Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 2023

april 2023 header
• Peach Blossoms
• Golden Poppies
• Succulents
• Roxy in Easter Egg Bandana she won from a twitter friend

Maundy Thursday St Matthew;s exterior; bread and cup stained glass
• Triduum Act 1: Maundy Thursday in North Hollywood 06 April

four paintings for good friday
• Triduum Act 2: Good Friday in North Hollywood. What a Night! 07 April

He Qi Crucifixion
• Crucifixion by He Qi is a separate line item. He Qi Art website

baptismal font and white flowers
• Triduum Act 3: Resurrection – font and flowers 09 April

purple statice and golden poppies
• Statice and Golden Poppies. The world in spring bloom!

earth day 2023 invest in our planet
• Too funny! I was so intent on publishing this April rundown before midnight, and I knew I'd carefully included all the highlights… but I ended up spacing Earth Day! Here's a Monday morning edit and addition. I trust you'll always #InvestInOurPlanet.

peach blossoms young peaches
• Very early April peach blossoms turned into very late April peaches

living local 2023
California word on golden poppies

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Persist

five minute friday persist
Five Minute Friday :: Persist Linkup

Similar to a visual or musical pattern that repeats itself over and over again, sometimes exactly the same, sometimes with variations, my years have hankered after whatever skills and experiences I'd need to answer and fulfill God's call on my life and gifts. Anyone would say I persisted. When yet another expected situation didn't turn out well or never even began, I persisted in the same direction.

It doesn't take profound powers of observation to notice how creation also fancies persistent patterns. Something about the basic design of the universe? Probably so!

My current persist list includes:

• Keepin' on keepin' on with this "main blog" I started on the middle day of July 2002. I haven't missed a month, though for a scant handful I've blogged only once or twice.

• My mostly scripture, mostly lectionary blog: City Paradise / Urban Wilderness

• More skills for, more experience related to the essential "persist" for my lifelong sense of call and purpose to beautify the inner city and serve the urban church.

• The Beethoven Piano Sonatas. I can play 27 of the 32 to public performance level, though admittedly I've paused that project for now because the five remaining seem too conceptually difficult. I'll get to those soon, I trust.

• My relational persistence definitely is subject to revision. Only a very few times I've decided I no longer can persist leaving the light on for a particular person, though that still says nothing about what I might do regarding them a few years from now.

Time's up! How do you persist?

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Friday, April 21, 2023

Earth Day 2023

Earth Day 2023 Invest in our Planet
Earth Day 2023: Invest In Our Planet

Flowery clip art with legal reuse rights is from Creative Market several years ago. When or if I find the artist name, I'll add it here and link to their CM or other online presence.

Earth Day Official Website

Friday, April 14, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Realize

five minute friday los angeles map
Back with FMF from my usual blog; for now I've happily reverted to the blogspot address and will deal later with custom one. After talking with a very helpful guy from domain registrar to learn everything basically was ok at their end but then still not being able to log in to there from 13 year old iMac to update blogger info with them plus every phone attempt I made to log in sort of worked except after I retrieved text code they sent, browser window reverted to login screen…

Five Minute Friday :: Realize Linkup

• A long time ago I blogged about the book home is always the place you just left with its "restless longing and persistent grace" subtitle as the condition of Longing For Home. I accurately admitted i enjoy being almost everywhere, yet I always have a sense of yearning for where I've just been and sometimes even for almost every place I've ever lived. (Only a slight exaggeration.)

But what can I say about this week's realize prompt in five minutes, more or less? I'll start by telling you a few weeks back I suddenly realized I feel settled in my current place of Los Angeles. I'm still restless. I still need opportunities the huge metro area hasn't offered me. I need to keep reaching out with offers and overtures, but I want to stay in this general area. I realized that despite my anger, consternation, and other emotions about not having opportunities I need to be healthy and well again, I don't even remember the last time I longed for somewhere else or plotted an escape from the second largest city and most populous county in the USA. Together with a few million others who weren't born here, who came here from other cities, countries, and states of being, I've become an Angeleno. And that realization brings freedom. I realize I'm free to stay in LA,

One of my anthems is American Idol Phillip Phillips' chart buster, "Just know you're not alone, 'cause I'm going to make this place your home." I realize to be welcomed (in quite a few places I have been) isn't the same as belonging. I realize I'm physically home, but I still lack belonging.

