Monday, October 31, 2016

Still my favorite

I am making this an annual event.  That is how much I like it.  Hope you like it.
 
Today is Halloween.  It has become quite a big deal, commercially, that is.  Why, I would guess that the dollar turnover on decorations and partying is as big as Christmas.  Yet I don't think of Halloween as a holiday.  A day for fun and mischief, perhaps, but even the mischief has gotten carried away from fun into wickedness.

But that's not the reason for this post.

Here is the reason:  Wishing you a fun and safe good time on Halloween.  And,



inflicting on you once again my all-time favorite Halloween cartoon.  You are welcome.

Purely for your entertainment (and to keep you out of trouble) check out these rules for sharing your Halloween spoils.


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Jesus and the Pharisees

In Matthew chapter eleven we find Jesus again in conflict with the religious leaders of his time.  Listen to Him:

"To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:
 We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not mourn. " (Matthew 11:17,18)

These children playing these tunes are the Pharisees and scribes.

They are playing the pipe to which John will not dance, eschewing a life of ease for the desert experiences.  They are playing the dirge, for Jesus lives a life style which they perceive to be in violation of the law.  By the law they mean not the ten commandments, but the entire body of "law" as developed over the centuries by the religious leaders.

With these hyper-religious fanatics the only way to "win" is to toe the line they draw.  Yet John did not dance, nor did Jesus mourn.

This chapter ends with these words of the Master:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Bible quotes from the NIV.

Some commentators suggest that Jesus in quoting the verse about the children playing is borrowing from Aesop's fable of the fisherman piping.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Now What?


The podiatrist examined my toe, advised me that a "procedure" would resolve my issue.

"So I need an operation?"

"Just a procedure I do right here in the office."

"Operation."

"Okay, it is an operation, but there is nothing to it."

"Do it."

My too-frequent visits to medical professionals this year taught me, and that early on, that "procedure" is the professional euphemism for "operation."  Dr. G stuck my toe with his needle while our banter continued a bit.  He left the room for a few minutes while my toe died.

The doctor returned, jabbed the toe in a few places, asked his assistant for his thingamabob.  Less than six minutes later the assistant was placing this beautiful bandage on the offended digit.

My sixth operation in 2016 encompassing the Me from head to foot!

Now.  We shall see.*

*a/o Friday night, toe looks good, pain-free.  Color me happy!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mt. Carmel Community Church

I was working at the back of the platform in the sanctuary.  Seems the term "stage" would be more applicable since the transformation of the entire space four years ago.  Piano, organ, pulpit, lectern, altar rails all removed.  Pews removed and replaced with cushioned chairs and so on.  But on with the story.

I had my bottle of window cleaner and a soft towel quietly contemplating the elements of worship as I cleaned the enclosure surrounding the drum set.  Pity the percussion instruments are not completely surrounded with sound-proof glass, but again I digress.  The area at the back of the room brightened as someone opened the front door.  I looked in that direction.  A woman clad in a yellow knee-length dress with full skirt and a red bolero-style sweater stepped in and glanced around.  It was evident that she did not see me as she went directly to the "missions" box that sat on a table to the left of the  door.

The woman picked up the box, glanced around the sanctuary again, then she set the box down.  The lid was fastened with a hasp, but there was no lock so she simply opened the lid and reached inside.  I could see that she had several bills in her hand as she open the purse that was slung from her left shoulder.  But she dropped the money back into the box, removed the purse from her shoulder and set it on the table.  I took a step toward the front of the platform and she quickly looked up and toward  me but she seemed not to see me.  This small, thin, brightly clad being then took the offering box in both hands and dumped its contents into her purse.

By this time I was near the steps at the front of the stage and as she was zipping her tote I said, in my best stentorian manner, "Bless you, my child!"

Startled?  I thought she would surely break for the door but she was so startled that she was frozen in place.  As she looked at me her eyes and her mouth were as though they were three gaping caverns.  Her face was so thin that the rest of it seemed to disappear,

When I was ten feet from her I stopped.  Black hair, black eyes, olive complexion.  As she closed her mouth I could see the creases  in her forehead and the age lines around her mouth.  She wore  white sneakers, not the spike heels of someone out on the town.  This was not a young person.  I've no idea of the burdens of life that may have caused the creases and wrinkles and I normally do not try to guess ages by appearances, but I am guessing that the person I was confronting was late fifties, perhaps even early sixties.

"Tiena usted Ingles?"  I asked.

"S-si, uh, yes."  As she was unzipping her bag she continued.  "Look, sir, I am putting it back."

"No!  Listen to me."  She looked at me.  "Listen.  Take the money home and count it carefully.  Write down the amount on a piece of paper."

"That is hard.  I keep four nietos.   Grandchildren.  You understand?"

"Look at me.  What is your name?"

Glancing quickly at the wall opposite then meeting my eyes she said, "Carmel.  Carmelita."  On the wall was a banner which proclaimed "WELCOME TO MT. CARMEL COMMUNITY CHURCH."

"Listen. Carmelita.  Write down the amount.  Next time you are in the neighborhood drop that paper into the box, okay?  I will make up the amount in the missions box. Go."

Purse strap over her shoulder, she turned to go.  "Gracias,  Señor."

"Vaya con Dios."

That's the end of that, I thought.

Two weeks later on impulse I looked into the offering box.  There was a folded scrap of paper.  On the inside was written in pencil "2642$."

I surely hope there is supposed to be a decimal point between the six and the four.

Epilogue

The next Sunday just before the drummer tapped the rhythm for the first number on the rim, the sanctuary door opened and a certain small, sixtyish lady, clad in red and yellow, walked in, followed by four children ages probably five to twelve.

©2016 David W. Lacy







Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ten Word (sort of) Wednesday

2016 WS game 1 on tv.


Who left the room?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oversell

In whatever arena, politics, commerce, sports, and so on, the following truism seems to apply.

"Hype outrunneth performance."  --2 Lamentonians 1:1

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Good Old Days

How often we wax euphoric over the "simple, gentle country of our childhood."

Let's discuss that simple, gentle time a bit.  On numerous occasions I have posted nostalgic pieces about my own childhood.  They are often filled with the joys of kidhood, the games, the friends, the loving care of the parents, experiences that may be had only by the young.  And the key is that we were children not yet saddled with the burdens and responsibilities of making a livelihood for ourselves or a family; not yet aware of the onus of political self-determination; and fully too young to be directly involved in the martial conflicts that eternally rage somewhere in this world.

The simple, gentle country of my own time was a place where I had the freedom to roam our town so long as I was home by suppertime.  It was a time in which I did not have to concern myself with the intense struggle and long hours of hard work and worry that accompanied the parents' efforts to keep the family fed and clothed on an erratic and unstable income much too small to gain more than the rudimentary survival necessities.  And yet my memories are of an abundant table laden with good things that Dad acquired and Mother prepared for our consumption.  It was only as an adult that I came to understand the intensity of that struggle.

In that simple, gentle time when a child suffered illness, as I often did, the burden of doctor bills was borne by extra work, more stinting of their own needs by the parents.  The doctor's advice to the parents to have pictures of the child made because he may not be long for this world was of no comfort to the parents and did nothing to alleviate the suffering of the child.  The still-extant pictures that resulted, though, are a treasure even after nearly eight more decades added to the child's life.

In that simple, gentle time it was a given that your financial problems were your responsibility.

Since the War to End All Wars which occurred in the generation immediately prior to my own had failed spectacularly to end mankind's proclivity to belligerence, during my own time as a child there raged a second world-consuming conflict now known as WW II.  I did have acquaintances and relatives a mere seven or eight years older than I who were off fighting in that conflict.  Yet I could still play marbles, stomp in the mud puddles and generally create personal memories of a childhood, one in which the subject but barely understood the concern and worry and sacrifices his elders were making to provide him with the potential for a life of his own.

Next time you hear someone longing for the "good old days," smack him upside the head.

May the world treat you and your offspring in a kindly and gentle manner.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Birds Still Diving

I wrote this verse four years ago and present it again here, for though the avian personnel may be of a new generation, the game is still the same.
 
Desiccated and sere a blob of bird poop right here
in the center of the windshield.
 
