Thursday, April 7, 2016

Love, Grief, Honor

I started in Genesis again in January.

Beginnings.

I'm in 2 Samuel.  The time of the judges ending and beginning of the  kings.

I'm reading over a familiar passage now.  David's lament for Saul and Jonathan.

David speaking after being told that Saul and Jonathan have died in battle.

"The beauty of Israel is slain upon the high places; how are the mighty fallen!  Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.  You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neithter let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings; for there the shield of the mighty is vilely cast away. the shield of Saul, as though he had not been anointed with oil.  From the blood of the slain, from the fat of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan turned not back, and the sword of Saul returned not empty.  Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided, they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions........."

Wait!

Did David say that Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives?

Yes, Jonathan was.  He was David's best friend.  And knew that the Lord had taken the kingdom away from his father, Saul, and given it to David.  And Jonathan still loved David.  He risked his life for David.  He swore an oath to David.

But Saul was lovely and pleasant?

Really Lord?

 The previous chapters tell me that Saul was not pleasant.  At least to David.   He hunted David to kill him.  He threw spears at David in the palace.  He put impossible demands on David to keep a promise of his daughter in marriage.  Saul made David an outlaw.

And yet throughout the narrative of Saul's kingship, David is always honoring him as God's anointed.  David fights the Philistines for Saul, He sings to Saul when Saul is morose and melancholy.  He encourages Saul, is obedient to his demands on David.  David will not let his men kill Saul when the opportunity presents itself.  He always honored Saul as God's anointed.

It's amazing.

We live in an inhospitable world.  Either nature, accidents, illnesses, famines, wars, abuse, anger, difficult relationships at work, home or community put a stress on our ability to live the way the Lord intended.

David, though by no means perfect, gives us a window into love, grief, and honor.

Unconditionally.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Ressurection

Easter

My childhood was in the late 40's and early 50's, so it was vastly different from today.
My parents were married shortly after World War II and I was born two and a half years later.
The times were simple and life was less complex.  Slower as I remember it.

And  my memories of Easters past are more vivid than my Christmas'.

 Easter  was a time when my sisters and I were each bought a new dress.  And a hat and gloves, and a purse and white patent leather shoes.  Actually, it was the only time I can remember that we got new clothes.  School and play clothes just appeared.  But Easter clothes were planned and anticipated.  An exciting time in little girls lives!

Palm Sunday we'd received palms, either made into crosses or just long strains of palms, given in remembrance of a triumphal entry, riding on a donkey.

A big Easter egg hunt for neighborhood children on the front lawn of an estate near our street.

 Easter was special.  We dressed up, more than the average Sunday!  My dad in his suit, which he wore every weekday I can remember, my mom in a dress and my sister and I  had our Easter bonnets on and proudly wore our new white gloves clinging to our purses.  Going  to church and after to our grandparents house for a big Easter dinner.


It was spring!  The hyacinths and daffodils were blooming, dogwoods were arrayed with blossoms, and the forsythias, were yellow mounds in hedges.

It was Easter!

This year, 2016, we had almost all our immediate family up for the weekend.

Big doings!  Family from Atlanta, Long Island, and Canton.  Good Friday and Easter church services, and a baby shower somehow fit in between..

And  I have the grown up Jesus now.

 A realization again that this, this birth, this life, this death and this resurrection, is my life.  His magnificent obsession in preparing a way for us, for me, back to the Father.   The grief, alienation and abandonment not only of his family and  his followers but of his Father;for me, for all.  His gentleness and kindness as Mary, a woman, is the first to see him resurrected.  His revealing himself to a few, his disciples, then more than 500.  His revealing himself to me.

Easter will continue to be my wonderful childhood recollections, of dresses and gloves, of  Easter baskets and candy, of family and spring.  Of pictures of Jesus coming to Jerusalem, of the cross, of  the three crosses, of the empty tomb.  Of newness and life.  Easter is not an intelligent understanding now, but a relationship with my Savior.   A deep commitment to a person who gave me life, gave me hope, gave me gifts, gave me family, gave me forever.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Friday-Rain

The sky fell to the ground today.

I've never seem it so dense.

The fog,

The mist.

