Thursday, October 22, 2015
Spirits Rising, Greensboro, NC
Cooling air descends,
On low lying warm waters.
A golden sunbeam,
Reveals the stirring dancers.
Vapor spirits rise,
Gliding on placid waters.
Silently dance unrehearsed.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Two Boys Trusting, Internet Domain
I only recently made the connection between two boys of the Bible. Both of their stories were so outstanding that they have endured for over 2,000 years and have been retold countless times throughout the ages. One of these boys of the Old Testament became a great king whose name lives on to this day and the other boy of the New Testament remains nameless.
The young shepherd boy David was bringing food to his Israelite brothers who were fighting the Philistines. David had brought his three oldest brothers ten loaves of bread, ten cheeses and some roasted grain. When he arrived at the battle scene he encountered the giant Goliath who was over nine feet in height with armor weighing over one hundred pounds. The giant had been demanding a mano a mano fight with a warrior from King Saul’s army for forty days during an impasse of battle, but all of the men were afraid of him. Goliath then continued to insult the army of the Living God and the God who had been with David when he had successfully defended his sheep from both a lion and a bear. David took the challenge and placed his trust in his God. He only had a small sling and five smooth stones in his pouch as he approached the giant. But he killed the giant with one quick stone flung into Goliath’s forehead.
Jesus was preaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee to a multitude of over 5,000 people who had come to hear his living words. Many in the crowd were quite probably pilgrims from the surrounding countryside who were on their way to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Included in this vast gathering of humanity was another young boy. This boy had been listening to the teachings of Jesus and was unhampered by the bias and filters of his older adult journeymen. The disciple Philip didn’t think it would be humanly possible to feed the people as Jesus had instructed. Nevertheless, Andrew brought the small boy to Jesus when he had offered his five loaves and two fish. Jesus knew the trust in the boy’s heart and he took the small offering and blessed it over a large rock outcropping near the sea. The large multitude then ate their fill with food left over.
It’s interesting to consider what might have happened on those two miraculous days over 2,000 years ago if the young boys bearing bread had NOT put their trust in the Bread of Life. These occasions might have never been recorded for us. And there’s no telling how many miracles the world is denied when humans do not step forward into action with God at their side. Thankfully, miracles did not stop at the end of God’s first covenant with the Israelites or at the end of Jesus’ three year ministry. We can still enable miracles all around us with a firm trust in the Living God of the Universe as he joins us when we seize the initiative!
Friday, October 16, 2015
Scared to Death, Internet Domain
As we near the time of All Saints Day or Halloween, Chapman University has released a survey of America’s top fears for 2015. Their study included areas of crime, personal anxieties, daily life and natural disasters. The top fear reported was a fear of corruption of government officials. About 25% of folks fear robots in our society. Interestingly, more people fear reptiles (33%) and public speaking (28%) than dying (22%).
When it comes to Halloween, close to 10% of people fear the supernatural such as ghosts and zombies, while a surprising 7% have a deep fear of clowns! The theme of All Hallows Eve revolves around using humor and ridicule to confront the power of death. And the contemporary objective of All Hallows Eve is to scare the wits out of somebody by dressing up in scary costumes, telling ghost stories, watching horror movies and visiting haunted houses!
I’ve read that the most frequent phrase in the Bible is “fear not”. Every time mere mortals were confronted by supernatural beings such as angels, it apparently and literally put the fear of God in them! But that supernatural being quickly brought comfort and peace to those who had the great privilege of receiving their message. In medieval times, witches were believed to accompany malignant souls seeking vengeance on their enemies until All Saints Day. They had one last chance on All Hallows Eve before moving on to the next world. So people would don masks and costumes to disguise themselves in fear of being confronted.
So this Halloween, beware of a supernatural robot wearing a clown outfit with a python wrapped around his neck knocking at your door and proclaiming, “Fear Not, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you prepare and deliver a speech to the United Nations on World Peace.” That should scare the daylights out of you!
Monday, October 12, 2015
Three Sisters, Wikipedia
As we move into the heart of fall, the maple leaves are beginning to turn color at the tips as the nights grow colder foretelling the fallow days of winter. History records that the first winter for the new world pilgrims would have been devastating if it had not been for the American natives that showed them how to grow crops here. Many of the native tribes had found a lifesaving secret and a variety of legends about the three sisters emerged from these practices. They had discovered the symbiotic relationship among Corn Girl, Bean Girl and Squash Girl that sustained the three sisters and the Native Americans. The Cherokee and Iroquois legends tell of Corn Girl who wore a pale green dress and her long yellow silky hair blew in the wind. But the hot sun burned her feet while weeds grew around and choked her. Bean Girl was very thin and relatively weak as she lay on the ground. And Squash Girl with the yellow dress was short and hungry.
The Native Americans soon discovered that the primary crop of corn provided more energy calories per acre, but it grew healthier in community with beans and squash. The corn provided a much needed pole for the bean vines to climb and thrive. And the wide prickly squash leaves growing on the ground provided shade to control weeds and retain ground moisture from the rains. The beans fix nitrogen on their roots to improve the overall fertility of the soil for all the crops. Corn or maize is high in calories, but low in protein and amino acids. The bean is high in protein and has a complementing amino acid. The squash is high in calories, vitamins, and minerals while its seeds are a source of protein and oil.
The three sisters taught the Native Americans, the first pilgrims and still teach us today that there is strength in diversity and teamwork! And the bounty of that first harvest in the new world was evident on the first Thanksgiving Day when Americans demonstrated hospitality and fellowshiped with undocumented aliens from Europe!