Always

Presence of God Scripture Text:  Thessalonians 5: 16-19
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.  May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

Pray without ceasing?  Are you kidding me?  Think how much we have to do in this season!  I mean, prayer is a good thing, a great thing in fact.  We all know that.  But pray without ceasing?  As in ALWAYS?  So, what do we do with those distractions, with all those who need us to do something?  What do we do with life?  What do you do with all the preparations that the season holds?  How do you fit that in?  Uh oh…Spirit effectively quenched!  Not good…I hate it when that happens!

 

The truth is, Paul was not telling us that we had to spend our days body-bent and knee-bowed.  The truth is, there is WAY too much work to do.  We’ve got some Kingdom-building to do, after all.  Paul was not calling us to a life spent in prayer but rather to a prayerful life, a life that is sacred, hallowed, a life lived in the unquenchable Spirit of God.  This has nothing to do with counting the number of hours or minutes or nano-seconds that you spend in prayer.  A prayerful life is one that sees everything as hallowed and holy, sees everything as of God, embraces life as a gift rather than a vessel to be filled with things and to do lists and results.  Praying without ceasing is not about “doing”; it is about being. Olga Savin says that “[the Scriptures] tell us that ceaseless prayer in pursuit of God and communion with [God] is not simply life’s meaning or goal, the one thing worth living for, but it is life itself.”  And a life lived the way it is called to be lived is the very will of God, the very will of, as the Scripture says, the one who is faithful.  It is prayer–ceaseless prayer.

 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in our Advent waiting, we found a time of prayer, we found a time, as Mary did, to ponder (Luke 2: 19).  Maybe THAT’S what’s wrong with us.  Maybe we’ve lost our ability to ponder, to be attentive to what resides in the deepest part of our soul, to be aware of God’s Presence in our lives.  Maybe this time of waiting is so that we’ll take the opportunity to do some serious pondering, to pray without ceasing.  After all, what in your life is NOT holy?  What in your life is NOT positively bursting with the Divine?  What in your life is NOT a gift from God?  Well, the answer is nothing.  There is NOTHING in your life that is not full to the very brim–spilling-over-chock-full-seemingly-unable-to-put-anything-else-in-brim–with the presence of the one who calls you, the one who is faithful, the one who is ALWAYS there.  Make everything you do an offering to God.  Let everything you have and everything you are be a preparation for God’s coming.  Offer it to God.  G.K. Chesterton once said “let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.”  Praying without ceasing is probably more about living, about loving, about holy waiting, than it is about prayer as we often define it.  It has little to do with the words we say and everything to do with tuning ourselves to the conversation that God is already inviting us to live.

 

The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw—and knew I saw—all things in God and God in all things.  (Mechtilde of Magdeburg, 13th century)

 

FOR TODAY:  Pray without ceasing.  Look around you.  EVERYTHING that you see, EVERYTHING that you touch, EVERYTHING that you imagine, EVERYTHING that you let loose, EVERYTHING that you pick up, EVERYTHING that you eat, EVERYTHING that you love, EVERYTHING that is you…EVERYTHING is full to the brim with God.  Pray without ceasing.

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

 

 

We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

Mirror imageLectionary Passage:  Isaiah 61: 1-4, (8-11)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.  They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations.

The passage is familiar.  It is the very picture of hope.  Standing in the midst of ruins, the prophet (probably someone other than Isaiah at this later writing) foretells the perfect reign of God, the time when all Creation will be renewed and recreated.  This anointed one is the hope for the future.  This is the one for whom we’ve been waiting.

 

But in verse 3 all of a sudden the pronoun changes.  The prophet has proclaimed the year of the Lord’s favor and then “me” becomes “they”.  Who are “they”?  They, my friends, are us–all of us, those who have been anointed to bring righteousness, to build up, to raise up in the name of the Lord.  The city–all of it–all of Creation will burst forth from devastation.  It turns out that this prophet was not called to fix things but to proclaim that all are called to this holy work.

