Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday morning and a whole brand new week ahead of us. What shall we make of it? Should we just stay in and wait for the multi-inches of rain to arrive or shall we venture out and be bold? I think today is a holiday of some sort. It is President's Day which is a holiday that is mentioned but I don't know how well it is observed. I know I'm working and the secretary is working. The school bus ran this morning so possibly the only people not working are the US Government employees. I reckon the only thing that will impact for me is that the mail won't be picked up today and I put a card in the mail this morning.

It is warm already this morning. It was sixty-two when I got up this morning. It is supposed to go up to seventy today and maybe seventy-three tomorrow. That only means one thing; --- rain and possibly severe storms for this time of year. So far the storms are not in the forecast; but this is Southern Indiana and who knows what will really happen. After all weathermen are in sales, not production. That's the same thing I tell parishioners when they ask me to pray for rain or pray for sunshine.

We had a good Sunday. Yesterday a couple of our parishioners gave a presentation during the service on their trip to the Holy Land. It was very interesting and having never been there it was enlightening as to how close things were that we read about in our Bible. For instance,  he had a picture of where they say Jesus was crucified and then a picture of where Jesus was allegedly put in the tomb. I had always assumed the two places were separated by some great distance, But --- according to their briefing and pictures, the actual distance was no more than three hundred yards. I found that fascinating. I also found it interesting and perhaps a bit disturbing that these sites were so lavishly ornate. All of the gold and glitter was overwhelming. I understand the thought process that says "but this is the home of God etc, etc." But, I can't for a moment accept the fact that Jesus would have wanted any of this. It certainly doesn't represent his teachings. But, people need what people need and people interpret things differently than I do. I love to see beautiful chapels and churches and all of that as much as anybody does and I feel humbled when I am there. The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel are marvelous and you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit; but --- a gold altar will not put you any closer to God. Abraham stacked rocks on top of one another as an altar on which to sacrifice his son Issac. Moses and the people of God built a rock altar everywhere they went and they worshiped God. Jesus was buried in a hallowed out rock but it couldn't hold him. So gold plating it will not make it any more Holy. Okay, enough of my rant about things that I can't change and may even have the wrong perspective on.

My backyard guests are cleaning out all of the feeders again today and that means that I have a job to do this afternoon. I need to get everything filled up again because once it start pouring down rain --- I'm not going out there.

Got to go to work and earn my dollar. I hope your day is full of goodness and love. Peace.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Saturday morning and it is a snowy Saturday morning at that. I was just sitting here minding my own business, watching my critters at the buffet and now —- wham!! Now there is a half an inch of snow on the ground. The guests at the buffet are acting like people buying milk and bread before a blizzard.  And, —- it is supposed to start raining by noon and will wash it all away. How weird is that? I think God put somebody new on weather control this morning; probably some weatherman that got to heaven and wanted to create instead of report. God has a sense of humor ya’know.

Ms. Kate and I went on a day-date yesterday. We finally had time to go have our Valentine’s Day dinner so at lunch time we went to Outback Steak House for lunch. It was a delicious meal of steak and lobster. Then we simply went back home. We had not had time on Valentine’s Day because of me  working and then we had the Ash Wednesday service that evening. So yesterday was special.

I finished writing my Tenebrae drama last night and also created the worship service to go with it. I need to check the lighting system at church and see if they have dimmer switches installed on them. It isn’t critical but would help create the dramatic effect that I’m wanting. The next hurdle will be finding twelve men to read the parts of the disciples. I can use women —- but again, the dramatic effect will be less. I’ll let you know at the end of March how it went.

Tomorrow I wil attend the installation of Reverend Dave Marshall to be the called pastor for the two churches in Ft. Branch that I served for twelve and a half years. I’m glad for Dave and I’m glad for the two churches. Dave is a month older than I am and was just ordained a few months ago. Like me, it was a long time dream to answer that call. He retired from the USAF several years ago and is now starting on an entire new adventure. I offer prayers for a successful pastoral relationship between the churches and him.

The snow has slowed down and I’m not sure it doesn’t have a little rain mixed in with it now. The starlings are flocking in by yet dozens to get food at the feeders and on the ground. They look like looters in a riot. Any time there is snow on the ground —- here they come.

That’s about it for today. Ms. Kate is fixing me a pan of her special biscuits just because I asked and she is a sweetheart. Have a pleasant day and don’t forget about chuch tomorrow. Peace.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Good morning once again on a rainy, forty-three degree morning. My AccuWeather app tells me that it will rain for another hour and a half. It isn’t a torrential rain so that isn’t all bad. In fact the robins are running around in the yard snatching up worms as they come up to the surface. One squirrel has ventured out already to eat. Maybe it is just now getting home from a late night at the squirrel bar or something. A couple of the cardinals are also out as are the goldfinches. So, I don’t have an abundance of guests at the buffet just yet. I suspect when the rain stops, the buffet will become busier.  The feeders are still about 95% full so I don’t need to go refill anything this morning.

