Columbus Museum Maurice Sendak

Recently Bob saw that the Columbus Museum of Art was having an exhibit of the works of Maurice Sendak. We decided to make a quick adventure to Columbus, Ohio and see the exhibit. I was delighted that it featured “Where the Wild Things Are.” This was a favorite of my son. I did not remember until we arrived that he also illustrated the “Little Bear” series which I used to help my children and grandchildren learn to read. His book “In the Night Kitchen” was a baby shower gift when our daughter was born.

I love that they used the artwork from the book cover as wallpaper for the display!

The trust and love between mother bear and little bear are obvious in the expressions he drew.

One reason I was fascinated with his art in these books, I was working on learning to draw better and his cross-hatching is elaborate. When I read the first part of the placard below it only confirmed my observation!

In 1959, (the museum placard read), Sendak created pictures for the book The Moon Jumpers, written by Janice May Udry, which tells the story of children playing before it is time to go to bed. In this early work, the richly colored full-page scenes of children playing by the moonlight, without words, can be compared to the double page rumpus scenes in Where the Wild Things Are, which he created five years later. This work also shows how Sendak changed the scale of his images to emphasize the narratives, pictures growing larger and larger as the drama of the story intensifies, a method that also appears in Where The Wild Things Are.

sorry for the museum reflections on the glass

In case you ever had a fantasy of being WITH the Wild Things (if not an actual Wild Thing) see this one!

Wonder if this costume for King of the Wild Things would fit my son at his current height! Not likely!

Where the Wild Things Are has been translated into at least 32 languages. Sendak never wanted to write a sequel to this one. He did not want it to be a series.

The exhibit is in Columbus until March 5. If you get a minute, go see it!

photo by r m dutina

The Power We All Have

Joan Chittister, O.S.B. is a Roman Catholic Benedictine nun of some renown for her writing and publishing. Wikipedia says, “Her books deal with monasticism, justice and equality especially for women in church and society, interfaith topics, peace and others. She has won 16 Catholic Press Association awards for her books and numerous other awards for her work, including 12 honorary degrees from US universities. Chittister has authored over 50 books and over 700 articles in numerous journals and magazines.”

I have read a few of her books and subscribe to her weekly Monasteries of the Heart email with ideas for deepening your walk. The quote below caught my attention this week.

To be a contemplative we must remember to begin again, day after day, to turn dailiness into time with God.

Illuminated Life, Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light by Joan Chittister

Joan posted this with a photo of laundry hanging on the line in sunshine. HA!! After searching and searching I found it on the site 🙂

Dailiness be it filling medication boxes, filling the dog bowl, taking the medication, eat a meal, clean up, make coffee for the morning, wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, store the clothes, get the grocery list ready, buy the groceries, store the groceries….. most of our lives are filled with repetitive tasks.

I took this photo years ago of a workman in Ireland. He reminds me when I find my work arduous that this is part of life. It applies to dailiness, too. Can you imagine how very long it is taking him to build these stone walls?

The life of a retiree can be trying. I think the business of younger life covered the monotony of routine tasks. Laundry, garbage, sweeping the carpet, seasonally the auto carpets, on it goes. Without the breaks of going to work or meetings the routine can become mundane and then boring, depressing and even seem futile. Some of us experienced this feeling during the pandemic. April 17, 202 I posted about this. https://wordpress.com/post/treasures-in-plain-sight.org/2575

Can you do what Joan suggested? Can you use the next feeling of dailiness for an opportunity to turn yourself towards time with God? Are you willing to give it a try? Turn dailiness into time with God. When bored with the dailiness of chores, can you turn THAT into time with God! Most of those chores become mindless. Choose to make that into mindfulness and a time to commune with the Trinity.

I have been practicing this for almost a week. When that ho-hum feeling tries to overtake me, I turn towards my King. He is always there, waiting for my attention. You might be surprised how this practice rewards you. Let me know in the comments section how it turns out!