 

All of us are part of what the Lord has planted and nourished and grown to bloom.  All of us are “they”.  We are the ones that are called to become the new shoots sprouting to life.  We are the ones that are called to bring good news, to bind up, to proclaim liberty, to bring justice, to witness, and to comfort.  This Scripture may sound vaguely familiar to us for another reason.  In the fourth chapter of the Gospel According to the writer known as Luke, Jesus stands in the synagogue in his home temple in the midst of a world smarting with Roman occupation and cites these same words.  He acknowledges his own calling, he is commissioned to this work.  And he sets forth an agenda using the words of this prophet.  So, here we are reminded once again.  We are reminded what we as the people of Christ are called to do–to bring good news, to bind up, to proclaim liberty, to bring justice, to witness, to comfort, and to build the Kingdom of God, to be the very image, the very reflection of Christ in the world.

 

In this Season of Advent, we look for the coming of God into this world.  We look toward the fullness of God’s Kingdom.  We wait and we wait for the world to come to be.  But when we start beginning to look for someone to fix what is wrong in the meantime, we are reminded that we are they.  We are the ones for which we’ve been waiting.  We are the ones that while waiting with hopeful anticipation, we are called to spend our time bringing good news, binding up, proclaiming liberty, bringing justice, witnessing, comforting, and building the Kingdom of God.  Maybe that’s why we were called to wait in the first place–to reexamine our own lives, to find the “we” that God created.  God did not come into this world to fix the world; God came into our midst to show us who we are called to be, to lead us to Life.  We are the ones.  When it’s all said and done, God’s Kingdom will come to be when we become who we are called to be.  If God really wanted to “fix” the world, don’t you think it would be done?  God doesn’t want to fix us; God’s desire is that we live.  All of this waiting?…we are the ones for which we’ve been waiting!  It is our life for which we are preparing.

 

You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.  Now you must go back and tell the people that this is The Hour.  And there are things to be considered:  Where are you living?  What are you doing?  What are your relationships?  Are you in right relation?  Where is your water?  Know your garden.  It is time to speak your Truth.  Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader.  This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.  Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.  At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (The Elders Oraibi, Arizona Hopi Nation)

 

FOR TODAY:  For what are you waiting?  What do you have to do to become the one for whom you’ve been waiting?

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

 

This Act of Preparation

Moses at the Promised LandScripture Text: Malachi 3:1

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.

Preparation…we keep talking about, keep touting this season as the one of preparation.  So, if it’s not about decorating and shopping and wrapping then what is this act of preparation that we are supposed to do?  Our culture tells us to be prepared for whatever may happen.  The Gospels tell stories warning us against being unprepared for what is to come.  And this season…this season of waiting is also laced with exhortations to get ready–for the coming of the Lord but, as hard as we try to ignore the culture closing in on us, for that big day ahead.  I mean what would happen if we awoke unprepared on Christmas morning–without the required number of gifts perfectly wrapped and under the tree, without all the luscious foods prepared, without a decorated house, and, most of all, without a ready heart prepared to receive our Lord.  Whew!  That’s a lot on our plates!  No wonder we’re stressed.  What, pray tell, are we supposed to be doing to get prepared?

 

For what exactly are we preparing?  Maybe that’s our whole problem.  We live lives that are so results-oriented that we don’t see life itself.  What if everything we did, every act we lived, every breath we breathed was not so that we could have a good result or count it as something done, but, rather, was part of who we are, part of the very journey itself?  What if it was our journey, our living, in which the Lord delighted, rather than merely the result it attained?

 

You know, I love Thanksgiving. It is the one family holiday that I can truly take the time to do right. Sure, I cook way too much food. And, this year, I probably spent more than twenty hours preparing for a 30 minute meal. I planned the menu. I put the leaves in the table. I planned what the table would look like. I drug out all of Aunt Doll’s china and Grandmother’s silver (you know, all that stuff that has to be hand washed!) I set the table. I arranged the centerpiece. I straightened the house and rearranged the back porch. I carefully picked out which bowl or which plate would hold which dish.   I chopped and I rolled and I mixed and I stirred and I cooked and I cooled. There were no shortcuts. Everything was made from scratch.   Because you see, for me, the preparation for the meal is for me as gratifying an experience as the meal itself.

