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Living Waters for the World announces Christmas E-card Greeting offers way to honor family and friends, support clean water systems December 18, 2012 by Janet Tuck NASHVILLE--Living Waters for the World ― a ministry...

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Former GA Moderator Cindy Bolbach dies Ruling elder and corporate attorney, noted for her non-anxious presence, intelligence, and humor, succumbs to cancer December 12, 2012 LOUISVILLE--Cynthia (Cindy) Bolbach,...

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Jane Hines/Vic Jameson scholarship recipient announced By Bill Lancaster Greenville, SC--The Synod of Living Waters and the Presbyterian Writers’ Guild has announced the first recipient of the Jane Hines/Vic Jameson Scholarship...

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Hurricane Sandy--How to help On All Saints Day remember those affected by Hurricane Sandy “The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all.” These are...

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Hurricane Sandy no Halloween treat First word to describe the storm’s damage:‘Historic’ November 1, 2012 by Jim Nedelka Courtesy of Presbyterian News Service New York City--It is Halloween. On...

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Snow In The Woods

By Dee Wade

Yesterday, these woods were dark. This morning, they are lit-up with a wet, bark-clinging snowfall.  So much light pours from the trees that the slight rise of the land beyond them, clearly visible yesterday, is obscured today. The snow coats every trunk, every branch, every branchlet, every twig, every creeping vine, tendril, over-wintering leaf above and every grass blade, seed pod, and blackberry cane below.

I pause in my walk, dazzled by the sheer volume of life stretching in every direction before me, weighty in material aggregate, intricately interwoven in form. How the Tufted Titmouse that flitted from the woods into the clearing made it out at all, not to mention unscathed, complements the little beauty’s eye-wing coordination. Something wins over nothing-ness even in a third-growth tree-stand like this one, each spurt of matter-encased energy coveting space and light and nourishment, competing strenuously without apology.

This may be the last snow of the winter. By tomorrow it will melt, returning the woods to darkness. But today, heaven and earth are full of God’s glory. It’s like a last kiss. I’m going to miss it. But I’m grateful that it passed my way.

Two weeks after this frosted epiphany in the woods, the news from Auburn, Alabama is not good. Some pitiable, soulless person poisoned special Live Oak trees that had graced the Loveliest Village on the Plains for 130 years. The troll’s motivation, it turns out, oozed from the acidic cesspool of his jealousy over the recent football national championship of the Auburn University Tigers. The defenseless oaks had patiently stood at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn for generations, forbearing cascades of toilet paper loft there by students celebrating victories of various sports teams.

They never hurt anybody or embarrassed themselves. They gave freely of their their shade, their beauty, and their acorns, supplying oxygen to any man or beast who needed it, including the one who inhaled their life-giving atmosphere as he slaughtered them in a most despicable fashion. The root-strangulating poison was applied with such concentration that is not only assured the death of the oaks but also of the soil, making of it a hazardous waste, toxic to life, toxic to itself.

Only God is to be worshiped. But mature trees, especially Live Oaks in the deep south, are all but sacred. They are among the earth’s most amazing living things. Just look at them. You’re not likely to see them covered with wet snow, but look at them early on a moist morning draped in heavy fog. Just look. Absorb; drink them in. How can you not be humbled before them and proud to know them at the same time? And to think that one mentally unstable individual would destroy them for no reason other than spite causes one to judge the doctrine of total human depravity as understated by a half.

The tragedy makes me want to race down there and thank them for bringing so many people pleasure, though I’ve seen them maybe 3 or 4 times. I want to — yes — hug them goodbye and attend to their last rites and see new baby Live Oaks planted in their place after the soil has been removed and fresh soil brought in. I don’t care if the trees were in Tuscaloosa or even in Knoxville. I would feel the same way.

The fissure in my heart opens again, leaking a rueful thanksgiving. All good things must come to an end, they say, and they also say that all living things must die. It’s part of the deal made with life and the Lord of life. So goodbyes are in order, for last snowfalls in the woods, for the flight of beauty, for grand old trees taken cruelly in their prime. We mourn our losses as surely as we count our blessings.

We mourn the newsprint passing of the good ol’ Presbyterian Voice, come to think of it. We are thankful for the opportunities it has presented us to porch-sit with some fine folks every so often who share a profound love of God’s natural grace and of God’s church. We are grateful for Jane the Just who first gave us the chance to write 20 years ago, who nurturing us along, showing us around the Synod of Living Waters and introducing us to some wonderful people. We are grateful to Janet who appreciated good writing too, and kept the Voice going until it couldn’t go anymore as configured, and who will lead it into the whatever of next.

We weep for a world made a little less readable, a little more distant, a world inhabited by people in thrall to technology rather than the other way ‘round.

We are grateful to you, you saints of the Synod, you loyal, long-suffering Presbyterians of the Southeast, you kingdom seekers of Mississippi, you faithful pilgrims of Alabama, you Jesus followers of Tennessee, you intrepid sojourners of Kentucky.

