Pastor John’s View for March 2019
I have this love/hate thing with snow. I really don’t care for the shoveling-cold-ice-slipperiness-shoveling-muddy paths, after-road cinders tracked into the house-shoveling-eyeglass fogging-nose dripping-shoveling-wet pants from wading in deep snow-numb toes and fingers-aching toes and fingers when thawing out – nope. Not missing it much at all. Finding myself staring at snowflakes falling and realizing I had the breath knocked out when my feet shot out from underneath my body in an effort to skate off at 50 miles an hour while my torso wanted to stroll. Gravity won. Lying there…on the cold sidewalk and having a deep conversation with God, while trying to convince my lungs it’s okay to relax and allow air back in, I asked God, “Lord, why couldn’t you have made ice sticky?”
Then there’s the stillness. Absolute silence. Some of my favorite memories are being in the woods when it is heavily snowing. The trees shrouded at the tips by the low hanging clouds and flakes as big as nickels floating down, colliding with each other to hang on long green pine needles then just one more flake lands, and the tiny bundle of crystals continue on falling and disappearing on top of a million other unique crystals of snow. Did you know, you can hear the snow falling when it’s really, really quiet. It makes a sound almost like a whisper in the distance. In that kind of and the sound of your own breathing disturbs the silence. The stillness takes on a holy atmosphere as if, if you are absolutely quiet, you might even hear God breathe.
After the storm, on a full-moon night, the forest is pristine, as if new-born, not a track or leaf mars the surface of the clean snow until the parallel tracks of my cross-country skis disturb it. The rhythmic swish/swish of skis in powder is wonderfully cathartic under the full-moon blazing a trail into a shallow wash which opens into a meadow where moonlight bathes it in a soft light making the marshmallow snow glint from crystals catching the moon just so; tiny diamonds scattered across the meadow. Millions and millions of tiny crystals, each different than the next piling up into inches and then feet of snow just waiting to be fashioned into a snowball or a snow person or creature.
I miss that part of living on the Mountain, not so much the shoveling. I always looked forward to the snow, even though I knew I’d have to shovel and get cold. The snow was a gift. It was renewing, life-giving moisture, and it was just darn beautiful.
I love the gift of all of you at Lakeview. Each, unique with individual talents, graces, and experiences. Like snow crystals God has created each of us with unique facets – talents and gifts meant to be shared with others. Like crystals collecting together until snowflakes are formed, we gather and put our individual gifts together for the common good. This is God’s image in you coming to life. Unlike cold snow, when we get together and use our gifts, you create a warm grace-filled, life-giving environment.
Each of you have natural talents and spiritual gifts to share. You may know what your talents are – they usually manifest in our work or hobbies. Spiritual gifts may complement or be quite different. Periodically, I believe it’s good to explore our gifts together so during the season of Lent, beginning Ash Wednesday, March 6, we will be teaching on spiritual gifts. At the end of this series you will have an opportunity to take a self-guided gifts inventory. If you have taken one before, it’s always good to revisit as God uses different gifts in you at different times in your life. If you have never taken one, it can be enlightening and encouraging and may open the door to possibilities of serving you have never considered.
I always felt the hush of snow falling was an incredible gift of beauty from God. In the silence God would speak into my heart of his great love. It often felt that he was saying, “John, stop, look, listen….I am in the stillness. Look what I have done for you.” Pastor John, Ross, and Linda will share in the teaching through the Lenten season beginning Sunday, March 3, join us each Sunday and discover Gods’ voice through your spiritual gifts.