prayer to the Spirit as tongues

hope college dimnent chapel service

Holy Spirit,

When God exhaled at Pentecost,
first came the wild wind,
and then you rested like a tongue of fire
on the head of each person gathered there.

Those tongues bobbed and flickered
and warmed the hearts of those on whom they rested,
the same people who suddenly spoke and heard
in a hundred different tongues,
familiar tongues, strange tongues,
each one bearing witness to the Son.

May you rest upon us always,
Holy Spirit, Holy Flame,
kindling in us souls
that burn with a desire to know you,
to tell of your work.

Make us brave,
make us articulate,
make us reflections of your light.

And with your Word, illumine for us our lives.
Blaze brightly, Spirit.
Speak clearly.
Amen.

The photo at the top is a photo of our students taken during the final chapel sermon that Dan and I preached at Hope College. We love those people and that place.

Also, if you’re interested in other prayers to and about the Holy Spirit, check out my colleague Bruce Benedict’s resources for the Book of Acts at Cardiphonia.

cross-creativity

watercolor rainboots

I am just having too much fun not to show you.

Lent and my sister inspired me to exercise my creative brain in ways outside the usual writing.

If I skip writing in favor of photography and watercolors, I may never rack up 10,000 hours. But who cares? I’m not Writer, I’m Grace. And my love for this world is omnivorous. I’m a dabbler, not a master.

watercolor feathers

Dabbling doesn’t leave room for mastery in every area. Or even adequacy, to be honest. Each time I try something new, the master says, “Just ten minutes a day! Ten minutes a day and you’ll keep the words flowing / you’ll develop a more observant eye / your heart will stay healthy / your limbs will grow strong / you won’t lose your Greek / you’ll expand your vocabulary / you’ll have that Beethoven down in no time. Just ten minutes!”

Oh, but can you imagine that routine??

Ten minutes x a zillion well-intentioned activities = too many hours for my day.

quick sketches of the cyclomen plant

So I settle for mediocrity. I dabble. There aren’t many things I do for ten minutes a day for more than two days in a row. Which makes me an unremarkable painter, a decent writer, a pretty good breadmaker, an average gardener. But I love them all! I couldn’t give them up.

I’d like to think that dabbling makes me interesting. That exposure to so many things has a cross-deepening effect. Each informs the others.

Though I haven’t been writing with as much discipline lately (certainly not ten minutes a day), I have been painting.

Nope, I have next to no idea what I’m doing. Don’t know how to mix colors or how to hold my brush, much less how to translate the loveliness of life into color and light and shadow and shape. That watercolor cyclomen up there? Give it a mauve mat and a gold frame and you’d have yourself a great piece of eighties hotel decor.

But getting to paint a quick sketch of the boots I bought with the birthday money from my grandmas and send it to them to show what I picked? Yep, it’s been pretty fun.

go: lent in pictures day 47

sunset over lake macatawa

go

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We circle back around, now that we know what has happened. Jesus is risen, and we cannot contemplate forever. Like the women, like the disciples, we go, moving into the places that Christ has been, into the places his Spirit is. Christ’s life gives us life.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

refuge: lent in pictures day 46

wooden ceiling panels

refuge

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Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out your light and your truth;
let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling. . .

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.
—Psalm 43

Refuge: a strange word for Holy Saturday, when the stone of the tomb seems cold and mute, not a place to take refuge. A day when all we know is that you have cast us off, not that there will be a day when we shall again praise you. You sent out your light and your truth, but they were snuffed out on Golgotha. There’s no indication that they will ever lead us to your holy hill.

For now, we will huddle in the shadow of the tomb, mourning and waiting.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

prosper: lent in pictures day 45

purple crocuses

prosper

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And can it be?

Can it be that I should gain an interest in your blood?

That your death prospers my life?

That your hour of greatest poverty is also your hour of greatest prosperity?

That on this day of darkness, of despair and confusion, the light still shines?

The darkness, no matter how deep, cannot overcome it.

Praise to the Lord.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

breath: lent in pictures day 44

dry stalks blowing in the wind

breath

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The first rainstorm of spring.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

call: lent in pictures day 42

lichen

call

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The buds for next spring have already formed on the branches by late fall.

I’ve been holding those words close these days, after I read them on a card at a friend’s house. The strange winter wilderness of not knowing still surrounds us. We can’t see the fruit yet. Not even the first green shoots. Just bare branches and blank sky.

But the little nubbin of life already exists. Sprouts and leaves and flowers and whole trees are ahead for us. God is calling us to flourish, though the reality of winter feels more real than the memory of last spring. Every year, we forget. Every season is brand new, again.

God designed the world to work this way. God prepares the trees for new life before they even go dormant. He knows what’s ahead. But he asks us to make it through winter before we can sink into spring.

Oh, we are ready. If we hear one little bird call, if the ground warms one more degree, if the sun shines for another minute, we’ll be ready to burst into bloom.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

live: lent in pictures day 41

succulent sprouting

live

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Then he said to me,
“Prophesy to the breath,
prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath:
Thus says the Lord God:
Come from the four winds, O breath,
and breathe upon these slain,
that they may live.”

I prophesied as he commanded me,
and the breath came into them,
and they lived, and stood on their feet,
a vast multitude.

—Ezekiel 37:9-10

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

celebrate: lent in pictures day 40

watercolor prairie landscape

celebrate

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Another afternoon of mochas, prairie landscapes, watercolors, The Weepies, and friends.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

see: lent in pictures day 39

maple scone for breakfast

see

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Taste and see that the Lord is good.

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This post is part of a Lent Photo-a-Day series, connected to Rethink Church. The rest are here.

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