Sunday, January 4, 2015

Fanning the Flame Within

I received an ember just now, a gift of light and love and Presence that resides within. It can be encouraged, or it can be buried by neglect and the cares of the world. I hope to keep it warm and glowing all week by gently tending it with the breath of my presence and awareness. That is my challenge.

I've been struggling with my faith for at least a year, a once-strong faith made weak by my own sin, the sin of others, and the hurt, fear, and confusion that accompanies drastic change. But God hasn't let me go. When I've been near the edge of abandonment, He's brought just enough strength or understanding for continued forward movement. Now I must make an effort myself.

When I went forward for communion this evening, I realized that my entire faith rests in Christ alone. It is for Him that I move forward. My faith isn't in bad priests, or deceptive leaders, or the lack of faith in others; it's in Christ. And whatever comes, I live for Him.

I look up as I write this and see a lazy yellow moon in the sky, a beacon to guide us in the night. It shines down benevolently, resplendent with the reflective light bestowed by its Creator.

In a lesser way, the church this evening was bright with a plethora of twinkling lights, left up after Christmas to honor this day, the Feast of Ephiphany. Their festive, luminous glow warmed my soul as I entered.

As pretty as those temporary lights are, there is so much more. I'd rather be constant and unwavering, like the gentle moonlight that radiates the greater light of its Master.

My small beginning will be fanning tonight's ember into flame. May my efforts cause the warmth of hope to abide in me all week.

And, more importantly, may next week's gift be welcomed with passion, rather than received on a hearth made cold by fear and indifference.

Why the "Hour of the Pearl"?

"It is the hour of the pearl - the interval between day and night when time stops to examine itself." ~ John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

Imagine the massive gears of time grinding to a halt with silent groans and ethereal hands materializing to slip diaphanous sheets over the usual workings of the day. Billowing, shimmering, the filmy expanses land deftly and the landscape becomes luminous, ripe for the reflective thought that occurs only in quiet, only in space uninterrupted by time.

If time stops to examine itself, then shouldn't I? Is there an "hour of the pearl" for me?

If I were to recede into a reflective, luminous space of my own, would the sandy deposits in my psyche become pearls? Could this grit washed in by life's tide be transformed by time and habitude? One can only hope. And thus begins my quest, my journey into the daily cocoon that will expand my soul, my world.

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who when he had found one pearl of great price, wend and sold all that he had and bought it." ~ Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 13, verse 45)