The Silent Way

By Elaine Knudtson

“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.  But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!” Mark 4:11-12

Conversion takes place through hearing.

The parable of the sower and the seed repeats the refrain “some hear the word”.  Depending on their response, the results are very different: Satan takes it away, they fall away, the cares of life choke it out, or it bears much fruit.

I think of the qualities of a good listener: paying attention, being still, shutting out distractions—like Jesus when he went out to some deserted place by himself.  The silent way gives God an opportunity to speak, but it takes courage to open ourselves to the silence.

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“The Silent Way” by Elaine

Why do I fear silence?

There are dark pathways I might go down if I listen too closely.

That unspoken churning in my soul could expose

   a craving I can’t feed,

   a hurt I can’t heal,

   a duty I can’t fulfill,

   a sin I won’t confess.

The silence reveals the “oughts”, “coulds”, “shoulds”.

Summer 2016 1069It remembers the unanswered questions,

The dark disappointments with God:

                Why did this happen?

                Where were you?

                How much longer?

                Don’t you care?

                When will it end?

                Is there a way through this?

                Will it happen again?

                Can I trust you?

                My God why have you forsaken me?

 

Summer 2016 1052Silence recounts the blessings:

                The healing

                The confession

                The forgiveness

                The joy

                The blessing

                The gift

                The love

                The koinania.

And your words:

                Fear not

                Peace be still

                Your sins are forgiven

                Be healed

                God is love, and light, and bread, and living water, and new wine, and eternal life.

In the silence you speak.

I walk through the valley of the shadow of my failings, fears and uncertainties,

into your presence.

Take me through that silence.

Hold my hand, so I am not alone.

Enlighten me,

And give me the courage to wait and listen.

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“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Ps. 4-:1-3

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Pictures taken at Vigeland Park in Oslo.

 

 

 

An Enlightened Way

20170817_185632By Paul Knudtson

Psalm 119 – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  (v.105)

God’s word is a lamp lighting up our path.

A prominent feature of this word that guides us is called “the law,” which begins with the Ten Commandments.  “You shall have no other gods.” “Honor your father and mother.” “You shall not kill.” “You shall not commit adultery.” And so on.

Jesus summed up all of the commandments with just two:

  • “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 in Mark 12:30)
  • Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18 in Mark 12:31)

Love – that’s the path we are to walk on.

The problem, however, is that we can’t seem to keep the commandments, even the commands to love God and neighbor. We can’t seem to follow this path.

Referring to the tenth commandment, Paul says this in Romans 7, “I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.” (7:7-8)

Later in the same chapter he says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . . For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.” (7:15, 19)

We never live up to our own ideals for ourselves, let alone God’s. 

We need more than the law in order to walk the right path in life.

Following God’s path has to become something internal; so that it involves following desires that are implanted within us enabling us to love as God loves.

God’s path for us begins and continues with conversion; it is about having our hearts changed so that we want what God wants.

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Philippians 2:13 – “it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Finding the path God has for us begins with an experience of this deep work of God (Christ, Holy Spirit) within us. It is spelled out in Jeremiah’s language of the new covenant: “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:33)

So following God’s path is not merely about following a set of commands that are external to ourselves, but is about something put within us.

When Elaine and I travel, especially when it is somewhere that we have not been before—we use GPS (global positioning system). The lady’s voice from the GPS tells us exactly where to turn and so on in order to find our way. The Holy Spirit within us is like God’s GPS telling us the way to go.

Isaiah 30:21 – “And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”

“God . . . is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

  • Galatians 5:16 – “Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
  • Galatians 5: 25 – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”

Theologian Richard R. Niebuhr (son of H. Richard Niebuhr) – “Pilgrims are persons in motion passing through territories not their own—seeking something we might call completion or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the Spirit’s compass points the way.” (Christine Valtners Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim)

The path that God leads us on is one that affects what is deepest in our hearts—and touches our emotions and affections, our loves.

This is about a conversion that takes place within us.

In shady green pastures so rich and so sweet

Author: G. A. Young

  1. In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
    God leads His dear children along;
    Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
    God leads His dear children along.

Refrain:
Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

2. Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.

A Lonely Way

By Paul Knudtson

Psalm 25

  • 5 – “Lead me in your truth, and teach me.”
  • 8 – “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.”
  • 9 – “He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.”
  • 10 – “All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his degrees.”
  • 12 – “Who are they that fear the LORD? He will teach them the way that they should choose.”

