Monday, April 25, 2011

Nothing Else Matters

I heard a sermon this weekend that rocked my thoughts. Being Easter weekend, you might imagine the sermon had something to do with the plan of salvation, Christ's death and resurrection. Of course you'd be right. Among the many standout things Randy Roberts, the speaker, shared were some of his favorite quotes about the importance of this plan of salvation. One of them has stuck in my mind and rolled around consciously and subconsciously ever since. Grant it, it's not been that long, but long enough to make a fairly deep impact. It goes something like this:

If the plan of salvation isn't real, then nothing else matters. If it is real, then nothing else matters.

Thinking about this over the weekend, I have been overwhelmed by the amazing love and sacrifice of this gift of salvation. I went to a church I'd never gone to before because one of my students was being baptized. At the end of the service, which was a blessing all by itself, I had the privilege and joy of singing Gilbert Martin's arrangement of "When I Survey the Wondrous" cross. the choir director just called people out from the congregation to sing this beautiful hymn and I all but ran up to sing with them. It was the most glorious way to end the day.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Linger Awhile

The birds at my back patio feeders are greedy and messy. And their messiness has brought a family of mice to reside there as well. The mice are growing as fat as the birds. Fortunately the seeds keep them content away from my house. Still, in spite of these side effects, I am enjoying the bird activity on the other side of the living room glass. I am starting to recognize specific birds, not just species. Goldfinch and other little yellow birds have appeared in the past two weeks. They chow down on the seed as if it were their last meal, singing in between dips into the seed.

The Mourning Doves are bullies, chasing each other and the smaller Inca Doves. The finches (both house and gold) are cheerful and agile. The Abert's Towhee is loud; so is the Gila woodpecker. The Mockingbirds are acrobats, often doing the splits between one feeder and the next. Other little birds come and go making for a hopping little bird's paradise. I've definitely enjoyed lingering awhile as I watch their comings and goings.

by John Keats

Linger awhile upon some bending planks
That lean against a streamlet's rushy banks,
And watch intently Nature's gentle doings:
They will be found softer than ring-dove's cooings. (61-64)

Sometimes goldfinches one by one will drop
From low hung branches; little space they stop;
But sip, and twitter, and their feathers sleek;
Then off at once, as in a wanton freak:
Or perhaps, to show their black, and golden wings,
Pausing upon their yellow flutterings. (87-92)