Nov. 12, 2016

When seeds fall helpless to the earth
To seek a place in which to grow
It matters much upon where they land
To find their sustenance to flow

Not all seeds find that happy rest
That's created by their fall
For some are trampled underfoot
And fail to grow at all

But when conditions bless the day
To bring life to the seed
The potential that it finds within
Is one we all must heed

Soil and rain and light of day
Caress the seedling through
With root and bark and leaf and limb
Transforming it as it grew

Years and years have passed this way
With season's maturing theme
A blossom's fragrance attracts the eye
And captivates the dream

For now this seed has borne itself
A fruit so lush and sweet
And sown its offspring on the ground
A cycle now complete

Al Carden
Nov. 9, 2016

In those deep recesses
Where light is hard to find
I have occasioned the dawning
As the sun begins to shine.

Its rays chase off the darkness
And puts my soul at ease
It gives me hope for living
It humbles me to my knees

And in that light I hear a voice
That pushes aside the cold
And tenderly compels me
And reaches my hand to hold.

I've heard this voice so many times
When grief and stress come 'round
It condemns me not nor harms me
Nor gives an uncertain sound.

So many of us search for light
In crevices deep and broad
Where life has taken downward turns
And trust speaks like a fraud.

But if we're patient long enough
Where shadows often roam
The Light will bring us safe and sound
The Light will bring us home!

Al Carden
Nov. 9, 2016

When life takes uncertain turns that pierce our spirit through
And our search for answers comes up empty with no clue
When the pains of loneliness and numbness overwhelm
Its then I seek assurance, is the captain at the helm?

Was decision made to go this way where seas are rough and drear?
Or did the storm o'er take us as I'm now so filled with fear.
Perhaps the compass gave a read uncertain and obscure
Pointing wrong direction into waters so unsure.

Or is the wind contrary as it pushes us along
Bent on destinations with no music and no song
And where's my strength when trouble comes in seas so deep and wide
Tempting to capsize my ship with not a place to hide?

And who will be my savior when the tempest o'er me rolls
Speaking words of kindness to the reaches of my soul?
I think I know the answer it is even at the door
The voice of all the ages speaking gently all the more.

There is a price to pay my child to reach the harbor fair
And tie your ship to safety's ground to feel that love and care
So when you think the storms of life depress and overwhelm
Just fix your gaze on the pilot's nest, The Captain's at the helm!

Al Carden
Nov. 2, 2016

Here's a question for you. What would you say you spend the majority of your time thinking about? Perhaps you haven't considered such a question but take a minute and ponder it. Whatever it is that seems to capture your attention will more than likely have something to do with your interests or hobbies or dependencies. Let's say you are an avid sports fan. If your sport of choice is American college football then depending on the level of your "avidness" may determine how much time you spend preparing for the "big game" being played on the weekend. Depending on how committed you are to your team or alma mater will determine your loyalty to the sport and perhaps your level of competitiveness. 

My reflection in this post has to do with what I behold the most. I have wrestled with this notion for quite awhile now. What I behold today in my sixties is much different than what I beheld as a young man. I suppose that would make sense since my interests have changed. This has a lot to do with my reflective nature. I believe that I was made to reflect and my reflections really don't lie. In other words if I compared myself to a mirror then whatever is reflected in that mirror is exactly what I am beholding at that moment. 

If I choose to behold negative attitudes then negative attitudes is exactly what I will reflect to those around me. If my negative attitudes somehow bring about the worst in those around me then it stands to reason that there is perhaps a good possibility that a chain reaction will occur and my negative attitudes will be reflected to others by others. It occurs to me that due to my reflective nature the very center of my ability to reflect is found within my mind. Perhaps that is what is meant in the scripture passage that says, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he."

So far my reflection has mainly dealt with those negative thoughts that often surface within us or within others that get reflected as in a mirror. Once these negative chain reactions get started and more and more people begin taking part in these negative reflections the more intense the negative behavior. If this behavior is not put in check then it can lead to violence. Once violence becomes that which is prominently reflected, well, just use your imagination.

So the question then could be, "do we have a choice what we reflect?" I believe we do. If we become aware that our reflections come from within our thoughts then it would make sense to heed what the New Testament writer Paul suggested in the book called Romans chapter twelve and verse two. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind or thoughts. In other words, don't go along with or reflect the negative thoughts that are being mirrored in your direction by those who are more than likely unaware of what they are reflecting. It occurs to me that these negative reflections are devoid of the one thing of which we are all made and that is "love." 

I am reminded of the recorded statement of the gospel writer John as he saw Jesus coming toward him to be baptized. He makes this declaration, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." When I saw this for the first time I wasn't sure just what I had discovered. What I am suggesting to you and to myself in John's amazing declaration is our ability as beings of reflection to actually behold the Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ. And in so doing we reflect everything that He is to everyone we meet whether we are aware of it or not. Once we truly see and embrace this truth and we purposefully renew our mind or thoughts with it the more we will begin to notice those around us reflecting the love of Christ Jesus back to us.

I suppose the only way you are going to discover if this blog reflection has any validity to it or not is to give it a whirl. Let me warn you, however, that should you give this a try and the Holy Spirit makes herself known in the process, well, becoming that which you behold may take on an entirely new meaning!