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Monday, April 25, 2016

Barefoot and Breathing Jasmine

Jasmine robes the patio wall in white fragrance, spills onto patio stone and just respires glory as easily as I take the next breath. A slight disturbance, a quick flutter, and some small bird is building her nest in the folds of this jasmine robe. I might envy her, but before I have the time to think it, "The train of His robe fills the temple with glory" flutters through my stilled heart and the words are all jasmine to me.

I only have my breath, this jasmine, that nest. All grace. All worship. My lungs fill and somehow just breathing is worship right now. Does worship breathe, too? It must. It simply must breathe. I lend it my lungs, but worship fills them.

The bird darts out. Her wings must be saturated, fragrant, jasmine. I find my whisper, "King of Glory!"

I might envy her a second time. Her nest is filled with glory. She rests in glory and it saturates her. I might envy how easily she spreads the fragrance of the glory that fills her nest. It must just fall from her wings, the fragrance, as she does what she does because that's what happens.

I might envy her, but how can I? She winged past me. Maybe it's how her wings brushed the air, or how the jasmine trains over the patio, or the glorious miracle that her nest is filled with this robe, but somehow I am made witness of, what should I call it? Jasmine evangelism. That's what I'll call it. Jasmine evangelism. I watch it happen a few steps from my back door.

I'd part the vine in search of the nest, just to see what it looks like to be filled with such robe, but I don't. I won't invade. It's enough to be filled, and to stand on the back patio in such glory. I take pictures of this jasmine robe and train.

Jasmine Sketch on Patio
Later I would part open the word of God in search of what is there. "You are the temple of God," I find His words in 1 Corinthians 3:16, "and the Spirit of God dwells in you." I've read it so many times, and in case I miss it He writes it again in the next verse, "For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."

What can I say to that? I want to say, "How is it remotely possible that I am Your holy temple?" But He tells me how it's possible.

"It is so," says He, "because you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."

Is this how the grace of God attends His own glory? By His grace I am both His righteousness and His temple.

The prophet Isaiah saw this beforehand. He saw the Lord, high and lifted up; and he saw the train of God's robe fill the temple.

Was this a glimpse of the glory which was to come, and which was fulfilled when Christ promised to give us the Spirit to dwell with us and to be in us?

I dare not object when God tells me I am His holy temple. I dare only to confess the truth, by the grace of the Spirit of truth filling me.

I know I've let barterers and thieves into His temple, and I know He's overturned some tables. I've felt the holy disturbances within. I have. And I'm thankful for them. I am; because  I could never be anything but a den for thieves without His passionate claim on me. But He cares to present me, pure and spotless, to Himself; and He cares to fill me with the fragrance of His glory and the life of His Holy! Holy! Holy! Spirit.  I breath the jasmine air and say it just, "Hide me in the folds of Your jasmine robe. I am as nest. Fill me with Your glory, with Your Spirit, with Your life."


I sense Him holding His breath as if He's waiting for me to say something more, but I don't know what more there could be. I ask Him, "Is there more?"

"Mm-hmm," I follow His gaze to the jasmine.

"How much more could there be, Lord?"

"Spring." One word, and I get it.

Spring is everything life. Spring is everything victory. Spring is banner. Spring is jasmine on the patio. Fragrant tendrils wave Color Guard victory banner on the morning breeze and I'm certain this is what victory smells like. Sweet, spicy and heady.

Spring is the season for war, too. Spring battles for life. It's the time when kings went to war in the Old Testament days, and when shepherds would slay Mamma lions to guard their lambs.

It must have been spring when the Amalekite king declared war against God's people and lost because, one way or another, Moses kept his hands up; and God promised He'd war against the likes of Amalek from generation to generation. No wonder the generations worship the King with hands lifted high.

Moses, he built an altar there and called it, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner.

The Lord-He Himself-is my Banner.

"You are my Banner!" I lift my hands.

He responds, "You are My temple!"

"You are my Bridegroom!" I'd wear this vine if I could.

"And you," He looks at me as if I am wearing a gown of jasmine, "you are My bride."

The thoughts wave fragrant pure, white, and fans something deep inside me, "Fill this temple with white-hot glory!" Fire and jasmine, incense and worship and banner waving, "Come and raise your arms to the King of kings who fights for you and wins!"


I've never seen the train of a king's robe, but I remember the train of my wedding gown, and of my daughter's gown, and the train on the gown that I flung into a high arching billow behind my best friend as she and her groom were presented as husband and wife. Yeah, I remember that train; and the moment of panic when I realized I'd flung it with enough enthusiasm to launch the bride. The congregation gasped and I dug my high heels into the altar carpet and hung on as valiantly as David's mighty men clung to their swords.

Kings and robes with long trains aren't exactly a hot topic these days, but they were back in the days of kings and kingdoms when words like glory and honor and power were highly royal and even fearsome. Seems the longer a king's robe, the more victories he'd won. I read about it at "The greatest recognition for the king that he had been victorious was signified when he would have a piece of the defeated king's robe cut off and then sewn onto the bottom of the train of his own robe."

No wonder the King of king's robe was seen to fill the temple with glory.

I try to picture what the prophet Isaiah saw. I try to plumb the context and to draw up a fuller and deeper understanding of this kind of glory; the kind which elicits the from angels' lips not just one "Holy," or even two, but three and three exclaimed-"Holy! Holy! Holy!"

He saw glory.

Moses once asked to see God's glory. Maybe he got a taste of God's holiness when he stood barefoot on the ground, consecrated by God's presence as holy, and wanted more.

"I want more, too, my King." I am barefoot on jasmine patio. The vine hasn't burst into flame, but I feel God's presence here.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God," He reminds me of the beatitude.

"Purify my heart," the prayer turns to the old praise song, "Refiner's Fire." I sing it just as whisper, "Refiner's fire, my heart's one desire is to be holy...."

The bird returns to the nest.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

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