Life is not static—we are going somewhere. We are on a journey. But we have never been at this exact place before, and we do not have a precise map. Often we feel that we are headed into the fog.  “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.”

Sometimes we may feel like that—that the road or path that we have been following disappears and we don’t know which way to go. So we pray, “Make me to know your ways, O LORD.”

The path changes along the way, and often takes us into unfamiliar territory:

  • Path of childhood and growing up
  • Path of getting married and raising a family
  • Path of becoming empty nesters and of retirement

When the path takes us into new country, the old maps we have relied on are no good.  We may be helped by fellow-travellers that we meet along the path, but no one has been on this exact path that I am on.

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John of the Cross (Dark Night of the Soul): “To get to an unknown land by unknown roads, a traveler cannot allow himself to be guided by his old experience. He has to doubt himself and seek the guidance of others. There is no way he can reach the new territory and know it truly unless he abandons familiar roads.  (Christine Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim)

“Alone” by Paul Knudtson – Written upon retiring

Alone.  That is how I feel.

No one knows that I am here.

Where is my place?

What if I have no place to be?

What if I’m no longer needed?

What if meaningful work is done?

My 90 year old mother said, “Well, I guess I’m not good for anything anymore.”

How does one live a meaningful life if one is “good for nothing?”

I’ve gone through school

I’ve gotten married

I’ve raised 4 kids.

The kids are gone.

I no longer earn a paycheck.

I have nothing to justify my existence.

So,

I feel alone.

I am standing on an empty road in a barren landscape, with no direction signs,

       with no obvious destination.

       I am lost–except that I don’t even know where I am supposed to be.

How can I answer the question, “Are you lost?”  If I don’t even know where I am headed?

I have never been here before.

I am seeing everything for the very first time.

There are no familiar landmarks,

no signs that point the way.

And so I wander aimlessly, with open prairie before me; no roads, no fields, no fences, hearing only my own footsteps on the gravel.

When I stop, it is so quiet.

Not a noise anywhere.

Not a breeze.

No evidence that humans have ever been this way before.

Perhaps one day I will find someone to join me on this path,

must I walk it alone?

Lord, I do not know which way to go.

 Thus says the LORD: “Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for ancient paths; where the good way lies; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

 

 

 

The Magic of Contemplation

By Elaine Knudtson

Luke 18:15-17

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

 

I am returning to my childhood imagination after spending a lifetime in the modern, material world.  I left the inquiry of childhood to enter the “real world” of acquiring knowledge, education, status and possessions”, only to realize that the wonder of life had been stilled.  The joy of contemplation returns me to that place once again.

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In the chapter “The Ethics of Elfland”, Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton states:

“My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken certainty, I learnt in the nursery. . . . The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. . . Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense. . .

  • The chivalrous lesson of “Jack the Giant Killer”; it is a manly mutiny against pride
  • “Cinderella”, which is the same as the Magnificat
  • Beauty and the Beast – that a thing must be loved before it is loveable
  • Sleeping Beauty – the human creature was blessed with all birthday gifts, yet cursed with death; and how death may be softened to a sleep.

“When we are asked why eggs turn to birds or fruits fall in autumn, we must answer exactly as the fairy godmother would answer if Cinderella asked her why mice turned to horses or her clothes fell from her at twelve o’clock.  We must answer that it is magic.”

“The only terms that ever satisfied me as describing nature are the terms used in the fairy books, “charm,” “spell,” “enchantment.”  They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery.  A tree grows fruit because it is a magic tree.  Water runs downhill because it is bewitched.  The sun shines because it is bewitched. . . When we are very young children we do not need fairy tales; we only need tales.  Mere life is interesting enough.”

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“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”.  .  . Perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening.  “Do it again” to the moon.  .  . It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.  The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be the theatrical encore.”

G. K. Chesterton – “The Ethics of Elfland”, Orthodoxy.

 

20180823_095927This morning Paul and I went for a walk by the river.  We stopped and listened to the river chatter and the crows squawk overhead.  The sun painted the water silver and shone a spotlight on a gnarly tree near the bank.  “It looks like it’s dancing,” I said.

“Childhood Inquiry” by Elaine Knudtson

Simple faith.  Sitting on Jesus’ knee.

