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Aug 1 21

THIS world is not our home

by davesandel

Sunday, August 1, 2021                                 (today’s lectionary)

THIS world is not our home

Jesus looked at us and said, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures through eternal life. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven, which gives life to the world. And then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never hunger. Whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Like moths in the dark, we sought the light. So many of us had only heard of Jesus, but now we wanted to see him. Some of us had been fed bread by his disciples, bread that seemed to come out of nowhere, far away from the city ovens. I wanted the bread, but far more I wanted to see Jesus, stand in his presence, feel the rain of manna pouring down from heaven.

I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.

Healing came for me simply in hearing the stories of my friends. My tired body caught fire, I didn’t struggle to my feet as much as jump up like the cripples he had healed of so much more than I ever suffered. I ran to see this man, walking toward the outskirts of our town.

The Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”

 As had happened before, I was surprised and disappointed at the cynics in my family and neighborhood. They seem to have lost their capacity for wonder. Mystery doesn’t appeal to them; they have settled for what they can see and touch … and keep control over. Jesus won’t let us do that; I hope he won’t! He carries mystery and wonder in his eyes, in his words and every step he takes throughout our country. His humility precedes him. I’ve heard that pride is simply the absence of humility. When Jesus speaks of the first being last, and the last being first, of course he is speaking of himself, he is speaking from experience.

What we have heard and know, we will declare to the generation to come: the glorious deeds of the Lord, his strength and the wonders that he wrought. Yahweh opened the doors of heaven, and then man ate the bread of angels.

Jesus walks easily in his sandals through our hot July and August dust. What he ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner was simple. Jesus ate to live. It was in his early morning prayer that he received the sustenance of the bread of life. His own renewal every morning preceded his preaching and any touch of our Father that he shared with us.

Put away the old self of your former way of life and the futility of your mind corrupted by deceitful desires. Now be renewed, in the spirit of your minds and put on your new self, created in God’s way.

On this first Sunday of August, I can’t wait to hear what he has to say, watch how he heals us from every disease, and learn to walk as he walks, so we can follow, toward the world that IS our home.

(Exodus 16, Psalm 78, Eph 4, Matthew 4, John 6)

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Jul 31 21

Complete list of July 2021 Daily Devotions with links

by davesandel

Complete list of July 2021 Daily Devotions with links

 July 1              Carrying the fire and the knife

July 2              Getting married, having children, the joy of the whole earth

July 3              Swimming in fifteen inches of water

Sun July 4       At least a little time with Audrey

July 5              Late night preachers and all night fireworks

July 6              “I’ll be here on discharge day”

July 7              Citizens of hospital culture

July 8              Seeing God, that’s my superpower

July 9              Miles and Jasper visit the hospital

July 10            It’s Blippi Day!

July 11            Take nothing with you for the journey

July 12            She’s in charge of celebrations

July 13            Listen for the voice of our Father

July 14            Margaret’s coming home on Saturday!

July 15            Getting to know our neighbors, who are leaving today

July 16            Smearing lamb’s blood on the hospital doorposts and lintel

July 17            Re-entry

July 18            The Lord is my shepherd

July 19            Breath of heaven

July 20            Meal train

July 21            We have company!

July 22            Loving our Lover

July 23            Silence, bourbon and the Ten Commandments

July 24            In your mercy, Lord

July 25            Let these gifts to us be blessed

July 26            Tender in the night

July 27            Thirsty in the tent of meeting

July 28            Get low, get down on God’s good footstool

July 29            Jasper is almost two!

July 30            God’s in charge of celebrations

July 31            Proclaim a jubilee!

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Jul 31 21

Proclaim a jubilee

by davesandel

Saturday, July 31, 2021                      (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

Proclaim a jubilee

When you sell any land to your neighbor or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly. On the basis of the number of years since the last jubilee shall you purchase the land from your neighbor and so also, on the basis of the number of years for crops, shall he sell it to you. For it is really the number of crops that he sells you. Do not deal unfairly, then; but stand in fear of your God.

Yahweh intended his children of Israel to depend on him, not on ownership. That starts with Sabbath every seven days, but there would be far more surrender of control and power than that.

Seven weeks of years shall you count, then on the tenth day of the seventh month, let the trumpet sound and re-sound throughout your land. For you shall make sacred this fiftieth year by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when every one of you shall return to his own property.

