Refrigerator Magnets — and Acid Rain

Bible spinePsalm 8

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Lord’s Glory and Man’s Dignity.

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, so some morning this comes into your heart and you just SOAR… right? I mean, for a moment, just the barest fraction of moments… you are utterly rapt in true praise and worship… right? But then… then… the moment drifts away… as the leg cramps, or the chair is uncomfortable, or the day’s appointments intrude on consciousness, or the coffee pot burps, or the dog barks… and the moment is gone, like a soap bubble popping in a stiff breeze.

Gentle Reader, it should come as no surprise that I am a bit strange… that my prayer life is a bit strange.

So it won’t come as a shock to anyone here to say, I had a strange thing happen the other day, as God gave me one of the oddest moments of encouragement I’ve ever known. I invite you into this moment, though it may well stretch the imagination a bit. Forewarning, you want to pull out and dust off your “science fiction mind” for a few minutes. You’ll need some of that “physics – edges of the universe” thinking for just a bit.

Anyhow… the moment started, typically enough, with a moment of pure, clean, clear praise/worship prayer. Kinda like what the heart feels/experiences with we gently move through that 8th Psalm up there… just this beauteous, lovely, moment lost in Him…

So far, so good… for like… nanoseconds…

Then, it starts… all the little frailties, foibles, distraction, sparkly bits, chaotic cats… like my mind/spirit is a little bar magnet tied on a shoelace, being dragged through a pan full of metal shavings! By the time I come to the “Amen”, I can scarcely recall the essence of the Heavenly Throne where I started…

And that depresses me. That disturbs me. I… ** watch me draw myself up in my very best monastic dignity here **... I… am a GROWNUP, gosh-darnit! And I should be capable of maintaining a train of thought longer than my  caboose linked directly to His locomotive.

For I realize that it is the Lord Himself, who BEGINS every worship, praise or prayer. It is the impulse of the Holy Spirit, towards His Own Person… the Father… through the Son… that sets up the “cycle”, the “convection” of prayer, thanksgiving or praise that we are privileged to “ride along with”, like surfing a wave of grace that upholds the omniverse.

I realize that!

I just get so frustrated that before hitting the beach, almost at the same moment I catch the initial wave… I suddenly have to pull every bit of seaweed, flotsam, jelly fish, seashell, foam… and every other thing I encounter, up onto the board with me. I NEVER get there with a “pure intention”… with simple, straightforwardness… with a clean heart.

(You may recall, for years I really felt down on myself for that. Then, a couple years ago now… Jesus sat down alongside me when I was in one of these mini-tantrums, put His arm around my shoulders, and said, “Little Monk… I KNOW this. I’ve ALWAYS known this. And I embrace and treasure you… AND this… always! Now, if I embrace this truth of you, don’t you think you can too? Without all this regret?”)

So, I learned to “shrug” rather than condemn, accepting this frailty as my human condition, knowing by faith that the Lord receives the “prayer of my heart”, my “will”, my “intention”, despite all the debris I hang on it by the time I release it.

So, the other night, I found myself “shrugging this off”. As simple praise that started so clear, got tangled in other thoughts and ideas by the “Amen”. I didn’t fixate on it… I just “shrugged” and carried on, wrapping a silent “I’m sorry” around my thoughts, as I continued to pray.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s when God did this incredible thing.

He stopped me.

“O Little Monk!” He laughed, compassionately. “You try so hard, you work so hard, and you SO miss the point. Let Me try to fix this a moment!

“Behold… here is what you see…”

And I saw my “convection” model… like rain forming in the clouds. The water up there, in the atmosphere at high altitude, is largely crystal. It is pure, it is clean, like “ice”… it is pure water. At some point, temperature, humidity, pressure, wind, come together in just the right proportions and “rain” begins to descend from the heart of a cloud. THAT is pure water. Like the environment impels the cloud, and the cloud responds releasing a drop of pure water.

Hadrian’s Arch at the Acropolis, Athens, 2005, marble blackened and corroding from acid rain. Photo by Marcok

Like, the Holy Spirit impels the heart in God, and the heart/mind/spirit responds releasing a drop of pure… “prayer”.

But then, as that drop from the raincloud falls, it passes through haze, smog, dust, dirt, smut. It picks up “stuff”, some of which is really “bad stuff”. These days, the world is losing (every day) irreplaceable artifacts, architecture, and art to “Acid Rain”. By the time that raindrop falls to earth, it picks up enough pollution and toxicity that it’s dissolving the details of stone carved hundreds or thousands of years ago.