The school bus just went by picking up all of the kids. The Friday garbage collection trucks are also out and about in the neighborhood. It isn’t exactly quiet around here just yet with the clanging of the garbage truck and the squeal of their brakes. But, within a half an hour all of that will have ceased and then all I will have is the gentle steady patter of rain on the roof and the occasional song from one of my buffet guests. I have a bluebird resting on the curve of the downspout tucked up under the eave staying out of the rain. Between it and the cardinal pair, my morning has been started properly.

Last night I did some more work on my Tenebrae drama that I’m writing. I think I only have three more characters to write for. I think I may have told you that the drama is words from the disciples of Jesus and their thoughts concerning their desertion of Jesus in his hour of need when the soldiers and religious leaders came to arrest him. It is all conjecture of course since none of them actually wrote what they thought; but I’m trying to imagine what might have gone through their minds about the fact they had all run off into the woods and escaped capture, leaving Jesus to face it alone. he hardest part is that we know so very little about the majority of the disciples. The Gospels tell us only bits and pieces of what life may have been like traveling around with Jesus. Jesus spent three years teaching and preaching and yet in reality what is written in the Gospel cover so little of that time. I don’t accept the fact that every important thing Jesus ever said has been captured by the Gospel writers. In the United Church of Christ we say “God Is Still Speaking”. Perhaps some day more scrolls will be unearthed somewhere with more of what Jesus actually said. Of course then the question would be “do we believe it or not?”

Well that was a rabbit trail for you to try to follow today. It’s a rainy day —- you have time. In the mean while, I’ll wish you a day of peace and happiness. Shalomn

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Good morning on this 15th day of February. It is also the 45th day of the year and we have had yet another mass shooting in this country, again at a school. My heart breaks for the grieving loved ones of the seventeen people (last I heard) who were gunned down “by an angry person”. The thoughts race through my mind as I read comments about the shooting and instead of a nation joining together in pain — people want to get into political debates about it and they spew more hate. The most ironic thing, and “truth-telling thing” in my opinion was as I was scrolling down through Facebook, I was reading a long post about the shooting and the next post was advertising a video game glorifying being a sniper and blowing people’s heads off from the roof tops. Is it any wonder that people with certain mind sets and conditions become totally unsensitized to taking a gun and shooting as many people as possible?  Congress and our national leadership will once again wring their hands and shake their heads while they take their money from the NRA and the anti-gun lobbyists and then they will do nothing as they always do. Much attention will be given to the “motive” behind the shooting, his loss of his mother recently, the mental health care state in the nation, and blah, blah, blah, and nothing will have been accomplished. I know I tend to be cynical sometimes but I think the gun control question in this country is no different than treating cancer. There is no money if you actually find a cure. There is only money in drawn out research.

On the much happier note this morning; it is a beautiful February morning here in southern Indiana. I have unhappy squirrels and less than happy birds because the feeders for the most part have been emptied. It has been raining over the night so the ground is rather sloppy, but I reckon I better go out and fill feeders. We are supposed to be getting more rain today and for several days on and off. But, while it is over sixty degrees this morning, it will be fine to go out and take care of my guests. Weather dude is talking “rain/snow” mix by the weekend. Hello February.

We had a well attended Ash Wednesday service last evening. I was glad to see that. Now we have officially started the Lenten season and we’ll be having extra services and extra events at the church for the next forty plus days. The forty days of Lent do not include the Sundays. I’m looking forward to it all. It is so good to back serving as a pastor again.

With that, I need to refill the coffee cup and move on to something different. My prayer today is that your day will bring you peace and love. Take care of yourself and others. Share your love and blessings with someone. Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Good morning and a blessed Valentine Day to you. And I should also wish you a blessed Ash Wednesday and Holy Spirit filled Lenten season which begins today.

Today starts off as one of my favorite kind of mornings; it is foggy with waves of spring-like showers passing through. It is forty-four degrees already this morning so ye it is a spring-like day. Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, up into the low seventies and then the bottom will drop out again with a cold front coming through. Tis the weather roller coaster season. But — the cold weather hasn’t been as severe in the past few days as it was earlier, so I reckon we are on the way to spring after all. I could chance it and take off my snow blade but I’d probably be inviting a snow storm.