Jerry Bridges & The Cincinnati Bengals

The Navigators send a daily devotional. They are featuring Jerry Bridges work Holiness Day by Day. I am sharing this because my words for 2023 are Living Sacrifice.

“Commit your way to the Lord.” Psalm 37:5

When Paul turned his attention from his masterful exposition of the Gospel in Romans chapters 1-11 to practical issues of Christian living, the first thing he did was call for commitment: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).

As we look at Paul’s call to commitment, we can see one obvious difference between the commitment of the devoted athlete and the commitment Paul called for. The athlete’s commitment is to himself or herself or perhaps to the team. The commitment Paul urged upon us is to God. Commit yourself to God. Offer your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him.

When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values. The people of my parent’s generation were generally honest, chaste, sober, and thrifty. They were committed to those values, but they were not necessarily committed to God. Many of them were outstanding moralists and even church people, but they were not committed to God. They were committed to their values, not to God.

As believers we need to be careful that we don’t make a similar mistake. We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God himself. But Paul said to offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please him.

Navigators Devotional Holiness Day by Day January 22, 2023

What and who are you committed to? When I hear the term holiness I remember my mom talking about “holy rollers” who were purported to jump pews, handle snakes and all manner of unusual things.

Then I also think of visiting God’s Bible School where my maternal Grandmother used to teach and being amazed that when I toured the school in 1979 the women were not allowed to braid their hair, wear a ponytail, had to wear long skirts, etc. This looked to me to be what Jerry Bridges described above. Only God reads hearts, so the sincerity of those actions is only known to Him. My question is are we committed to God or restrictive legalism and rule keeping? Bridges reiterates ‘they were not committed to God.”

When offering yourself as ‘a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ I would hope that your commitment to God would be solid. For to be a living sacrifice, you must give up your will and embrace the will of the Trinity. You may be asked to do things outside the realm of your comfort zone, or even the stated rules of your church. Have you watched the series The Chosen? The disciples were often asked to do things outside of their Jewish upbringing. Some of them said Jesus was “turning things upside down” with His teachings.

When the Bengals NFL team began to change over the last 24 months, some looked to see if Joe Burrow would want to be elevated to superstar status like many of his NFL predecessors. He is often compared to other famous quarterbacks because of his skill. Most of the interviews I have seen and the comments I have read point to how common and down to earth he remains.

The team also works to stay down to earth. They have the commitment of devoted athletes. Yes, they train hard, play hard, and are committed to each other as a team, but they also seems to make an effort to stay down to earth as men. Whether they are giving to Demar Hamlin’s charity, praying for his healing after the collapse on the field, or serving children who are ill or in need, these guys seem to be the real deal. I was particularly impressed after their win over Buffalo when many of them dropped down on the field and made Snow Angels! The best shot was from overhead, but this is all I have been able to find online so far.

Are you as committed to God as you are to local or national sports teams? Is yours a seeking to keep legalistic rules or being obedient to what the Trinity asks you personally? (Here is humor, I typed trainity instead of Trinity. Well, how about it? Are you willing to be in training with the Trinity?)

May you pursue holiness always. Hebrews 12:14 reads:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry

I have been reading the above book at the suggestion of the Rabbit Room. If you have not heard of the Rabbit Room here is a little introduction.

The Rabbit Room was conceived as an experiment
in creative community.

After author/singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson’s first visit to the Oxford home of C. S. Lewis, he returned to Nashville with a conviction that community nourishes good and lasting work. The Rabbit Room, the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inklings (including Lewis, Tolkien, and Charles Williams) shared their stories, began as a simple blog of contributing authors, songwriters, artists, and pastors. Over the years, with the help of Andrew’s brother A. S. “Pete” Peterson, his manager Christie Bragg, a growing staff, and encouragement from the loyal Rabbit Room contributors and readers, the Rabbit Room has grown to include podcasts, a thriving music and book store, Rabbit Room Press, a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, regular events like the Local Show, and a physical home in a 150-year-old farmhouse called North Wind Manor.

