Jonah 1/1 SSDD

Jonah 2 (The Message)

1-9 Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed:

"In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.
He answered me.
From the belly of the grave I cried, 'Help!'
You heard my cry.
You threw me into ocean's depths,
into a watery grave,
With ocean waves, ocean breakers
crashing over me.
I said, 'I've been thrown away,
thrown out, out of your sight.
I'll never again lay eyes
on your Holy Temple.'
Ocean gripped me by the throat.
The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.
My head was all tangled in seaweed
at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.
I was as far down as a body can go,
and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,
O God, my God!
When my life was slipping away,
I remembered God,
And my prayer got through to you,
made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,
walk away from their only true love.
But I'm worshiping you, God,
calling out in thanksgiving!
And I'll do what I promised I'd do!
Salvation belongs to God!"

It looks like the grave he refers to is the ocean deep, whence he had been cast after he the storm. If so, he must have prayed while about to drown. The interesting thing about this is that the fish that swallowed him was God's answer. Very much a from the frying pan to the fire situation. Once would think God would have more sense!

And this is where it starts to get interesting, because it's right here that Jonah composes his prayer of praise. It's right in the middle of the problem he's wandered into that he acknowledges God's holiness, his saving grace in the prior problem, and worships him. He even acknowledges God as Master, and the God who saves.

It's fascinating to see the next chapter, how Jonah is completely ed at God because the Ninevites repent (now these where the Assyrians, who would flay captives before a city to show they meant business. [Thanks, Mr. Spain.]) Jonah's aggravation was based on God showing mercy to whom he wished to show mercy. Almost as if Jonah thought he could do a better job of being God, than God.

The reason I blog this is that I have definitely been disobedient--run from God, as it were; and God has definitely let meet the consequences of life without him. I pray I may quit myself at least as wee as Jonah and praise God for his healing me and saving me once again, before I address the next problem. And the next, and the next, and the next.


Australian Pigrims Possess the Quotation of My Desire

Thank you, interweb.


Disturb us, Lord, when

We are too well pleased with ourselves

When our dreams have come true

Because we dreamed too little,

When we arrived safely

Because we sailed too close to shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when

With the abundance of things we possess

We have lost our thirst for the waters of life;

We have ceased to dream of eternity

And in our efforts to build a new earth,

We have allowed our vision

Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,

To venture on wider seas

Where storms will show your mastery;

Where losing sight of land

We shall find stars.

We ask you to push back

The horizons of our hopes;

And to push us in the future

In strength, courage, hope and love.


Best. Sermon. Ever.

Rick's really on this week, and it's great to hear it. It's better to be part of it.

As an aside, I'm thinking of having my (right) ear pierced*. To mark this body and this life as God's, ala the Hebrew bond-slave, the man who chooses to put aside a barren, impoverished freedom for a richer slavery in a great house.

What do you think?

*Does an exclusive left ear piercing still connote bein' a wee bit lavender?


Easter 6 Friday Morning (83)

Luke 9:28-36 (The Message)
While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white.

An implication is that this is what prayer actually does to anyone who prays. Or, Luke could be saying this is what dear, dear love looks like between the Normal Father and Son.

... At once two men were there talking with him.

An implication is that they were there all along, vide supra. Or, this is once again what prayer does--it brings unlooked, unexpected comfort and assistance.

32-33Meanwhile, Peter and those with him were slumped over in sleep. When they came to, rubbing their eyes, they saw Jesus in his glory and the two men standing with him.

I take it that Peter was the leader in sleeping.

"Master, this is a great moment! Let's build three memorials: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He blurted this out without thinking.

Peter here clearly thinks the show is over.

As they found themselves buried in the cloud, they became deeply aware of God.

If you've ever wondered how to explain your awareness of God to someone without the relationship, well, I have too. This would be a good place for me to do further research on the Greek to get at what Luke is precisely conveying.

... Then there was a voice out of the cloud: "This is my Son, the Chosen! Listen to him."
And they continued speechless, said not one thing to anyone during those days of what they had seen.

And the glory that came before, the ennobling of Messiah, the appearance of the witnesses, the cloud of glory and the wonder of the Presence, all this is capped by this recognition.

It should be called the Election and the Presentation, not the Transfiguration.

The apparent weaselliness of the end of the text for today would make me suspicious if I were dubious about Scripture or God as he's revealed in the Bible.

Hebrews 4:14-5:6 (The Message)
Neither did Christ presume to set himself up as high priest, but was set apart by the One who said to him, "You're my Son; today I celebrate you!"

The nature of the Kingdom of God is that none of us choose the honor of our duties; He gives to each of us exactly what is Best in the way of charge.

