12 October 2017

Today’s Chapel


Invocation

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Psalm 51

Reading:

A reading from St. Matthew, the 15th chapter.

10 And he called the people to him and said to them, "Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person." 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?" 13 He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit." 15 But Peter said to him, "Explain the parable to us." 16 And he said, "Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone." 

This is the Word of the Lord. R.  

Homily

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Out of the heart. There's the rub. Your heart is your "wanter," in the Bible way of thinking. It's the seat of your desires, the originator of what you want. And it's where the problem arises. You got a heart problem. Me too. And Jesus is at pains to show the Pharisees and us that while we can control a lot of outward stuff, modify this or that behavior, learn to deal with this or that handicap, triumph over this or that bad habit, if there's one thing we cannot get a handle on or actually ever control or govern, it's what we want. 

So what is it that we want? Jesus looked into our wanters and what he saw wasn't very pretty. Out of our wanters came evil thoughts of all sorts, and murder, and adulteries and sexual immorality and stealing and false witness and slander. If you boil them all down they amount to this: I want what I want when I want it and I really don't care about you and what you might want; you just need to get out of my way, let me use you as I see fit and then you go by-bye. 

I remember getting into a discussion with my brother-in-law about Genesis 6 years ago. He thought it HAD to be an exaggeration, that the Lord looked at the wickedness of man and saw "that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Seriously? Only evil? Every intention? Continually? And I remember telling him I know. It seems so over the top, but I think he meant it. That we really are that evil in our hearts, and part of our evil we just can't believe we're as bad as He says we are. I want what I want and I can't fix wanting what I want.  

And God deals with us by what's in our hearts, by what we want. You can't see what I want, although sometimes you might get an idea of what's in it by what we say, what comes out of mouth. And then its usually pretty ugly. But God? You don't need to open your mouth. It's the most terrifying collect in the liturgy: "O almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid." Yeah, He reads your wanter like a book and that's where He wants to deal with us. Jesus tells us that no prettying up the outside, no washing hands, no cleaning the outside of the cup, can begin to address this hideous corruption in the center of our being. I want what I want and I can't fix that. And it's evil. 

He doesn't let his disciples in on the evil of the human heart to leave them in despair. He is the one talking after all. He is the one who has a true human heart just like us, and yet His heart was 100% aligned with the will of His Father. How did the Psalmist put it? "In the volume of the book it is written of me, I have come to do your will, O God." A human being who willed from His conception to His death the will of His Father. It wasn't a cake walk. Remember Gethsemane. Remember the struggle to receive the cup from the Father's hand. But remember the triumph of His human wanter: "Not my will, but thine be done!" And what was that will of the Father? But that a heart-remedy should be provided for all us hopeless wanters, who are so evil and corrupted we can't even believe we're as bad we are (though, if we took the time to ask the people we live with, they'd probably give us a brand new insight). And so to remedy your heart problem and mine, He walks away from the garden and hands himself over to suffering and death. He could have willed it to end at any moment, but He did not. He rested in His Father's will all the way, even until His body hung dead on the tree and Roman lance ran through His side and opened His sacred heart so that healing streams of blood and water could gush out; blood and water, Eucharist and Baptism, the Spirit's power carrying to you the gift to you of a new heart. A new wanter. His wanter within.

Ezekiel foretold what would happen but not how: I will sprinkle clean water on you and you shall be clean from all your uncleanesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 

Only we know that the way He choses to do this in us is not simply all at once yanking out the old heart and inserting the new, but we have as Christians this absolutely bizarre condition of two wanters battling inside of us. Through your Baptism into Jesus, you have the heart of Jesus within you that prays: "Thy will be done, Father! Thy will be done. Teach me to love, to not regard any person as an object for my manipulation and use, but as gifts from your loving hand to be honored and treasured and help me to trust Your merciful love in all things" and it desires that with its whole heart. And you have that old wanter still kicking, and I do mean kicking and screaming and protesting, "No, not that! What I want be done; I want what I want! I, I, I!"

St. Paul's agony in Romans 7: "The good that I want to do I don't do and the evil I don't want to do I end up doing. Oh, who will deliver me from this body of death?" or Galatians, the flesh battles against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these two are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do (on either side!).

In summary, to be a Christian is to be a mess. Two wanters in a death battle. But there is also this: God alone can do the surgery. God alone can take out the old wanter and He is in the process of doing it. He started the surgery with that sprinkling of clean water in your baptism but He only completes it when your baptism is done, when that old wanter dies with your flesh dying and then IT does not come back alive with you again. Ever. It will be gone. Your Baptism gives you into this life of conflicted wanters, but it also promises you that this is God's surgery and He's the one doing it and He we who began this good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.

Until then you wait. You wait and you deal with the mess. You can't fix your wanter. This you confess. But He can and this you also confess. He can give you a new heart and He has. And He is. And He will. And you will finally live with that heart beating in you wholly. Then you can sing "Lord thee I love with all my heart" and it won't be a lie. And so to be a Christian at all is to pray without ceasing for the sacred heart of Jesus to be formed in you. For God to create in you a clean heart and to renew you with His free Spirit. Amen.