So that means that if I “own” property God deeded to someone else, I must give it up at the beginning of the year of jubilee, because the God-ordained owner will return. In this way all of us retain what God gives us and will not permanently claim anything more for our own. As this command from God is obeyed, wars and lawyers will be no more.

But it has not been obeyed, not from the very beginning. And in 1521, when the Duke summoned Ignatius from Loyola to Pamplona, it was only to fight in another of a long line of wars over power and property. No one had any intention of listening to God’s command for a year of jubilee. No one with power was about to give it up.

Early in the battle Ignatius was hit in the leg by a cannonball, and so began his gradual discovery of God in his life. As his power was taken from him, he submitted to God’s power, and found it far more satisfying.

May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth.

Ignatius’ wound was made worse by the surgeons, although at least he lived. He walked with a severe limp all his life and couldn’t share the Gospel as a traveling missionary for his order: the Society of Jesus, eventually named the Jesuits. Ignatius found others, like Francis Xavier, to do the traveling, while he stayed home and wrote his Spiritual Exercises, which has inspired so many tens of thousands (including me) to make their own inner spiritual pilgrimage, from the land they thought belonged to them to what God gave them in the first place.

Herod had arrested John the Baptist, bound him and put him in prison. Although he wanted to kill John, he feared the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.

How did Herod get away from the jubilee idea? He claimed everything and everyone for himself, and he even murdered sons who dared to question his control. John was screaming from the hilltops that all of us must repent and be baptized, see the world with fresh eyes, turn our ideas of human power inside out.

Jesus came behind him, preaching a gentle lifestyle of giving and giving some more. In fact, Jesus taught that claiming human power and position made kings and princes last in the Kingdom of God. “Whoever is last shall be first, and whoever is first shall be last.” Surely those words echoed in Herod’s mind at night, as he was beguiled by Herodias and left sleepless in his paranoia and guilt.

Late at night Herod had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought in upon the platter and given to the daughter of Herodias, who took it to her mother.

Herod contracted syphilis and died. Ignatius walked with a limp but lived. Moses did not live long enough to oversee the first jubilee, but died at the borders of the Promised Land. Jesus, as we know, suffered, died, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day.

Since the Jubilee Year doesn’t happen physically, I look for ways to experience it spiritually. It may or may not take fifty years, but I WILL at last offer what I’ve claimed incorrectly as my own, back to God. New neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi died of lung cancer while he wrote the book about this experience in his own life. When Breath Becomes Air when what I’ve assumed belonged to me no longer does … when it returns to whence it came …

Do not deal unfairly then, but stand in fear of your God.

(Leviticus 25, Psalm 67, Matthew 5, Matthew 14)

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Jul 30 21

God’s in charge of celebrations

by davesandel

Friday, July 30, 2021                           (today’s lectionary)

God’s in charge of celebrations

The Lord said to Moses, “These are the festivals of the Lord which you shall celebrate at their proper time: the Passover of the Lord, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Celebration of First Fruits, the Feast of the Fiftieth Day (Pentecost in Greek), the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Booths … these therefore are the festivals of the Lord.

Grandparents have the best of both worlds, right? We get to play with our grandkids and then leave, while their parents feed and put them to bed, make them pick up their toys and clothes, or (in fact) pick up their toys and clothes for them.

But Margaret and I have a special responsibility that, while worrying about it doesn’t keep us up at night, is important to all of us. Because we are intimate with these kiddos but not with them all the time, we must specialize in encouragement and building them up.

My friend Sheryl said, “Adults are a favorite children’s toy. When their response isn’t negative it’s like giving them a hundred dollar bill.” Yes! That’s often easier for us than for their parents, so when we turn negative the kids really suffer.

Sing with joy to God our help. Take up a melody, and blow the trumpet at the new moon and the full moon, on this our solemn feast.

The morning after Jasper’s Wednesday birthday party, when we put together a super Thomas the Train track, Andi said they woke up early to play.

Then she said, with admirable aplomb, “Train track didn’t stay together long. Maybe it was a silent cry from them to have grandpa come play.” Margaret said about the night before, “I’ve never seen the three of them happier. Great party!” And then comes the morning after.

