Tuesday, May 31, 2022

May / Spring 2022 Overview

May 2022 Sundlower blog header
March 2022 – Winter into Spring

April 2022 Highlights

Lectionary Project May 2022

Easter 4 Mother's Day cover
• Sunday 08 May Mother's Day / Easter 4 / Worship Program Cover
Mother's Day Roses 2022
• On Mother's Day Everyone Got a Fresh Rose
street succulents
• Street Succulents – they're all over the place everywhere! My fave!
peaches on the way not yet ripe
• Very Young Peaches
May 2022 worship planning retreat
• Thursday 19 May Planning Retreat
garden party brights and spinach
• Saturday 21 May Garden Party and Community Awards
Community Garden Party Flowers
• Saturday 21 May Garden Party and Community Awards
peaches not quite ready and bright ground cover flowers
• More Peaches on the Way and Bright Flowers
living local 2022
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Friday, May 27, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Heal

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Five Minute Friday :: Heal Linkup

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth and skip about like colts frisky and frolicking. And you'll trample the wicked … on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 4:2-3

Healing into health. Who and what needs it? How can we ourselves heal, how can others become healthy?

On top of the Russian Federation's – no, President Putin's – illegal, infrastructure-leveling, humanity-destroying war in the sovereign state of Ukraine, the USA recently has experienced too many especially devastating incidents of human violence using guns: Uvalde. Laguna Woods. Buffalo. And in addition, those of us who attend to church-related news haven't been as surprised as we'd wish about the Southern Baptist Convention's recent revelations. And now, right now, the National Rifle Association is holding its annual meeting in Houston, not canceling or rescheduling it because, as you know, money talks and there's something incredibly articulate about guns and ammunition.

Magisterial Reformer John Calvin was beyond correct about total depravity—not that depravity is the sole or overwhelming characteristic of people and institutions, but there's something misshapen, awry, sinful, and broken about every individual, every single organization, family, congregation, school, government. Each entity of every type. Something about everyone and everything needs to heal. But how?

In his letter to the Philippian [2:13] church, the apostle Paul reminds us God already is working in us, making it possible for us "to will and to work for God's good pleasure." Scripture and Jesus show us God's passion always is the wellbeing, integrity, and healing of creation. In the end, grace wins. Love triumphs. Amen!

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Friday, May 20, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Know

Five Minute Friday Know
Five Minute Friday :: Know Linkup

Philippians 3:8-12

I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through the faithfulness of Christ. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and share his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

This week the lovely nature and sky picture our host Kate provided is both my header and my footer; I believe she usually finds photos on unsplash. Connecting the know prompt with this illustration brought me into flowers, plants, earth, and air. How do we engage them so we can know them? Mainly with our five senses. We smell, touch, see. With veggies and fruits and grains, we taste. (You may have seen edible flowers in the market?) Winds that course through your backyard garden or a neighboring farm make distinctive sounds in different crops.

However, in my focus scripture, the apostle Paul is all about life-giving knowledge.

• I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead … because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

For Paul, the gospel is death and resurrection. My sacramental tradition sometimes calls the sacraments visible words. Baptized into Jesus' death and resurrection that becomes our own first death and second birth, we feel and hear and see the water of life. Especially if we're baptized in one of creation's fonts like a river, lake, or ocean, we can smell the water and even may taste it as it splashes around us. A professor from a nearby university suggested if we're baptized in our local river that's probably a conduit of commerce and culture, why not lay a particular claim to that water by stewarding – quarterly cleanup day, anyone? – and celebrating it—how about a picnic beside the bay?

In the gift of Holy Communion, sometimes we catch the scent of bread baking in the church kitchen. Listen closely as the presider breaks open the loaf and, of course, listen and hear the history of God's people (anamnesis) and a plea for the Holy Spirit come to us and stay with us (epiclesis). We taste and we see how good the Lord is. We are what we eat! Jesus has made us his own. And then? We leave the gathered assembly. We become Jesus' presence so the world will know Jesus, too.

Knowing You, Jesus

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this

Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord

Now my heart's desire is to know you more
To be found in you and known as yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness

Graham Kendrick – Copyright 1993 Make Way Music

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Five Minute Friday Know
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Friday, May 13, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Vision

dreams visions
Five Minute Friday :: Vision Linkup

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals. God will dwell with them as their God; they will be God's peoples, and God will be with them; God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." Revelation 21:1-4

Like a vision board packed with pictures of the future you dream of, the not here right now you expect will manifest and you'll then testify to, scripture reveals God's visions for creation's wellbeing and provides ideas we can follow to partner with God to create heaven on earth. In my focus passage from the book of Revelation that concludes the bible, John the Revelator describes the vision God gave him.

"Sea no more" is far from ecological disaster, but picks up the code word sea or ocean that in scripture frequently denotes untamed chaos, as when Genesis 1 tells us about the dawn of creation when the Spirit of God hovered over the formless empty deep darkness. Oh, yes, the new creation does have a river with life-giving water—"enough" clear clean water along with all we need of everything else.

God's vision of the reign of the Spirit is "shalom" justice and bountiful sufficiency. Reading and studying scripture gives us plenty of practice in learning God's ways. Enough food, safe shelter, healthy community. Good work for good pay in good conditions. Abundant mercy and love. No sorrow or dying or pain. The end of war and violence. Scripture sings in the language of geography and space, because we are embodied humans solidly situated on land.

The God who calls us into new creation partnership is Jeremiah's God so near with laws so just. Along with 2 Peter, we proclaim and claim, "According to God's promise we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." [2 Peter 3:13] That's quite a vision!

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