Welpers . . .

The sermon, the Bible Study and the hymns are all set to go.  The secretary has all the info, and everything is progressing well. Forgot to read the small print in the vacationing pastor’s e-mail – the Divine Service will be broadcast of the local radio station.  Been there, done that before.  Just have to be aware of the wireless mic so that goes as planned.

The truck is still in the “working on it” stage.   I just need Johann to get it right this time!

This new git-fiddle is training me up again.  A whole 5 years with strumming a single chord – I am a bit rusty.  Going to get my old hits repertoire back to 40 or so again, and I would like do so with Divine Hymns – not for the Divine Liturgy, but other Churchly functions.  Git me a small, but good amplifier, and I am good to go!  Used to do that back in the day.  Now – having my name on the Call List again (hopefully) brings back “the day.”  I need to get “un-retired” soon.

Of course, as I have mentioned many times before, I am a political junkie, along with the philosophical baggage of being a really old-school conservative – à la – The Muse of Mecosta.

Which means, of course, I am having a blast in the current political climate.  The commie dems are squirming – their old tactics don’t work, they have stinking scandals erupting all over the map, and frankly, the American populace, for the larger part, is simply tired of their crap.  Now, if only we could get rid of work on the corporation-beholden neo-cons in Congress, along with Ryan and McConnell!

Dream a little dream . . . oh well.

However . . . I am about finished with certain bloggers who have upped their game, but in doing so, have inundated their sites and their readers with a deluge of advertising.  I will speak to the two worst – WND.com and Gateway Pundit.  They bog things down with the computer.  The adv’s are asinine at best, and I, for one am done with it.  Writing them elicits nary a response, and I just ignore them now.  Drudge is not bad with the adv’s.  Breitbart seems to be starting to do what Hoft at Gateway Pundit has done (which in close to making their site unreadable), and I have news sources as good, or better, that don’t make me feel like willing schmuck willing to be sold the crap they advertise.

Getting down the chords and finger-picking on Thy Strong Word are a challenge.  CPH copyrights are a bugger-bear.  No chords or tabs are online.  Have to use the not-so-good-anymore ears to get thing nailed down!  But I am close.  I need to get me one of these puppies!  I’ll check out the pawn shops – you can nail some bargains!

The new, improved WordPress editor?  New, maybe, improved?  No.  They took several of the format items away from WP to force me to use the new.  So I go with it, then switch back and print and publish from the old WP format.

Da Pug and I are hanging out together – two old sons in the big city jes’ trying to make it.  Need our truck!  Coffee at 12:45am is prolly not the best thing for sleep, but it tastes good, and I pop a couple of melatonin tabs and I will be out like a light anyway.

BTW – the BLT at Waffle House is highly recommended.

Later, Sports Fans.

Give Us This Day

The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – August 6th, 2017

Matthew 14:13-21

13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.  15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”  16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”  18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.”  19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  20 And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.  21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Give us this day our daily bread.  The Fourth Petition of the Lord’s Prayer.  Fits our text to a “T” – and it should – our lesson is Jesus’ giving “daily bread” to a famished crowd who followed him all day!  A point of fact right here at the beginning, before I go further.  The more familiar you become with the whole of Holy Scripture, the better you see how Jesus’ words all hang together, and are directed at our good in every good way.

“Gee, Pastor everyone knows that!”  Uh, yeah . . . except we don’t live like we know it.  We live like most everything depends on us, and only when something is too big for us to handle – well – then, yeah, we turn to the Lord, because it is only then we realize that He provides our EVERY need, not just those we can’t.

I was quite delighted to cover for Pastor Lutjens, especially because he has a high teaching emphasis on Luther’s Small Catechism, which is, as our Divine Liturgy says: “Truly good, right and salutary.”   So let us hear the meaning of the Fourth Petition:

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God gives daily bread to everyone, even those who are evil, without our prayers; but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know this, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread ?

Everything that belongs to the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, property, fields, animals, money, goods, a believing spouse, believing children, believing servants, believing and faithful magistrates, good government, good weather, peace, health, discipline, honor, good friends, faithful neighbors, and so on.

Doesn’t miss anything in our lives, does it?  A cause for a pause to think.  But the skeptic is always among us, asking – “Yeah but what is it supposed to really mean??”  Well . . . glad you asked that!

