I wish I had taken a picture of our chancel at church yesterday. I love how it looks decorated with special palms. But here are a couple of other pictures from the ol' blogosphere. I am just amazed at what people are able to do with palms!
The Pastor Challenge
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Two good quotes for you this morning. First, from a book I am currently reading . . .
"In the liturgy, Christ's words are not mere quotations - He is present and speaks directly to us!"
And second, from the old blogosphere . . .
"Politicians want to speak on moral issues and bishops (read: church leaders) want to speak on political ones."
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Went for a long bike ride yesterday, getting ready for my "Metric Century" at the beginning of May. Here's the results:
I was hoping for 3 hours, so a little slower than I wanted. But I didn't want to push myself too hard yet. If I can add 11 more miles at this same pace, I'll meet my goal of 4 hours. Can I? I don't know. It'll be tough! But I'm going to try. And if you'd like to sponsor my ride to help the Assist Pregnancy Center, click on the link at the top of my blog and do so! :-) Thanks!
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Today would have been my father's 97th birthday, although the last few years of his life, he never believed he was that old. I guess that's good - he didn't feel old. We would sometimes talk about him making it to 100. Sometimes he thought he would like to live that long, other times he thought not. We would usually look for cards that mentioned both St. Patrick's Day and birthday together. There are a few! He especially liked the Peanuts cards. They always made him smile. And he loved his Irish Potatoes! They were a nice dessert treat for his birthday. He had a niece that would always send him some. I remember when we first moved here that I went looking for Irish Potatoes in the stores, and no one knew what they were! I guess they are more regional, though you can find them here and there in the stores here now. Anyway, here's to my father on what will always be his day. The picture below is from the 90th birthday party we had for him when he moved down to live with us. :-)
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
What got me thinking about this is a reading I did today which talked about Moses on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights, and the people of Israel getting tired of waiting for him. So, sometime into those forty days - we're not told how long - they gave up on him (the discipline of waiting for him) and got Aaron to build them the golden calf. I think I appreciate that more now. How hard 40 days is! But it is good at the same time. Basil the Great wrote about being "fortified by fasting" - which seems like an oxymoron! How can fasting strengthen and fortify you? Doesn't it weaken you? But there is a fortifying aspect to this, and to the 40 days of Lenten discipline.
So, a note of encouragement to you. Keep it up. Don't give up. Easter is coming! Passiontide starts this Sunday. Our joy is not far away . . .
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
So, what I've been reading lately (besides theology!) . . .
I have always loved American History. I stumbled across a series on Ulysses S. Grant on the history channel some time ago and became interested in him. I have read a lot about the Civil War in the East, but didn't know much about the Western campaign, or Grant. So I asked for this biography for Christmas and finished it up right before Lent.
It is a large book, over 1000 pages and the print is small, but some of that is notes. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Chernow is a good writer. The sections on the western campaign during the war were good, but what I learned the most about was southern reconstruction after the War. This was one of Chernow's stated goals - to educate about that oft neglected area of history. It actually helped me not only to understand that era of our history, but to understand some of what is happening today in our country. Another thing I was struck by was how trusting a soul Grant was, and how that often got him into trouble - not militarily, but with his personal life, businesses he tried to run, and with his presidency. So, if you like American History or want to learn more about Grant and/or the Civil War, I would recommend this book.
So then I decided to read some more fiction! This is the book I am currently reading, The Decameron, by Boccaccio. I bought this book some time ago and had read part of it before, but never the whole thing. Why did I think of this book now? Because the dog in The Haunted Bookshop was named Bock after Boccaccio!
The premise of the book is that there is an epidemic - a highly contagious disease killing people in great numbers. (Sound familiar?) So ten young people (seven young women and four young men) get out of the city and cloister themselves in the country, away from the death and sadness to enjoy life. While they are there, they decide to tell stories to entertain themselves. This book is ten stories told per day for ten days - each person telling one story per day. I am not too far into the book yet - I've only finished the first day. But the stories are short and amusing. It is an old book, from 14th century Italy, so the times were quite different than today. But really, our human nature is not so different. I'm looking forward to reading the next 90 stories told!
Finally, the last book I'll include here is Plato's Republic. Yeah, that's a bit of a change from the other books, huh! I had never read it before, but did now because we are probably going to enroll my daughter in a private Lutheran Classical education school and this is an important text for that. This is a difficult read (at least it was for me), but the general premise of the book is easy to grasp. It probably would have been easier for me if I wasn't exercising while reading it, but one only has so much time in the day! So now that I've read through it once, I'll probably go read some explanations of it and then read it again to digest it a bit more. But not right away - I'm reading my fun Decameron first, and then who knows what I'll feel like delving into after that?