Encounter

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image: Fandango

 

It was a transient meeting that first between the Clan of the Cat and the Clan of the Dog.  The dialogue was difficult, as they each spoke variants of the common tongue.  But their chieftains discussed what the other might find as they passed each other in opposite directions.  This information well informed each tribe for what was to come.

 

But as with all such brief encounters it soon ended, and it was in a fittingly poetic irony that the meeting was memorialised in sand.

Padre

Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #38

Valued Gifts

Present, Package, Gift, Celebration

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

How many of you receive presents that you don’t use?  Okay, many of us have received gifts that were unwanted, but even these should still be appreciated because of the love and thought that led to them being given.  But, even if you received a present that was unwanted, you at least know if it is useful or wanted.  How?  Because you have opened it.  We generally (if not always) at least check out what the gifts are.

Before I go any further, I would like to stop and consider the Christian idea of grace.  Grace in one form means “unmerited favour:” something we receive that we don’t deserve.  It also carries the idea of a “gift:” it is given freely, not “earned.”  The ultimate gift of grace is salvation.  It is offered to all.  But like any gift, the present on offer is not yours until you accept it.  It’s as simple as that.  God so loved the world that He sent his Son to die for all.  That is not the same as saying He died, now all are saved.  Rather, it is He died, and all that accept that sacrifice (the gift) are saved.

But for those that have accepted the gift of salvation, and become the people of God there is more on offer.  These too need to not be rejected.  Scripture reminds us that,

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:7-11).”

Wow.  We have been given the ultimate gift of love.  We therefore should show that same love to others.  Love (Christ’s and ours) covers many sins (and in Jesus’ case all sins).  As fellow recipients of the gifts of God we should share our blessings – offering hospitality not out of obligation, but love.

We who have received gifts likewise should use them.  We should not leave them unwrapped, or left “on the shelf.”  Paul tells us about these presents from the Spirit in I Corinthians 12,

“The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all.  To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge.  To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages.  All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides (verses 7 to 11).”

Whether you are a teacher, a preacher, and organiser, or a just a loving ear that listens – you should use the gift.

Jesus said that a city on a hill can’t be hidden, nor do we light a lamp then hide it under a basket.  If we have gifts, let’s display (and use) them proudly.

 

Padre

Knowing Jesus

Image result for road to emmaus painting

The Road to Emmaus” by Robert Zund

The Christian band Chaotic Resemblance led our worship this week.  These young men bring some wonderful talent and an even more wonderful faith to their performance and to the worship.

Brother Travis from the group brought us the word which reminded us of some simple truths: “God – good! Devil – bad!”  But more than that his central theme was onknowing Jesus.

Many people, he noted, know about Jesus, but not all “know Him.”  It isn’t a matter of being able to quote scripture or speak theologically about God.  The Scribes and the Pharisees could do that.  It is about a personal relationship.

The starting point is being able to recognise Him in our lives.  Travis gave the reference of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  Jesus as is promised in scripture (wherever two or three are gathered in my name) arrives as the men are discussing Him.  They do not recognise Him, but He enlightens them the more over the fulfillment of prophecy, and that he had fulfilled His mission.  It is after this that they come to recognise Him.  Brother travis stressed an interesting aside as well.  Jesus would have gone further.  Further down the road – perhaps, but maybe just in encountering Him, further in bestowing knowledge.  Such things happen when you get to know Him, and not just about Him.

This does not mean that there is no place for knowing “about Him” or the scriptures, however.  In Jesus’ temptation in the desert, Jesus gave us a great model of of challenging Satan and the call to sin with scripture.  Brother Travis noted that Jesus did this.  It is also practical for us.  When we hear the voice of evil, whether calling us to sin, or calling us to doubt our worthiness – scripture can silence the “voice.”  Oh, by the way, none of us is “worthy” not on our own anyway.  It is all about that “knowing Jesus” and being in relationship.  It He and His blood that makes us worthy.

Where are we in our relationship with Jesus today?  Is He a vague intellectual concept?  Is He an even more hazy partially remembered concept from some Sunday School class of our distant past?  Or is He the companion on our personal Emmaus Roads, who we walk and dine with?  Is He the instructor and fulfiller of our lives?

Padre

Chaotic Resemblance

Beware of Hospitality Betrayed

image: reducedshakespeare.com

 

Dear Gruoch, good lady – your ear I beseech

Beware ambitions that seem just within reach

For though vile murder seems so simple to enact

The consequences that follow – your foes will exact

 

Bloody hands will become the least of your woes

For Macbeth and Thee – moving forests will bring low

Stick close to your virtue, let not greed stain your way

And long life you may enjoy – if good advice you relay

 

Your fortune requires no crown on husband’s head

Only grief will come of hands that are red

Be you then wise and wily, and full of insight

And shy from murder, and treachery by night

 

Padre

 

This poem is an edited version of one written in response to a call for submissions of “letters” to Shakespearean female characters.

*The name of the historical “Lady Macbeth was Gruoch ingen Boite.

 

 

Let the Balefires Burn

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Of fireworks, bonfires, and Guys

While no one much cares what it all means

Its an excuse to light up the skies

 

For some its sparklers ’round barbecue grills

For others huge piles of pallets to light

The result is the same – full of pyromania thrill

As neighbourhood dogs* cower in fright

 

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Or some weekend there round about

A party’s a party, an opportunity to enjoy

A drink, a firework, a shout

 

Padre

Thursday photo prompt: Balefire #writephoto

Guy Fawkes Night/Bonfire Night (an explanation for non-Brits).

