A Second’s Thought

Are WE there yet? Well, where are we? We are companions on the journey!

COMPANIONS in CHRIST

And we’re coming up to our week of shared CELEBRATION and GROWTH— our MACC partnership mission: ‘Becoming Saints: Day by Day.’

How deep is your desire, your hunger to know Jesus more deeply? To love Jesus more fully and freely? To follow Jesus more closely? As we’ve sought to deepen our APPRECIATION, our Gratitude over the past three and now a fourth week, our MISSION will guide us to growth as Prayerful people.

Are you there yet? Will you accept the invitation, receive the gift and join the journey with our MACC neighbors?

Will you share with us the evening of song prayer and story here at Assumption on the Wednesday of mission week with our guide and guest, ValLimar Jansen?

This past Saturday I was blessed by watching a very different but also very related celebration of song and story at the Center for the Arts. It was beautiful.

No! I mean it! It was Beautiful, that’s the title of the musical telling of the story of songwriter-singer, Carole King. Tellingly, Beautiful is also the title of one of Carole’s songs, as is Tapestry—also the title of the award-winning album that marked a big change in Ms. King’s life direction and path.

The play tells the story of her life from high school when she sells her first song to the ‘tapestry’ time some 20 years later when she begins singing the songs she’d been writing for others.

The story—as presented in the play—of those two decades is a tale of grace, gift and growth—as she develops her talents as a composer. It is also a tale of the joys and challenges of love, love as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a friend. And, as with any love story—including God’s great LOVE for us—it involves the pains of the imperfections of the beloved and the losses that come when hopes grow and so need transformation, perhaps even maturation.

Tapestry, the title of the album within which she sings songs that share this story, this journey, is more than a label, it’s a rich and insightful image.

A tapestry as you may recall is a kind of carpet, fabric art that illustrates a story. (For instance, the famous Bayeux tapestry, tells the story of a 12th century invasion of France by the English and includes an appearance of Halley’s comet as part of the story—google it.)

Part of the power of tapestry as image is that while the front shows clearly the picture, behind, in back of and beneath all those images are a seemingly jumbled and random set of strings, threads, knots and even loose ends—all of which seem random and senseless until you find another perspective. Looking at it from ‘another angle’—O my God, what beauty, what patterns, what a Beautiful story even as it includes both light and shadow, love and loss, grace and growth.

Perhaps Carole King as she sought now a new life as singer and enter-tainer came to APPRECIATE events and opportunities from a new perspective—beautifully!

As I write this (again on Tuesday), our family of faith it is the feast of St. Theresa of Avila, Teresa of Jesus, the 16th century Spanish mystic.

Teresa’s story of life, grace and growth have much to offer us, inspiring, enriching enlightening us for the timeless APPRECIATION of God gracing us—perhaps why she became, in 1970, the first female ‘doctor of the church.’

However, the heart of her legacy is her efforts to share her experience of PRAYER. After a slow start, about age 40 Teresa began to have powerful experiences of God’s Love as she prayed—we might say she was a prayer-pro, though she would probably not accept that label.

Her prayer was the result of much effort and she sought in her writings to share the path, the problems, the setbacks, and indeed the practices that she eventually found fruitful. She shared what she had found to nurture and grows us as people of prayer.

Prayer that helps us to see perhaps patterns of grace and love in the story of our lives. Prayer that both expresses our gratitude but also helps us to appreciate even more deeply the goodness of God and the wisdom that God offers us as we journey, Companions in Christ.

Prayer that reveals as Venerable Madelaine Delbrel discovered: “Each tiny act is an extraordinary event, in which heaven is given to us, in which we are able to give heaven to others…Whatever [we do], it’s just the outer shell of an amazing inner reality…at each moment, the soul grows in grace and becomes ever more beautiful for her God”

So we celebrate in song and story our own tapestry of grace and growth, of hope and love, of God gifting us!

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." (Colossians 3:16)