Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What child is this? (The double season of Advent)

You stand in an art gallery, pondering two paintings.  On your left in a gold frame is a large painting of the last judgement.  On the right is a small painting of the nativity.

In many ways that is what Advent season has felt like for me.  On the one hand we look forward to his second coming: glorious king, coming judge.  On the other we contemplate his first: Word become flesh - a screaming baby born in a dirty animal pen, God taking on our sin.

The hymns we sing take up these themes.  We feel the longing of the people of Israel, who waited for a promised king who would set things right:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
We sing of the mystery of the incarnation (O Come, All Ye Faithful):
God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo, he abhors not the Virgin's womb;
Very God,
Begotten, not created
and the majesty of his return (Let all Mortal Flesh):
Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.
Both are found in the same verse of Angels from the Realms of Glory:
Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father's throne,
Gather all the nations to him,
Every knee shall then bow down:
The contrast between incarnation and second coming is almost as stark as the light-in-darkness metaphor of his coming, which we symbolize with candles.

It is this very duality of Advent for which I am thankful.  Contemplating only the incarnation, we are thankful that he came and that he knows our suffering, but we are still longing.  Considering only the return, we fear his judgement.  Only in light of his second coming do we fully understand the first; only because of his first can we bear -and hope for- his second.

Michelangelo, The Last Judgement


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Until


Until

"How long, O Lord?"
cry time-garbed prophets
of dusty days
waiting waiting waiting -
for judgement of judges, 
for heart-graven laws -
waiting working waiting.

"How long, O Lord?"
weeping over Jerusalem.
For forty coins, O innocent Lamb
lifted up to be looked upon
by tearless blind and 
sorrow-blinded seeing.
Forgive us, Judge of all.

"How long, O Lord?"
cries the waiting church,
wallowing spotless bride 
hearing the mockers speak
their oft-merited scorn,
holding firstfruits of one Adam
still eating that fruit of another.

"How long, O Lord?"
as false expectations hang,
a fragile shining cloud
above us who feel not their weight
until shattered they descend
piercing trust and pride and most of all
the hearts of those who hope.

"How long, O Lord?"
will the gift of discernment,
of vision,
be not a thwarted burden
but a treasure of seeing
free from maligned motives,
truly serving.

"How long, O Lord?"
as we bow in thankfulness and awe 
to our rescuer and consuming fire.
We fear to ask for justice we 
fear not to
knowing that beauty will not save the world
but only You, Beautiful Christ.

"How long, O Lord?"
We've hung our harps
on poplar trees 
we groan in certain hope
of resurrection, restoration, re-creation.
waiting working waiting
O Lord, keep us in hope.



for reference: Heb12:28-29, 1 Cor 15, and Psalm 137

Monday, November 12, 2012

sunset shutters

This past week I was out on the pier enjoying the sunset, and experimented with different shutter speeds for capturing the water.  There is a serenity and smoothness to the long exposures that I like.

ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/50 s

ISO 200, f/18, 5.0 s

Thursday, November 01, 2012

the power of Sandy and the Wings of God

Save me, O God,
     for the waters have come up to my neck. [...]
Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
     or the depths swallow me up
 (Psalm 69:1,15 NIV)



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

sky-scapes (a photoblog)

It's been a while.  I have been busy reading and writing for other (non-blogging) reasons.  Frankly, I have enjoyed a bit of a break from blogging.  I think I will continue a bit of a break from all the writing by posting photos.

Some of you know I am now in Maryland.  Here are some pictures from the past few weeks.
dawn. driving in Western New York 

rainbow after a flood 
sunset after the rainbow

moon and clouds and someone to enjoy them

sunset on the point

gulls and clouds

dawn on the pier

the rising sun pierces the mist

dawn hues

expectation

a river of lights on the Bay Bridge

vesper light

Friday, August 17, 2012

experiencing God in our lives


I have been asked why I believe in God, and what my personal experience of God is like.  While it may be hard to understand for some, my experience of God is not limited to those things for which I have no other explanation: God is the explanation for all things, encompassing every part of my life - if only I had the eyes to see it.

Frederick Buechner puts it so beautifully that I must share it with you, though it is a longish passage:
The question is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God's things because, of course, they are both at once.  There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak -- even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere.  He speaks, I believe, and the words he speaks are incarnate in the flesh and blood of our selves and of our own footsore and sacred journeys.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

work and calling

You may have noticed that my posts have been few and far between lately.  Hopefully this will not last, but at the moment I am in the midst of a move and life is very full (good, but full).  So this evening I thought I'd share with you a snippet out of what I've been reading for you to ponder.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Personality Type and Sin

Where to begin on this one?  I've wanted to write this post for a while, but I am beginning to think it needs to be more of a discussion than a single post.  Here's a start.