The Rabbit Room (squarespace.com)

The site goes on to say the book is ‘not an ideal portrayal of the Christian community’, yet it is a rather accurate and compelling portrayal of human community. I admit since I began reading it I have trouble putting it down when I should be going to sleep! I checked it out in eBook format from my local library.

One quote I copied last night read:

“I was going along, not listening but just hearing, not looking but just seeing, not thinking anymore of where I was trying to go or even of how I was going to find something to eat, just setting one foot in front of the other.”

Jayber Crow

I have often written about the form of meditative prayer described above, meditative walking prayer. Just look. Don’t think. Just listen. Don’t interpret.

This morning I found myself delighted as I was yesterday during my prayer and reading time by the sliver of moon out the window next to my prayer chair. It caused me to write the verse below.

23-1-17©Molly Lin Dutina  
Glimmering sliver of moon 
Veil of clouds fold and part and undulate between us 
Wind moves them along to show your reflected light 
Then to cover you over completely 
Your glow is not always seen by me 
Yet you shine even when brightness of sun 
Obliterates your visage

As I type this I can almost hear my husband saying, “Move it along, Molly. What are you trying to say?” I asked the Lord what He would have me write about and post for today. And this is what came together. I want to show you that waiting and listening, watching and observing can lead to prayer and inspiration that you did not plan. This morning I also listened again to part of the John Eldredge One Minute Pause.

The point I heard was that the love of God is something we are to experience more than explain. We are to experience the love of God though it is too great to understand fully. Experience that love.

Are you content to sit with God, love Jesus, use words to express your heart through the Holy Spirit and know that all of that pleases God? Will you use minutes of your life every day to listen for the voice of the Holy speaking to or about you? The Trinity is not interested in what we can do for the Kingdom as much as our relationship to the Trinity Community. Just as the veil of the temple was torn in two when Jesus was on the cross (Matthew 27:50-51), the Kingdom of Heaven has been opened to us by His resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Remember when you had to interpret poetry in English class? Some of you hated that. There were times when I too just wanted to enjoy the poem. Below is my interpretation of what was moving in my soul this morning.

we reflect the light of Christ 
entering the Kingdom we shall see clearly,
until then with the veil of clouds we see dimly
the wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
I do not always see Christ at work
yet the Trinity is always moving in and through our lives.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made us understand that it is the brightness of his glory that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4: 6 TLB

No there is nothing between us and God. However we do not “see” clearly yet. We do not always interpret correctly what we do see. By staying in community with the Trinity and having fellowship with believers we are more likely to experience the love of God. Experiential knowledge is something no one can take away from you.

On High, Tent, Tabernacle, Within You

On January 15 I wrote “He was purported to dwell in the cloud by day and the fire by night, the Tabernacle, then a couple of Temples, and now indwells you. Can you get your mind around that idea?”

Our small group is studying John Eldredge’s book Resilient. In his book, page 62, he makes the point:

But, folks, have we forgotten that God relocated the temple? In a stunning shift of geography, God changed the playing field. He moved the temple from a physical building to the hearts of His people.

John Eldredge, Resilient

Here are a few of the Scriptures he quotes.

 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 

1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV

What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will live with them
    and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.”

2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV

Pray and say out loud and believe that if you have asked Jesus to be your Lord that you are God’s temple. His Holy Spirit is within you. You have received this from God. God’s Spirit dwells within you. God wants you to honor Him with your body.

No more dwelling only on high, no tent or tabernacle or temple! God decided and made the move through the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Now that you know these things how will that knowledge effect your life? Will anyone notice? Will you be able to explain the difference to them?

Where is God?

As you can see in the above picture by Missy Cummings, He was purported to dwell in the cloud by day and the fire by night, the Tabernacle, then a couple of Temples, and now indwells you. Can you get your mind around that idea?

This absolutely flies in the face of separation regarding us and the Lord God Almighty. He is not “The big man upstairs.” He is not just God of the Bible stories. Jesus made a way for Him to dwell within you, to abide, tarry, stay.