This going back to work is interfering with my blogging. I’m a morning writer and having to get ready for work and go to work and attend morning meetings causes me to miss days like I did yesterday. Yes, —- I could get up earlier on the days I go to the office but nah, I don’t think so. I just need to change my morning writing habits somewhat and do it in the afternoon. I could of course write my blog in the evening but that is when I work on sermons and things like that. Right now I’m busy writing a Tenebrae drama for Maundy Thursday service. I’m not quite half done with it. I’m trying to express some of what I think the disciples of Jesus felt after they deserted him when Jesus was betrayed. I’ve written several plays over the years and they have all turned out well. I wrote one that the church presented some forty years ago and they still talk about it. It was very dramatic and seems to have had a great affect on the players.

Tonight will be the Ash Wednesday service. I’m giving the sermon and we will be doing an imposition of ashes and holy communion as part of the service. In the past, I have always had my confirmands conduct this service, but we don’t have any confirmands this year at Zoar; so, Art and I will do the service. This coming Sunday we will have a special presentation by two of our parishioners during the worship service. They will be showing slides and talking about their trip to the Holy Land. I’m sure it will be fascinating.

Time for me to put up the IPad and get ready to go to the office. Today we only go for an hour just top coordinate schedules and things. The happy news is that I’ll be driving right by the new Dunkin Donuts that is supposed to open today. A detour is in order unless the cars are lined up too far. I hope your day is fully blessed. Peace.

Monday, February 12, 2018

It is a beautiful Monday morning. However it is colder than a streaker in Montana. The trees are still ice covered from the freezing rain we had on Saturday night. It does make a beautiful sight because the sun makes it look like the trees are covered with diamonds. As always, I find beauty and pleasure and visions of God's blessings most anywhere I look.

Yesterday I saw a picture on Facebook of a little cute rodent of some kind with the biggest grin on its face and it was holding a blossom. The caption read "Only six Mondays until Spring." It was one of those make you smile and feel good pictures. Facebook has an awful lot of trash on it but every once in a while somebody posts something worth actually reading and sharing.

We had a good Sunday although Ms. Kate didn't make it to church. We had no idea whether or not there would be black ice on the roads and the sidewalks so I recommended that she not get out since she has already fallen on black ice once this year. As it turned out, I was worried about nothing. The roads were clear and the parking lot was too. But, no use taking a chance.

The blue birds are here again this morning and they have been all weekend. They just brighten up my day especially when there are cardinals and gold finches to go along with them. Actually, there are very few of my birds that I am not particularly fond of. As you know, the starlings are not high on my list but only because they are such bullies and nasty birds. All of their fighting and pecking at one another and at other birds kind of drives me crazy. With spring out there in the not to distant future, I'm waiting on the robins to arrive again. And I'm still waiting on the first of the crocus to pop up;  assuming that the moles have not eaten the bulbs.

I hate to make this short but I have office hours this morning and have to get ready and go to work. That still sounds like a strange thing for me to be saying. Have a most pleasant day; enjoy the sunshine and bathe yourself in God's grace and love. Peace.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I’m up before most of my bark yard buffet guests this morning. I have maybe four pair of cardinals hat the feeders but that is it so far. It is a dark and dank morning outside. No sun is going to be peaking through that layer of clouds anytime soon. The down side to the clouds is that it prevents the sun from glistening off of the beautiful plumage of the cardinals. So even they look a little dull this morning. But they are singing so that will brighten the morning.

The last of the ice from the other day has finally melted from the trees and from my ramp and step up into my yard barn. I could finally get in there. Unfortunately, we are anticipating more freezing rain again tonight and in to morning. I pray it won’t develope. We don’t need slick roads for people to try to drive to church in the morning.

Since I could finally get into my yard barn, I went to Pet Food Center and bought 120 pounds of sunflower seed for my birds. I also stopped by Rural King and picked up a twenty gallon galvanized can to put up here on the patio and have filled it with sunflower seed. This way when it gets icy and snow covered out side, I don’t have to go to the yard barn. The feeders are all freshly filled and ready for business this morning. I still need to go to Wild Birds and Things to restock my specialty bird foods.

I told you that I have already had a terrible problem with moles this year. Obviously I am not the only one as other people are complaining about them too. I went to the local nursery and asked if they had a product to help with this and they sold me a product called “Mole-Go”. It is a liquid that you attach to your hose and spray on the areas where the moles are running ridges. So I hooked up the hose yesterday and sprayed down all of the areas where we have had them. I asked if it was effective to use it this time of year and they said if the moles are moving, I can use it. So, I guess we wwill see if it is any good or not. I’ll let you know. I don’t know if it kills them or just sends them to the neighbor’s house.

Tomorrow is Sunday and a day to go and gather with fellow Christinas and share in worship. Today is the Sabbath for my Jewish friends. Regardless of your faith, I hope you will take time out and spend some time giving thanks to the creator and God of all there is. Do something nice for someone this weekend. Share a smile and share God’s love and blessings. It will brighten your day and theirs. Peace.