Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lights and Christmas

Confession time. I guess I am more worldly than I care to admit. I tend to think about what to cook for Thanksgiving more than what I am thankful for. And I have trouble waiting until after Thanksgiving before I get out the Christmas decorations. But then I think it's because Christmas is what helps me get through this dark time of year. Must be the lights.  I've always loved the colored lights.

Yesterday the mountains and the sunshine were beautiful, but today all is shadowed in gray clouds. Only 37 days until the Winter Solstice!

I can't imagine living in the Southern Hemisphere where there is winter with no Christmas...

Thursday, November 8, 2018


The world is like a river flowing:
   permanently changing,
   forever running,
   building its own land.

And in the same way,
   changes creep into me, unfelt
   whirling 'round my feet and head in eddies.

So my soul:
   longs for where I've been,
   craves where I am going.

But it can only be here--in the now.

Why can't I be like the river?
   at its source--trickling from the deep,
         dim in-parts of earth,
   at its mouth--wandering slowly, at ease,
         before losing itself
         in the wholeness of the sea,
And everywhere in between?

                         M.F. Erler, 1971

The answer to my soul's question is that only God can see the entire river of each of our lives, from birth to death.  It's hard to fathom someone who can see beyond the limitations of Time.  Maybe that's why I'm so fascinated with time-travel.  And stories of my ancestors.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Grace Again

"Nothing in my hand I bring.  Simply to thy cross I cling."  That's how the hymn writer put it in the old song, "Rock of Ages". 

Now picture this:  a pastor, robes and all, lying prostrate, face down in front of the altar.  That's what our pastor did last night during his message, to illustrate how we come before a Holy God.  Totally dependent on His mercy.  We have nothing to offer God that is good enough for Him.  Instead He takes our inadequacy and replaces it with His Son, Jesus', merit--bought for us on the cross.

This, according to our pastor's message, is what Jesus meant when he said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Monday, November 5, 2018


Yes, I am taking weekends off from blogging, especially now during holiday bazaar season.  Have to manage to sell a few books.

So Grace.  It started with St. Paul, who wrote, "For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not your own doing.  It is by faith, so no one can boast."

I remember when a Lutheran pastor shared that verse with me at age 15 or 16.  It was like a light suddenly came on in my mind.  It was God's doing.  I didn't have to keep trying to be good enough to please him.  It lifted a burden from my soul, because I knew deep in my heart that I could never be good enough to earn my way to God--no matter how hard I tried.  Luther himself found this epiphany (enlightenment) also, reading St Paul's epistles 1500 years later.  And now, here we are--500 years after Luther.

I've seen a neat explanation of grace:  God's

Like another contemporary song says it, "In Christ alone, my hope is found. 
                                                                  He is my strength, my all in all."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Happy All Saints' Day

The stirring tune by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Sine Nomine, (without name) is going through my head, with these words:

"For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith, before the world confessed:
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.  Alleluia, alleluia.

"O may thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold, fight as the saints who nobly fought of old:
And win with them the victor's crown of gold.  Alleluia, alleluia."

On that second verse, I hear the descant part flying above the melody (in my head, though I can't sing it anymore).  This is my prayer and hope for All Saints' Day, as I remember all those in my family--past, present and future--may they continue to be part of God's family by grace.

Tomorrow, more on that word "GRACE"