 

And now as the Thanksgiving meal’s leftovers begin to wain,  we prepare for the next big thing.  But it’s hard to remember that act of preparation.  It’s hard to look upon it as a thing in and of itself rather than merely a way to the next thing.  And yet, the passage tells us that it is the messenger in whom the Lord delights.  It says nothing about where the messenger ends up or how many people the messenger gets to the end or whether or not the messenger did a good job.  God delights in the messenger; God delights in our acts of preparing the way.  Don’t you remember Moses standing on the edge of the Promised Land?  All of the journeying, all of the heartache, all of the wilderness wanderings, all of the frustrations with covenants and golden calves and burning bushes and parted waters…all of that…that whole journey to the one moment…when he looked at the Promised Land that he would never enter.  There are those that would look upon that as a failure, as if he had not completed his mission.

 

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” (Deuteronomy 34: 1-4)

 

But Moses did exactly what he was supposed to do:  he prepared the way.  That is what we are called to do.  Results are great but it is the way, the journey, the preparation that teaches us, that gives us life.  Our salvation does not come in one moment because we’ve done all the things we’re supposed to do but rather in a lifetime of preparing the way for God, making our way toward a promised land that we may or may not enter.  Advent is not about the results; it is about what we become on the way there.  God calls us to a journey of preparation–preparing our hearts, preparing the way, being open to that act of preparation to which we’re called.  Advent ends on Christmas morning.  Whether or not we are fully prepared is probably of lesser importance than the journey that we had to the moment when we looked over and saw the promised land, when we knew in the very depth of our being that God was in our midst.

 

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. (From “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968. Dr. King was assassinated the next day.)

 

FOR TODAY:  Look at your journey.  Look at your preparation.  Live it.  God is there.  You may get there and you may not, but, oh, what a ride!  Live a life of holy preparation because the Promised Land is already prepared for you.

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

 

Holy Patience

PatienceScripture Text (Advent 2B): 2 Peter 3:8-9

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.  The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

 

I must admit that I am not the most patient person I know.  I think it’s safe to assume that, really, few of us are.  The world just moves too fast.  The patient ones, the ones who wait, tend to get left behind.  And yet, those of us of us who are always on the move don’t really get there any sooner.  What is that about?  And then we read this passage that describes God as patient.  Have you ever thought of the Divine, the Holy, the Creator, the One who is always and forever on the move, compelling us to go forward, to live into this glorious Vision that God has, as “patient.”  I suppose the impatient ones of us want God to get this show on the road, already.  After all, where IS peace?  Where IS righteousness?  Where IS this promise of no poverty, no hunger, no suffering?  But wait, it doesn’t say that God is sitting back on the holy laurels and being slow about things happening.  God is not slow to fill the world with glory; God is waiting for us, patiently waiting for us, to catch up.

 

So perhaps our impatience, our living life full-throttle, without stopping, just stopping to see what God is doing, to hear where God is calling, is what is slowing this whole thing down.  After all, God knows where God is going.  God is waiting for us, waiting for our response, waiting for us to perhaps wait to see, wait to hear.  Oh, shoot!  It’s back to that waiting thing.  We CAN’T hurry this along.  We CAN’T live for the next thing.  We CAN’T live as if we are in a season that is not quite yet.  God is waiting for us to stop, to wait on God, so that we can catch up to what God envisions us to be.  It’s back to the Sabbath ideal.  God created times for us to stop, to wait, to let ourselves sort of regroup so that we could move forward down the way we are called to go.

 

You’ve heard the story of the American traveler on safari in Kenya.  He was loaded down with maps, and timetables, and travel agendas.  Porters from a local tribe were carrying his cumbersome supplies, luggage, and “essential stuff.”  On the first morning, everyone awoke early and traveled fast and went far into the bush.  On the second morning, they all woke very early and traveled very fast and went very far into the bush.  On the third morning, they all woke very early and traveled very fast and went even farther into the bush.  The American seemed pleased.  But on the fourth morning, the porters refused to move.  They simply sat by a tree.  Their behavior incensed the impatient American.  “This is a waste of valuable time.  Can someone tell me what is going on here?”  The translator answered, “They are waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.”

