Monday, April 25, 2011

Excerpts: One Thousand Gifts...

I have finally finished reading One Thousand Gifts, and wanted to share with you all these last few excerpts that have buried themselves in my heart.... (photos are Ann Voskamp's, from the book gallery)

  • My mama, valley wise and grief traveled, she always said, 'Expectations kill relationships.' And I've known expectations as a disease, a silent killer heaping her burdens on the shoulders of a relationship until a soul bursts into a pulmonary and dies. 'Expectations kill relationships - especially with God. And that's what a child doesn't have: this whole edifice of expectation. Without expectations, what can topple the surprising wonder of the moment?

  • ...I remember: Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment. a distrust in the love-beat of the Father's heart....

  • ...In the moment of singing that one line, dedicating the work as thanks to Him, something - the miracle- happens, and every time. When service is unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. Because, agrees Dorothy Sayers,  'whenver man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have the notion that other people owe you something for your pains...You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause.'                          When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But 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 feet of Jesus alone - the bones, they sing for joy and the work returns to it purest state: eucharisteo. The work becomes worship, a liturgy of thankfulness. 

  • I walk in our back door to candlelight still flickering, hang the keys on the hook and look around  at the steep mountain of laundry there in the mudroom, the shoes scattered, a coat dropped. The mudroom sink is grime ringed. Fingerprints smear across the mirror. I laugh the happiest wonder. In the afternoon's drizzle, I give happy thanks for the daily mess with a smile a mile wide, because this is again my chance to whole heartedly serve God, to do full bodied eucharisteo with the hands and the heart and the lips. I can count each task a gift, pure Eucharisteo. Grace! This work - the thousand endless jobs - they each give the opportunity for one to become the gift, a thousand times over! Because with every one of the thousand, endless jobs - I become the gift to God and to others because this work is the public God serving, the daily liturgy of thanks, the completing of communion service with my service.

  • the only thing to rip out the tape echoing self-rejection is the song of His serenade. One thousand gifts tuned me to the beat. It really is like C.S. Lewis argued: that the most  fundamental thing is not how we think of God but rather what God thinks of us: How God thinks of us is not only more important, but infinitely more important. Years of Christian discipleship, Bible study, churchgoing had been about me thinking about God; practicing Eucharisteo was the very first time I had really considered at length what God thought of me - this ridiculous and relentlessly pursuing love, so bold. Everywhere, everything. Love!

  • God, He has blessed - caressed. I could bless God - caress with thanks. It's our making love... the intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy...we're called to do more than believe in God; we're called to live in God. To enter into Christ and Christ enter into us - to cohabit. Is this why it is His will for us to always give thanks in all things - the unbroken communion?
Food for thought huh?

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