A time of reflection
By Jaclyn Schrock
Many bare trees stood naked after our first bitter cold last week. They found little shelter from the cutting-cold wind from the pine trees. Tan grasses rigidly swayed, snagging dark leaves swirling, no longer doing their shimmy dance, as when on the aspen trees. Thewarmish bright sun set the atmosphere for joyful thanksgiving and praise of summer nights and days, now surely gone.
Nearly 20 quite young to less young ladies met at Christ the King (CTK) to celebrate summer’s magical charm, and the ever-present need to prepare for winter. The second in a series of seasonal praise teas was from 2-4 p.m., Saturday, October 19th.
We all know that the summer was not entirely rosy, yet, we gathered to celebrate the way we find joy and peace through the storms of life. The Good Shephard claims us through merciful love to provide, discipline and comfort for his mountain sheep and goats. He leads us in paths of His righteousness, for His name sake. Some of us have a knack for wandering off toward dangers, but His skills as a watchful Shepherd recover us from our ways, at just the right time and way.
Some CTK ladies helped get tea made, arrange trays of food, and set up the small group tables for the gathering of the flock. Ladies joined in to give praise from more than a few church congregations in the area. As in the summer tea, the 23rd Psalm was a spur to prompt our praise on names of God mentioned in those six verses.
A duel was the only way to determine who could begin the topic of praise at each table. Two ladies eager to begin accepted the challenge to duel, with their black tea and choice of cookie to be dunked in their cup. After the duel began by pacing off the count down with cookie turned down in the cup, the cookie was held upright. The winner was the one whose tottering cookie landed in their mouth last.
Everyone had tea served during the dueling. The challengers returned to their table so the victor could begin her stories of praise. After the first one finished, the table took a plate to the food table.
Our menu of potluck finger foods included dainty chicken salad, egg salad, walnut with cream cheese sandwiches, and deviled eggs as our green pasture grazing grounds. Our still cool water was found in cups, accompanied by six flavors of hot tea, poured by the Bloom gentlemen, from ceramic pots into the china cup each lady selected. Our comfort food desserts included: Lemon cakes, stuffed dates, turtles, chocolate eclairs, and berries and nuts.
The whole purpose of the gathering was to share praises for blessings and revelations of God’s character recognized this past summer. Many celebrated health, goals achieved, births, and family gatherings. Some ladies told stories of scary hardships, accidents, and pain without disclosing names or places.
Yet, only He knows who is in His flock and completely depend on goodness of faith, hope, and love that comes from the one who is all powerful, all knowing, and eternal. By focusing on His excellence we can follow the light which leads us through darkness. This is the way we found joy and peace through our journey traveling valleys of the shadow of death, accompanied by our Shephard’s love and comfort.
Even though we are given the choice whether to receive grace, mercy and relationship with God, we often turn to go our own way. We easily become deceived, not listening to the Shephard’s voice, so stumble along a more dangerous path. We easily find ourselves unable to right ourselves, as a shepherd must rescue such a sheep to keep it alive.
It is at these times we most clearly recognize the character and attributes of God who stays by our side. His goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life. These are some of the praises we shared in our small groups.
The most frequently proclaimed name of God recognizing His Excellence with adoration and praise this fall was: Yahweh Shalom, the Lord of Peace, complete wellness.
The second most praised name was the comfort and security found in knowing El Roi, The Lord Who Sees Me, being all knowing and ever-present.
A tie for the third most frequent name went five ways: Abba Father, El Elyon – God Most High, Jehovah Jireh – the Lord Provides, Yahweh Nissi – Lord’s Banner of Victory is over me, and Yahweh Rophe – The Lord Who Heals Me.
We are so thankful for the privilege to proclaim the hope we find with good news events in our lives.
Our Winter Praise tea is planned for January 11, 2020. The location is yet to be determined. Let us know if your organization would like to host the next Praise Tea.