Have you ever done the Myers-Briggs personality test, or something like it?  For me reading the description of my personality type was uncanny.  While I found it helpful for understanding myself better and gaining insight into how others perceive my behavior (apparently people of my type are frequently misunderstood!), the more negative aspects of the description raised some questions for me.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Apologist’s Evening Prayer

The Apologist’s Evening Prayer

Justin Taylor posted this poem/prayer by C.S. Lewis on his blog, and I thought I'd share it too.  Christ alone can free us from our own thoughts and pride.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jesus in a doorway

That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. (Mark 1:32-34)


Can you see him, standing there in the door?  Warm light and conversation come from inside, where Simon's mother-in-law rejoices with family and neighbors and tells again the story of her miraculous healing.


Outside darkness has fallen, and with it have come the crowds.  They press in, letting the night hide their disfigurements of body and of soul.  Keenly they feel their pain and their shame, and yet they move toward that man in the doorway, toward the light.


In this hour of darkness the King of Light yet is glorious.  He speaks with authority.  He reaches out his hand in compassion.  The demons shriek, the darkness flees.   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the butterfly's summer

It swooped, it glided, it soared -
it lived out its brief life
landing on leaves 
     on flowers
                         on air,
and it was enough.







photo credit: http://juliesmagiclightshow.com/?limit=40&startPoint=0&nrecs=0&keysPlus=&keyP=&cols=1&specific=2082&x=12&y=45

Monday, June 18, 2012

June-aling-along

Where have I been?  Mostly enjoying the long, warm days of summer, and the extra freedom of schedule I have this time of year.

Here's a taste of what I've been up to:
 Enjoying beautiful NY parks..

Monday, June 04, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

I just finished reading A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens.  I have to say I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.  I have a new appreciation for Dicken's writing, which combines humour and wonderful descriptions with a good story and a thoughtful portrayal of human life.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Starting to Believe

How does one become a "Christian"  - one who is committed to following Christ? Is there some point between not being a Christian and being one, a space of time where the crossover is made?  For some perhaps this happens rapidly, for others more slowly.  But how does it happen?  (Isn't that what we'd really like to know?)

I found something Piper said regarding how one comes to trust in the truth of the Bible to be helpful.    He distinguishes between God "'telling us' that the Bible is true" and "enabling us to see what is really there."  He writes,
The practical effect of this path is that I do not ask you to pray for a special whisper from God to decide if Jesus is real.  Rather I ask you to look at the Jesus of the Bible.  Look at him.  Don't close your eyes and hope for a word of confirmation.  Keep your eyes open and fill them with the full portrait of Jesus provided in the Bible.  If you come to trust Jesus Christ as Lord and God, it will be because you see in him a divine glory ad excellence that simply is what it is - true. (Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, p.121)
This does not diminish the work of the Holy Spirit, who helps us see this truth.  It does speak against the idea that we should pray for some sign or magical change in ourselves that will make us all of a sudden believe in something that a logical person would find unbelievable.  You don't trust and follow someone unless you know them; you don't know them unless you take the opportunities to do so.

art credit:http://www.omsc.org/art-at-omsc/huibing/jesus-opens-eyes-slide.html
This applies to those of us who already profess to follow Christ.  Are we truly looking at Christ, and expecting to see ever more?  The Holy Spirit does the work of helping us see, but do we allow Him to do so?  This is a challenge to me to really hunger to know Christ more.

Does this resonate with you?  Is what Piper says helpful?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Jesus of no generation and all time

"The glory of Jesus Christ is that he is always out of sync with the world and therefore always relevant for the world.  If he fit nicely, he would be of little use. The effort to remake the Jesus of the Bibles so that he fits the spirit of one generation makes him feeble in another.  Better to let him be what he his, because it is often the offensive side of Jesus that we need most."

Monday, April 30, 2012

How can I keep from singing?

 Today I'd simply like to share with you a hymn that has been meaningful to me of late. I hope it is encouraging to you too.