 

This Advent time is a time of waiting for God.  But it is also a time when God waits on us–patiently and lovingly waits for us to awake to God’s Presence, awake to God’s beckoning, awake to finally see where we were meant to be all along.  We cannot do that if we are too busy impatiently moving through life, always reaching and grasping for the next thing and missing that God is waiting for us now.  If we would be a little more patient, if we could just for a moment stop and breathe in that Holy Patience of God, perhaps God would no longer have to wait another day or another thousand years for the promises to come to be.

 

Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only [they] who see, take off [their] shoes—The rest sit round it and pluck blueberries. (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from “Aurora Leigh”)

 

FOR TODAY:  Stop moving so fast.  Be patient.  Look.  Listen.  Take off your shoes and be.  God is waiting.

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

 

Comfort, O Comfort My People

 

 

Scripture Text:  Isaiah 40: 1-5Road through the desert

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.  A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

“Comfort, O Comfort my people.”  That sounds nice.  It sounds warm and inviting, something that we can just sort of fold ourselves into and relax and let God take care of us.  Well, maybe.  But then what happens?  What we do with our lives after that?  The truth is, as much as we like to imagine a warm and fuzzy God that heaps everything we desire and everything we need to make our lives easy and comfortable on us, that’s not exactly the way it always is.  Here, comfort is not solace; here comfort is transformation.  God is promising something new.  These words begin with God’s initiative–to bring the exiles home.  Sure, it will mean ending their suffering and making their lives better.  But it is more.  It means that they will become something new–a new creation.  The former things have passed away.  God is not in the habit of rebuilding or “fixing” the way it is easy for us to imagine could happen.  God is the Creator, the great I AM, the one who brings newness and life.

 

So, God prepares a highway through the wilderness.  Now, don’t think that there wasn’t already a road there.  In the year 539 BCE, Cyrus of Persia conquered the Babylonians. Now he tended to be sort of a benign and tolerant ruler and so he allowed those who had been previously exiled from Jerusalem the chance to return home. So the people are beginning to return home, but to a home that was nothing like it was before. If you can imagine, these waves upon waves of people on this highway that leads toward Jerusalem—a Jerusalem that now lies in ruins without the Temple that used to be in the center of its life. This highway, a highway through the desert that, typical of the ancient world, was originally built to accommodate royal processions. Everything was done to make the highway smooth and clear.   The road was there, already made straight and smooth for the royals to travel.  And so the exiles, returning to “who knows what?” were on this road.

 

But, wait, look, over here.  God also promises a highway, smoothed and cleared of mountains and deep, treacherous valleys that would impede the journey.  God promises a holy highway built for a grand procession led by the Almighty God.  It’s still a road that you have to travel, but, rather than leading you to the ruins of the life you once knew, THIS road leads you Home.  And as we travel this road, God is creating and creating and creating the whole time, unfolding our life before us as long as we keep our eyes open to see what God is doing.  This is the way that the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed.

 

This is the road that Advent shows us.  It’s not one that takes us to the place that we’ve always known.  Advent shows us the newness that God is offering.  In the Advent season, we remember those generations upon generations that waited for a Savior.  We also prepare ourselves to remember once again how Christ came and comes.  But there’s another part of Advent that we miss.  It is this road, this road that we’re on that leads us to finally see things in a different light.  There is a Maori proverb that says “turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”  “Comfort, O Comfort my people.”  The Light is changing and you, even you, even now, are being made new.  “Then the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.”

 

Learn to see and then you’ll know there is no end to the new worlds of our vision.  (Carlos Castaneda)

 

FOR TODAY:  What newness has God created in your life?  During this Advent, what newness can you find on the road?

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Shelli

Anticipation

 

 

The Top of the MountainScripture Text:  Mark 13: 32-37

But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

 

You know that feeling when you’re driving up a really big mountain (or maybe climbing the tallest loop of the roller coaster)?  You can see behind you (although that’s probably not a good idea if you’re actually driving!) and you can see ahead–but only to the top.  You can see where the top begins to round out its shape and give way to the other side but in your view, there is no other side.  It almost looks like you’re just going to keep climbing and be propelled into the open sky, to lose control, to lose footing altogether.  At this point, there is no way to plan at all.  You just trust–trust that the mountain will gently curve its way to the other side and give way to another view, trust that the road on which you’re traveling actually DOES continue and that you will not fall into nothingness, and trust that, in just a moment, in just a moment…this climbing will end.