I always wake up in a good mood (for which I am thankful!). Groggy until my coffee, perhaps, but a good mood.  Now – when I go to bed I prayed Luther’s Evening Prayer, asking to Lord to “keep me this night.”  Obviously He did.  I start with the Lord’s Prayer, and Luther’s Morning Prayer, when I ask the Lord to “keep me from sin and every evil” all the day long. So – daily bread and protection from the devil to begin with! Then I say the Apostles’ Creed, and sing the either the “Glory Be” or the Common Doxology.  And finally, like all of us, I go out and act as if I hadn’t asked the Lord for any help whatsoever!  “You gotta get this or that done today, jb!”

NO!!!  You know, we have been fed a line that is popular, but very misleading.  It goes like this: “Believe as if it depends on God.  Do whatever as if it depends on you.”

Well, yeah but – St. James put it a different way – “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’”   But do we?  Do we mean it when we ask the Lord for our daily bread, which is so chock full of everything in our lives, and then turn around and in all our words and actions make it depend on ourselves?

And perhaps – more to the point – do we dutifully say our prayers, imploring God to do, in Christ, that which He daily and richly does, and instead – begin to worry about what could wrong, or what’s not settled?  That is probably the weakest point in my faith – worrying!  And worrying worms its way into every facet of our lives!  We all do it, and we know down deep it is part of our sinful nature – we must always pray with the father of the demonic:

“Lord!  I believe!  Help Thou my unbelief!”

Jesus put that to rest, didn’t he? – “Do not be anxious, your Heavenly Father knows you need these things.  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added unto you.”

Our text stand in perfect witness to that – the crowd had followed Jesus and heard Him preach the Wisdom from on high, and Himself as fulfillment in their very midst.  When it came time for a meal – the Apostles wanted to send them all into town for food.  Jesus instead said – “You feed them!”  Huh?  “Lord all we have are five loaves and fish!”  The Apostles could count – notice our text says: “And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.”  So it would be fair to estimate the crowd at 10,000 or more!  They must have thought the Lord was a bit off in the head, so He said to them:

“Bring them here to me.”  19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing.

He broke the loaves (is any of this sounding familiar to what we shall do shortly from the Altar?) and had the Apostles hand it all out.  They only had 12 baskets full of the remains.  A miracle!  Of course!  Explain it?  I couldn’t if I tried, any more than I can explain the miracle at the Lord’s Supper!  But the very next 12 verses that follow our text (which are also next Sunday’s Gospel), will help us even further in getting a handle on it all.

But what just happened there?  The Apostles are us – “We have only five loaves here and two fish.”  They were reasoning like all of us do each day.  They were not using St. James’ dictum:

“Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” 

Yep.  It’s what we miss, even as we pray the Lord’s Prayer!  I can’t explain any miracle, but Jesus is here telling us – “Okay, guys, let Me show you how the Father does it!  And then He did.  Whoa!  A miracle, and we miss the big picture altogether, just as did the Apostles.

It is the Lord’s intent for us TO KNOW – through our text, in the Lord’s Prayer, and as we walk daily in our lives.  Is not our very breathing and waking up a miracle???  Pray the Lord to guide your path and your ways and your thinking, and as Luther would put it – “Then go your way, and be assured that the Lord heard you!’  This is not rocket science, but it is operating in the Faith we were given in our Baptisms (your present Catechismal study), and continuously fed in the Word, and especially – here at the Altar, where the Living Bread of Life feeds us Himself, that He might be within us and changes us from sinners to saints.  Rocket science can’t even come close, and I just gave away the answer to my earlier question about “Sound familiar?”  Jesus broke the bread and gave it to them to share, which he will have me do in my Office as Pastor in a short while at that Altar.  As I said – everything Jesus said and did hangs together – it is us – we – who get conflicted and confused with each going his own way, until the Lord yet again enlightens us with His Word and the Sacraments.

You see – It is exactly what Isaiah wrote of the Lord just three verses after our first reading: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.”

Worrying will hurt our faith; it can make us doubt God hears us or is actually already working to fulfill our prayers of faith!  When we Lutherans talk about the Means of Grace – especially in Holy Baptism, the preaching of the Gospel, and in the culmination of it all – at that Holy Altar in Christ’s Own Body and Blood – God is telling us that in Christ – through the Holy Spirit, through the means of grace, He gives us all we need to live our lives and strengthen our Faith as His Holy Church.  And He gives us His own Prayer to pray – that the few loaves and fish of our problems in life might be multiplied to be sufficient in all we need.  We look at the Cross of Christ and see where that promise was fulfilled, and sealed until the Lord returns again.