This is sad. This is how I saw my prayer. God agreed… this made me sadder, not relieved! I was confused.

“But wait!” He said. “That is only how YOU see it. How YOU experience it, Little Monk. Your drop has to ‘fall down’, has to filter on through your own mind and consciousness (complete with all your ‘stuff’), before YOU get to your ‘Amen’. So YOU experience it as polluted, watered down, and vastly short of what the Holy Spirit called it forth to be.”

“Yes, Lord. That’s true.” I nodded, not quite following Him.

“But don’t you see, Little Monk? I am NOT you! I do NOT work that way! I do not have to ‘wait for your Amen’. For Me, I am there, I am present in the moment of your RESPONSE. Let Me show you.”

And He showed me an “impulse of the Holy Spirit”… Um, imagine a “spark”, triggering a “heartbeat”. So there is a moment of a “call to worship”, or a moment of “thanksgiving”, or a moment of “loving petition or intercession”…  like a laser ray, shining like a beacon towards the Father’s heart.

And, for a moment of response, I JOIN with that. For a time, however brief, my attention is focused entirely on Him, and/or on the person being loved and prayed for. For however brief a time, *I* am OUT of the loop. The prayer is “selfless” in the right sense of that.

But then, as I watched this “reconstruction”, I started moving further down the timeline, to where it gets polluted, and He said…

“STOP! Don’t DO that! THAT’s what you are not understanding. That’s what I want you to see here and now. That is what YOU do, what YOU experience… but not Me. Let me show you how I see that same prayer…”

** Now here’s where it gets a bit more weird, Gentle Reader. Just try to ride with me here **

But imagine a visible “time line” in front of you. Like a “number line” back when you were in grade school math. And imagine that on that Time Line you can see the… whatever the period was… lots of seconds, a few seconds, one second, nanoseconds…. whatever… where that RESPONSE to the call of the Holy Spirit (that “pure prayer of will and heart”) was demarcated, before magnetic sticky stuff started to glom onto it.

Right… now imagine that God just “magnified” that section of the timeline in front of you, so that it wasn’t just “inches” anymore, but “feet”, then “yards” then “miles”…. Now imagine that instead of just ONE dimension… (a time LINE), it became TWO… a surface, like a landscape of miles…

I watched this. I watched this nanosecond, become an entire landscape… a landscape of worship of Him, praise of Him, submission to Him, adoration of Him. It became light reflecting His Light, and He “reveled” in it. He wrapped Himself with it like a coat, and derived great joy from it.

“THIS, Little Monk. This is how I see everyone, anyone’s, response to the Spirit’s impulse to prayer, praise, or petition. Time means NOTHING to Me. I am NOT subject to Time. I capture and treasure moments when My children simply love and trust Me. No matter how short those moments seem to them.

“I can come here anytime. This nanosecond of yours, is like a millennium to Me. I take such moments as these, and preserve them in My heart… like you take the drawings of your grandchildren, and stick them on your refrigerator door… as you did their mother’s before them. Little Monk… EVERY time a child of Mine responds with love to a moment of Spirit… I capture and treasure that moment, like a canvas. I save it in My ‘forever’… like you on your refrigerator door.

“Try to stop focusing on the Acid Rain. I know you see it, but I do not. I see this… and in My House are many refrigerators… and the doors… the doors are huge. Think of those, and enjoy the moments.

“We’ll discuss the Acid Rain more later. But for now, just keep making the artwork. I’ve plenty of room left on your refrigerator door.”

And He hugged me, and returned me to my regularly scheduled dimension.  I felt much better. How about you, Gentle Reader?

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Refrigerator Magnets — and Acid Rain

  1. Little Monk, my compatriot in Christ; I hope and PRAY you feel the hugs and more hugs and love hugs coming your way over the miles!!! 🙂 You answered your own “rhetorical” question and when you hit on the “time” aspect, I WAS soaring! How like the Holy Spirit to bond minds, hearts and spirits in such a way that HIS “thread” of being is interwoven through and connecting each of us who love Him so!!

    You made me FEEL your frustration, for I myself have experienced that same thing so many times until I had my “epiphany” moment; but there is no way I could have explained it as visually, as understandably as you just did!

