The ticking of time through each mundane minute,
and the spilling open into eternity's wide expanse.

The long naked branch, black against the winter sky,
and the petaled profusion of spring's blossoming.

The beggar's bowl
and the fountain overflowing.

The aching arms reaching out in lonely longing,
and the tingle of skin against skin in a lovers' tangle.

The One who draws us to the sacred center of the world,
and lures us far beyond the fertile edges of our imagining.

Christine Valters Paintner is the founder and director of Abbey of the Arts, a non-profit ministry integrating contemplative practice with the expressive arts.  She is the author of Water, Wind, Earth, & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements, and co-author of Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction and Lectio Divina: Contemplative Awakening and Awareness. Visit her blog here.


Byron Wade

When I am asked,
"Who/What is God?"
I no longer give long, complicated answers.
From what I have experienced
I have a simple answer;
God is Love.

The Creater God is Love
because God created
me,
you,
and all living things.
And it's all good.

The Redeeming God is Love
because God forgave our sins
through an ultimate act.

The Sustaining God is Love
for God watches,
guides,
strengthens,
and comforts us
all the time.

So you ask,
"Who/What is God?"
I would say --

God is Love.

Byron Wade is the Pastor of Davie Street Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and is currently the Vice-Moderator of the 218th (2008) General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Visit his blog, Musings of the Vice-Moderator, here


Robb Harrell

"Hold me, Daddy," he cried as his body turned on itself and he began to vomit. I scooped him in my arms, "It's ok, baby. Daddy's here." The vomiting continued.  

I am thirteen again, hallucinating from a fever. My mother sits on the edge of my bed, pressing a cool cloth against my forehead. "It's ok, baby. Mama's here."

God is not a doctrinal abstraction or an old man in the sky. God is love. The love that holds a vomiting toddler, the love that assures the hallucinating teen. It is the love that says, "It's ok, baby, Mama's here."

Robb Harrell is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, serving as a mission re-developer at St. Luke Church (www.storyofgod.org) in the southern suburbs of Atlanta. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Christian Spirituality with an interest in monasticism and the post-modern church. He blogs at Lutherpunk.