Bob was recently musing on the Gospel of John and these verses.

‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23 RSV

Do you desire this sort of oneness with the Father and the Son? Perhaps you shudder at this level of intimacy with them? Many people want the idea of separateness – God separate from us – as the Word says in John 3:19 people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Saints have been trying to teach us for generations that having God dwell in us is a heavenly gift. Julian of Norwich born 1342 and died 1416 was a celebrated author and mystic. She taught:

“Greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells in our soul; and more greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our souls is God, who is uncreated. It is a great understanding to see and know inwardly that God, who is our Creator, dwells in our soul, and it is a far greater understanding to see and know inwardly that our soul, which is created, dwells in God in substance, of which substance, though God, we are what we are.” ~ Julian of Norwich

~Julian of Norwich

“Between God and the soul there is no between.”

~Julian of Norwich

How do you interpret that in your own life? Read those 2 quotes again and ponder what they might mean for you 2023. If you love God and have accepted Jesus as His Son, He has come to dwell in you. We recently sang, “O come, o come, Emmanuel.” And He has come! Jesus was born a man, died for all men and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father. He has accomplished His work and has sent the promise of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us who believe. There is no between God and the soul.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

Ephesians 3:16-17 TLB

If, like me, you are facing another year of physical struggle, I pray you will take the above verses to heart. Ask the Father repeatedly to empower you with inner strength. Invite Christ to make His home in you and TRUST in Him. Help us all, Lord, to grow our roots deep into Your love and make us strong.

New Year, New Word?

Wow! Another New Year. How long will it take you to remember it is ’23 now? Have you been thinking about resolutions? We usually form a New Year’s resolution from our flesh and our mind. Statistics show that more often than not the resolution is in the dust before February. So I challenge you to set not a resolution, but one word for the entire year. Have you ever prayed and tried to listen for what the Lord would have you focus upon for the coming year?

I have done this for several years and have found it inspiring, challenging and uplifting. Even when I fail to reach for the goal of the word, if I chose it from the Word of God, He helps me and sustains me in my efforts. I may fail one week and totally grasp it the next. The goal is to consistently reach for it.

So take a few minutes. Sit quietly asking the Holy Spirit what He would have you set as your word of the year. If you do not hear a particular word, keep trying, maybe even for several weeks. Pay attention to Scriptures that come your way. Do you perceive a theme?

I have been reading the book of Mark. In chapter 13 Jesus is speaking about the end of time as we know it. He says only the Father knows when that will occur.

 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Mark 13: 32-37 NIV

Even the poet Rumi wrote, “Stay awake. Don’t go back to bed.” Watch. Be alert. NASB says, “Be on the alert.” The Message, “Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

What is the Lord saying to you about 2023? Are you awake, alert, listening, watching? Or have you dozed off to sleep content to just be comfortable, like most Americans want to be? Comfort seems to be our biggest idol these days.

Maybe your word will make you uncomfortable. Perhaps moving out of your comfort zone will bring you new life! Try it for 2023.

Old Prayers for Each of Us

I recently bought another book of Puritan prayers from Christian Book Distributors entitled Piercing Heaven. The author says “That prayer is most likely to pierce heaven which first pierces one’s own heart.”

Every good prayer begins with some form of confession. This one is no exception.

It All Belongs to Jesus by Robert Hawker

Precious Jesus! I do remember my faults this day. So grant me from now on to live wholly to You, gracious Lord, to keep you always in view, walking with you, cleaving to you, hanging upon you, Help me always to remember you and your love more than anything else.

You, my dearest Redeemer! I pray for grace to set you always before me, to record in my heart your mercies, and to set you in my heart. To follow you wherever you go, and to watch the steps of Jesus. To pursue you in all your paths, at your table, at your ordinances, in your words, in your house of prayer, in your providence, in your promises.