  My Life Flows On 
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth's lamentation
I catch the sweet though far off hymn
That hails a new creation:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging;
Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth --
How can I keep from singing?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Daily Office

I don't mean the place where you may happen to work.  No, I'm talking about that ancient practice of daily prayer, in which we pause at specified times of the day to focus our attention on God.  I did a post about these prayers, often called the Divine Hours, a few years ago called Time is our Currency, in which you can read a bit about the history of this tradition.

Recently, while driving a long distance by myself, I listed to a series of conference talks on prayer put on by HTB, called Wisdom of the Ages.  (the one I refer to in this post can be found here.)  One speaker, Roy Seale, talked about his experience in the Northumbria Community and their practice of praying the daily office.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

grace & housecleaning [of your life]


IThe Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, James Martin writes:
God can [...] meet you at any time, no matter how crazy things may seem.  You don't have to have a perfectly organized daily life to experience God.  Your spiritual house does not need to be tidy for God to enter.
It is a good reminder to me, so I thought I'd share it as some encouragement to you.  It's funny how easy it is understand the concept of God's grace in a literal, definition-sort of way and yet not apply it to our own personal spiritual lives.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

Alleluia!

This year, one way I'm celebrating Christ's Resurrection is by making an Easter tree.  Let me share it with you:


Thursday, April 05, 2012

Maundy Thursday?

This morning as I got ready for the day, I asked myself, what on earth does "Maundy" mean?  And what does it have to do with the account I read today in the gospels of what happened on this day?  I did some quick research, the results of which, for the sake of those who like me are sadly ignorant in these matters, I will share.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Holy Week readings

For the past couple years, I have found it helpful to read through the gospel accounts during Holy Week.  Since I found it so useful, I will share with you this reading plan:

Shouting Stones


"...the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
  “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
   “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.(Luke 19:37-40)

This is a strange thing for Jesus to say with such conviction.  What does it mean? As I meditate on it, I see two things and a question:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"As Kingfishers Catch Fire"

I'm borrowing a book from my mother, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, by James Martin, SJ.  The author quotes a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889, Jesuit priest) in the context of discussing what it means to be who you are - who God has made you to be.  Although I may have read it before, I don't remember and it is like discovering a small gem.  (I might even have to memorize it!)

I think the part that speaks to me most is the second stanza.  I love the image of grace in which God sees in us - we who by that very grace are freed to be who we are meant to be - the beauty of Christ.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire 
by Gerard Manley Hopkins 
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came. 
I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

a Lenten Hymn

Baptismal Font, c.500 a.d.
"Buried with Christ in death, raised to new life in Him," the refrain is spoken with each baptism.  Although each of us who were baptized know the symbolism - we die to self as Christ died for us, we are raised to life in Christ just as Christ was raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father - how hard it is to grow in this business of dying to self and living in Christ!   (see Romans 6:3-4)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Prayer Appointed for the Week

In this dark February week, during this season of Lent, in which we acknowledge our own weakness and sin and need for our Redeemer, I found this prayer particularly meaningful.  For, like Advent, Lent is a season of great hope.  And while there may be darkness, there need not be fear when we have Christ as our light.

This prayer is from Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours.  I invite you to pray it with me:
Most loving Father, whose will it is for us to give thanks for all things, to fear nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on you who cares for us: Preserve me from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from me the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested to us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the Love and Justice of God

You hear a lot about God's love.  That makes sense: it is unfathomably deep and extravagant and glorious.  You also hear of God's justice.  This, too, is for many good reasons: not only is God's justice a central theme of the entire Bible, it is something we all long for today.  Or do we?  Sometimes God's justice seems so hard, given how often we mess up.

Have you ever thought of how God's love and God's justice are related?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Like Jazz the Movie


Have you read Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller?  I read it back in 2009 and enjoyed it (I also posted about it in various posts) so I was interested to hear that they have made a movie based on the book!  I will definitely be going to see it if they show it in Rochester.  Probably they will show it in the Little Theatre, at least.   I saw on Donald Miller's blog that it was accepted at a major film festival (South by Southwest).  Exciting!

What do you think of the book?  Will you go see the movie?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Honor

(or Honour - as a Canadian, the other just doesn't look right!)

Here's a quote I read a couple weeks ago. It seems to be related to other things besides honor because it keeps coming back to me, so I thought I'd share.
There is a bewitching something men call honor, in behalf of which they often do and become the dishonorable thing.  It is all very strange.  How often honor is sacrificed in defense of honor.
-from Deep is the Hunger  by Howard Thurman

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How do you respond to someone who is suffering?

