Monday, 15 October 2018

Meditations

  "Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and the burden I give you is light." Mathew 11:28-30 (JCB)

  I have homework this week. Yes, my church gives us homework in keeping with the fundamental belief that faith, Jesus, is an every day partner and not just reserved for a Sunday's service. All of us have been asked to meditate on this passage every day.
  This isn't a foreign idea to me. It's what I am doing with the Lazarus story. Thinking about it from many different angles. (Ha, the typo was angels before it was corrected!) Imagination is allowing me to make the story richer.
  So this is what I am going to use this time for: meditating or exploring this passage from Mathew for the next several days because I am not so great at thinking unless there's written words to reflect on.
  Writing keeps me focused. Writing enables me to expand on an idea, an inspiration. I don't write full steam ahead. I take numerous, short breaks to meditate, to think. Writing enables me to delve deeper into understanding.
  The breaks are much needed moments of opening my heart and mind to the Holy Spirit because the breaks are infinitely more valuable than words. SELAH. (means to pause, to meditate). The breaks are needed for the mind to expand.
  It's no coincidence that this passage is being brought to mind again because I think I had recently written something about the yoke that sparked a dialogue with a friend.

  As we did a practice run yesterday at church, I was blessed with an image when we reached the part that says, "The burden I give you is light."
  It is one of my greatest joys, being given a visual representation of an idea because they encapsulate a thousand words. It also touches my heart with a generous dose of infusing love because God knows I am a visual learner. He has always known.
  I quickly sketched a pair of pierced hands representing the hands of Jesus. Beams of light are emanating from the holes left by His sacrifice on the cross. It streams out from the front and back, lighting the darkness.
  A few strokes of a pen have had a profound impact.
  It's possible that Jesus means the burden isn't heavy but the thought of having a burden made of light intrigues me.
  It would weigh nothing.
  Light chases away shadows. Light also reveals what's hiding in the dark.
  Holding up the fruit of darkness to the Source of this light is the first step in letting go of hate, shame, blame, guilt, bitterness and a whole lot more. The light is the birthplace of honesty, of confession and release. After honesty, grace and forgiveness have space to move in.
  Light guides our path. If experience has taught me anything, it's knowing the path of grace and forgiveness is a winding road. Knowing the path before us doesn't mean it's an easy road.
  Not knowing the path is an opportunity to develop trust. (Smile. I need to work on that!)
  Jesus gives us His light burden because, in allowing it to infiltrate every part of us, we cannot stop becoming a light unto the world.

  To God be the glory!
 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Autumn Glory

  It's that season again, when all the leaves slip off their green mantle and wrap themselves in glorious colour. Whenever a road trip is necessary, I try and take the prettiest drive to get there because  autumn beauty is only here for a brief while. Especially if a wind roars in. It doesn't take long for the trees to stand bare branched.
  Yet, bare branches have their own beauty. They reveal the story of how wind, water, heavy snows, and ice have shaped their being.

  I watched a show on fractals a long while ago but the concept keeps me fascinated. That's why I am going to write about it again. (Smile.)
  A basic fractal pattern begins with a starting line then divides equally, the divisions divide again and so forth until a fan shape appears. This basic model ends up looking like a perfect tree. The mathematicians put one of these drawings through a computer simulation modelling the effects of the elements on the shape of the lines or branches. It ended up being a very natural looking tree, twisted and leaning.
  It amazed me to learn a forest is built the same way. A large tree will have two smaller ones nearby. The two smaller ones will have four; the four sixteen even smaller trees. What seems to be a random chaos of forest is actually laid out in a set mathematical formula.
  It provided science with the ability to measure how much oxygen a forest can create.
  It gave me goosebumps to realize here was proof a forest is rooted in intentional design.
  It also helped me see that God is a God of pattern. The tree branch fractal appears everywhere in our natural world. From huge cascading rivers to the veins with us, it's there.

  It's obstacles that remove the mathematical precision. Nothing in nature is a straight line.
  Ha! Nothing in life is a straight line. It's a series of forks in the road. It's a series of decisions and choices.
  I will say one thing about science. The more we learn, the closer we get to God.

  And I am being led this morning to invite any of my readers who aren't followers of Jesus to ask Him to be part of your life. The road is forked, the decision is yours. Which way will you take?

  "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find." Mathew 7:7
 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Limbic System

  Every once in a while, something comes at me from several directions. This time, the limbic system was mentioned in a book I am reading. Then it was mentioned on a documentary. The last was through a friend's email.
  It's like having Jesus tell me to stand up and pay attention! So I will.

  First of all, it is made up of several parts of the brain. Most of which I can't spell. It contains the memory, emotion, motivational and olfactory areas. So that explains why an aroma can be such a huge memory trigger. It's closely connected.
  I need to do some more research out of sheer curiosity.
  It also has something to do with learning quite a while ago that emotional trauma causes brain damage. It might help me understand why I get so anxious at times or why my fight/flight response gets running on overdrive. That's basically what anxiety is.
  There has to be a physiological piece to this I haven't considered.
  I used the analogy to describe anxiety that it's like being nibbled to death by mice. It's a gruesome analogy but, sometimes, every little day to day task can be like a mouse bite. Before I know it, there a whole flock of mice nibbling away and the anxiety explodes.
  I'd like to know why this doesn't happen all the time. What is the difference when there isn't any nibbling yet the day to day hasn't changed? What else is influencing my coping abilities or lack thereof?
  Perhaps in the knowing, I will find healing. Or at least, patience for my seeming inability to control the mouse flock when they decide to show up en masse. Impatience only adds more mice.
  What I need is a better mouse trap.

  Lord, thank You for inspiring me to look at things from a different direction. AMEN!

  ""Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?" says the Lord." Jeremiah 23:24