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished, but they took offense at him because he was one of them. And Jesus did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

So is that train track made for me or am I made for the train track? Jesus helps me follow a higher path, right? My tasks are never the point. The kids are always the point. Of course they could have been more careful with our creation. Oh, yeah? At what age? At age 4 and 2 … NOT.

It’s tougher on Andi and Aki to keep their cool, since they wake up to the destruction. But I think they’ve kind of figured it out. Their collective calm blesses Miles and Jasper day after day.

I, the Lord, am your God who led you forth from the land of Egypt.

Margaret finished her eight weeks of intravenous injections of antibiotics yesterday. Today her PIC line should be removed, and her right arm can relax after so so long. God’s in charge of that celebration, too. She’s tired of medicine, and the medicine makes her more tired. But her heart beats strong and true, and so this tired is temporary. It won’t be long before it will be safe for her to pick up Jasper again, hold him close while he gets sleepy and still, and make an afternoon nap together in Margaret’s “tent of meeting,” waiting for God’s radiance to descend.

This grandparent gig never gets old.

(Leviticus 23, Psalm 81, 1 Peter 1, Matthew 13)

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Jul 29 21

Jasper is almost two!

by davesandel

Thursday, July 29, 2021                                 (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Jasper is almost two!

I tried a little construction last night. Jasper’s 2nd birthday is Saturday, and we had part of his party at the beginning of his “birthday week.” Margaret found a Thomas and Friends train set with two engines, a bridge, a tunnel and two intersecting tracks. Sounds like a piece of cake to put together, right?

Especially when Jasper and Miles are helping? The instructions were clear, the pictures were sharp, supper was looming and I kept thinking of my low aptitude scores when it came to spatial reasoning.

But it surely was nothing like Moses felt.

Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded him. It was Moses who erected the Dwelling. He placed its pedestals, set up its boards, put in its bars and set up its columns. He spread the tent over the Dwelling and put the covering on top of the tent.

God didn’t need carpenters; he needed Moses, someone who could hear his voice and spend time listening to his instructions. Nothing was written down, and no one was allowed to help Moses, lest he look the wrong way and die.

Moses brought the ark into the Dwelling and hung the curtain veil, thus screening off the ark of the commandments, as the Lord had commanded him.

The ark of the covenant stayed famous and stayed dangerous. No one could touch it, or they would die (as did Uzziah many centuries later). Indiana Jones couldn’t touch it, nor could those lousy Nazis. It represented God’s literal and physical presence among his people. God led and protected them, as well as instructing them in the way they were to live.

Whenever the cloud rose from the Dwelling, the children of Israel would set out on their journey. But if the cloud did not lift, they would not go forward. At night, fire was seen within the cloud by the whole house of Israel in all the stages of their journey.

A team of friendly builders are remodeling the siding and windows of Aki and Andi’s house. It’s beginning to look beautiful. Aki made pancakes and bacon, one of Jasper’s favorite meals, followed by strawberry crowned cheese cake. When we prayed Jasper threw up his hands in the air, folded them and then yelled AMEN when we were finished. But we weren’t finished, because everyone kept praying what they loved about Jasper. So after looking surprised, he threw his hands into the air again and squeezed his eyes shut until the next AMEN. Joy is his calling card, laughter is our best medicine.

And not only all of that cool stuff, but finally I got Thomas the Train’s track laid, and off the twin trains roared around the track, through the tunnel and over the bridge. New toy construction trucks also filled up the tracks, while a bright green Monster truck with big teeth reared up and shouted for everyone to notice IT, for crying out loud. The atmosphere at Jasper’s party was festive, and after awhile, we heard Miles say under his breath, “I love it when we get to stay up late.”

Blessed are they who dwell in your house, continually they praise you. They go from strength to strength.

(Exodus 40, Psalm 84, John 8, John 11, Luke 10)

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Jul 28 21

Get low, get down on God’s good footstool

by davesandel

Wednesday, July 28, 2021                              (today’s lectionary)

Get low, get down on God’s good footstool

 Moses did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the Lord. Even Aaron was afraid to come near him, until Moses called for him and all the other rulers of their community to come to him.

Eventually all the people came up to Moses, and he spoke to them, but then he put a veil over his face.

Whenever Moses entered the presence of the Lord to converse with him, he removed the veil until he came out again.

