Monday, September 3, 2018

The Concert

It's been 4 weeks and I'm still quite delightfully surprised, nearly giddy, actually... about my harp concert at the Leonard Grimes Amphitheater. John and I are going to another concert out there tonight and I'm having all these wonderful flashbacks about my event as memories are flying through my thoughts. I must give witness to what happened and how I felt.
The new Leonard Grimes Amphitheater at Grime Farm, just west of Marshalltown.




Here's my statement and I'm sticking to it:  God made the impossible possible.





While being honored with the invitation to play,  I was also worried and scared. To say I was filled with fear is a pathetic understatement. I WAS SCARED. My friend Carrie invited me to play a concert at the Amphitheater built in honor of her father. She said, "I really want to hear your harp here." I was touched and in a moment of weakness, I agreed to play; a date was set for an hour long concert. I was to be the 2nd concert of a 4 concert series at the Leonard Grimes Amphitheater.


The first concert of the series was successfully played by the ever-popular Bob Dorr Blue Band who has a large following here in Iowa  I got that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach as John and I walked into that concert; the place was packed. People came. There was no place to park. People were dancing and truly enjoying the event. How could I, a lonely harpist, follow this?? It seemed like an impossibility.


I knew from the start a lonely harpist was not going to cut it so I invited my harp teacher to join me. She immediately turned me down wanting no part in this outdoor venue an hour and a half from her home in August, her slow month. So I asked Judy, a local flutist, to join me. And... I asked some friends to waltz to one of my songs. They didn't want to do this, but agreed. Boy, do I owe them... At the last minute, I invited the Jubilee Accordion Trio to play. Yay!


Be reminded, dear reader, that all this time, I. Am. Scared. I'm praying and praying and praying... for skill, for wisdom, for ideas, for HELP... even for rain to cancel the whole event... for this would get me out of this impossible.


I'm all about playing the harp as ministry. I can play a funeral or play bedside for someone in pain or play under prayer and communion all day long. These are worship and ministry settings and my heart is all over these situations. I jump in. However, a CONCERT setting is a whole new ballgame. Generally, it is not ministry; it's more a show of skill and talent and a certain amount of entertainment is required. Will people listen? Should I tell jokes??


I kept reading the same passages from Luke 12  in my New Living Translation Bible day after day:

"Jesus said, "Don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough to eat or clothes to wear. For life consists of far more than food and clothing.... Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! And if worry can't do little things like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?"

Ok, so I shouldn't worry... yea right... But then He goes on to say this:

"These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but Your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom."

Ok. I need to bring in the Kingdom; that's who I am: a Kingdom-bringer-inner.  I can do that. I would play "Always Praise" and explain what it means and the process of how I wrote it. Hello Kingdom!  Ok. One song is possible.

2 weeks before my concert, a tornado hit our community. I was composing a song on my blue electric Camac harp as the sirens went off. I thought I'd write some oddly modern composition about a sunrise for the concert. Change of plans. I'd write a tornado song after our electricity comes back on (5 days later.)  More about that in another blog as this one is getting too long...

The concerts that are the most fun, in my opinion, are the ones in which the performer speaks to the audience in witty repartee... There lies another BIG ISSUE! When I speak in front of people, I lack the witty part. I stumble. I say odd things. Sometimes I cackle at odd moments. There is nothing natural in me when it comes to speaking to large groups of people. This is a HUGE ISSUE and I embraced being scared and worried over this impossibility.

But I must bear witness that this passage in Luke 12 is true:

"When you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."

I was not on trial, but I was defending the beauty of the harp and my ability to perform on it. I was defending my heart's intent on bringing the Kingdom and sharing my motives for songwriting. I was sharing my soul right there in front of everyone... so I wasn't on trial, but I was being judged.

