Friday, April 29, 2016

Confusing Signals

So my Dad is home with us and on hospice care. What does that mean? No one knows, really. Medicine is an inexact science. While his kidney output increased (good sign) his kidney's filtering function still isn't working (bad sign). His legs are a little stronger (good sign) but he also seems more tired and sleeping more (not so good sign). So it's hard to tell and a bit confusing to know what's going on inside of him. Everyone is different, and he's otherwise pretty healthy, so maybe that's why. It's just hard to plan and look ahead - we're just caring for him, sitting around, and waiting.

I am grateful for the help we're getting. My brother and sister have really put themselves out to be here, and we have nurses come at night to sit with him so we can get our sleep. The daytimes are our turn to watch him and help him, so a lot of work getting done at the kitchen table and some things being put off or cancelled. But we have very kind and understanding friends, church, and work, so we've been good so far. It's just hard being out of routine, sitting around so much, always being ready to jump up and help, and trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for our kids.

My workouts have also been put on the back burner for the past almost two weeks now. Hopefully I can get back to them soon - that will help me feel better and more like myself. But I keep reminding myself what a blessing this time is. If he would have passed away in his sleep, then I would have had no time with him at the end. But we have been given these days and weeks to love him to the end - and for that, I am thankful.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Welcome Home Dad!

We brought my father home from the hospital last night and had a big welcome home dinner for him. He is doing well and in good spirits, so we are enjoying him for however long he has left and grateful for the time our Lord is giving him to us.

Here's the crowd:



Clockwise from the left: Two Peasant daughters, Peasant son, niece and husband, brother, my father, sister, and wife.

UPDATE:

We took another picture last night, my father with his three kids:


I really like this picture! It's a keeper.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Magic Dog

We got a companion dog to come by and visit my father in the hospital today. That dog was MAGIC! We could not get my father comfortable enough to lie still and try to get a nap, but once we put that dog in the bed, he immediately calmed down and started to doze off. It was awesome.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Catching Up and A Thought About Communion Practice

Been a bit since I posted. Still basking in the glow of Villanova's victory! :-) Got my National Championship hat in the mail yesterday. Way overpriced, but I wanted to have one.

In other news . . .

+ The Walk-Run-Ride for Life was today, to benefit our local pregnancy center. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and the ride was a great success. Right now, they have raised 88% of their goal, which I'm sure will updated higher at the beginning of the week. That is (I believe) better than they usually do - so good news! It also seemed to me like they had more participation this year, which is also good!

+ Going to Wisconsin next week for a pastoral conference, and really looking forward to it. It is always nice to get away from the usual routine and spend some time with my brothers. Also have the District Board of Directors meeting, which will not be as much fun. Have some tough things to discuss and decisions to be made.

+The Phillies are off to a pretty good start - their record is 5-6 right now, but they have some really good talent on the cusp, so they are trending in the right direction. Last night, however, was abysmal. I got to watch as they played the Washington Nationals and so were on TV here, but they got smoked. Hopefully they'll do better tonight.

And now a thought I've been having . . . regarding Close(d) Communion practice in the Church . . .

It seems to me that not many churches actually practice what is called "open" communion. Oh, I'm sure there are a few that will commune anyone, anywhere, at anytime. But I think the great majority follow some sort of guidelines as to who may commune. So here's what I think the issue REALLY is: Who gets to decide? Is it the individual, or the pastor (in the name of the church/congregation)?

That, I think, is the crux of the issue. Our hyper-self focused, self-identifying, self-actualizing, self-centered, self-exalting culture puts the responsibility for deciding on the individual, while the Scriptures give that responsibility to the church. In our world today the former is acceptable, the latter is not.

To be brief, I'll just mention two Scriptures that speak to the church as having this responsibility. In the Old Testament, it was given to the priests to distinguish between the clean and the unclean, the holy and the profane. They did not announce a general description of what these things were and leave it up to the individual to decide where he or she fell - this was a task give to the priests. And even in Jesus' day, when He healed lepers, Jesus told them to "go show themselves to the priests." This was the church's culture.

Then in the New Testament, it is the apostles (and their successor) who are the stewards of the mysteries of God. They are the ones tasked with the proper distribution of the master's goods, to give them as He wants them given. It, again, is not left to the individual.

So that (I've been thinking lately) is really the crux of the issue - it is a clash of cultures. The world which believes authority lies in the self, and the Church which believes authority lies in God and His Word. Of course they're going to disagree! But what will the Church do?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Discipline of Joy

I have commented on my blog before about how my congregation sings Easter hymns all through the Easter season - every Sunday for seven weeks! Easter is just too important not to rejoice in it for all 50 days of the season. And I hope every congregation will do the same.

Dr. Gene Veith wrote about the Easter season on his blog this morning, using an interesting phrase: the discipline of joy. He wrote about our Lenten discipline, and how common that is, and that it lasts 40 days. But Easter is even greater, lasting 50 days, and is a season of joy in contrast to the solemnness of Lent. So, he says, with this we have a "discipline of joy" - rejoicing in Easter for a full 50 days, far beyond what counts as Easter for the world.

I like that. Discipline of joy. Being disciplined in our joy. We need that too, don't we? It reminds me of one of the prayers in the Great Litany, when we pray for God's mercy "in all time of our tribulation, in all time of our prosperity." Maybe during our times of prosperity we need His mercy even more, for how easy to fall away, take for granted, and forget during those times. So too we need the discipline of joy - to teach us the true joy of Easter that we have in Christ, that lasts far longer than sorrow, for the joy of Christ that we have now will truly have no end!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Final Four and Easter Monday

Well, the 89 seconds I spent filling out my NCAA tournament bracket were a wasted 89 seconds of my life I'll never get back.  :-(  Granted, I picked some daring upsets (like the first 16 over a 1, cuz it has to happen someday!), but Syracuse? Really?

The good news is . . . Villanova! That's my team. My father went there for college back in the day, and we've been fans ever since. The last couple years have been tough to watch their early exits, but they made it this year. Hopefully they have a couple more victories in them and you'll be hearing this song lots more! (Sorry for the ad at the beginning - just skip it.)

Today is golf! The day after Easter I like to go out and just do something mindless for a few hours. And yes, I know, while all you golf aficionados will tell me that golf is a cerebral game, let me tell you - not when I play it! :-) So hopefully the rain will hold off, the sun will come out, I won't lose too many balls, and maybe even make a par or two . . .