Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week of Mercy: Day 6

I am so utterly helpless. As I prepare once again to write tonight, I know that I can do nothing without the grace and mercy of God.

To help myself prepare, I re-read my last few posts on mercy. Where did these things come from? I was moved nearly to tears as I read them - and yet how can this be, if I wrote them?

If even for a moment, I begin to feel a pride in what I do here, I have fallen from grace. I am not saying this to negate whatever good God has given to me or through me. Rather, I am continually being taught to recognize that it is indeed God who does the giving, not me. I could not do any of this alone.

As mentioned before, my spiritual brother, Rodger, was so kind as to send me a photo image for each of the seven holy pauses to help me along in this project. More times than not, I have asked him to share why he chose a particular image for the holy pause upon which we were reflecting.

This time was no exception. In fact, this time I was feeling a bit desperate. I wanted to post his image and was waiting...and waiting for his explanation to arrive. I couldn't even tell what it was a picture of much less what it might possibly have to do with mercy.

It was a moment of grace and mercy this evening when his e-mail appeared in my inbox. (I am not good at waiting and trusting and so I had started doubting, becoming fearful that nothing would come...)

Isn't this true of most all of us? It is so hard to wait and to trust. When I cannot see where I am going, when I feel like I am lost in the middle of the ocean, it is hard for me to trust that somehow I will be "found" again. When I don't know why something is happening or how a problem will be resolved, it feels impossibly hard to wait and believe that God is holding me, leading me safely through to a place I cannot see.

Rodger explained to me that the image below is of "Morro Rock". I learned online that it is a "volcanic plug", now considered part of California, that is is estimated to be 23 million years old. For thousands of years, it has been a sacred place for two different native tribes. Only members of those tribes are allowed to climb its rocky surface for their annual ceremonies. All others are prohibited from doing so for the sake of the birds that find sanctuary there.

Rodger shared with me two images of mercy that he associates with this immense rock. He could imagine himself being a sailor out in the vast ocean, desperately seeking a landmark and breathing a sigh of relief at spotting the familiar Morro Rock emerging from the sea. Rodger also shared that he could imagine himself being a weary bird, longing to find refuge from humans and mercifully coming upon this rocky haven.

Places become sacred when they speak to us of God. This ancient sacred place has been speaking for thousands if not millions of years.

Tonight it speaks to us. It reminds us there there is One who is ever watching and waiting to guide us in our lostness. It assures us that He will always protect us and give us sanctuary in His endless mercy.

Let us take up our rest there, tonight and always.

Photo by Rodger, reprinted with permission (editing and text by me).