Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Week Liturgy

Extra services.
Pastors have many sermons to prepare.

Some pastors have services to write too.  In congregations that don't use the liturgy, each week's service has to be invented afresh.  During Holy Week, that would be a lot of [unnecessary] work.

Some of us laymen yearn for Holy Week to come so that we can hear the same thing we heard last year.  And the year before.  And the year before.  The same liturgy.  The same hymns.  The same readings.  If you're reading the book, the same rites and pericopes don't get stale, even if they've been used for hundreds of years ... because those words are the life of the world.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Undoing the Curse of the Fall

In a few years, Joey will grow to be 16.  Imagine his dad gives him the car keys.  Joey takes the car and drives stupidly and wraps the car around the tree.  Joey comes through the accident.  Even though his father forgives him, the damage is still done.  The car is ruined.  Joey did that to his dad's car because he had the "authority" over the car; he was the one with the keys; he was the one operating it. 

That story was used to illustrate how Adam had authority over God's creation.  It was God's world.  But he "gave Adam the car keys."  And Adam wrecked it.  His fall into sin brought ruin to the world. 

Therefore ...

when the Second Adam forgives sin,

the results of sin begin to be undone.  Right away!

When Jesus dies, there is an immediate response (Mt 27)!  The earth trembles as the whole creation groans to be redeemed from its bondage (Rom 8).  The veil is torn and we have access to God (Eph 3, Heb 10).  Some of the dead are resurrected.

The one who first had authority and dominion over creation?  He wrecked it.
The One whose blood and death gave Him the authority?  He unwrecked it.  He set it right.

Behold, He makes all things new!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Confessing or Denying

If anyone confesses Me before men, him also I will confess before My Father who is in heaven.
But if anyone denies Me before men, him also I will deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Matthew 10)

But ...
but ...
but we do deny Him.

If we don't curse and swear that we don't know Him (as did Peter), we still deny Him every single time we sin or doubt or be selfish.  And then that verse can be scary.

Pastor invited us to cling to the first half of the verse.  It is a promise of God.  It is true!  He will confess us before the Father! 

We are sinners.  We do deny Him.  That's abominable.  But in the face of our sin, we continue to live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. 

Peter denied Jesus.  Peter also confessed Jesus. (It's that whole "simultaneously saint and sinner" thing.)  Peter is in heaven. 

God's mercy and love and forgiveness is even bigger than our sin.  That's some pretty big mercy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Veil of the Temple

According to Exodus 26, the veil of the tabernacle was made of linen.  It was woven with the colors of blood.

On Good Friday, the veil is torn.

Christ's flesh is torn.
He is bloody.
And His body is wrapped in linen to be laid in the tomb.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"You See to It"

It felt like a bit of deja vu this morning.  I'd just heard Judas tell the high priest that he had sinned in betraying innocent blood.  The response was essentially "tough noogies."  Actually it was, "What is that to us?  You see to it."  A little bit later, Pilate feels forced into handing Jesus over to death.  He says, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person's death.  You see to it."

Both are saying, "Not my problem.  I don't want to get involved in solving this.  I'm outta here.  You do whatever you want about this mess."

Two interesting points that Pastor brought up:
~~ Pilate was indeed innocent of the blood of Jesus.  NOT because he claimed to be so.  NOT because he absolved himself.  But because Jesus' blood atoned for the sins of the whole world.  Of course, Pilate rejected that forgiveness.  But it was won for him nonetheless.
~~ It was the job of the high priest to forgive sin and to pray and to offer sacrifices.  Judas sinned.  He came to the priests with an admission of guilt.  And their response?  "You see to it."  That's damnable doctrine.  We cannot "see to" the fixing of our mess.  Judas's despair is partially due to the refusal of the priests to forgive his sin, to point him to the God of mercy and love.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Maggie and I have been sewing this week.  We started this project last spring when we found the oh-so-exciting fabric for half-price.  Julie (Olivia's mom) had worked on some simple sewing skills with the girls nearly six years ago, putting together a baby blanket for Alia.  This week Maggie progressed to facings, ties/straps, patch pockets, and [gasp] curved seams. She also learned that her mother is a freak about ironing while sewing!  Everything must be ironed, ironed again, and then ironed a little more for good measure.

For the record, "See and Sew" patterns ["EASY to make!"] are not that simple.  And the directions cannot be followed by somebody unless she has some pretty good sewing experience already under her belt.  Boy, howdy, I thought an apron pattern would be a good start on sewing.  Not this pattern, though! 

We now have enough aprons to go around.

And we have aprons that will make us smile.

And I have the knowledge to use my old apron pattern (the one I used in 8th-grade sewing class for my first garment-production) next time I get the itch for apron-sewing.

(I think the flounce on the bottom of the apron makes me look fat.  Or pregnant.  But "Does this make me look fat?" is a naughty naughty question.  So I will not ask it.)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Matthias's Baptism

Okay, so it's a six-week-old picture 
that I should've posted a long time 
ago.  I'm behind...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let This Cup Pass From Me

"You know, Dad, I really don't want to do this whole suffering thing.  Don't you suppose I could get out of it?  It'll hurt.  I'll die.  I don't want to.  But if You really really really want Me to do it, okay.  Fine.  I guess I will.  If I have to."

