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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Great (07/06/06)

TITLE: The Symbolic Message in a Bottle
By Tracey Jackson
07/11/06


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It was like a message in a bottle. They didn’t know where it would go or who the message might reach but it was strangely exhilarating to contemplate what affect this simple act might have on the recipient.

It was the just two of them that day. Not able to meet with the other church home groups during the evenings, Lucille and Clare looked forward to their meeting times in the mornings when their babies would lie down together on the floor and occasionally give out a wail of neediness without disturbing anyone else. Their pastor had provided a short exercise for them to focus on that morning.

They learnt that in Latin, Lectio Divina means “spiritual reading” and was originally practiced by early monastic communities. This exercise was going to be a variation of it. The passage from the scriptures was David’s wonderful Psalm 8.*

Lucille read the psalm our aloud and then Clare read it out again. Then they both read it again quietly to themselves. When they had both finished, they looked up at one another quite overwhelmed.

“Wow!” Clare said with some emphasis. “I know saying simply ‘Wow’ doesn’t do it justice but it is an expression that my kids would really appreciate. We take so much for granted in the world around us, don't we? What a comforting reminder of how God is greater than we could ever comprehend. Occasionally amidst our chaotic lives we are given an inkling of it that we can grasp. It disappears again unless we are determined to stop, listen to His voice and keep searching for His greatness.”

They reflected further on the text and as they were lead, allowed individual verses to arise and speak to them.

Lucille quoted, “‘O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’ ” She continued, “I think those first and last verses sum it all up. He is our King and he is indeed a great God. Also look at this wonderful verse about his creation in verse 3…. ‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…’ ”

“Yes,” Clare said, “That particularly reminds me our last camping trip we did before Louis was born. John and I lay under the starriest sky we had seen in a long time – something you don’t get to appreciate very often living in the city. What amazing treasures God has given us.”

Clare continued, “And what about this from verse 2, ‘You have ordained praise.’ God commands our praise – and how could we not give it? I think God does so much for us, often without us realising it. We should be more mindful of how integral he is to our every circumstance and action. Verse 4 confirms that with David wondering why but also acknowledging that God does care for us no matter how insignificant each one of us may feel. Here it is: ‘what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?’ ”

“Verse 6 also really speak to me,” Lucille said and then read, “ ‘You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.’” She paused before continuing. “I’ve really been hearing from God lately about how we are each individually responsible for His earth. We shouldn’t have the attitude that it is up to other people – you know scientists and environmental campaigners – to sort out all the issues. We shouldn’t have the attitude that our small actions are worthless. I’ll really keep praying to ask for guidance on what He wants me to do.”

The ladies discussed a few more verses, took a few more minutes to mediate on them quietly and then completed the last part of the given exercise. They each chose a verse that meant the most to them, wrote it on a long strip of a paper and then tied this to the tail of a bright red helium balloon.

Outside the kitchen door, Lucille released the balloon. They excitedly watched the balloon climb higher and higher over the chimney pots and up into the wisps of the wintry blue sky. Who would get the message? They went inside and prayed that through this action, someone else out there would come to know and understand that God is great.

*All scripture references: New International Version


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Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Shaffron07/14/06
What a neat and novel idea!A simple story of sharing our GREAT God with another and then "sending" the message to perhaps change yet another life!
Edy T Johnson 07/16/06
Now, this is the kind of message I like to see! Because you have included real-life people, your exposition of this Scripture reads like a parable. I especially like the ending, where the two women apply what they have studied in a creative outreach. Good job!
Joanne Sher 07/17/06
Neat idea, definitely!! I love "listening in" on the women's discussion, and watching them give their thoughts wings.
Lynda Schultz 07/17/06
When I was serving as a CE Director in Toronto, we did the "message-in-the-balloon" thing (before it got to be illegal!) and got replies back from as far as Tennessee! It's a terrific idea and this was a terrifically written story.
Trina Courtenay07/18/06
Very creative, and a joy to read.
Trina Courtenay07/20/06
Congrats on your win Tracey!
Edy T Johnson 07/20/06
First place---Wow! CONGRATULATIONS, Tracey! You're on your way.
Edy T Johnson 07/20/06
p.s. ...and it's your first faithwriters' entry. Double WOW & CONGRATULATIONS! And, welcome to Faithwriters. You certainly entered with a big splash!