October 13, 2009
Erupting in color, the once stately green trees are now sporting lively coats. Their leaves, painted with vermilion, lemon, scarlet and gold, grow bolder as the weather turns toward winter. The woods around the pond are cloaked with a merriment that would be much richer if the grey clouds were not hovering so thickly.
Entranced, we leave behind the car and walk along the water’s edge. “Go further”, I urge. “A crimson-crowned beauty waits for us beyond the bend. I glimpsed her as our car passed by.” Emerging from beneath the willow’s weeping branches, we beheld her standing gracefully at the opposite shore. Her watery reflection fluttered on the pond’s surface, a pale likeness of her autumn glory.
As we stop to absorb the splendor I am reminded of our struggles to mirror Christ through our own gifted and imperfect selves. Offering our hands and feet, our minds and hearts, we reflect his image into our world as we join with others who seek to do the same. This is the kingdom of God that is within us. A kingdom that emerges onto this world as a watery likeness of the kingdom that God has promised.
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Braddock’s Bay, on Lake Ontario, has a small walkway built above the grasses and reeds that offers closer views of the birds that use this area as a refuge along their migratory routes. The swans are out in the bay today, their stark white bodies and long necks do not mask their identity. They are quite obviously at home in the water as they gently bob up and down in the near quiet ripples.
I notice, too, as I look down from the walkway, some of the grasses seem to have their feet in the water while other plants are tamped down into trails. Looking more closely I see that the water and grasses are woven together quite untidily. There are no straight edges where the land meets the bay. Like the swans in the water, there is an at-home-ness within the bay and these grasses.
What kind of at-home-ness do we humans have with the creatures around us? We often think of our skin as our edge, but is it? Our emotions can be pierced by another’s words or actions. Enthusiasm that enlivens teachers spills out, making our least favorite topics leap to life and stirring our souls. The farmers market, with its earthy rawness and array of seasonal colors, comes home in nourishing meals that energize our bodies. We are all interconnected. The challenge of awareness remains.
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As they reach the shoreline only some of the waves spill over into frothy foam. The rest gently lap at the beach, leaving behind a smooth wet stretch of sand before receding back into the lake. As my husband traps the sight in his camera, I stand and watch this ancient dance of waves and shore. And I am transported into God’s embrace. The continuous rhythm is comforting, for I know that God’s embracing love is offered over and over and over again. It is I who need to be awake to the constant, tumbling, generous movement of God.
(copyright October 2009)