So...  The concert happened and all went well! I spoke well! I played well!  My hands did not shake....  The audience listened intently; most all 230 of them were quiet and hanging on my notes and words.  My friend Carrie cried with happiness over how successful the concert was. I must say the fear melted off and I relaxed into it and flowed; or I should say the Spirit flowed... He was witty! He used me to speak and play for this audience. It was everything I hoped...



Why why why did I worry so? Why was I so scared? Why did I lose so much sleep? Why did it feel so impossible?

Forgive me, Lord, I didn't trust as I should. You showed me in plain sight what Your Word says. You were right there; this is Your MO.  You cared. You made a way. You are calling me into a higher level of trust. You are teaching me through this concert to lean back into you and trust for the impossible.

How can I possibly thank you enough! It will take a lifetime of thanks and praise! All glory to You as you made my impossible possible. Oh that the audience would think back about the concert and be reminded of You and how great You are.

"For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." 

This picture of Father God being happy to give me the Kingdom is beyond my imagination.... seems impossible.  How intimate it feels to have God, THE GOD, care about me like this. It fills me with happiness... it gives me great happiness to give You great happiness! That's exactly what I want to do! I'm going to believe this impossible is possible... that it's true.

It's true for you, too.

I'd love to hear how God made something possible for you that seemed impossible... I'd love to hear your story...




Friday, February 16, 2018

My Heart is Confident in You

Ok... It's time to be more confident.

Since beginning retirement, I have been reading (slowly) a Bible that my friend Dotty gave to me about 15 years ago. It's had a very nice spot on the shelf all 15 years, untouched. It is a One-Year Bible in the New Living Translation set up to read some Old Testament, some New Testament, a Psalm and a bit of Proverbs each day. In 365 days, I will have read the entire Bible because it's broken into 365 sessions. This particular One-Year Bible is for women, though I don't see anything particularly woman-y about it. The word 'women' on the cover kind of irritates me.



In May, I started at the beginning with the first day: January 1. Of course, this Bible starts with Genesis and of course, I have read that book many times. Who hasn't? For the last couple of decades, my New Year's resolution has been to read the Bible straight through.  I start at the beginning (Genesis) and get to about Genesis 19, lose my enthusiasm, and quit. So this time, even though Genesis is extremely familiar, each day adds a bit of Matthew, Psalms and Proverbs and... I'm perking right along. Ok. Fine.

Today, I read the passages for March 15 and as you can tell, I'm not reading every day; I read when I can. Who knew retirement would be so busy!

I've read about one fourth of the way through this One-Year Bible. It's not that I don't read the Bible regularly, I read snippets here and there and even meditate and enjoy it. This is just a different way to read, a different setup. It works for me.


Today, I read the story of Balaam and the donkey. This story is hilarious. I must say it's very well written and full of surprises. I've read it before, but today it struck me. It struck me in a New Living Translation Way. I'm serious when I say that in the story the donkey speaks. The donkey and Balaam have a conversation. (Numbers 22 and 23) It kind of makes me want to get a donkey to hear what it has to say. To me!

And today, as a result of my reading, I decided I need to feel more confident.

If God can use an ass to speak His Truth, He can use me. Really.

I can just see God on His mighty throne leaning over to Jesus and saying, "Wait for it... In the 2018, this little 'donkey speak' episode is going to give Janet Collison confidence that I can use her. Hang on to Your crown... this is going to be good!"

Today's Psalm reading included this verse about being confident:

Psalm 57:7 My heart is confident in You, O God. No wonder I can sing Your praises.

No wonder... No wonder I can trust and can be confident in Him. God is the Mighty One and He can use anyone or anything He wants to speak His Truth. Donkey, move over... I'll do this job.

Dear Reader, I know you have a heart for the Lord or you would not be reading this. I urge you to get yourself into reading this fascinating book that is living and true. I encourage you to read a translation you have not read before. Don't start in Genesis as you have perhaps done before but dig into Numbers or something that sounds interesting to you. Do it. Don't wait until you retire.

