Come Often To Us

21 09 2014

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wings when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

William Wordsworth

butterfly 1





But These Alone?

27 07 2014

In the deserted, moon-blanched street,
How lonely rings the echo of my feet!
Those windows, which I gaze at, frown,
Silent and white, unopening down,
Repellent as the world, but see,
A break between the housetops shows
The moon! and lost behind her, fading dim
Into the dewy dark obscurity
Down at the far horizon’s rim,
Doth a whole tract of heaven disclose!

And to my mind the thought
Is on a sudden brought
Of a past night, and a far different scene:
Headlands stood out into the moonlit deep
As clearly as at noon;
The spring-tide’s brimming flow
Heaved dazzlingly between;
Houses, with long wide sweep,
Girdled the glistening bay;
Behind, through the soft air,
The blue haze-cradled mountains spread away.
That night was far more fair
But the same restless pacings to and fro,
And the same vainly throbbing heart was there,
And the same bright, calm moon.

And the calm moonlight seems to say:
Hast thou then still the old unquiet breast,
Which neither deadens into rest,
Nor ever feels the fiery glow
That whirls the spirit from itself away,
But fluctuates to and fro,
Never by passion quite possessed
And never quite benumbed by the world’s sway?
And I, I know not if to pray
Still to be what I am, or yield, and be
Like all the other men I see.

For most men in a brazen prison live,
Where, in the sun’s hot eye,
With heads bent o’er their toil, they languidly
Their lives to some unmeaning taskwork give,
Dreaming of naught beyond their prison wall.
And as, year after year,
Fresh products of their barren labor fall
From their tired hands, and rest
Never yet comes more near,
Gloom settles slowly down over their breast.
And while they try to stem
The waves of mournful thought by which they are prest,
Death in their prison reaches them,
Unfreed, having seen nothing, still unblest.

And the rest, a few,
Escape their prison and depart
On the wide ocean of life anew.
There the freed prisoner, where’er his heart
Listeth will sail;
Nor doth he know how there prevail,
Despotic on that sea.
Trade-winds which cross it from eternity:
Awhile he holds some false way, undebarred
By thwarting signs, and braves
The freshening wind and blackening waves.
And then the tempest strikes him; and between
The lightning bursts is seen
Only a driving wreck,
And the pale master on his spar-strewn deck
With anguished face and flying hair
Grasping the rudder hard,
Still bent to make some port he knows not where,
Still standing for some false, impossible shore.
And sterner comes the roar
Of sea and wind, and through the deepening gloom
Fainter and fainter wreck and helmsman loom,
And he too disappears, and comes no more.

Is there no life, but these alone?
Madman or slave, must man be one?

Plainness and clearness without shadow of stain!
Clearness divine!
Ye heavens, whose pure dark regions have no sign
Of languor, though so calm, and though so great
Are yet untroubled and unpassionate;
Who, though so noble, share in the world’s toil,
And, though so tasked, keep free from dust and soil!
I will not say that your mild deeps retain
A tinge, it may be, of their silent pain
Who have longed deeply once, and longed in vain
But I will rather say that you remain

A world above man’s head, to let him see
How boundless might his soul’s horizons be,
How vast, yet of what clear transparency!
How it were good to live there, and breathe free;
How fair a lot to fill
Is left to each man still!

 

Matthew Arnold

moonrise 1

Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 American Standard Version (ASV)

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?

10 I have seen the travail which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith.

11 He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.

12 I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live.

13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.

14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it; and God hath done it, that men should fear before him.





Evening Song

30 06 2014

 Look off, dear Love, across the sallow sands,
And mark yon meeting of the sun and sea,
How long they kiss in sight of all the lands.
Ah! longer, longer, we.

    Now in the sea’s red vintage melts the sun,
As Egypt’s pearl dissolved in rosy wine,
And Cleopatra night drinks all. ‘Tis done,
Love, lay thine hand in mine.

Come forth, sweet stars, and comfort heaven’s heart;
Glimmer, ye waves, round else unlighted sands.
O night! divorce our sun and sky apart
Never our lips, our hands.

Sydney Lanier

Atlantic beach





God’s Gentleness

2 06 2014

Wings of the Dawn

flowers, swollowtail, may 001I got up early and headed for the woods. I asked the Lord to help me make my thoughts obedient to Christ. I just wanted to hear Him, not my own words in my head. Looking down at my feet, I thanked Him for being the Light to my feet and for shining His Truth on my path, each step at a time. My heart longed for His voice to me. I quietly walked, just looking down.

Then, there it lay. A beautiful Tiger Swallowtail, spread out right before my feet. It was too cold to move and lay still on the path.

I picked it up and intently studied this beautiful creature. An awareness of the gentleness of the Creator flooded my heart. His intimate knowing of our circumstances, His attention to details, and His creativity were all so evident to me here, holding this delicate butterfly.

I carried…

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Arise, Arise

19 05 2014
At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For if above all these my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.
John Donne
IMG_0837

1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Lexham English Bible (LEB)

50 But I say this, brothers, that flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruptibility. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: we will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.53 For it is necessary for this perishable body to put on incorruptibility, and this mortal body to put on immortality. 54 But whenever this perishable body puts on incorruptibility and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will take place:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

56 Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! 58 So then, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because youknow that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.





Impressions

28 03 2014

Wings of the Dawn

This morning, some parts of the paths were still ice-covered. As I was walking, I noticed how many leaves had left impressions in the hardened snow and ice.

impressions 019Gentle impressions and their impact might not be noticed immediately.
However, over time, what they touch changes.

In what might seem hard and cold on the surface,
God can work miracles, for His glory and our good.

“Lord, teach us to be kind and gentle.
Impress Your love on our hearts and deep within our souls,
So that we can in turn touch those around us.
Help us leave impressions of Your gentleness.”

impressions 015Put on then, as God’s chosen ones,
holy and beloved,
compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Colossians 3:12
~
(Pictures and Prose by Heidi Viars, 2014)

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Garbage, Gifts, and Grace

23 12 2013

When I came home, I noticed the garbage was still at the curb. Normally the collectors make their rounds much earlier in the morning. I had just bought a box of chocolates to pass on to our faithful garbage person next week. But seeing an opportunity to get that done early, I wrapped the candy quickly, wrote a card, and placed the gift in shallow, sturdy cardboard box and stuck the gift on top of the garbage.

Within a few minutes, I saw him pull up into the neighborhood. I took my place by the window to wait and see his surprised face.

However, all I saw was a man in a hurry, who grabbed my garbage can, whipped it around, and dumped the whole thing in the front of his truck. My heart sank. I ran toward the door and started to wave. I made it to His truck just in time to see the load getting chucked into the big bin in the back.

I could tell he was annoyed, since I was holding up his already late run. All I said was, “I had a Christmas gift for you in there… I’ll have another one next week. Just look for it!” He smiled slightly confused and nodded.

It occurred to me that it takes a lot of skillful communication to make someone see gifts, when all they are used to seeing is garbage.

“Lord, help me to do my best to remove distractions and hurt
before I leave gifts.
Help me to show others how much I love them –
and in that point to Your love for them.
Show me how to love like You do.
Teach me humility and give me a servant’s heart.”

Heidi Viars (reprinted by permission)