Saturday, March 20, 2010

Let Glasgow Flourish

I came across the motto "Let Glasgow Flourish" as I walked into Glasgow's Botanic Gardens on Wednesday. I took the above picture, because I liked the image of the city flourishing like a garden... especially seeing the words as I walked into a garden.

Then yesterday I encountered the phrase again at the Kelvingrove Museum, and asked about it. It's the motto of Glasgow, and it used to continue with the words " the preaching of Thy Word and the praising of Thy Name." The words are attributed to St. Mungo, patron saint and founder of the city of Glasgow. This city has a rich spiritual foundation, one that has largely been set aside.

The image of Glasgow flourishing like a garden has stayed with me. It reminded me of Isaiah 58:11-12, and as I looked up the passage this afternoon, I realized the context. The following verses describe promises God gives to Israel if they will practice true fasting, genuine worship, and pursue justice for the poor and oppressed.

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

These words describe the restoration of a city, a city again flourishing because of God's blessing, and because of His people's commitment to true worship and justice. Today, these words are on my heart for this city I've been visiting.

Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of Thy Word and the praising of Thy Name.

Glasgow in Spring

I've been in Glasgow this week, meeting a bunch of people and exploring possibilities for ministry here. It's been a fantastic trip so far. And spring is here. New growth just beginning...

Crocuses (croci?) in the Botanic Gardens

...and the sun came out!

Some daffodils for my mother

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I need poetry in my life

I regularly follow The Writer's Almanac. Partly because I'm the nerdy sort who likes reading small bits of info and stories about writers, books, etc. But also because I need poetry in my life. Poems help me slow down and read carefully. They make me pay attention and look more closely. And often, poetry says something my soul needs to hear. This was today's poem:

Thomas R. Smith

It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.

The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.

The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.

And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Introducing Lesedi

My friend Doris is the mother of two boys, and really wanted to have a little girl one day. Last year, she became pregnant with her third child. Doris is HIV-positive, and so her friends were very concerned about her health as well as the health of her baby. We've been praying steadily for Doris, and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl in early December 2009. Both Doris and baby Lesedi are doing well, and I finally got to meet Lesedi this week. Her name means "Light." She's beautiful.

Doris and me

Me holding Lesedi, who looks extremely startled in this picture

Melinda holding a sleeping Lesedi, with Doris and me

Group photo! Sarah, me, Lesedi, Doris, and Gopolang (Doris' younger son)

With the Girls at Emily's

I've had a lot of fun the past couple of weeks hosting my good friend Melinda, who came to visit from California. Melinda and I were roommates the semester I studied in Italy, and are seasoned travel buddies... we added a few journeys to our repertoire, having previously only traveled together in Europe. It was great to introduce an old friend to my home and friends here in South Africa. Here are a few pictures from an afternoon we spent hanging out in Sosh with Emily and her daughters.

Me, Melinda, and Sarah with Emily and her girls: Precious, Lungile, and Pretty

Games with Lungile: "One day I go to Congo, to see the people of Congo..."

Melinda making faces with Lungile

Mel and the girls: Precious, Lungile, and Pretty, and their cousin Nthabiseng in the background