Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Resurrection and Life

Today it's forsythia's turn to help us think about the new life that the Risen Jesus shares with us.  Before Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44) he tells us the point of the story:
I AM the resurrection and the life:
whoever believes in me,
even if he dies, will come to life.
And everyone who is alive and believes in me,
shall never die at all.

Friday, March 24, 2017

"The Jews"

8 degrees yesterday morning, so I put off my walk until afternoon when it was 42 and sunny.  And there they were, shy and sticking close to the ground, the first sign of spring in our neighborhood:  colt's foot. 
In his Gospel John often uses the term "the Jews" as shorthand to refer to the enemies of Jesus.  John himself is a Jew and most of the community for whom he is writing are Jews.  So he's not condemning the Jewish people.  He's saying in effect, "They think they're the real Jews!" the way we might say of someone whose politics we disagree with, "They think they're the real Americans."  John's usage in no way supports the anti-Semitism of Christians in the past or the present.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Catching Sunrise

This was intended as a picture of the little ducks called "buffleheads."  They are barely visible, but what I like is the unintended sliver of the rising sun along the point.
St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 5:8-14 helps us to reflect further on the light theme in the Gospel about the man born blind.  "Christ will shine on you....Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."  Even it's just a little sliver.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

God looks within

A window high up in the northwest is the first to catch this morning's 7:20 sunrise from the east.
David is out tending sheep when the prophet Samuel comes to anoint the next king.  Samuel thinks that the eldest son looks like king material, but God says no.  "God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

...but now I see!

The wind had sculpted the snow on the lawn, but it took the setting sun to bring out the wave patterns that were already there.  Jesus brings the man born blind in John's Gospel (9:1-41) to full sight physically, but only by brushes with neighbors and religious authorities does the man come to deeper and deeper spiritual insight into who Jesus is.  We can never sit back and think we know Jesus completely.  Recuperating from an illness or surgery or reading a book or watching the most unlikely movie can open our inner eyes to see the face of Jesus more clearly.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Spring

It was 33 degrees and sunny when I went for my first morning of Spring walk.  It felt great.  I haven't been able to go out many mornings this month because of cold and slick roads. 
Back when we had one of our winter springtimes this striped sparrow took up housekeeping with his mate in a neighbor's blue spruce.  Here he is perched on my rhododendron during the heaviest of the recent snows.  I noticed them diving into the bush.  I guess they were finding something to eat.  I put out feed a few times, but the fierce wind blew it away.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

From St. Patrick himself in the mid-fifth century we have two writings.  The Confession is a kind of  autobiography.  He tells us that when he was 16 he was kidnapped from his father's villa in Briton and sold as a slave in Ireland.  Solitude became the occasion for prayer:
"After I came to Ireland--every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed--the love of God and His awe came to me more and more, and my faith was strengthened.  And my spirit was moved so that in a single day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and almost as many in the night, and this even when I was staying in the woods and on the mountains; and I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through frost, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me--as I now see, because the Spirit within me was then fervent"