As I’m writing this I hear Margaret’s “Find My” chime ringing. For the second time tonight, she has lost her phone in her bedroom. But her bedroom has become her “tent of meeting.” Should I interrupt her to help find it? Is God ringing her bell? Her face might very well be radiant.

Of course I’m not completely serious, asking that question, but I think it would be better if I were. God is not dead, and he isn’t missing. He rings our bells all the time, even if we just don’t quite get it. I forget to notice or I explain away the radiance. Even when I am surprised by joy, I often fail to fall on my face in wonder.

Extol the Lord, our God, and worship at his footstool; holy is he! Worship at his holy mountain; for holy is the Lord, our God.

At our centering prayer meeting last night we discussed a passage written by Henri Nouwen that led us into describing the earth’s balance between progress, growth, and evolutionary empathy on the one hand, and entropy, political paralysis, greed and blindness on the other. Leaders and followers alike live in the midst of this balance. It may seem like it sometimes, but I don’t believe that human beings are destined to eventually destroy everything they touch.

Nouwen caught us up when he wrote, “God’s love is stronger than any form of death and destruction.” Because our spiritual sight sees God, we need not despair, and neither do we have any business becoming Christian pollyannas. We might quickly fill a dumpster with thoughts and observations of either kind, but none of this changes our experience of God’s presence. Nouwen said, “He is the God of the living, so we can continually deepen our awareness that God is present in midst of all our chaos.”

Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

And then, in the Kingdom of heaven, the new owner of the field shares the treasure with others in a way only God can show her.

And Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.

Jesus knows that in the Kingdom of heaven we have no more need for fields or pearls. We all possess all that already. Our eyes are opened; we see that God is everywhere around us and always has been. No longer are we masquerading as gods ourselves; we are not the center of anything. At last we have found our way to the sweet position of praise and worship at God’s good footstool.

(Exodus 34, Psalm 99, John 15, Matthew 13)

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Jul 27 21

Thirsty in the tent of meeting

by davesandel

Tuesday, July 27, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

Thirsty in the tent of meeting

The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another.

Enneagram wizard Jerry Wagner wrote of Thomas Merton:

Merton–as well as anyone deserving of the title mystic–believes that God is always recognizing God’s Self in you and cannot not love it. This is God’s “steadfast love” (hesed) with humanity. That part of you has always loved God and always will. You must learn how to consciously abide there.

I guess Moses’ experience with God convinced him of God’s love. Surely that conviction makes it easy (well, easier at least) to live in the “part of you that has always loved God and always will.”

Moses stood there with the Lord and proclaimed his name, “Yahweh!” And Moses stayed there with the Lord forty days and forty nights, eating no food and drinking no water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant: the ten commandments.

I have fasted without food for three days. That was very difficult, although easier toward the end. But always there has been water. Because of post-surgery swelling Margaret could only have 6 cups of any kind of liquid over 24 hours, including the water for her meds three times a day. She tried ice chips, so she could have twice as much, but the ice chips cut her gums and mouth. She tried giving up coffee, drinking less milk, and occasionally stole a Pepsi. Often she sounded desperately thirsty.

One nurse offered lemon swabs to moisten her mouth. Margaret learned to tough it out, to get quiet inside herself and ignore her thirst. Moses must have learned to do that in spades. And then imagine Jesus, in the same desert but without even the shade of a tent of meeting as Moses had, finding enough moisture in his mouth to speak clearly to Satan about not living by bread (or water) alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Jesus learned quickly the art of living in that “part of himself that had always loved God and always would.” I can’t help but think Margaret was learning that too. When you can’t drink, you listen to the words of God. When you think you can’t take it anymore, you listen to every word that comes from the mouth of God. You’d better. Margaret learned more of that every day she was in the hospital.

Now at home, in her own “tent of meeting” bedroom, shades drawn, always warm, with plenty of water at her bedside, she keeps on learning to “consciously abide” in God’s cannot-not-love and her own love back. Before, during and after her hospital her spirit never really flagged. Her body needed healing and recovery, but her spirit just kept going strong.

At the end of the age, the Son of Man will send his angels, and the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears to hear? Let them hear.

(Exodus 33, Psalm 103, Matthew 13)

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Jul 26 21

Tender in the night

by davesandel

Monday, July 26, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saints Joachin and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tender in the night

Moses turned and came down the mountain with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands. But as Moses and Joshua drew near the camp Moses saw the calf and the dancing. His wrath flared up, he threw the tablets down and broke them on the base of the mountain.

