09 September 2018


Has it really been that long? This year, it falls on a Tuesday again. The attacks were on a Tuesday. The congregations of Trinity and St. Paul's gathered at St. Paul's on Wednesday evening for a brief service of prayer. Pr. Gross spoke and reminded us who it is who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy and that it was to destroy the devil's works that the Son of God appeared among us. Then I spoke briefly and led some prayers. Here are my brief words:

We're gathered tonight, people loved by God, in the spirit of Job. Our minds shrink from the staggering numbers of those who are dead; as well as from the horrible way so many of them died. Our hearts go out to the families who are now as torn apart and devastated as any of the buildings we saw in New York or Washington - families where a mother's voice will never be heard again or a father's face never seen or a child's hand never touched again. In the face of such terrible wreckage of human lives and the unimaginable tidal wave of human sorrow, we can only ask Job to move over for a bit so that we might sit with him for a while in the dust and ashes and learn from him to turn to God in worship, because there really is nowhere else to turn.

Today is not the time to theologize about good and evil in the world. It is too soon for such. Today is the time for us to get on our knees and pray. And to do so knowing that the One to whom we pray is no stranger to the terrible things that humans do to each other, to know that He to whom we pray became One with us in our tears and in our sorrows. He knows what it is to weep at death. He has felt in His own body the irrational hatred of those who think they serve God by dishing out violence and destruction. What a comfort that in our prayers tonight, we pray to the Crucified One. And above all to the Risen One.

For Job would go on to confess "I know that my Redeemer lives and that in the end He will stand upon the earth and that after my skin has been destroyed nevertheless in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and not another. How my heart yearns within me."

Our prayers rise tonight to Him who walked among us as the man of sorrows, who is acquainted with our grief, and who died to conquer and destroy death's power over his people forever. We pray tonight before the God who will make the ashes live again.

Prayer -

Hear us, dear heavenly Father, as we join our prayers to those of your children throughout the world in the face of the terrible events of yesterday.

For all the children who have lost parents, let us pray to the Lord. R.
For all the parents who have lost children, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the husbands who have lost their wives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all the wives who have lost their husbands, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For all whose lives have been shattered and whose hopes and dreams have been destroyed, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the families of those brave souls who responded to others' needs only to lose their own lives, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For the firefighters and policemen, the doctors, nurses and EMTs and all those who participate in the relief effort, let us pray to the Lord, R.
For any who are still alive in the rubble, that aid may be brought to them speedily and that they not lose heart, let us pray to the Lord, R.

#9-11, #NeverForget

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08 September 2018

What a great Staycation

So many things I wanted to attend to, and I think I crossed every single one of them off the list:

Oil change
Order wood, restack pile with older stuff toward the house.
Clean garage
Car wash and vacuum
Clean grout in kitchen floor and in front of fireplace
Setup appointment to have chimney sweep come
Keep up exercise routine
Go through clothes and weed again
Mow the yard (and incidentally replaced the mower - THAT was not on the list!)
Find new primary care physician and set up appointment (our old one retired; how rude!)
Vacuum the pool thoroughly
Do a couple of personal writing projects
Simplifying kitchen cabinets and fridge
Out for a nice lunch one day with Cindi
Thoroughly clean the family room and home office
Put stabilizer in gas for the Generator
Recharge battery backup for car

All done with plenty of time for sunning in the pool, walking and even a game or two of that stupid liverpool. I think we're ready for fall and what invariably follows...

05 September 2018

Requiem for a Lawnmower

We bought it the year we moved into this house: a Black and Decker battery powered lawn mower. And we loved it. Light, relatively quiet, and never needing to mess with gas. It was getting long in the tooth, though, and had been patched a time or two. Today, as I was trying to finish up the front yard it quite literally came to pieces on me. I figured I'd just run to town and pick up the same mower again, since I had two nice batteries that enabled us to do both our yard and Dave's on the same day if we want.

No go. No longer made. Of course. And the batteries are different. And then I read the reviews of the new Black and Deckers. ACK.

So I ended up with a Greenworks Pro 21 inch deck and 60v. Got it home and Cindi and I got it up and running. I set out to finish what I had started and immediately noted the huge difference. The bigger deck, the lighter battery, I was just zipping along and finishing up faster. I did have to stop as the partially charged battery had to be recharged; I'm eager to see how far it will go with a single full charge.

I still like the IDEA of the quiet reel mower; but when you're “blessed” with Bermuda grass all over the place... the Greenworks Pro is a lot less stressful. So farewell, Black and Decker. You served us well for nearly seven seasons.

03 September 2018

They call it labor day for a reason!

So we set off to work today. We got up our usual 6 and had coffee and prayers, did a stroll around the neighborhood, and then tackled the garage. Threw things away left and right. Swept and straightened and even washed down some doors. We came in and had a bit more coffee and then decided we needed a bike ride. Down to Maple and back, not too far. About 10 miles round trip from the house, and such a beautiful day. This is our favorite stretch: 

Put some stuff up for sale on FB. Enjoyed an hour siesta in the pool. Then I restacked the wood pile and recovered it (ready to stock up on extra wood this week or next), while Cindi tackled some pruninng on Dave's maple, other yard work and weeding. Some sorting out of clothes and drawers, simplifying bathroom closet and tossing stuff, rearranged fridge and simplified spice cabinet. Cindi did three loads of laundry. Then Cindi dusted bedrooms while I tackled the family room / home office, vacuuming, dusting, and doing wood floor. So it was a most productive day of labor. And no, we still didn't get it all crossed off our list... But tomorrow is another day.

01 September 2018

That irritating collect for Trinity 14

Each year it grates:

O Lord, keep Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because of our frailty we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation...

The sentence hurts the ear. It needs at least a "since" - "since because of our frailty we cannot but fall." Better yet, return to the form that it had in old TLH:

"And because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall..."

The "without Thee" ("sine te") is very much present in the Latin original (Tridentine, Pentecost 14): 

"at quia sine te Iábitur humána mortálitas; tuis semper auxíliis et abstrahátur a nóxiis, et ad salutária dirigátur."

It's just a messed up collect in LSB and needs repair in someway. I'd fix it along these lines:

O Lord, keep Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because human frailty without You cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful....