Saturday, November 17, 2012

Psalm 111:4

He has made His wonderful works to be remembered. (Ps 111)

Not only has He done wonderful works.

But He also makes sure that we (we who are weak, we who cannot remember, we who cannot by our own reason or strength believe) know of His wonderful works.

Sometimes I worry that I cannot possibly remain in the faith for the rest of my life.  But hey, I'm not the one who keeps me believing anyhow.  He makes His wonderful works to be remembered!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Dishes

The old dishes were annoying us.  Quite a few had broken.  The bowls didn't stack, and thus hogged too much space in cupboards.  The plates were so flat that, when carried to the sink after a meal, silverware and salad dressing and meat juice would slide off the plate and fall on the floor.  But even cheap dishes ($3 per place setting) seem too pricey when we already have dishes.

So every trip to Goodwill included a scan of the dishes-section.
#1 --  "Do the bowls stack nicely?" 
#2 --  "Are there enough place settings?"
#3 --  "Is there some sort of raised edge on the plates?"
#4 --  "Ugly, tolerable, nice, or pretty?"

Last month I finally found bowls that stacked, plates that weren't too flat, with plenty of pieces for four people.  On top of that, there were several serving pieces in the set.  My only problem was that the dishes are SO pretty.  Could I buy them?  Would the men in the house be bothered by the flowers? 

Less than $20 for 26 pieces.  And the guys are okay with new set.  Woo hoo!  And not once has a knife slid off a plate as we clear the table after a meal. 

And I'm tickled -- they're SO pretty!!!  Sometimes it's the little things that make you smile!  As a friend said recently, "Never underestimate the power of a coffee mug that makes you happy."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Where IS That Tree of Life Anyhow?

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, 
clear as crystal, 
proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 
In the middle of its street, 
and on either side of the river, 
was the tree of life, 
which bore twelve fruits, 
each tree yielding its fruit every month. (Rev 22:1-2)

Okay, okay.  I know that what John saw can't be described very easily, and that we're often told it's in "apocalyptic language" and all that jazz.  But still, there's this tree that's in the middle of the street (or is it in the midst of the river?) and it's on either side of the river. And I always thought, "I am just not getting the layout of this picture here.  What's where?"  But then I noticed something in church.

First, we know that the tree of life is connected to Jesus' cross (a tree!) and that the fruits of this tree are for our healing.  Second, we know that blood and water came from that tree, from Jesus' side, and that we are saved via baptism (water) and the Lord's Supper (blood).  (And if you don't believe me on that, take a peek at 1 John 5.)

So here's what I'm pondering about this whole "location thing" of this tree:
When you look at the altar on Sunday morning, the chalice and the paten are in the "middle of the street," kinda.  Y'know, they're in the center.  If you're walking up the center aisle of church, they're smack-dab in front of you.  But then, what happens during the distribution?  The pastor is taking of that "tree," that fruit, to the communicants kneeling along the altar rail, "on either side of the river."  So it's in the middle and it's on either side.  I think that's cool.

Maybe this is silly.  But it takes what seems to me to be an unwieldy picture and makes it a little more understandable.  And it dovetails with what we know about the worship life of the Church and so much of the imagery used throughout Scriptures.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Counterfeit Money

I have seen counterfeit money at work that is fresh off the presses, crisp, new, and fake.  Counterfeits are more likely to be "distressed" though -- crumpled and a bit dirty.  The counterfeiters know that a fresh bill is more likely to catch attention.  (And fresh ones do.  Even the real money that is bright and crisp gets my attention, and I examine it a bit more than normal.)

But the fakes I've encountered over the last couple of months have been in horrible shape.  They've been so faded they're barely legible.  Thing is, that can happen to real money too.  Some of the counterfeits have been torn in two and taped together (one with masking tape instead of clear tape).  But we see that too in real money.  Some of the counterfeits have a humongous black mark on it, from Sharpie or dirt.  That too can happen with real bills.  It seems that the thieves are hiding their counterfeits by making the money look so bad that people assume the badness of the money is from how crumpled & torn & marked & faded instead of noticing that the badness is from its being FAKE. 

Moral of the story: go ahead and be suspicious of really cruddy bills. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Come Unto Me, and I Will Give You Rest

And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again and arms are strong.

Ah, how hungers all my spirit
for the love I do not merit!
Oft have I with sighs fast thronging
thought upon this food with longing,
in the battle well-nigh worsted
for this cup of life have thirsted,
for the Friend who here invites us
and to God Himself unites us.

Weary am I and heavy-laden.
With sin my soul is sore oppressed.
Receive me graciously and gladden my heart
which here is now Thy guest.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood
be for my soul the highest good.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Look at that!  All three of those hymns say the exact same thing! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anthropomorphizing God?

The math books we're using this year are marvelous.   They cover all sorts of non-math stuff too!  So last week we were reading about anthropomorphizing* pets.  Or a chair.  Or a clock.  Or the sun.  The author also mentioned that some people anthropomorphize God.

Think about that.

Can somebody anthropomorphize YOU in a story?  Can a news article anthropomorphize a rock star or a politician? 

It's nonsensical. 

So how can GOD be anthropomorphized?

Sure, you can do it if you're Muslim or Jewish or Hindu.  You might even think it's possible to anthropomorphize God if you believe what too many Christians believe: that Jesus quit being a man and went back to being "just God" when He ascended to the Father's right hand. 

But we trust in a God who was incarnate.  Our God is a man.  So how can we even talk about "anthropomorphizing" somebody who's human?

* footnote: ascribing human characteristics 
to a non-human creature or object