Category Archives: Reflections from The Meadow

End of the year Letter

The mystery of the Incarnation is unfathomable. The incomparable Christ existed before man.  Yet what we see in the manager is the human face of God. God took on flesh to show us what God was like.
He came as a man, yet was fully God and by example, helped us understand what Love  truly is. His ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross was not just an act to reconcile us to the Father, but it was also His greatest gift of Love.  The Christmas story continues to be written in all of us and it isn’t just one day a year.

Through His Son,  He came with great desires for us to become like Him!

  • He Forgives us

  • He Cleanses us

  • He Enriches us

  • He Enlightens us

  • He makes us Beautiful

     

    As the year comes to an end we want to take the time to sincerely thank everyone who has partnered with us as we continue building a community centered around growing in Christ.  If you have the desire to partner with us by joining our SEEDS community or with a financial gift, Please give me a call to find out more.  I’d love to hear your stories of how God is moving in your life.  In Christian community we can become more like Him and continue to heal the broken-hearted by sharing the greatest gift of all . . . Christ’s LOVE!

We thank God for you and wish you a Very Merry Christmas!
Bob & Jeanne Arnold

P.S, The Meadow has graciously been given a $30,000 matching gift.  All gifts through 2018 will be matched up to $30,000.  This means The Meadow could be blessed to start the new year with $60,000!  Please consider supporting this campaign!  Your gift supports our efforts to continue to grow this community and spread His love to a world that deeply needs Christ’s compassion, and hope!  Thanks again and remember to let the “Son” shine in your life today and always!

www.meadow4.org/donate

 

My Shy and Modest Dove!

by Beverly Gorman

The Invitation, the Dance and ultimately Union…. so beautifully poetically scripted in the Song of Songs. Where is our resistance and where are we welcoming the pursuer of our souls…. our Beloved.

The beautiful dance between the 2 dancers in the film clip below shows this intimate encounter between the lover and the beloved. But the question lingers…. why did she leave him at the end of the dance after this beautiful encounter?

The woman dancing is me… I have left my Beloved many times after such sweet and intimate encounters… chasing after other lovers, pursuing my own agenda and returning to the addictions and attachments that so easily compete for my affections. But my lover continues to woo me, to pursue me, to call me, to seek me, even after I have deserted him for other lovers.

‘Come my shy and modest dove- leave your seclusion, come out in the open. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing.’ Song of Songs 2: 14

Will I continue to resist Him or be welcomed back into the loving arms of the One who always remains? He is patiently steadfast as He waits for my return so that we might begin the dance once again!

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, rivers cannot wash it away.” Song of Songs 8: 6-7 

you-are-invited

Click on the invitation to enter the dance!

TEARS

Since Marcie’s death, tears come very easily. Here is a great meditation on Tears from Buechner that tells the story of tears!
Tears

You never know what may cause tears. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high-school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.

They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go to next

images6T5LK5Y1.

Life – What Matters?

Life – the temptation is always to reduce it to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is the mystery.

As far as anybody seems to know, the vast majority of things in the universe do not have whatever life is. Sticks, stones, stars, space — they simply are. A few things are and are somehow alive to it. They have broken through into Something, or Something has broken through into them. Even a jellyfish, a butternut squash. They’re in it with us. We’re all in it together, or it in us. Life is it. Life is with.

After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of one. “There is only one miracle,” he answered. “It is life.”

Have you wept at anything during the past year?

Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty?

Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die?

More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?

Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?

If your answer to all or most of these questions is no, the chances are that you’re dead.

Originally published in Wishful Thinking and later in Beyond Words-Buechner

125848712609512954500201197_LifeEndCard

The Desert

written by: Nicole Mills

 On the spiritual journey, no one chooses to travel through the desert. Life is bleak in this dry and barren place, not exactly flowing with milk and honey. Occasionally, the diversionary cause might be identifiable—the missed promotion, the illness, the failed marriage, the success that was just out of reach—but more often, we one day just find ourselves thirsty, wandering, and lost in a dispirited emptiness. As we become aware of our location, the questions begin, like a child asking, “Are we there yet?” before even getting out of the driveway. Where are you God? Am I doing something wrong? Why can’t my walk with you be as easy as it was at first? Why are you allowing this to happen? Isn’t there a shortcut?

Apathy and temptations grow when answers and escape don’t arrive. Listlessly we roam through our days, frustrated and ashamed by our non-productivity. Eventually, we realize there is nothing we can do to rush this process. There is no shortcut through the desert. We can’t “do” our way out of this arid landscape; we must wait for God. And God does not move hastily. The Israelites discovered this on their forty-year trek. Perhaps, on a smaller scale, this is our lesson too. Maybe during this season we aren’t supposed to be productive. Maybe we too are learning how to wait. . . not in a lethargic passivity, but in a falling surrender. Maybe it is in this kind of waiting that the bedrock of trust is poured so that when it’s time, there is a launch pad ready to take us into our promised land.

the_desert-wide

What comes into our minds when we think about God?

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” ― A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy

A journal entry by Randy Martin

I usually react negatively to these “most important” quotes but this one caught my eye and heart. It begs this question for me; “What do I think about God each day I awake”. And this eventually leads to my final question, “How do I live each day with what I think about God each morning?” I’m thinking about the names of God: Father, Provider, Holy One, Savior…. you know the list. But let me first speak about this in a personal analogy.

My wife is a great cook. She can cook anything and, for me, her soups are the best. I like to watch her tweak the taste of her soup with a little more of this or that spice or adding a bit more cream. The outcome is always amazing!

So each morning I can think, “My wife is a great cook”. This is a little information about her that I store in my head. Maybe one day at work when she calls and says that she’s fixing a steak with succotash I dream of the taste of a juicy, well seasoned steak and buttery succotash in my mouth. These first two “thinkings” are just about me with no benefit to my wife or others. I’m stagnate in a self-centered thinking. I need to move on… both to my wife and others.

So now I have some new ideas. Maybe I should:

  • Thank her for that special dinner she just made, maybe even thank her every time she cooks.
  • Tell her she is a great cook even when she’s nowhere near the kitchen.
  • Tell others she is a great cook. Share her cooking with them.   Invite them to our home to taste and see that her cooking is good!

And so it is with God. This morning I think of God as my Provider. Do I stop at just knowing, enjoying and experiencing that? No, I must respond to Him with gratitude and praise — even when His provision is not in sight. Tell Him and tell others.

At the Meadow, we want you to experience God fully in all of his names. Pick one name for God that touches your heart and praise and pass on that name today.

thai-corn-soup1

 

 

Boredom

 Boredom ought to be one of the seven deadly sins. It deserves the honor.
You can be bored by virtually anything if you put your mind to it, or choose not to. You can yawn your way through a trip to the Grand Canyon or an afternoon with your dearest friend or a sunset or when Lincoln delivered a few remarks at Gettysburg.
To be bored is to turn down cold whatever life happens to be offering you at the moment. It is to cast a jaundiced eye at life in general, including most of all your own life. You feel nothing is worth getting excited about because you are yourself not worth getting excited about.
To be bored is a way of making the least of things you often have a sneaking suspicion you need the most.
To be bored to death is a form of suicide.
~ Whistling in the Dark –Frederick Buechner
boredom-boredom-demotivational-poster-1225259054