The bucket, rag and soap; now it’s clean, for good we hope.
Wring the rag, swirl the pail, toss the water in the grass.
 
Awk! What iridescent flash o’er my head did I see pass?
Grackle Bomber in a dive on the scene does now arrive.
 
*           *             *
**
*SPLAT*
**
*
*
 
Dead-center hit.
The windshield again besmeared with it.
 
The End

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Evening Skies



 Good night, Sol.














 Far places await















 Good evening, Luna.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"I Received My Sight!"

Then the neighbors, and the ones seeing him formerly— because[c] he was a beggar— were saying “Is not this the one sitting and begging?” Others were saying that “This is he”. Others were saying, “No, but he is like him”. That one was saying that “I am he”. 10 So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” 11 That one answered, “The man being called Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and said to me ‘Go to Siloam and wash’. So having gone away and washed, I received-sight”. 12 And they said to him, “Where is that One?” He says, “I do not know”.  John 9:8-12 (DLNT)

Now this one who was doubtless a familiar figure to many because he regularly sat in a public place begging presents himself seeing and the people are astonished.  Astonished, but divided.  Some said, "Verily this is he who was blind, and now he sees." 

 Others, less prone to believe, or we might say the more skeptical, saw the man but they saw a doppelganger, "Nay, it is some stranger who merely looks like our familiar beggar."

The man now avers, "I am he; the very man, the blind one, you have passed by for years."

"So then how is it that you see?"

"The man called Jesus," he replied, "daubed my eyes with mud, told me to wash in Siloam, which I did, my eyes were opened and now I see!"

Note the testimony.  "I did as Jesus told me to do, then I saw."  Have you done as Jesus told you to do? 

This, of course, is not the end of the story.  The Pharisees get involved and call the former blind man to account.  He gives his testimony.   Then someone observes that it is the Sabbath.  Surely for One to perform such a miracle is a violation of the Sabbath Laws.


16 Then some of the Pharisees were saying, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”. But others were saying, “How is a sinful man able to do such signs?”  (DLNT)


Division amongst the religious leaders.  Now begins the turmoil.  "Who do you say this man is?" they asked the recipient of the miracle.  "He is a prophet," he replied.

This will not do.  The Pharisees call the man's parents to testify.  Yes, he is our son.  Yes, he was born blind.  But for fear of being cast from the congregation they dared not confess that Jesus is the Christ. They said, We have no idea who the man is.  Ask our son; he is of age.  He can speak for himself.

So they called this man, this now-harassed man, yet again and posed their questions yet again.


27 He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? You also do not want to become His disciples, do you?”  

28 And they reviled him and said, “You are a disciple of that One, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses. But we do not know where this One is from”. 

30 The man responded and said to them, “Why, in this is the marvel— that you do not know where He is from, and He opened my eyes! 31 We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one. 32 It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind. 33 If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.”  (DLNT)

Our subject, knowing that he was blind and now he sees, is clearly convinced that his benefactor is the Christ and makes bold to challenge the religious teachers and proclaims, "We know that God does not hear sinners. But if anyone is a God-fearing one, and is doing His will— He hears this one.  It was not ever heard that someone opened the eyes of one having been born blind.  If this One were not from God, He would be able to do nothing”.

This is interesting because the man, though having been blind and a beggar, is skilled in disputation, for he uses the time-honored technique of binding himself and his  opponents together by use of the "we know" phrase which they themselves had used.  Not only do you know this to be true, but now you know that I know it as well, hence my words are true.  Teachers and mathematicians and genealogists use this to this day.  In effect, If you don't know it, believe me, because I know what I am saying.

Further the Pharisees are challenged to become Jesus's followers as well.  The response to which is the casting of the messenger from their midst.  Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.          TBC


  




Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Forget the Whistle Stop Cafe...

drop in at the kitchen of BBBH.

She said, "Would you like some fried green tomatoes?"

Hard to believe she had to ask.  Oh, I know.  Get the taste buds excited!


 Labor intensive, but oh, my!

 This is the saucepan that featured prominently in last Saturday's blog post.
This is the best I could do.  I was just ready to give it a toss when I heard the words,
"I used that pan for thirty-five years."

