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This is something a little different than my usual post. [livejournal.com profile] kerravonsen is on my friend's list, and yesterday she wrote a beautiful poem and posted it in her LJ. With her permission, I am linking to it for today's Lent post:

The Mathematics of Heaven and Hell

I thought it was a very profound statement of the difference between Good and Evil. If you like it, please let her know!
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
A little child shall lead them...

dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
Something to think about:

Growing in Sanctification

I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”—John Newton
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A reminder of all the small blessings of life, to notice them every day:

dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
Extraordinarily ethereal and uplifting, the Benedictines of Mary:


dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
2017 lent spring

Proverbs 27:25

When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
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I was so glad to have a Sunday off work, and be able to attend this morning. We sang this lovely song during the service, one which I was unfamiliar with, but I like it very much:

dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
Humans helping animals in need:



True kindness!
dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
The Piano Guys are always worth listening to. This arrangement is so beautiful:

dreamflower: gandalf at bag end (bag end 2 by <lj user="danae_b">)
Love stays

A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. "Your son is here," she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient's eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed marine standing outside the oxygen tent. He reached out his hand. The marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man's limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement.

The nurse brought a chair so that the marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night, the young marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man's hand and offering him words of love and strength. Occasionally, the nurse suggested that the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.

Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night. Along towards dawn, the old man died. The marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.

"Who was that man?" he asked. The nurse was startled, "He was your father," she answered.

"No, he wasn't," the marine replied. "I never saw him before in my life."

"Then why didn't you say something when I took you to him?"

"I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn't here. When I realised that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed."

The next time someone needs you ... just be there. Stay.

From "Stories to Make You Think"
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I just love this:



It's amazing how saying something nice will bring a smile to a perfect stranger. I like to compliment people randomly; I will often compliment a customer. I always make sure it's sincere--something I've noticed about them that I find striking and attractive. "You have pretty eyes!" or "I really love that dress--the colors suit you!" or "What a pretty necklace!" I love the smiles I get! Once I complimented a young mom on how well behaved her two pre-schoolers were, and she told me I made her day.

Give out some random kind words today! They don't cost a thing and they make people happy!
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I've often found the stories behind hymns to be interesting. This social justice hymn, written in 1965, seems especially apt today.

For The Healing of Nations
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9th Day of Lent- Isaiah 55:1-2

1 "Ho, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
 without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food." Isaiah 55:1-2

Martin Luther used the Latin term "Incurvatus in se" to describe sin.  It means to curve inward upon oneself.  Here's what he says in his commentary on Romans.  " Our nature, by the corruption of the first sin, [being] so deeply curved in on itself that it not only bends the best gifts of God towards itself and enjoys them,... but it also fails to realize that it so wickedly, curvedly, and viciously seeks all things, even God, for its own sake."  The Isaiah passage above refers to this selfishness in verse 2, "Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?"  We have so many more wants than needs, and many of us have rooms full of wants that never really satisfied.  So, the Christian faith, by God's grace, calls us to fight against curving inward, to curving outward to the neighbor in need.  It is to recognize that God is the giver of all and that all people are invited to "come to the waters" and "buy wine and milk without price."  The reality is that in our world, food and other basic essentials are not distributed evenly.  Much of that has to do with human sin, the tendency to curve in on ourselves. But we don't have to be that way.  We can act differently, and many do.  We can curve out, share the blessings we have been given, and give others the opportunity to "eat what is good." 
Pastor Jeff Beebe, Forty Days of Giving: Devotions for World Hunger
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1 Peter 3:9-11

9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 11 They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
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Sometimes a story is one that can be understood in any culture.

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