Tag Archives: mission

A Timeless Mission

“The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom—a surefire way to accomplish more for the glory of God.” ― Brett Harris

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My father was a minister for more than sixty years. Sharing Christ in Community was his mission. After he passed away I was given the briefcase he carried to church every Sunday. I consider this one of my “holy belongings” that has found a new home in the Peace Chapel here at GraceStone Sanctuary. In it are all kinds of papers.  There are prayer lists and ministry plans, worship services and lesson outlines.  I found articles about the Kingdom of God and old church bulletins from the 1950s.  But what I am most drawn to are the hand written notes…his words recorded on paper….his thoughts for a sermon or class or for congregational needs. As I read the words on the pages he wrote, I realize how the message of mission is beyond the limits of time.
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My Father’s Writings

To me his old leather briefcase is a sanctuary, a holy place, containing a sacred story. What is contained within it reveals a deep and somewhat hidden part of my father.  I knew him as “Dad” and all those things, good and bad, that go with that relationship.  But when occasionally I pull out one of the random papers from this sacred satchel I feel quite in step with the minister side of my father.  It holds a history of one man who had a desire to understand God’s message and mission, who had a desire to share the love of Christ in his community.  My father wrote about it decades ago. I write about it now. Jesus’ disciples wrote about it thousands of years ago. The Good News is eternal. The call to mission…timeless.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  Psalm 145:13

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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Dog Days of Summer

 “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
IMG_0881These are strange and breathless days, the dog days…” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
It’s August.  Hot, humid, sticky August.  It’s the “dog-days-of-summer” and everyone is just trying to stay cool.  Lemonade and iced tea flow through the kitchen like a river over shiny, cold stones of ice.  Even the occasional rain shower is cause for celebration.  The heat of summer begs us to pause in the shade and be still.
As I sat on the porch this morning and looked out at the flowers struggling in the heat I was reminded of a scripture in the book of James.  It says, “The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed.” (James 1:11)    Sounds fairly hopeless, doesn’t it?  But a little later James talks about tests and temptations and gives a message of hope… “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a temptation, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.”  (James 1:12)
As I sat there in the morning summer heat pondering James’ words I heard a swift strong breeze rustling the leaves of the trees as it approached.  It’s coolness blew through me and went on its way.  That is when I found my own hope for the day.  That “pneuma” or Holy Spirit is what keeps me refreshed when the going gets tough and I find myself in some sort of heated challenge or trial.  When I am open to the wind of the Holy Spirit I am refreshed and renewed.
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So just for today, grab your tall glass of lemonade and a friend.  Find some shady spot to strengthen one another in faithful living.  Remind someone today of God’s promise of love and the Holy Spirit’s refreshing gift.

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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Silly Fences

“Some of us may just, in one-on-one conversations with our family, with our friends, over the back fence with our neighbors, talk about the reality of our lives and realize that we’re not alone.” –Patricia Ireland
IMG_0697SILLY FENCES
If we could only see the irrationality of a fence
We would soon come to know what complete nonsense
It is to think that we could hold close inside
Behind a gate those things we wish to hide.
Or that sharp pickets fail to defend
Against relationships we do not wish to mend.
So break the lock, open wide the gate
Reach out, reach in for those that wait.
– by Trish Hernandez (2014)

 

Fences…everyone builds them.  Some put up a fence to keep things out and some to keep things in.  We needed one to keep our small dogs safe and to give them a little space of their own.  It was one of the first things completed after we moved in to GraceStone Sanctuary.
Putting up a fence isn’t easy work…all that measuring and post hole digging; then setting the posts, attaching rails, and finally nailing up the pickets one by one.  It is tedious hard labor.  And no matter what the purpose of the fence, someone always comes along and leaves the gate open so that very thing that you were trying to keep in or out gets through anyway.
It makes me think about our own internal fences we create as an attempt at protecting ourselves.  We go to great lengths to put up borders between us – huge privacy fences surround our hearts so no one can see our wounds.  Long clanging metal chain link provides a strong barrier against further hurts and vulnerability.  Even sharp pickets painted bright white send a pointed message of “keep away”.  Out here in the Shenandoah Valley long rail fences run alongside highways.  They mark territory.  “This is mine”, they say.  “Keep Out!”
Fences do often serve a purpose.  But what if we took a look at our inside barricades that keep us apart from one another?  What would happen if we once-and-for-all opened the latch on the gate of our heart and gave – fully, vulnerably, without fear?  I believe that it could be a beginning of honest conversations about the real things we have in common.  We may just discover we are not alone.

