Tags: respect

ruth 2

Devotion

Wondering about this...

I'm inclined to respond to life with an attitude of respect, wonder, and delight. It's the attitude of the tea ceremony, where each item is handled with care and quiet joy. The atmosphere is structured, almost reverent, as the attendees soak in the beauty of the garden, the flower arrangement, the poetry, the tea, and the fellowship. Mono no aware. There never was and never will be another moment exactly like this one. And so it is appreciated and celebrated.

It's the feeling of standing up to read Scripture at the Christmas Eve service. I know that I'm bearing the Holy Word of God to the congregation. It's a sacred duty, as I, with my own voice, speak the words of grace and truth to those who are listening. And then, as we light the candles, I feel the flicker of the little flame lighting my face. And my heart fills with peace and joy as we sing praises to God by the candlelight.

It's the mode I enter when handling essential oils. These unique and precious substances which God has given us for health. I carefully drop one drop at a time, in just the proper proportions, blending them for each individual need. Enjoying the aromas as I do, ah! And I say a little prayer, that the Lord might use this for blessing and healing in this person's life.

I've never really had a word for this experience, but in high school I called it appreciation. It's a feeling of respectful delight in the face of a thing of meaning and value. It's approaching things with care and handling them with love. Or it can simply be the recognition of the sanctity of this moment - whether it's pleasant or difficult, there will never again be this moment. In all of these, I sense the kindling of praise within my heart. Of course, I must be careful of whether I will praise the Living God or the temporal experience before me. I've wrestled back and forth on this. Do I snuff out this ceremonial tendency in myself? Or is there a way to present it to the Lord for His glory?

I think I've been clamoring for a long time, looking for a role to fit this reverent soul into. I didn't feel called to career or family. I couldn't be a religious leader. So what then? Wasn't there a role for one such as me? I still don't have an answer on that, but I'm giving myself a little space to reconnect with my own religious tradition and the Scriptures. Even if Jehoshabeath cannot serve at the temple, she can still treasure God in her heart. And that's what I'm seeking to do now.

Lord, You are the One who has entrusted me with this heart. It's been quite confused. Please give your little student peace and help me to steward this gift well, for Your glory.

shabbat

Tradition of Faith

I've been reflecting on some threads or themes in my life.

The joy I felt when I learned to sing the Amidah prayer from my Jewish prayerbook. The peace of reading along with the morning and evening prayers. Refreshment of soul when I celebrated the Jewish Shabbat - lighting candles, enjoying homemade challah bread, and studying the Scriptures.

In church, singing along with hymns that have been sung for hundreds of years. Even thousands of years, when we sing the ancient Christian hymn Of the Father's Love Begotten. The delight and devotion of reading Scripture at church and lightning the Christmas candles with the congregation.

Reading the writings and prayers of the Puritans long before me. Sharing a devotional reading schedule with an entire church.

Studying ancient history, especially Near Eastern history and language. Tracing my lineage back to Adam through so many people, places, and times. Connecting back with history and my own roots in this world.

There's something about connecting with the ancient roots of my faith that fuels the life-flame in me.

I think I'm cut in the mold of a devout person, but it's hard to hold this posture in a secular, godless world. I'm inclined toward respect, appreciation, wonder, awe, and reverence. I'm drawn to this in forms like the Japanese tea ceremony, blending essential oils, or collecting items which hold meaning for me. Treasuring and protecting. If there were a role for a single, Christian female as one who tends the fire in the temple, that's where you would find me. Holding the censer close to my heart.

So, in this world, where does one such as this fit?