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

August 2012
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Midsummer August prompts a vision of Claude Monet’s gardens at Giverny, his French country villa, vibrant and shimmering in the summer sun.  The impressionist was an avid horticulturist whose paintings of the gardens which he himself designed and planted [with the help of five hired gardeners] left a legacy unequalled.  He wanted the world to see and know the magic and beauty of nature that he had found in his flowers. Admirers of Monet know his first love was gardening. Let these quotes of Monet savor in your imagination:  “Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.” “I must have flowers, always, and always.” “Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” “It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.” “The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.” “I can only draw what I see.” “I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” “The more I live, the more I regret how little I know.” “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” “If the world really looks like that I will paint no more!”  Pondering Monet, my own small flower garden is a benediction renewed....acg

         

Monet incorporated the Japanese garden bridge in his  montage.  And painted it apple green to match the shutters on his villa.

 The Little Brave One !

The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians--when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths. But, though it is just to condemn some Christians for these things, perhaps, after all, it is not just, though very easy, to condemn Christianity itself for them. Indeed, there are impressive indications that the positive quality of joy is in Christianity--and possibly nowhere else. If that were certain, it would be proof of a very high order.― Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy

 Mellow Yellow

I don’t know that I ever aspired to greatness, but these days, thank goodness, I can be a little fellow in the wide, wide world, and stay close to home. I can love those nearby and leave the salvation of the world to those who are younger, stronger, brighter and better at it than I. I’ve wondered at times if I’ve gotten slothful; I rather think I’ve just gotten old.  An aging friend wrote to me the other day bewailing her loss of opportunity. Publishers no longer clamor for her manuscripts; churches no longer call on her to speak. She’s trying to adjust, she said, to a snail-like pace of life.  “Thank goodness,” I wrote in reply. “More time now to love and to pray; more time for reading and contemplation; more time to develop intimacy with Jesus and with our other friends; more time to enjoy our Lord’s presence in creation; more time for ordinary duties; more time for common things.” J.R.R. Tolkien

  The flower patch

              

“I sought for America’s greatness.  I found it not in her fields and forests.  I found it not in her mines and factories.  I found it not in her Congress and great tribunals.  It was only when I entered her pulpits thundering against sin and preaching righteousness that I discovered her greatness.  America is great because America is good.  If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”  Alexis de Tocqueville, French philosopher, in his book, Democracy in America, 1831.

Rainey Creek

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.  Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,  if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.Paul to the Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV

Summer Finch