Hymn: "Create in Me" #956

Collects

Of the Day: Lord, we implore You, grant Your people grace to withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds to follow You, the only God; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty and most merciful God, comfort with Your Holy Spirit all who are in trouble, want, sickness, anguish of labor, peril of death, or any other adversity, especially those who are in suffering for the sake of Your name and Your truth. We commit into Your hands those we have been asked to remember before You: Al, Amy, Allen and Jan, Grant that they may receive and acknowledge their afflictions as the manifestation of Your fatherly will; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Most heartily do we ask You, kind Father, to rule and govern Your holy catholic church, with all its pastors and ministers, that we may be preserved in the pure doctrine of Your saving Word by which faith toward You may be strengthened, love increased in us toward all people, and Your kingdom extended. Send forth laborers into Your harvest and sustain those whom You have sent, especially remembering today Pr. Gary and Steph Schulte serving in Burkina Faso. Grant that Your word of reconciliation may be proclaimed to all people and the Gospel preached in all the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Taught by our Lord and trusting His promises we are bold to pray: Our Father

Benediction

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

11 October 2017

What we don’t preach on

Is perhaps even more fascinating than what we do. Today's reading was Ephesians 4:1-6. The homily dwelt on the "is"ness of the gifts. Which is right on and solid. The one Church is every bit as much gift as the one Baptism (and yet we SEE many Baptisms). But what captured my mind in the reading was its ending: "one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

And I thought: "Weedon, you have NEVER in your whole life preached on that." And right behind that was the thought: "And I don't remember ever hearing anyone else preach on it either." By now I was rather naughty and my mind drifted from the sermon to the text. What does it mean that it all flowed toward this one God and Father of all. He had just prayed: "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named...." Every family, all. There isn't a human being you meet who doesn't have this Father as his or her father, whether they know it or not. He is the Source from which all that IS has it's ISNESS, without Him being confined by that ISNESS. And He is over all. 

Look at all the uproar in the world and your heart begins to melt and you tremble at the thought of what's coming. And then you stop and remember: Behind it all, there is Father. And the Father is over all, He's working through it all, and in it all. There's not a bit of it that He's lost track of, that's gotten out of hand. Not. A. Bit.

Peace, people loved by God. Peace that flows from the Father who is over all, in all and through all. Whenever you meet a human being, you meet one He created and called to be His child. That's the reason the Son was given into the flesh and why He gave us the one Baptism and the one hope of our calling. That's why there IS a church in this world. 

One Father. Christ's Father made your Father. And He is over all. And He arranges all things, even to enlightening your eyes to see. See what can never be seen in this fallen age but by faith. "Be still and know that I am God." Words from your Father. 

It’s on sale!


What is it? That wonderful work Matthew Carver did to put the readings assigned to the Daily Offices at the Lutheran Magdeburg Cathedral from the early 17th century into a single volume. Click the link: Sts. Maurice and Catherine DAILY LECTIONARY

05 October 2017

A Bit Crazy

That's how life been of late. Let's see: visit to Idaho for Zion's 100th and to see my brother + home for Oliver's birth + flew to NC to drive Lauren and kids and cat back to IL, about a 15 hour trip + Herberts with us for the week and so David's family, Bekah and Andy for much of it, most night's 16 sitting down to dinner + Birthday party for Annabelle and Lydia on Saturday + Choir on Sunday AND Oliver's Baptism AND his party at our house + Dean and boys left for WI on Tuesday + Lauren, girls, and Cindi on Wednesday + Thursday finished sermon for Dean's Installation; Bekah made her daddy a belated birthday breakfast which he enjoyed with her and Andy in between finishing up presentation for Gottesdienst + Tomorrow off to see Stephanie in Springfield and then on up to Wisconsin + Saturday preach Dean's Installations + Sunday attend early service in Gilman Wisconsin and then off to Kewanee IL for Vespers and Oktoberfest + Gottesdienst conference on Monday and Tuesday and then HOME, God willing, for about a week and a half. Bilbo was right. The road goes ever on and on. Whew!

Homily from Today’s Chapel

Brief Service of the Word:


Invocation


Psalm 16 (sung antiphonally)


Reading: Hebrews 12:4–11

4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? 

  "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, 

nor be weary when reproved by him. 

 6  For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, 

and chastises every son whom he receives." 

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 


Homily:


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


He had been in church every Sunday he possibly could. He delighted in Bible Class and actively participated. The family he had grown up in was pious and still to this day his sisters talk about the joy of singing hymns together as they wash the dishes and put them away after meals. He was blessed with three children and numerous grandchildren and a godly wife. And then one day, when attending his granddaughter's volleyball game, he stood up only to fall down. His leg broke. And broke because a cancer had eaten all the way through the bone. I was his pastor and with him when the news came. It took him a while to process it, and he didn't say it to me but to his wife: "I guess God doesn't love me anymore."


When she shared this with me, my heart sank and I wanted to wallop him upside the head with a Bible. How could he think that? After all the sermons and Bible Classes, how? What would HE tell a coworker or a friend who said such nonsense to him? 


But you know, that IS the struggle. It's one thing to know the love of God in theory, that is when the times are good. It's another thing to believe it and hold fast to it when the discipline touches you, your body, your life, your loved ones. 


It was a dark moment for him, but he came out, as Luther would say, kissing the rod. Yes, his body was, short of a miracle, not going to recover this time. But he found peace: he was "subject to the Father of spirits" and so he lived and dies and yet lives still. He triumphed in submission, and spent his final days actively witnessing his hope to the staff in the home where he was being treated.


God, of course, is not terribly interested in your happiness. In fact, not interested in it at all, and neither should you be. The God who, you tell yourself, wants you to be happy, that is just an idol of your own making. The real God wants you to be holy. Or more accurately, to share His holiness. And this doesn't come from giving you nothing but sunny days and balmy skies and smooth sailing in your relationships and in your health and in your pocketbook or portfolio. It comes when He takes the rod in hand, treating you as His sons and daughters, whom He loves entirely too much to leave as slaves to hedonism, to pleasure. God is NOT against pleasure. He is against you settling for the teasing tastes that He sends to lead you to something more. The more is Him: "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." And you know who is at His right hand. He is the Joy and He is the Pleasures forevermore. The whole point of the discipline, then, is to train you to find in Jesus all your joy, all your pleasure, and to find Him to be enough. And this is not something that is apparent when you are living the life of Job pre God's and Job's crap match. 


