Happy Easter #2 Message

I used this message this Easter morning at our church, St. Paul’s UCC, in Eureka, SD. The scripture was Jeremiah 31: 1-6, Colossians 3: 1-4, and John 20: 1-18. My message was titled, Christ is Risen Indeed! If I could have figured out how to get slides working for the message, and I will in the near future, I just didn’t really have the time to set it up by today, I would have used the two pictures I will show you here.

Sesame St. sheet.

Sesame St. sheet.

Close up. The H  monster could be the trudge, trudge while the G could be the streak. At least in my memory.

Close up. The H monster could be the trudge, trudge while the G could be the streak. At least in my memory.

We don’t have a sign on our church door, or at the back of the sanctuary that says turn off cell phones or electronic devices, and that is good. I will never be in favor of one of those. If there is an emergency and you need to be contacted, I would hope that you’re attending church does not prevent someone from finding you. On the other hand, there are times when it is OK for you to disconnect from social media and live in the moment. For those of us who existed before the computer, this is a different world.

I remember the early days of Sesame Street. At first it seemed to be a cute little world of puppets, known as Muppets, interacting with humans to help teach children all sorts of things from numbers to letters of the alphabet to grammatical concepts such as what is a preposition. I still use a memory of how they did prepositions when I happen to get a substituting spot in a language arts room and that lesson is on the docket.

But again, it is not all good. With the beginning of shows like Sesame Street and the high-tech teaching, we old school dinosaurs became just that, dinosaurs. And now in the world of my grandson, Jaxon, Sesame Street is a bit “old school.” I was trying to get him away from some silly show that I didn’t care for one day, and in flipping channels I asked him if we could watch Sesame Street, and his answer was “I Not.” There is no way that a human teacher can keep up with the entertainment value of what students see now days on the television, in a U-tube video, on a Smart board and any of the other technological pieces of today’s education age. It is way too fast.

You are wondering what this has to do with the scripture of Mary and two disciples finding the empty tomb and our church service on Easter morning. I will give you one more image, and then we will get there. One of my favorite and pretty much last memories of watching Sesame Street is a clip so bizarre that I will never forget it. I don’t remember which child was watching it with James and me, but we laughed most of the day. It was the “trudge, trudge, streak, streak” clip. First a rather large monster looking muppet trudged down a lane while the words, “trudge—trudge were being said. Next, a slim, sort of gonzo like, muppet ran past at a rather high-speed with a high-pitched “streak—streak” in the background. This went on for a time and kept getting faster and faster, and more crowded as it went.

One of the sources that I read about the scripture in John suggested that as you read this passage, you pay particular attention to the verbs. In going back I found what the source meant. The verbs, right after a brief set up, are words of action. They are as follows: came, saw, removed. Now after Mary sees the stone to be gone from the front of the tomb the words become more intense. They are: ran, went, said, set out, went toward, running, outran, reached, bent down, went in, saw, and on and one it goes. These are not words of trudge, trudge. These are words closer to the streak—streak manner of movement.

Mary and the two disciples that John recalls finding the empty tomb are almost frantic in their initial response to the idea that the tomb is empty. Mary’s first response is, “Where did they take his body.” Though Jesus has been teaching them for quite some time about his death and resurrection, it is a concept his followers cannot fathom. They are sure that someone, likely some officials have taken his body.

It was known that the Jewish leaders didn’t trust the disciples, and they put guards up so the disciples or other followers of Jesus couldn’t take his body and claim that he was resurrected. But nothing could be further from the truth. The disciples did not take the body; they did not even plan or plot to take the body to fake the resurrection. Jesus’ body was gone because Jesus wasn’t dead. He had no need for a tomb or embalming cloths. Jesus was alive. He was alive then and he is alive now.

It is just as Paul says in his letter to the Colossians: “Christ IS seated at the right hand of God, He is alive! Seated at the right hand is a pretty big deal. We learn that when the disciples James and John come to Jesus asking for important positions beside him in paradise. Jesus tells them, it is God who appoints those positions. It is God who puts Jesus beside himself . It is all part of the plan from the beginning. The resurrection happens as a result of God’s plan to redeem the world. It is to make it possible for us to be Easter people. We have made it through the long season of Lent; we have made it past Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and now we have the opportunity to be part of the resurrection with Jesus. But how do we do it?