Is that what we think Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was?  If it were me (that is, me at my absolute best) then maybe that's what I'd mean by "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.  Nevertheless, not what I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26).

But Jesus wanted to die for us.  His love compelled Him.  He did not go to His suffering unwillingly.  "A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, the guilt of all men bearing." 

What He didn't want was to be separated from His Father.  He is the true Man, the man Adam failed to be.  Man's life is from God, and the worst thing that happens to man is to be separated from Him.  Adam, who was in communion with God, willingly chose to turn away from Him.  Jesus, who (more than anyone) had the right to be one with the Father, willed to not be separated from Him.  But His will and the Father's will were one, and Jesus willed to saved.

So when we hear next week, "Ohhh ... I don't really want to do this," we need to remember.  It's not "I don't want to suffer."  It's not that our Savior is suddenly having a fit of me-first that He's struggling to overcome.  It's "I don't want to be separated from You."

RUINING Children's Lives

Are you a parent?  You are ruining your child's life.  Yes.  Yes, you are.  Go check out Beth Woolsey's blog to see how terrible you are.

For one example, read what awful thing Jamie reported about her dictatorial mothering:
My child will be calling Child Protective Services and suing for $20,000 cash because I threw out a gnarly toothbrush and replaced it with a fresh, new one, which is clearly child abuse.

How about Michelle's cruelty?
I don't let my 1-year-old lick the bottom of people's shoes.

Oh!  Alas for those poor children who endure such suffering!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Bowed Down

My posture has gone downhill significantly in the last couple of months.  I keep noticing how slumpy I am while driving, how my shoulders droop when standing.  I keep telling myself to straighten up, and my faked-out good posture lasts for a whoppin' five minutes.  Or less.

This week I noticed in the psalms where it says "I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns" or "my soul is bowed down to the dust" or "the Lord raises up those who are bowed down." 

Huh.  So it's not just a figure of speech.
The body really does end up "bowed down" when the heart grieves.

Soft Foods

ice cream and sherbet
pudding and yogurt
mashed potatoes
fruit smoothies
scrambled or over-easy eggs

tomato soup
chicken-noodle soup
beef-noodle soup

Dutch oven-pancakes
macaroni and cheese
tilapia in coconut-milk sauce

winter squash
pumpkin pie
canned peaches
creamed spinach
baked sweet potato
scalloped creamed-corn

soft bread (no millet or bulghar)
lentil soup
baked beans
chicken and dumplings
egg roll guts
cole slaw
tuna salad

pizza lentils
crab with rotini
chicken pot pie
shepherd's pie
zucchini skillet
pulled beef in a barbecue sauce
hamburger-corn-noodle casserole
African peanut soup
teriyaki chicken and rice
red beans and rice
Mom's fried chicken

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I Guess "It's All Relative"

Our church has far more than her fair share of musicians.  In addition to organ and piano, there are flutes, strings, and various horns.  And the voices!  Plenty of good singers, especially one soprano who is second only to Julie Andrews in my book.  Ahhhhh, lovely!

Sometimes I feel so inferior, so inadequate.  In some of the congregations I've been in, I was one of the top-notch musicians, one of few who could play a little piano and read music.  Here, I keep thinking that I should quit choir so that the rest of the group isn't dragged down by my voice.  (I remember so clearly the reunion of our high school choir, with tapes playing of our concerts.  The girl with the prettiest voice heard the spot on the tape where I had a brief solo, and she wondered who that was and didn't remember anybody with that poor a voice ever being in choir.  That's the kind of thing people don't say to your face, but sometimes the truth spills out accidentally.)

And then I was visiting at my mom's church a few weeks ago.  Heading out to the parking lot with a friend, a stranger stopped us.  "Do you go to church here?"  No.  "Could you?"  No.  "Why not?"  I live in Wisconsin.  My confusion grew as she joked that I commute each week.  Then she explained: "You have a beautiful voice.  It would be great to have you here singing every week."


Even though, in my environment, I have a barely mediocre voice, that little comment gives me the courage to remain in choir.


My husband is not a fan of soup.

Oral surgery and missing teeth?  You get soup.

The soups I made recently really hit the spot for him.  I pureed the little bit of carrot, onion, and celery into the meaty broth.  The noodles were these awesome German spaetzle that I picked up at Aldi.  On the one hand, $2 for a one-pound bag of noodles seemed pricey.  But they are SO good.

Now, more oral surgery.  We need more soup that is pleasing to a non-soup fellow.  And Aldi discontinued the spaetzle.  Oh NO!  The price of that tasty noodly goodness is double (or more) at other stores.  I bought it anyhow.  Gary needs to eat.

When those noodles come back to Aldi as a "special purchase" again, I am buying BOXES and BOXES of them.