Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Old People's Old Tales

I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on a hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream. I know the delicate art and master of so cracking hickory nuts and walnuts on a flatiron with a hammer that the kernels will be delivered whole, and I know how the nuts, taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s old tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting, and juggle an evening away before you know what went with the time.
—Mark Twain

The Promise Is Not Vain

He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.
He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,
which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”
When they were few in number, of little account, and strangers in it,
wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,

Monday, November 19, 2018

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Let us thank God for the blessings of life,
even as we ask for forgiveness
for taking them for granted and misusing them:
For food on the table, for roofs over our heads,
for clean and plentiful water,
we are truly thankful, Lord,
and we ask you to forgive us when we hoard our blessings.
Give us faith to share our plenty that others may have enough.

For parents and grandparents, for brothers and sisters,

I Am Not Alone

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.
Ps 105:4 

I used to think I had a good sense of direction. Now I know I actually don't. It's never bothered me, though, because every wrong turn takes me someplace I've never been before. Even so, I have to admit that I'm one of those men who refuse to stop and ask for directions. So I should probably take today's passage from the psalms to heart, because what I read in English as Seek the Lord is, in Hebrew, דִּרְשׁוּ יְהוָה, which is more like, Inquire about Yahweh, or Ask after Yahweh. I'm even further removed from the true meaning when I read a modern English translation, because the Hebrew Bible's not telling me to do this all alone. It says, Hey y'all, ask after Yahweh! Archaic English would've rendered this as Seek ye...

So a verse I might want to think of as a great little personal mantra, is in

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Never Again

As many of you know, the Psalms are my favorite book of the Bible. I try to pray and meditate on the psalms every day. Since the Book of Psalms is the Bible’s prayer book, I figure Jesus himself prayed those prayers, and so I think there’s meaning to be found in them—not just the easy ones to love, but even in the more difficult ones—the ones that pray for deliverance from persecution, or the ones that pray for vengeance.

Some psalms have meanings that are obscure to me, or pray for things that I don’t feel I can pray for. But I’ve grown to accept the fact that that’s okay. I can let those psalms be exactly what they are. When I pray them, I have come to understand that