We do it by adopting the attitude of the action verb. We need to be doers. Perhaps we don’t have to go running around like the Muppet character personifying the word streak, but we do need to feel the sense of urgency. There is a point at which we need to get out of the trudge—trudge mentality. There is a point at which we need to come to the age of reality, to the newness of a risen Christ.

The commandment Christ gave to the disciples on Maundy Thursday was that they love one another as he loved them. This is for us too. This is even for the times when others don’t really seem so lovable, which is sad because (sarcastic voice) we all know that we have never been that unlovable person, oh wait, that is us too.

The point of Easter is that God loved/loves us even before we were, Jesus Loves us so much that He was willing to give His seat on the right hand of God his father to take on a human form so that he could die for us. For whom would we die? For whom would we give up everything? I bet our list wouldn’t be so long. Jesus’ list was the whole world, and Jesus’ list was each one of us individually.

I was selfish this morning when I picked the text. We could have read the Easter story from the book of Matthew, and some year, I am sure we will. Today, I wanted to read the story about Mary. Mary, who stood in the garden and wept for her missing Master. The teacher who had come to mean everything to her was gone, and she didn’t know what was going to happen. She was so distraught that she just wanted to be alone when some man, a gardener perhaps disturbed her. She probably didn’t look up. Her face was tear-streaked and red, and she didn’t want anyone to look into her eyes, when she heard him say her name. You know that recognitions when someone close to you says your name, you know instantly who is calling you. Mary knew.

And this morning we know. We know that Jesus is calling our names, calling us to be his partners in this world, in this time, to do his work. It isn’t the same sort of work, walking from town to town like the disciples did. It is a different world that we live in, a different time, but it is still the time to share the story of a resurrected Savior who died for all people and mostly for each person. As we go today, let’s remember that as Easter people, we are also people of last Maundy Thursday. We are the people given the commandment to Love one Another as Christ loved us. It isn’t always an easy challenge, and sometimes we might want to say, “I not.” but when we lean on Jesus, it is a possible challenge. Amen.

Happy Easter #1–Family!

Jaxon in the morning.

Jaxon in the morning.

So Here is my family version of Happy Easter. It started with Jaxon getting up and having breakfast. He was cranky pants about what the Easter Bunny brought. His mother was unhappy about his demand for more. By the time Granma and Grandpa were finished he was better. I also think a little food helped.

The Easter Bunny stopped by.

The Easter Bunny stopped by.

Victoria's gift from me. Another project off my list.

Victoria’s gift from me. Another project off my list.

The other Easter gifts, well sort of.

The other Easter gifts, well sort of.

Next set of pictures is of Grandpa and Jaxon imitating Grandpa during breakfast. He finally settled down to eat.

James says no picture of me.

James says no picture of me.

Jaxon copy cat of Grandpa.

Jaxon copy cat of Grandpa.

Jaxon is finally sitting down to eat.

Jaxon eating.

Jaxon eating.

Jaxon saying "Cheese."

Jaxon saying “Cheese.”

So we went to church, that will be the next post. I just didn’t want to put all the text and all the pictures together into one big long super boring blog post. When we got home about 11:45, we frantically started on the rest of dinner. The only thing I wasn’t able to pull off was the home-made bread, but I think we survived quite nicely.

Table in the kitchen where Victoria said the cool kids were sitting.

Table in the kitchen where Victoria said the cool kids were sitting.

Table in the dinning room, not sure what was not cool about this group. Only one missing.

Table in the dinning room, not sure what was not cool about this group. Only one missing.

Close up of Annabell and Flossy and Adam.

Close up of Annabell and Flossy and Adam.