Yesterday we had a real Sabbath. Not restful, exactly, but full of praise and joy. Church at Grace, where our friend Pam sang in the congregation, and two people complimented her voice. “Where is that voice coming from?” one woman asked her husband.

Aaron said to Moses, “You know how prone the people are to evil. They said, we don’t know what has happened to Moses, so make us a god to lead us. I threw their jewelry into the fire, and this calf came out.”

Today was Pam’s birthday! We joined another birthday celebration around a teppanyaki table and then met Miles and Jasper, Aki and Andi at our apartment pool. Time got away from us after that, and we all had supper together, pineapple and black cherries, Japanese steak and vegetables and red curry and BBQ and fig newtons, which was kind of just the tip of the foodie iceberg. The kids had to go to bed; after they left we watched the first episode of The Chosen and the Olympics. Sleep for everyone came quickly and well.

Moses went back up the mountain and asked God to forgive the people for their sin. “If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.”

Today I plan to be in the drive-up line at Travis County’s Tax Office to get Margaret’s handicap card for our car. It opens at 8. I figure if I get there by 7 I will have a fairly short wait, an hour plus another hour at the most. And maybe I’ll even be first in line, although I doubt it. This reminds me of Black Friday after Thanksgiving at Best Buy in Evansville, then Champaign. The line wound around the building, but some of those folks slept in line for hours to get a computer or TV, or maybe just because the whole thing was kind of fun.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Pam will be heading home tomorrow to Cave-in-Rock. She and Margaret shared stories and tasks and shopping and meals. We’ll miss her a lot. She picked up all the nursing, lovingly. Life has been easier with Pam’s gentle, softening spirit around us.

Think about when Moses left his people to head up the mountain to meet with God. I hope we can do better than the Israelites when Pam leaves, listening to God through each other rather than to our own echoey strident selves.

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all the seeds yet when full grown it is the largest of plants.”

Margaret goes to bed early, like at 7:30 or 8. She “retires” to her quiet cozy darkened bedroom to become still. She might listen to a mystery, or watch an episode of Monk, or do a little online shopping. Whatever she does quiets her heart after being with all the people. She might love being with them, but she’s exhausted afterward.

So when she goes to bed, I have been making it a point to go in and sit with her a moment, rub her neck, and pray. Quiet times with each other like this sweeten our pot so much. The next morning comes and we rise together to meet it.

The mustard seed becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.

I imagine Moses was an introvert, like Margaret. Did anyone rub his neck at the end of the day? Aaron seems to have been very busy with his end of things. Joshua and Moses were the bosom buddies. But I don’t always think of Joshua as being particularly tender.

(Exodus 32, Psalm 106, James 1, Matthew 13)

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Jul 25 21

Let these gifts to us be blessed

by davesandel

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, July 25, 2021         (today’s lectionary)

Let these gifts to us be blessed

The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs. Let all your works give you thanks, let your faithful ones bless you and look hopefully to you. You open your hand and give us our food in due season. You are near to all who call on you.

How many semis bring food and drink to us every night while we’re asleep? Groceries are always full, restaurants rarely run out of staples, I am thoroughly and absolutely spoiled by the agricultural miracles and logistical magic that make this happen, day after day after day.

I have to pay for it, but hardly through the nose. Food is plentiful for most of us in America. Dumpsters out back are bursting too. I am not the only spoiled one.

While Pam is here, we eat out once every couple of days and make our own food otherwise. Thai curry, Smokey Mo BBQ, Kobe Steakhouse teppanyaki for Pam’s birthday (which is today!), while at home we ate eggs and ham, fresh peaches and Michigan cherries, cod loin and asparagus, melon with prosciutto, milk and cream and espresso and sparkling water and white wine and … and Dr. Pepper. Our frying pans get a workout, our refrigerator is full, and there seems never to be an end.

Live your lives with all humility and gentleness, patiently bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.

Of course, there is an end. Just take a two day walk into the mountains with five thousand other folks, and see how much you have to eat. Armies supply themselves for awhile, then they help themselves to food on farms they are passing through. But armies have the guns, and if I’m walking with a crowd of regular folks, I at least won’t have a gun. Anyway, who wants to steal from someone else? Until you’re starving, I guess.

