Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Today's Laugh

Another bad pun from my co-worker --
but read it out loud because I'm not sure
this is a joke that can be communicated in writing:

The bear walked into the bar.

The bartender asked, "What can I get for you, sir?"

The bear grumbled, "A rum and ...

...

...

...




...

...


... coke."


The bartender was puzzled.  "What's with the big pause?"


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Be Perfect

"Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5)

Yikey-schnikey!  If you're like me, you can't help but hear that as a word of condemnation, as a command which you can never obey.

Pastor made a comparison recently.
Think of all the stories in the Gospels.  Jesus laid hands on a leper and said, "Be healed."  And the sick person is healed.

Jesus laid hands on a blind man and said, "Receive your sight."  And the man could see.

Jesus laid hands on a deaf person and said, "Be healed."  And the person was healed and could hear. 

In any of those cases, do we congratulate the person for healing himself?  Duh .....  NO.  The glory goes to the Lord Jesus who healed those who could not heal themselves.



So why this weird switcheroo when it comes to His performative word: "Be perfect"?
HE declares it.
HE makes it so.
Is that the command we sinners perceive it to be?
Or is it a blessing and a gift?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Today's Laugh

My co-worker Tyler was telling some jokes today at lunch.  At their Easter dinner, his family got going on a run of Bad Joke Telling.  Here's one:

Why can't you tell puns
to kleptomaniacs?

Because they take 
everything literally.


Friday, April 18, 2014

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss


But a rotating fan gathers LOST of dust!

I learned something about dust one day in confirmation class.  (That was not the pastor's plan that day, I'm sure.)   After our section on the commandments, all of us 8th-graders were taking a quiz.  "True or false? Betsy shows respect for God's Word by dusting her Bible every week."  Everybody in class (except one girl) answered "true."  Pastor said the answer was "false."   The class protested.  Turns out that our misunderstanding had more to do with cleaning than with valuing God's word.    Pastor (and the one girl who got the right answer) insisted that a Bible that is used won't get dusty.  Pastor said that it shows more love for God's word to be reading it than to leave it sit unused to get dusty. 

Things get dusty when they're not used?  Who knew?

Anyway ...
According to that logic, a fan should grow dustier when sitting still than when being used.  Guess what?  When I began to keep house, I learned that's not the way it works.  The other day, I found lights and fan on in an empty room.  Buttinsky me turned off the light and the fan.  And this picture shows what I found.  Yuck!  I wonder how long it's been since that fan was off? 

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

Aprons

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.)