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Further Along My Passage

August 2013
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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

 

“Consider... the fundamental matter – the existence of God.  How did those fishermen and artisans, those tradesmen and tax-gatherers, become so superbly God-conscious, so magnificently sure that eternal love was on the throne?  It was the product of the impact made upon them, day in, day out, by the personality of Jesus.  This they came to realize, as they lived with Him and saw His matchless grace and truth, was what all life was meant to be.  This was a disclosure of what must lie at the very heart and center of the universe.  In other words, this was God encountering them.  You want to be sure of God?  Can you not make the same personal experiment still?  Believe me, you can.  By prayer, by steeping yourself in the Gospels, by facing life with Christ, you can pass beyond the religion of rumor and report and inherited tradition, and meet God face to face.”  James S. Stewart in a sermon, “No Borrowed Creed”.

      

     Mountains of azalea                       

Ample rainfall has turned our Shenandoah Valley green again transforming our world with magic.  Country roadsides hereabout are decorated with sky-blue chicory and delicate crocheted Queen Anne’s lace fit for a wedding bouquet.  Mockingbirds making their summer pilgrimage through these precincts are singing their oratorios free for anyone who will be still and savor their melodies.    Assorted butterflies make their way to my flower garden from distant places enroute to destinies unknown, adding mystery to intrigue.

         A recent day trip to Strasburg via old US Route 42 found me winding my way through the Alleghenies along a route with reminders of Austria and scenes like the one in this photo.  Abandoned houses and barns dot the landscape, including one magnificent stone edifice that dates to the mid -1700s.  Cemeteries along the route are reminders that life is ephemeral.  The journey northward from Bridgewater to Woodstock is an essay in the history of America’s beginnings to modern times and a commentary on how those who settled here lived their lives.   Old steepled churches with bell towers declare their faith.  In his book, The Gates of New Life, James S. Stewart ponders the words of Jesus in Mark’s gospel:  “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.’  “Like so many of the Master’s sayings,” wrote Stewart, “its application goes far beyond the original intention...A moment’s pondering will reveal to you the unsuspected width and range of that remark.”  Stewart asks this question:  “Has not God joined these together, intending them from all eternity for each other – the soul of man and Christ?  Yes, deep down in every heart that lives, even in the poorest and shabbiest and most sinful, there is an instinctive kinship with the Man of Nazareth.  That kinship is the world’s one hope; and it is God’s doing, who at Bethlehem brought the human soul and Jesus very near, and at Calvary betrothed them together forever and forever....God has made Christ and you for each other.  He made the gospel of Christ to suit your very need.  Do not hesitate.  Get hold of Jesus by any point you can.  If it is the teaching of Jesus that appeals to you, get hold of Him by that.  If it is His grace or winsomeness or valor, get hold of Him by that.  If it is His tenderness, get hold of Him by that.  If it is the amazing death He died, get hold of Him by that.  It does not matter where you grasp Him for a beginning, so long as you do get hold of Him.  You are meant for each other, you and Jesus.  Give Him your love and loyalty now:  and those whom God thus joins together – your soul and Jesus—nothing, no, not death itself when death comes to you one day, shall ever put asunder.”

 CHICORY and RUDBECKIA GARDEN

            Chicory and   Rudabekia  [Black-eyed Susans

The gifted violinist Fritz Chrysler had a Stradivarius violin that at one time belonged to an old Englishman. Chrysler offered to buy it, but the old man told him that the violin was not for sale. One day he ventured to the old man's house and asked if he could touch it. The old man invited Chrysler in. He tucked it under his chin and began to draw the bow across the strings. Great tears began to well up in the old Englishman's eyes. Chrysler saw the man's face and said, "I'm sorry, but I would so much like to buy this instrument." The old Englishman said, "It is not for sale, but it is yours. You are the master. You alone are worthy of it." When we call God Adonay, we are saying that He is the Master. He alone is worthy, nothing and no one else. He is worth all that we have and all that we are.  Adrian Rogers in Names of God.

Our garden

 

 Lord, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am.  Psalm 39:4        

Bee and my shadow