Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In the Spirit on the Lord's Day

"Day of all the week the best, emblem of eternal rest."

Heads are bowed, hands are folded. The body is at rest, the soul has taken flight. At last the week full of sin is over. The week full of labor has ceased. At last this frail being has found rest once more on the Lord's Day. Pure rest, from the inside out. Was there ever a delight as glorious as this? Was there ever a joy to equal mine today?

"My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

Such quiet joy this is. Such gentle peace. We sit, we pray, we stand, we sing. We listen. But most of all, we worship. Our hearts are open and being filled to the brim with new measures of understanding. Understanding of the grace of Christ our Lord. When our heads rest again tonight, we will say, "I have met with God today. I have walked with Him in the cool of the day."

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

I can't shake the conviction that one of God's greatest gifts to His church is the Sabbath. But then, I don't want to. The Lord's Day is not only a "perk," but also absolutely necessary. Mandatory. Commanded. Beautiful.

"Be still and know that I am God."

We are human--we need to rest and bless the Lord for His gift. What an incredible thing it is to be still. To stop everything and quietly be filled up by God.

"Thus may all our Sabbaths prove till we join the church above."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Scientific Method

As utilized in "The Case of the Vagabond Smell."

Having been utilized by many brilliant thinkers down through the yellowed pages of history, the Scientific Method seems to me to be a worthy recipient of my attention and study. Perhaps someday I shall be famous because of my groundbreaking discoveries. Perhaps someday I shall be in grave danger and be required to make quick, logical deductions based on evidence in order to preserve my health and happiness. Or perhaps I shall remain an ordinary Jane, and continue to solve household problems such as the one I am about to summarize—all with the aid of the simple process we call the Scientific Method.

One fine day, when the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and everything in general was going marvelously (as all things should), I walked by the kitchen on my way to the living room. Just as I was positioned opposite the doorway into the haven of culinary imagination, I stopped. I gasped. Something horrid was singeing my ten-year-old nose. A smell of incredibly revolting magnitude was assaulting my senses, thus I made one undeniable observation: Something smells terrible. Dozens of action plans raced through my mind as I stood there, nose wrinkled, sensibilities offended. Should I dash into the kitchen and frantically throw open all the windows, doors, and all such portals? Should I call the fire department? Should I take out the garbage? Should I call my shrink? Far from giving in to hasty tactics, I calmly deduced that I must first apply what I had learned in my fifth grade science class, namely the Scientific Method.

I realized that I had already made my observation: Something smells terrible. Therefore I proceeded to the next step as outlined by my teacher. Create multiple working hypotheses. Thus I began to guess as to what could be causing the ghastly smell coming from the kitchen. First, I proposed that the garbage was in need of “taking out.” One quick glance under the sink however, confirmed that the garbage had been emptied that very morning. Next I proposed to myself, “Perhaps someone left the limburger cheese open somewhere in the kitchen.” So I searched the kitchen from top to bottom—no cheese. Each time I eliminated a hypothesis, I realized that I was in effect, joining great scientists of the pasts in the common goal of finding out why and how things work. One by one, the possibilities on my list of hypotheses were confirmed erroneous and at last I was left with one, last, lonely, guilty-looking hypothesis. Warily I made my way across the room, past the pantry, past the refrigerator, past the sink and the items under the sink, until at last I was face-to-face with the big, black oven itself. The time of reckoning had come and I was ready. Before opening the door however, I called out to my sister who was blissfully reading a book—unaware of the momentous event occurring in her very own house.

“Anna,” I said excitedly, “I’m going to propose to you my theory,” I informed her and did my best to look important. This was a difficult task seeing that I was trying to stifle my giggles at the expression of disgust on her face and her fingers carefully pinching her nose shut. “You will notice that something smells terrible. I have been employed for the past half-hour, utilizing the Scientific Method in order to discover the source of this dreadful vagabond smell. After much careful experimentation, I am certain that there could only be one possible guilty party: the oven! I declare to you my trusted sister, my theory that the oven contains something simply ghastly.” She nodded, hoping to get this over with as quickly as possible. With a flourish I tossed open the oven door and bowed ceremoniously before the awed gaze of my big sister who would have clapped except that she was pinching her nose. There, in the oven, melted through the tray and dripping all the way to the bottom of the oven, was a mess of broccoli, cheese, rice, chicken, and plastic bowl, with a few bits of foil thrown in (for flavor no doubt). My theory was correct, and I walked out of my mother’s kitchen nearly bursting with pride at my use of the grand thing they call the Scientific Method.

Note: This essay was assigned for my Geology class. Don't believe a word of it--I seriously doubt that I gave the Scientific Method a second thought when I was ten years old.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Through fog of fear and doubt
The Devil whispers, "Sin, sin, sin."
Standing outside the door of hope,
His taunts refuse to let me in.

"Go away!" my tortured spirit cries,
I remember sin of the past,
Tattooed on my soul like graffiti
Or a dirty word iron-cast.

Through fog of fear and doubt
The Spirit whispers, "Grace, grace, grace!"
I wonder why, and where, and how
But I dare not look up--exposing my dreadful face.

"How can it be?" I mutter through chapped lips.
No, my sin is too awful to be written off for free.
My soul shrinks back to count my good deeds:
Like pennies I count them hopefully.

Through fog of fear and doubt again
The Spirit whispers, "Grace, grace, grace!"
My dirty fingers grasp the last little copper
Then my pocket is empty of the last trace.

Pockets inside out, hands upraised
I try to grasp the door handle and enter
But the Devil says mocking,
"You're no better than me--despair forever!"

Through fog of fear and doubt yet again
The Spirit whispers, "Grace, grace, grace!"
I cry out in anguished, stubborn misery:
"I can't believe such a foolish grace!"

My mind is spinning like a child's top,
I'm trying desperately to comprehend
This foolish thing called grace.
"What fire has my brain for a friend!"

Through fog of fear and doubt
The Spirit whispers, "Grace, grace, grace!"
"You are dirty, but I will wash you--come as you are,
The Master delights to save in this very place."

A hand that is mine reaches up once more.
But the door is already open
I see myself as in a dream:
Expression screwed up, suspicious, like a wren.

Through fog of fear and doubt
My Master says, "Grace, grace, grace!"
"I have done it by grace,
Leave your pennies--lose them in my embrace."

A forgiven princess I stand:
Coronation robes surround me with grace for thread
Perfect obedience of the Master
Crowning my transformed head.

And the Spirit whispers, "Grace, grace, grace!"

"Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer..."

"Son of a motherless goat!" -Ben Miller

"Kenton, you poop alot." -Katie Miller

"It was a mosquito!" -Mary Robbins

"The baby rarrs like a lion." -Katie & Andrew Miller

"Raarrr!" --Kenton Miller

"Church showers are very important because cleanliness is next to Godliness." -Joel Robbins

"Where is that blasted park?!" -Me

"Excuse me sir, could you tell me where the park is?" -Me

"I think if you go to the end of this street and turn right you might hit on it. I don't know though--I haven't been there in twenty years!" -Nice Old Gentleman sitting in his front yard

Saturday, January 06, 2007


"We live in the Shadowlands." --C. S. Lewis

A revelation--sudden as it is brief. Insistent as it grows in my mind--refusing to fall into the abiss of incomprehensibility. Just one sweet, painful moment of enlightenment among so many more of dull, dark ignorance. My mind falls back to the laborious, though painless existence of apathy. I cannot bear this nothing feeling for long. My heart longs to be fired by conviction, fired by joy, fired by love. Fired by God.