I was too busy enjoying the day to take pictures outside. I did take a few shots just after everyone left. Gives you an idea how lonely the porch gets when it has to be without people. Even the black birds were wandering around wondering where the party went. It was supposed to get to 68 degrees today. Paulina and James took a walk and said it was over 70 on the bank clock. I won’t say we were upset about the heat, no one was, It was great to turn off the furnace and open the windows to try to get the heat of the oven out of the house. Yippee! And I am pretty sure I heard a Meadow Lark this morning. I am declaring that to be the real sign of spring. Alleluia, Hurray!!

Roger hid in the rafters when the stray dog came to visit. She stayed up there until the last car went home.

Roger hid in the rafters when the stray dog came to visit. She stayed up there until the last car went home.

The empty porch is sad.

The empty porch is sad.

Blackbirds in the grass, which is starting to green up well.

Blackbirds in the grass, which is starting to green up well.

Hope you all had a Blessed and wonderful Easter.

 

Stuff of Saturday

Another Saturday at our house, or is it? Today we set the plants out again. Hopefully this time is a charm. We have done a bit of cleaning here and there. I need to go to my mother’s house and the other house we have to get those ready for the week coming up. We may have someone who wants to use them. Dishes to do in one house, beds to make in anther and general floor cleaning in all of them.

Kathy and Tiffany and her mother are working on mints for the wedding in June. Roger is getting the area ready for the door posts to go in to start making an isle. So much to do, and really so little time to do it. House and shed to paint and laws to prepare and on and on and on.

Back to right now part of life. I have counted the seedlings this morning and here is where it stands: Early Girls 27, Beefsteak 36, Colored Peppers 34, Peppers from old green seeds 5. I always expect the ones from last year’s plants to sprout less, but in terms of producing, sometimes they are the best. We will see how it works this year. Technically we should have planted the potatoes yesterday. There is some sort of saying about doing that on Good Friday. With the weather and ground temperature right now, I think we will wait a bit this year.

Seedlings waiting to be turned and recovered.

Seedlings waiting to be turned and recovered.

Early Girls up close, some a four leaf stage.

Early Girls up close, some a four leaf stage.

Below are some shots of other indoor plants that are take offs of the “mother” plants. I am amazed that I finally got an umbrella plant to take root. Now one more plant of which to have a plethora. I am practicing the grammar rule of not ending the sentence with a preposition.

Yellow kalanchoe about to bloom.

Yellow kalanchoe about to bloom.

Umbrella plant sprout is growing.

Umbrella plant sprout is growing.

A few more shots of the great outdoors are below. I actually walked to the compost bin myself today. I think doing that used to drive James crazy last winter. Little did he remember that the whole time we lived in Linton, I kept the compost in a special pail and carried them back to Herreid during my trips and emptied them. Oh well, we shouldn’t keep track of who does how much. ??

Cats were just fighting before I got this shot of them.

Cats were just fighting before I got this shot of them.

Well this is enough for now. It was/is still sort of a beautiful day, but the wind is starting to pick up and I need to finish this before Vic and Nate and Jaxon get here. HAPPY EASTER TO ALL!!

Good Friday

Today has been an at home day. Paulina came last night in time to go to church with us. My sister Kathy went along too. We were a bit late getting going. Part of it was because I dawdled around and then tried to hurry at the end. When I was in the shower my phone went off on the counter. My hair was rinsed, but I hesitated, then decided to try to answer it. I hurried with a towel around me and sliding on a bathmat sort of towel on the linoleum, and you guessed it there I was looking up. I didn’t fall completely on my back, but my knees hyperextended and my ankle wrenched a bit, and my right elbow caught a bit of a tug as I tried to catch myself. I am fortunate not to have broken my wrist or something. I think that my groin got a bit of a tug and my left knee took the worst of it. I told them in church that I felt like a commercial for “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

Truth be told, I have a greater appreciation for the day that my mother fell outside and broke her femur. It was November and freezing cold. She was terrified and never did walk on her own much after that. The worst was How long she was out there. It was awful. The cold probably kept her from losing more blood, but it sure wasn’t a pleasant thing. She went out to let the dog out. She was watching Adam’s dog. I guess you could say if she hadn’t let the dog out, she wouldn’t have fallen off the step. It was super windy and the door caught her and threw her down. On the other hand if it wouldn’t have been for the dog the neighbors wouldn’t have noticed that she was out there. All to save the old pickup from getting hit by a falling tree branch. Makes you understand, we should always stop to think before we do something rash. But who knows, that is why they are called accidents.

