I’m going to read a part of a verse of scripture.  This is Jesus speaking, from Matthew 6:9.  You will recognize it.

This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father”

That’s short, but I think you will recognize this from the Lord’s Prayer, or the model prayer.  Jesus is talking to His disciples, and through the scriptures He is talking to us.  He is also talking to His own Father.  Though this is only two words, I think there is some deep meaning here.

The first word is “Our”.  Jesus could have said “My Father”, and he would have been right – God the Father is the father of His only begotten Son, Jesus.  Jesus could have said “Your Father”, and that’s right also, because He is our Father.  But Jesus used “Our” – He included Himself with us – He was fully human while being fully God.  He lived here, on this earth.  He was one of us.  And now He wants us to bond together, so that the “Our” still applies.

The next word is “Father”.  Again, Jesus could have said “Our God” and been correct.  He could have said “Our Lord” – but He didn’t.  He said “Our Father”. A father brings relationship.  A father implies family. A father is many things: a creator – and yes, God the Father is a creator.  A father is a protector.  King David knew this – Psalm 28:7 says “The Lord is my strength and my shield”.

A father is also a provider for his family.  God provides for all our needs.  Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” God provides spiritual blessings as well.  He provided the greatest gift of all, the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. And now we are celebrating Jesus’ death and resurrection with the bread and the juice.  Let’s pray.

Father God, thank You for being our Father.  Thank You for all of the Fatherly things You do, and thank You for Jesus.  He is the perfect gift – You provided exactly what we need. It’s in His name I pray, amen.

Communion meditation for 2017-08-13

A couple bees on a cone flower in front of our house.

Forty seven years ago today, a strange man who went by the name “Tiny Tim” was at the Clinton County fairgrounds in Plattsburgh, NY.

A wire report from the next day read

Tiny Tim Joins N. Y. Jaycee Unit

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. AP — Tiny Tim, the long haired, falsetto-voiced singing star, eagerly signed an application card for a local Jaycee unit Wednesday and was promptly accepted as a member. The performer was rehearsing for an appearance at the Clinton County fair when he was approached by several Jaycees who suggested he join the organization. “His wife filled out the card,” said Sgt. Gary Flaherty, an Army recruiter who is president of the local chapter, “and Tiny Tim signed it.”

I don’t remember whether I saw him – memory says yes, but memory is funny.

Documented from the August 6 papers here and here (lower right corner).  Unfortunately, I can’t find the text of the (almost) unreadable Press-Republican story online.

Not really carpet. We’re making BLTs, and baking the bacon in the oven. 14 slices of Jimmy Dean bacon just fills the jelly roll pan.

Mmmmm. Bacon.

If you are using sharp kitchen tools – a mandolin, for instance – keep your fingers away from the sharp parts. Otherwise you can end up with a bandaid on your index finger.

Or so I’ve heard.

My other revelation from the evening is Lip Blam, useful for when you’re shooting your mouth off.

In big cities, you see a lot of different things. Sometimes these things are *really* different – like a bicycle painted all white. Tires, seat, handlebars, the whole thing painted white. They are called ghost bikes.

GB5

You might see them in random places along the roads, these white ghost bikes, chained to a tree or a signpost or a fence. They are not art, and they are not protests. These white bikes are memorials. You see, everywhere that you find one of these ghost bikes, that’s where somebody died while riding a bicycle. The ghost bike is a memorial to the one who died.  It might have been put there by their family, or their friends, or their biking club.

It’s a symbol, a memorial, of a tragic event that happened. A real person died there.  Not a statistic, not a trend or an average.  A person stopped living, right at that spot.

As Christians, we have our own symbol that is a public memorial of the death of a real person – we have the cross. Some of us wear jewelry with a cross on it, or have a Bible case with a cross, or have something in our homes with a cross. We have a cross on the front wall of our church.  All of that is a good thing – that memorial, that reminder.

And like the bicycles, the cross is empty.  Not because the person – Jesus Christ – is dead and gone.  The cross is empty because Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. Hallelujah!

The cross, though it is an important symbol of Jesus’ suffering, and though we are reminded to take up our cross daily, the cross is not the focus of our faith.  I’m reminded of Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he said “For I decided to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. The cross is in there, but the most important thing – Jesus – remains the focus.

As we take the bread and the juice, and celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, let us be careful that we are honoring a person and not a symbol. Let’s pray.

