Turning Lead Into Gold

Philosopher’s Stone

Van Morrison

Out on the highways and the byways all alone
I’m still searching for, searching for my home
Up in the morning, up in the morning out on the road
And my head is aching and my hands are cold
And I’m looking for the silver lining, silver lining in the clouds
And I’m searching for and
I’m searching for the philosopher’s stone
And it’s a hard road, It’s a hard road daddy-o
When my job is turning lead into gold
He was born in the back street, born in the back street Jelly Roll
I’m on the road again and I’m searching for
The philosopher’s stone

Can you hear that engine
Woe can you hear that engine drone
Well I’m on the road again and I’m searching for
Searching for the philosopher’s stone

Up in the morning, up in the morning
When the streets are white with snow
It’s a hard road, it’s a hard road daddy-o
Up in the morning, up in the morning
Out on the job
Well you’ve got me searching for
Searching for, the philosophers stone
Even my best friends, even my best friends they don’t know
That my job is turning lead into gold

When you hear that engine, when you hear that engine drone
I’m on the road again and I’m searching for the philosopher’s stone

It’s a hard road even my best friends they don’t know
And I’m searching for, searching for the philosopher’s stone

Songwriters: Van Morrison

https://www.vanmorrison.com/music/the-philosophers-stone

Nehemiah 9:6
“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.

John 1:3-4
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Psalm 16:11
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 36:9
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Connect To The Vine

If there is one thing you learn in life, let it be this:

The Vine and the Branches

John 15  “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

To Have and to Hold

Cindi Gale

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. We are all familiar with this vow from Christian weddings.  

Most of us know people who have honored that vow. Couples who seem to have the best of luck, couples who seem to have the worst of luck — no matter what life throws at them, they endure it together.

We also know people who have not honored that vow. Couples who drift. Couples who are torn apart by life events, or infidelity or abuse by one or both partners. Couples who used to have “love is blind” vision of each other, whose casual comments warn of trouble:  “The way he chews his food grosses me out”; “She irritates the hell outta me” — those people don’t have the big issues to drive a wedge between them…

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Those Who Wait

Cindi Gale

A year ago ago this decade-old geranium was near death. I didn’t have the heart to dispose of it, so I nursed it instead, giving it a new pot and fresh soil, proper watering, and the prime sunny spot in the garage for the winter.

It’s been on my porch all summer, but today I looked up from my reading and actually saw it. It has more blooms than ever before. Half facetiously, I anthropomorphized my geranium. I was happy for it in a way that a parent is glad to see their child who has struggled so terribly finally flourish.

But this isn’t about my awesome, resilient, over-achieving child geranium. Look closely at the picture above, and see what I finally noticed as I crouched with my camera, centering and getting the light just right. That’s my dog photo bombing my geranium’s fifteen seconds of fame.

She was waiting…

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The Illusion of Invulnerability

Cindi Gale

The conservative Christian church contributed its solidarity, its endorsement, its resources, and its numbers to power the successful election of this presidency. They say Trump represents them, that he represents God. They say God endorsed him.

Those of us who also call ourselves Christians but disagree with the growing voice of American Christianity have a choice to make: join the crowd or not. We could have safety in numbers if we join. We could immediately alleviate the criticism we are enduring if we do.

“Join in, and you’ll be accepted. Don’t join in, and expect our rejection of you. Expect our chastisement of you. You are out of line with God. You are out of line with the Church. Our beliefs are right. Your beliefs are wrong. Let me correct you with scriptures. You are clearly wrong.”

(Have you noticed the increased use of that word “clearly” in the church…

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Confidence Spring Forth

Cindi Gale

It is spring. The grass greens with each passing day, perennials emerge through cool soil, daffodils and hyacinths bloom, and fragrant rains wash tree pollen from the air. As accompaniment to these sights and smells, the song, “Oceans”, has been looping in my spirit for days.

The lyrics are about expanding faith, about trusting, about going where we have not gone before. It is about stepping not merely where we step by nature, but where He beckons us: to the supernatural. Will we walk upon the waters wherever He may call us?