What could I do? 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mud, Water, and Re-creation

The account of the miracle of vision in the previous post brought us to the point where the man, following Jesus's instructions went to the Pool of Siloam, washed, and came seeing. (John 9:7)  A few words here about the magnitude of the miracle.

Many of us learned this story in Sunday school and have taken it in a matter-of-fact way, perhaps thinking, "Wow!  Jesus can do anything."  I dare say, though, that seldom have we considered the miracle in its entirety.  Think of this.  A person born blind has no experience of sight and his brain mapping would have relied entirely on non-visual sensory perceptions.  Sudden ability to "see" in and of itself is insufficient to be of any use to the subject.  In fact he would doubtless be totally confused and perhaps even terrified because he has no experience in processing visual stimuli.

How great is God?  We cannot imagine the answer to that question.  But in this instance Jesus not only gave the man the ability to sense visual stimuli, He gave him sight, which is to say the brain would have been totally remapped to allow the subject to process those stimuli!  One might go so far as to say the miracle was tantamount to slaying the man and resurrecting him in a more perfect body.

Created man from mud, re-created this man using mud.

Indeed God is Great!          TBC

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mud in Your Eye

I have been spending considerable time mulling over the ninth chapter of John's Gospel.  What a fascinating account of a miracle!  There are so many things to mine from this passage that it may take more than one post to get through it.

And while passing on, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying “Rabbi, who sinned— this one or his parents, that he should be born blind?”  (Disciples Literal New Testament) 

It is interesting that the chapter starts with a conjunction in this and other translations including the KJV.  Looking back at chapter eight we find Jesus disappears from the Pharisees who are picking up stones in threat.  Is chapter nine a continuation following His escape, or does the "and" reference some other occasion of which we are unaware? 

Jesus answered, “Neither this one sinned nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be made-visible in him. We must be working the works of the One having sent Me while it is day. Night is coming, when no one can work. When I am in the world, I am the light of the world”.  (DLNT)


The disciples in asking their question were displaying a commonly accepted belief in that day and even to this day that one who is afflicted must be so afflicted because he or his parents sinned.

Jesus seizes the teachable moment to enlighten His followers regarding His mission and theirs, for note the pronoun in which Jesus includes His followers in that mission:  "We must be working the works of the One having sent Me."*

 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.  (KJV)

The blind man humbled himself in allowing the smearing of spittle mixed with dust to be applied to his face.  Could Jesus have performed the miracle without the use of this amalgam?  Certainly.  Why did He not?

There are differences of opinion regarding salvation, God's role and man's role.  There are those who hold that salvation, a free gift of God, is granted by God to whom He will.  There is nothing one can do to effect his own salvation.  Moreover some go so far as to teach that there is nothing required of the recipient for action on his part would indicate a limitation on God's omnipotence.

God alone can save; yet I believe that one is required to do something, namely, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess Him with your mouth. (Romans 10:9)  This will be followed by obedience to the will and Word of God.

And (note the conjunction) this man was given an explicit instruction.  God will give him sight, but he must act according to the will of the Savior.  Jesus sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.  Could he have washed at any convenient basin?  Certainly, but that is not what the Son of Man asked of him.  I think it significant that Jesus told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam and that the writer of the account tells us the interpretation of the name:  Sent.

Judaic oral tradition suggests that the pool mentioned was considered to be Messiah's pool, hence "Sent" for the Messiah is the One sent by God.  Jesus knew this and in effect was asserting His Messianic claim by utilizing that particular body of water to complete the miracle.

Thus begins the account of Jesus granting sight to the man born blind.  TBC

 Σιλωαμ


*Some texts translate the statement in the first-person singular rather than in the plural.





Saturday, October 15, 2016

Insomnia and Applesauce

Finally after lying wide awake much too long I got out of bed.  Almost five o'clock but I got dressed anyway, went to the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee.  Sitting on the counter was the batch of crab apples I had picked a couple of days ago.  Use them or lose them, said the little voice in my head.*

I put the apples in a colander, washed them.  I got a saucepan and paring knife.  I halved the apples, checking for bad places or unwelcome critters, dropped the pieces into the pan.  Apples covered with water, the pan was placed on the kitchen range.

