Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Happy 15th of the 15th!

Today's date 9-15-15 seemed to call for a celebration. Maybe it's not as unique as 11-11-11. We were on vacation then, too, that time in Melbourne Beach, Florida. That morning we ate "elevenses" and tried to photograph my watch face just as it turned 11:11 and 11 seconds, the camera took too long to get the shot so we missed it by a few seconds. So then we spent the next several minutes resetting the time on my watch in order to get it just right. We tried several times. I think we finally got it.

Today, at breakfast, when I wrote the date in my journal I thought it would be fun to think of ways to celebrate it being the 15th day of the month in the year 2015. Here’s my list with a little help from J too:

1. Kiss for fifteen minutes.
2. Have 15 hugs
3. Go for a fifteen minute walk (haven’t done that for a while due to foot trouble so that would be a big deal.)
4. Eat 15 chocolate chips (each)
5. Come up with 15 ridiculous ways to celebrate the 15th
6. Eat 15 potato chips
7. Go fifteen miles in our canoe. (And then call 911) or take 15 days to come back. John said 1500 yards might be do-able.
8. Drive 15 miles, or minutes, and stop and have a picnic wherever we stop.
9. Spend 15 minutes in a hot tub in Hot Springs
10. Sit on our porch swing this morning for 15 minutes
11. Pray for 15 minutes
12. Give thanks for 15 minutes
13. Or think of 15 things to be thankful for. J said he would be thankful for each of his 15 chocolate chips. But I said that doesn’t count! No repeats.
14. Read or recite 15 of our favorite Bible passages
15. Kiss in 15 different places. 

So after washing the breakfast dishes, well J did while I brushed my teeth, we celebrated the 15th.

We spent about 15 minutes on the porch swing and thought of 15 things to be thankful for while savoring our 15 chocolate chips each. J was very good and did not finish his bag even though there were only two left. We finished off by kissing 15 times. Does it count if I laughed through most of them. (We kept it PG and stuck to face area only!)

Later we went for a hike. J said later that we walked 15/10s of a mile! That was without even planning to. (he wants it recorded that he did much more than that later on his own!) J still keeps hinting we should try number 15. Though now it’s after 10 pm so I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Besides I want to get this posted while it still is the 15th!

It was silly, but it was fun! Happy 15th!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Jesus the Bread of Life

Communion is coming this Sunday. We only have it once a month at our church.

Ever since my celiac diagnosis I have wrestled with what exactly the elements mean. How can I really experience communion as it is meant to be if I can only have a tiny crumb of the bread? I usually break off a tiny crumb and give the rest to my husband. One doctor said that would be ok. Another has said not even that much. I have thought about taking my own gluten free cracker. But it doesn't feel like it would be the same. To eat something different from what the others are eating seems like it somehow goes against the idea. And I admit there is a bit of self centered embarrassment--"what will people think??" Of course since the bread our church uses is not the same as what other churches use I can just pretend I'm in another church or something.

I'm not trying to be flippant here. It really matters to me. And it grieves me that I can't take the bread like everyone else. I try to spend the time focusing on Jesus and what he did for me on the cross. Feasting on Jesus in my heart is more important than how much bread I do or don't eat. But even that is often difficult. The time given to that portion of the communion time is very brief. It feels more like a "gobble, gulp and go" fast food experience than a communion. Also it seems sometimes that the focus is so much on teaching us what the communion bread and juice are NOT that, for me, it takes away from what they ARE. 

With that in mind I read John chapter 6 starting in verse 25 yesterday looking for more clues as to what Jesus meant when he spoke of being the Bread of Life.

After careful reading, I started to think that here he is primarily teaching about salvation and our need for faith in Him as our Savior. Though verse 51 says that "this bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" so he did certainly allude to his crucifixion.

But mostly He seems to be using the analogy of bread and water to illustrate spiritual truths. Just as our bodies need physical nourishment and hydration to live so our spirit has needs.

He clearly says that he is the only one who can meet the needs of our spirit and give us life. When we come to him and believe in Him and abide in him, then He becomes our spiritual nourishment and hydration (to return to the physical analogy).

Just as our spirits are eternal and will live or die eternally he is the eternal nourishment we need. Food and hydration only meet our body's needs temporarily. But he meets our spirit's needs eternally and gives us eternal life.

So what about the Communion bread? There are lots of views and doctrinal positions on what the elements mean or become or don't become. I was always taught there were only two positions on that. But based on my, admittedly superficial, research I have concluded that there are many more than that. Or at least many variations on that--almost as many as there are denominations. I suspect even within a given denomination or individual church there are many more shades of feeling and belief. It seems to me that where we are on the doctrinal continuum from the "it becomes the literal body and blood of Christ" all the way to the "it's just a symbol" or even the one I discovered yesterday on wikipedia that says "it's not even meant for the church today because it comes from a Jewish tradition" is not as important as our faith in Christ Jesus and his atoning work on the cross.

Whatever we believe the elements to be or mean when we take them, or don't, we should be focused on thankfulness to God for His Son and the atonement and all that that means.

God please prepare my heart for communion this Sunday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Love this Hymn

I'm still digitizing my cassette tapes. Mostly I'm doing sermons and other personal events. I also have done a little music if I can't find a song on Itunes and it is a particular favorite.

This hymn "Day by Day" is one of my favorites from "Evie Hymns." I was planning to attach the mp3 file from my tape here. But I found a clearer and more complete version on youtube sung by Jessica Wu. (see link below)

It seems appropriate for today especially as I struggle to trust God with my foot trouble (see prev. post) Though that seems terribly trivial in light of the author's trials.

This song was written in Swedish by Lina Sandell, circa 1865, and translated by A.L. Skoog. According to Wikipedia, some of her early hymns were inspired as she poured out her broken heart to God after a tragic boating accident in which she saw her father drown. She was 26 at the time. This hymn was written seven years later.

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow’r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

here is the link to it on youtube


Note: the word "fain" in the second stanza means: desirous, willing, pleased

Pick up your feet!

I hurt my foot again last night. Just when it seemed to be getting better from the last two times. And just before we are scheduled to go on vacation!

I jammed it on my nice new extra thick kitchen fatigue mat. I recently bought it with birthday money to protect my feet from injury while standing at my kitchen counter!

I’m trying to have a good attitude and not worry. Will this mean another year of being nearly crippled? Will it ruin our trip? How could I have been so stupid? When will I ever learn to pick up my feet when I walk? Do I have Parkinsons or something? Maybe that’s why I trip so easily. It is in my family. I was really worried about that until I remembered that I have always been clumsy. I could trip and fall on a wrinkle in the carpet or even nothing at all. As a kid I remember running down the hall and suddenly tripping for no reason. You would think my feet were several inches too long. But in fact they are on the small side of average.

I’m trying to think healing thoughts and not call myself names like “stupid clutz”. After all my parents never did. Well at least they didn’t add the word “stupid”. That’s something to be thankful for. But they did tell me repeatedly to, “pick up your feet when you walk!” You would think that by now I would have learned.

At least I can still use my hands. I’m sorting through receipts and separating out the ones that need shredding. I realized a few days ago that we were keeping most receipts a lot longer than necessary. It’s a small thing, but every little bit helps.