Sitting on my mother’s knee.

So many questions.  Everything is new.

Tell me the stories of Jesus.

You mean there really was a Jesus?

I can go there someday and see where he lived?  It’s not just a story?

I can talk to God and He will hear me? I just have to speak my thoughts?

You mean I don’t even have to speak!  It’s like magic!

Not magic?

 

God teach me to dance again,

like I did as a little girl

when I tucked my crinoline into my panties and twirled in the front room until I dropped to the floor in giddy delight. 

The marvel of seeing you in the ordinary

reveals your presence all around me

when I have eyes to see and ears to hear

as a child.

 

Matthew 11:25

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.

Striking Contrast

By Paul Knudtson

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As I sit on this park bench in the morning sun on these last days of August,

I notice a striking contrast between the stark stillness of nature before me and the commotion of human activity just beyond.

The trees in their yellow-green dress of early fall, stand so quiet and still;

as if they dare not make a sound,

not even a whisper.

They do not move a leaf.

It is as if I am looking at a photograph in which nothing moves . . . all is still.

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It seems as though these trees are deliberately, intentionally still,

determined to be silent observers

of the arrival of this new day.

They do not move a muscle;

they do not make a noise.

tree3.jpg

 

Like a mother saying, “shh,” to her children,

holding her finger to her lips to silence children,

so these trees say, “shh,” to me;

they bid me sit quietly on my bench and pay close attention   .

These trees do not seem lifeless, inanimate objects;

I feel their presence as I sit here with them standing about me,

as if they possess some awareness

of what is happening in this world.

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But human noisiness contrasts with this palpable peacefulness.

From the North-west, across the river somewhere,

I hear the noise of a diesel caterpillar tractor,

the loud squeaking and clicking of its steel tracks

and snort of its engine as it pushes earth with its shiny

steel blade.

To the East I hear the steady hum of highway traffic,

trucks and cars as they come down the long hill

and cross the bridge across the Bow River.

Above there is the drone of a single-engine airplane,

flying across the morning sky.

A few minutes ago,

a group of women walked hurriedly on the gravel path behind me,

busy in animated and noisy conversation.

They seemed oblivious — I thought —

to these trees and their remarkable silence.

Sitting on Bench

What a contrast . . .

. . . between the still and silent trees,

standing here in the warmth of the morning sun

beside the river that flows gently and quietly along,

. . . and the commotion of human activity.

For these few brief moments,

I have been hospitably welcomed to sit here

among these silent observers,

as if sitting in the company of wise, but silent elders.

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These trees invite me to sit among them for a few moments.

Perhaps I can learn from them

about being still,

about being quiet,

about resting,

about being patient,

about simply absorbing the rays of the sun

and allowing the slow, gradual growth and change

that comes through the cycle of the years.

Such trees are not in a hurry,

but live slowly, day-by-day, hour-by-hour,

staying put,

growing and changing only gradually,

imperceptibly,

but unmistakeably.

There is a contrast.

Still versus busy.

Quiet versus noisy.

Thank you for allowing me to sit here with you for a few moments this morning,

and to learn a little about another way to live,

one that contrasts with the way of humans.

Lord,

Help me to be still.

Help me to be quiet.

Help me to abide in the sunshine,

and so to become like these trees.

“They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield

their fruit in its season.” (Psalm 1:3)

 

The Magic Kingdom

By Elaine Knudtson

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
-Blaise Pascal

I first went to Disneyland in 1968 with my parents and five brothers and sisters.  I remember the feeling of walking across the hot asphalt through the front gates into the Magic Kingdom.  I even remember the red plaid shorts I was wearing—Mom had bought us all new clothes for the occasion. Dad purchased a book of tickets for the attractions, from A through E.  We quickly learned the importance of the “E” tickets and planned our day around those rides.  It was truly magical, and when we left, I knew there would never be anything as wonderful as Disneyland again.

 

I had a similar experience the first time Paul and I went to Europe.  Those 17 days in July of 2004 exceeded all expectations as we saw Big Ben, the Tower of London, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Mont St. Michel, Paris, and the Eiffel Tower twinkling at midnight.  I dreamed about returning to my happy place all year long, and Europe has become a favorite destination ever since.

