Tag Archives: Book of Matthew

Kingdom of God

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“Chafer Beetles and Moss” DS

A sky-full of pink flowers came up on my inbox this week.  I sat mesmerized by the hijacked blue space above blackish tree trunks with picnickers below.  I noticed that the branches were not symmetrical, nor were they asymmetrical.  They grew in a misplaced tangle of branches.  The master gardeners at VanDusen could have stopped this mess.  Surely they could have pruned saplings into a pleasing pattern of limbs.

http://www.vcbf.ca/shop/petal-mats

I felt the same way when I first moved to B.C.  “Couldn’t some one clean up the dead tree trunks in the forest?” I thought. I came from a city of manicured lawns, of new plantings, of clean tidy suburbs.

Only gradually have I come to realize the great cost of having arborists prune every tree here.  Stanley Park would be like a hothouse for trees.  Was it not enough to see all of the chain saws after the blow-downs of the 2006 windstorm and re-plantings?  It is the wildness, immensity and density of the growth in the park that make its beauty.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3123909/watch-10-years-since-major-windstorm-hit-stanley-park/

“So could it be this way with humans too?” I ponder.  We look at the tangle of behaviours, that annoy and confuse us, especially our own, and wonder how a perfect God could love us.  An ad on TV pleads with us to “bring back our children’s ‘wildhoods.’”  What!

https://gorving.ca/bringbackwildhood/

I admit that wildness can be ugly as seen on the blackened wet sidewalks of the Downtown East Side of Vancouver.  Yet the sense of community there can be strong.  I think of the saying that God lets the tares grow with the wheat until a future time to burn them (Book of Matthew).  The question comes to me: “Do weeds have beauty, have necessity, have purpose?”

Out my front window I see a lawn that is the worst mess ever.  Lime-coloured winter moss has crept over it.  The gardener came with his rolling drum cutter and took regular round plugs of soil out of the earth “so that the lawn can breathe”, he said. The chafer beetle had already done that, but I guess the gardener needs his earnings.  The scene is an ugly mess that cannot be called a lawn.  “It would have to be replaced.  But it would just come back again,” I mused.  I don’t know: “Can I live with this collage of green and brown?”

Questions with solutions arise: “Would more plantings of colour this summer take the eye away from the chaos?  Could I sow wildflowers in the remaining grass?”  Perhaps my yard will become a mini Stanley Park with the wildness/wilderness barely controlled.  “Is this the way to handle family get-togethers too?” comes the thought.

Spring chafered lawns and canopies of pink flowers co-exist.  Can this be perfection – at least for now?

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Rivendell Cross

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“Window at Rivendell” iPhone photo DS

On retreat at Rivendell this morning, I particularly noted the 18” wooden cross on the centre table. It was smooth and brown. I felt like holding it but I sat on my gold and pink textile bench and looked out over the fuchsia foxglove and tall trees to the white clouded sky. It was 8:00am and the spiritual day was well on its way.

I thought that in my burned out state I would be recovering passively but already a choice was upon me. The words: take up your cross and follow me, arose unbidden from my heart. I thought: this table cross would not be hard to carry. I remembered the movies I had seen with Jesus carrying his cross along the Via Dolorosa and this one in front of me seemed so easy.

The things that were my cross to bear came to mind. They were heavy – too heavy for me. I was on the verge of panic.

I began some meditative breathing, eyes closed, repeating the Jesus prayer. My thoughts went to a situation that had gone badly before I left home. It was not solvable as there was no cooperation. I sensed the words, let it go, and felt an opening of possibility. It came to me that in this area I was trying too hard. I was trying to control the outcome. What I needed to do was to support the process.

A bicycle entered my reverie. There were training wheels on it. You are the training wheels, I thought. The training wheels do not decide where the bicycle is going. They merely provide subtle yet strong support for the rider.

It became clear now, that I had gone too far. The situation that had brought me to the edge was actually not mine although I was required to play a part. I had fallen into the leading part, perhaps like the handlebars on the bike. I need to change my position, my viewpoint and get back to being the training wheels. The outcome was not mine.

Others at the retreat entered the round holy space sitting around the perimeter one by one. A candle was lit, a bell rung. I resolved to pick up that small hefty cross but it would have been disruptive. I would lift it; perhaps cradle it, another day this week. This is my cross, lighter than the one Jesus carried.

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. 

Book of Luke

 

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Book of Matthew