So He sends the sorrows. Not because He hates you. Because He loves you. Because He wants you to share in His holiness, because He wants you to find in Jesus and in His love for you absolutely everything that you truly need for time and for eternity. 


Don't beat yourself up when you have doubts about His love when the trials come. The point of the trials is to expose the doubts, to send you running into the Savior's arms and to have you hear His Spirit's testimony in your hearts: "You are mine, child. I love you. I died for you. I forgive you every sin. I will raise you from the dead. I have your every need covered. Really and truly. Don't be afraid. Hush now. Just rest here in my arms."


In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Hymn: All Depends on Our Possessing 732


Prayers:


O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Father of spirits, we ask for the suffering the grace of submission to Your will that they may know in the hardships Your love and so live. We especially commend to You Al, Amy, Allan, Jan, together with all the suffering and the grieving through the recent tragedies. Grant to each the comfort and restoration that is according to Your will, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 


Gracious Giver of Life, it is Your will that none perish but that all be saved and come to know the truth of Your love. Hear our prayers for Pr. Jonathan Clausing and his family as he serves in Kenya, that they be strengthened in sharing the good news and provided with their daily bread; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Taught by our Lord and trusting His promises we are bold to pray: Our Father...


The grace of our Lord Jesus + Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all! Amen.

02 October 2017

And yes, this being the 2nd of the Month

The Psalter for daily prayer this morning included

From Psalm 10:

He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent, his eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket... The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, "God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it." Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand, and forget not the afflicted.

From Psalm 11:

For behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart; if the foundations are destroyed what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man. The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

From Psalm 12

On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Oh, Christians! Let us take up our Psalters again and pray. We will find in the Songs of David the very words we need for when our own words fail.

01 October 2017

In convertendo

"He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

I remember five years ago this August driving Lauren, Sawyer, and Cindi to the airport, coming home and watching the light fade on the wall. Great sadness. A stage in life's journey was over (having all my children close at hand). Now my daughter and her little family (hey, it was little at the time!) would be 14 hours away by car. And as I was driving Lauren and the four kids (plus that wretched cat) back to Illinois for a period of transition as they prepare to head up to Wisconsin as Dean assumes the pastorate of two parishes (this time only 8 hours away), I thought: I'm living Psalm 126. I went out weeping that August day, carrying precious seed for sowing, but I'm rejoicing in bringing the sheaves home with me. And since that day, three grandchildren here in Illinois, and the engagement of youngest daughter, Rebekah, with her upcoming marriage in May to Andy. The precious seeds, planted, are flourishing and for that all glory be to God on high!

Grandparent joy

Our seven...for a hurried pic. Think herding cats...

All of Oliver's grandparents: Karen and Larry, Cindi and I. We had all his living great grandparents too, and he has FIVE of them. But somehow missed that picture. UGH.

The Baptism of Oliver James Weedon

Receive the sign of the holy cross...
I baptize you into the name of the Father...
The almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given You the new birth of water and the Spirit, strengthen you with His grace to life everlasting (anointing)


Receive this burning light to show that you have received Christ who is the Light of the world.

29 September 2017

Joy of St. Michael’s


Today, Trinity Lutheran Church in Millstadt, IL sponsored a Eucharist at the International Center for the employees (a number of whom attend Trinity!) and we were blessed to have Trinity's pastor, Pastor Ill, serve as celebrant, assisted by Pr. Jonathan Fisk. You can hear Pr. Ill's homily here as well as the chapel choir's rendition of the Sanctus, Isaiah, Mighty Seer under the direction of Kantor Henry Gerike.

A couple of Meaghan’s beautiful pics

And this is my collection of grandchildren at the moment: Annabelle, Lydia, Felicity, Henry, Flynn, Sawyer and Oliver.

28 September 2017

Today’s Homily

Chapel for Thursday, 9/28

Text: Matthew 6:25–33

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 

Catechism, conclusion of First Article Explanation. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I remember preaching a stupid sermon on this text years ago when I was a young pup out of the sem, and one of my members pointed out the obvious. But Pastor, sometimes there isn't food and the bird dies. And sometimes the bird is food for the cat. Too true. I had preached a Jesus akin to Annie and her cheerful the sun will come tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar, come what may. But Jesus is no flower child of the 60's, don't worry, be happy. The key to getting what he says is not to ignore the last verse. He does not say: "Don't worry about tomorrow because it will all be okay." He says: "Don't worry about tomorrow because today's burden and troubles are quite enough for you. Each day's grief is enough on its own without you loading it up with fears about tomorrow."

So each day has its trouble, its own badness. Kaka. The Greek there. Don't go piling up more of the smelly stuff than you've already got on your plate for today. And that is the point about the birds and the flowers. Their tomorrow isn't what occupies them. They live in the moment. They are "present" as we say these days. Luther says that the little bird gets up and sings to the Father its matins without even a thought of where the food is coming from, and then goes off to find it (or to be found by the pious cat not doubt saying: "For what we are about to receive…"). Either way, no anxiety. No fear. Because it all comes from the hand of the one Jesus tells you is "your heavenly Father" who knows what you need. 

And there He stands. He who is really the only thing you need. You have Him, your Jesus, you have everything. You have peace. Not anxiety. St. Paul got the hang of it when he marvelled: "He who did not spare His only Son but have Him up for us all, how will he not also with Him graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32. Ponder that: not just that He gives you all the things you think you need, but that HE is the one who is graciously giving you all things. All things. Even the troubles. 

Job got it. When his wife suggested that it was rather worthless to serve a God who couldn't keep your kids alive and your money together, better just curse him and be done with him for good, Job told her to stop speaking like a foolish woman. "Shall we receive good (meaning things we like) from the hand of God and shall we not receive evil (ra in Hebrew, kaka in the LXX, the trouble, the grief)?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Jesus teaches you to receive all as gracious gift from the Father because you, after all, are worth more than the birds or the lilies. Your worth was shown in the gift of the Son into your flesh in order to be given into death. Like the grass tossed into the oven, He went into lonely place that we had chosen for ourselves on His cross. He received it as gift. Never lose that. "Shall I not drink the cup that MY FATHER HAS GIVEN ME?" His whole life was trust that His Father's will was gracious. And so, like the bird that becomes food for the cat, He became food for death. Went into it trusting His Father and so burst its stinking gullet wide open. Never had death swallowed something so splendidly indigestible. He went in knowing that even this was gracious gift to receive from the hand of the Father and His resurrection proved that His faith was not misplaced. He's raised from the dead to be food for you and to clothe you with His very own unfailing trust in the Father.

"Trust my Father," is His constant call to you and to me. "He graciously gives you all things, and you know this because He graciously gave you me. He's not holding back on you. When the day's troubles mount, they don't come to you from any hand but His. From the hand of the one whose love gave me to be Your Savior to forgive your anxieties, to destroy your death, to bring you with me into the joy of my way of living, my liturgy, where everything comes as gracious gift from the hand of my Father, and so received ends up being in the end nothing but blessing. Even the kaka. Especially the kaka." 

For all this is it indeed my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hymn: 760 What God Ordains is Always Good




26 September 2017

So today


A co-worker congratulated me on my new book. Didn't know how he even knew about it, so I googled and voila!



24 September 2017

Hymn of the Day for Trinity 15

In a contemporary arrangement. Enjoy! What God Ordains Is Always Good

And, of course, the classic Pachelbel organ setting for this day: Was Gott tut das is wohlgetan

23 September 2017

On the Tapestry


The liturgy calls life in this age "a vale of tears" and I confess, as one is usually ridiculously upbeat, that always struck me as just wrong. But then there are times...when the darkness woven into the tapestry seems far greater than the occasional threads of gold. Piepkorn spoke, I believe, of surd evil. The darkness that you can't wrap your mind around. We've enjoyed ourselves in Puerto Rico. We even toyed with what it would be like to live there. The poor people of that Island and of so many others devastated. We honeymooned on St. Thomas and Cindi's aunt and uncle had a lovely place there for years. Is it gone? One of our closest friends in all the world, stricken with cancer. Still waiting for a complete diagnosis. Hearts breaking. A coworker's nephew, dead. Our next-door neighbor battling some horrid condition that continually saps her strength and her ability to communicate and despite trips to Mayo, no answers. No clue. Lauren and Dean moving to Wisconsin, but that means saying goodbye to some wonderful saints that they (and we!) have come to love and treasure. And how it brings back all the pain of leaving NC ourselves to come to Hamel all those years ago. Yes, this is a vale of tears. Sadness more than our hearts can bear at times.

And yet against the darkness woven into our lives, there glitter the threads of gold. This week, for us, the gift of grandchild #7 and grandson #4: Oliver James. Spending time with my brother, whom I had not seen in the flesh for some 12 years, travelling up and down Idaho with him and marvelling together at the beauty of God's world. Thankfulness for all the love that the good folks have St. Paul have lavished on Lauren and Dean and the kids; how they stepped in for us when we could not be there. Thankfulness that Lauren and Dean will now be only 8 hours away and the hope and plan of seeing more of them. Long weekends become possibilities! The gift of friends who seem always to know when to reach out and brighten a day. And the greatest of all: when you step back and look at the tapestry, you see that the golden threads and the dark background are not random. They trace an image. An image of the Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with Grief, the Man who walked the path of love for us and would let nothing deter Him from His cross, and who promises that in the end, all the darkness will be swallowed up in the light of His love. 

If you're in the darkness, and it seems overwhelming, hang tight to Him. To the picture He is weaving. And enjoy those threads of gold to the fullest. They are only intermittent in this vale of tears, but so many times the joy that shines through them far outruns the sorrows.


21 September 2017

What a day!


Heard as I was leaving for work that grand-baby #7 was preparing to make his entrance into the world. Got to meet him this afternoon. His parents still have not decided on exactly what he will be named (or should I say, the order of his names). [Update: His name is Oliver James Weedon]


But also at work learned of the tragic death of co-worker's nephew... saw the Ruesch family, missionaries who had just been evacuated from Puerto Rico... And the sad news that continues to roll out of Mexico. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

As ever in life, the joys and sorrows mingle and yet we confess that joy will have the final word. "There'll be joy in the morning on that day!"

20 September 2017

A wonderful visit...

...with my oldest brother. Who always manages to live in gorgeous locales. Idaho. And a great visit with the saints of Zion Lutheran Church in Nampa for their 100th anniversary. 



11 September 2017

One beauty

Of the gift of prayer is that it admits of no distances. You can be miles and miles away from the one you love who is hurting, and yet when you pick them up in prayer and carry them to Jesus, you find yourself with them before Him. And with Him there is no distance. He fills heaven and earth. And this makes your prayer closet cozy indeed. When your heart aches for those who are miles away and hurting, there is nothing like prayer. Nothing at all. 

