Monday, November 28, 2016

Almost ready...

November 27, 2016
Advent 1A

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Please pray with me,
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O God, our rock our strength and our redeemer.  Amen. 

Well I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving seemed to sneak up on me this year.  And so here we are in the season of Advent already...I’m not quite ready. 

The good news is that this season calls us to a time of reflection and awareness of Christ in our midst.  This season also seems to ramp of the speed of time, the business of schedules, and to do lists and preparations that we just do not have enough time to accomplish.  My guess is that if Thanksgiving surprised you, this season is just as much of a surprise. 

Yet what I do like about the season of Advent is the focus on preparation.  The time to ready our homes for the coming of the Christ child and the preparation of our hearts and our lives…we take time this season to light a candle on the advent wreath, to pause and pray and let Christ’s light shine into the world around us.

And as we pause to see that light shine, it gives us time to think about the complexity of God with us right now and the reality that we are preparing for Christ to come again. 

We are especially called into this when our gospel message leaves us with a sense of urgency, and tugging, that reminder that the Son of Man is coming…and it is at an unexpected hour.  We don’t know when…but we must be ready. 

As Jesus is talking with his disciples he hearkens back to the story of Noah.  An interesting choice of illustration, right?  But it works.  
In Noah’s day, the people didn’t know about the coming judgment but it still came.  Noah tried to warn people about the flood, but they wouldn’t listen, they wouldn’t help, they probably watched him, called him crazy and went back to work.  They didn’t know what Noah knew…that this coming of the flood was a new beginning…that all the sin would be washed away, that the world would begin anew…and most importantly that God would be there in the midst of it all. 

The flood would be a new beginning, creation begun anew again. 
So maybe, this retelling, this reminding of the Noah story pre-echoes , or foreshadows, the story of Christ.  That when Christ comes, sin is washed away, we begin anew.  This IS a new creation…where forgiveness and eternal life are gifts and death is not the last word.  That, my friends, is good news.  The good news is that tomorrow will be different than yesterday because the future is based on the promises of God which are always new.  (Feasting on the Word, Erskine.)

Even though this story IS good news, how do we hear it today? 
Do we hear it as a gift coming to be live with us, teach us and who will die for us? 
Or do we hear it as a command to get ready…for the judgment is coming? 

How do we hear the message of Christ’s coming today?  I think we hold in tension that this both a message of good news, but also that we are commanded to be ready.  We are called to be awake, to be ready and prepared…yet we still tend to carry on with our lives.   We continue to eat, drink and be merry, we go to our jobs, we care for our families.  Our lives go on…and as much as we hear about preparing for the coming of Christ, we may not see the urgency. 

So that’s the wake up call to us today, right?  Get ready….stay awake…be on guard….as we prepare for the coming of Christ. 

We are called,  commanded even, to be prepared…to be the church militant…the church awake and aware of our circumstances…ready to be active in the world around us…ready to respond to God’s call in our lives today and all days…ready to march away to onward Christian soldiers! 

But as we are called to march…we may not truly be aware of what our actions can and should be in the world today… we have a deep sense of longing for the coming of Christ, yet at the same time, we seek to see him in our midst here and now. 
And that, my friends, is the heart of the tension of the season of Advent. 

The longing for a wonderful counselor when we feel utterly alone. 
The longing for a mighty God when we are need of guidance and support. 
The longing for the Everlasting Father…a parent who never leaves us, who is always there for us. 
The longing for the Prince of Peace in a nation deeply struggling with conflict.

So where does that leave us today? 

Called to be the church at work in the world today….what does it mean that God is already with us? It may look different than we expect. 

Look back at our reading from Isaiah,
“God shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not light up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”  

Imagine that world…that in God’s vision, in God’s eyes…the people and nations turn implements of conflict -  like swords and spears into tools that cultivate and support community. 
How beautiful is that? 

How powerful is that vision?  That view of the world… view of God’s kingdom…

This transformational image is the inspiration for a large sculpture that stands outside the General Assembly tower at the United Nations headquarters in New York.  

The hope is that through the cooperation of nations, the tools of community can replace the weapons of war.  (FOTW, Birch.)

“In a similar way, a small Jesuit chapel at St. Louis University has light fixtures that are made of twentieth century cannon shells, converted.  Emptied of their lethal contents, they now hold light for people to pray by.  In such light we pray and live.” 
(FOTW, Duke.)

In such light we pray and live. 

In Christ’s light we pray and live. We are called to transform implements of conflict into instruments of peace that cultivate and support community….in our homes, in our community, in our nation and in our world. 

We called to respond to the darkness in our world by allowing the light of Christ, the gifts of the Spirit to guide our words and actions. 

We are called to live our lives not out of fear, but out of the faith that we have in God always being present with us and willing to trust that enough light lies ahead. 

I pray that this Advent season allow us time to reflect on God’s presence in our lives here and now, and that we see who God created us and continues to call us to be, not just as individuals but as voices joined together as the body of Christ in our community and world. 

And now may the peace, which passes all understanding, keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and let all God’s people say, Amen.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Pieventure 2016

The day began with prepping the crust for the brown butter pumpkin.  Time stamp: 7:50am
Soundtrack: Living Colour - Vivid

After work, the baking began.  Brown butter pumpkin crust par-baked. Time stamp: 4:30pm
On Netflix, Buffy is telling Willow how great Riley is.

As the pumpkin crust cools, cranberry sage is constructed.   Time stamp: 4:52
On Netflix, Spike is wearing Xander's clothes because he shrunk his doing laundry.  

Cranberry sage ready for the oven.  Time stamp: 5:12 pm

Salted caramel apple ready for the oven. Time stamp: 6:39 pm 
On Netflix, Buffy is getting important intel from Professor Walsh at the Initiative.  

Snack break (dough scraps baked with cinnamon & sugar!) Time stamp: 6:41 pm 

2 to go.  Time stamp: 7:44 pm
On Netflix, Faith just woke up from a coma. 

Butter brown pumpkin is in the oven!  Time stamp: 7:54 pm
Note the extra custard baking below. :)

Here they are...mission completed.  Time stamp: 8:44 pm

Pies done, dinner picked up and grapefruit pale ale.  Time stamp: 9:19 pm.  

And now for SNL Thanksgiving Special....a good day.

PS...the extra custard is already gone...and it is delish!

Friday, November 11, 2016

The numbers don't lie...

Well, it's been an interesting week, to say the least.

My eating hasn't been great, my sleeping hasn't been great which means the exercising has been off as well.  I did hop on the scale last week, but did not post numbers.

I did make it to the gym today and saw the poster inviting folks to join in on Maintain not Gain.
You can weigh in any time before Thanksgiving and then weigh in after New Year's Day.  They also measure body fat....and that's the number to maintain through the holidays.

I could have put it off...I could have waited to get on the scale... you know waited for a day when I hadn't already had breakfast and a few cups of coffee...but I didn't.


I'm not happy about it, it's more than my scale at home says, but it is what it is.


That is where I start.

After the scale, they measured by body fat.  I've had it done many times at the gym, but I think this is the highest it has been.

27.4 (oh boy)

The good news is, I have until Jan 1 to hold these numbers, or even get them down a bit.
We'll see how the next few months go.

Until then, I'll be weighing in weekly at the gym, just to keep an eye on the numbers.

I'll be checking in next week, if not before.