Crossing Thresholds

Yesterday, I preached a sermon entitled, Crossing Thresholds, using both Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 and Revelation 21:1-6.  This time of year I find myself being very mindful of time.  I have just had another birthday and the end of 2013 is rapidly drawing to a close.  I find myself tiptoeing to the edge of the threshold, peeking over, wondering what the future holds.

In my studio is a painted door that has been converted to a work table.  On one side of the door is this image:  

Silhouette of Joy and Peace (Acrylic on Door)

Silhouette of Joy and Peace (Acrylic on Door)

This door (now converted to a table) is a constant reminder of thresholds and that Lenten season where I painted the door and pondered the journey of life.  The Ecclesiastes passage juxtaposes 14 pairs of natural occurences in life not as endorsements but rather as observations of what happens.  Yet my favorite verses of the Ecclesiastes passage are these:

I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live;  moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.  

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

We are reminded of the prodigal God who loves us and wants what is best for us and even wants that we should enjoy life.  If you live for vacation and loathe what you are doing with your life then you are not living your best authentic life.  God is calling you to something more.

Frederick Buechner puts it this way:  “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

As we get ready to cross the threshold from 2013 to 2014 I invite you to engage in some guided journaling, reflection, and discernment.  If you are a visual learner, I invite you to read the questions below and physically write down your responses in a journal or on a sheet of paper.  If you are an audio learner, I encourage you to get a friend or partner to come alongside and read aloud the questions to you so that you can dialogue about them and just hear them.  If you are a kinestetic learner, I invite you to read the questions and then process them creatively.  Perhaps you need to read the questions and then ponder them while working in the yard or washing the dishes or doing the laundry.  Or perhaps you engage in a practice of creative expression — paint a painting, write a poem, color a mandala as you let the questions percolate and simmer.  

Guided Journaling Questions:


Looking back at 2013:


What were some of the best parts of 2013?  Where did you experience the most joy?  What activities did you enjoy so much that you lost track of time?  How can those activities be used to show God's love?


What were some of the most challenging times? Where did you struggle the most? What did you learn from last year?


Where did you experience God's presence most?  Where did you experience God's presence least?


Looking toward 2014:


What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?  What tangible goals would you like to set?  Where do your gifts and joy collide to meet a purpose in the world?  How can God use your gifts and joy in the coming year?  What do you need to surrender in the coming year?  What is holding you back from being your best authentic self?  How can you be intentional about drawing closer to God this year?  What spiritual disciplines excite you?

Closing Illustration:

I am going to close with an ancient story told by the wonderful author and spiritual leader Joan Chittister:

“Where shall I look for enlightenment?” the disciple asked.

“Here,” the wise one said.

“When will it happen?” the disciple asked.

“It is happening right now,” the wise one answered.

“Then why don’t I experience it?”

“Because you don’t look.”

“What should I look for?”

“Nothing.  Just look.”

“Look at what?”

“At anything your eyes light on.”

“But must I look in a special way?”

“No, the ordinary way will do.”

“But don’t I always look the ordinary way?”

“No, you don’t.”

“But why ever not.”

“Because to look, you must be here.  And you are mostly somewhere else.”

As we get ready to cross the threshold into 2014, may we strive to be more present here and now.  Let us be ever mindful of the wonder and joy of life all around us.  Like a child fascinated by a ladybug, may we slow down and be mindful of Your ever abiding presence and love.  May we see Your presence and love in the details of life.

Let us pray: 

O God, we seek Your purpose and desire fulfillment in discovering and using the gifts You have given us.  We confess our utter dependence on You to show us who we truly are and what we are uniquely suited to do.  Open our hearts and minds to show us how you would have us to live.  Lead us to make our work an expression of Your love.  Help us to be Your disciples in the very way that we live.  And may we always chose joy! 

 All paintings, drawings, Ideas, and wording on this webpage are copyrighted by the artist.  
© 2010 Charissa Jaeger-Sanders.  All Rights Reserved.  You are welcome to use the ideas and suggestions found on this website, for no fee, as long as you give credit to Grace Works Studio.  However, if you Find this Website helpful, please consider giving a donation to Grace Works Studio to help continue its ministry.