Everywhere, and in all things where Jesus is, I pray that there may my soul be. Though I have no way to pay you back for this bounty, Lord, still in your grace may I follow you, to bless you, and to live out the truth that all I am and all I have is yours.

Grant me in this sweet sense to know you, precious Jesus, and to enjoy you in everything, for riches and honor come from you.

Yes, Lord, the work is yours, salvation is yours, glory is yours – everything is yours. All the remains for me is to be forever giving you the praise that is due your most holy name, content to be nothing – even less that nothing – that the power of Jesus may rest on me. Because when I am most weak in myself, than am I most strong in you, Lord, and in your power, amen.

I like the reminder that everything belongs to Jesus. It is so easy in this day to think there are things we obtained that belong to us, not to Him. “All I am and all I have is Yours.”

We have left the mostly clear skies of New Mexico and are firmly back home in the December gloom of Ohio. Though there is no mountain out my widow to remind me of God’s glory and majesty, there are reminders all about me of the same. The white eared squirrel just hopped across the yard. The moisture in the air seems chilly but has brought relief to my sinuses! Our small group met recently and we were re-united after a long session of being apart. Sadly, we will not meet again until next year, but prayerfully the bonds of unity will remain.

Yes, everything belongs to Jesus and He is in control. May I yield to His directions and follow closely in His paths. May you too, “be forever giving praise to His most holy Name, content to be nothing- even less than nothing – that the power of Jesus may rest on you. “ He is strong and is able to keep us in all of our ways.

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.

Jude 24-25 RSV

There are so many passages in the New Testament that contain the phrase He is able – would make a neat study!

How to Please God

Amy Carmichael “Edges of His Ways” continues to inspire me. When I read this selection I learned that the passage in Proverbs speaks as to how we can cause God to delight in us.

My son, if your heart is wise, then My heart will be glad indeed; My inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.

Proverbs 23:15-16 RSV

The passage reminds me of when one of my children makes my heart swell with joy. Like the time Emily at 3 years old, smuggled Jesus into church on Christmas Eve. When I asked her what was in her hand she opened her palm and said, “I thought He ought to come.” To this day I marvel at the faith of that girl-child.

How can a person protect or keep their ways? Psalm 119 tells some ways.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!

Psalm 119:9-10 RSV

It is all of Him if we are made aware of His Presence and listen when He speaks, and so receive wisdom; but in His extraordinary love He speaks as if it were all our doing

Amy Carmichael “Edges of His Ways” December 5 “The Evens”

God lets things unfold as if our right doing is from our own strength. Yet, Amy and others teach us that He makes us aware of His Presence, He directs our paths, His grace and mercy carry us along our way.

If my heart is wise, if my lips speak what is right my Father will be pleased. This can make His heart glad and His inmost being rejoice. This is a good time and season to ask the Father “How could I most delight You today?” What gift can I present to You, Father of Lights?

I have been reading The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. In the section entitled Shared Prayers and Devotions there is a portion for each morning and evening over seven days. The prayers and devotions are a lovely weave of Scriptures, praise and requests to our Lord. This jumped out at me, “Let us not live uncertain of what we are, of where we are going. Bear witness with our spirit that we are thy children and enable each one to say, “I know my Redeemer.”

Wait in His Presence. Remember God really loves you. Trust His love and learn how to be devoted to Him.

Telling the Destruction of Babylon

We visited Faith Church in Rio Rancho where Dan and Betty worship. Pastor Mike McDonald has been doing a series preaching on Jeremiah and this week was Chapters 50-51. “God’s judgement is a word to His people of future hope in their present hardship.”

And then the Word says:

He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, for he is the Maker of all things, including the people of his inheritance—the Lord Almighty is his name.

Jeremiah 51:19 NIV

The Maker of all things. The Lord Almighty is his name. Our portion.

Our strength, our reward. Father You bless us even when we are not aware of Your blessing. Help us to bring attention to You and Your holy power in all that we do.

He is our portion We are exceedingly blessed. Look to Him at all times.