Yet again this very morning He is telling us and reminding us that it is He who provides “our daily bread” – our every need in this life, and to fully prepare us for the life to come!

By Faith, and in preaching and the Sacraments, Christ comes to us personally, and we have – in Jesus – not only our daily bread – but Christ within us – and all the riches of Heaven!

Can we do better than that??!!

Amen.

Excellent!

Perhaps it was because others thought it so elementary an explanation.  Or, they may have wondered “Who in the dickens is the Gramsci fellow and the Long March through the institutions” JB is always talking about?

Perhaps Fran will explain matters more clearly than I.  This is a great piece!  Read, learn, and inwardly digest it, and then – look around – think – you’ll see he is right on beam.

Father Beane on Beam

In the current cultural environment, when we offend people – particularly millennials and youthful Marxists – we are doing them a favor. It’s kind of like free mentoring, therapy, and life-coaching.

First of all, it teaches the important lesson of tolerance: the acceptance of other people with diverse opinions and the freedom to formulate and express them without fear of violence. They are not learning this rudiment of civilized discourse in their $60k/year daycare centers.

Second, it teaches humility: you don’t get to impose your will on everyone else. This is a very important life lesson. You have to deal with things you cannot control: sickness, accidents, storms, family issues, etc. Life is filled with such things, and we are powerless to make them go away by throwing a tantrum or a brick through a window.

Third, it teaches resilience: you will not contort into the fetal position and revert to an incoherent blob of tears and primal screeching if you see or hear something you don’t like. You can handle it. Human beings are capable of remarkable mental endurance. Words may hurt your feelings, but as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Or as our parents taught us, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but…”

Bonus: it teaches a healthy skepticism of ‘official’ or ‘unquestionable’ narratives – as these are often used by politicians and others to divide, conquer, and control. Rather than adopt the knee-jerk PC position because it is popular, why not fairly investigate the narrative to see if it is objectively true?

While we don’t have to look for dragons to slay, we shouldn’t back away from expressing opinions, displaying symbols, or using language that is acceptable to us. We don’t have to use made-up pronouns or throw our ancestors under the bus. We should not shrink from being patriotic, loyal to western civilization and its values, or from questioning the pop-culture narratives. If we favor traditional morality and/or tried and true political and economic premises that have fallen into disfavor, we should say so. We can be both polite and firm. We can refuse to kowtow and see ourselves instead as people with real-world experience, with something valuable to teach those who in many cases, have no real connection to the wisdom of elders, as our families and societies lay in shambles since the 1960s, nor any experience in the real world. Maybe we are called to teach by refusing to be forced into a closet or to the back of the bus.

So if they are offended, good.

They’ll thank us later when they have grown up and learned to deal with the real world: a world of mothers and fathers, boys and girls, of raising children and caring for others, of serving customers and earning a living, and of objective truth – a world without safe spaces, language police, and without an Orwellian dean of diversity (sic) to ensure lockstep uniformity of thought.

So when you hear, “I’m offended!”, maybe we should say, “You’re welcome!”

(Fr. Larry Beane can be reached om Facebook, or on his blog – Father Hollywood.)

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Goal: To fully understand we are, at the same time, sinners and saints.

Malady: We must have, as did Luther, a right balance of Law and Gospel.

Means: Use the Gospel (Matthew 13:24-30) and the Epistle (Romans 8:28-38) to show both our predicament as sinners, and our grandest hopes as saints.

Hymn of the Day: A Mighty Fortress is Our God – No. 656

The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, the 13th Chapter

24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

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My home congregation pastor told me as he recommended and sent me off to the Seminary:

“Jeffrey, if you aren’t nervous every time you step into the pulpit, stop preaching.  You are speaking of the things of God!”

Sobering words, which in all my years, I have never forgotten.  There is, to me, always an “edginess” to being up here handling the Scripture.  And especially today, for the words of both our Gospel, and our Epistle, go directly to the heart of all we believe, teach and confess as Lutherans.  Luther once said he was willing to call any preacher who could rightly divide Law and Gospel a Doctor of Theology.

In our Gospel of the wheat and the tares, as most of us grew up knowing it – tares meaning the weeds that grow almost exclusively in wheat field.  They look somewhat similar to wheat, but in removing them, one can lose the wheat as well.  Jesus calls His faithful “wheat” – which He has sown through His Word, and carefully nurtured.  The weeds?  They are the corruption of the devil and hell, growing alongside of the wheat.  Jesus puts matters right in the forefront that not all in the Church are the believers they say they are, nor are all the things we do as “Church” of “the Lord.”

Uh, oh!  Not supposed to be so blunt.  This is a day and age where everyone is really okay, and God loves us all and overlooks our sins and that’s that, so tell us nice things about ourselves, Pastor.  Let me change that “Uh, oh!” to “Oh, no!”  In my ordination vows that every pastor makes, I promised the Lord and His Church I would preach the whole counsel of God, and I would be plenty worried if I resorted to the “I’m okay, you’re okay” very secular mentality that has, unfortunately, invaded even Christian pulpit.

The message of the Gospel is far too clear to permit that.  Now this does not mean that we need to be looking around and wondering who might be the tares among us us.  Go look in the mirror!  In our old natures, our old Adam’s, we are all also tares.  We can be the tares in our own wheat-fields of faith.  The devil is not picky, however he can get us to go against the Lord makes him happy.

So we have the Law – the Small Catechism explains it simply, that the Law shows us our sins.  We need the Law, as St. Paul writes to the Hebrews:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The Law shows us our need for the Gospel constantly, in preaching and in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  To relieve us of our sinfulness, and set us aright each new day!  When one understands the Law shows how we are also tares, then we understand our true need for the Gospel constantly.  The Confession of Sins we make every Sunday – read those words from the hymnal –

“I, a poor miserable sinner, confess that I have sinned . . . in thought, word and deed, in what I have done and failed to do, not loving God with our whole heart , mind and soul, or our neighbor as ourselves.”

Those are not idle words.  They are that sword St. Paul speaks of, the Law doing its work on our sinful selves.  That is very much God’s intent.  Jesus is the Chief Physician.  What surgeon would tell his patient?: “Oh, that malignant tumor you have is no big deal.  You really don’t need to worry about having surgery to cut it out.”  God is not content to leave us in our sins, to leave us as tares.  The whole of Jesus’ bloody suffering and death on the Cross was meant to pay our price that, as we see our sin, we know God has also provided the means of total forgiveness, made tares into wheat – redeemed us through Holy Baptism, in the preaching of the Word, and at the epitome of the Gospel – putting Jesus into us at the Lord’s Supper.  God does not desire that a single one of us be lost!  He will let the weeds grow, and at the harvest, the final judgment, separate the two.  He won’t risk losing one stalk of wheat – the good seed!

So, you see, we are walking dilemmas – walking paradoxes.  By nature, we are sinners.  By the hope we’re given in the Gospel, Jesus declares us to be saints.  I hate hearing the Law show me my sins – I don’t like it any more than anyone else, but it is a necessity, so that I can properly understand how the surgery the Gospel performs cures me – over and over again in this life and world, the eternity might be free of sin through the Cross.

And yet, eternity is ours to glimpse even in this world.  Listen carefully and with the ears of faith as I read again the words of our Epistle, perhaps the most comforting words in all of Scripture:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Now we can clearly see the context of how Law and Gospel must be present.  God loves us so much He warns us that our sin will kill us.  He warns us against being complacent when we should be diligent.  The devil will not give us a moment’s rest.  There was the old saw about Luther being challenged, or challenging someone, to go into a closet and try to pray the Lord’s Prayer without any mental distractions.  Whoever took the challenge, and came back in seconds, admitting that it took but seconds for his mind to wander off on heaven, and also, how he had skipped breakfast or whatever.  Try it yourselves, and see how the devil will intrude>

Yet we sing the words of A Mighty Fortress – “But for us fights the Valiant One” Who is Christ!  Jesus knows we are besieged daily by the powers of hell, even when we are unaware of it, and through the Gospel, is working to keep us faithful, even through our daily failures.  And, as grow in faith, we begin to understand the words of C.S. Lewis:

A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk.

“Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.

“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.”

Let us vow to God and ourselves again this day, to see our daily sinfulness, that we might daily have in Christ the blessed forgiveness that assures us of our future.  Do not let the devil rob us of that treasure by convincing us we are “okay as we are.”  We are not.  Only in Christ Jesus, in the Blessed Word and Sacrament, can we know our eternity, and to daily fix our minds on the things of Heaven and eternity, for Jesus sake.

Amen.

All Over the Map

Tebow.

Every sports writer’s and sportcaster’s whipping boy.  Can’t be a confessing Christian on ESPN.  They conveniently ignore his NFL statistics, which are not half bad.