You really should give a listen


To this stunning keynote by Kantor Hildebrand that was the concluding plenary at this summer's Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music (sponsored by the Center for Church Music of Concordia University, Chicago):

 “The Just Live by Faith: Make It Plain in Song!”

You will be blessed. Promise!

Patristic Quote of the Day

A psalm is sung at home and repeated outdoors; it is learned without effort and retained with delight. A psalm joins those with differences, unites those at odds and reconciles those who have been offended, for who will not concede to him with whom one sings to God in one voice? It is after all a great bond of unity for a full number of people join in one chorus.—St. Ambrose, PL xiv, 925

10 September 2017

Kudos to our Brothers and Sisters in WELS


For their proposed revision of the Common Service. Quite nicely done. I especially appreciated their Prayer of Thanksgiving (post-Sanctus, pre-Our Father). But before we get to that, some notes in general. The Introit has gone AWOL, or rather has been replaced by the Hymn which begins the liturgy and by the fuller responsorial Psalm between first and second readings. Then Invocation, Confession of Sins, Absolution. Kyrie (the longer form we have in DS 1, 2) and Gloria in Excelsis. Then Salutation (not titled) and Prayer of the Day, First Reading, Psalm of the Day, Second Reading, Verse of the Day, Gospel, Hymn of the Day, Sermon, Nicene Creed (alas, still fully human), Prayer of the Church (SEATED???), Offering, Preface, Sanctus, Prayer of Thanksgiving (on which anon), Lord’s Prayer, Words of Institution and Peace (not titled), Lamb of God, Distribution with hymns, versicles (BOTH from the old Common Service), Post-Communion Collect and Benediction (called Blessing), and a final Hymn. I suspect it will be imminently accessible and the new music is pretty good. Here’s the text of that Prayer of Thanksgiving:

M: Blessed are you, Lord God, eternal King and gracious Father. In love you made us the crown of your creation. In mercy you planned our salvation. In grace you sent your Son to redeem us from sin.

We remember and give you thanks 
that your eternal Son, Jesus Christ, became flesh and made his dwelling among us, 
that he willingly placed himself under law to redeem those under law, 
that he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross, 
that he has destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 

Bless us as we receive your Son's body and blood in this Sacrament. Forgive our sins, increase our faith, strengthen our fellowship, and deepen our longing for the day when Christ will welcome us to his eternal feast. Praise and thanks to you, O God our Father, and to your Son, and to the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C: Amen.

So there is recognition of creation, of salvation history culminating in the sending of the Son. An anamnesis composed of Scripture’s own words and a prayer for worthy reception and that the Sacrament may have its fruit in our lives AND a reference to the parousia. And all that in a shocking economy of words! I think this is quite well done.

07 September 2017

Two things

And they aren't related, except they are at the deepest level.

First, at my sister-in-law's recommendation, I've been listening to a series of lectures titled The Story of Human Language. It is an amazing presentation and invites us to step outside of the textbooks and look at and think about language as the living thing it is; ever changing; ever moving from this to that. It is absolutely riveting. I have been listening on Audible and the lecturer, Dr. John McWhorter throws out tangents like fireworks and without ever slowing his pace. The pace is ridiculously fast and that makes it all the more intriguing. Information flows at you from languages around the globe and yet it is quite accessible. Highly, highly recommended.

The other thing was tonight's choir rehearsal. Wow. We started with Bach and Jan said quite simply: "The Bach chorale is the backbone (or did she say foundation?) of the Lutheran Choir." YES. And then a lovely piece she composed, striking in its chord changes. Then to Pachelbel ("On God and Not On Human Trust") and finally to Buxtehude ("Lord, Keep Us Steadfast"). It was fun, challenging, amazing.

The deeper relation is that music is a language and language is "musical." They draw toward each other. Music has even been called "the universal language" and not without reason. But music begs for words. It just does. I suppose it makes me a defective human being, but I can suffer through a Beethoven Symphony. Shoot, I even rather enjoy the pastoral one before it goes on forever. BUT what I have always been drawn to is the magical dance of music and words. My German is just sufficient to enjoy the entirety of Pachelbel's Mass for Christmas Day, or Sch├╝tz' Christmas Vespers. I did take a couple semesters of Russian in College but somehow memorizing how to say: "Is Peter Ivanovich at home? No, he is at work. Where does he work? At the factory" never equipped me to understand the sublime words of Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil. And even though I don't know what they're saying (other than the odd "Slava" and "alleluia"), I could listen to it for hours on end. I don't know the words and yet at some level I'll never understand I know that they FIT the music.

And that is what I love about the music we sang in choir tonight. The words and the music really and truly DANCE together. It's hard to stand still. Just as with moments in the Rachmaninov you WANT to fall flat on your face before the beauty of such Divine Love, so in the Pachbel "On God and Not on Human Trust" you want to twirl about like David before the Ark. The words and the music are not in any tension, but the one illumines the other. Language is more than communication. Language is magical and the ability to tell stories to one another is probably the key thing that makes human being BE human beings, looked at anthropologically. And what people does not sing? But there can be no question that the singing took on a whole new direction and opened new vistas when music found its home in the Word of God. Oh, they're not equal. The music is there to serve the Word, not vice versa. And the Word is what calls forth the music (just think of how we can't stop making new hymns about Christmas, about Easter). But the music is true when it lets the Word lead the waltz, set the tone, and fill it to overflowing; then it is the sung story of Divine Love, shining forth from manger, from cross, from shattered tomb.

