This morning’s StillSpeaking devotional addresses death and its sting.  Donna Schaper summons images of watching carrots grow in order to appreciate what it takes to change, and the time it may take.  Our congregation will be considering change this week-end at a visioning meeting.

 transformation

Many fear death.  I suspect almost all of us fear pain preceding death.  There are a few of us who look forward to learning what comes after death.  I believe I’ve been promised something wonderful, and I’m eager to see how it pans out.  I remember a sermon that included the thought spurring comment: “What if you were to arrive in heaven and find Hitler standing next to you?”  I supposed it was meant as a conundrum or something to lead me to be sorry for living a life in which I attempt to do good and avoid evil.  My response:  I hope I won’t care.  I’m hoping for a heaven in which I truly will be overjoyed to be there…  and that it will surpass my best times on earth, and I won’t have to go home to get up and go to work or clean the house in the morning.   Perhaps I’ll understand something about how we both got there.  Don’t know about these things now, I’m merely God’s flawed creation.  I’m not supposed to know everything, so I can relax in the knowledge that I don’t.

Somehow, I am reminded of “Spirit” a lovely hymn written by James K. Manley, as he finished his doctoral thesis:

wind

Spirit, spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness, calling and free,
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons you called to each thing;
“Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”

You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand
and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
and when they were blinded with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
and down in the city you called once again,
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.

You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions your people arise.

(James K. Manley (20th century), hymn-writer. Published in Everflowing Streams (1981). “Spirit,” l. 1-4 (1978).)

Spirit of Gentleness,

You blow goodness and mercy just as the gentle wind blows ripples on the water.  You are the origin of my every thought.  You send inspiration to move me from my mental inertia.  I worship and adore you.

Spirit of Restlessness,

Stir me from placidness; guide me, I pray of thee, on a gentle but steady course of bringing your kingdom to come on earth.   Set my heart, mind, soul on your loving kindness.  Let me seek only to improve the world for all.  Let me be a calming presence among those in turmoil, helping to bring glimpses of your joy and your glory.

Spirit who calls me to freedom,

Thank you for calling me from tomorrow and breaking the ancient schemes.  Remind  me that my only bonds are those from which I could break through by following you.  Help me to make reality from the dreams of the captives.  Help me to report the women’s visions and encourage the men to clear their eyes and see you.  Help us all to arise and do your holy work.

Spirit who Cried from a hill,

Thank you for whispering to me in the silence.  Thank you for waking me in the night to meditate on you with the sting of my hand ‘falling asleep’.  Thank you for the extravagant blessings you have bestowed on me.  Thank you for a world of freedom in my head, to imagine your world of freedom on earth.  I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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