Thursday, September 30, 2021

September 2021 Overview

September 2021 blog header

Lectionary Project :: September

early September trees and sky in Big Bear Birdhouse tree and chair in Big Bear

actual Big Bear in the town of Big Bear Labor Day weekend in Big Bear buildings with flags

A Frame cabin and yard in Big Bear

• Labor Day Weekend I visited Big Bear for the first time ever—late Friday evening through late Tuesday afternoon!!! Monday we experienced a 90 minute cruise around Big Bear Lake on Miss Liberty, but none of my pictures were good enough to blog.

Los Angeles Food Bank truck

Los Angeles Food Bank truck

Green Veggies and Red Yogurt to go Food Bank veggies ready to go

• All month I've enjoyed working on Monday Food Distribution. Powered by grants, donations, by nearby farms, and by human hands and feet, it's particularly important as COVID continues in this low income community with a high proportion of immigrants.

Trio of bright pink flowers in Big Bear

light pink flowers in greenery in Big Bear

Yellow Hibiscus in Los Angeles

• September flowers were lovely everywhere.

outside All Saints Church Inside All Saints Church

• After a year and a half long break due to COVID, Conference Assemblies are back. I've at least partly moved from Los Angeles Metro to Twin Valleys; Sunday evening at All Saints Sun Valley included a mandated business meeting plus a festive Eucharist to celebrate the formal start of the cooperative Twin Valleys (Santa Clarita and San Fernando) Parish that allows small churches to do more together than they could by themselves. Historically, Conference Assembly always included a good meal. This time we had delicious boxed sandwich, salad, savory bread stick, and dessert from a local restaurant whose name I'd love to have. Guests could dine inside or outside but stayed in their own affinity pods. These are the two best pictures from my phone.…for some reason, the couple dozen excellent views I got on my camera weren't on the SD card. Next time, maybe?

Community Garden September Scene with chair Community Garden in September looking down the row

• I've long loved food ministries, and mostly have done kitchen to table to consumer, so I'm excited to get in on the growing experience from the ground up. Justice is important. Food is essential.

Living Local 2021

• COVID intensified Living Local, yet there's no reason to quit. Ever.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Care

Five Minute Friday Word is very near you Deuteronomy 30:14
Five Minute Friday :: Care Linkup

So… my illustration has the gerund caring because I love its sense of ongoing care that never quits.
Deuteronomy 30:14 "The word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you can do it."

Better translation: "The word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart—and you will do it!" Deuteronomy 30:14

"You will do it" carries a double meaning of charge and promise; no serious worries because the Spirit of Life will be there with you and for you.

God gave Moses' people Ten Words or Commandments amidst their tedious trek to the place God first promised Abraham. I can hear God's nascent nation Israel joyfully announcing, "We will do all the words God has spoken!" To do the words of the commands means to claim humanity's created in God's image identity of love, mercy, and justice for our neighbors. With its constant concern for caring action on the other's behalf, Deuteronomy (that together with Exodus records the actual decalogue or ten words) later on includes the statement I illustrated and that the Apostle Paul famously quotes in Romans 10:8.

The word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart—and you will do it!

We will do the word because that word of life is so close to us. You may know heart in Hebrew biology is where will, intention, and determination dwell. Our hearts also carry emotion and creativity, but more than anything if it starts in our hearts, it will end in our interactions.

This weekend on my Lectionary Project blog where I write each week about one of the scripture readings, I'll reflect on James' epistle. I hadn't been very familiar with the book, but as I read and studied, it became clear the entire letter is about the relationships of individuals in community and the community's call to care for each member. It's mutual and it's reciprocal. James the author (who probably wasn't Jesus' disciple James Zebedee, who may have been Jesus' brother James, or a different James/Jacob may have written it) describes people who rock divine holiness in their common life and in their individual lives because like Jesus, they embody love, justice, mercy, and caring.

The COVID19 pandemic continues worldwide; at least half the world has no access to vaccines yet. How about those of us who have no medical or other contraindication to getting jabbed? Have we cared enough for each other and cared sufficiently for our own well-being to get that shot? Granted some face masks are less comfortable than others, and even N95 masks don't create a perfect barrier, but every type helps protect both parties. So are you continuing to mask? Doing the word of life means taking care of each other.

What else about James? His call to pray in almost every setting and situation!
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Five Minute Friday Care
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Friday, September 17, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Purpose

LOs Angeles Food Bank truck Apple side
Five Minute Friday :: Purpose linkup

• The angel of the Lord touched Elijah and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." 1 Kings 19:7

• Los Angeles Regional Food Bank • Fighting Hunger. Giving Hope.


purpose, end, cause, intention, goal…

What's more basic that food? Well, water is, but food needs come before shelter and even before community. Sometimes "meaning and purpose keep you sane" feels like a first world, born of privilege rant, but it's a fact for anyone from anywhere. You don't need to venture far to see how contributing and making a difference changes an individual's sense of self and sense of health. And what could be more purpose-filled than providing bodily nutrition, maybe especially for those who at this juncture find it hard to come by?

In this county that's the largest in the country, may be the most linguistically and culturally diverse in history, and that's particularly COVID-challenged due to many factors (including a high percentage of immigrants and ethnic minorities), the school system recently started free breakfast and free lunch for all students to be sure everyone got fuel for their bodies and their brains.

Most Mondays I work at one of the local distribution sites for the regional food bank. I've long had a "thing" for all kinds of food ministries, especially the kitchen to plate to consumer aspect, and I'd love to blog more about it all in the near future. For now? It's a privilege to know the journey will be a little lighter and easier for a few of my neighbors because #WeFeedLA.

LA Food Bank online
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Friday, September 10, 2021

911 • Twenty Years

911 twenty years
911 2001 • 20 years • 911 2021

Yet my soul, keep thou silence unto God: for mine hope is in him. Psalm 62:5

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Five Minute Friday • Rescue

Promised Land Deuteronomy 28:2-3
Five Minute Fridays

It's been called a flash mob! Most Thursdays Kate our host publishes a one word prompt with a small image and then dozens to a couple hundred write to the prompt. The linkup party stays open seven days—until the next Thursday! If you haven't played yet, we'd love you to join us.

Five Minute Friday Rescue Linkup
Anamnesis from Eucharistic Prayer

You are indeed holy, O God, the fountain of all holiness;
you bring light from darkness, life from death, speech from silence.

We worship you for our lives and for the world you give us.
We thank you for the new world which will come
and for the love that will rule all in all.

We praise you for the grace shown to Israel, your chosen,
the people of your promise:
the rescue from Egypt,
the gift of the promised land,
the memory of the ancestors,
the homecoming from exile,
and the prophets' words that will not be in vain.

With One Voice, ©1995 AugsburgFortress

Taking Five…

"If you obey the Lord your God, blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field." Deuteronomy 28:2-3

"…the rescue from Egypt, the gift of the promised land…"

The rescue from slavery, liberation from empire with its incessant production quotas and deadly objectification of everything. From bondage into freedom, and then? The grace-filled gift of the commands to help us stay free. After they left Egypt, the history of Israel became the story of their journey toward a land where they could settle, obey, live, farm, and thrive—a quest and a hope for flowing rivers and boundless goodness from the ground.

After they crossed the river Into Canaan, Israel would keep covenant with the God who rescued them and with each other by regarding their neighbors' needs as important as their own. They no longer depended on what they could eke out of the dregs of a system that disproportionately rewarded those who already had a lot and offered almost nothing to anyone who didn't. They didn't even depend any more on God's provision of manna and quail from the sky, water from the rock. As a sign of trusting freedom they'd keep Sabbath: a ceasing from striving, from work, from quotas.

You may know scripture has two versions of the Ten Words or Commandments of the Sinai Covenant? The one in Deuteronomy says we keep Shabbat because God freed us from slavery. In my featured verse from Deuteronomy, the land of promise would yield, the city would flourish if the people obeyed.

I opened this blog with the remembrance or anamnesis from a late twentieth-century Eucharistic prayer. Like the blessing and invocation over baptismal water, the anamnesis in a service of holy communion brings all God's people together to remember the past, celebrate this now, and anticipate the new world that will be when love rules all in all. We tell the salvation story in order to make it part of our own stories. We remember and retell the story so (just maybe) we won't need to be rescued again?

That's all for this time.
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Five Minute Friday Rescue by the water
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Friday, September 03, 2021

Five Minute Friday • City

Los Angeles River at Elysian Park
• Alongside the Los Angeles River that Named the City •

Five Minute Friday – City Linkup
Every so often I remind myself FMF is a writing challenge and not a photographic or artistic one. I have almost countless city pictures I could have used for my header, but I claimed a little self-control and picked just one. Thanks to our host Kate for beautifully illustrating her trip to Chicago.
Taking Five

City is a custom-designed prompt especially for me—you even could call it bespoke. Forever I've been about the city and cities. From my sense of call as a little kid to beautify the city, through living in different styles of urban neighborhoods and in four different major US cities as an adult, through minoring in Urban Studies only because the school at the time didn't offer an Urban Studies major, to everything I pursued being more experience and more skills for urban ministry or other possible urban involvements.

And on to Citysafari being my "second line" design entity. What else? Partial list: substitute teaching in the Boston Public Schools; three days a week for a few months with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Communities and Development. Four years as an urban mission (re)developer.

Why? Cultures, cuisines, languages, ethnicities, sartorial styles, and futures meet, meld and sometimes fuse in an urban context. Most cities are built along a river, which even before anyone imagined traveling by air allowed people and cargo to travel from one continent to another. And then? Cultures, cuisines, languages, ethnicities, sartorial styles, and futures can meet, meld and sometimes fuse, because of everything cities are. Everything cities do.

End of Five
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Five Minute Friday Chicago
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