Sunday, August 30, 2015

Feathers

by Margot Cioccio
(Written to share in a Sunday service at the Gathering House in Spokane Washington.)

“Not long ago and not far away, a Nobody named Ordinary lived in the Land of Familiar. Every day was pretty much the same for Ordinary. In the mornings he got up and went to his Usual Job. After work, he ate almost the same dinner he’d eaten the evening before. Then he sat in his recliner and watched the box that mesmerized most Nobodies on most nights. 
Sometimes, Best Friend came over to join Ordinary in front of the box. Sometimes Ordinary went to his Parents and they watched together. 

For the most part, not much happened in Familiar that hadn't happened before. Ordinary thought he was content. He found the routines reliable. He blended in with the crowd. And mostly, he wanted only what he had. Until the day Ordinary noticed a small, nagging feeling that something big was missing from his life. Or maybe the feeling was that he was missing from something big. He wasn’t sure. The little feeling grew. And even though Nobodies in Familiar didn’t generally expect the unexpected. Ordinary began to wish for it.” ~ Bruce Wilkinson  The Dream Giver

It has been 12 years since I first read the book the Dream Giver. At the time it rocked my world. I found my self asking “Why don’t I have any dreams?”  That question nagged at me like Ordinary I knew something big was missing from my life, or maybe the I was missing from something big - I didn’t know. That nagging started me on what has been a very long journey to discover why my dreams were lost and to learn to dream again. 

The readings I will be sharing over the next 5 weeks will be bits of that story. Each week the prayer loft area will have a different little token for you to take with you. I hope with this series to inspire all of us to dream again, or if you have dreams to perhaps dream a little bigger. 

When Pastor Rob asked me to do some readings a while back I admit that I wasn’t particularly inspired. He said I could use any of the 300 I had already written. I did get a few things written while on vacation. I knew I wanted to use some sort of tokens each week, jewels, feathers, shells, stones and scrolls. In truth the inspiration that tied it all together didn’t really happen till I was walking around Hobby Lobby yesterday. Its not that Im being irresponsible and waiting till the last minute. I have been thinking and praying about it for several months - it just lacked a common thread. When I have done prayer lofts in the past there is usually something that I believe God leads me to that is my “Ah hah!” item or moment that causes the idea to suddenly make sense to me. Yesterday it was the purple candles with the feather and jewels that you will see back in the prayer loft. It was in that instant that I realized that what I needed to share was about my journey to discover my own dream. 

It all started when I realized that I didn’t have my own dreams. I’d like to tell you that I figured it out in a week or two but it has taken me many years to unravel. I think what I have realized is how ordinary things like jewels, feathers, shells, stones, scrolls and lives begin to sparkle in a new way when God breathes upon them.  I have watched those sparkles and followed them like little bread crumbs. Pennies remind me to Trust God, sometimes its finding Lighthouses in the strangest places - reminders that God will lead me through every storm. Lately I have been collecting feathers as reminders of God’s care. I even found a peacock feather one day in Manito park. These little tokens remind me of God’s amazing love. Little gifts he leaves for me.


Where I have felt God presence of late, has more often been in the cathedrals made of trees during my daily walks. I have sat on a stump or a log and listened to the chorus of birds and joined them in singing thanks and praises to God. Then listened quietly to what God is saying in that moment.

Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end singing praises with birds. I want to share a story about St. Francis. “ Francis spotted a great number of birds of all varieties. There were doves, crows and all sorts of birds. Swept up in the moment, Francis left his friends in the road and ran after the birds, who patiently waited for him. He greeted them in his usual way, expecting them to scurry off into the air as he spoke. But they didn’t move.

Filled with awe, he asked them if they would stay awhile and listen to the Word of God. He said to them: “My brother and sister birds, you should praise your Creator and always love him: He gave you feathers for clothes, wings to fly and all other things that you need. It is God who made you noble among all creatures, making your home in thin, pure air. Without sowing or reaping, you receive God’s guidance and protection.”

At this the birds began to spread their wings, stretch their necks and gaze at Francis, rejoicing and praising God in a wonderful way according to their nature. Francis then walked right through the middle of them, turned around and came back, touching their heads and bodies with his tunic. Then he gave them his blessing.

How does this tie in with finding my dreams you may be asking. I have rarely seen God roll out the entire plan for anyone. He gives us little bits and waits to see what we will do with what he has shown us. Will we believe and trust and move forward taking a step of faith or will we put our dreams aside thinking its too big and I am fooling myself to think God would pick me for such a task. Will we like Francis leave our friends to follow God even if its to preach to the birds. 

In the book The Dream Giver it reads “Then one morning Ordinary woke up with the words echoing in his mind: What your’e missing you already have….” Could it be? Ordinary looked and looked and then he discovered that in a small corner of his heart lay a Big Dream. The big Dream told him that he, a Nobody,, was made to be a Somebody and destined to achieve Great Things. Jumping out of bed Ordinary discovered something else - a long white feather resting on the sill of his window. Where did it come from? What did it mean? With a jolt of excitement, Ordinary decided he’d been visited by the Dream Giver. “

With each feather I find on my walks I am reminded of the Father who cares for common sparrows and paints the fields with flowers, surely has not forgotten to care for me. I am reminded that God does not withhold his blessings for just the elect but lavishes them about freely for the entirety of his creation to enjoy.  Psalm 119 says 1The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Back in the prayer loft are some white glittered feathers that I hope will speak to you in a powerful way,  reminding you of Gods continual care of you and of your Big Dream. 

I hope you will visit the prayer loft and take a feather, but even more I hope you will begin to have a conversation with God about where you stand with your Big Dream. 

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