Synchronized

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Dolphins Work Together to Hunt Today I watched the dolphins corner a school of fish, leaping in small circles and capturing their prey.  Sea birds circled above them, swooping down for fish that came too close to the surface, enjoying the ‘seconds’  from the dolphins’ hunt.  They seemed to cooperate in a synchronized dance, working together in harmony as if they were one body.  How beautiful it is when Christians work together in the same way, cooperating in the tasks they’ve assumed, deferring to one another, celebrating their united aims.  I regret sometimes this unity seems far away.  Forgive us, Father, when we cause strife and disharmony in your church; help us to work together with one another in Christian love and forgiveness.  May we be part of the Dance of Love you’ve designed for us. Amen.

 

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Fire Alert!Fire Alert!

We desperately need rain on the island. Each day the fire danger increases, and at night I smell wisps of smoke from fires burning on the mainland. Neighbors have bushwhacked their property, hoping to eliminate dry brush before a fire approaches. Warning signs are posted everywhere and the evening news carries reports on fire status. And yet, this morning as I drove to the grocery store, I saw a driver ahead of me toss a lighted cigarette from his car, oblivious of the danger. My first inclination was incredulous anger, but then I wondered about my own behavior. Do I carelessly toss burning embers when I gossip and criticize, when I fail to uplift and support others in their search for faith? Do I fan smoking tinder when I rush to identify others’ weaknesses and feel gleeful at their failures? Do I offer them temptation under the guise of “It’s only a small piece” or “Surely one more won’t hurt”. Am I more concerned about being liked than about being God’s? Am I responsible for human fires that rage in my wake because I have led others into temptation? Forgive me, Father, when I am careless with the lives of others. Please help me control my own behavior and act always with patient, forgiving love. Amen.

Oops!Oops!

I had to laugh this morning. A sand cliff had built up along the water’s edge, and a bird tried to hop to its crest. He was almost at the top when the sand crumbled and he tripped. He turned his head to glance over his shoulder, apparently wondering if I’d seen his clumsiness. How human he looked, hoping no one had noticed! I smiled because the bird was so like me, worried about looking foolish, hoping not to make mistakes, not wanting to appear clumsy or oafish. Sometimes I don’t speak out when I should for fear of looking foolish, sometimes I don’t react as quickly as I ought in a crisis for fear someone will misunderstand, and sometimes I am not honest in what I say for fear of looking ignorant. Forgive me, Father, when I worry more about how I look than about how I act. Help me remember that in you there is no foolishness, only wisdom. Amen.

Sometime SoonSometime Soon

Sometimes I collect an unfamiliar shell on my beach walk to bring home and identify. As I examine the photographs and paragraphs detailing the unique specifics of various shells, I’m overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge. I live on this island permanently, and yet I know so very little about even the most common shells under my feet. Each time I close the shell guide, I promise myself that “sometime soon” I’ll sit down and begin a careful study, but I haven’t yet. My attention is focused somewhere else, and I put the book away. I’m afraid too often I’m like that about my Bible study as well. I live among gifts of God’s grace, encountering examples of love and forgiveness throughout my day’s walk. Like shells, they are abundant wherever I step. Still, I vaguely promise to study in depth the book God has revealed to me “sometime soon” but not quite yet. Father, forgive me please my failure to attend to your word and your wishes. Help me focus more intently on you and the book of revelation you’ve given to all of us. Amen.