Yada, Yada.  So he went to baseball.  Winter League, then Low A League.  Did passable.  The Mets, needing an attraction in the middle of a dismal season, promoted him to Top A.  Started hot, and stayed there.  Facing better pitching, he’s a better hitter.  Currently batting .333, with a triple first at bat today after his walk-off home last night.  ESPN is strangely silent.  Heh!  Loving it!  12 game hitting streak!

Kudos to Breitbart!

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Great sermon!  ‘Nuff said!  Really good guy, too!

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Currently in a heated theological debate.  Wade thought this puppy (with which I agree whole heartedly) and you will have the context.  One of those “We’ll see what comes of matters.”  In the LCMS – I suspect – nothing.

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The commies keep stepping on their tongue.  The whole Russian collusion invention is just that – an invention.  I find it fascinating that millionaire talking heads peddle an outright lie night after night after night.  Then again, it is our MSM.

Tits – meet boar hog.  Useless.

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Sox versus Yankees for the weekend.  Now the season begins in earnest!  And they finally dumped Panda.  Yes.

YESSSSSSS!  Sox win – 5-4!

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Stirrings.  I guess to be expected.

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Only needed to read the headline.  Did you think they would do differently?

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Pocahontas pounding the war drums and putting on the warpaint!

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Clowns in suits.  Opportunists, all!

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Critical news you need to know!

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The world’s almost richest man . . . on gummint welfare?

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He’s baaaaaaack!  Please – you poor, starving, polar bears – take him off our hands!

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DJT, Jr. is a liability, but Kushner I trust about as much as I do Priebus – which is to say – NOT!  Both need to find some “project” that will have them leave DJT’s inner circle.

Yesterday.

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Geezoopete – Clowns abound!  Look, Chief, go do your job!  Get out of the cushy chair and you go deal with the vibrants who illegally own guns.  Damn commie!

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Surprised?

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A voice of reason.

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Just try to top this one!  You can’t make this stuff up!!  My Pug is pissed.  Come just a little closer, Lady . . .

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SAVE THE ANCIENT FOOTPRINTS!  Move this bad puppy to DC!

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And . . . on that note . . .

Later.

No, Junior . . .

I am not a manic-depressive.

But it seems that, yet again, my mood has gone way south.  Other than my short posts to my Bride, living in glory to be sure, but not here with me as hoped, I have had a massive writer’s block.

In the past 15 months I have buried my brother (did the funeral myself).  Way before his time at 55.  Rocked us all – he was the “Baby” of the fam.

Not on a par, but still missed by me and Da Pug – Milo the Cocker.  Came over to be petted one last time by Lou and me, went by Da Pug and did a nose greeting on the way, laid down by the feet of us both, and breathed his last.  He was a good piece of dog-meat for over 13 years.  Had to bury him.  Sigh.

Then, three days after Christmass, at 63 – the Lord took my Sweet Mama Lou (Mine), home for eternity.  As a weird collar wearer, I know I shall see her and Bro-Man again.  But all the same, death takes its inevitable toll on a soul still dwelling here in the vale of tears.  Still – I had to do her funeral.  Sigh big time!

Then my tumble backwards down the stairs fractured a vertebrae and the lowest two ribs, left and back.  While at the VA, asked them to check on my chronic cough.  Necrifying pneumonia.  I have apparently had it since my surgery in 2010.  It is now under control and the junk is coming outta my lung, and the ribs are no longer hurting nor is the back.

Aha!  A break!

No – my brother’s wife, supposedly cured of cancer 15 months ago with her final surgery, ended up with a broken shoulder with virtually no contact.  When they operated, they found more of the bastard cancer, but now headquartered in her bones.  Last week, walking at the hospital where she was getting her radiation, her femur broke up high.  Her surgery in the AM notwithstanding, her ortho/oncologist gave her and my brother the fated sentence – 6 months to a year.  Bone cancer?  I give her 6 to 12 weeks.  And filled with pain little short of full body anesthesia can dull.

I am numb.  Not sure how else to put it.  But – it’s not me.  I dumped all of this on a close friend today, and he responded simply:

“Jeffrey – you have pneumonia – serious pneumonia.  That can take you out if you get depressed or start worrying about everything or everyone else.”

“I know that, Seb, but I have been a Pastor forever.  My Ordination did not come with an off switch in caring for others just because I have problems.” 

