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Slip sliding away

by davesandel on February 16th, 2021

Fat Tuesday, February 16, 2021 (today’s lectionary)

Mardi Gras

Slip sliding away

Yesterday. Quality Inn, Mt. Pleasant, Texas, covered by an all-night snow storm, then morning sunshine and 10 degrees. But I had eighteen hours of cozy nighttime sanctuary, while outside the snow blew the roads shut. Margaret in Austin has no power, which means no heat, no charging for her phone, no electric blanket!

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.

About 11 AM I started out, and made it home by 6. With virtually no traffic, I felt safe enough to listen to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which was riveting. Then when I turned off I35 into Austin, the roads weren’t plowed and it was hard to get through town. I am thanking God for the interstate lifelines through the country. We unloaded the car a little and reloaded it, then spent the night with Andi and Aki and our wonderful, crazy, wild grandkids, who are having a strong case of cabin fever. On Tinybeans Andi posted pictures of Miles’ first “snow angel,” made possible by this amazing southern storm. It’s not a southern storm, really; it’s snowing all the way up to Maine.

My favorite Monday blogger, Joe Zarantonello from Loose Leaf Hollow in Bardstown, Kentucky reminded me of blizzards in Nebraska: “When farmers in the Great Plains smelled a blizzard coming, they would run a stout rope from the farm house to the barn. They remembered how how easy it was to wander off in a white out and freeze to death.”

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?”

Then Joe asked, “What is the rope strung between your kitchen door and the barn? Find out, before it’s too late.”

Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him.

In December I got a speeding ticket in southern Illinois. So before writing this, I spent 90 minutes with a Defensive Driving Safety Test, which seems very apropos for today. Count three seconds between vehicles on the road, turn off my cell phone, don’t exceed the speed limit, delay acceleration at a stoplight turning green by two seconds … those are a few of the “details” of defensive driving that I have mostly ignored. Passing this 8 hour online course will keep my ticket out of the Secretary of State’s office, but it will also help me drive better. I am really appreciating the reminders. And there is plenty of new information for me too.

The Lord said, “I will wipe out from the earth the men whom I have created, and not only the men but the beasts and birds, for I am sorry that I made them.” But Noah found favor with the Lord.

It’s helpful for me today to remember the position of most everyone as the 40 day rain began to fall, while Noah and his family in the Ark rose on the waters land spent their forty days waiting it out. I am in the ark, and there are so many folks watching the waters rise. And unlike Noah, I could find myself out of the ark at any given moment. The protections in my life are fragile at best. I think often of Rich Mullins and the song he sang before he died, “You are not as strong as you think you are.”

The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the Lord, over vast waters. The voice of the Lord is mighty, the voice of the Lord is majestic.

Like Rich, I can’t predict, can’t protect, can only pray. Breathe on me, breath of God. On Christ, the solid rock I stand. Slip sliding away, you know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away. We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and our hells and heavens are so few inches apart. We must be awfully small and not as strong as we think we are.

(Genesis 6, Psalm 29, John 14, Mark 8)



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