We will miss our little visits, and we thank you for your patience and encouragement, your kind responses to our meager efforts, your forgiveness of our unruly tendencies. We hope you all will be well. And oh, be joyful.

We pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you, that the Lord’s steadfast love and graciousness will be radiant within you and that the Lord will look upon you with favor, and give you peace. Always. Always.

Read more “A Natural Grace” by clicking here.

A NATURAL GRACE

Snow In The Woods

By Dee Wade

Yesterday, these woods were dark. This morning, they are lit-up with a wet, bark-clinging snowfall.  So much light pours from the trees that the slight rise of the land beyond them, clearly visible yesterday, is obscured today. The snow coats every trunk, every branch, every branchlet, every twig, every creeping vine, tendril, over-wintering leaf above and every grass blade, seed pod, and blackberry cane below.

I pause in my walk, dazzled by the sheer volume of life stretching in every direction before me, weighty in material aggregate, intricately interwoven in form. How the Tufted Titmouse that flitted from the woods into the clearing made it out at all, not to mention unscathed, complements the little beauty’s eye-wing coordination. Something wins over nothing-ness even in a third-growth tree-stand like this one, each spurt of matter-encased energy coveting space and light and nourishment, competing strenuously without apology.

This may be the last snow of the winter. By tomorrow it will melt, returning the woods to darkness. But today, heaven and earth are full of God’s glory. It’s like a last kiss. I’m going to miss it. But I’m grateful that it passed my way.

Two weeks after this frosted epiphany in the woods, the news from Auburn, Alabama is not good. Some pitiable, soulless person poisoned special Live Oak trees that had graced the Loveliest Village on the Plains for 130 years. The troll’s motivation, it turns out, oozed from the acidic cesspool of his jealousy over the recent football national championship of the Auburn University Tigers. The defenseless oaks had patiently stood at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn for generations, forbearing cascades of toilet paper loft there by students celebrating victories of various sports teams.

They never hurt anybody or embarrassed themselves. They gave freely of their their shade, their beauty, and their acorns, supplying oxygen to any man or beast who needed it, including the one who inhaled their life-giving atmosphere as he slaughtered them in a most despicable fashion. The root-strangulating poison was applied with such concentration that is not only assured the death of the oaks but also of the soil, making of it a hazardous waste, toxic to life, toxic to itself.

Only God is to be worshiped. But mature trees, especially Live Oaks in the deep south, are all but sacred. They are among the earth’s most amazing living things. Just look at them. You’re not likely to see them covered with wet snow, but look at them early on a moist morning draped in heavy fog. Just look. Absorb; drink them in. How can you not be humbled before them and proud to know them at the same time? And to think that one mentally unstable individual would destroy them for no reason other than spite causes one to judge the doctrine of total human depravity as understated by a half.

The tragedy makes me want to race down there and thank them for bringing so many people pleasure, though I’ve seen them maybe 3 or 4 times. I want to — yes — hug them goodbye and attend to their last rites and see new baby Live Oaks planted in their place after the soil has been removed and fresh soil brought in. I don’t care if the trees were in Tuscaloosa or even in Knoxville. I would feel the same way.

The fissure in my heart opens again, leaking a rueful thanksgiving. All good things must come to an end, they say, and they also say that all living things must die. It’s part of the deal made with life and the Lord of life. So goodbyes are in order, for last snowfalls in the woods, for the flight of beauty, for grand old trees taken cruelly in their prime. We mourn our losses as surely as we count our blessings.

We mourn the newsprint passing of the good ol’ Presbyterian Voice, come to think of it. We are thankful for the opportunities it has presented us to porch-sit with some fine folks every so often who share a profound love of God’s natural grace and of God’s church. We are grateful for Jane the Just who first gave us the chance to write 20 years ago, who nurturing us along, showing us around the Synod of Living Waters and introducing us to some wonderful people. We are grateful to Janet who appreciated good writing too, and kept the Voice going until it couldn’t go anymore as configured, and who will lead it into the whatever of next.

We weep for a world made a little less readable, a little more distant, a world inhabited by people in thrall to technology rather than the other way ‘round.

We are grateful to you, you saints of the Synod, you loyal, long-suffering Presbyterians of the Southeast, you kingdom seekers of Mississippi, you faithful pilgrims of Alabama, you Jesus followers of Tennessee, you intrepid sojourners of Kentucky.

We will miss our little visits, and we thank you for your patience and encouragement, your kind responses to our meager efforts, your forgiveness of our unruly tendencies. We hope you all will be well. And oh, be joyful.

We pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you, that the Lord’s steadfast love and graciousness will be radiant within you and that the Lord will look upon you with favor, and give you peace. Always. Always.

Read more “A Natural Grace” by clicking here.

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