We woke up excited.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
We woke up excited.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Like the steps of a complex dance.
Space-X just made big news by launching NASA astronauts toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station. It’s the first, official time a commercial enterprise has ferried astronauts to the orbiting platform. It’s a big deal ... and a big change in how the USA goes to space.
But some things don’t change.
Every rocket launching for the International Space Station (ISS), whether it belongs to a country or to a company, must do one thing, and must do it exactly right: dock.
When a craft needs to dock with the ISS, there has always been a strict procedure to which it must adhere.
- Launch ... orbit for days
- Arrive at start position ... wait
- Get permission to advance
- Advance about 50 yards ... wait
- Use nose and tail rockets to alter pitch and yaw
- Wait for permission to advance
- Maneuver within about 33 feet of ISS
- Wait for permission to advance
- Proceed about 2 inches per second toward ISS
- Wait 2 hours to match pressures
- Enter ISS
It was a long and complicated process, made even longer by the fact that fresh permissions must be obtained at multiple points before proceeding.
I think most of us believe getting to God works this way: full speed toward God; stop and wait; get more permissions; slow our approach; stop again; get even more permissions. And then, right when we think we have finally made it, jumped through all the hoops ... we, again, have to wait.
We think we’re like the rocket, doing all the work to connect with God. We see God like the ISS, floating majestically out in space, just awaiting our approach. At one time it certainly seemed like that. There were priests, sacrifices, and rituals through which people had to pass before they could connect to God.
But, the old way of docking with the International Space Station no longer applies. Instead of several days, advances in technology allowed SpaceX to take those astronauts from launchpad to docking in less that 30 hours.
And, God is not waiting for us to execute a painstaking series of maneuvers in order to approach him. He is searching for us, looking down the road, ready to run to us at first sighting. That is the spirit of this week's Ezekiel and Psalm 95 selections, as well as many other Bible passages.
So, start your approach ... God will take care of the docking.
Very different versions of this reflection appeared in November 2014 and 2017.
PHOTO (and info on the NASA/SpaceX collaboration, Resilience):
The SpaceX ISS Docking:
More about how docking with the ISS works:
Join us Friday morning on Zoom for DaySpring’s Lectionary Breakfast. We start at 8:00 and dance our way through the scriptures ahead of Sunday’s sermon.
Let me know if you want to attend. I’ll send you the Zoom link and tell our gatekeeper to let you in.
SCRIPTURES FOR THE COMING WEEK
Find them here: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=170
REIGN OF CHRIST Proper 29 (34)
Friday, November 13, 2020
Is everyone in Japan a warrior?
In feudal Japan, “Samurai” referred to a “retainer;” that is, someone who accompanied a Lord, had pledged fealty to that Lord, and served that Lord in close attendance.
It means, essentially, “to wait upon the Lord.”
The Hagakure is a Japanese book that captures this warrior code of the samurai. It is a practical and spiritual guide for the warrior. It has been said of the Hagakure that it is Japan; that it captures the heart of all that truly matters to their culture.
So ... is everyone in Japan a warrior?
Well, no. But everyone is, in their world view, either a Lord or a Retainer. There are few Lords and many Retainers. A book delving into what makes one the ideal retainer could easily be the heart of the culture. It’s enough to make me wonder what it is about this book —on the surface about warriors— that makes it the cultural guide for almost everyone in the country.
What, then, is this warrior code of the Samurai?
As with many things in life, it’s simple: everyone, from the most skilled to the least, can hold a place of honor in the culture. To quote the Hagakure: "...even a person who is good for nothing and exceedingly clumsy will be a reliable retainer if only he has the determination to think earnestly of his master."
If only the slothful (frightened?) servant in this week's Matthew 25 selection had been able to access the Hagakure. Perhaps if he had been keeping his mind fixed on what was best for his master, he would have made a better choice concerning the talent he had.
The lesson for us?
When we stop focusing on what could go wrong, and instead focus on what God intended for us to do with our talents, we should be able to make the wise choice.
We need only think earnestly of our master.
PHOTO: Steve Orr
Considerably different versions of this reflection appeared in 2014 and 2017.
Some interesting reading about Japan’s most popular (fictional) Samurai, “Lone Wolf and Cub”: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2016/10/08/books/book-reviews/lone-wolf-cub-japans-greatest-samurai-manga/#.WhDHL2hMGEc
More about the Hagakure: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/277950.Hagakure
Lectionary Breakfast is a fun and interesting way to start the weekend. We dig into the scriptures for the coming Sunday, ask questions and seek their relevance for our lives. Join us Friday morning on ZOOM at 8:00 for an hour like no other.
Let me know ahead of time if you want to attend. I will send you the Zoom link and alert our gatekeeper to let you in.
Find (and print) them here: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Something pretty important to the history of the world happened in 49 BC. That was the year a fellow named “Julius” decided to add “Caesar” to his name.
Saturday, October 31, 2020
On the screen, the decaying bodies rise from their graves and move inexorably forward in a shuffling parody of human walking. The plucky heroes and heroines run to hiding places, but can never shake the tide of zombies following them. What’s tips them off? Sound? Smell? Something about truly live humans draws these “walking dead” to their hiding places with unerring accuracy.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
My title is the catch phrase from The Highlander movies and TV shows. And, while that may be true for sword wielding immortals, I can’t say the same for my favorites. I’m always stuck when I’m asked to name “my favorite” one anything.
Different versions of this reflection appeared in prior years as My Favorites and These Are A Few of My Favorite Things.