Patristic Quote of the Day

A psalm is the blessing of the people, the praise of God, the commendation of the multitude, the applause of all, the speech of every man, the voice of the Church, the sonorous profession of faith, devotion full of authority, the joy of liberty, the noise of good cheer, and the echo of gladness.—St. Ambrose PL xiv:924

06 September 2017

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Thus He teaches us to correct others more by the godly attitude of praying than by the troublesome impulse of speaking. --Martin Luther LW 11, p. 488.

05 September 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

Thus let the servant of Christ sing, so that not the voice of the singer but the words that are read give pleasure; in order that the evil spirit which was in Saul be cast out from those similarly possessed by it, and not introduced into those who have made of God's house a popular theatre.—St. Jerome, PL 26:529

04 September 2017

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Cindi and I had a really great Labor Day weekend. She had had some work done on her bike, and they called on Friday to let us know it was ready for pick up. Perfect. The goal this weekend was to be 100% free of using gasoline. We biked everywhere. Saturday, we went exploring a bit and biked in the morning, and spent the afternoon in the pool and reading, and then went for an evening ride too. We laughed a bit because I said: "Let's turn at Millie's and then ride up to Ray and Arline's." Well, neither Millie nor Ray and Arline have lived in those houses for a very long time, but that's still how we think of them! Also all day Saturday, I observed an internet fast. That was refreshing and highly recommended.

Sunday we got up a little early and rode our bikes up to St. Paul's. I was cantor at early and once again we were blessed by outstanding organ music (I love it when we get Bach!) and a comforting homily by Pr. Ball. During Bible Class we found out for certain that Dean had announced to his beloved St. Paul's that he was taking the new calls up to Wisconsin. We came home and fixed our usual brunch, though it was a smaller crowd than usual. Opa and the David Weedon family joined us. Lois was away with her sister and Bekah and Andy were up in Minneapolis. After brunch, we began a 24 hour water only fast. We enjoyed some pool time, read, and I went for another walk. 

Monday, still into the water only fast, we got up a bit late, said prayers, and immediately hit the trail. This time we took Staunton Road down to the Nickel Plate Trail, and headed toward Alhambra. We only made it up to Marine Road, before it was time to turn back, but it was a great ride. See the pics below. Came home and vacuumed the pool and then took a snooze floating on the water. At 1 p.m. the 24 hour fast was over and we celebrated with some bullet-proof coffee. David and Meaghan arrived with the kids, then. David and Lydia enjoyed some pool time with Nana while Henry toddled around inside amusing Meaghan and his grandpa. Then the kids went down for naps and we got in a real game of Liverpool. Amazing. We got through the whole game, and the very, very pregnant momma ended up the winner for the day. Then it was time for the feast. Steaks on the grill (David has turned into quite the chef, like his mom!) and hotdogs (for us weirdos who prefer hotdogs to steak); leftover curried chicken; a delicious cucumber and tomato salad with feta and dill; fresh fruit (thanks, Opa) and Meaghan brought a delicious coconut-date-almond thingy that we devoured.

Then we noticed the storm rolling in. The David Weedons headed home and Opa too. We brought in the Lemon Tree and stacked up the chairs, and did it ever blow and pour! Cindi says it has topped 3 inches. Definitely still feeling tired from the long ride and the extensive time in the sun today; bedtime will be early. But thanks be to God for just a great and relaxing weekend. 



01 September 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

Whoever reads there [the Psalter] has a special remedy whereby he can cure the wounds of selfish passion.—St. Ambrose of Milan, PL XIV.923

31 August 2017

Chapel for 8.31.17


Prayer and Preaching, page 260.

1 Cor. 15:1–10

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

Catechism: from the Third Article

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel…

Homily:

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Called me by the Gospel. This is where faith comes from. From the Holy Spirit who calls by the Gospel and the calling is a calling from God to you, that you come to Him. Faith is never a possession. It's not something you stick in your pocket and keep. Faith always and only arises from the Gospel. Our conviction that this is so explains a peculiarity of Lutheranism.

In other churches, the gospel of Christ crucified for our sins and raised for our justification according to the Scriptures is something that folks fully credit and believe; and yet it is not something that they think they need to speak to Christians all the time. It's more aimed at those who do not believe to bring them to faith. But Lutherans are weird and believe that the Gospel is as much for Christians as anyone else. Maybe in this instance, we just listened to what St. Paul said. Did you catch it?

I would remind you of the Gospel I preached to you, which you received or welcomed, in which you STAND, and by which you are BEING SAVED, if you hold fast (not letting go!) the word I preached to you. It's the same point he makes in Romans 10: "Faith comes from HEARING and hearing from the Word of Christ." NOT "Faith came from hearing." Faith COMES from hearing, from the hearing of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel of the Crucified and Risen Lord calling you to the Father's embrace.

Which means, for the life of the Church and of the Christian, that there is no moving on to other stuff. "Yeah, yeah. Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead to wipe out my death. Got it. Now what?" No. The Church preaches the Gospel to you so that you might always believe, hearing that in Jesus' death the Father really has wiped out your sins and by His resurrection from the dead, He punched a hole through death for you so that He will bring you out of it on the Last Day, raising YOU as He was raised into a life that has no end. This is not easy stuff to hold fast to. Not when Satan wakes you up at night to play a DVD of the sins of your past and of your present; not when you see your body begin to fail you, or the bodies of those you dearly love failing them. No believing it is not easy. In fact, believing it is impossible. It takes an act of God to give you the faith that that Christ's blood really does cover the whole lot of your sin; it takes an act of God to let you look at your loved one's corpse and believe it will live again, or to breathe your last and to do so in faith that it's acutally not the last breath you will take.

