2023-02-02 10:53:56

2023-02-02 10:53:56

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Changing ShapeChanging Shape

I pick up a handful of white sand on the beach, and let its grains drift through my fingers.  This coarse sand, with its impurities removed, is the source of glass.  On the island of Murano, in the Venetian lagoon, glass factories take sand like this, melt it in furnaces, and transform the sand into beautiful glass, glass of transparency and grace, glass molded or blown into exquisite shapes not possible when it existed as sand.  The secret is the firing; incredible heat must break down the sand so it can be remade, modeled into works of beauty and usefulness.  I wonder about those periods in my own life when I am in the furnace of crisis, when troubles and doubts consume me and I feel my strength and my faith melting.  I pray, Lord, that in those times you will remind me you are in control, that I will emerge as your work of art, both beautiful and useful in your service.  May I, like humble sand, become your shining creation. Amen.

Our GiftsOur Gifts

The weather warmed up again today, and I was able to sit on the back porch, not really reading, but letting a book lie face down in my lap. Among the afternoons sounds I heard was a woodpecker stubbornly knocking at a tree. The repeated hollow clackings echoed in the air, creating its own staccato music. I wonder how the bird’s head can withstand the repeated poundings it receives without damage. Dead pine branches and trunks are riddled with the holes they bore into the wood, searching for insects and larvae. God gave them a peculiar gift, protecting their brains despite the impact of beak on solid wood. As I look at the animal world that exists on the island, it’s obvious each has a special gift, a method of dealing with the environment and flourishing. I believe the same is true of humans; each of us has a gift given by God, intended for his use in his service. Sometimes the gifts are obvious—a beautiful voice, skilled hands, musical talent, teaching ability, and so on, but sometimes the gifts are less obvious. Hands that help set up chairs for a church dinner, feet that walk to visit an ailing neighbor, ears that hear the cries of the needy, fingers that pick flowers to carry to someone who’s lonely or depressed. Please, Lord, help me find my own gifts, encourage the gifts in others, and understand that we are all loved equally. Amen.