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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Reunion Warning

Reunion Warning

So we had a reunion of my 1970’s-era Church youth group and the leaders who served there. It was a full 40 years since we had last met to worship together in the front of the sanctuary. The memories of mission trips, retreats, and life transforming moments all came flooding back. And I learned a few things that are best passed along both as a cautionary tale and as encouragement to call an old friend.

Three things I learned at my youth group reunion:

  1. Photos have improved dramatically. If there is an evolution of photography, the 70’s certainly was the lowest point in the journey. Even tintypes had more clarity than the reddish tinged blurry snapshots and Polaroid images of our Afros and bell-bottoms. The film packs with 12 exposures assured a sparse photo album with very weak content.

  2. 60 is not the new 30. It’s not.

  3. People really don’t change. Each of us had grown up (mostly) and each had grown older (as we sat down to dinner, my husband asked when the youth group was going to show up) but the person was the same. We are who we are. We are still who we were. Even after all the years of school, and careers, and kids, and heartache, and celebration, the precious inner person, who was only briefly a teenager, was all still intact. And I love those people! It was the re-connection with the sacred essence of unique person-hood that was irresistible.

The notion that God knows the true me and loves me anyway is still “blowing my mind” (that was a clear 70’s reference, just go with it). In King David’s words, “It’s too wonderful.” He wraps it up in Psalm 139:

God, investigate my life;
get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!

… Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.                   Psalm 139, The Message

Each of us from the moment of conception is a unique person whom God loves and for whom Christ died. We have a purpose, a plan, and a destiny that only we can fulfill. 40 years has a way of revealing the awesome truth that we can be loved for who we are and that the changes and challenges of life never mar the image of God infused in each of us.

Call an old friend and enjoy the weekly hike.

youth-group-shot

Then. I’m front row, furthest left.

youth-group-reunion-group-shot

Now. I’m in the back.

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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in The Hikes

 
Image

The Real Reason For Clouds

We stop, we stare, we click, we share. Facebook is filled with sunset pictures. There are even facebook pages that are solely dedicated to facebook sunset photos. The Wonderful World of Sunsets, one of dozens of “sunset only” facebook sites, has over 360,000 followers. Weird, but mildly impressive. So why are people so strangely drawn to an event that happens everywhere in the world at the end of every single day?

Well of course it’s because we love the colors, movement, and surprises–it’s art in real time. No two are alike so each sunset is literally a once in a lifetime event. (No one has ever said, “Oh, I’ve seen that one already.”) And even the act of looking up draws us out of our earthbound experience into something bigger and more beautiful.

sunset-1

Fernandina water front.

For me, sunsets are a great excuse to sit and rest during a hike. “Oooh! Look Tom, the sun is setting. Let’s stop here and watch for a couple of hours.” And maybe I’m dim witted but this was the first year that I noticed something wonderful about sunsets: No one takes pictures of sunsets on clear sunny days. It takes a relatively cloudy evening to deliver a proper sunset. And a truly menacing sky will produce the most spectacular palette. If there are no clouds, there is nothing to reflect the sun light. As the angle of the sun’s rays lower in the sky, the clouds mirror the light. They are transformed from their gray and gloomy appearance to a brilliant infinitely dynamic likeness of the sun itself.  From the sun’s point of view, there is no such thing as a dark cloud.

Perhaps this is the true reason for clouds and for the inexhaustible number of sunset photos. We expected a storm but the sun changed it into a light show. Our forecast for gloomy gray skies is surprised by the sun’s persistent presence right up until the last bit of daylight yields to the night.

When you snap your next sunset selfie, remember that Jesus’ persistent love is illuminating the gloom in your life. Remember that every day holds a new surprise of joy and mercy. And from His perspective, all that would cloud your life looks like art in motion when exposed to His brilliant presence.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim to work of His hands. Psalm 19:1

Enjoy your weekly hike.

sunset-2

Same scene, minutes later. See what I mean?

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