May 14, 2011"...Their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on God's law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper." Psalm 1: 2 - 3 The Tuesday morning lectio divina group at Saint Mark's is a precious group for sure. For years they have been faithful to the time and the practice of lectio divina - holy listening to God's word for us through the Scripture - and open to the sharing of the insights God opens to them each week. We have become close to God and one another in this holy practice of praying the Scriptures. This past Tuesday, our final gathering before the summer, we met at the home of one of our faithful members. Her garden is a holy place, set with benches and stones that are like a labyrinth walk around her yard. We had Communion together, and did silent reflection for 45 minutes in Psalm 23. Psalm 23 was used earlier in Lent, so we all wondered what God was going to do as we spent more time in this psalm I call "Old Reliable." God never disappoints. In a beautiful setting of green plants and tall trees, hearing, "God leads me to green pastures; God restores my soul," was how we were living that very moment! To be so filled that we experienced our hearts overflowing, made the words of the psalm our own words, our own thoughts. It was a perfect psalm in which to end the year. After the silence, there was breaking bread with glad and thankful hearts. Homemade spinach lasagne, salad, and strawberry cake made from fresh picked Carolina strawberries and cream. We were grandly fed - in the Communion, in the Word of God, and in the food prepared by our hostess extraordinaire! What a blessed day! The gift this group gave me was icing on the day. They gave me a garden tote, filled with garden tools, gloves, books, seeds a mosquito repellent bracelet, and some packs of seeds. They topped it off with a straw had and an orchid. I took the garden tote as a real encouragement of a call to ministry - Tending the Garden of the Soul. This blog site is part of that ministry. The lectio group gave me a tote that reminds me to carry forth the tools of ministry I will need into the future, like a hand rake to take away the obstacles, a trowel to remind me to dig deep and plant well the seeds of ministry that will come for the rest of my life. They gave me a magazine of gardens - reminding me to vision and plant a dream for all that will be. They remembered gloves that tell me this is where I need to put my hands, my life. The gloves are useless when no hand to fills them. The hat reminds me that I am covered and in the shelter of God's love and grace and the mosquito bracelet reminds me that evil is repelled when goodness abounds. The orchid - it is perfection that will need attention to sustain and grow. So I will plant, and God will give the growth. I will plant the disciplines of prayer and study, lectio divina and contemplation, silence and sabbath. And by streams of living water, I pray that my life will yield fruit and never wither. This is Tuesday's Gift.... next, Wednesday's Gift. Blessings to you all. Special prayers for Sue.