While waiting for the produce to cook I opened the laptop and somehow got absorbed in something, actually in writing a possible blog post.  Presently my olfactory sense detected something weird and unwelcome.  Dawn slowly crept into my awareness, I set the computer down and raced for the kitchen.

The next several minutes were spent trying to salvage some of the apples without digging too deeply into the blackened mess in the bottom of the vessel.  What I saved were wrung through the colander to make applesauce.  I added a bit of water and some sugar then placed this new saucepan on the fire to boil down the stuff.

Results

1.  About three tablespoons of applesauce, strangely char-flavored.
2.  A seriously blackened saucepan which any amount of scouring and product may never redeem.
3.  The mess in the kitchen that is likely to be created when a man is left unsupervised in that venue.
4.  About an hour of scrubbing and redding up that tired the old man sufficiently that he crawled back into bed at 6:35.  Slept, too.
5.  Odor awakened BBBH who later told me that searching for "What's burning?" cost her a good bit of effort and loss of sleep.  This, of course, while I slept.

Cost

1.  The crabapples
2.  About half-cup of sugar.
3.  Sufficient gas to effect the above tale.
4.  And electricity to provide lighting at the ungodly hour of day, an hour I have seldom seen since I retired twenty-six years ago.

Benefits

1.  The whole thing put me into a physical and mental state which demanded sleep.
2.  The crab apples are no longer a concern.
3.  Three or four tablespoons of maybe edible sauce.
4.  Perhaps a parable or lesson in there, but not one I am likely to grasp anytime soon.

Good day!

*Drat that voice!


Saturday, October 8, 2016

Friday Night Lights

Sunset over Tipton County

A little football
A little band music












Homecoming activities
Evening prayer

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bicentennial Celebration

In 1816 Indiana was admitted to the Union of the United States.  In celebration of the state's bicentennial a torch is being carried across all 92 counties.  Our grandson, David K. Lacy, is honored to be one of the torchbearers in Tipton County.  He is making this run today, October 6 on the 106th anniversary of his great grandfather Lacy's birthday and just one day before his own 31st birthday.

Five days ago David was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the Tipton Police force.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Happy Happy


On her birthday ten years ago today.

















Thirteen years ago.
















 Last night.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Rehash and Rehabilitation

 
Scrolling through some old pictures I found this one entitled "Pillow and Vanilla."  Brought back memories, memories best covered with chocolate sauce, the pain not recalled.

The pillow was my best friend from the latter part of January through most of March.  It was given me by the caring staff members at IU Methodist Hospital following the open-heart surgery.

Why then am I dragging this forward into an October post?  Simply this:  memories and gratitude.  2016 has been the year that we hope to look back on through the mists of memory and say "It was all good."

From the January experience through August I went through four "surgical procedures."  Misty memories? I don't think about the pain anymore, nor do I feel it.  Gratitude?  I thank the Lord for his tender mercies, for healing, and for providing capable and talented medical professionals of the caliber I dealt with so frequently this year.

I was not much more than back on my feet until it started with JoAnn who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June.  She has had surgery for removal of the offending lump and today will have her eighteenth radiation treatment.  Projection:  two more after today followed by cancer-free health and wellness.

Again, thank you, Heavenly Father, for your tender mercies, for healing, and for providing capable and talented medical professionals.

We are blessed.

My Beloved Beautiful Better Half has a birthday tomorrow, 10/5.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Be of Good Courage

 Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.  Deuteronomy 1:28 (KJV)

After forty years in the wilderness the people arrive at the edge of the Promised Land.  They send a committee over to assess the situation.  The report: It is a good and fruitful place, but the people are huge; we are as grasshoppers in their sight.  So they are moaning as we read in this verse.

Our brethren have discouraged our heart.

How much does this sound like Christians today, Christians who have been commissioned to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ?  Oh, Dear (hand wringing) the sky is falling!

The Lord commanded His People to take the land and promised to go with them.

Today, the Lord commands our service in the proclamation of the gospel, and He promised to go with us.

Yes, the obstacles are huge but they are as nothing in the sight of our God.

As Moses said to Joshua, and as Joshua said to The People, "Be of good courage."