Jesus sat down on the mountain with his disciples and raised his eyes. A crowd of five thousand or more had followed them, and they sat down in the grass. A boy had five barley loaves and two fish, so Jesus gave thanks and shared the loaves and fishes with the people, and when the disciples gathered the leftovers they collected twelve wicker baskets of bread, more than the crowd could eat. The people wanted to carry him off and make him king, but Jesus left them then and went alone into the mountains.

Jesus managed the agriculture and the logistics by being obedient to what he heard his Father saying, and then asking his disciples to be obedient to what he told them. And there was enough bread left over to feed an army. No one starved that day.

This really is the kind of miracle that gets you made king, but Jesus kept on listening to his Father and left them hanging. In the desert he told off the devil, and on that mountainside he made the same thing clear to all those people. We do NOT live by bread alone, but by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

There is one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Jesus was quoting Moses as he reminded first Satan and then the children of Israel of God’s goodness. For the Lord is bringing you into a land of brooks and springs of water, of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land where you will eat bread without end, where you will lack nothing. You will eat and be filled, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.

How sweet it is to be loved by You!

Elisha insisted, “Give the barley loaves to the people to eat. The Lord says they shall eat and there shall be some left over.” And there was.

Farmers and their families all across the world come in from the work and wash their hands, sit down at their tables, give thanks and eat. Come Lord Jesus be our guest. Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from your bounty. And by the power of planters and combines and semi-trucks and distribution networks and all-night stocking clerks and grocery checkers and frying pans heated by electricity and gas (oh my gosh, there’s a whole other thing I take for granted!), we get to join those farmers, and Elisha, and Jesus, and forever and a day say THANK YOU!

(2 Kings 4, Psalm 145, Ephesians 4, Luke 7, John 6)

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Jul 24 21

In your mercy, Lord

by davesandel

Saturday, July 24, 2021                                  (today’s lectionary)

In your mercy, Lord

All the people said with one voice, “We will do everything that the Lord has told us!”

Drinking chamomile tea and ignoring the nausea medicine, Margaret began to feel better. Yesterday after an afternoon nap we embarked on her first shopping trip since the hospital. Pam’s company made the whole thing work; they were shopping companions! First at TJ Maxx, then at Trader Joe’s and at last at Walmart, they seemed to be having the time of their lives. Margaret said, “I think that’s the best shopping trip I’ve ever had!”

The Lord has spoken and summoned all the earth, from the rising to the setting of the sun. Perfect in beauty, God shines forth.

On the day before we headed out for Miles and Jasper’s house. Aki works at home through all the chaos, as builders replace most of their windows, install new green siding and add a nice covered patio onto the back of their house, to replace an older one that no longer cuts the mustard. Andi made chocolate chip cookies, which she shared with us.

Let us offer up to God a sacrifice of praise.

Miles and Jasper get very little sugar, and eating their own cookies had to wait till after supper. They screamed and hollered and we all had fun, and it was a far cry from the last time Margaret visited them on June 4, when she had no energy and just laid on the couch while everyone worried about her. She can’t pick up the kids yet, of course, but she has certainly picked herself up, and as she walked out to the car behind her walker, she wore a big, big smile.

Don’t destroy the field, but wait for harvest. Then collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning, but gather the good wheat into my barn.

So last night she had her first real meal, the full meal deal, gluten free cauliflower pizza and peaches, milk and just a bit more of that chamomile tea. Alexa played a long list of songs by the Bill Gaither Trio. Pam and Margaret sang along. Pam plays piano and organ for her church, but their singing alone was wonderful. They reminisced, they talked about people they knew at Lincoln Christian Seminary and about trips they took together. They were happy.

Shackled by a heavy burden,

‘Neath a load of guilt and shame

Then the hand of Jesus touched me

And now I am no longer the same.

Margaret went to bed with her tummy a little full, again for the first time since hospital. These “firsts” begin to make a nice long list. In your mercy, Lord, you have heard our prayers. In your continued mercy, Lord, hear our prayers again and again.

Clarence Heller wrote a fine little poem that ends with Margaret’s mantra:


I listen to the silence and I hear it.

I gaze into the darkness and I feel it.

I take in a breath and know it.

I am loved.

I am not alone.

I am your delight.

And that is more than enough.

(Exodus 24, Psalm 50, James 1, Matthew 13)

(posted at


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