The Bible will speak to you. It will bless you. It will teach you. It will answer your questions and doubts. It will spark interesting conversations, perhaps not with donkeys.

In December, as part of my daily reading, I was slogging through Leviticus which is the book with all the Jewish laws. That very same day, I had a delightful dinner party conversation with a Jewish man about the laws concerning bodily discharges... yes, that is in the Bible. We laughed together and I'm sure he was quite taken with my witty conversation... Who would have thought reading the Bible would make me charming at a dinner party?

I pray a great blessing on you that the Holy Spirit will spur you on to read your Bible. Get it open and put your eyes on it. It will be interesting. It will guide you. It will inspire you. It will speak to you. It will make your faith larger and make it easier to believe. There are great blessings to be had. Do it.

Don't wait for an ass to tell you... just do it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Out with the Old?

Look at this sign!

   I could not help but laugh when I saw it up at church yesterday. 
(well actually, it was more of a snort...)

    What!!! 
            No hot chocolate!!! 
                      No cappuccino!!! 
                                  Are you kidding me!!!!

This was absolutely a great decision... Let's get rid of something that gives the church a warm and hospitable feeling in the cold month of January. Let's get rid of this machine that is easily accessible  to anyone coming in off the streets looking for a bit of sweetness and rest. Let's offer a mint instead. Great idea!

It was too old.

It was not used enough.

It needed too much maintenance.

It cost too much.

I have seen entire youth groups gather around that machine like it was their job. I have benefitted from the sugar high that machine puts out when burning the midnight oil up at church. I have persuaded my 5-year-old to attend church because of that machine. Hot chocolate and a donut! Breakfast of champions!

Who doesn't like the hot chocolate/cappuccino machine!  Don't all churches have one??? I would guess it's required equipment!

But then... but then I thought...YIKES!     

I AM TOO OLD.  
           I AM NOT USED ENOUGH. 
                     I NEED TOO MUCH MAINTENANCE. 
                                 I AM TOO EXPENSIVE. 

            And praise God... He didn't get rid... of me.

I mean.. really... 

I've gotten older... and older... but God uses older people all the time. Look at Abraham and Sarah having a baby WAY too late in life. Look at how old the people in Genesis got! Into their 900's! Noah built the boat when he was 600 years old. Certainly I'm not too old to be useful to the Kingdom. Thank Goodness!

I told my daughter that even if I'm really old and really bed ridden and can't really talk, I will still be really praying for her. I'll actually have more time then and less distractions. I promised her...                        I. WILL. BE. USEFUL.

It's true I need a lot of maintenance. I need forgiveness... and blessings... and love... and healing... and the Holy Spirit... I need constant communication with the Father... I need that branch connection to the Vine each and every day.... I need His encouragement... I NEED. But the Father loves to give His children whatever they need. Right?

And yes, I was/am/will always be very expensive. Jesus gave His life for me - that was the ultimate given by His Father. God the Father gave His only Son for me. Jesus died my death to forgive my sin. Oh my... what a cost. Jesus paid it all...

So I praise God and thank Him each day. He thinks I am the 'apple of His eye.' (Ps. 17:8)

And you are, too, dear Reader.  He delights in you. You are the best. You are loved. You will not be thrown out like an old, useless, expensive, high-maintance hot chocolate/cappuccino machine. 

You are never too old...

You are being used by the Kingdom for big Kingdom stuff...

You are being well maintained... Our Father in heaven loves to give us everything we need.

You have already been purchased at a very high cost. 

You are a delight.  His joy.  Valuable.  Prized.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Tarnished

Since retirement in 2017, I have joined the Bell Choir at church. The group is called the Alleluia Ringers for a just reason: we truly do say "Alleluia" when we have successfully played a song from the beginning to end during a worship service. We rehearse weekly during the school year and present an anthem at worship once a month. We also do other things like ring at nursing homes and have snacks and chat and laugh and pray and tell jokes. Mostly, we want to glorify God with our musical ringing... that's the main thing.