My realize part 2 is admitting despite the welcome a few truly have given me, I cannot continue more than survival without a space and place to belong, because "belong" necessarily includes some opportunities to contribute to an extent that resonates with my preparation, abilities, and longing. I realize that will be God's deliverance into the broad space – "spacious place" – of Psalm 18:19 when it happens.

"Restless longing and persistent grace" is the subtitle of the book about home; I realize be-longing is my persistent subtext.

Note: I plugged in "realize" where I might not have if I hadn't been trying to address the prompt.
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home is always the place you just left book cover
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Saturday, April 08, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Own

segullah on flower
Five Minute Friday :: Own Linkup

Although I contacted the domain host and the person I talked with did his best to update this blog on the CMS, it still doesn't load correctly and there seems to be zero way to contact blogger directly. If the blog didn't date from July 2002 I might give up and start another, but I don't want to lose all that content and I really really like the blogger interface, so migrating to another CMS with the same name isn't an option. Therefore… I formally Five Minute Friday'ed on my scripture blog again and I'm replicating everything on desert spirit's fire.


When we own something, it belongs to us. Some ownership of an item or object, a success or a failure, is a clear choice—when you purchase something, for example. Sometimes we need to own a circumstance or outcome that happened because of many factors, so that particular owning is a bit complicated.

…if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my special treasure or possession – segullah – סְגֻלָּה – among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus 19:5-6

Just as God claimed Israel as God's own during their desert trek toward the Land of Promise, in baptism God owns and possesses us. We belong to God! God chooses us, claims us, and charges us to be part of the reign of heaven on earth. As the PCUSA's Sixth Great End of the Church expresses it, "The exhibition of the reign of heaven to the world." That means the world sees heaven when they observe us! It's both gift and response ("responsibility") because God's promises have a condition.

Almost immediately before giving them the ten words of commandments that describe how God's people are to live out their relationships with God, known and nearby neighbors, and with strangers (sojourners, aliens, foreigners in scriptural terms), God tells them if they obey and keep covenant, then God will treasure them, "own" them, in a particular way.

Yes, God loves each of us and all creation unconditionally. But keeping Torah and keeping our baptismal covenants carry the distinctive responsibility of owning them by acting for the good of friends, neighbors, newcomers, strangers, frenemies, and even enemies to help create a flourishing common-wealth.

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five minute friday own
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Saturday, April 01, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Break

bread and cup
Five Minute Friday :: Break Linkup

I first wrote this on my City Paradise – Urban Wilderness blog; it will show up here after I update the IP address.

News break. Breaking day. Day break. Water main break. Lunch break. Break dancing. A break in the routine. Break a bone. Relationship breakup. Break bread. Don't break your promises. God doesn't! I want to write about all of those!

Our host Kate begged for a break in school shootings (others, too) that have become routine.

What's my focus this time?

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

As Jesus breaks bread and blesses wine, he tells us "do this—in remembrance of me."

Bless and break bread, pour out wine? "Do this" blood of the new covenant announcement?

Re-membering means re-collecting pieces and putting them back together to restore a broken whole that weaves together past and present.

When the church obeys Jesus by breaking bread and pouring out wine in his memory, part of the liturgical action includes retelling the story of God's people from creation through redemption in order to make it part of our own history. This remembering becomes about all of us throughout the history of the cosmos. We recollect how God has led us, how even those hard days didn't last forever… we again trust God whose final answer always is resurrection from death that breaks lives, shatters dreams, looks as if it annuls promises.

Do we need bread and wine to remember Jesus? Well, throughout the records of Jesus' life we find Jesus feeding strangers and feasting with friends; Jesus tells us people will come to the banquet from the east and the west, the north and the south … and about giving his broken body for the life of the world. The Welcome Table, the Calvary Cross, and the Reign of Heaven are tightly bound together.

When Jesus breaks bread and blesses wine, he tells us to do what he does—"in remembrance." Do we need bread and wine to remember Jesus?

We are breakout people! Wherever we go we become a living and a life-giving memory of Jesus. In us, Jesus again becomes alive in the world and we become a living connection to the heaven of God's reign on earth. Will people recognize us as the body of Jesus Christ when we break open our lives and hearts, share our substance and pour out our lives? I hope so!

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five minute friday break
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