The clouds around my feet.

The trees were shadows and their tops were invisible.

But sneak peeks of red and yellow, green and orange poked through.

The lake a mirage and the roads obscured.

And it felt invasive.  Pervasive.

And then it was gone.

Sun.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall

Fall came a day early this year.

It's September 20th, 2015 and according to the calendar, the last day of summer.

But it arrived today, after a lengthy long hot summer, spreading it's cool crispness, and chilly breezes. The sky was filled with swiftly moving clouds and the daylight is rapidly decreasing.  And I wore sweaters appropriately for the season, and the dark fall clothes are now gracing my closet and dresser drawers.

It's been a long, hot summer.  Lingering long into September.  Just last week the temperatures were in the upper eighties, strange for the North Country here.

The green peppers are still going strong in the garden and pots.

This has been a year for green peppers, sunny, hot weather long into what we would normally call fall. I subjected all my NYC children to pans of stuffed peppers!

 Everything else, except for the beets, is done in the garden.  Well, we do have to dig the rest of the potatoes, but I'm waiting for my younger friends to come and enjoy that experience!  We pulled the tomato plants out a couple weeks ago, but now comes the task of getting the vines and dead plants out  and preparing the garden for it's winter rest.

It's been busy at the Inn and Lake this past spring and summer.  And I'm looking forward to buttoning down "camp" and gardens.  And concentrating on my Inn guests and planning the rehearsal dinner in Ohio.

Fall sometimes come with a bit of sadness.

The end of a season of growth and light.  Newness and beginnings.  Energy and expression.

A settling in.

A preparing for.

A time for color and change.  A time of soup and hearty food.

An almost quiet time.

Fall

Monday, July 27, 2015

Too Soon

My friend died today.

Too early in her life, too soon for her family, too unexpectedly for her friends.

Life is short at best, and even though we try to hold on to the greatest seasons of our lives, they slip away before we can blink twice.

I met her when we came.

Always the most glamorous of us all.

And the greatest chef.  She would have us "girls" over for a gourmet dinner almost once a year.

We were "camp" friends on the Flow.  She, even more than Rob, was nervous at how big our bonfires got!  "That bon enough, Ethan!"

And her impact at our high school in the English department was monumental.  She was a hard teacher but a great advocate for her students, developing  writing skills and love of books.

More than anyone else, Rob loved to talk with her about books that they had both read, concepts, ideas and plots and story lines.

As we met once a year, after they moved, for her husbands birthday, "back home in Canton" she would give me a list of books that I should read that year.  I still have the list from last June.  Hastily stored in "notes" on my iphone.

We meet each day with lists of things to do, projects and objectives making our days productive.  As a family, we know first hand, that we are not immune to accidents, illness and tragedies.  And yet once again we, with sadness, focus on how precious life is; thankful for the days He has given us and our times together.   How beautiful God's world is.   How meaningful our friendships are.

 And how important the our families are.   Holding us close, strengthening our ties, recounting  our special moments and memories.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Be Better than Our Culture

Can we be better than our culture?

Should we be better than our culture?

Is it arrogant to think about being better than our culture?

When I was thinking about this today it occurred to me that perhaps I grew up in a more traditional, settled society.  But wait!!

I grew up in the 60's when everything was challenged,
Everything was changing.  It was tumultuous.
Nothing was right about our society, according to some
Everything was rejected.  Rearranged
Don't trust anyone over 30, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, freedom
It was chaotic.

Be better than our culture.  I think we should.  I think we can.

It's the gospel

Jesus gave us the means...himself.

Be light and salt, we're told in scriptures.  Two completely different things.  Different applications and purposes.

In so many areas, the church, and specifically we Christians, have assimilated the values and ideas of our current culture.   Values and ideas that are the opposite of what Jesus taught us and modeled.

We live, everyday, dominated by self-esteem, self sufficiency, self-advancement, self awareness, materialism, devaluing of life (old and young), individual rights,

Self, self, self, self.......... could we really just get over "self"?

Philippians 2:3  "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."

I love Rick Warren's first sentence in Purpose Driven Life.  "It's not about you"

It applies to so many areas of our culture today.  Let's just try it??