Monday, March 30, 2015

Palm Sunday {A Poem}

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey's colt!”
John 12:13-15, ESV

In high school, just shy of the first anniversary of my conversion to trusting only in Christ for my salvation, I wrote a poem on Holy Week for a poetry project for Mrs. Best's English class. Then I put the words to music, for reasons I don't recall except that choral and piano music filled much of my life then. Yesterday, Palm Sunday for the Western church, I remembered this and thought to share it here, a virtual back-up for the family album. As far as I know, it's the earliest poem I still possess.

The music is already yellow and tearing around the edges. My faith, too, shows some wear and tear since those early days. The writing and theology (especially the third stanza) are pretty immature, but for this post I'll leave the piece be as a reminder of the incremental nature of so much of our growth in understanding Scripture, our growth in knowing God. In many areas, we don't even know what we don't know. At no point in our walk with Christ do we fully understand the fullness of revelation, but with grace we can learn more as we go. Rather than "gospel truth," please regard this (anything on this blog, for that matter) as an old snapshot of my understanding of the Passion of Christ and take only the Word of God as your authority and mine.

"Hosanna in the highest!"
The little children cried
When they the King of kings did spy
As He on donkey nighed.

They spread their garments on the road;
Palm branches did they wave.
They welcomed Him, the Lord of hosts,
And royal reception gave.

This sip He had of earth's sweet wine
Caused many a tear to fall
When He a bitter cup did drink
Beyond that garden wall.

He soon stood next to Pilate as
His people a murd'rer freed.
As for their King, they shouted,
"On us let His blood be!"

All this was but a shadow that
Before the Lamb did lie;
As people shouted blessings,
He a lonely cross did spy.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Day of Celebration

Christmas Day 2014
Today is my Amore's birthday, although it doesn't feel like it. He celebrated early with his colleagues, church friend, and me because we had travel plans this weekend. Then I acquired my third cold and sinus infection since Thanksgiving, so now we're home after all with no special plans. (Family circumstances have provided additional confirmation of the decision, so we're at complete peace with the change.)

But still it is a special day, a day of celebration: the anniversary of my beloved's birth and the anniversary of the night he asked to court me.

Will you indulge a fond wife, then, if she offers a few things she loves about him? If not, you should probably close this browser tab now.

He is wonderful with Ebony, who acknowledges him as the Alpha Dog of our household. Ebony will obey Amore when he has been completely ignoring me, for example, when Eb is refusing to interrupt his perimeter sweep of the backyard though I'm calling him inside. All Amore must do is appear in the doorway and say his name, and he'll come running. Ebony may be my shadow and protective detail, but he has no rest in the evening until he has claimed his spot cuddled up against his master on the loveseat.

He is just as talented with our young nephews. Amore is the uncle who wrestles with them, lifts them high above his head so they can pretend to fly, slings them over his shoulder as "a sack of treasure" when they're playing pirates, and has occasionally even been known to join them on their trampoline. Thunder especially adores snuggling up to his uncle whenever possible. His way with them makes me unreasonably happy.

He is a gifted leader who seems to rise to the top of every group, whether at church, at work, or on the mission field. There's something in his quiet manner that inspires respect and communicates credibility. He's comfortable speaking to a crowd in a way that boggles my mind.

That said, if he doesn't know the answer to your question, he is willing to say, "I don't know," or I'll find out."

He serves me well and patiently, even when I fall ill at the least opportune moments or back the car into the garage door. Even when my computer dies in the midst of the holidays and the class he's teaching. Even when ants invade my office on a Sunday afternoon. Alas, none of these is a hypothetical scenario.

We share a goofy sense of humor and enjoyment of plays on words and puns, for which I'm so grateful. If I can make him grin or even laugh, it's the highlight of my day, even if said laugh is at my expense.

And don't even get me started on how handsome and distinguished-looking he is or how his eyes change color subtly depending on mood and clothing.

After 16 years, I'm still smitten with him. Happy birthday, my love!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No Regrets and Throwing All to the Winds

"I give you as a precious jewel a word from Colossian Studies which came to me afresh this morning. It is Bishop Moule's rendering of  'Unto all pleasing' (chapter 1.10). 'To all meeting of His wishes--so as not only to obey explicit precepts but as it were to anticipate in everything His 'sweet, beloved will' always, everywhere.' This is life. No other life is worth living. The Lord make it true of your life and of mine.

"Looking ahead, if He tarry, I can see for you attack of many kinds, painful days, travail. But this I know:  you will regret nothing when you look back, except lack of faith or fortitude or love. You will never regret having thrown all to the winds in order to follow your Master and Lord. Nothing will seem too much to have done or suffered, when, in the end, we see Him and the marks of His wounds; nothing will ever seem enough. Even the weariness of deferred hope will be forgotten, in the joy that is not of earth. And even now the overweights of joy are often more than we had asked or thought.

"I shall not fear difficulties for you, for I know 'it is the very work of grace to transform difficulties into opportunities'--a word of Paget's The Spirit of Discipline which I have proved true. But I shall ask that the greater the difficulty, the more abundant the supply of love may be, so that you will love your way through all and prove the conquering power of love--eternal love."

   ~Amy Carmichael, Candles in the Dark, bold emphasis mine

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring Tea at the Arboretum

For Christmas and my birthday combined, my sister Mezzo promised to take me to the Dallas Arboretum for afternoon tea. Our coldest, iciest weather arrived late in the season, but the forecast offered milder fare this week, so we made our reservations.

Yesterday we met at her home and went to our tea at the DeGolyer House inside the Arboretum grounds. The morning proved overcast rather than the promised sun, and the clouds meant a slight chill lingered even past eleven o'clock.

We had a lovely feast of a meal with our server Nelson looking after us as graciously as though we were the ladies of Downton Abbey. Soup, tea sandwiches, three different hot teas, scones, and sweets more than filled our stomachs, and the lovely environment, fireplace, and classical background music soothed our souls as we caught up on our lives.

The sun began to burn away the clouds and warm the air as we emerged from the restaurant, and we walked through the beginnings of spring color in the gardens before leaving to return to the joys and pains of everyday life.


Photo credit: Mezzo

Photo credit: Mezzo

DeGolyer House exterior

Double tulip

Double tulip

Dinosaur Kale


(There really are lovely photos of Mezzo and of the two of us, but as yet I do not have permission to post those here. If that changes, I will return and update the post.)