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Thursday, September 27, 2012

becoming, day 4

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
God of our creation and re-creation, you who are constantly at work to shape me in the wholeness of Christ, you know the hardness of the structures of my being that resist your shaping touch. You know the deep inner rigidities of my being that reject your changing grace. By your grace soften my hardness and rigidity; help me to become pliable in your hands. Even as I pray this, may there be a melting of my innate resistance to your transforming love. Amen. (Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 37

Scripture for the Day: Isaiah 29:13-16

Reading for Reflection:

Eustace was silent for so long that Edmund thought he was fainting; but at last he said’ “It’s all right now.  Could we go and talk somewhere?  I don’t want to meet the others just yet.”
     “Yes, rather, anywhere you like,” said Edmund.  “We can go and sit on the rocks over there.  I say, I am glad to see you—er—looking yourself again.  You must have had a pretty beastly time.”
     They went to the rocks and sat down looking out across the bay while the sky got paler and paler and the stars disappeared except for one bright one low down and near the horizon.
     “I won’t tell you how I became a—a dragon till I can tell the others and get it all over,” said Eustace.  “By the way, I didn’t even know it was a dragon till I heard you all using the word when I turned up here the other morning.  I want to tell you how I stopped being one.”
     “Fire ahead,” said Edmund.
     “Well, last night I was more miserable than ever.  And that beastly arm-ring was hurting like anything—“
     “Is that all right now?”
     Eustace laughed—a different laugh from any Edmund had heard him give before—and slipped the bracelet easily off his arm.  “There it is,” he said, “and anyone who likes can have it as far as I’m concerned.  Well, as I say, I was lying awake and wondering what on earth would become of me.  And then—but, mind you, it may have been all a dream.  I don’t know.”
     “Go on,” said Edmund, with considerable patience.
“Well, anyway, I looked up and saw the very last thing I expected: a huge lion coming slowly toward me.  And one queer thing was that there was no moon last night, but there was moonlight where the lion was.  So it came nearer and nearer.  I was terribly afraid of it.  You may think that, being a dragon, I could have knocked any lion out easily enough.  But it wasn’t that kind of fear.  I wasn’t afraid of it eating me, I was just afraid of it—if you can understand.  Well, it came close up to me and looked straight into my eyes.  And I shut my eyes tight.  But that wasn’t any good because it told me to follow it.”
     “You mean it spoke?”
     “I don’t know.  Now that you mention it, I don’t think it did.  But it told me all the same.  And I knew I’d have to do what it told me, so I got up and followed it.  And it led me a long way into the mountains.  And there was always this moonlight over and round the lion wherever we went.  So at last we came to the top of a mountain I’d never seen before and on top of this mountain there was a garden—trees and fruit and everything.  In the middle of it there was a well.
     “I knew it was a well because you could see the water bubbling up from the bottom of it: but it was bigger than most wells—like a very big, round bath with marble steps going down into it.  The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg.  But the lion told me I must undress first.  Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.
     “I was going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snaky sort of things and snakes can cast their skins.  Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means.  So I started scratching myself and scales began coming off all over the place.  And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana.  In a minute or two I just stepped out of it.  I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty.  It was a most lovely feeling.  So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.
     “But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before.  Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too.  So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled off beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying beside the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.
     “Well exactly the same thing happened again.  And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off?  For I was longing to bathe my leg.  So I scratched away for the third time and got off a third skin, just like the two others, and stepped out of it.  But as soon as I looked at myself in the water I knew it had been no good.
     “Then the lion said—but I don’t know if it spoke—‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty near desperate now.  So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
     “The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart.  And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt.  The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know—if you’ve ever picked a scab of a sore place.  It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
     “I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
     “Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been.  Then he caught hold of me—I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on—and threw me into the water.  It smarted like anything but only for a moment.  After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm.  And then I saw why.  I’d turned into a boy again.  You’d think me simply phony if I told you how I felt about my own arms.  I know they’ve no muscle and are pretty mouldy compared with Caspian’s, but I was so glad to see them.
     “After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me—“
     “Dressed you.  With his paws?”
     “Well I don’t exactly remember that bit.  But he did somehow or other: in new clothes—the same I’ve got on now, as a matter of fact.  And then suddenly I was back here.  Which is what makes me think it must have been a dream.”
     “No, it wasn’t a dream,” said Edmund.
     “Why not?”
     “Well, there are the clothes, for one thing.  And you have been—well, un-dragoned, for another.”
     “What do you think it was then?” asked Eustace.
     “I think you’ve seen Aslan,” said Edmund.
(Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: May the Mind of Christ, My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God, my Father,
Rule my life in everything.
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing

May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self-abasing
This is victory.

Closing Prayer:
Father, forgive us when we think that life is more about what we are doing than about who we are becoming. Help us to remember that more than anything else you want our hearts. Allow us to give them to you fully, that we might receive yours in return; changing us more into the likeness your Son Jesus. In His name we pray. Amen. (JLB)

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