So the Church speaks a message to you for you to stand in, to revel in, to hear and be amazed at again and again. The Spirit works faith through it. And the only way it will fail is if it's not true. And that's what Paul is at pains to show you. It's true. Cephas saw him. The apostles saw him. Some five hundred folk saw him. James saw him. And even Paul on that road outside Damascus saw Him. He rose from the dead. And if He rose from the dead, your sins are gone and your future is bright with resurrection. "I'm not sure I can believe that" you might think. And the Church's answer is: "No, of course you can't. But listen. Listen as we tell what is true and you'll surprise yourself that you DO believe after all, and you'll know that it didn't come from you and that it doesn't come from you. It comes from the Father who calls you by the Spirit to faith in His Son by proclaiming the Gospel in which you stand and to which you cling for dear life. 

So yeah, we Lutherans are weird when it comes to the Gospel. We know we can never hear it often enough; and that's a good thing!

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Hymn: "If Christ Had Not Been Raised from Death" 486

Prayers:

For all affected by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath; for those who mourn the loss of loved ones; for those who have lost home, property or employment; for all who seek to bring relief and care to devastated lives, broken hearts and injured bodies, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

30 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day


Many who have not even made their first attempt at reading know all of David [the Psalms] by heart and recite him in order. Yet it is not only in the cities and the churches that he is so prominent on every occasion and with people of all ages; even in the fields and deserts and stretching into the uninhabited wasteland, he rouses sacred choirs to God with greater zeal... And at night  all men are dominated by physical sleep and drawn into the depths, and David alone stands by, arousing all the servants of God to angelic vigils, turning earth to heaven and making angels of men.—Pseudo-John Chrysostom, PG LXIV, 12-13

29 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

Above, the hosts of angels sing praise; below, men form choirs in the churches and imitate them by singing the same doxology. Above, the Seraphim cry out the thrice-holy hymn; below, the human throng sends up the same cry. The inhabitants of heaven and earth are brought together in a common solemn assembly; there is one thanksgiving, one shout of delight, one joyful chorus.—St. John Chrysostom, PG LVI.97

28 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

I say these things, not so that you alone sing praise, but so that you teach your children and wives also to sing such songs, not only while weaving or while engaged in other tasks, but especially at table.—St. John Chrysostom, PG LV, 157

27 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day


A psalm is a city of refuge from the demons; a means of inducing help from the angels, a weapon in fears by night, a rest from the toils of the day, a safeguard for infants, an adornment for those at the height of their vigour, a consolation for the elders, a most fitting ornament for women. It peoples the solitudes; it rids the market places of excesses; it is the elementary exposition of beginners, the improvement of those advancing, the solid support of the perfect, the voice of the Church. It brightens feast days; it creates a sorrow which is in accordance with God. For, a psalm calls forth a tear even from a heart of stone. A psalm is the work of angels, a heavenly institution, the spiritual incense.—St. Basil the Great, PG XXIX:212

Psalm 1

What a Weekend!

On Friday, my regular announcer, Mark Stevens, was having some surgery. I figured he'd be out the week. I was planning on looking in on him on Monday, but the Lord's plans are not ours. He died in the afternoon, after his surgery. "In media vitae..." He was a very gentle and kind man. He'd fought his way back from a stroke that affected his ability to speak to being able to announce on the radio again. He will be greatly missed in the KFUO studios.

On Saturday, my youngest facetimed us to announce that she and Andy are officially engaged. She showed us her ring and she says she can't stop smiling. We can't stop smiling either. We've really come to love Andy a great deal and are very happy to welcome him to the family. We are so blessed in the children our children have married; all strong and devout Lutheran Christians and all just wonderful people.



On Sunday, Dean announced to his congregation in North Carolina that he has received a call from two parishes up in northern Wisconsin. Keep Dean and Lauren in your prayers, please, as they deliberate staying or going. So heart-wrenching either way, of course.

25 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

For from strange songs, harm and destruction enter in along with many a dread thing, since what is wanton and contrary to the law in these songs settles in the various parts of the soul, rendering it weak and soft. But from the spiritual psalms can come considerable pleasure, much that is useful, much that is holy, and the foundation of all philosophy, as these texts cleanse the soul and the Holy Spirit flies swiftly to the soul who sings such songs.—St. John Chrysostom, PG LV, 157

24 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

Who can consider one to be a foe with whom one utters the same prayer to God! Thus psalmody provides the greatest of all goods, charity, by devising in its common song a certain bond of unity, and by joining together the people into the concord of a single chorus.—St. Basil the Great, PG XXIX:212

23 August 2017

Patristic Quote of the Day

[The most holy and illustrious prophet David] sings among us of Christ, and through him Christ indeed sang of Himself.—Tertullian, De carne Christi, PL 11,786

22 August 2017

Sunday and Eclipse

HT Jerry Gernander


For pointing out this very well done animation. Want the Luther story in a nutshell. Here you go!

20 August 2017

Trinity X


Church was pleasantly full at the early Divine Service today. Don't know about the later one. I was blessed to serve as cantor for Introit, Gradual and Alleluia verse. The irrepresible joy of the Church shown from the first notes of Kantor Muth’s Lasst uns erfreuen. We received “the gifts Christ freely gives” (and we sang that hymn too!) with a certain sobriety, given the events in the country and world of late. But Pastor pointed us solidly to the peace that comes from hanging on the words of Jesus, a peace that the disturbances of the world drive us ever more to seek after. And amidst a world where change and uncertainty and a profound sense of dis-ease surrounds us, where everything we vainly imagine firm and certain inevitably gives way, to gather around the words that will never pass away and to sing the age old liturgy and the sturdy of hymns of those who went through far worse than we've ever dreamed and yet who kept on singing and testifying to the peace that is in Jesus, to kneel with them at the altar and receive the priceless gift of this world’s ransom, and to have had the old prayers in our mouths and in our hearts this day...well, yes, “a haven of peace for an exhausted world” indeed.