*Many people in England begin to set off fireworks a week or so before the actual night, and may continue to do so for a week or so afterwards.  Many dogs hate the noise, and it is a time of distress for them and their owners.

 

Heartbroken

Heart, Broken Heart, Love, Valentine, Symbol, Red

Pixabay

I have had a lot of love and support shown to me by friends and family since Dianne’s passing.  I am loved.  As a person of faith, I am not depressed – after all we knew it was coming, and she was certain as to where she was going.  I too share the hope of heaven.  I am at times still sad and heartbroken at the loss of being able to daily see my wife, lover, and best friend.

A few nights ago, I had one of those “sad times.”  It was late at night and I was alone in the house, and lonely.  As the insomnia kicked in, I penned this somewhere between 2 and 3 AM.

Heartbroken

Heartbroken is a simple phrase

But it shows itself in many ways

The desire to binge or not eat at all

To doze all day – at night stare at walls

The sense of loss too deep to describe

Sometimes so harsh that you can’t abide

Heartbroken is a way you feel

So hard to believe that the situations real

My heart does in loneliness ache

It will just takes time for me it all to intake

 

Padre

The Game

Table Tennis, Ping-Pong, Sport

Pixabay

 

Ouch! That hurt,” Tina scolded as the little ball bounced off her forehead.

Sixteen-year-old Dan had always been a little overly competitive.

“Sorry,” he apologized.

“After all it’s only a game,” she reminded him.

The match resumed and for a little while there was the rhythmic pop – pong – pop – pong of the little white ball as it journeyed over the little net to meet the impact of the next paddle.  Then Dan again saw his opening for the “killer blow” and smashed the ball home, it again hitting Tina in the face.

Now irate, she declared “That’s it.  I’m never coming over here again.  It’s over.”

She turned, snatched up her bag, and left, leaving only the sound of her paddle as it rattled on the basement floor.

“Wow,” Dan said aloud.  “What is it with these girls?  They are all the same.”

Tina had been his sixth girlfriend in as many months.

 

Padre

Saturday Mix – Sound Bite, 26 October 2019 Our three words, using onomatopoeia are:

  • ouch
  • pong
  • rattle 

FOWC with Fandango — Irate

Rook’s Rooks

Crows’ Abbey

Beautiful, yet forlorn, this place is slowly succumbing to the ravages of time. The lonely figure walking this crumbling corridor is determined to remain its companion to the very end. It was a glorious place once, built by a wealth and power that has long ebbed away. But when this structure was new, and whole, it gave the lives of those within it meaning and purpose. This robed figure has not forgotten, even though its noble arches are now draped in vine, and the crows brazenly come and go as they please. There is writing etched deep into the stones beneath the pillars. Each word is a plea from the past; a silent but unyielding voice that demands a place in the present. The robed figure knows what they say. Do you?

Althan looked out from the gallery windows.  The vaulting of the ceiling was still secure, but the glazing of the windows had long succumb to the ravages of time.  But the inscriptions hinted as much.

“Only stone shall stand the wind of black wings’ blow. Hear me, for when the rooks enter the rook, the time of stone will have come.”

Yes, the builders thought they had mastered the stones.  Proud masons, and their even grander masters had dared quarry from the sacred mount.  “Our works and our fame will last forever,” they had claimed.

But now the pillars were askew.  Glass broken.  The haughty lords and ladies were long dead.  The self-congratulatory workers of stone – nowhere to be seen.

But how?  How did the magnificent place come to this?  Althan knew.  Althan’s mother’s, mother’s mother had been the first to see the words upon the wall at the base of the pillar.  They had just appeared one night.  She had been considered “just” serving maid, but she understood – as have her descendants.

She had been the daughter of a rook priestess.   She saw that it was folly to build a “house of frivolity” from holy rock.   The “betters” didn’t understand this.  They thought their own pleasure was all that had meaning.  But Althan’s kin knew better.  They knew that the rooks of the holy mount were the but shadows of the spirits of the stone.  When their nests were pulled down so the quarrying could begin, the spirits began waiting for their day.

Althan stood in the gallery and waited.  Today was the appointed day.  The rooks were coming.  The spirits were once again going inhabit the holy stones.  And she would be there to serve them.

Padre

FANTASY ART FRIDAY

“Something Fishy” Seafood Sandwich Filler

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If you get bored with the same old – same old tuna sandwich combos, here is something to add some oomph to your lunch.

Taramasalata almost the exactly the same calories as mayonnaise.   It is made from salted and cured fish roe (usually cod) mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, and a starchy base of bread or potatoes.  Some varieties include garlic, spring onions, or peppers.

  • Tuna 1 tin (I prefer oil packed chunk)
  • Taramasalata 2 Tbs (slightly more if you want creamier consistency)
  • Shrimp (small precooked and shelled) 150 mg
  • Black Ground Pepper pinch
  • Capers (optional) 1 tsp

Method:

Drain the tuna and fork into a medium bowl.  Drain any excess moisture from the shrimp (prawns) and add to the tuna.  Add the pepper and capers (if used) and then stir in the taramasalata until evenly mixed.

Serve with iceberg lettuce and tomato slices in a sandwich or wrap.   It makes 2-4 servings.

Padre