We crave satisfaction and joy.  When we find it, we want to repeat it again, and again, and again.  My grandsons love to say “again” and “more”.  We watched “Thomas and Friends” on the ipad innumerable times this summer when we got together in San Diego for a family reunion.  But, even though they can’t get enough of it now, if I offered them the same experience in a year or two, I doubt whether it would have the same effect.

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The economic term “Law of Diminishing Returns” states that there is a maximal rate of profit, production, benefits, etc., that beyond a certain point fails to increase                   proportionately, with added investment, effort, or skill. (dictionary.com)

 

Doing it “again” and “again” eventually proves to be dissatisfying.

I have been to Disneyland many times since 1968; the last time being this summer with our children and grandchildren.  My joy now comes from watching the youngest children enjoy the experience for the first time.  For me, the wonder is gone.  Even Europe disappoints if I go there just to see the sights.

“The Magic Kingdom Awaits” by Elaine Knudtson

I quiver waiting for the morning when the gates open and I can enter the Magic Kingdom.

I’ve heard of its delights; the music welcomes me as I walk towards the entrance.

The senses are ignited by colors, flowers, anticipation of what is to come.

They say it’s the happiest place on earth and I am in need of such a place.

But the glory begins to fade with the long lines,

The heat,

And the passing hours.

I may never come back.

Can I squeeze this into a bottle and drink a few drops of happiness each day as a reminder of this moment?

Is this the Magic Kingdom I’m longing for,

or is it only a foreshadow of the gates I enter with you—

where my longings are met; my hunger and thirst quenched.

I am the child you bring into your celebration of everlasting joy.

Do my eyes sparkle?

Do I sit still in awe of the beauty and grace that meets me there?

Can I take it with me when the moment passes?

Don’t leave me disappointed and alone.

I long for those fleeting glimpses of eternity you bring to the hours of my life,

when my senses are tuned to your presence, love, peace and forgiveness.

It is not because I’m old that I long for you, but because I am still the child,

waiting at the gate,

for you to open the door and invite me into the joy of today.

 

Isaiah 55:2

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.

John 4:13-14

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

Everything loses its novelty and appeal eventually, except God.

What doesn’t leave me dissatisfied is the “bread”, the “living water”, the “new creation” that I experience through community, family and quiet contemplation.  When that is broken, nothing makes me happy for long.  We were created for so much more.  C. S. Lewis describes this best in his speech on the “Weight of Glory”.

“In speaking of this desire for our own far off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. . . We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. . .For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. . .

Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be on the inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.” 
― C.S. LewisThe Weight of Glory

Jesus came to complete us; to fill that ache, with his presence.  We find it in solitude, in looking for him in the commonplace—in nature, in community, in chance encounters with other pilgrims, in prayer, and in the living word.

I used to think that old people went to church because they were afraid to die and they needed to be close to God at the end.  Now I know that those who endure are there because they have found that life disappoints, but Jesus satisfies.  This is the great discovery of a lifetime. . . Nothing satisfies but Jesus.

Afternoon Coffee on the Land

By Paul Knudtson

A key aspect to the Old Testament story of Israel concerns the land that God gives to his people.  The story about the land begins with God’s promise to Abraham:

  • Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)
  • Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” (Genesis 12:7)
  • 14The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. . . . 17Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-15, 17)

The promise of land was repeated to Abraham’s son, Isaac.

  • 2The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; settle in the land that I shall show you. 3Reside in this land as an alien, and I will be with you, and will bless you; for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will fulfill the oath that I swore to your father Abraham.” (Genesis 26:2-3)

There are descriptions of this promised land in scripture. It is “the land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 31:20).

Psalm 37

  • 3Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
  • 9For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.
  • 11But the meek shall inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
  • 22for those blessed by the LORD shall inherit the land,
  • 29The righteous shall inherit the land, and live in it forever.
  • 34Wait for the LORD, and keep to his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on the destruction of the wicked.

I will remain forever happy that I was born into a family that lived in the country. My father was a farmer and lived his entire life in the country. In fact, he only ever lived in two houses—in the house of his mother and father, and in the house that he built for my mother when he was married. That house, the house that I grew up in, is just a mile from the farm site of dad’s childhood home.