IMGP1831
What do you do when someone you know is dealing with physical pain?  What is the most helpful response?  I know I tend to either be silent, or to try to help fix the problem.  Neither of these two options are really good ones, I'm beginning to realize.  But I don't really have much experience with suffering, so how am I to begin?  Maybe silence is the wisest rout.

I write this post now not because people in my life are suffering more than usual, but because of what I read this week in The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence.  Brother Lawrence writes to a friend of his who is suffering from some illness.  At first I was a little shocked at what he wrote:
I do not pray that you may be delivered from your pains, but I pray [to] God earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases.  
Not only this, but he goes on to mention that it is God who allows the suffering:
Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastend to the cross.  He will loose you when He thinks fit.
How is this helpful, I ask?  This is certainly not how I would write to a dear friend who was suffering.  And yet, as I read on through his letters, I realize a couple of things:

First, I realize that Brother Lawrence actually envies his friend.  He believes that God brings or allows suffering into our life that we might know His love better.  His prayers are only what he would want prayed of him, were he suffering.  As contrary as this might seem, this is Brother Lawrence's argument.  He writes
Happy those who suffer with Him. [...] I wish you could convince yourself that God is often (in some sense) nearer to us, and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health.
Be satisfied with the condition in which God places you; however happy you may think me, I envy you.
Ah, how sweet it is to suffer with God!
God has many ways of drawing us to Himself. [...]  I would willingly ask of God a part of your sufferings, but I know my weakness, which is so great that if He left me one moment to myself I should be the most wretched man alive. [...]
What gives me some ease and sweetens the feelings I have for your griefs is that they are proofs of God's love toward you.  See them in that view tand you will bear them more easily.   [...]  God often permits that we should suffer a little to purify our sous and oblige us to continue with Him. 
Although these words may seem harsh they also demonstrate Brother Lawrence's respect for his friend and confidence in the working of God.

Secondly, Brother Lawrence writes out of deep compassion for his friend, and is clearly supporting him in prayer continually.  At the beginning of one letter he writes
I am in pain to see you suffer so long.
He is the Father of the afflicted, always ready to help us.  he loves us infinitely, more than we imagine.  Love him, then, and seek no consolation elsewhere.  I hope you will soon receive it.  Adieu.  I will help you with my prayers ...
This last type of remark, a promise of continued prayer, is found in every letter.  It is clear that Brother Lawrence spends much more time in praying for his friend than in writing to him.

Finally, his letters are underpinned by a high view of God.  This God whom Brother Lawrence loves is a God of love and continually present with us in joy and in grief.  He knows that even comforts in pain are nothing compared to "the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Phil 3:8).  To this end he exhorts his friend in his last letter:
Let all our employment be to know God; the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. [...] If we do love Him alone, [...] do we not deserve blame, if we busy ourselves about trifles which do not pelas e and perhaps offend Him? [...] Let us be devoted to Him in good earnest.
I am still thinking through this and sorting it out.  What I have learned so far is the importance of praying for my friends who suffer - and not just praying that they will get well, but supporting them in prayer and praying that they might know God's strength and grace and love - and most of all that they might know God!



What do you think of this view of physical suffering?   Does it help you, or make you feel uncomfortable?  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

a longing deep

Following Christ was never meant to be easy, at least in most senses of the word.  A longing for holy living is not something that leads to a laid-back kind of life.  You might say that it would be difficult to market God's call on our lives in the way that one might market the latest ipad.

And yet - and yet people decide to join the church daily.  The choice to "pick up our cross and follow Christ" has been made by millions, making it the largest movement in history.  Certainly these people did not join because they thought it would be easy.

There is, of course, one thing that is easy.  That is the freedom from the endless struggle against sin and death that Christ brings to us by his life, death, and resurrection.  This incredible gift is part of what brings us to Christ.

Have you noticed it?  The deep desire of those in the church to learn to truly live in the life Christ gives to us?  This is not an easy path, but without doubt we long for it.  I read some words this week by Reuben Welch which seemed pertinent to the church of our age:

I may be exaggerating slightly,
     but I perceive that some of these words
          like sanctification and holiness and redemption,
               which at one time were profoundly relevant,
                    which were precious and beautiful
                                                                             life-words,
                         have, for many people, lost their luster
                              and much of their beauty and
                                                                            magnetism.
                                                              Do I make myself clear?