Our Director is excellent and VERY patient and the most talented and Spirit-led pianist I know. She can play anything the first time through and instantly reinvent more explosive endings on the spot (and I mean this as a high compliment.) She can do all of this with 100% accuracy. If she were a Ringer, she could play a cool dozen bells with one hand behind her back. Accurately. That's who she is. Patient Talent Extreme with Accuracy.









The Ringers, however, are not so accurate but we are working on it. Oh, we have a couple of Ringers that top the talent chart; some of them have played for years. The local high school head band director chooses to play with us and he can ring a couple dozen bells at one time without breaking a sweat (he's young; no hot flashes there.)  A couple other Ringers also know what they are doing and which bell is up. These people even out the Ringers that do not entirely read music. That's true... in a group of musicians where reading music is a prerequisite, some Ringers do not readily read music and rely on their God-given ears to hear the melody and know when to ring. Hear me out, folks. THAT is a real talent....






The Ringers have other talents, too. They can pray like storm troupers. You have an issue? We pray. You don't have an issue? We pray anyway. We pray about everything. We are family and we are all. about. it.









This past week, we Ringers had an additional job to do. We polished the bells. This is an annual job which takes minutes and is performed in perfect coordination amidst much laughter.  The bells are whipped off the tables, long pieces of plastic are whipped on over the tables, the gloves, polish and rags are distributed and the smearing begins:
Step one: apply smelly pink metal polish on bell.
Step two: let dry a bit.
Step three: wipe said polish off with a clean rag until it shines so clearly and brightly that woo's are heard. Seriously, who needs light when these bells are shined.






These bells, which were purchased in 1978, "shine like the top of the Chrysler  building" when they have been redeemed by the polishing cloth. I mean, they SHINE!




But wait... you thought the bells were shiny before we polished them?  Yea, me, too. The blackness on our rags proved the bells had tarnished. A lot. An amazing amount of black came off the bells and onto our trashed rags. The tarnish didn't affect the sound... and no one knew the tarnish was there... but... IT WAS THERE... plain as day... on our rags. Black.

Reading in Philippians 2, I came across the word 'shine.' Here are verses 14-16:

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you SHINE like stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life.



I cannot help but think black tarnish unfolds in my life as complaining and arguing... to name a few of the tarnishing tactics I employ on a daily basis; yuk stuff that I do that affects my 'shine.'  A whole lotta black accumulates on my daily timeline that must be polished off, cleaned up, confessed, forgiven, wiped clean.





Thank You, Jesus. You are the Great Polisher (sounds like a song title!)  Seriously... even if I can hide my tarnish from the people around me, You see it. You gladly polish it away when I confess and ask.

Psalm 51: 10 - 12 (with my added words in parenthesis)

Create in me a clean (untarnished) heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy (shine) of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.

Renew me.

Shine me up.

Redeem me and let me shine like 'the top of the Chrysler building' (any Annie fans out there?) for You. I want to be Your blameless and pure child in this crooked and depraved generation.

Hide me under a bushel NO! I'm gonna let it shine.

And the good news is, Jesus puts my sin... my dirty, black, tarnished rags... in the trash... never to be picked up...  looked at...  or remembered... again.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Irrigate My Soul

Oh my! It's been more than 2 years since I've written anything about anything. You might think that I've fallen off the planet or that nothing has happened in 2 years but that's just not the truth. Many, many things have happened and I'll see if I can resurrect some of the more lofty events. But for now, I  will share a story about a failed garden and a need for irrigation. (Notice I did not say 'irritation.')

I have been thinking about it.

John (the husband) and I have a home high on a mountain in Estes Park, CO. I realize it's an extreme privilege to own this and spend time there. A wonderful meeting up happens out there: our grandson arrives (along with his parents and uncle) and when he gets out of his carseat, he stamps his feet as fast as he can and shrieks and flaps his hands when he sees us. Oh, the joy of seeing all that joy!

