Urgency

“How much does one imagine, how much observe?
One can no more separate those functions than divide light from air,
or wetness from water.”

Elspeth Huxley

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

Leonardo da Vinci

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(Remnants of stain glass, Bunratty Castle / County Clare / Julie Cook / 2015)

At some point or another, we will all find ourselves at a crossroads.
We will be confronted by a choice.
Left?
Right?
Perhaps even, back….

It will be at such times that the Spirit of God will be resting His hand upon our shoulder.
He will be nudging, or perhaps pulling, or more urgently yanking us…
For the path we are to choose is crucial…dare one might even say, dire.

We certainly may not discern the current quandary of choice in direction as spiritual…
especially if we do not consider ourselves to be such…
In fact, as we stand before this choice of left, right or back,
the last thing we are considering is our belief in a god…
or whether God would be, could be, the source of our quandary.

Beginning this blog 3 or 4 years ago (I’ve lost track) my initial desire was to sprinkle out a few little cookie crumbs here and there….a little bit of this and that…always with a spiritual sense about it all, but still more hodge podge than not.

Then a trip to Ireland and an encounter with someone I’d never known prior, and all of what I thought or imagined changed.

My original intent for dabbling in writing, sharing and creativity were keyed more into my life’s experiences—that of retired high school teacher, artist, Christian, wife, mother, daughter of a man living with Alzheimers, a lover of cooking, an adopted child, etc….

But then all of that shifted after Ireland.

It’s not so much that one must take some grand adventure or trip in order to feel something seismic…
not in the least.
Seismic can take place sitting in ones car while stuck in rush hour traffic.
It matters not the place nor time for seismic.
When the Spirit touches our shoulder,
and the original intentions lift, revealing our truer purpose,
that is when we can begin to finally see with the utmost clarity.

And it just so happened that I felt that seismic shift while sitting at a dinner table in a country not my own.

No longer did I feel compelled to rattle on about the random, but I felt a sense of urgency in speaking the Truth.
The Truth as in the Word of God.

Not like some itinerate tent evangelist.
It’s not like I’d been down some crazy bad path in life, had some catastrophic mishap, then bam,
it was a religious conversion of the utmost that needed sharing.

No, it wasn’t any of that…
actually quite the contrary.

I am not a fundamentalist.
I am not a Pentecostalist.
I am not gregarious in my faith.
I am not a theologian who is versed in every verse of scripture or translation of the bible.
Nor am I a mystic who has visions.
No, I’ve never had a vision…migraines yes, visions no.

Yet I knew last fall that my sharing, my words, my offerings were no longer to be my own.
There was a sense of urgency placed in my being—
time was / is of the essence.

God, His Truth and His Word…have never been readily accepted by man.
For we are a fickled lot.
Our internal struggle for independence often precludes our understanding of need.

The filters of the world have always lowered over our eyes, changing our view of the Truth…
Altering our perception of what is real and what is false
We have been told lies and we have allowed those lies to become our truth….

The lies are slick, told by a master in telling tales.
They come guised in forms which speak to our brokeness…
To those areas where we are least secure.
They speak to our ego and bravado and to our desire to having it all.

They are thinly veiled in soothing comfort…
as they tell us that we truly are ok and that our desires are, in turn, also ok.

We are told that we can have our cake and eat it too.
We are told that everything goes as long as we are happy..
because isn’t that all that matters…our happiness?

We are fed a bunch of garbage about fairy tales and fables..
That the stars point more to Life’s truth than the supposed Word of an unseen made up god.
Yet within those stars is found His very hand…

His word is mocked and scorned as are those who claim it as their own.
Misguided, ignorant, weak, clueless lemmings chasing after that which is
neither seen, felt nor heard…

That is until we stand at the crossroads,
a place we will each find at ourselves at one point or another…
We will have to decide…
Left?
Right?
or back

That internal struggle will rage…
and you will either try and ignore it or you will know it for what it is…
and at that point, everything will become clear and you will never be the same…

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

Star of Wonder

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

(refrain from the carol “We Three Kings of Orient Are”

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(three images of the same etched star on an antique weathervane / Julie Cook / 2014)

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Matthew 2:2

Men of science, astronomy, astrology, letters and words, who had studied the heavens, the alignment of the stars and the visible planets, as well as spending countless hours deciphering the venerable manuscripts of days gone by, knew that something seismic was soon set to take place. Something so epic, which was far greater than anything they or any living man had ever seen or studied before, was about to turn the world upside down.

Three very learnéd, dare we say, wise men, most likely from Persia or perhaps even the Far East, were the ancient equivalents of modern day storm chasers. They “saw” that something cosmic and life changing was soon to take place and they wanted more than anything to go directly to the source of this most significant event.
They plotted and planned.
They cross referenced information.
They eventually collaborated and corroborated one another’s findings.
They made educated conclusions.
And the only remaining option was to physically document their findings.

They set out in search of the phenomenon. . .
They most likely traveled individually at first, unaware that others were making the same journey of discovery. Then perhaps along their travels, they eventually meet one another, each in pursuit of the miraculous, welcoming a fellow scholar in search of history.
Each man was determined to “see” with their own eyes the predicted event which they knew, without a doubt, would change life as it was known forever.

They rode for hundreds of miles, day and night, continually looking skyward, checking the alignment of one particular star. It was the brightest of brightest of stars. They also read and reread new and old data, plotted and ciphered over their scrolls and maps, eventually making their way to a far-flung Roman outpost in the province of Judea. They sought out and introduced themselves to the region’s megalomaniac ruler, Herod the Great.

Herod, a man whose only allegiance was to himself, saw in these three foreign wealthy wise kings a potential boon to his greedy power-hungry appetite for they were carrying great wealth as gifts for this prophesied event of which they spoke. Yet as they spoke, it became clear that their vision, their predicted monumental life changing event, was to be but a mere birth.
A birth of a king they proclaimed.
But this was not to be just any king.
This was to be a king of all kings.
Suddenly Herod’s gracious yet sly welcome turned to the defensive as a new threat seemed to be appearing upon his kingdom’s landscape.

He bid these strange foreign kings farewell as they set out on the completion of their journey for they knew that their destination was close at hand. Yet Herod gave instructions for the wise kings to return to his court for a grand celebration following their adventure’s end, as he was anxious to hear all about this newly born king they were to soon meet.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Matthew 2:9-12

And so it was, just as predicted, that the heavens foretold and would lead and direct great men of wealth and wisdom to a desert village and a humble barn, in order to witness not a mere birth of a mere baby, but rather they were to witness a cataclysmic event which reverberated throughout the entire universe.

Wise men sought him.
Wise men who knew enough that it was to this King’s throne who they, great men of wealth and wisdom, were to yield and bow down.
As it takes a wise man to know when he has met one who is much greater than himself.