Some of these precious words -- these life-words--
     at one time had juice in them;
          they had stuff in them;
               they connoted things;
                    they denoted things;
                         they were glorious words;
                              they were magnetic words.
But, for many, they have lost something:
     the juice has dried up;
          and they have become technical terms,
               and maybe shibboleths.

... At the same time, I see something else
      going on in the world where I live.
           While some of the old terms have
                                                                           lost their luster,
                                                                       I perceive there is
                                                                  a growing, deep-heart
                                                             hunger to be holy!
                                                        I believe that with all my soul!
Maybe this is the hunger to which
     all other hungers are related.
          Maybe this fundamental hunger to be holy
               is that God-shaped vacuum
                                                       in the heart of every person.
                                                                   And, oddly enough,
                                                        though that hunger persists,
                                                                it is seldom expressed.
I don't know if we can find
     new terns,
     new language,
     new lingo,
          that would help us.
          but I know that there is within us
          a hunger to be holy.
And I know that the heart-hunger
     of our Lord for His Church
          is that the people of God
               be sanctified and
     made meet for the Master's use.

Not surprisingly, this hunger for holiness of which Welch speaks in us is nothing new in the history of the human race.  Yet it must be addressed anew in each generation, even in each local church.

In what ways have you seen this deep longing in your own life and church?


photo credit laprimadona

Thursday, January 26, 2012

wisdom from Brother Lawrence

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is a book I have been meaning to read for some time.  Written in the 1600's, this little gem consists of conversations with and letters by Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite in Paris.

Here is a profound thought I read this week that I want to share with you, partly to help me remember it.  
Brother Lawrence explained "that our sanctification did not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own."  (Fourth Conversation)

Now I'm sure you can think of exceptions to this, but that is not the point.  Applying this truth to our daily lives is a challenge, and one well worth undertaking, I think.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 in Books

My "2011 in Books" post is long overdue, I know.  To be honest, I've been having a hard time remembering the books I read this past year.  Here's the list that I could come up with.
  • Praying, by Packer.  I have to confess I was slightly disappointed by this book.  It has good content, but sometimes it is slow going and I wish they had been a little more ruthless in the editing process.  But overall I did learn some things about prayer, which is the reason I read it in the first place.
  • Surprised by hope, by N.T. Wright.  This is one of the more influential books I have read recently.  By influential, I mean influential on my spiritual life and thinking.  I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to seriously answer the question - what is the central Christian hope?  I have already written 4 posts on this book.  See them here
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by Rowling.  Yet another booksale purchase.  To answer your questions - no, I haven't read any of the others in the series (odd as this may seem).  I plan to read the rest of the series soon!
  • The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, by Kiberlee Ireton.  This short book is one of my resources for my posting on the topic of the Church calendar.  
  • The Divine Conspiracy, by Dallas Willard.  A re-read, read with a young adult small group I am a part of.  See my posts on Willard's books here.
  • Taliesin and Merlin, both books in the Pendragon Cycle, by Stephen Lawhead.
  • Davita's Harp, by Chaim Potok Intense and well written, as most of his books are I think.  Slightly disturbing.  I liked the other books I've read by Potok better.
  • Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan  I can't believe it took me this long to get around to reading it! (I read an abridge version when I was younger but that doesn't really count.) This is a must-read classic, as many people will tell you.  There are a few strange points of theology, but still so much to learn from.  I will probably re-read it again next year.
  • Living the Resurrection, by Eugene Peterson.  This is the first book (other than the Message paraphrase) which I have read by Peterson.  He focuses on three ways of living out the reality of the resurrection: Sabbath, Mealtime, and Baptism.  He expands each of these three to include not just the usual definition, but to encompass every part of our lives.  For example, in the third section (baptism) he speaks of how the resurrection reality is experienced in the company of friends.  He argues that we cannot really experience the fullness of resurrection living in isolation, but that we are designed to experience it with other people (in the church).  His writing style didn't grab me like some other authors, but this is still a good book and has some things to say that are definitely worth thinking about.  Here are some posts relating to this book.

Any recommendations for 2012?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

finish, then, thy new creation

This morning in church we sung a well known hymn by Charles Wesley.  I was struck again by the words of the last verse, in particular:
Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
It speaks of our deep longing to be changed, our desire for God to complete his work in us, a work that often seems so incomplete in the present.  Best of all, it is a prayer - a request.  Yes, we long for it.  But it is not our work, but thy new creation.

Why is it so easy to forget this?  May this week be one of God's working and our surrendering, so that we may all see the wonder and beauty of his great salvation.