(Perhaps that's what I will do when I see Jesus face to face... stamp and shriek and flap...)

There are days when John and I are at the house without family and guests to feed and we take on home-owner projects. This past trip we tackled the garden. It's not large, but it's not small either. The garden has been a special challenge because it is not located in Iowa with Iowa soil and Iowa rain and Iowa seasons; I have the Iowa thing down...
But this garden is at 8500 feet elevation with weather that is terribly Colorado unpredictable.

It has a 6 foot wire fence around it to keep out the deer and elk. Last year, 3 deer jumped the fence and lunched on the delphiniums. I duly chased them out yelling, "What were you thinking?"

Last year, I failed to take seriously the desert-like rainless quality of the summer and my plants died a slow, dry, painful death.

This summer, we fired up the existing irrigation system and watched to see what would come up. Most everything grew well but bloomed not at all. It was a garden full of weeds. I pulled out everything I didn't like as I discovered how ineptly this and that bloomed. Except for the poppies and 3 delphiniums, the garden grew weeds the best.

On one of our hikes this past summer, I dug up about thirty lovely blooming plants on a very remote trail in Rocky Mountain National Park. I gently tucked them into my backpack during the hike and then into the garden ASAP. Every plant immediately died. How rude. I later found out it is terribly illegal to dig in the Park.. it's a no-no.

There was one thing that grew exceedingly well - 2 giant mulleins. I found out through a neighborhood newsletter that mulleins are a terrible nuisance and getting rid of them is a priority. There went THE most beautiful and tallest grower in the garden; the one plant that grew really well was a terrible nuisance with no respect.

My only success: a small patch of poppies and 3 scraggly delphiniums.














Well... I have a dream! I have a goal of filling this garden with colorful beauty and I'm not giving up. We will see who wins this cause - the Colorado environment or me.

Step one: check the existing irrigation system. Does it work? Well no... Mostly it leaked. John dug up all the tubes, pipes and sprinklers for inspection and improvement. Most everything was replaced with new parts and given new locations. The goal was to irrigate every square foot to give all thirsty plants a fighting chance at life.


Step two: plant bulbs. I ordered over a hundred alliums and grape hyacinths and dug them in. Alliums are in the onion family and I'm counting on the tastebuds of deer and elk to reject these beauties. My grandson helped and it took hours to accomplish. Oh, we have... high hopes!
















As I was fixing and planting and planning and digging, I couldn't help but think of my current spiritual life, the garden of my soul. It seems to be growing weeds as well. It's been neglected. It's been too dry. It needs cultivation and irrigation.

I need to plant some good stuff like God's Word... and some prayer cultivation would help me bloom. Regular irrigation by the Holy Spirit would nurture my heart into a more loving relationship with Jesus. It's not that I have given up my faith, it's there. It just needs to grow and do the bloom thing.

I WANT my faith to grow. I want to hear that 'still small voice' and feel the nudges of inspiration from the Spirit. I want to tackle each day with a dose of worship and praise, followed by labor that produces Kingdom blooms and Kingdom beauty. Oh, the joy of it! Abundant joy!

So come, Holy Spirit.

Help me see You at work in my life. Help me to grow and bloom. Pull out those weeds. Cultivate my heart. Plant Your Word. Irrigate my soul.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Escaping the Country of the Blind

My pastor, Craig Luttrell, brought this devotion to our staff meeting this past week and I thought I'd post it for all the world to see - starting with you!  Enjoy!

Escaping the Country of the Blind
by Kyle Idleman from his book"40 Days"

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.
Psalm 119:18

The British author H. G. Wells is most famous for his science fiction novels such as The War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man and The Time Machine. But he also wrote short stories, including one called "The Country of the Blind."

It's a story about a fictional village in Ecuador, nestled high within the Andes. This village had been cut off from the rest of the world and long forgotten. And in this place, everyone in the village was blind.

