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Showing posts from November, 2017

In Praise of Autumn

I have to admit, I'm a fan of Fall.  A lot of people are not.  The days are shorter, the morning air is at least crisp, if not down-right cold here.  The trees shed their leaves and get ready for a winter sleep. God said it would be this way. Genesis records the movement of Noah and his family as they leave the Ark - their vessel of redemption as the Flood destroyed the earth.  The words in Genesis stir our imagination and also make us acknowledge what we know is annually occurring: Genesis 8:21-22 21  And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” The seasons...and Wisconsin gets all four of them in particularly different ways.  For me per

Thanksgiving for Wandering Arameans

"Wandering Arameans? - not Americans - Arameans? Elliott, what in the world are you talking about?"  So went the conversation.  I love Thanksgiving.  Memories are connected to smells, and family gatherings with Grandma and Grandpa.  Pumpkin pies, stuffing, yams, and of course, Turkey.  Abundance and abundance..more than we can contain, more than we deserve. It is the bounty of God's blessings the Pilgrims wanted to exclaim.  They survived the first year, winter and all, and had enough food to see their way through the Winter ahead...and so they said, "Let's feast together with our Native friends and give Thanks".  It's a good thing to do whether you're a Pilgrim or a 21st century citizen. When God took Israel out of slavery from Egypt, he brought them into the Wilderness in order to give them the Law, order their former-slaved-living into a Kingdom of Priests...a Kingdom of God's people who knew their God and delighted in their relationship

Walking with the Lord in the land of the living

As a pastor of a rural church I recognize the intimacy of "knowing".  We know our neighbors, we know our community, we know our local schools, we know our friends, and often our friends, friends.  There is an intimacy to living rural that cannot be understood apart from living here. I am known by people long before I know them.  It's not bad, it is strange.  Yet to know and be known is surely better than be anonymous, unknown. In the communion with God we are known, and yet we need/want to know Him.  The world is so unpredictable, so full of complexity, good and bad, saint and sinner, love and tragedy.  How do we keep our minds, hearts, heads about us? I am known...I count...I matter. I "walk before the Lord in the land of the Living" says the Psalmist.  The 116th Psalm is full of the complexity that makes up life. Psalm 116:1-9 1  I love the LORD , because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. 2  Because he inclined his ear to me, therefor

A Complex November

November is a month of great complexities.  It is usually in this month that we experience the last vestiges of mild weather and transition to the Winter weather that will settle in for several months ahead.  There's always a certain thrill and sadness for me when I realize that Wisconsin's first snow (Nov. 16th average) is going to last for at least 4 months of time.  The first snow seems so beautiful but it also means our days of t shirts are over for a while. When I was a child I thought like a child - yeah Winter is here...but when I became a Man I thought like a Man - Ok, Winter is here.  We all grow up and as we grow older we learn that there is more complexities than certainties. November is the month of the first winter storms.  Some of these are called Witches Storm because they involve intense low pressure systems that have extremes of cold air to the north and warm air still lingering in the south and they have been known to create disastrous results.  In 1991