Monday, February 8, 2010

One Hundred Pianos

Significance and acceptance are found not in my works, but in He who works within me.  All my words and service to man and religion are meaningless if not birthed from intimacy with God.  And the attention I receive from such works is stolen glory.

It is only in unity with God that my life bears good fruit, for in God I find the source of all things living and eternal.  My unity with man, if not birthed in Spirit, is not true unity.  In fact it more like adultery.

A friend sent this quote about unity from A. W. Tozer:
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become 'unity' conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life....
In an orchestra musicians train their eyes to rest on their conductor, and only play as they are directed. So we must learn to fix our minds on things above, and look to the One who gave His life, so with his life ours shall be hidden in God (Colossians 3:2-3.) This is unity in its purest form. Selah.

Photo Credit: flickr - Javier Parra
Quote from: The Pursuit of God, pp 90, by A.W. Tozer.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Bacon, Eggs & Blueberry Muffins with Snow

Brilliant sunlight on the new fallen snow--all 14 inches of it.  That's what I woke to this morning, along with Bill's footsteps crunching across the roof above me.  Outside on the back porch our lab, Tucker, was patiently waiting at the bottom of an old ladder, looking up to where my husband had disappeared.  I instantly had a mental picture of Bill sliding face down over the edge of the side of the house into a pile of snow he had just shoveled, and Tucker running over to lick his cheeks.

I yelled out the back door, attempting to persuade him that roof climbing wasn't the smartest thing to be doing in 14 inches of snow, and heard him mumble in response--something about having to clear the vents.   After a few minutes I watched as his size 11 leather boots, all covered in white powder, made their way from the edge of the roof backwards down the rungs of the ladder, landing safely on the porch again.  Relieved there was no major disaster, I turned away to start breakfast.

The coffee pot was ready to go, so I added some Tim Horton's and started mixing up batter for some blueberry muffins, all the while watching Bill through the kitchen window as he shoveled a path to the garden shed.  The girls' footprints had almost disappeared from the night before when they had waded out to look for the old sleds.  

It had been years since anyone had ridden a toboggan at our house--our girls grew up in North Georgia and have no love for Western Pennsylvania winters.  But our youngest daughter and her friends decided that sled riding is just the thing to do at midnight in the middle of the biggest snow storm of the year.  So they bundled up with scarves and mittens and played in the snow like children, having no sense of time or care, just pure joy and abandon.  Only the cold brought them back inside.  There was laughter in the air and icicles in their hair, all of which melted away as they warmed up over cups of hot cocoa and got ready for bed. 

Now it was almost noon, and as teenagers do, they were still sleeping, with their wet clothes hanging in the garage to dry.  Bill came in the back door, his face red from the cold, kissed me on the neck and asked if I would like him to cook.   We did it together.  The smell of bacon wafted downstairs to where the girls were cuddled in their fleece blankets, and into Ashley's room where she had disappeared hours ago.  One by one they showed up, sleepy-eyed and still in their pajamas, all looking for something to eat.  I was glad we could oblige. 

There is something about food that connects us, gives us a common ground, and a starting place for building and maintaining relationships.  There is something about sitting around the kitchen table with the ones you love.  Could it be God had a bigger plan for bacon and eggs than merely to satisfy our physical hunger?  Could it be that He created us and food for something greater?  To get up close and personal with one another, to love and care for each other, to enjoy those around us--when we do this, we love and enjoy Him as well.

So the dishes are done.  And Chelsea's friends have all gone home.  I can smell the home-made potato soup Bill is cooking in the kitchen.  We are taking it to our neighbor's house in a little while--the one who just plowed the snow from our driveway.  And we are going to spend some time together talking, eating and celebrating life, celebrating the One who gave it.  God smiles, and His light shines in our hearts.  And like the sun's reflection on the beautiful snow outside, we glisten--brilliantly.  This is worship.  Selah.

Photo Credit: flickr - rusvaplauke

Friday, February 5, 2010

Work in Progress

I have been working on a poem for a couple of days.  This was the first I had written creatively in months so I was surprised to find the words and phrases flowing freely.  I wrote quickly before they could elude me, and at the end, was quite impressed that I had captured on paper what I thought was a finished work.  Then I read the poem.  It was boring.  So I tweaked it.  Then I tweaked it some more.  

For two days now I have been tweaking, and striving to perfect something that came at first spontaneously.  Today, I questioned myself, "Is this just the creative process, or are you over-analyzing?"  I thought about it for a few minutes and came to no conclusion.   I needed some coffee!

Later when I was in the shower--what a great place for thoughts to flow--I remembered something an artist friend shared with me.  She said her paintings are like children; they are always changing and forever growing.  My friend is a wise woman.  It came to me then, we humans are much like art, each of us a work in progress, a creative flow, not yet complete, but forever being conformed to the original dream of our Creator. 
Thankfully we were conceived in the mind of the Artist before his work began, and someday He plans to complete us.  But in the mean time, as we look at each other, especially ourselves, let us not expect perfection, but instead, search for what God sees as beautiful.  

We who are alive in spirit will live forever, not limited by time or human frailty.  But while we are here today may we learn to give grace to all--to just be--knowing that we are changing from one level of glory to another.   Selah.

Photo Credit: flickr - Cameraman Phil