Growing Anew

Sometimes I see a live starfish on the beach that has lost one of its arms, perhaps in a skirmish, perhaps because of a fishing hook. A biological station nearby on the mainland is attempting to discover how starfish are able to reproduce missing appendages; what triggers in them the ability to generate nerve tissue so the new limb has full feeling? Obviously the research is vital for humans as well, since we lack the capacity to regrow arms and legs that have been amputated. When I see a starfish with a budding limb, newly forming, I appreciate the small miracle before me. But there are greater miracles than these, my faith tells me. Because of my deliberate refusal to obey God, to accept his role in my life, to live as He demands, I inhabit a body corrupted by sin. And yet, through God’s grace, I am continually reformed, reshaped, and reanimated, able to grow from a sinful past into a perfected state. I thank you, Lord, that you allow me to regrow my spirit and my faith, deepening, extending, and regenerating in me your presence and your grace. Amen.

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Sharing the IslandSharing the Island

   I began my walk this morning when a neighbor waved to me.  She is going through a very difficult time; she confessed that her life seems without value and meaning.  As we walked and talked, I could feel her despair and pain.  It would be wonderful to think my words or my company “cured” her, but I know that’s not the case.  The causes of her difficulties, the problems themselves, still exist.  However, I do believe that God can use a simple, random meeting for His good.  What may seem random can be purposeful, intentional in God’s plan.  In an email later that afternoon, my friend talked about our shared time.  She walked on feeling less alone, feeling she had shared pain but experienced a healing, feeling God’s touch upon her, even during a quiet walk.  Each of us is on a walk, O Lord, a walk that sometimes is slowed by pain, by grief, by doubts.  Help us find your chosen companions on these walks, and help us to be just such a companion to others.

Safe HarborSafe Harbor

 I saw a photograph of the island taken from a plane.  How tiny it looks!  The beach is a white ribbon, the trees a narrow band of green dotted with homes, and the bay beach another narrow band of white.  All of it surrounded by water—waves rolling in with tiny flumes of foam visible in the picture.  I felt small and inconsequential, threatened by the vastness of the sea and those waves that bite at the land.  Then I realized all life is lived as an island in a sea; there is so much in our lives we can’t control, and so we try to keep our island safe and secure.  I think of all the hymns that speak of God as a refuge in storms, a haven when the waves of tragedy or despair or death roll over us.  Thank you, Lord, for being my security; no matter how the waves may wash over the island, you reach out your hand to me from the heights of Heaven.  I need have no fear for you are my safe harbor. Amen.

A Breeze’s TouchA Breeze’s Touch

As I write this, seated alone in my room, a breeze plays over me from the open window. It isn’t a continual presence, but small puffs, gusts, and eddies that cool me. The breeze is scented with pine resin, with flowers that bloom on the porch, with the thickness of warm bay water under a hot sun, and with the salty scent of the sea. Papers stir on my desk, the curtains shift and bump against the screen, and I am stroked and touched by this gentle wind, my hair lifted and rearranged. How like God’s love is this breeze, surrounding me, cooling me, making me aware of its presence in the most gentle and loving fashion. I am fully aware, however, that the wind may disappear or may turn treacherous and destructive, but God’s love will always be there for me, bathing me in forgiveness for my sins, encouraging me in loving acts, and touching me with love holier than I could ever deserve. Thank you, Lord, for the breezes in my life. May their touch help remind me of your continual presence and love. Amen.