I collected a beautiful shell last week, varying shades of peach and lilac, set off with gleaming white. It was a watercolor miniature of an ocean sunset made permanent—or so I thought. This week I re-examined the shell and found faded colors. What were once subtle gradations of color were now merely dun-shaded smears. What had produced this sad transformation? I held the shell under tap water and magically its colors returned, though a bit faded for having dried out. The shell came from the sea and required seawater to preserve its beauty. Away for its natural element it became flat and unremarkable. What is my natural element? When I am too long without contact with God through prayer and reflection, through exposure to his word and worship with fellow Christians, do I lose my Christian colors that make my life beautiful? Can I fade and let the spirit of Christ living within me vanish? Forgive me, Father, when I allow my contact with you to dry up; please help me make time and place for you in my life so your presence reflect in all I think, say, do, and feel. May my colors brightly reflect your love. Amen.

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