This afternoon at 4:30 p.m., the congregation will gather once again to sing a solemn joyous Vespers. We'll be installing a Kantor, a deaconess, a principal, and a new teacher. The gifts Christ freely gives includes these wonderful PEOPLE whom He sents to serve us and to serve with us. Choir will be singing, bells will be ringing, trumpet sounding, strings humming, and the organ leading. If you're in the area, come and join us by all means. 

15 August 2017

A Repeat from Yesteryear upon the Day of St. Mary



A Dormition Meditation

I remember when the angel came and told me, and my heart burst with joy and terror.

I remember when I came to the door of Zecharias' house and Elizabeth knew my secret and my heart melted and my eyes burned with tears and my mouth prophesied.

I remember when I felt your movement first inside my body, and I realized that I was the living ark of the living God.

I remember when first I saw your face, and touched your hands, and looked into my Joseph's eyes.

I remember when they came creeping in to see you, to worship you, the shepherds of the night, and told me songs of angels and glory in the highest and peace on earth. 

I remember when we brought you to the temple and the old man took you in his arms and blessed God, ready to die, and told me of pain yet to come.

I remember when they came from the East and bowed before you as I held you and gave their gifts - the gold, the incense and the myrrh, while the star's light shone upon us.

I remember when he woke me and we fled into the night ahead of the terror of Herod's sword.

I remember when we came home at last, and people looked and talked, but you were all our joy.

I remember when you stayed behind, when you left us, and we found you in the temple and my heart rose up in fear realizing that you chose to abide in the place of sacrifice and death.

I remember when you spoke to me in roughness and yet made the water into wine.

I remember when we came to make you take your rest and you taught me that all these in need were dear to you as your own family.

I remember when they took you, tortured you, and crucified you; and before my eyes rose up the old man in the temple – his words haunted me still – and a sword ran me through as I watched you dying.

I remember when you looked on me and the beloved one and gave us to each other for all our days. 

I remember when the light died in your eyes and my heart sank beyond tears and words.

I remember after the empty days when they came and told me that you lived again, and joy flooded my heart, and I knew then what I had always known - your every promise was true.

I remember when we prayed together after you had gone into heaven and the Spirit came in wind and flame.

I remember how they went and told the news to all the world. And I welcomed each new believer as my beloved child, a brother of my Son, the King of all.

I remember it all now as I die, as I lay my head down in death. 

My Son, I am not afraid. I go to you, to you who have conquered death, to you who are the Forgiveness of all sins. Receive me, child. Receive me. 

I remember. I remember. I remember.

12 August 2017

Saturday morning jaunt

Cindi sold some stuff on FB marketplace, so we had to wait for the person to come and pick up her item, but then we hit the trail together. Went down to Edwardsville, called Bekah to see if we could stop in. She was at Sacred Grounds enjoying a bit of breakfast so we headed over and got ourselves a cup of joe and visited with that GREEN haired girl briefly. Then we headed back up to Hamel. An altogether enjoyable 20 mile round trip.

11 August 2017

Thought for the day

The liturgy is the house that the Church has built (and still is building) for her children to live in and shelter under the Word of God.

10 August 2017

Miscommunication

A quiet morning. Did my walk and pushups, but then spent quite a bit of time reading on the deck with some french press at hand (thank you, Matt Bowers). When Cindi got back from work, we took another walk, during which Cindi announced she was going to head for the pool in a few minutes. We got in the house and hadn't sat down for long before Bekah showed up and wanted Cindi to do some more Konmari with her during her lunch break.  They retreated to the basement. I figured they'd be at it for a while, so headed out on my bike and did a quick 2 miles around town. When I got back, Bekah's car was gone. I went and got into my bathing suit to join Cindi in the pool. Only she wasn't in the pool. Odd, I thought. But I enjoyed it for a while by myself. Then I thought: "I wonder if her car is here." Yup. I went downstairs and all was dark. I looked in the garage again and noticed that HER bike was gone. Ah, I thought. She's gone on a ride. I went back and began vacuuming the pool. I let it run a long time and finally came in. She's still not back. I figure, SHE must have gone to Edwardsville (like I did on Tuesday), but she didn't invite me to go with her. That's weird. And it left me a little irritated.

I start to mow the lawn, and notice halfway through that her bike's back. When I finish we find out that she thought that *I* had taken off for Edwardsville without saying a word and was a little irritated about that; she rode down to catch up or meet me on the way. A few sprinkles, but no downpours, and she went all the way to Chapman before turning back. Of course, she never did catch up with me because I was home. 

Here we were, both a little irritated with each other, and once the whole story was known, we could only laugh. My fault for not telling her where I went while she and Bekah were working.

So, after dinner we DID get a joint bike ride in. Rode around town and up to Green Hedge and back. 

August

Is kind of a Herberts month. Lauren and Dean were married on August 4th, TEN YEARS AGO. Wow. And Sawyer was born on August 8th, FIVE YEARS AGO. And of course, Lauren turns THIRTY tomorrow, August 11th (which was also Lynn's birthday). Can we really have been parents for thirty years and inlaws for ten and grandparents for five? It scarcely seems possible. Why, just yesterday Cindi was sitting in the trunk of her car outside Wheaton High School singing "Bo Jangles" to me, right?