Tuesday, October 31, 2023

October 2023

october header fig leaves dup
• Some of the overgrown fig leaves some people have been commenting on create a lovely autumn duo for October's header.

Urban Wilderness – City Paradise for October

Roxy Easter
• Roxy left earth on Wednesday 11 October. Here's one of the pictures in her beautiful Easter bandana.
emoji subwat art at Vermont Wilshire Metro Station
• A trip downtown through Vermont Wilshire Metro Station (the one with the long escalator) on Thursday 12 October and a visit to Angelica, not all that far from MacArthur Park. Here's some of the emoji art on classic subway tiles.
twin valleys festival
twin valleys fall festival
• Photo collages from Twin Valleys Fall Festival on Saturday 14 October. Fab autumn-Halloween decorations, tasty BBQ, and a beyond fabulous jazz band.
decorated mini pumpkins
• For Reformation Sunday in West Los Angeles we had an al fresco potluck and decorated small pumpkins. Look at this fun and fancy array!
Reformation Rose
• Today, 31 October is Reformation Day 2023.
trick or treat
• All day today, 31 October is Halloween. Though I didn't keep a visitor tally, I handed out four packages of fun size candy bars at 2 per person, including several parents. The last few trick or treaters got Halloween Oreos I actually remembered. Happily they loved the cookies!
living local 2023

Friday, October 27, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Strive

be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Five Minute Friday :: Strive Linkup

As we approach Reformation Sunday / Reformation Day with its glorious affirmation of salvation by grace not works, it feels especially apt to consider this week's strive prompt. Of course we need to be diligent, work hard, make quite a lot of effort for our lives to bear fruit that benefits others and offers us the warm glow of achievement. In short, we do need to strive. We need to strive and try and sometimes cry, but if we don't first recognize life as God's gift of grace we'll get tied up in knots of anxiety and for sure we'll be less productive.

For churches that follow the lectionary for their scriptures, every year's readings for Reformation are the same:

• freedom that is ours when we continue in God's word and abide in Christ – John 8:31-36
• justified before God by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ – Romans 3:19-28
• the new covenant promise of God's law on our hearts – Jeremiah 31:31-34
• Psalm 46 that Martin Luther loosely paraphrased to create his hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

Have you seen Psalm 46:10 formatted:

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still

God created us human beings and not human doings. We first claim our identity as icons or images of God with simple being. After that, with less anxiety, more confidence we absolutely can strive to do and succeed in doing whatever work God calls us to because…
Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city, she shall not be shaken;

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
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Friday, October 20, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Clarify

five minute friday clarify plants with sun
Five Minute Friday :: Clarify Linkup

You don't get much clarity about an object or situation if there's not enough light to show the details. Ever since God said, "let there be light," and there was light, we've had a front row seat that clarifies the glories of creation.

As our host Kate said, we try different ways to clarify the life path ahead, and with good reason. Looking at all the inputs as best as possible helps reveal how we might contribute to the planet's greater good and give God the glory. We talk about transparency in financial and other transactions, in our everyday family and workaday interactions.

Those of us in the church have a habit of trying to clarify God's attributes and actions. Although we have God's words in scripture, some of those need interpreting to clarify them. Then again, we have the best interpreter of scripture, the incarnate Word Jesus Christ, who makes God's written word clearer than it otherwise would be. Some have called the sacraments "visible words," that also help clarify God's presence, God's ways, and God's will for creation.

Similar to ways God communicates with words and the Word, we humans interact with one another with speech and with symbols that sometimes are plainly familiar, sometimes need interpreting and clarifying by spoken explanations or with visual illustrations. Don't be obtuse and opaque! I really can't see through you. But is word not symbol in itself and is symbol not a kind of speech?

Whatever you call it (if anything at all), you probably interpret your context – neighborhood, workplace, church, school, or city – literally all the time. You read signage and other indicators that clarify where you are, the purpose or safety of a venue, if you want to eat in or take out from a particular eating place…

You almost definitely interpret wherever you are in order to discover and discern and clarify—what's the quickest route home?

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Friday, October 13, 2023

Five Minute Friday:: Anticipate

anticipate human in boots ready to travel
Five Minute Friday :: Anticipate Linkup

If FMF wrote to an image prompt and not to a word, Kate's picture of boots ready to start an adventure would be perfect. How fun to write about and anticipate the always unknown we walk into.

Lately I've been reminding myself a lot that the best way to predict the future is to create it. And I wonder what on earth happened when so little I anticipated came to be. I haven't said much about that recently, but my "life stuff" tag leads to some I dared make public.

With yet another devastating war filled with unimaginable violence and horror, what can we anticipate? More of the same or similar? This week for my scripture blog on Philippians 4:1-9, I'm writing on God's presence. I'll link to it here when it's live.

Pentecost 20A on Urban Wilderness/City Paradise

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and petitions with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will protect your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Carly Simon's "Anticipation" opens with "We can never know about the days to come, but we think about them anyway (autocorrect just now changed my error to antiwar. Wow!) Anticipation the song ends with "These are the good old days" and I know I'm engaging in irresponsible eisegesis to align those lyrics with today anticipating a better unknown future, but you know about poetic license.

As I prayerfully and fearfully (fear in the sense of anxiety, not in the holy awe meaning of Martin's Luther's explanation to each commandment in his Small Catechism, "We should fear and love God above all things") anticipate the future of planet earth, particularly my current small slice of creation, more of Carly's music and lyrics encourage and remind us into God's future.

Let the river run. Let all the dreamers wake the nation. Come, the new Jerusalem.

We're coming to the edge // Running on the water
Coming through the fog // Your sons and daughters

We the great and small // Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire // Through the darkening dawn

God's sons and God's daughters! Let's trust God's presence and anticipate the unknown in our sturdy boots. Let's blaze a trail of desire. Let's predict the future and participate with God in the adventure of creating that future we anticipate. Amen? Amen!

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