The blindness had begun long ago due to a disease that caused all the children to be born blind, and it had continued through more than fifteen generations.

One day a lost mountain climber stumbled into the village. He had fallen down a remote peak and miraculously survived without major injury.

It didn't take the climber long to discover that he was the only one in the valley who had sight. No one even understood the concept of sight or had any idea of what seeing meant. These people had long forgotten what it was like to see the majestic mountains around them or the sun washing the clouds with color overhead. There was no descriptions passed along through the ages of what it might be to see. It was not something they understood. The people had no explanation for what their shriveled eyes were or why they were there.

Initially the foreigner tried to describe sight to them and help them understand the concept of sight. But every effort was futile. They didn't understand. In fact, they thought he was crazy and defective. If this man wanted to stay in this land, something had to be done.

And the man wanted to stay. There was a young lady there who had stolen his heart. But a marriage to this insane foreigner was unacceptable to her father and the rest of the village - unless…

A doctor there felt confident he could cure the man with a simple surgery to remove the man's eyes. It was his eyes, after all, that were affecting this man's brain, the doctor declared.  And everyone in the village said, "Thank heaven for science."  The surgery was scheduled.

On the day of his surgery, the man went for a walk. He simply planned to go to a lonely place where the meadows were beautiful and wait until the hour of his procedure. "But as he walked he lifted up his eyes and saw the morning, the morning like an angel in golden armor, marching down the steeps," Wells wrote. "It seemed to him that before this splendor he and this blind world in the valley, and his love and all, were no more than a pit of sin."

So the man kept walking, and he looked up at the mountains with renewed vision and began to see gullies and chimneys where he could climb back through the towering gorge. And soon the man who could see escaped the country of the blind.

Escape
We live in the country of the blind. We experience awakening. God opens our eyes. We're able to see, but it doesn't take long to realize that there are people all around us who think we really need to be cured of our sight.  

We come to church on weekends, and our eyes are opened and conviction comes in our hearts. We know God has spoken to us, but Monday comes and we find ourselves back in the country of the blind.  Everyone thinks we're a little bit crazy; we've taken this too far; and what would really be best is if we would go back to being blind.

Or you come back from church camp after a spiritual awakening. Things are going to be different. But you find yourself in the country of the blind, and the people all round want to cure you of your sight.

This is where we live. And we must continually open our eyes. We must focus on the heights above and press toward the beauty where God wants to draw us.

We must continue to pray David's prayer, that God would open our eyes - each day - so that we might see what God wants us to see even in this country of the blind.

To do
Change your perspective. Plan a retreat. Block off a weekend on your calendar. Or a day. Or an hour, if that's all you can do. The key is to break out of your routine. The goal is to go somewhere to look and to listen, to see the Scripture, to open your eye s and refocus on your heavenly Father. Start now with a walk around your block and pray as you go.

Do you live in the country of the blind?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Communion Faux Pas

So…  Today is Maundy Thursday or as it's also called, Holy Thursday.   I looked up the word Maundy and found it comes from the Latin word mandatum which means commands.  For those of us who celebrate Maundy Thursday, we are reminded that Jesus washed his disciples' feet and commanded them (us) to do likewise which means, in modern terms, our lives are to be full of putting others before ourselves in loving service to them.  Very little foot-washing happens in our society, but there surely is plenty of other things we can do for others that is an expression of love.  This blog today isn't really about that topic, though it probably should be…

Another event that is celebrated on Maundy Thursday is the Last Supper.  This is when Jesus spoke to His disciples and told them to share in His body and blood.  Jesus passed bread (His body) for them to share.  He also passed a cup of wine (His blood) for them to pass and from which to drink.  They (we) were commanded to remember what Jesus did for each of us as He gave His life,  paying the price for our sin, so we can be with Him forever.  Praise God!  My whole life (?) is focused on this fact.

