Posts Tagged With: God’s Grace

Finding God’s Grace in an Aspen Grove

 

Above me aspens climb the sky

Knobbly fingers intertwine

Creating a lattice of quivering lace

Painting yellow hue on cobalt face

Cobalt Blue

Heart-shaped leaves collect the sun

Phosphorescence of the One

Throwing sparks of gentle light

Scattering dreams, kites in flight

Aspen Canopy

Phosphorescence Photo by Eugene C. Scott

Golden coins dance the swirling wind

Carefree, despite facing certain end

Laughing, landing done with toil

Surrendering to fertile soil

Leaves on the ground

Never Death Photo by Eugene C. Scott

Leafless trunks now sway together

Dark eyes watchful of foul weather

Raising branches in hope bare

Regenerating for another year

Trunks

Bare Trees Photo by Eugene C. Scott

Round me boles slant pale and stark

Picturesque, powdered bark

Touching their smooth, tender skin

Gaining God’s grace once again

Surrounded by Friends

The author in an aspen grove Photo by Dee Dee Scott

 

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Categories: Art, Eugene C. Scott, God, God Sightings, Living Spiritually, Nature photography, photography, poetry, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Ride from Death to Life

Last week I peddled my mountain bike up a chert strewn, sandy trail into mountains that resembled barren mounds some demon had impaled with burnt toothpicks.  It was the first time I had ventured into the area know as the Hayman Burn, which, in 2002, was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, turning the mountains southwest of Denver and northwest of Colorado Springs into smoke and ash.

Eerie does not describe the feeling that settled on me as I wended my way through both standing and fallen charred pines.  Not one left living.  The silence fearful.  The seared landscape marred the Colorado blue sky as they met above the burnt tree-tops in an ashy gray blend.  My breath came hard and dry as I pushed through the dust.

I mourned.

These were the mountains I had roamed and fished and explored as a child and young man.  Dee Dee’s parents owned a cabin near there that burned in a 1965 fire but was spared, barely, in this fire.  My novel is set in these mountains.  The fire blistered not just 215 miles of forest and 135 homes, but also memories and possibilities, each charred acre holding stories of the past and lost hopes for the future.

Now all ash.

Then I noticed something.  Splashes of gold.  Along the almost invisible creek, trickling life through death, and in odd places off in the distance, young groves of aspen–the replacement forest–had sprung up.  Made up of only a dozen or fewer trees in each grove and only standing head high, they shouted hope.

The Hayman Fire was set by a troubled woman who, it seems, was trying to torch her own demons and instead released them on the people and wildlife of the Front Range.

This seems to be the way life is.  Most, if not all, tragedy has a human source.  “We have met the enemy.  And he us,” said Walt Kelly in his “Pogo” comic strip.

And it’s not just the landscape or our enemies we scorch.  In his brilliant short-story Every Little Hurricane, Sherman Alexie describes a fight between two American Indian brothers “slugging each other with such force that they had to be in love.  Strangers would never want to hurt each other that badly.”

So it is.  Human history is littered with pain, hate, hurt.  A ride through this landscape is drear.

Then I noticed something.

Splashes of golden grace.  Along the way, life trickling through death, and in odd places off in the distance, someone forgives a grievance, another delivers a kiss, a baby laughs, an old woman closes her eyes to begin the journey home, a young couple turn their love into a vow, a man tosses a dollar to another holding a cardboard sign, a Democrat eats with a Republican, friends weep together, enemies call a cease-fire, a parent thanks a teacher, two children laugh and squeal as they trundle down the slide together, a teenager holds the door for a stranger, brothers lower their fists.

These little things shout hope also.  These little things are the seeds of salvation.  Because mere humans cannot destroy forever what God has eternally created.  Just as those aspens are rooted in God’s ever-life-producing soil, though burnt, we too, when rooted in God and his gift of grace in Christ, can spring back to life from the soil of charred lives.

I zipped back down the trail on my bike breathing easier and filled with a melancholy hope.  In the midst of this scarred landscape is a golden place called grace, where heaven, blue and clear and  descending meets the burnt tree-tops of our lives.  Look up!

Categories: adventure, Christianity, creation, dreams, Eugene C. Scott, God Sightings, grace, healing, Jesus, Living Spiritually, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Playing Hide ‘n’ Seek With God

By Eugene C. Scott

Do you ever feel as if God is playing some cosmic game of hide ‘n’ seek with you?

I do!

There are times when I ache for God’s touch, God’s presence, God’s answers to my questions and hurts. I pray; I read; I worship; I ask; I wait. Then there are other times when I’m slogging through my daily routine and God jumps out from behind a can of beans in the grocery store.

I don’t get it!

One of my favorite games when my children were runts, was hide ‘n’ seek. I was usually it. Except I didn’t actually hide. I didn’t need to. Instead I sat on the floor with my head sticking above the arm of the couch I was hiding behind or I climbed under the covers of their beds and left my big hairy feet poking out. My kids searched and searched and finally squealed with delight when they found me. And oh how I loved being found. Then we rolled and laughed and tickled and gave kisses.

They shouted, “Again, Daddy, again!”

Sometimes, however, no matter how obvious I made myself, they failed to find me. Perhaps nap-time pulled covers over their eyes, or a pending trip to the zoo competed for their imaginations, or cookies called out from the jar, or a past correction from me caused fear. So, there I would sit with my head and toes, and now my bottom lip, protruding. “Come on, kids find me,” I’d call. No answer.

Is that how it is with God? Is God hiding in plain sight but something in us obscures our vision? Past experiences, searching for significance outside of God, busyness, self-doubt, the lights and sounds of daily life all cloud our vision.

It seems so. “If you seek God, he will be found” 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us. God informs Isaiah, “[I can even be] found by those who do not seek me.”

Yet according to God’s perspective, “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Romans 3:11) Why do we have so much trouble connecting with God?

Honestly I cannot say why one person sees God’s brush strokes in a sunset while another sees only polluted air particles refracting light. Maybe in this game of hide ‘n’ seek with God—though it is far too momentous to be left a game—we misunderstand that God is not hiding but us. God so desired to be found he encased himself in flesh.

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus said. Jesus Christ was “God with us.” What was the difference between Thomas who saw Jesus and cried, “My Lord and my God,” and others who saw Jesus perform miracles and called him “Beelzebub,” the devil? I believe the difference was that Thomas bared his soul while the others remained hidden in religiosity and self-importance.

Sometimes I am so self-deluded. I practice my religious disciplines while using them to hide from God. I pray not wanting answers; study not looking for direction; seek so as not to be found. Deep down I know an open nakedness to God is what is called for. Yet I’m afraid. “Where are you?” God asked Adam way back in the beginning. As if God did not know Adam was hiding naked behind a bush. God knows we are fearful and distracted and unsure and not perfect—that we are naked. Yet God loves us and seeks us and even allows us to continue to hide. I keep telling myself it’s safe to come completely out from behind the bush. I don’t know why I hesitate. I can hear God calling, “Ollie, ollie, oxen free!”

Eugene C. Scott writes this blog. Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO

Categories: adventure, belonging, Bible, bible conversation, Christianity, Eugene C. Scott, God, God Sightings, grace, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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