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If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

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The Seeds of a Sanctuary

sanctuary%20(2)When I was a little girl my momma planned a perfect surprise birthday party for my sixth birthday.  It was the first party… and the last one… she ever gave me.  That was not because she was mean nor uncaring, but because she realized all too late just how terrifying the whole ordeal was for me.  I was a shy child.  This may be difficult for some of you who know me now to believe.  But I was. It didn’t matter what size or age they were. All people seemed to me to be the monsters, ogres, and evil queens come to life from fairy tales.  People came with expectations that I didn’t understand and rules that I didn’t want to obey.  People.  I didn’t like them and I believed they didn’t like me.  So that day, at party time, when I opened the door to a room full of ghouls shouting at me I turned and ran.  I don’t remember exactly how far or how long I ran, but I do remember after all that running finding myself tucked safely away in the extra quilts at the back of my closet, far away from the sights and the sounds of my surprise birthday party guests.  Long before that day I had created this little place of sanctuary in my closet.  I loved the colors and feel of the soft quilts and blankets momma had stored in there. Under them, I had tucked a paper from Sunday School. Printed on it was a picture of Jesus carrying a little lamb.  He was standing on the words I LOVE YOU.  Behind The Shepherd were dark mountains, but he stood there loving that little lamb, surrounded by rays of light.  That picture made me feel safe.  Other things had become part of this safe place, too. I had gathered a small rock that fit in the palm of my hand that felt strong and cool and also a handmade paper fan that I used to stir the air of the musty dark space.  And on that day with the party celebration raging outside my window I felt safe with Jesus in my closet.  I did not know then that I had created a sacred space, only that I felt loved and safe and I could breathe.  I also did not know that this little space would be a seed of what my husband and I have now joined hands with God to create as our home, as GraceStone Sanctuary.

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As an adult I have a very different attitude toward people.  Simply put, when I am able to see beyond the wounds and scars of someone’s life  and see the beauty God perfectly created in that person, I love through Christ’s eyes.  His view has no fear, no running away, no hiding.  Instead His eyes beckon us to come into the safe surrounding of His love and care.  My hope for GraceStone Sanctuary is that it will be a sacred and safe place for all people to come in, to be loved, to be renewed, and to celebrate.  That birthday long ago taught me something important.  That is – sometimes we all feel burdened, weary, and afraid.  And sometimes we just need to find a safe soft place to rest with The Shepherd, holding firm to The Rock, being renewed and revived by the cool breeze of the Holy Spirit.  And then we can once again go out into the world carrying with us a spirit of joy and celebration.
GraceStone Sanctuary c.1930...a long history of celebration!
GraceStone Sanctuary c.1930…a long history of celebration!
This is when it was known as Greystone Lodge.

 


Celebrate Being Alive!

Day 58   February 27, 2014

CELEBRATE LIFE

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!” –Barbara Hoffman

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“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.” ―Joanne Harris, Chocolat

“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”  -Richard Bach

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” – John 15:11


Honor From the Heart

Day 52 February 21, 2014
Honorable Discipleship

“Honor must start in the heart, but if it ends there, it isn’t honor. Honor must be expressed through words, symbols, actions, or gestures. Honor is among the most incarnational of the virtues. It must have feet and hands.”―Douglas Wilson

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“Any honors that come our way are only stolen from him to whom alone they really belong, the Lord who sent us.”  ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer,  The Cost of Discipleship

“Choosing with integrity means finding ways to speak up that honor your reality, the reality of others, and your willingness to meet in the center of that large field. It’s hard sometimes.” ―     Terry Tempest Williams

“Let us do those things that our heart is asking us to do and from this day forth allow all souls that leave our presence feeling honored and deeply loved.”   ― Molly Friedenfeld


Missio Christi – Missio Nostra

Day 3, January 3 2014

Missio Christi – Mission of Christ

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  

Luke 4:18,19

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Missio Nostra – Our Mission

“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”  

John 20:21

Christ Has No Body (Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


A Bucket of Love

Day 309  November 7, 2013

“Life is a MISSION   Fulfilled through our VISION   Live life well this SEASON   You were born for a REASON…” ― Israelmore AyivorImage 1

“Reinvent the wheel.  Create something that can be rolled down a hill…” from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Many drops make a bucket, many buckets make a pond, many ponds make a lake, and many lakes make an ocean.”  -Percy Ross 

“I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes, so live not in your yesterdays, not just for tomorrow, but in the here and now. Keep moving and forget the post mortems; and remember, no one can get the jump on the future.”  -Carl Sandburg 

“There is nothing for it but to try and see through our missions to the end, as best we can, for until we do so, we will be permitted no calm.”   ― Kazuo Ishiguro


The Light Within

Day 262  September 21, 2013

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ”  ― Brené Brown

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“You may have carved a pumpkin before, but what about a turnip, an apple, a bell pepper, or …?  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”  –Matthew 5:14   The Message

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”  -John 1:5  NAS

”Light is precious in a world so dark….Make some light.” ― Kate DiCamilloThe Tale of Despereaux

 


Christegation

Day 233  August 23, 2013

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”  –John 17:18

Christ+Congregation=Christegation

Christ+Congregation=Christegation

Feeding Homeless

Feeding Homeless

Socks for the Shelter

Socks for the Shelter

Food Donations

Food Donations

School Supplies

School Supplies

Peace Garden at School

Peace Garden at School

Care for Seniors

Care for Seniors

Vacation BibleSchool

Vacation Bible School

Community Picnic

Community Picnic

Financial Relief

Financial Relief

Pursuing Peace

Pursuing Peace

“Create a portmanteau and use it.  Bonus:  Illustrate it!”  (Portmanteau: A word created by sticking together parts of two preexisting words, whose meaning is basically a blend of the two original words.  A well-known portmanteau is spork, a combination of spoon and fork.

PS: Today is September 2.  My neighbor’s daughter is looking forward to her first day of school tomorrow.  She says she is “anxioucited”. anxious + excited = anxioucited