The Whole Big Wide World

“You can’t wear black today. It’s bad luck! Go home and change into red. Do I have to tell you everything?”

Shu Rui smiles and nods.

“Okay! Thank you for looking out for me, Ai Bao. You’re my best friend in the—“

“—whole—big—wide—world!” we say together.

After laughing a lot, Shu Rui says, “I’m sorry we didn’t see a baiji.”

“Me, too. We’ll just have to look again tomorrow.”

“Okay! Bye-bye, Ai Bao!”

“Bye-bye Shu Rui!”

The Baiji by D. Marie ProkopBaijiCover

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Have It Your Way

“I don’t know if you have ever thought about God before, Li. One of my favorite authors, a scholar named C.S. Lewis, once said, ‘There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.” Of course, only you can decide what you believe. But one thing you can do while you’re deciding is pray,” the Captain said solemnly.

The Red String, Chapter 12, The Prayer

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Dreams by The Cranberries

“Dreams”

Oh, my life is changing everyday,

In every possible way.
And oh, my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems,
Never quite as it seems.

I know I’ve felt like this before, but now I’m feeling it even more,
Because it came from you.
And then I open up and see the person falling here is me,
A different way to be.

Ah, la da ah…
La…

I want more impossible to ignore,
Impossible to ignore.
And they’ll come true, impossible not to do,
Impossible not to do.

And now I tell you openly, you have my heart so don’t hurt me.
You’re what I couldn’t find.
A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind;
You’re everything to me.

Oh, my life,
Is changing every day,
In every possible way.

And oh, my dreams,
It’s never quite as it seems,
‘Cause you’re a dream to me,
Dream to me.

Ah, da, da da da, da, la…

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The Three Hermits- A Lesson in Prayer by Tolstoy

I’ve been learning a bit about the Russian author, Leo Tolstoy. I came across this interesting fact- he actually wrote something short!

The Three Hermits is a short story about a highly intellectual, spiritually disciplined Bishop who hears about three simplistic monks on an island. All the monks do every day is pray and meditate. The Bishop is determined to teach these foolish, uneducated men about God and the Bible, with a biased Captain as his guide.

Upon meeting the humble hermits, the Bishop learns how they pray and informs them it is wrong. He teaches them the Lord’s Prayer and they fervently memorize it. As the Bishop leaves the island, they cry out to him, upset. “As long as we kept repeating  the Prayer, we remembered it, but we stopped praying the prayer for a time and then we forgot the whole thing! Help us!”

The Bishop blesses them and says, “Pray your own prayers to God. Pray for us sinners.”

Tolstoy precludes this short story/parable with verses from the New Testament.

‘And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.’ — Matt. vi. 7, 8.

In The Red String, Li begs Pastor Dave to teach him how to pray. Pastor Dave has Li repeat the Lord’s Prayer. There’s a lot of good in praying the Lord’s prayer. It’s the prayer Jesus taught us to pray. But it is not the only way to pray. In the sequel, The Red Cloak, Ainsling and Li will learn about the need for one word prayers, (Anne Lamott style), such as, “Wow, Thanks, Help.”

Do you pray? How do you pray (most of the time)? Structured prayers or impromptu prayers?  Long or short prayers?

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Ocean Size Love by Leigh Nash

I know what I’m doing may be dumb
I know I should not be staring at the sun
But the thought of you leads me to temptation
It’s the same whatever side you’re on
Separated we are delicate and small
And the space between needs a retention

I see you right in front of me as close as you can get
And I pray that you won’t leave this daydream yet

And it might seem much too far to get back to where you are
But it’s close enough with an ocean size love
So if you can’t reach out to me
Send a sign across the sea and I’ll pick it up with an ocean size love

I don’t have to worry anymore
If I really need you I’ll go to the shore
And the thought of you there is my protection

I see it right in front of me
A vision in my head
And I know this is as real as a daydream gets

And it might seem much too far to get back to where you are
But it’s close enough with an ocean size love
So if you can’t reach out to me
Send a sign across the sea and I’ll pick it up with an ocean size love

You make no sound but I can hear you in the wind
I can see this never ends
Like the sea
Like you for me

And it’s close enough with an ocean size love
So if you can’t reach out to me
Send a sign across the sea and I’ll pick it up with an ocean size love

And it might seem much too far to get back to where you are
But it’s close enough with an ocean size love
So if you can’t reach out to me
Send a sign across the sea and I’ll pick it up with an ocean size love

Read more at http://www.lyrics.com/ocean-size-love-lyrics-leigh-nash.html#dq9Aya1A2V70zZ7y.99

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The Infinite Gap Quote

“So I have learned this rule: When I want to do good, evil is there with me.  In my mind, I am happy with God’s law. But I see another law working in my body, which makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner.  What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death?” 

 

Pastor Dave read aloud from the seventh chapter of Romans to the group assembled around his dining table.  He looked up to see if they were still listening.  Every head was bowed, their eyes focused on the words of the page before them.

“This is about me,” Ainsling said to Li.

“This is what we were,” Pastor Dave remarked.  “Miserable.  Prisoners to sin.  Heading for death.”

“This is depressing,” said a girl beside Li, frowning.

“It would be if we stopped there.  It’s true; no one is perfect.  But we long to be.  We compare ourselves to each other, hoping we’ll be better than someone else.  But we can never be what we should be.  In spiritual terms, this is called the infinite gap.”

“Didn’t you say there was good news?” Li asked.

“Yes!  God knows what we are.  He sees the gap.  And he desperately loves us, so he made a way to fill the gap and free us from sin.  We can be free from the guilt that weighs us down.  He rescued us.”

“Like the Guardian?”

The Red Cloak, Chapter 9, The Infinite Gap

 

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