Anyway, should have done more to prepare for the children coming home for Easter. Vic and Jaxon and I believe Nate are coming tomorrow some time. Melissa and the kids are planning to come down. Hopefully it won’t be so windy and I can do some laundry and hang it on the line. I was hoping to open the houses tomorrow as long as some of the others are around. We shall see.

Services went fairly well last night. We wrote our last prayers. We read the scripture from the gospels that were about the Last Supper and the night that Jesus was betrayed. I put communion into the script pretty much where it happened. We ended with Jesus telling Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. I added a little paragraph about what we knew would happen next, the trial, etc. Then we sang a song, had a benediction and I asked them all to file out past the fire pit outside where we burned up all the prayers that we had written during Lent. It was supposed to be symbolic of sending them heavenward. It was something different. Something that I came up with on my own, and I hope it was ok, haven’t heard any comments one way or another, but that is how it goes for now.

Hoping all of you have a blessed Easter. I will leave you with the words from John in my own words. Jesus told his disciples to love one another as he loved them. Pretty big orders. The big thing is that he leaves that new commandment for us too. It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it is what he told us to do, so we better get to it. Think of the love an animal has for their master. If we could only copy that sort of love, then maybe we would be close to what is asked of us. Tough orders, but perhaps not too much to do for someone who died for us.

Seedling update

Seedlings coming in nicely.

Seedlings coming in nicely.

Roger the photobomber

Roger the photo bomber

Tomato close up.

Tomato close up.

Abandoned crafts

Abandoned crafts

Orchid ready to finish blooming.

Orchid ready to finish blooming.

It is Thursday and I need to be working on the message for Sunday, but I want to post this before I do anything else. The pictures above show you how far the little seedlings have come in a short time. With the way the temperature has been going up and down, I am not sort of glad that I didn’t have them in the ground in March. They will be plenty big enough by the time we have the garden ready in early June. I swear the growing season around here gets shorter each year. Oh by the way the new count is: peppers 26, Beefsteak 23 and Early Girls 21. Interesting how that flipped in a couple of days.

Last night after practice, I conned James into a quick trip to Bismarck. No one was happier for the outing than both of us. We have been depending on Paulina to bring us whatever we need from a bigger shopping area each week and haven’t been out and about for some time. I tried to pickup some seeds that I missed on the first go round, but no luck. I cannot find red cabbage seeds in the stores. I will have to try one more place before I go online to get them.

We have also been doing more grocery shopping closer to home, which is a good thing to do, but blue jeans is not something you can buy in any of the local stores let alone any other clothes. Anyway, I had a birthday coupon from a major clothing store and wanted to use it, the past two years it has expired. I found two shirts and a skirt that fit well and matched up with other items I have in the closet. Things were on a discount and after I pulled out the coupons and birthday prize, I got all three for less than what I would have paid for the skirt. I was so pumped.

The other fun thing for me in those stores is to look at how clothes are designed as of late. I now have a few ideas for redoing some old items. Hopefully with the season of Lent over and the chances to sub drying up, I can get to some of that work. Then again, the garden season will be gearing up and we will have houses to care for and clean and yards to mow and weed and, OK I am tired just thinking about it. I think that I will have to pencil in time to sit on the porch and chill out or maybe coffee up. By the way if any of the sisters or children in the group would like more of the cleaning $$ let me know. I will be more than happy to share that.

Speaking of sharing, anyone want to gather for a spring opening time. I think we could buy some pizza and open the checkbook a bit for the occasion. Just saying…text me. Sorry to the non family bloggers. It is sometimes hard to get these messages out and about. Ha!!

As always, I have a few pictures to share. Last night the moon was really red, but we didn’t get home in time to capture any real pictures of it. I have a couple of crazy shots that I took with Paulina’s canon and the 300 zoom lens. I must have had it on a delay setting because of the blur that came through. So, enough for now, I need to get to work before it is time to get ready for Maundy Thursday Services.

Over exposed setting.

Over exposed setting.

Original with standard setting.

Original with standard setting.

A view after a bit of editing.

Nearly same view after a bit of editing.

I moved when I shot this one.

I moved when I shot this one.

Get to work, Wednesday

I am about to hit the shower and head for the church office in Eureka. We may be moving that inside the church this summer. The parsonage is going onto the market, and we will be adding a spot at the back of the narthex for the office. It will actually be so nice not to have to run outside to go from the office to the church. Anyway, if I am to get there at a reasonable hour, I need to post and go.

My house on the walk back from my mom's place.

My house on the walk back from my mom’s place.

Yesterday was lots of to do’s. And then Melissa stopped by on a drive through from going to the dentist in Mobridge. I guess I wouldn’t be too happy either. She chipped a tooth, and so he decided to file it down to get it straight, then filed the other one beside it, and now it is crocked. Always something. We went over to our mother’s house. Finally propane filled there so it is getting warm. There is so much to do to get that ready for use this summer. I am not looking forward to that.

Almost time for Easter Egg dyes.

Almost time for Easter Egg dyes.

I tried to make bread yesterday, but either I botched or it was a combination of my impatience and poor humidity. I am not even showing a picture of the half-baked bread with an oozing hole in the middle. I think that I will cube it and make croutons with it. I also boiled a few eggs. James thinks I am ready to dye them now. Really? I won’t even get a cup dirty with the dye for 9 eggs.

My messy work area to the left.

My messy work area to the left.

My messy work area to the right.

My messy work area to the right.

And finally, I spent the majority of the day in my little office working on sermons. I am ready for Thursday, almost ready for Sunday, sent the article for the Northwest Blade in to them, and now and starting to think of what to put in the service for the Health Care Center next Wednesday. I want that finished before the weekend as we could have a crazy week next week. Church Sunday, sub Monday, Track meet Tuesday, service at the Home on Wednesday. I guess my day off next week is Thursday. Don’t call me. Ha!!

Moon light, feels right!

Moon shots from east door.

Moon shots from east door.

Back farther.

Back farther.

same angle

same angle

View from the upper deck.

View from the upper deck.

Closer

Zoom away

Back a bit.

Closer.

Full view, but house is in the picture.

Full view, but house is in the picture.

Later without house in picture.

Later without house in picture.

Now if the temperature were about 30 degrees higher, this moonlit night would be just awesome. As it is, I took the pictures and ran back inside. I didn’t download today because I was too busy getting all things ready for the service on Maundy Thursday, and I believe that I have it all accomplished. So only other report is that track meets have had a rash of cancellations. We lost one last Saturday and the one today will be next week, so we won’t be going to the one we had planned to attend in order to do the make up one.

Next order of business is in the seedling department. We have 6 peppers, 8 Beefsteak tomatoes and 11 Early Girl tomatoes up and growing. In the meantime the flower plants that were outside are stuck in the carshed and some have lost leaves to the cold. I noticed that the plants I put at my mother’s house have not fared well because of the cold there. I turned up the heat a bit today, well actually we finally have propane again. Luckily it was warm when it was out.

As for the houses, we are opening them this week. I don’t know who is going to fix the wall in the campsite house. I am guessing that the cold of the winter was not so good for the plaster. I sort of expect a few more bits to be out. According to the lady on the DIY network who restores old houses, Rehab Addict, you cannot make bad plaster stick. When it starts to fall, you pull out all the bad pieces and patch with drywall and go from there. Not being a dry wall person, and being allergic to chalk, of which drywall is made, I think I will leave this project for someone else.

Last picture is Roger in the strawberry tire last week when it was really nice outside. I hope that we will see those temps again on Sunday.

Roger in the tire.

Roger in the tire.

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