Seasons

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

So begins John Keats’ ode To Autumn, the oft-chosen favourite of high school poem reciters. This is due to its great multisensual imagery as well as its accessibility: it’s not too lewd, not too metaphysical, and still a classic poem. I quote it here because it mentions seasons of fruitfulness and how full they seem; so full that you begin to think this is they way things will always be.

When you’re in a season of something, it is easy to imagine it going on indefinitely, whether in good times or bad. The thing is, we are not to know when everything will come to pass, or when seasons begin and end. What we do know is that God has fixed these times for his good reasons, and he changes the times. You may have a season of joblessness, or of loneliness, or of public acclamation, or of deep companionship. The fruit from these times will last, but they are fleeting in light of eternity.

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8)

20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:20-22)

Feedback for Chambers

Here is July 13th from My Utmost for His Highest. Is it a little harsh? Or dead on? Your feedback is appreciated. (Feedback does not necessarily have to be a comment on here.)

“In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord.” Isaiah 6:1

Our soul’s history with God is frequently the history of the “passing of the hero.” Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died — I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or — I saw the Lord?

[…]

It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. “In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee.”

Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision.

This was entitled, “The Price of Vision.”

“My cup overflows” – a dinner metaphor

So surrounded by amazing friendships and still so lonely.
What is this black hole of peckishness for love?
If only it were something I could eat straight from the pantry –
But no, you have reserved the right to be my chef.
My cup overflows; my plate is heaped.
I just don’t know it.
It’s time to pass the plate around the table.

————

The sermon today, ‘Time to Sow’, was on 2 Corinthians 9:10.

Entitlement

Thinking about a sermon I heard about a year ago about community. (yea, long time) God grants us the gift of fellowship in a community that can bring us encouragement, belonging, love, understanding… I would imagine it is a distant shadow of what the Trinity of Father Son and Holy Spirit are. However, we are not guaranteed the same gang always-and-ever. Sometimes you have to say goodbye, and bring what you have been given to share with another community; yet the act of fellowship – this you can always have.

Today, I was thinking about how we can get bitter about feeling left out. (I can, sometimes… but some people are probably sweet unassuming lambs who might feel hurt but not bitter.) What causes the bitterness? Well, I would say it is our belief that we are entitled to being included. Hence when we are not included, then we will perceive that an injustice has been done!

Sometimes we may feel entitled to being blessed by God. Entitled to success in some way. Entitled to know what direction we should take in life rightnowplease. Entitled to knowing why Jesus is the only way. Entitled to being saved by God. Entitled to freedom from God’s will. Entitled to see that what we thinkandreason to be ‘good’ is what is going to happen. The list goes on.

Such an attitude of entitlement, of assuming we have a right to things, is proud at its roots, and a rejection of grace. Grace is the unmerited unentitled favour of God. I am not included in God’s love because of me – whatever my qualities are and however great they may be. It is encapsulated well in this verse: (it manages to say in one sentence what I have been trying say, perhaps successfully perhaps unsuccessfully, in the last few paragraphs!)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:10-12)

So this sounds kind of brutal – but by this train of thought in the second part of the quote above (where love is serving, like Christ, and being like Christ), friendships/relationships are not about the person? Who they are doesn’t matter. Life gets ugly when one cannot let go of a person. You think you are entitled. Or you think they are entitled. The person and your relationship to them is temporal; your relationships with God are eternal.

Not sure how cryptic/clear this is at the time of finishing typing. Funny how I can type and type when I blog but not when I write essays.

I feel slightly less entitled to anything than I did when I began writing this. There’s a freedom to the feeling :) Not that I don’t still have a long way to go.

I am not alone (2 of 2)

torn asunder. cleft in two.
(physical home – more than one 
spiritual home – yet to come
       yet i rest secure)
heart torn sobs broken
who to cry to who to turn to?
My Father: He is the potter –
but where will he place this pot?
“I will fear no evil, for you are with me”
but my state is lonely.

if I am a tree
then my Father has taken a
shoot, to plant abroad. 
“Carry this shoot of your heart;
Take it there, and I will nurture.”
(for I know nought of horticulture)

now what of the tree?
there are two – they are both me.