In One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp writes, "Grace is alive, living waters. If I dam up the grace, hold the blessings tight, joy within dies...waters that have no life.
"I turn my hand over, spread my fingers open. I receive grace. And through me, grace could flow on. Like a cycle of water in continuous movement, grace is meant to fall, a rain...again, again, again. I could share the grace, multiply the joy, extend the table of the feat, enlarge the paradise of His presence. I am blessed. I can bless. A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ."
Monday -- The internet lately has been terrible. I don't know why it's not been working well at the office, but it hasn't. I'm so thankful for this thumb-drive internet that I have. It's enabled me to get work done when the office internet doesn't work. But the question is, if this works, why does whatever we have at the office NOT work?
Tuesday -- I've been blessed to be given the task of sending out thank you notes to everybody who has donated to the Persecution Relief Project. This is a really good example of "being the blessing". Knowing that people around the world care about the church in Niger has been a huge blessing to me!
"At the last, this is what will determine a fulfilling, meaningful life, a life that, behind all the facades, every one of us longs to live: gratitude for the blessings that expresses itself by becoming the blessing.
"Eucharisteo is giving thanks for grace. But in the breaking and giving of bread, in the washing of feet, Jesus makes it clear that eucharisteo is yes, more: it is giving grace away. Eucharisteo is the hand that opens to receive grace, then, with thanks breaks the bread; that moves out into the larger circle of life and washes the feet of the world with that grace. Without the breaking and giving, without the washing of feet, eucharisteo isn't complete. The Communion service is only complete in service. Communion, by necessity, always leads us into community.
"...Eucharisteo means "to give thanks" and give is a verb, something that we do. God calls me to do thanks. To give thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.
"I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift!
"I could be the joy!" --Ann Voskamp
Wednesday -- Wednesday afternoon I was on my way to a meeting. I was going to turn left onto the road that goes to Sahel Academy, but there was on-coming traffic, so I stopped and waited....with my left turn signal on. There was a pick-up truck behind me. Just as I began to turn left I heard a terrible metal-on-metal sound and saw a motorcycle to my left. He had come hurtling down the road going left around the cars that were stopped in the road and slammed right into me. My first thought was that I had hit him and then run over him. I was shaking when I got out of the car. By then he had picked himself up. He was not hurt but something plastic had fallen off his bike. I asked him if he was ok. He seemed very sheepish and said, yes, he was fine. I kind of waited for him to demand that I pay for his bike repairs, but he didn't. So I asked him if he had seen my turn signal and he said no, there was a truck behind you. I asked again if he was ok and he said yes. I said I was really sorry I had hit him....even though I think it was him who hit me. I mean, since when do you pass a line of stopped vehicles on the left? Well, in Niamey, drivers do whatever they want. And the scariest of all the drivers are the young under-21 male motorcycle drivers. They have absolutely no fear and little understanding of the rules of the road. I am so thankful that the motorcyclist wasn't killed and the worst thing that happened were a few dents to my car. Pray for us as we drive on these crazy roads!!
"...liturgy has its roots in the Greek word leitourgia meaning "public work" or "public servant". The meaning! This life of washing dishes, of domestic routine, it can be something wholly different. This life of rote work, it is itself public work, a public serving - even this scrubbing of pans -- and thus, if done unto God, the mundane work can become the living liturgy of the Last Supper. I could become the blessing, live the liturgy!" --Ann Voskamp
Friday -- The last Friday of the month is Day of Prayer and we spend the morning praying together. This month we did something different. We have three families who are in the process of adopting children, so we went to each of their homes and prayed for them there. We praised God for the way they have brought these children into their homes and prayed that He would move the adoption process along quickly. It was a blessing to be able to pray with them and I think they were blessed by the fact that we came to them as a family to share in their joy and in the stressful time that the process can be.
"...when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all. When the eyes of the heart focus on God, and the hands on always washing the feet of Jesus alone -- the bones, they sing joy, and the work returns to its purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness." --Ann Voskamp
Saturday -- A few weeks ago John and I had done a lot of work to cut back a bougainvillea bush that had grown out of control. However, we couldn't do it all in one day, especially since it had gotten tangled in our neighbor's concertina wire. Saturday morning was fairly cool and a great day for yard work, so I got the ladder, a small axe, and hedge clippers and went at it. Our friend, M. walked in the yard just then (he also disposes of our trash). He asked how I was doing and I said fine, but it's really hard to cut back this bush. He said, "Let me do it!" Well, no, really, ok, sure! So he worked on the bougainvillea and I trimmed back some other bushes. I'm thankful God sent him along at just the right time to help me!
Sunday -- The ladies' group at church honored the pastor for his birthday. I'm so thankful for our church (even when the services go on extra long!) and for our pastor.
"In an endless cycle of grace, He gives us gifts to serve the world." --Ann Voskamp
Be the blessing!
Live the liturgy!