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Savoring My Passage - the monthly journal of A. C. Gray

September 2010

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Arrives now my 73rd September, so I feel entitled to wax philosophical about the calendar’s turn to the month that ushers in Autumn.   There’s something magical, mystical, even titillating about it.  Long years ago, September meant back to school for me.  Out came the Sears-Roebuck catalog and my order for blue jeans and flannel shirts paid with funds I had earned caddying on the golf course.  Too soon school years passed and September found me with the Air Force in places like California, Greenland, Alabama, New Mexico, Japan, and Germany, discovering that  the ninth month was marked with unique adventures and expectations.  Then I found the Red Cross was dispatching me to places like Guam, Saipan, and Puerto Rico as September brought typhoons and hurricanes.  Still later, hopping all the continents for the Peace Corps and finding my faithful balance on our tilting  planet as the seasons whirled by was an exhilarating ride.   Brooks Atkinson helps me to revel in gratitude for the meaning of seasons with his essay Smoke From A Valley Cabin:   “The Seasons!  If we could understand them, not scientifically but spiritually, if we knew why they come so silently and why they are so forceful, might we not analyze the essence of immortal life?  Although we hastily regard them as a thing apart from ourselves, we are really united to them closely.  Not merely because they bring the harvest upon which we depend, or because they fertilize the soil with falling leaves and store the mountains with the water we need in spring and summer; but because as natural beings we are drawn into their movement, emotionally and physically.  Winter, spring, summer and autumn regulate our lives; willy-nilly, they govern our daily and yearly progress.  We have not yet come so far from primeval nature that we can remain indifferent to them.”  September’s message for me seems to say that precious time is ebbing away.  Ergo,  I send up a Deo Gratis for all my past Septembers as I ponder the remaining ones dwindle down to a precious few.  A

               

Beyond the reproduction in the believer’s spiritual life of his Lord’s death and burial lies the glorious fact of union with Christ in His resurrection ….Only those who through Christ have entered into a vital relationship to God are really “alive.”  Existence outside of Christ is not worthy of the name at all; for as compared with a soul that has seen everything in heaven and earth transfigured by a personal experience of redemption and has begun to live daily in the romance and wonder and thrilling stimulus of Jesus’ fellowship, the man who lives for the world and the flesh and has no knowledge of God is virtually dead.  He does not know it, he thinks he is “seeing life”; he cannot guess the glory he is missing, nor realize the utter bankruptcy and wretchedness of everything in which he has put his trust.    James S. Stewart, Mysticism and Morality.

We have a relationship that can never be changed; we’re sons of God, children of the most high.  We have a righteousness that can never be tarnished, the very righteousness of Christ Himself.   We have a Resource that can never be diminished -  it’s the power of the spirit of God.   We have a peace  that can never be destroyed, for it’s the God of Peace Himself.    We have a joy that can never be surpassed, what scripture calls unspeakable and full of glory.   We have a love that will never let us go --  God’s unconditional love.   We have an intercessor whose prayers can never be unanswered, the spirit of Christ within us.  And we have a sovereign Lord who can never lose control, the King of kings Himself.                Dr. Donald G. Barnhouse

                                   

Are we to take the Pauline language of intimate personal communion with the risen Lord, and dismiss it as unrealistic and neurotic, the cliché’ of a religion whose emotionalism is stronger than its logic?  Are we to exclude the evidence of all the men and women of nineteen centuries who have testified that in the fellowship of the living Christ they have found a force that transformed their lives?  Not if we are honest with the facts.  Was it empty rhetoric when David Livingston said it was not just himself who went tramping through darkest Africa:  it was David Livingston and Jesus Christ together?  Was it fever or delirium when Samuel Rutherford wrote to a friend from prison:  “Jesus Christ came into my cell last night, and every stone flashed like a ruby”?  These things are fact….This intimacy of companionship with Christ, so central for Paul, is faith’s cardinal conviction in every age….Someone there….And this also is in it when we say, “Remember Jesus risen from the dead!”  James S. Stewart, The Unseen Companionship

The cat-rabbit pairing seems to be one that works.  Lucky, the cat has nursed and cared for a baby rabbit named Merlin along with her kittens as if it were her own. 
A cat and baby rabbit share a kiss...aah!

 

 

IN THE MORNING…JOY,  A Personal Journey to Wellness

By Mary Kathryn Clark

Reviewed by A. C. Gray, PhD

Mary Kathryn Clark’s juxtaposition of counselor and client in clinical therapy is certainly a novel approach to writing one’s autobiography.   Given her training and vocation of psychotherapy, perhaps no better avenue for telling her own life story could have been chosen.  Growing up in the 1930s when America was merging into the Great Depression and on the eve of World War II, herself an only child, and her father somewhat of an autocrat, it was only natural that her early life would be marked with low self esteem and a consequent drive to make for herself a better life as she matured into adulthood.  So unfolds the story of one whose early years seem to have been marked by the American idiom, “God helps those who help themselves.”  The truth is that the idiom is non-biblical and contrary to all that marks the life of those who eventually find their peace in the grace and love of Jesus Christ;   God helps those who realize that only when they come to the end of themselves can they be helped into wholeness.  This is the dramatic honest true life story of how the author found wholeness and joy after being reduced to poverty of possessions and near spiritual bankruptcy.  Her investment in time and resources to tell and publish her passage to wholeness will be a legacy of her will to find new life and a benediction to all who chance to read the book.  It is only fitting that the book has been published in hard cover because its message should remain on library shelves for future generations, the testament of a determined woman to share her faith.  Inspiration for her title came from Psalm 30 and those who read her book will find a benediction by turning to this chapter in the Bible and reading it for a bonus!

Go to Mary Kathryn's website for details on the book:

MaryKathrynClark.net

I spy ... a family of raccoons peaking out of a tree in Central Park.

 A family of raccoons peaking out of a tree in Central Park.