Friday, April 22, 2011


This is the day which the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Which day are we talking about here? The verse is from the Passover psalm. The "day" is the day on which the Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

And what does Jesus tell His disciples in the upper room late on Thursday night?

You have heard me say to you,
"I am going away and coming back to you."
If you loved me, you would rejoice
because I said, "I am going to the Father."

He "goes to the Father" on the altar of the cross. He goes to the Holy of Holies with the offering of blood. Even though the disciples would mourn, He knows His suffering is for our rejoicing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

So to Pass Through This Holy Time of Our Lord's Passion

Andrew wondered last night why we have to leave church in silence tonight and tomorrow night, and why we have to assemble in silence on Friday and Saturday nights. I had some ideas, but no good explanation. It's hard to pin down (without sounding pietistic) why we have this practice. I don't think my experience this morning answers his question, but it does shed some light.

Okay, a bit of background first. When I was editing the first volume of Scaer's In Christ, I loved the Easter Vigil sermon on "The Greatest Comeback Ever." Hating the fact that I sounded like a salesman, I nevertheless couldn't help but tell people that that sermon alone made it worth buying the book! Gary stole borrowed that sermon the first year the book was out. Pastor Bender did too, that year or the next. I told them both I could listen to that sermon preached over and over.

So anyway, back to the point. This morning during Bible class, Pastor reads us that sermon. Oh, I love that sermon! But I noticed something. (Call me emotional. Call me an Enthusiast. Call me a pietist. Whatever.) That sermon is different on Thursday morning than it is on Saturday night. The journey through the Passover readings on Thursday, the stripping of the altar, the Tenebrae, the veneration of the cross, the Reproaches, the entire Passion reading from John, the Exsultet, and the many stories during the Great Vigil, they all do something.

Holy Tuesday's collect:
Almighty and everlasting God, grant us grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord's Passion that we may obtain the pardon of our sins.


Three weeks old now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Report

Bwwaaa haaa haaaa!

By the way, you people in Illinois and Indiana are making me jealous.

Last year, in the first few days of April, I tilled the garden and planted the potatoes and some cool-weather crops like peas and spinach and lettuce. This year, in the first few days of April, the ground was finally thawed but by no means tillable. Too muddy!

After several days of warmth and then several days of wind, the ground was workable last Tuesday (April 12th). I put out some lettuce seeds in the raised bed, but didn't get to tilling the regular patch of dirt. Since then we've had nothing but rain, snow, sleet, ice, and darkness. Potatoes ain't going in on Good Friday this year -- that's for sure!

Some of my perennial onions have poked up in the berry patch. Gary said he saw no sign of asparagus yet. The tulip leaves have come up, but nowhere near signs of flowers. Weedon said the lilacs were already blooming in southern Illinois, but our lilacs are just beginning to have the tiniest signs of life. I did see rhubarb beginning.

Maybe when we get past these ice storms and chills, spring will just have to bust out mega-fast! (Note to self: remember to hold open a flexible spot on the calendar for renting a tiller and playing in the dirt.)

That Old Wrist

Between counting money and working a mouse, I'm feeling carpal tunnel problems originally developed in gardening. (And I'm not even weeding yet, or snapping beans, or anything!) In addition to the wrist brace, the anti-inflammatories, and an increase in B vitamins, I tried some acupressure. It's amazing to me how I can look at the little map of a person's arm, touch that point, and FEEL the tenderness at that exact spot (and not feel it at all an inch away). But after a few tries at using the acupressure, the pain and numbness seem worse instead of better. I wonder if that's coincidence or if I should have flooded myself with water (as you do after massage) or what?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Four Dollars

It used to be that a price increase of a penny or two a gallon translated into a 2-5% price increase. Today, a 2-5% price increase is 10-15 cents per gallon, and that's just what we're seeing every few days.

Do you remember when gas prices hovered at 98-cents or 99-cents? Remember the signs at the gas stations which had only 2 digits for the prices? What happens when you spill over from cents to dollars-and-cents? I remember cardboard signs with a big "1" painted on it, taped to the signs announcing the price-per-gallon.

I suppose that now, with digital, we won't have the same problems when the gas prices go to a two-digit price for dollars. Yikes!

(Hey, Congress, can we start drilling in Alaska and the Gulf already? Pleeeeease?)

Today's Laugh

Go take a look at something my friend Melody wrote last year. I laughed and laughed at the picture!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Plain, Old, Everyday Preaching

From The Hobbit, chapter 3, when the dwarves and
Gandalf and Bilbo are being refreshed at Rivendell --

Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.

Over and over again, as we've been studying the book of Acts this past year, Pastor has pointed out the verses we so quickly bleep over. If you look at 9:20-23 and 9:31 and 11:20 and 15:35 and 16:4 and 18:11 and 20:2 and so many other locations, there's nothing Exciting! Paul goes to the synagogue, he preaches, and when he is kicked out he continues preaching to those who will listen. Churches form. They meet for liturgy and prayers, for preaching and the Lord's Supper. The miracles aren't the norm; the synodical conventions aren't the norm; the riots aren't the norm; the pentecostal signs of the Holy Spirit aren't the norm.

But, hey, as Tolkien mentioned, when things are going the way they're supposed to be going ("a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty") there ain't much to tell.
But it's good.