The Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Today I’d like to remember Robert Murray M’cheyne who gives so much richness and truth in this letters and sermons, which thanks to Andrew Bonar, M’Cheyne’s good friend, we now have this Presbyterian Reverend’s entire collection of writings, sermons, and letters—his “remains”. I come back to his work time and again because his words are so alive with the Holy Spirit that his work serves to strengthen me when I feel dried up and brittle like a dead branch.

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“He became a babe, and was laid in a manger, for there was not room in the inn. The inn was like your heart; it was filled with other lodgers, and had no room for Jesus.” —Robert Murray M’Cheyne. (A letter “To One Awakened: A call upon a soul to choose Jesus. 1842).

M’Cheyne died when he was only 29 years old of Typhus and was buried at St. Peter’s church in Dundee, Scotland where he served. There was an estimated 7,000 people at his funeral. 💕

M’Cheyne Photo credit: lukesblog.org

Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Needed me a little Robert Murray M’Cheyne this morning (19th century Presbyterian Minister—Edinburgh, Scotland). His pastoral letters supply a thirsty soul with living water. He knew the Bible so well and never failed to tie a small sermon into his letters.

To comfort a parishioner after the death of her brother:

“Are there any need to be brought off from the love of the world? Let them hear the voice of God from your brother’s grave, saying “What shall it profit a man though he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” Your brother, though dead, still speaketh. To you he says, Lean on the Beloved as you come out of the wilderness. The Lord is at hand.” -Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Dundee February 28th, 1841

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The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis

Another treasure I bought lately from Thriftbooks.com. I was surprised it came with a dustcover! This was another book recommended by Thomas Merton. This and the Confessions of St. Augustine were both recommended to him by a Hindu Monk, which, as I’ve mentioned before, led in part to his conversion to Catholicism. This copy translated by Ronald Knox is considered the best translation and recommended by scholars and priests alike.

Sharing my Gwen Frostic Collection

I have a collection of Gwen Frostic poems and prints. Some she has signed. If you don’t know about her, she is a poet and artist who lived in the upper part of Michigan and had a little print shop all her own. She is quite famous around here. She used nature for contemplation and found a lot of inspiration with the birds, trees, seasons. During quarantine I too have been finding my own way of contemplation through whittling. Since I was little I always wanted to try it. I stain wood a lot using a variety of layering colors so carving it was the next learning step I guess. If you swipe 👉 you will see my second creation, St. Therese of Lisieux. She typically holds flowers and the rosary. I still have much to learn but I’m having fun. What has inspired you during this time of reflection? .

The book of Proverbs

“Truthful lips endure forever,

But a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)

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. “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,

But those who promote peace have joy.” (Proverbs 12:20)

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Most of Proverbs was written by Solomon, known to be the wisest man who ever lived. In Hebrew, the word proverb means to rule or to govern. This book is written in poetic couplet form and contains words of wisdom with which we should govern ourselves. Both proverbs above are about truth. The top one is understood if we look at it in a broad sense. The truth is we should love each other and promote mercy and empathy, the lying tongue is the one who tells us certain people should continue to be marginalized, this argument will not endure, because it is nothing but a frivolous lie coming from those who refuse to love with their WHOLE hearts.

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The second proverb can be understood from an individualistic point of view. Like those who are protesting for peace and justice in the streets all over the world right now I’m sure feel joy in their hearts when they see how many others are doing the same, and they go home feeling uplifted and inspired because they know, with every core of their being, they are fighting for truth and for good. No part of their soul feels heavy or burdened by the lie, because the lie died with them, it went no further, it was barricaded by the truth they amplified. So, by this we could in fact change the world if we stop the lie when it comes to us and instead promote peace and truth. We all need a little more courage in that

The Book of Revelation

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book. For many, the book of Revelation is one of the most frightening books of the Bible. I too was afraid to read it thinking it would destroy my faith out of fear. But I read it…carefully…and was fascinated by it. It is one of my favorite books now, because it is so colorful, dripping with allegory, and Jesus is alive & speaks again, so I’m immediately inspired. There is so much to study and make out if this book.

We have the Apostle John who has seen a vision of Christ and is told to write down all he will soon see as a prophecy of things to come. “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” ( Revelation 1:17)

This quote said by Christ sums up everything: He said this to His faithful servant, John, someone who meditated and gazed on the face of Christ consistently, in everything he did and Christ tells him to not be afraid (because to you, John—we could insert) I am the First and the Last. We must begin our faith with Christ and continue our faith with Christ throughout our days, make Him first and make Him last, the first thought in the morning and the last thought at night. Make Christ and His truth your everyday, and you should not be afraid of anything you read in Revelation (or life’s trials), but only be in awe and marvel at the mystery of it yet to be truly understood

Can I talk about my flowers? Feature: Sweet Woodruff

Can I talk about my sweet woodruff? I only grow it because Vita Sackville-West suggested it in her many garden books. It is one of my favorite flowers in my garden now. Not only can it be used in tea & scented sachets, I also use it to make simple syrup for cocktails. Today I made May wine!

Cut 20 sprigs, rinse and toast them in oven at 275 degrees for five mins. Immediately drop them into a bottle of cheap white wine, sweet wine I’m told works best. Shelf it in cool dry place for three to five days, and you’ll have a nice little drink for spritzers or whatever you’d like!

The book of Job

The Book of Job is sort of an epic poem. It is the story of a man of devout faith who is very fortunate. But God decides to test him to see if his good fortune is the only thing that has kept him faithful, so he takes away everything from Job. But Job remains faithful no matter what. Even Job’s friends encourage Job to admit he must have done something wrong to receive God’s wrath, but Job insists he remained righteous and he didn’t not lose faith in God. Really I think Job’s friends here are missing the point, God has plans we don’t know of. And yes, people who don’t have faith could say you are only saying ‘God has a plan’ in a deplorable situation because that is a cliched believer’s excuse to not lose faith, but that is exactly the case! We don’t want to lose faith, because to lose our faith would be to lose everything. And most of us actually do believe He has a plan beyond our understanding. It’s not a matter of God’s wrath, there is no such thing, He does not want to hurt us, he only wants to guide us and bend us and show us and teach us

The book of Philemon

What do you miss?? These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s ok! .

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The book of Philemon is a brief letter from Paul to Philemon begging for the freedom of Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus. He asks Philemon to think of Onesimus instead as a brother in Christ. Onesimus knows he must return to his owner because it is the honest thing to do, but this time he comes with a letter, an appeal for his freedom, to be seen and treated as a brother and friend. .

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For a moment we are still. Ask yourself, what do you really miss? It is the question I’ve been asking myself lately as I remember old projects and ambitions I had my heart set on before quarantine. As this time allows for stillness I can self-examine without the usual distractions asking myself—What was holding me captive? Or do I now feel like a prisoner?

I can tell you with all honesty that I don’t miss anything except the freedom to hang out and be close to my family and friends. Host little bbqs, make food for them, talk at a short distance, and even though I’m not much of a hugger, I even miss those. That’s it. My old projects took me to Detroit a lot, but when I think of it, I’ve never been a city girl and lately all I can think about is owning a sheep farm (for milk) and possibly making it a spiritual retreat. I wanted to work with animals when I was a child, where did that inclination go? I have found that I don’t think my purpose is protesting injustice and speaking out aggressively against anything, that is not my nature. God made me for a reason, so what is the honest thing for myself & God’s call for me? It is instead feeding people, whether spiritually or with actual food, beauty, color, light—probably why I loved working the soup kitchen so much. I think if we all asked this question (what do I really miss?) and went back to the places from which we began, I think we would find new things of ourselves.