Finding Altars

I have recently begun An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. I have heard much about this author lately, she has popped up quite a few times in the past two months in the blogs that I frequent so I decided to try her out. I have been taken with her writing and her ideas from the first pages of this book. She talks about nature around us being made into altars of remembrance. I am drawn deep into that idea. Altars of remembrance have a peaceful feel to it. My heart stirs toward that idea.

Altars of remembrance.

I need to stay with that awhile.

Brown explains these altars in a beautiful way:

“After the crashing of the waves, the sanctuary of the still pool hit me with the sound of silence. The calm water lay so green and cool before me that it calmed me, too. Walking around the pool, I came to three stones set upright near the edge where the water was the deepest… Whoever had come before me had set up an altar and though I might never know what that person encountered there, I knew the name of the place: Bethel, House of God.

At least that is what Jacob called the place where he encountered God–not on a gorgeous island but in a rocky wilderness–where he saw something that changed his life forever…
Jacob lay down to sleep…Wherever the dream came from, it was vivid…Then all of a sudden, God was there beside Jacob, without a single trumpet for warning, promising him safety, children, land.

“Remember, I am with you,” God said to him, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

“Surely the Lord is in this place,” he said out loud, “and I did not know it!”

His life was changed for good… All Jacob knew was that he had to mark the spot…Looking around for something would do the trick…his stone pillow. Then he poured oil on it and gave it a name–Bethel House of God. Pg. 2–4

I love that recounting of Jacob’s dream and his setting up an altar to remember God’s presence in his life. I need to ponder this for awhile but I would like to revisit it later on.

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11 Responses to Finding Altars

  1. ladydusk says:

    Wow! I’m getting ready to write my post for tomorrow about Clarkson’s Own Your Life and her struggles in a wilderness and this goes beautifully with it. Thanks for posting! I’ve not heard of this author, I’ll have to research more.

    • Dawn, I think the author has many books out but I am only familiar with three of them. Leaving Church (I have not read that one), Walking in the Darkness (I think that’s the title–I have it but haven’t read it yet) and then the altar one of which I have just begun. From perusing this book I am not sure if her theology lines up with mine. She seems to be a little bit out of the box when it comes to Christianity and spirituality but that is only my supposition from a quick look through the book. I am sure I will be writing more about this book as the days unfold.

  2. ladydusk says:

    Oh, I wish you had an image in your post so I could pin it! If you don’t wish to, I understand, but if you use my blue square that would be great, too!

    • Okay, this is where I sheepishly admit that I don’t know how to put an image on my blog. Do not have any clue. I am not a fancy blog girl, I just type words, that’s all I can do. Sorry.

      • ladydusk says:

        No apologies. This is a no pressure/no guilt linkup! Sadly, I can’t help you with WordPress since I’m on blogger. I’m happy to have your words, they were quite lovely today πŸ™‚

      • No pressure, because I think words are ENOUGH, and but if you want to enter a picture into your post on WordPress, this might be a simple way:

        When writing your post, click the “add media button” at the top of your writing page.

        A small screen will pop up. Click “set featured image” at the top left of the screen.

        Now click the tab saying “upload image.”

        Now drag a picture from your desktop or iPhoto or wherever you have them into the window.

        Click “Insert into post” at the bottom right of the window, and you’re done.

        You won’t see a featured image in your post until you publish it, but it will probably come out as a small square in front of the first paragraph of your words. WordPress will keep this image in your blog files, and next time you want an image you can click “set featured image” inside media, and find the picture already there. In this way you could use the same picture over and over, or add a whole bunch to the library to have at your disposal, or upload new ones whenever you want. πŸ™‚

        I hope this isn’t annoying! I have so much fun discovering blogging tricks and thought I’d pass this on when I saw your comment. I love images, but words are my true love, so like I said, this is in no way pressure from a stranger saying you need photos! Oh dear. I think I’ve talked myself into a corner.

      • Oh, thank you so much for telling me how to do this. Now the trick is to actually do it. Therein lies the rub. πŸ™‚

  3. Kortney Garrison says:

    Just lovely. Altars of remembrance when so much in my life pushes me on to the next thing, on to forgetting. Thank you for sharing!

    • Yes, Kortney, that is why her words struck so deep. There have been recent happenings in my life that I do not ever want to forget God’s workings and presence. I’m just not sure how to do this. I need time to ponder this.

  4. Beautiful. This practice of building altars of remembrance is something I came to instinctually years ago, but I haven’t thought about it for awhile. Reading your words made me think back on different places where Christ has met me, and different ways I have marked spots to name them Bethel, so to speak. This was such a good rabbit trail for my mind this morning. Thank you.

    In my kitchen I have two rocks from two different encounters with the Lord and every time I look at them I am reminded of his graciousness, and his faithfulness in keeping his Word.

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