we need to hold out that focus of hope to those who may have lost sight of spring. While despair can be contagious, so can hope be contagious. Help us to hold on to our hope and spread to those we meet in our daily lives.
We thank you for the freedom, gladness, and truth which allow us to let go of our fears and guilt. Help us to remember that, through Jesus, we have already been forgiven. Help us to forgive ourselves, to let go of all those feelings of not being worthy, of failure, and bask in the freedom that brings. Help us also to extend this forgiveness to anyone who has hurt us or wronged us in any way. Make us open to all people, even those we might normally avoid.
Jesus, life of all the world, you are Lord of every nation; by your Holy Spirit’s power make your Church your incarnation till our lives of truth and grace show our world your human face! Amen
this prayer uses parts of Margaret Clarkson’s hymn Jesus, life of all the world which can be found at 776 in the Book of Praise of the Presbyterian Church in Canada
The days are getting longer, the sun stronger, and the snow is lasting for a shorter time. These are sure signs of spring, of rebirth of our natural world. The reawakening of mother earth. Along with this people’s spirits are lifting and thoughts and dreams are focused more on the short summer (in Canada anyway) which is on the horizon.
This brightening can be seen in the church as well. Sure, we are still in Lent for our worship services, but at choir practices and planning meetings the focus has moved on the joyous celebration which is coming in a mere 23 days! We are still practising our hymns for Lenten services but now the end part of practise is focused on the cheering crowd of Palm Sunday and the weeks of celebration which begin on Easter morning.
So, hang in there! Easter, rejoicing, and spring are coming!!
There are many signs of spring. The first robin, flowers like the crocus, tulip, and dafodil, rain showers, floods and my personal favourite…the lullaby of the spring peepers. A single peeper, which is around the length of a paper clip, wouldn’t make much sound. But in the spring whole choruses of these tiny amphibians sing out in the evenings. The best part of where I live is that on spring evenings with the bedroom window open this amazing chorus helps me to get to sleep. You can even buy cds or download MP3 files of their song to help with relaxation and sleep.
Most of us are like the little peepers. We aren’t big and flashy and not really noticable, and peeping on our own we wouldn’t get much attention. But when we join a chorus we can be hard to ignore. Think of some of the instances in which this is the case; choirs, election results, petitions, walks/runs for causes, global campaigns like 350.org, disaster relief responses.
What could be better than working together towards common goals? Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’’
thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/zwww/3308599368/ for the photo
thanks to http://soundbible.com/249-Peeper-Frogs-Near-Lake.html for the sound file.
It happened yesterday. I was tidying the living room because guests were coming. I was on a roll until I uncovered the gardening books my parents recently gave me. I easily set aside the one on perennials, but ended up totally distracted by the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada. With pictures of fresh asparagus, apples,peppers, tomatoes etc. on the cover I was hooked.
For those of you in warmer climes I think I should mention that this morning as I look out my window I see my neighbours headed up the street with their cross-country skis, the snow bank at the end of our driveway makes it impossible to see if cars are coming before backing out, and the cold breeze is quite unpleasant.
I spent some time on the page that gave a list of which vegetables to plant at what time in the season in order to have all the vegetables a family of four need for the summer. For some things you need to replant a number of times and others just once will do.
How is it possible that people with yards under several feet of snow can be making plans in February for their gardens? No matter how deep the winter, we know that spring will come!
In the same way, as Christians, we know that the Kingdom of God is coming. It is just as hard to tell by looking at it as if it were under those feet of snow, but our faith has us looking and working towards its guaranteed coming. So we move forward with visions of peace and justice dancing in our heads.
Posted in Faith, Reflections
Tagged faith, garden, God, justice, Kingdom of God, peace, planning, promise, Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada, seed, spring, vegetables