Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gathering Bread, Gathering Images

 
 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Luke 13:34
 

Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Luke 9:58
 
 
 
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:28-9


We're waist-deep into Lent now, slogging through this dry and dusty wilderness.  In the beginning there was a burst of buzz about it, but now this journey, started with a sense of vision and purpose, has somehow morphed into what feels like aimless wandering. 
Forty days really is a long time for our restless hearts to hold steady.  The anxious disciples couldn’t stay awake and pray for even a few short hours, so how can we expect any better from our own weary, prone-to-wander souls?
For forty days, though, Jesus stayed; forty days of peeling back and grinding down until his real identity shone through like a diamond in the rough. 
For forty years the Israelites wandered; forty years of stooping to gather manna day-in and day-out.   
As I looked through Stanley Spencer's beautiful series of paintings on Christ in the Wilderness I realized that so many of the images Jesus used later in his ministry must have originated from his time in the wilderness.  As he waited, fasting and praying, Jesus watched and observed the foxes and wolves, the flitting birds, the dancing flowers and as he spoke he would return to these images again and again.  Images gained while waiting there in that seemingly empty place, images gathered like manna in the desert.  

This gives me hope as I wander my own way through these last tearful days of winter.  Maybe these long, dry days are actually filled with the things that will sustain me in the days ahead.  Maybe gathering the bread that falls daily is enough to change everything, not only because it fills me today, but because of the way these repeated gestures, the bending and gathering, shape my soul. 
Time spent in the wilderness of Lent, the wilderness of life, shapes us as we shed, ever so slowly, that which encumbers.  The eyes of our hearts are awakened to the small stones, the crumbs of vision that we will carry with us when we emerge from these dark and empty days, when we come forth, living, like One rising from a tomb. 

This post is linked with Imperfect Prose, click on the button to the right to visit the site.

13 comments:

  1. "Time spent in the wilderness of Lent, the wilderness of life, shapes us as we shed, ever so slowly, that which encumbers. The eyes of our hearts are awakened to the small stones, the crumbs of vision that we will carry with us when we emerge from these dark and empty days, when we come forth, living, like One rising from a tomb."

    These words are for me. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, Brenna, I'm glad to hear that. Thanks for stopping by and commenting and blessings as you wait for Easter morning.

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  2. Kelly, your words encourage deep meditation. i'm thankful for the way you always call me to that serene place where passion can only be birthed by ravishing the Presence.
    and i'm with Brenna. love those last lines so much.

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  3. Hello. Came here from IP.

    Gotta love those vision crumbs. When God touches us even the memories of it will sustain us through the dry times. They can be frustrating too, because sometimes we just want to give up. God apparently knows what He's doing though.

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    1. Thanks for jumping over, Josh. "apparently," yes. :)

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  4. and yet we tend to run from the wilderness, the desert, preferring life n the mountain tops

    let us be where You most need us, to suit Your purposes Lord, to grow us as You wish

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    1. There comes a time, too, when you're just too tired to run and, sometimes, maybe that's how God gets us where we're supposed to be. Thanks for stopping over!

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  5. I've thought often during Lent about the way the disciples fell asleep. How our spirit is willing but flesh oh so weak. I love those images and your thoughts take me to place of pondering deep. Thankful for this early morning meditation. And I do think the dry days, the way we embrace them, is what helps to sustain our soul down the road.

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    1. Yes, the disciples falling asleep was so human and yet I wonder if there was grace in it too, protecting them from what they couldn't bear to endure.
      I'm tying to learn not to begrudege to moments I find myself in, there's always something to be found and the future doesn't always promise to be carefree. I gather bread, gather images, where I can. Thanks so much for stopping by, Shelly.

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  6. a drink of water in this wilderness of Lent. blessed, blessed, blessed.

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  7. oh, my, Kelly, you slay me every time. and i LOVE those paintings, paired with the verses. your heart is so beautiful.

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