In cross culture. People Watching. Community in the Developing World and other Places. About questions too: "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist? How?

A Wendell Berry Poem

Berry wrote this poem for his wife.  But when I read the poem, my thoughts flew to that moment now many days, years and decades ago when as a young teenager in the living room of my university student “Junior High Youth Group Leader” of my church, I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and took a leap of faith, accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior from all my sin forever, and accepting to genuinely believe He exists, and IS who the Bible says He is, and beginning a life of daily relationship with Him, the One True God of the universe and beyond.

I finished that prayer and looked up, said goodbye to the Junior High Youth Group Leader of the church, opened the old screen kitchen door of that little old frame house beside the gas station on the corner, in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, and began walking home to my house along the cement sidewalk.  And, something was unmistakably DIFFERENT, in me.  I felt it.  I knew it.  Jesus was THERE, with me, in the core of who I am.

It was June and, New Wilmington being the warm, friendly little college town it is, people’s yards had rambler roses climbing the fence, along the sidewalked short blocks.  Those roses looked brighter!  Their fragrance wafted more pungently!  Joy welled up in my spirit and, the whole world seemed brighter and more full of promise!

And Jesus coming into my heart, my spirit, my life, in personal relationship during that prayer, on that day, has never left me!  What He started to do in me, with me, for me – and the relationship the two of us have – is real. Has been all along, since then.  He’s never left me – I know that with a deep certainty in some deep, deep place in my spirit, in the core of who I am.  41 years later.

The Wild Rose      by Wendell Berry

Sometimes hidden from me

in daily custom and in trust,

so that I live by you unaware

as by the beating of my heart,

Suddenly you flare in my sight,

a wild rose blooming at the edge

of thicket, grace and light

where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing

again what I chose before.

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