Advent: Imagination

“Everything written in the Scriptures was
written to teach us,
in order that we might have hope
through the patience and encouragement which
the Scriptures give us.”
– Romans 15:4

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“These most precious values I have come to call the ‘pearls of poverty’, given to me by the peasants of West Africa. The pearl is a jewel, like the ruby, the diamond, and the sapphire. But unlike the others, a pearl comes originally from suffering. The oyster gets a grain of sand inside its shell. This is uncomfortable; it hurts the oyster. Over time, the oyster begins to protect itself from that irritant by coating it with a secretion, layer upon layer, until it becomes a smooth, brilliant, shining treasure – a pearl! … The poor comprehend that joy is not dictated by the circumstances of life. Joy is a decision, a very brave one, about how you are going to respond to life. We tend to be joyful when things go our way and good things are happening in our lives. For the poor, such good fortune and good things almost never come. Yet laughter and smiles abound.” – Wess Stafford. Too Small To Ignore, p.164-165

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“As the Israelites beheld the desert (Ps 106:24) and the townspeople beheld Legion (Mark 5:15), both missed what God was doing because they were troubled by the failures of their imagination. It brings quiet inquiries to mind. Do we not still oscillate between being too uncomfortable to trust and too comfortable to believe? How do we guard against missing our deepest hope, though we fear? And how do we not come to despise what once seemed promising, though we stand broken or disappointed in the wilderness? Like the psalmist, we might stand poised to remember, seeing God in history, seeing ourselves, seeing today—with imagination, with thanksgiving. Though I am tempted to keep the behavior of those who have gone before me at a distance, I am comforted by the proximity of God throughout their story, continually drawing them nearer, even in the desert. Though they grumbled and failed and begged God to leave, God continued to lead them, in mercy breaking each idol they would have settled for, prying from their hands the things that blocked their view of the promise God would not forget.” – RZIM

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“Now to Him who is able to do
immeasurably more
than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is
at work within us,”
– Eph 3:20


Advent is a wonderful time to be raising caterpillars. So much waiting, and hoping. Miracles in small packages, they silently ask us to make room for the unexpected. So much that challenges one’s imagination of what could be, should be. Butterflies look nothing like caterpillars. If caterpillars could dream, would they ever imagine becoming winged masterpieces?

Also quite marvellous that it’s actually only been a year since we were first surprised by Le and Mon. Since then, we’ve cared for about 20 lime caterpillars. Some made it to takeoff, others died at various stages of moulting and pupating. A few disappeared mysteriously (we hope, not eaten by birds or ants).

We have 6 this Advent – 3 fostered to us by Sweetie. A friend remarked that it’s a kampong! 🙂 One year on, we love these caterpillars more than ever. We don’t tire of hoping and waiting with them as they metamorphosise. Maybe because we know what’s to come?

May that be true of us too, in our metamorphoses.

For we do know what’s – and Who’s – to come (again).

Ant 29Nov15

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About lilac butterfly

Live. Love. Learn. Laugh. Write. Draw. Colour. Blend. Play. Dream. Cry. Reflect. Pray. Sing. Worship. Bake. Cook. Rest. Give thanks.

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