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This week I will give you three translations of the same verse, from Psalm 119. It speaks of how famished our souls are for God’s nourishing. May you feel this longing during this busy and stressful time. Stop occasionally to be cared for by God. Then become a silent benediction of blessing to others, especially when they rush past you or cut you off or forget about you or do an unkind thing.

Psalm 119:20

My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous–insatiable for your nourishing commands.  (The Message)

My soul is consumed with an intense longing to be blessed and sustained by you,  O Divine Lover.  (Nan Merrill translation)

My soul is consumed with longing for thy ordinances at all times. (NRSV)

Silent benediction: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and give you his peace. In the name of the Father (Mother) and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.


Reflections on this verse

What is your soul ravenous for?

What does “nourishing commands” mean to you?

What part of God’s nurturing is hardest for you to accept?

How would the holidays be different if you absorbed this benediction for yourself?

Who in your life needs your silent benediction?


In this series of blogs about God’s consuming love, I will show where it appears in our lives, sometimes in dark and lonely places. This Edwina Gateley poem captures, elegantly, the exact moment of God’s appearance.

I fell into the abyss,

hurtled down

from once firm ground,

watched the brilliant colors

of my life

fade and merge

like a dying mist,

heard the vibrant laughter

of friends gathered

dissolve into

distant echoes,

and felt the slipping away

of secure familiar places.

I fell into the abyss,

knowing nothing now,

holding nothing now.

And as I lay desolate,

God, fiery love,

greeted me

in the void,



Edwina Gateley, from A Mystical Heart

Reflections on this poem:

What is your abyss?

How does it feel to you?

How did/does God meet you there?

What shimmers in your life now?


For the next several weeks I will be sending images and quotes and verses about the all consuming love of God. God’s love for us and desire for us to come closer starts with that little spark that he ignited in our souls when we were born. More about that later.

My hope for you this whole holiday season is that you will allow snippets of time to take in the pervasive love of God–in a traffic jam, while sipping coffee, hugging a friend in crisis, longing for a lost love, gazing at the beauty of the season, feeling the hush of anticipation that your own rebirth is imminent. I invite you to welcome the nativity right here in your life.

I will start off with an icon I made of a person (me!) being consumed by the fire of God’s love. Take it in. Feel the warmth. Lean in. Calm down. Open your heart.


Consumed by God's Love

Consumed by God’s Love

The Red Sea Band: Quilted icon exhibit

Dec 1st thru Jan 6th

Opening party Fri Dec 6, 7PM

Janet O. Hagberg, artist

Robbinsdale United Church of Christ 4200 Lake Road 55422 763-537-6965

Bathsheba on jazz saxophone

Bathsheba on jazz saxophone

Dear Friends,

Today I had to put my beloved 16-year-old gentleman cat to sleep.  I had it done at home with a vet which was the wisest decision I could have made. It was hard but quite sweet. Thanks to my friend, Tamie, who was here with me to help him leave with grace. (see So for all you pet lovers out there, especially cat lovers, here are a few poems to make you smile in remembering your pet.

Mr Nelson

Mr. Nelson’s my gentleman cat

My helper my angel my friend

He’s named for Nelson Mandela

A dignified icon he’s been


My helper my angel my friend

I love his stance his purr

A dignified icon he’s been

Lap time the sweetest refrain


I love his stance his purr

He’s named for Nelson Mandela

Lap time the sweetest refrain

Mr. Nelson’s my gentleman cat


A Pantoum by Janet Hagberg



Cats sleep


Any table,

Any chair,

Top of piano,


In the middle,

On the edge,

Open drawer,

Empty shoe,


Lap will do.

Fitted in a

Cardboard box,

In a cupboard

With your frocks–


They don’t care!

Cats sleep



Eleanor Farjeon

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