Perfection

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  This morning I found a perfect sand dollar on the beach, whole and unblemished.  Such finds are rare for me, because waves can be brutal and crush the fragile shell.  When we walk on the beach and find a partially fragmented sand dollar, we joke that it’s only worth fifty cents or a quarter, or even a dime, depending upon its crushed condition.  How blessed I am that God doesn’t measure our worth as we jokingly measure sand dollars.  Always He sees us as we would hope to be, whole and unbroken, worth the full amount, forgiven by his mercy and love.  In God’s eyes I am never depreciated in value, no matter how fragmented I may appear.  Dear Father, please help me, I pray, to see the value in all whom I meet—each individual a perfect, unbroken creation.

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Broken BeautyBroken Beauty

Friends came for dinner last night and bought me a piece of handmade jewelry. The pin is formed of overlapping pieces of shell glued to create a design as rhythmical as the surf, as revealing as the sand shore. Different shells capture the light in varying ways, catching and holding, reflecting, or framing a small pearl set in a tiny shell at the pin’s center. Even holes drilled by predators become part of the design. If I had seen these broken pieces of shell on the shore, I would have been blind to their beauty, but in the hands of my talented friend, their loveliness is revealed. Perhaps God’s church is like this pin, broken pieces of shell gathered and amalgamated to form a beautiful whole Each piece, with it own separate gifts combines to form a unified whole, reinforcing where there is weakness, strengthening where there is need, celebrating when there is victory. Even holes, pierced by the pain of living, become part of the design, allowing pieces to come together. Thank you, Lord, for this reminder that our brokenness is perfected in your presence, made beautiful though your touch. Amen.

Controlled BurnControlled Burn

  There is a controlled burn on the mainland.  Acrid smoke hangs heavy in the air; its path covers everything and blurs my vision.  We’re told the burn is necessary because it destroys underbrush that catches fire far too easily, quick fuel for blazes than can then be controlled only with great effort and expense.  I have “underbrush” in my life as well—negative thoughts I’ve let accumulate.  Unless I ‘control burn’  them, they are fuel for fires that destroy my right relationship with God, with others.  They lie on the dry forest floor of my mind, fueled by thoughts that are critical, judgmental, hypercritical.  Only a spark of anger can set them ablaze so easily, but putting them out is difficult.  Please, dear Lord, help me burn away this debris so my relationship with you can be lush, green, and free of destructive negativity.  May the air I breathe, may the breezes that blow through my mind, flow freshly through the breath of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Nothing to Do?Nothing to Do?

 Today as I was standing in line to check out, I heard the woman ahead of me tell the cashier, “This is my first and last trip here; there’s NOTHING to do here!” I was quietly shocked, and then I realized there is little to do here on the island, if ‘doing’ means being entertained.  There are no theaters, bowling alleys or amusement parks, no nightclubs or miniature golf courses.  Only the ocean, the beach, and the sky exist here, each teeming with life and traces of death.  I’m reminded of the phrase, “Be still and know that I am God.” Here there is time and space to be still, to stand before the infinite without the trappings of entertainment, and search within and without for knowledge of God.  I thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to touch your face and receive your message in quiet solitude here, where it is written in large script. Amen.