Well, I'm wondering how that Last Supper went.  Was it as smooth as our verses in the Bible make it sound?  How full was the cup?  Did the disciples slosh it about?

The act of taking communion offers an unusual array of experiences in our current times.  It seems every church has its own way of celebrating the Last Supper or Lord's Supper.  Some experiences even have a bit of 'slosh' factor.

My husband John, our son Jack and I attended a different local church one Sunday for no special reason… just because.  I had a Sunday with no responsibilities and as this is rare, we jumped at the chance to see what another church here in town is doing for worship.  I call it continuing ed.

The music was really really good and really contemporary and the message was really inspired.  The pastor is  obviously an excellent teaching pastor and walked the congregation through a description of the temple and how this is foreshadowing of Jesus.  It was terrific!

Next came communion.

This particular church served communion by passing trays of crackers and tiny thimbles of juice in the pews.  Easy, right?  Right out of the chute, I saw this was going to be a problem because the two trays were passed at the same time.  The tray of tiny bits of cracker was handed to the end pew-sitter, followed quickly by a huge tray of thimbles of juice. This meant I would have to juggle the bread tray in one hand and take the next tray of little tiny sipping thimble cups with the other, then take a thimble cup and pass the trays on.  Three hands were needed and I only have two.  I watched other seasoned veterans around me nimbly handle all of this and followed their lead.  John, however had a major problem.

When John took hold of a tiny little sipping thimble, it it didn't budge from the tray holder.  He tried another which also didn't move.  Determined on his third try,  he grasped the tiny little sipping thimble firmly… too firmly... and exploded it right then and there… between his fingers…  in the tray…  in the pew. Displaced juice flew onto Jack, onto the kid in front of Jack and onto the person two rows to the north. They were all sprinkled by the exploding juice.  We saw spots of it on shirts, jackets, and purses and wooden pews.  How such a tiny bit of juice could make such a splash defies logic.






And… of course... we got the giggles right then and there as we were visiting another church here in town… pew-shaking scene-making giggles happened right when we were supposed to be respectful and reverent and remembering.





Much explaining and many apologies were exchanged after the service concluded to those splashed upon with juice sprinkles.  The chances of long-term stains were slim and all were graciously received.  Thank you, gracious church members, for making this communion faux pas a bit easier to live with.

(As a side note, John has trouble with spilling red liquids as written in The Great Spill. 
OH WHAT A MESS…)


The next day, during my Bible reading time (something I'm trying to do more often) I came across a verse in Hebrews that describes the juice sprinkles perfectly:

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He (Jesus) who promised is faithful.  Hebrews 10:22-23


Those juice sprinkles are such a visual!  My heart is sprinkled clean - I experienced it!


Communion juice stands for the blood of Jesus and to be a bit graphic, when He was on the cross, His blood fell out of him and splashed and sprinkled onto those around Him.  Literally.  This verse from Hebrews says that as we are believers in Jesus and confess our sins and trust Him for forgiveness, our hearts are sprinkled clean with His blood.


His blood cleanses my sin.  I need this and I welcome this and the clean conscience that results. Bring on the sprinkling!


Now, dear readers, on a serious note, we all need this blood, for without it, things will not go well for us.  Seriously, there is nothing you and I can do to get rid of sin in our lives.  Nothing.  No amount of right-doing will erase the wrong-doing. You cannot earn it or buy it or use someone else's life or hope enough to be rid of sin and the guilty conscience left in our life because of sin.  It's only through Jesus and His sprinkles of blood that you and I are rid of sin - yes, I know… this defies logic.


 Heap your (my) sin on Him and let Him pay the penalty which He did when He died on the cross.  Pray for this and believe.

So tonight, as you celebrate the Last Supper, remember what Jesus has done - that is our mandatum.  See Jesus' act of service in the washing of feet and do likewise (perhaps don't exactly chase someone with a basin of water - but do something in love) - that is our madatum.

The spilling and giggling?  That's not such a good idea….