    The fact that we are still “chained” to time while living with this shell, really does distort our perspective on the spiritual, until within that nano-second you described we realize our Heavenly Father and Redeemer sees all, is in all AND never leaves us nor forsakes us and thus is aware of our spiritual heart condition that DOES beat outside of time!

    I would imagine that if we were to actually be able to view our “worship of the Father in spirit and in truth” it would be just like you imagined, in the spirit, a beam of light brighter than any laser heading boldly before the Throne of the Father and being absorbed with such joy and love and in that nano-moment of existence we could see the “joy and love light” of the Father returning back to our spiritual hearts and strengthening us spiritually!!! (Nehemiah 8:10b)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful and not too “science-fictiony” description and analogy! God bless you abundantly for this, truly starting my day out right!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Pastor Roland,

      I’m so glad these words resonate so deeply in and for you. I would truly love to “accept credit” for finding such images and analogies… but truth be told… I really just report the experience. Am I bright? Well, I’ve been accused of that from time to time. But THIS stuff… sorting out these little mysteries and questions I post from time to time…

      I’ve got to be honest. I just see what I see, hear what I hear, and try to get it down in words without messing with it too much.

      Once upon a time, long ago, I used to “explore” the mysteries. I wanted to KNOW! I wanted to know everything… the why… how… when… what… every nut and bolt. And, true to His heart and word, God did indeed explain lots and lots.

      But… always I’d get to a dead end. I’d get to a “true mystery”, where words couldn’t explain any more. And over time, I learned to stop and be at peace with that. A few years ago, God sort of “came into my room” in my mind/brain, and “sorted everything out” putting everything away where He wanted it. Up to then, I’d always been something of a “cat herder”, a “mental messy”, like a kid who’s room you would enter at your own risk.

      He showed me “Silence”. He taught me the riches of “Silence”. I had the privilege of learning to sit in the midst of a barren cosmic plain, and listen to the Heavenly Host sing choruses among the stars. No words. Just the Music. I stopped speaking to Him then. I would be “interrupting the song”. I sat silent, sometimes humming along… but there were no more questions… ever. All my life, I’d had questions. Suddenly, in that wordless Music, were all the Answers.

      And ever since then now, at His own pace, at His own pleasure… I’ve found He comes from time to time, and “explains something”, or “shows something”, or “teaches something”… of those old mysteries that used to frustrate me.

      So now, I just try to find the words to express them, for those who may also have pondered them… and give Him all the glory for the teaching, because… truthfully… I no longer have anything to do with that. He picks the illustrations and examples. I just try to type them straight!

      Keep praising, thanking, worshiping, loving… It all gives Him great Joy! Grace to you — LM

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG!!! LM – you have heard my heart again and wrote it for me! HAHAHA! I am full of such joy over this. Thank you. I am putting link on our Living In Hope FB page…….
    OH! I feel good. 😀 😀 😀
    cate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, Cate…

      Lol. You humble me. Um… I admire YOUR heart so much. You are such a kind, loving…. OK, I’ll stop, because that would embarrass. But seriously, I find you so often an inspiration to “kindness” and gentle hospitality. I am not nearly so “kind” in general. So, your words really move me here.

      I could not be happier to see that these words make/made you “feel good”. That’s awesome!

      I know that the strangest part of this prayer moment the other night, was seeing just a nanosecond of clear clean praise worship… as the Father just “entered into” it, “spread it out”, “stretched it” to His own scale… and “wrapped it around Him” like a comforter, a blanket, or a cloak. It was like I see Jesus wrapping us in His Own Righteousness so often.

      Not only did the Father “bundle up” in it… but… but… (*I really hesitate to say this, because it sounds so… so… irreverent)… but He “snuggled” in it. He embraced it, like we would a warm soft robe on a chill night. He “rejoiced” in it. THAT was the amazing part of the moment…

      When we offer even the briefest moment of praise, worship, thanks, or love to God from the heart of our hearts… He takes INFINITE JOY in that gift, and huddles it into His own heart!

      Who could imagine such a thing? Who can respond to such a Truth? How incredible is that? We have the “power” to delight Our Father, God Almighty! Who can conceive of such a power?

      Ooops… starting to worship again! Sorry… Anyway, your comment humbles me! Glad it brings you joy! — LM

      Liked by 1 person

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