Got this far, and my son called.  We talked for almost two hours.  a wonderful discussion.  He is becoming what I always hoped and prayed he would become.  He has the one thing most important to success in this life, and to live the life to come – ATTITUDE.  It can be spoken of, but never taught.  It has to be, as it were – caught.  At last – he has caught it.  I can die in peace knowing that, or live in peace, too.  He is secure in the Faith.  I might have the lung problem, but there is no one foot in the grave thing with me.  Just brought back to the grey matter an old story I told in a sermon in my first or second year in the Holy Ministry.

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Little Susie was then, what today would be called autistic and plied with stupefying drugs.  A special child.  Inattentive in class, often disruptive because she wasn’t always on the same page as teacher, and a source of frustration for her teacher

One day, teacher was gone.  Little Susie was somewhat lost, not having her teacher’s part in her life.  She was confused, but as she always did, Susie moved along with each new day.  Then, after over a week, teacher was back.

Little Susie was overjoyed, and as was usual with her, she went way over the lines in her behavior that day.  Her teacher had to reprimand her several times that day, and finally, teacher told her she had to stay after school, and catch up on all she had missed with her colorful antics.

Susie had her assignments, and for once, she completed them and turned them in.  Her teacher went back and sat with her special pupil.  Susie looked at her, and asked her teacher but a simple question:

“Teacher – why are yo so fussed in the head today?  You seem like life is too hard to live.”

Her teacher sighed.  The child was perceptive, way beyond her years.  So she began . . .

“Susie – What do you mean by ‘fussed in the head?'”

“Teacher – you don’t seem to be yourself.  It is like you aren’t really here!”

The teacher thought long and hard – a reply to the innocent question of the special child – caught her way off guard.

“Susie, I was gone because my Mom died, and we went to her funeral and to bury her.”

Susie thought about that for a good minute, way past her usual time limit.  Then her face brightened, and she floored her teacher with her next question.

“Teacher – did your Mom live – really LIVE until she died?”

Are we living until we die?

+          +           +

No, my dear son Daniel, I am not giving up the ghost without a fight.  You know I have never given up once in your lifetime or mine; and I am way too old to start that bad habit now!  I have often been “fussed in the head!”  Life when it is coming at you from all angles – will do that to a body.  But I remember the prayer I have made each morning from Psalm 118:24 – and in praying it, I know there ain’t no way I won’t live until I die!  My Pop used to call it “piss and vinegar in one’s veins.”  He was right:

“This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

Someone got a better plan?  REJOICE!!!  It’s a fresh start each new morning.  The Psalms, ever the Gospel of one’s daily walk, remind me yet again in Psalm 103:8 –

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.”

It’s a new start each new day, my Son.  The only truly stupid man is the one who ignores the Lord’s blessing of forgiveness and keeps up the Sisyphean task of rolling the same old boulder up the same old hill, only to have it roll back down over him just before he gets to the top, and then he must repeat it over and over again.

And its my struggle in trying to take care of myself while unable to shed for a moment my persona as a Pastor, a called servant of Christ.  I was called for life to be what He was in His Life, Death, and Resurrection.  As I told Seb today –

“I don’t know anything different.”

Surgery today – Bro-Man is on his way back with the news – then back up there again.  That’s going to wear him put – sooner than later.  But it will bond them both, too, in ways they have never imagined.  Many prayers are rising up these days that the Lord might deliver her from this curse of the devil and sin.

No – no surgery today.  I get bits and pieces.  It is what it is.  One oncologist told them the call was their’s, but if Elaine rejected further chemo or radiation (which will NOT kill bone cancer!), he will see to it she is comfortable until the end.  Barring a miracle – 3-6 weeks.  Been there up close with bone cancer among my members too many times.

I am rambling. I know, but that is kinda what I set out to do to begin with – I needed to break the writer’s block.

I am not getting into anything political this time – one, because the commies on the left have gotten so absurd as to be totally and completely ignored, and they are only matched or exceeded by the MSM.

One of the truly great hymns of all times, and it was written in the last century, no less, by one of out really great profs at our Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.  Full pipes here  –  and lyrics here.  Simply put, a magnificent hymn.  Sing it with all you got, Sports Fans!  Use your diaphragm, peeps, not your tummy!  Amazing how much stronger you can sing doing that!

And with that, being unable to top it, I’ll let this puppy go.  Hope it made sense in some way.  Pray for Elaine. +  +  +

Pax