 Mealtimes on the farm were regular and at set times. Breakfast took place before we had to go to wait at the gate for the school bus, shortly after 8:30 a.m., the noon meal was at 12:30, and supper was around 6 p.m.  Then there was a coffee break—called “lunch”—around 4:00 p.m. Normally dad came into the house for this coffee break, but there were certain times when dad was working in the field with a tractor—cultivating perhaps—when afternoon lunch could then be brought to him in the field.

I recall one such occasion when we rode with mom in the 1958 turquoise and white, standard transmission Ford Custom, east through the yard and then north to the field where dad was working. Mom didn’t have her driver’s license at this time, so she would usually only drive in the field, or perhaps only a very short distance on the road if the field was not far from home. In the late 60s she took driver’s training when Arthur was in high school in Stettler. I was proud of mom for getting her license, though she never really did much driving. She would perhaps drive over to visit one of her sisters or go to a ladies’ meeting at church. I remember thinking after dad died that it would have been nice for mom to be able to drive places, but I think by that time she had lost some of her confidence, especially when it came to driving in Camrose.

On this particular day, Mom had packed a lunch into a dishpan and covered it with a tea cloth. Lunch consisted of coffee in a thermos for dad and mom—along with ceramic cups, and koolaid with glasses for the kids. Then there would be some sandwiches and probably some cake—chocolate cake with icing and chopped up pieces of walnut. Dad liked walnuts in his cake. The sandwiches were simple—something like butter and jam on pieces of homemade bread. We always had homemade bread or buns that she kept in the bottom drawer in the kitchen.

When we got to the end of the field to the North-East of the farm yard, we sat and waited in the car until dad got around to that place with the Co-op tractor.  He stopped the tractor, turned off the engine, and we drove next to him in the car. Dad was dusty from driving the tractor (which didn’t have a cab) and so he would take off his jacket and swing it against his clothes to knock off as much dust from himself as possible before sitting down for lunch. Dad would put his jacket on the ground beside a rear tire of the tractor and lean against the wheel as he ate his lunch. We sat around him—I don’t remember sitting on anything, so we likely just sat on the unworked ground beside dad.  I remember liking the smell of the tractor as we sat there.

It was a nice family moment—all sitting there in the quiet of the field as we enjoyed the lunch that mom had made and each other’s company. We were always amazed by the way in which dad could drink hot coffee. He liked his coffee to be very hot and could somehow drink it without burning his mouth or throat. He joked that he had hair in his throat.

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Years later, when the grandchildren came along, the afternoon coffee tradition continued.  Grandma had special cups for birthdays or tea parties.  When she passed away, our children were given the opportunity to choose from the house that held special memories for them.  Our oldest daughter pulled a tiny yellow mug from the china cabinet.  “Grandma and I would have a special time together.  She would put a drop of coffee in my milk.  It is a good memory.”

 

“Who, then, is the man that fears the lord?  He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.  He will spend his days in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”  Ps. 25 12-13

Into the chaos

By Elaine Knudtson

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary  place where he prayed.” Mark 1:35

We have left the quiet security of our home to take a road trip with two of our wonderful, adorable, challenging, over-active grandchildren. Today, as we drive through the heart of the California fires near Redding, we are reminded that not all storms are external. Life challenges us to leave the solitary and step into the chaos.

island during golden hour and upcoming storm
Photo by Johannes 

Jesus came from a quiet place into the Storm.

They tested Him by their doubt and foolish request to walk on water with Him.

They forgot the healings, the feeding of the 5000, the parables, the daily teachings.

How could they be so dense?

What was a storm to the Master of the Universe?

It was THEIR storm.

They watched healings; they listened to parables; they cheered confrontation of authorities; they marveled at exorcisms.

All passive.

No effort required.

But THEIR storm was life-threatening.

Fear invoked panic, helplessness, powerlessness, vulnerability.  They could die. Faith was no longer theoretical; it was critical.

He came through. In the midst of their storm, He was there as a reminder of the divine.

He waited. They pleaded. He acted. All was still.  Status quo restored.  Rest.

Jesus left the quiet place and stepped into our storm.

I enjoy the solitary moments in His presence. No demands, just passive assent.

But He sends me into the storms that require active faith and I forget the love, abandon peace, and surrender joy for anger, demands, control, and fear.

Take me back to that place where I nod, smile, and cheer.

Spare me the moments where I need to trust in the chaos.

Let me avoid the test and taste the glory.

But Jesus left the love of the Father for the cross.

Embrace the chaos.

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