Wednesday, August 26, 2015

To step outside is to be reminded of His love and faithfulness.

Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness. Psalm 89:1

Show me your marvelous lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me under the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:7-9 

This is pretty much my go-to filler melody during the quiet. The quiet of driving up and down Broadway. The quiet of flipping turns or heading up the steep curve of Sentential Peak. Hanging in the backyard hammock covered with mosquito repellant. Certainly when I head out to wander through the creosote bushes and prickly pears across Country Club. Over and over, the refrain,
Your Love, Oh Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness
Stretches to the skies
Your righteousness
Is like the mighty mountain
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my voice
To worship You my King
And I will find my strength
In the shadow of Your wings
I guess it’s my own heart’s version of Tucson Psalms. Well, except for the part about the ocean. But the heavens and the skies and the mighty mountains bring me back to Him again and again. Even in the early morning darkness when His faithfulness cannot be seen.
And the 1000 gifts list plugs onward:
875.        Mosquito repellent
876.        Such a kind note from John D’Andrea
877.        The attitude of how-can-I-serve-you permeating the staff at Imago Dei
878.        How wisely my co-teacher dealt with cruel vandalism amongst the seventh graders.
879.        Watching another teacher work through foot-long science vocabulary with a refugee student.
880.        One of my very most naughty students rushed up with a stack of crumpled but complete   missing homework assignments and gave me a big hug
881.        The after-a-drenching-rain scent of Tucson as we head out for a new day
882.        My sweet, sweet sister so full of patient grace as we walk through this life together
883.        The enthusiastic love of Juan as he searches for the perfect bicycle for me
884.        My pink and yellow flowing shirt that is full of memories from just about every place I’ve travelled
885.        My momma is back home again
886.        My grumpy math student who actually smiled as I pulled out the new textbook I found
887.        My Monday night book club ladies are so encouraging and kind
888.        The sixth grader who wrapped herself around me yesterday and smiled, “Miss, you are my favorite teacher.”
889.        Did I mention mosquito repellent? Somehow that back door is always left open.

But I am also consciously returning to “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” prayer, working it into my heartbeats. Henri Nouwen talks about it:
It is about this prayer that the Russian pilgrim speaks, thereby expressing in his own charming na├»ve style the profound wisdom of the spiritual fathers of his time. In the expression “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me,” we find a powerful summary of all prayer. It directs itself to Jesus, the Son of God, who lived, died, and was raised for us; it declares him to be the Christ, the anointed one, the Messiah, the one we have been waiting for; it calls him our Lord, the Lord of our whole being: body, mind, spirit, thought, emotions, and actions; and it professes our deepest relationship to him by a confession of our sinfulness and by a humble plea for his forgiveness, mercy, compassion, love, and tenderness.

More than ever we feel like wandering strangers in a fast-changing world. But we do not want to escape this world. Instead we want to be fully part of it without drowning in its stormy waters. We want to be alert and receptive to all that happens around us without being paralyzed by inner fragmentation. We want to travel with open eyes through this valley of tears without losing contact with the One who calls us to a new land. We want to respond with compassion to all those whom we meet on our way and ask for hospitable place to stay while being solidly rooted in the intimate love of our God. The prayer of the heart shows us one possible way. It is indeed like a murmuring stream that continues underneath the many waves of every day and opens the possibility of living in the world without being of it and reaching out to God from the center of our solitude. Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

Because His love first reaches out to the heavens.
And His faithfulness stretches to the skies.