Variation on an Arizona Theme

Monday, October 27

Low angle view of rock formations, Utah, USABy Pat Marmoy of Independence, Missouri, USA

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your steadfast love, O God!

—Psalm 36:5–7 NRSV

Shortly after arriving in Mesa, Arizona, for our annual winter stay, I stopped to soak in the brilliant sunset. One feature I enjoy about Arizona is that sunsets offer many colors. The scene changes so fast that if you do not take time to enjoy it, it is gone.

When we first started spending winters in Arizona, people commented about how nice it must be to escape the cold, messy winters in Missouri to spend time in warm, sunny Arizona. I would respond, “But I like snow.” Later I realized what I meant was that I like seasons—all four, distinct seasons.

People are curious to hear me say I enjoy the rain. Day after day of 70-degree, clear-sky weather in Mesa becomes monotonous for me. Bring on the rain, and let me sit on a porch and listen to its rhythm and enjoy its fresh smell.

Traveling through Utah I found the rock shapes and formations visually interesting. Just when I thought that God could not create one more variation on the theme of rock formations, we would happen on new ones.

When I think of all the diversity in God’s creation of plants, geology, weather, animals, and people, I am not only intrigued, but thankful. What a boring place it would be if we had only one type of flower, one scene of the setting sun, and—most of all—one look and culture for all of God’s people.

We welcome the diversity of nature yet find it harder to accept the diversity of people. To be honest, some variations in humans irritate me. But surely the differences in human personality, attitudes, behaviors, and perspectives must be a delight to God. So, I have begun to try to see diversity as God does. What a difference it makes when we purposely choose to enjoy the uniqueness of someone rather than try to make that person fit our expectation. Thank God for diversity!

Prayer for Peace Steadfast Creator who offers various and spontaneous blessings, may we embrace your creation anew. Help us learn ways to share Christ’s peace with different people.

Spiritual Practice: Welcoming Unity in Diversity Meditate on Unity in Diversity. Create a large circle with your arms. See and feel the diverse people God invites inside the sanctuary of Christ’s peace represented by this circle.

Who is easiest to welcome? Whom do you struggle to include? Confess the dividing walls between you and people too different or “dangerous” to invite into your spiritual home. Ask God to forgive and heal barriers that keep us from loving one another.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will look beyond the ordinary to find the extraordinary.

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5 Comments

  1. Carol Norris Vincent

     /  31 October 2014

    Correction to my earlier post: I will NOW try to see (not “not”)

  2. Carol Norris Vincent

     /  31 October 2014

    Pat, I so appreciated your relating the diversity of nature which so many of us enjoy to the diversity of humans. Since I’m a great lover of nature, I will not try to see the diversity in humanity as God’s creation that I can enjoy just as much as the beauty of nature.

  3. Pat, this Daily Bread entry is a masterpiece. Your power of description is amazing, and the point about the richness of creation’s diversity “spot on.” I, too, love the four seasons, including snow, but enjoy the special beauty of the Arizona desert.

  4. Reblogged this on jodycar72's Blog.

  5. Gladys Geis

     /  27 October 2014

    Thanks so much for your thoughts. I need to work on this.

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