The Spectrum (January 27, 2012)

…Opening To…

It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence. (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain)

…Listening In…

Jesus went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. His mother cherished every word in her heart. Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favor with God and with people. (Luke 2:51-52; context)

…Filling Up…

In times of consolation, we notice God filling us to overflowing. We cannot possibly hold any more grace, so it spills from us, hopefully landing on those around us. Our joy prompts us to invite others to gather up their blessings and notice God’s presence in their lives. We form communities to share our joy, and these communities help sustain those who inevitably fall into periods of desolation.

You see, desolation and consolation are the extremes of life – the subsistence and the abundance. Most of the time, we exist somewhere along the spectrum between the two. Remember the story from Wednesday? At the end of it, Luke tells us that Mary cherished “all these things in her heart” – both the empty time of desolation when Jesus was lost and the joyful time of consolation when she found him again. Mary takes both categories into her heart and ponders them. Her life, like all our lives, brings together experiences both of desolation and consolation. As faithful people of God, we try with God’s help to lead lives that trend toward consolation on the spectrum.

Today, I invite you to take stock of where you fall on the spectrum between desolation and consolation. If your trajectory is moving toward consolation, rejoice, and continue to gather your small blessings and keep a weather eye out for God’s presence in your life. If your trajectory is moving toward desolation, I pray that God grants you the courage to turn around. You may still be stuck in the wasteland, but you will be facing the right direction – out of the desert and toward the garden.

Finally, may God grant you the grace to survive when you are desolate, to thrive when you are overflowing, and to treasure all these things in your hearts.

…Praying For…

Dear God, your presence abides in every decision and indecision I make, every cause and effect, every question and answer. Help me to recognize and live my life in the light of that presence. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

…Sending Out…

I leave this moment with you, God, and wherever I am – whether in the garden or the wasteland – I pray that you help me see your presence in my life.

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