Monday, September 29, 2008

My Father's Hands

I visited my parents this weekend, and my Father "helped" me with a project. Ok, he did the project, and I took pictures. His hands are beginning to look like the hands of his father.
This is my dad: working, creating, helping! Thanks be to God for Dad!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fruits of Faith

So.. for you, a parable that I keep hearing on the news:

The master set up a banking system that was fair, and just, and gave those who needed it access to credit enough to buy their own homes. And she put restrictions in place, and she set up the public institutions that would help honest, hardworking people, and allow for modest profit for the managers. But the managers took the profits and inflated them, using them for their own gain. They took great risks that encouraged people to borrow money they would not be able to pay back, and they inflated the cost of homes without bound. 
The Master’s plan was unrecognizable, and the hardworking people were suffering greatly. Many who had bought homes with great faith in the Master’s plan were suddenly without work and without a home.

And the master sent in servants to reclaim the system and the managers chewed them up and spit them out. So the Master sent her son to challenge the lazy managers and they killed him and tore down all the walls and safeguards that the Master had built. And when the system would no longer bear up under the strain of bad debt and unwise investments the managers cried to the Master “Save us!”

What therefore should the Master do to the Manager?
  • “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Matt. 21:40
Now is the time to be the good tenants! To build up the walls, tear out the weeds and re-dig the winepress that the Master built.  See Matthew 21:33-46.  Don't worry about who the bad tenants were, or might be, it leads to a far too political and judgemental reading of the parable.

Get out there and be the Good Tenant and press on with the Master's Plan!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Road Signs

Lead me in the path of your Commandments, for I delight in it. Ps. 119:35

Ever since I moved to Minnesota, there has been one intersection that has been under construction. "Unweave the Weave" is the friendly name for the three year project to reconstruct the intersection of 35E and 694. I don't think I ever drove the same route through that particular knot twice. It has been an exercise in reading road signs to get where one wants to go. 

Once I would have railed against the machine that puts up all the detour and road closed signs. I truly believe that I-35 through Oklahoma City was under construction for 10 years straight, all in an attempt to slow down our family trips to Grandma's house!

Then the construction began on the intersection near my home, the one I always take off of I-35W. This intersection was a hassle turning left, because of a lack of lights and enough travel lanes across the bridge. So when things slowed down as the city added two more lanes to the bridge (actually building a whole new bridge in two parts) and putting up signal lights, I was thrilled. 

I really didn't mind all the cones and barrels. I was pleased to see the "road closed" signs when it meant that my new bridge was being built, and I rejoiced when the old one was demolished. Even if that meant traveling around the back way to get to work a day or two.

When the I-35 bridge fell and the signs went up and the detours were made semi-permanent I gained a new respect for all the Annoyance of Orange.

Now, the weave is almost re-woven, my intersection is complete, and the new bridge is due to open next week. It is no longer a game of "chicken" to turn left, and I know so many new ways to get around Minneapolis.

All the signs and cones and barrels and barriers have a purpose: to send us on the safe path through whatever reconstruction is being done.

Psalm 119 reminds us that God's Commandments serve the same sort of purpose: to lead us on the safe path. Jesus' life and resurrection made that path a saving path. 

Something human and fallen in us rails against the machine that says "Do Not!" Even when the "do not"s are God's good commandments. Even the "Do This" commandments make us cry out when it means we can't do our shopping on a Sunday. 

Paul reminds us that all the "Do This" and the "Do Not" rules can be summed up in 5 words: "Love your neighbor as yourself". (Romans 13:9

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Starting School

Jonah's first Day of Kindergarten!

Miriam had to pack her lunch box as well, so we were all ready to go.

Monday, September 01, 2008

All in the Family

Summertime fun is filled with family! This summer we've visited with family and friends from all over the globe and across the country. Every one is different, but everyone gathers around food.

The rice, curry, and lentils that we shared with missionaries and natives of Pakistan, the beans and brats and salad we ate in Kansas, and the rice and beans and arepas that we'll share with a new friend from South America are more alike than they are different.

Rice, beans, tomatoes and potatoes; bread (almost always round, somehow!) and fruit. Some combination of cucumber and cream. We call them by different names, and spice them differently, or not at all. It's food, and the love that goes in to preparation and serving, that makes the world go round, and makes it smaller than ever.

Baby Matthew (above) knows that food is good, and family is good, and it does not matter what color your friend's skin is. He's loved.

He sits ( bottom right hand corner) in the midst of a cluster of cousins with racial heritage spanning at least 4 continents, all sharing the same Great Grandparents. There is" Blond hair, red hair, brown and black hair. Blue, Green, Brown and Hazel eyes. Walking, waddling, toddling, running, and the one who was three days old and didn't come to the picnic. One observation: I can't group siblings by hair color, every family has multi-colored mops! But they all ate Aunt Marilyn's cookies!!

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.Gal. 3:28