Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Delighted by Red on Gray


Teaching is a wonderful way for me to learn.

To teach effectively, I have to absorb the material until it weaves itself into my fabric. Consequently, teaching “Spiritual Disciplines” at our District’s Lay Speaker’s Academy has required that I dust off some classic disciplines and that has afforded me several delightful encounters with God’s Spirit.

Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton (IVP, 2006) came to me highly recommended, and I wholeheartedly pass on the recommendation. Ms Barton is vulnerable, insightful, and practical, while sharing her treasures and welcoming you to find your own sacred rhythms.

The format for this particular course allows 3 hour sessions on 3 consecutive Sundays, so the challenge is to teach while incorporating time to savor God’s presence through some of the disciplines. Just teaching and practicing any one discipline could easily take an hour, but because of time constraints, I walk a tightrope of highlighting content then choosing an exercise or two for the students to experience. This past week we focused on discovering our “Breath Prayers,”and self-examination.

While referencing Psalm 139, I was making a point how we, finite creatures, encounter God’s grandeur. I shared how God often uses nature to reveal Himself to me. “Look outside,” I gestured.

Beyond the window and glass door a swollen, brown river hurried by and a nearby tree stood naked against the gray sky … until a cardinal’s red silhouette suddenly painted the dark trunk.

I was stunned. The timing of my eye meeting that cardinal’s brief perch, while making a point about encountering God, opened another window for the whole class to experience God. In that small room, twenty-three of us were privy to God’s fresh communication as I explained how God has often used cardinals on bleak days to remind me of the Holy Spirit’s vibrancy.

Our Creator punctuates the mundane with delightful surprises. When our attentiveness meets the beauty of God, a vibrant red bird on a gray day can remind us of the Holy Spirit’s revelations, bringing the hush of God to attentive hearts!

Scripture: Psalm 139

For Your Consideration

How can you develop an attentive heart?

Where do you sense the Holy Spirit at work in your life?

What, in your experience, registers God's love for you?