Friday, April 1, 2016

Passion week 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Two friends and I are working away at our Lenten "Draw your Prayers" calendars, which are completed by the weekend. Dot by dot, the 14"X20" page fills up with watercolor, pen, and charcoal. This has been a wonderful discipline of recording prayers and "resignations" - things offered up to God day by day. The page is bright. (On Easter Sunday, I glue a final stripe of sparkles across it to represent God's love.)

Waldemar and I finally connect with Dan, Sharon, and Don over lunch at the Blue Fin in Northgate. Oh my - it's a buffet feast of Asian food and sushi. But the best thing is the company - W worked with these friends for years; Dan was his boss and partner in tech acquisition for the university. (I would have said "partner in crime" but don't want to be misunderstood.)

I sit in on a GOKALE workshop in late afternoon, part of a series on posture and relief from back pain.

Clothes shopping with Brandy
Jen and I enjoy breakfast together in Mill Creek. I find her company refreshingly real - we speak from the heart ... and off the cuff. Some friends are unguarded enough to be pure fun, and she is one of those.

Anything not on the calendar fall from memory, but one event today is in black and white. Three of us go to Price Ministries, a sort of non-profit thrift shop for ministers. We try on clothing samples from various vendors and choose our favorites. Brandy, Kim, and I find just what we need: I have been looking for sweaters and find a cozy few.

Here in Seattle, I pull on an undershirt, long-sleeved blouse or T-shirt, a sweater, and trousers ... and then add a coat for outside. The small collection of clothes I have here takes up more closet space than my entire wardrobe in the tropics.

Another view of Seattle
We meet early as credentialed women. Six or seven of us hang around over the course of a few hours, sharing breakfast, the latest goings-on in life, and prayer requests. As the women tell of what they're doing, they renew my calling to serve with a whole heart.

Lunch with Joe and Kathleen, colleagues at NU over the years, is a delight. As we catch up on Indonesia and university progress, we overlook the waters of Lake Washington and admire the skyline of this beautiful city.

View from the top of Bellevue
Two lunches, back to back, fill me up. Cindy and I worked together at Overlake church and then were coworkers at NU for several years. We circle the block a few times to find our meeting place, Nick's Grill, a hole-in-the-wall surprise (good food!) She's trim and fit from inline skating, enthusiastic about life and this season of service.

Rich has been a friend for several decades. We first met as piano student and teacher and he watched our kids grow up around the dinner table. (He shared supper with us and another student each week).

Moving downtown in a Seattle suburb, he enjoys a spectacular view of the region. His local restaurant of choice is Purple, a specialty café with great food.

My art date falls through so I go solo. The first demo by Ron Stokke is a watercolor scene of Seattle. Ron is a local artist, amusing to listen to, and passionate about painting.

I slip out in time to catch the middle of another artist painting in acrylics - dry and wet brushes (dark to light paint, just opposite of watercolor's light to dark process). She doesn't use mediums or water, preferring to paint straight from the tube. The paintings are vibrant and deeply pigmented.

The final workshop is packed out. We've come to see an international "star" and award-winner, A. Castnaget. He's from Uraguay but known worldwide. He paints what he describes as a "pussy-cat copy" of a Parisian scene while telling us he prefers to paint "a tiger" (more challenging work). He also makes us laugh and sigh over the gift of the artist, brushing dimension and light onto a flat sheet of paper.

Precious moments with our grandkids
= breakfast in bed
Throughout this week, the Lenten heartbeat draws me back and back to the cross. I marvel at God's love for us. Each made in his image. Each of us beloved and worthwhile. No other God or gods value humans like the God of scripture. He constantly calls us into relationship - into community with himself and each other.

The beauty and wonder of the Easter season stuns me this year. Our friends share our sense of joy and exclaim on the mystery of God-for-us. Who could have imagined such loving sacrifice?

Read more: (ESV)
*But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we \are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6

*Give us life, and we will call on your name. Psalm 80:18

*How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7 (NIV)

*Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:10

Moravian Prayer: O God, the good news of Jesus Christ is to be neither hoarded nor withheld. Give us, we ask, the courage to be your witnesses for love, justice, and peace by our words, our actions, and our examples to others. 

God of majesty, we want to live as Easter people, filled with the hope and power of the resurrection. Let the praise and joy in our hearts be the evidence that Christ is resurrected in us. In his Spirit we pray. Amen.

C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory:
We know not what we shall be”; but we may be sure we shall be more, not less, than we were on earth. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.

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