The song is a challenge to overcome our doubts by choosing to grow our trust. It is a beckoning to follow Him into the great unknown. It is about trusting not self, but God. Will we allow Him to replace our thoughts with His, our plans with His? Are our words platitudes, or do we truly believe that with Him…

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Racism, The Choice is Yours

I am viewing a lot of life these past few years, as various lines in the sand. We are each determining where we stand on each side of those lines. They aren’t simple lines without consequence, they are transcendent lines, drawn by God himself.

On the recent and ongoing line of “for or against racial equality” …

I stand with the least of these, those who are subjugated in society.

By default, I then face those who chose the other side of the line. I oppose those who want to maintain the status quo of domination.

Those facing me say I am on the wrong side of the line. They point out the protests:  the vandalism and lootings. They point out unrelated civil unrest:  inner city gun violence and street murders.

From this side of the line, I say current crime stats have as much to do with a pandemic and economic inequity as it does the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, crime is crime, wrong is wrong. I agree where crime accompanies protests, each occurrence should be tried fairly — fairly, though, is not a given for people of color.

I won’t let accompanying criminal instances cause me to generalize my punitive expectations onto whole people groups or underlying, unjust status quos. I won’t let the confusion of crime by some bury the catalyst to this summer’s civil unrest: the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by police officers egregiously abusing the power they were granted.

History shows that after civil stances, America has defaulted to entrenched status quos. The dissipation of unrest allowed for racism to resume “per normal”. Change didn’t happen. Reform didn’t happen. Racism wasn’t eradicated, just hidden. There, in hiding, it grew and festered until the climate was ripe for its eruption.

Racism is now condoned by many. They aren’t ashamed of it or concerned about the consequences of its expression. They commit racist acts and verbalizations for all the see and hear. The words and deeds of racism come even from our highest leaders in government and industry.

This summer, racism considered itself so invincible amid its safety in numbers and protection by power, that it murdered an unarmed, captive, prone, surrounded black man in broad daylight without fear of consequences.

There are two options for me at this line in the sand. I choose the side standing alongside those who have been historically and currently oppressed.

Yes, there are criminals who are confusing who is who. They quickly piggy-backed on a righteous cause and confused the general public. There are, counterintuitively, unrighteous blacks and white supremacists who are moving their own agendas.

At a glance, they appear to have chosen the same side of the line I did. But look closer, at their hearts, and see that they aren’t standing alongside the oppressed, they are standing with the oppressors.

Yes, there are imposters, instigators, criminals, and evil people with terrible agendas obscuring the line. Those people don’t confuse me. They aren’t on my side of the line in the sand. They can’t  make me turn on the oppressed on this side I’ve chosen.

Give it more than a glance. Look under the smokescreen …

Oppressed people are still there, under the cloud.

The issue of racism and inequity is still there, under the confusion.

The line in the sand is still there, and God is watching which side we choose to stand on.

To those who are calling for the protests to be quelled, because they believe the confusion, don’t forget the point …

Oppressors should be exposed and brought to justice.

The oppressed should be released from their captivity.

It’s what Jesus came to Earth for, afterall.


Joshua 24:  Choose Whom You Will Serve

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

The Road

Cindi Gale

“Life is difficult for those who have the daring to first set out on an unknown road. The avant-garde always has a bad time of it.” – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1889

Those who trust enough to travel unknown roads sacrifice much. The road never-before-traveled is often isolating, desolate, and ensconced in darkness. Commitment to the road requires every ounce of available courage, perseverance, grit, restraint, fortitude, and faithfulness.

dark forest for blog

On the seemingly endless, trial-filled journey, depletion is inevitable. There comes a day when you find yourself flat on your face in the dirt, aware of the ruins of your life because of the road.

One more step is impossible. It’s then that you look up and see … light? aid? rest? No, a mountain where the path had been level.

And always, always there comes from nowhere a reason to peel yourself off the hard, cold ground and begrudgingly, resentfully, tearfully resolve…

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