Father God, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank You for the gift of salvation. And thank You for making it real, and not just symbolic. In Jesus’ name, amen.

(communion meditation 6/25/17.  Photo cropped from original by Royston Rascals CC BY-NC 2.0)

I like motorsports.  Dialing that down a bit, I like car racing, and NASCAR, and Tony Stewart.  My goal is to get a race-used tire from Tony Stewart and turn it into a coffee table for my man cave.  Ignore for the moment that there’s no man cave, nor money for the tire or glass top.  Those aren’t the point.

The point is that on eBay, I have a “watch” set up for Tony Stewart.  One of the things that came up recently was a tire cover – retail, not race-used, does not apply to me.

I looked to the bottom to see if there were links to anything that would be of interest.  I found this:

mascara

The word was supposed to be NASCAR.  Autocorrect changed it, and the author didn’t catch it.

Somehow, mascara and Tony Stewart don’t quite go together.

I like animals. I try to be kind to them and take care of them. Even bugs, though I do kill mosquitoes. There are limits to my kindness.

Back when we had one of those heavy rains, we had some worms up on our carport floor. They were escaping drowning, getting up where it was drier. But they stayed longer than they should have – the rain stopped, and things started drying out. Good for people, bad for worms. They were getting all coated with sand and dust, and from their worm perspective, they couldn’t see that they were headed IN to the center of the carport, instead of out towards the cool, moist grass. They were headed to their death.

Then I stepped in. I had the benefit of height, and hands, and perspective. I could see and do things they couldn’t even imagine. I plucked a piece of grass, slid it under the middle of the worm, picked him up, and carried him to the grass. Well, that was my plan. The worm started wiggling and trying to escape, turning into a worm-ball that wasn’t working with my plans.

I finally got him, I think by using two pieces of grass. As I’m walking my rescued worm to the grass, I’m talking to him. “Mister worm, I’m only trying to help you. Won’t you cooperate, please?“

Later on, I started thinking about Mr. Worm, and Mr. Steve, and God. About the many times He has rescued my life, physically and spiritually. About the times He has spoken to me – I know the plans I have for you. He leadeth me beside the still waters. And about how hard I can struggle against doing what is best.

And I’m sure that God wishes I would just trust Him and do what He says. That’s what Jesus did – nevertheless not My will, but thine – and the outcome of that obedience is what we are celebrating now. I invite all Christians to partake of the wafer and the juice, symbolizing Jesus’s broken body and shed blood. Let’s pray.

Father God, thank you for Jesus. Thank you for His sacrifice and for His example, and His resurrection. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, amen.

I did a couple technological things today.  One has shown itself to work, one is still in a test phase.

We were out last night, and after getting the mail, somebody forgot to turn off the dome light in the car.  I’m not naming names – he would probably just scratch his beard and look glaringly at me. We tried going out tonight.  No battery.  The dome light did its work well.  This is not the first – nor the second – time that this has happened to this car. The remediation after last time was to buy a little jump starter.  Specifically, this one from Amazon. Last time this happened, we burned a call to the roadside assistance company, and waited a half-hour.  This time, we had the answer in the glove box.  It worked great – the car started up and we were driving within 5 minutes.  I charge it at the start of each month, off the same type of charger as my phone uses, just to keep it topped up.  Highly recommended.

The other thing that is still in a “wait and see” mode is our home wifi.  Not content to stick with normal consumer stuff, I have a Ubiquiti Unifi access point.  I got the long range version to make sure we have good coverage, and we do. I can walk almost to the mailbox and still have usable signal.  What I messed up on was the placement within the house.  Yes, you can misplace something with long range like that.  The placement wasn’t wrong because of the output, but because of the input.  I was trying to get perfectly centralized placement within the house – in a pantry in the hallway.  We don’t have a wired connection there, so I was using ethernet over electric – something like this. And we were getting wifi disconnects on our phones, much more than we should have.  So I moved the access point to the office and now it has a hard-wired connection to our switch.  We’ll check it over the next week or so, see how it’s doing. Losing wifi can be frustrating.  I know it’s the wifi portion because my wired PC does just fine at the same time as my phone is having an outage.

Next up on the crazy list is setting up a home server, in order to run a house wiki (and provide some extra storage).  It’s a discarded HP  Proliant – a rack mount.  He’s going in the basement.

Today is a good day.