 

Advent reminds us that we’re sort of on that road.  We feel it under us.  We see it up ahead.  But it continues beyond what we can see, beyond where we can comprehend at this point.  And so we trust and we anticipate that what is up ahead and where we are called to go.  The Scripture text (which we Lectionary readers read this past Sunday) exhorts us to keep alert, to stay awake.  Maybe it could just as easily tell us to anticipate what is up ahead.  I mean, weren’t you told that by your driving instructor all those years ago?  Anticipate the road. I don’t think that means become a psychic or a mind-reader.  After all, the Scripture reminds us that we do not know, that, in fact, we CANNOT know, that we are not at this point in our being, capable of knowing what is up ahead.  Anticipating is not about knowing; it is about readying oneself, preparing oneself, maybe even feeling the road a little more deeply.  Perhaps living with anticipation is about being so awake and so aware that you can actually taste the Presence of the Divine and know that Presence so deeply that life changes.  If one begins to anticipate what is up ahead, one begins to live life as if the road is beginning to curve.  As if…what would it mean to live “as if”?  What would it mean to live as if peace were the norm?  What would it mean to live as if poverty ceased to exist?  What would it mean to live as if God’s Presence was so real that it literally permeated every thread of your being?

 

Advent is our calling to wake up, to anticipate and begin to live as if God has already come into our midst, because that’s EXACTLY what has happened.  The call to keep alert is not a threat; it’s God’s gift to us.  Stay awake, my child, for you do not want to miss it.  Life is coming, a Life that you cannot even fathom how incredible it is.  The road is beginning to round and another view is just up ahead.  Be alert.  You don’ want to miss it.

 

A dreamer is one who can find [his or her] way in the moonlight, and [whose] punishment is that [he or she] sees the dawn before the rest of the world. (Oscar Wilde)

 

FOR TODAY:  What does it mean to be alert?  What does it mean to allow yourself to be awakened to the presence of God in our midst?  What does it mean to anticipate life, to live as if?

 

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

 

In the Hours Before the Dawn

dark-before-dawnScripture Text:  Genesis 1:1-5a, 31a, 2:1-3

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night…God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good…Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. 

We’re never really sure what to do with this day.  Everything is so quiet, so unsettled.  Memories of the week before interrupt our quiet thoughts, filling our minds with regrets over things we would have done differently, places we would have said “yes”, places we would have said “no”, places that we would have stood, places that we would have stayed.  The Cross is empty and Jesus is gone, laid in the tomb–forever.  We know that we will have to go on but we’re not sure how to do that. This is a day when once again, we are covered in darkness.  The earth feels out of sorts, almost formless and empty once again.  And so we sit here in these hours before the dawn with no direction, no guide, no journey that we can see.

And, yet, God has done this before, this creating.  God takes a formless voice that is immersed in darkness and sweeps into it bringing Light.  God creates and we become.  God creates and the world begins to move.  God creates and everything is as it should be.  And then God rested.  This seventh day, this Sabbath, this day of rest, is not the low point of Creation but the veritable climax.  It is the edge of everything that will be, the veritable edge of Glory.  This is the day to sit without doing, to sit without trying to “fix” the world, without trying to “fix” ourselves, and let the peace of God sweep over us once again.  This is the day to sit in the silence and hear the voice that is beckoning us to a New Creation.  Whether we can see it or not, this is the day that we are standing on the edge of Glory.  It is not what we planned; it is not what we envisioned; it is new.  Creation is happening now–in the quiet, in the darkness.

So what do we do today in these hours before the dawn?  Nothing…just rest…and let God create you.

The pilgrims sit on the steps of death.  Undanced, the music ends.  Only the children remember that tomorrow’s stars are not yet out.  (Ann Weems)

Grace and Peace,

Shelli