The thing John Sewell says, about how the way to really please God is to believe Him and His promises, rises up within me. You know I'm yours; now you know that I know I'm yours, bought with ultimate love. So whatever's up today, whatever you're doing, I want to join in.

Thank you for Thomas, Thomas, Kevin, Nikki, Roger, Becky, Mike, work, school, my kids in Sunday School, the whole community of faith, the wide world of the lost, and how they intersect unit to unit and part to part.




I'm trying something new.

You know how all those Baptists et alii will tell you really need to read your Bible every day and pray?

I got sidetracked by how often that's used to tweak the guilt church people often have.

So I've never actually done that as an intentional, consistent part of my life (qua how I use my time). What I've been discovering is that contact with God isn't a part of life, it is life (qua zoe, authentic, good, from the heart outward life).

The format I'm using is SOAP.

S Scripture
O Obsevation
A Analysis
P Prayer

You could substiture the S with Start easily; last Monday I could have easily written something good in this format starting with the Big Kahuna; today I could have done it with Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill.

I think I'll mostly start with the lectionary from an Episcopal Book of Common Prayer I've been using.

I won't post every day. I'm going to be culling among what I generate every week, based on comfort/trust/privacy/safety then quality.

[For historical purposes, to show that one can beceome a better rhetor, the following is how I originally worded this post:

As a disciple I must learn from the Master, the Magister.

I learn from Him by drawing near to Him.

I draw near to Him by remembering Him, listening to Him, loving Him, longing for Him, enjoying Him, trusting Him, and believing His Best (which is the Best).

I remember Him in His Word.

Thus do I begin, what He has already begun, what was old when the world was new.

Are you glad I let most of my work settle before posting?]


The Triumphal Entry

This is it. Can you sense the it? The excitement? It's here. This is the coming of the King. All the promises will be fulfilled. All the wounds will be bound up--the imprisoned set free--the blind will see.

May we sense the wonder of it all. May we yearn to know the story in full. May our hearts give us no ease in mere good: may we embrace longing for the Best.



Now Aragorn knelt beside Faramir, and held a hand upon his brow. And those that watched felt some great struggle was going on. For Aragorn's face grew grey with weariness; and ever and anon he called the name of Faramir, but each time more faintly to their hearing, as if Aragorn himself was removed from them, and walked afar in some dark vale, calling for one who was lost.

And at last Bergil cam running in, and he bore six leaves in a cloth. "It is kingsfoil, Sir," he said; "but not fresh, I fear. It must have been culled two weeks ago at the least. I hope it will serve, Sir?" Then looking at Faramir he burst into tears.

But Aragorn smiled. "It will serve," he said. "The worst is now over. Stay and be comforted!" Then taking two leaves, he laid them on his hands and breathed on them, and then he crushed them, and straightaway a living freshness filled the room, as if the air itself awoke and tingled, sparkling with joy. And then he cast the leaves into the bowls of steaming water that were brought to him, and at once all hearts were lightened. For the fragrance that came to each was like a memory of dewy mornings of unshadowed sun in some land of which the fair world in Spring itself is but a fleeting memory. But Aragorn stood up as one refreshed, and and his eyes smiled as he held a bowl before Faramir's dreaming face.

" Well now! Who would have believed it?" said Ioreth to a woman that stood beside her. " the weed is better than I thought. It reminds me of the roses of Imloth Melui when I was a lass, and no king could ask for better."

"Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he look on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. "My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?"

"Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!" said Aragorn. "You are weary. Rest a while, and take food, and be ready when I return."

"I will, lord," said Faramir. "For who would lie idle when the king has returned?"

The Houses of Healing (8)
The Return of the King (3)
The Lord of the Rings
J. R. R. Tolkien



It is hard for me, God, to confess my sins and not merely repeat well-worn phrases with which I try to cover my real guilt.

I have sinned exceedingly. Why is it so difficult for me to see that, Lord?! Why am I so bothered with a few things I do wrong while I think nothing of my lack of trust in You!? Why do I feel guilty when I do not live up to my own standards but hardly blush when I fail You? Why do I imitate unholy men instead of following the Christ?

I must confess it is because I follow my own desires, because I am weak in the face of temptations, and without You I am nothing.

All I can do is plead mercy, God, I cannot even hold up the honesty and fullness of my own confession. All I can do is trust your love in Jesus Christ.

I surely cannot trust my love for You or Him. Hear me for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lived for me and died that in Him I might live.

Forgive, Father! Forgive me even this, my poor confession. I need your forgiveness for Christ's sake. Amen.


Prayer of Humble Access

We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ's sake, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life to the honor and glory of thy name. Amen.

Another version:
We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood in these holy Mysteries, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen