Wednesday, April 25, 2007

John Stott


A few days ago I bought a DVD teaching series by John Stott on the The Bible and The Christian Life. Six Lessons on the authority, interpretation and use of Scripture. When I was a new believer, two authors really helped me out. One was Josh McDowall and his "Evidence that Demands A Verdict Vol. I and II" and the other was John Stott and two smaller books called "Understanding The Bible" and "Basic Christianity". At the time, I was taking advanced level chemistry classes but my mind had a hard time wrapping around basic theology. But with Stott's books, I didn't have any problems with. Perhaps because they were only 100 or so pages long. Mentally, that was a lot less intimidating.

I have Stott's biography waiting to be read. I was looking forward to hearing him speak at Urbana a few years ago, but he was sick. So, now I have the DVD and even though I got a pretty good grasp on the subject, it would be nice just to see and hear Stott teach.


Here is what Billy Graham says of Stott:




John Stott
Heroes &Icons
FROM THE ARCHIVEHeroes & Icons from
1900-1999

Teacher of The Faith By BILLY
GRAHAM

JILLIAN EDELSTEIN FOR TIME
FROM THE TIME
ARCHIVE

My association and friend-ship with the Rev. Dr. John Stott began in 1954,
when we were both young men. I was an unknown evangelist, and John and the
church he led at All Souls, Langham Place, gave our team an unreserved welcome
before our first crusade in London and helped with my ministry at Oxford and
Cambridge. He became one of my closest friends, advisers and confidants.

In the early '60s, John created the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican
Communion. From the outset, it offered training scholarships in the West to
potential future leaders in Asia, Africa and South America—many of whom took up
high positions when they returned to their own countries. Today they are in
charge of church movements with millions of members; John's work is a
significant factor in the explosive growth of Christianity in parts of the Third
World.

Despite numerous opportunities to be appointed bishop, archbishop or to
head some of the world's finest theological seminaries, John Stott, 84, has held
true to what he sees as a wider calling—the equipping of leaders in countries
where resources and experience are limited. His provision of theological books
for these regions is financed in large measure with the royalties from his
considerable—and popular—writings. The modesty of his lifestyle is evidenced in
the simplicity of his living quarters, limited to a two-room flat in London's
West End, and a renovated farm on the Welsh coast, where he has written his
books.

I can't think of anyone who has been more effective in introducing so many
people to a biblical world view. He represents a touchstone of authentic
biblical scholarship that, in my opinion, has scarcely been paralleled since the
days of the 16th century European Reformers.


Monday, April 23, 2007

A Different Kind of Spiritual Journey


Today I am wearing a t-shirt that was too small the last time I tried it on. It is pretty baggy right now. I am having a hard time with seeing changes. My weight has stayed the same for the last two weeks, but I feel lighter and stronger. The book I'm reading "YOU On A Diet" says that at first when we work out, we are gaining muscle mass, so the weight won't drop dramatically for awhile.


Psychologically, I'm having difficulty admitting that I was as large as I had been. I'm having difficulty seeing that I am smaller. Emotionally, there is some fear. Irrational, perhaps. A part of me is afraid that I'll lose too much weight! Why, I don't know!


I walked a mile to the grocery store yesterday, wearing the same t-shirt I'm wearing now. I decided not to carry anything, not even a water bottle. It was freeing--everywhere I go these days I'm carrying a packed purse and a tote bag or a gym bag or a lunch carrier. I decided to purchase a few items to carry home for dinner, some lettuce , Veggie slices (cheese flavored tofu) and green beans. Men's heads were turning to look at me. The first few times, I brushed it off, but it kept happening throughout the store, so I was starting to freak out. I wanted to run out of the building. I was wearing loose comfortable clothing and my walking shoes, and my grey hair was in a pony tail, no make up. I wasn't dressed for attention nor was I seeking any, so it was disconcerting. Obese people are usually invisible, people don't want to look at them.

In a way, I felt safe with a barrier of fat keeping people away from me.

A few months before Mom passed away, we were going through some old photographs. I found some of Mom and me on the beach when I was in high school, and Mom quickly averted her face away from them. She quietly turned back to the photos that I was holding in my hand and told me that she was at 350 pounds at that point and that she was at 150 now. I couldn't believe it, I had no idea that Mom's weight was so out of control, because I never saw her as that big. Mom was taller than me, roughly close to 5'10". So, 150 was pretty skinny for her. She lost it mostly by strict diet, and had no muscle tone at all.


I'm trying to key in on a goal weight. I'm afraid to, because I might be discouraged at the amount I have to lose. Lately, I have been focusing on lifestyle changes and better food choices. It is a really narrow focus, I'm reading and thinking about it all the time, strategizing my next change. I'm also dealing with a lot of guilt because my self-care seems to be dominating my life right now. I haven't started my food journal, because my past failures with it still haunt me.


I need to talk about this to someone who understands and who has been there. I don't know of anyone except the checkout girl at the grocery store and my late mom. I'm thinking of joining Weight Watchers, not because I need the eating plan, but because I need a support system.


PBS had a fairly good program "Fat--What No One Is Telling You". They are saying that there is something causing Americans to be obese and it might be more than just lifestyle and eating choices. I agree, there is something emotional and psychological, maybe even spiritual about it.


Spiritually, I am afraid to turn my weight problem into a legalistic works issue. It is more than making my food into an idol and repenting from it to the Living God. Shame does more damage in my situation than help. However, I believe that God gives me the strength to make good choices with my food, and He is pleased with my efforts to exercise. He has been gracious and gentle with this problem of mine, and I have appreciated all encouragement that comes from Him. He has something more satisfying for me.


"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundence." Isaiah 55:2


This week's reward was spending an incentive gift card I won at work for selling some espresso machines last Christmas. I spent it on two seafood cookbooks and a salad spinner. I like the bagged greens at the grocery store, but it gets expensive. And I'm never sure about the food safety involved. The salad spinner has a nice push button on it--it isn't the crank type I usually have seen in the past. And I want to experiment cooking with different kinds of greens. Today, I'm making a white bean and collard greens soup to take to work.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Ambulate


Today has been a restful day. I spent most of my time reading about Teresa of Avila, Hildegard, Catherine of Seina...in a favorite book called "Sacred Legacy". I have a few hours before I go to work, and I am wondering if I should go on a walk. Not just for exercise, but to think and pray.


I love walks. It's a good time to meditate and reveiw my scripture memory verses. It seems like I have a chance to let the things in my heart and mind digest during this time. This summer, I'm thinking about taking up hiking. Perhaps a backpack trip.


My work schedule today and tomorrow promises to be brutal. It's the end of the school year and the students I work with are stressed. When I got to work yesterday, within 5 minutes I had two calls from girls who were sick. Which meant that I had to close without enough help last night. Tonight shall be busy, and I just want to get it over with.


So, I'm not working out today. I will be doing the core training exercise class tomorrow, followed by a swim. I go back to work mid-afternoon until midnight. Sunday after church, I will swim. Dennis has to work through the day into early evening, so I will use the opportunity for extended time with God in the park. Maybe walk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Heart Matters

This morning, I had a sonagram done of my heart. My doctor, Vicki, ordered it because she detected a murmur at my last check up a month ago. The procedure lasted less than 15 minutes, and I got to see my heart do its thing most of the time. My tech, Debbie, took measurements of the valve, the valve opening, the chamber, the chamber wall's thickness and a few amplitude readings from the rhythm.



It was humbling. Usually, I'm pretty chatty with whomever I have to see about these medical tests, but I was quiet through this one. When I saw the image of my heart, I felt protective and some regret about not taking more care of myself. I became aware of my heart's vulnerablity and importance. If it could talk, what would my heart say to me?


In the Bible, God mentions the heart a lot. Scripturally, the heart is the seat of emotions, thoughts, ideas and desire. God searches the heart, examines it and knows it. He enlightens, opens, establishes and encourages it. He even re-creates it, according to Ezekial 11:19.


Vicki explained to me that a valve can get rigid over time, and unable to do its job as a doorman as efficiently, allowing the heart to get a back up of blood in its chamber. As I have been thinking about it, it is a good analogy of having a "hard heart". As I watched my valve flop around like a wet spaghetti noodle, it conveyed the illustration of having a "heart of flesh".


So, physically and spiritually, I need to "watch over [my] heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life" Proverbs 4:23


Debbie said the results from the test would be ready in a couple of days. If there was a problem, I'd be having to talk with a cardiologist before I left the hospital, but Debbie said that I was free to go home. So, I went to Starbucks and had a cup of House Blend. I met up with Karen, who is a regular customer and we sat in comfy chairs and chatted for an hour about health issues. Karen lost 40 pounds over the last 5 months since her vitamin D deficiency was diagnosed and she got a prescription strength dose. She says that's a common problem in Michigan with the long winters, since you get Vitamin D from sunshine.


I've lost a total of 30 pounds since October. I celebrated yesterday by using a Christmas gift card from Dennis to buy pretty underwear two sizes down from what I usually wear. It fits perfectly. Rewards help me to stay motivated. I also bought some clothes for work outs--a sports bra and some great walking shoes. I walked three miles in the park, the exercise classes are making me feel very stiff, so the shoes were a great investment.


Speaking of clothing, it is really rough for plus sized ladies like me. I got two specialty catalogues in the mail for women in my size catagory. After perusing it, I decided that I'll never order from these again. Every year, I get gift cards from my dad for a large women's sized clothing chain for Christmas and my birthday. I usually don't think about it, but now I realize that in a way it says "You were fat last year. You are fat this year. You'll be fat next year." And every time I use it, I'm giving in to the idea. My mom started this tradition before she died, and Dad keeps it up--I don't think he knows the clothing chain. Although it is nice to dress well at any weight, I think that I need to start thinking about saving money to buy new clothes that will fit me at a much smaller size. A lot of last year's clothes are now too big already.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Progress Report

This morning, I had a 9-10am interval training class. I'm still sore from the Sat am power workout class (with all the "toys"), but I got to the YMCA on time. There were nearly 50 women of all ages, shapes and fitness levels, I had to squeeze in my own floor space.



This class uses step aerobics for the first half hour, then we spend 30 minutes on strength training, and about 5 minutes of stretching. Lisa, our instructor, came all the way to the back of the room to find out my name and confirm her guess that this was my first time. It wasn't that hard to guess.






The last time I had a work out class was aerobics in college in 1985. When I was engaged to Dennis in 1989, I worked out every morning with Hanna (also getting married in a few months), to her aerobics video tape in her living room. About a year after we married, I worked out to the same video tape with a friend from bible study in her living room.




These kinds of exercise classes have changed in some ways; in other ways, they haven't. I think that having people to work out with and an instructor to challenge me is the way to go. I get to socialize and it starts out my day right. The reason I usually don't sign up for classes like this is because it requires me to move with the beat and in step with the others. Lisa, our instructor, is fun and so I will keep going despite having two left feet.




I will keep swimming. I can tell it really helped me with being able to keep up with the classes.




So, now the other part of the quest to lose weight is controlling the calories. I've kept a food journal before. The problem with me is that I eat a lot of different things and it is difficult to compute the calories for each and every recipe I try out. I give up after a month. So, if I eat the same things in the same amount, then it takes a lot of work out of my journal keeping and calorie controlling.




Saturday, April 14, 2007

Call Me Cleopatra...

...Because I am Queen of De-Nile....

Today was my two hour core training class at the YMCA. If you don't know (like I didn't before I signed up for this class), the core is the center gravity of your body--from where you balance yourself from and from where you have the most weight and strength. For women, it is in the abdomen and hip area. For men, it is in their chest area.


I just signed up because my schedule is free at 7am in the morning (even though I get home from work the night before at midnight) until 9am. And because the course description included using balance ball, medicine ball, elastic bands, all what sounded like fun to me and would keep me interested. And you know, I was right. We got to stack up benches, got to make up our own barbell, use three different sizes of free weights (brightly colored for us ladies), it felt like I got to play with toys. Every five minutes, we were switching from one piece of equipement to another.


Some of the ladies I recognized from swimming and from the women's locker room, all of whom who were encouraging me. I was clearly the oldest and the largest lady there. But, I stayed all through the two hours, and I did work out hard. My instructor, Jan, was surprised that I finished the workout and that I did everything she led the class through, especially since it was my first time. Jan also recognized me from swimming at the pool almost every day.


I enjoyed every aspect of Jan's class. Except for the huge mirror we had in front of us. You know, the kind that takes up the whole side of the wall for the dancers to check their form in their reflection. My reflection pretty much encouraged me that I was doing the right thing this morning, and I could use a lot more mornings like this one. Really can't hide behind any excuses or defensive mechanisms.
  • I surprised myself.
  • I do look a lot worse than I realized.
  • But, I am a lot more stronger and capable than I know.
Dennis and I had a quiet time in James this morning after my workout. The verses about hearing God's word and abiding by it, is like someone who looks intently into a mirror, pretty much summed up my experience this morning.
I'm not afraid to face the reality. I am more afraid that I might not.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Motivation


I'm trying to psyche myself to go to the pool today. I haven't gone swimming in a week because of my head cold. I think that I got my head cold because I didn't swim--I haven't been sick for almost a year. But even as I am feeling sick, I still feel great. I've lost that bloated feeling that I used to have before I worked out. I've lost five more pounds since last month. I am pretty proud of that and making my doctor cry for joy a month ago.


I could say all I wanted about how I made several changes in my lifestyle, but she was taking it all in with a grain of salt until the lab results came in. Those numbers actually mean something to her, that I really have changed. That I really do eat fish three times a week, that I really do eat more veggies and whole grains and that I really do exercise consistently.


There is a senior citizen that I chat with from time to time in the pool and in the women's locker room. She lost a lot of weight by going to the pool every day and she does her water aerobics routine. She's 81 years old. She says that I'm doing really well and to keep it up--her positive feedback means a lot to me. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever known.
Next week, I start my fitness classes. I hope I survive--I have five classes.
So, what motivates you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dogs


Dennis and I really miss Buttercup, it seems lonely without her around to take care of and go on walks with. Sometimes she was a pain in the neck, but we loved her. Maybe we're ready for another dog. So, I'm looking.


Every time a customer comes with a dog at our drive through at work, I want that particular breed. I know all their names. Lester, the lazy basset hound who keeps the bed warm for his owner while he's at work. Reece, the tan chow mix with the perpetual smile. Queenie, the sweet Alaskan malamute who goes to doggie daycare once a week. Ranger, the sled dog that actually pulls a sled. Zaney Blue, the cheerful beagle who loves walks and surprising his owner with mischief when she gets home. Cappuccino, the relaxed and calm long haired Chihuahua,

Lady, the German Shepherd who regally sits upright in the back seat of her teen aged owner's sports car, quietly keeping watch over her young charge--her eyes never leave her.


We had Buttercup so long that I forgot what it was like when we first got her in California. We didn't know what to do with her for several months until we headed to Georgia. We spent a month in the car with her, finally learning how to bond with her as dog owners should. We nearly lost her, she had been suffering with a bladder stone. We took her to two vets, one in the Bay Area before we left, one in Washington state when we visited my parents and no one knew what her problem was. When we got to Georgia, a vet took an x-ray and found the huge bladder stone and performed surgery to remove it.


So, remembering all the lessons and cost of having a dog, including the fortune of having a dog that was as intelligent and compatible with us as she was--we didn't consider a lot of things regarding traits and temperament, we bought her impulsively based on her looks--I am thinking about our next dog a lot harder.


Next dog might not be as big, but not too small. I want a gentle and friendly disposition. I don't mind grooming. We are thinking about getting a puppy, so to train earlier, the trade off is the time factor. When we got Buttercup, I was working at home with my consulting business, so she was never alone. I took her to the park every day and played catch with her and worked on obedience training with her constantly. I love training because I love seeing them actually transform from spoiled hellion to well behaved companion who knows what's expected of her. Buttercup used to jump up on people that she loved, so she could see our faces closer. When I helped her understand that she could still be excited but not jump on us, it was delightful. She would jump up and do a pirouhette mid air, as though she wanted to jump up on me but decided on a ballet move instead.


I love the idea of a St. Bernard puppy, but they are huge and slobber. Golden retreivers seem like a good idea, too. But I want more intelligence, like a German Shepherd. I love smart dogs.

I often think of Lady, and how protective she was of her girl, as though she'd known her since a baby and still watched over her as she drove. St. Bernard's are huge, but I like their natures and heroic pedigree. Since it snows a lot around here, a St. Bernard would be an ideal winter walking dog. I'd feel warm just standing next to her.
It's snowing right now. St. Bernard would be nice right now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Feast on This

Dennis says that my blog sounds like I'm depressed. What? Me, depressed?? I might be sounding depressed, but I'm not. He says that I appear to be crying for help.

Hmmm....all the deep thoughts about dying, Mom, wilted tulips, chocolate binges, Bob Dylan, St. Augustine, missionaries, Pope Benedict, pictures of Jesus healing lunatics, repentence...whatever made him think that? Actually, I've been happy. Even though I have these waves of depressing thoughts, I like that. It's fun. I'm alive. It's when I'm not feeling or thinking anything is when I'm having problems.

I enjoyed talking with Danielle who is learning about her spiritual gifts and getting to know herself. She is volunteering to help with the high school group at church to see if she has a calling to that, and she is a volunteer coach to help with high school track and feild. Since she is an athlete and has a degree in secondary education, it looks like she's going to have a lot of fun.

It's funny, I've been thinking a lot about my spiritual gifts as well. I've had feedback before, I've been told I've got this gift and that gift. I'm usually pretty skeptical. Some people say I have gifts I've never seen described as gifts in the Bible. For instance, hospitality.

Where's that verse?

When I look over the usual lists in Romans and 1 Corinthians, and I see things that hospitality would fall under. It's an activity, in my mind, that could employ gifts of helps, mercy and encouragement. Not that it matters. I am hospitable whether I'm good at it or not, because it is a command and because it is love. When I was a kid, I was shy and during the rare times my parents had people over, I pretty much disappeared. I also burned everything that Mom attempted to teach me to cook. I wasn't that interested, I would've rather spent the time reading.



In college, I lived in a dorm. Post college, I was more likely to get the coats and wash the dishes while my roommates did the planning and the cooking. When a mentor, Karen, walked me through menu planning, cooking and biblical principles of hospitality while I lived with her, it was really hard and I did not take to it like duck takes to water. After that year of agony, I then lived with Debbie and Cindy two of the best cooks and most hospitable women in Christendom, I still hard a tough time. It was worse than physics, calculus and statistics all wrapped into one.



Something finally clicked while living with Debbie and Cindy when it was my week to invite someone over for dinner in the Spring. We took turns once a week all year long, and after several months, I still was dreading my turn. I asked Darcy and Krista, who were in my bible study on campus and Krista's roommate, Kimika, from Japan over. Kimika was graduating in a month and wasn't a Christian. I chose to do a kind of Easter dinner with ham slices, scalloped potatoes, salad and a green bean casserole. Peach crisp and ice cream was dessert. Kind of ambitious for me, so I started cooking early in the afternoon. Kimika told me that she really enjoyed the meal and it was the first time that she had a real homemade American meal in an American home since she had been in the States. I was dumb founded--I told her I wished we had her over more often. The evening also had a profound emotional effect on Krista and Darcy about the importance of hospitality.




After that, I decided that hospitality was going to be a part of my lifestyle, no matter how hard I found it to do, I was going to find a way. I've also learned since then that it was more than cooking, it was the way people felt comfortable and encouraged and also in the way that you opened your life. It also didn't matter how much money you had or how fancy the food you served. It had everything to do with providing an environment where people could feel the love of God through serving and encouraging them.


A year later, in 1987, I was watching the movie in Seattle "Babette's Feast" that underscored the "bones" or framework of hospitality for me. The story is about two middle aged single Danish women living in the barren Jutland coast and caring for the aged and invalid in the community as well as their late pastor father's congregation. The backstory is promenient about lost chances at love when they were younger and dominated by their father's fear of losing them. Later, as they were older and penniless, one of the daughter's ex-beau (if you could call him that--he didn't even have a chance) sent to them a french refugee named Babette who offers to be their servant in exchange for a place to stay. Babette takes care of them--in small ways daily adding more creativity and style than the sisters ever imagined possible on their income, while managing to increase their savings and after 14 years, finds out that she won the french lottery for 10,000 francs. With the winnings, Babette asks to cook a meal for them and the congregation with the result that the sisters learn a lesson about what sets Babette apart from everyone else even in poor times and rich times. Perfect ironic parable written by Isak Dineson, a.k.a. Karen Blixen of "Out of Africa" fame.

Vincent Canby, in his reveiw of the movie in The New York Times, October 1, 1987 says this:

"It's not telling too much to report that this glory is Art - in Babette's
case, a very special God-given talent. ''Babette's Feast'' is an affirmation
of Art as the force by which, in the words of the old pastor (who never
quite realized what he was saying), ''righteousness and bliss,'' otherwise
known as the spirit and the flesh, shall be reconciled."



Caille en Sarcaphage--Babette's specialty


Not that I think that every meal I serve should be worthy of a Michelan five star rating, not that I wouldn't want to try sometime. But that the idea that I could do it artistically in a kind of way that would be edifying to people, and create a "banqueting table" with God's banner of love over us helps me enormously to commiting myself to the endeavor. It gives meaning to every tedious task involved with creating a place where "righteousness and bliss shall meet together".

Monday, April 09, 2007

Back in the Groove



It is April, isn't it?
Ain't talkin' today. That kind of day. I didn't get any sleep last night until about 4am. But I have an hour and forty-five minutes to get ready for work. That's an hour and forty-five minutes of getting myself psyched up and ready for action after a relatively lazy weekend.
Easter Sunday was great, though. I helped Keiko, Chirahito and Maria in the Nursery--three baby boys who all were dressed up in little khaki's and navy blue vests--cute! I sat with Shawna and Aaron and Alice for the church service. I made an amazing roast beef dinner and dyed eggs, finished my book "From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya" and watched "Wind in the Willows" on PBS' Masterpiece Theater with Dennis when he got home. He's been sick with a cold lately, so it was nice to cuddle on the sofa with the afghan together.
I also ate chocolate. It was great. Maybe it was the guilt that kept me up. Did not want to check blood sugar.
Well, enough talkin'.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya






I am still up, but almost ready for bed. This will be a quiet Easter. Most of the time we celebrate by having others over, it's nice to just hang out. But Den will be working through the afternoon, and I really don't want to fuss.


Most of the time, people choose to "celebrate Spring" not neccessarily Jesus rising from the dead at Easter time. Here in Michigan, it is perpetually snowing right now. The cold has terminated my lovely white tulips and daffodils in the front yard. My crown imperial fritillary was about to bloom, the first time in the last four years since I've planted it. It was going to be lovely.


They'll be back next year.


At Thursday's church service, I was thinking about dying. I was thinking about what I'd be thinking about when I was about to die. How would I deploy my brain cells to their last mission on earth, if I had time to do so. Would I be too overwhelmed with fear to pray what I'd want to pray? I'm thinking that I need to ask God now to help me through those final moments. There have been a few moments in my life when it looked like it might be the end. My thoughts usually were, wow, this might be the end. I didn't have any fear, except for an adrenaline rush. Nor did I have any last great prayer beseeching God either. Usually, it seemed like a surprise.


And why should I be surprised?



I've been thinking about death a lot since I started to read "From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya" a book about missionaries. Most of them died early. A lot of them died as martyrs. All of them suffered. Some survived long enough to see all of what they had worked for destroyed, commonly by war or political agendas. Some labored all their lives and never saw any fruitfulness among the people they served. Very few were what we'd call successful.





What I learned from Ruth Tucker's biographies is that when you give your live to serve the Lord overseas to do as He desires, it is never what you'd expect. As I look out at my frozen flowers slumped over in their beds, I'm reminded that death comes whenever. I'm in just as much in control as those iced tulips. We, as Amy Carmichael said, are all given "a chance to die".

Friday, April 06, 2007

Maundy Thursday Reflections




We went to a Maundy Thursday service at our church last night. I had worked most of the afternoon at a Starbucks in the Mall, filling in a shift for another manager. Dennis came in to meet Bob for a little while I finished up my shift. After dinner, we headed to our church for the Maundy Thursday program.


I have had a tough time lately, troubled by my hardheartedness. I've been worried that everything spiritual is starting to sound the same, and that I'm not listening as attentively as I used to. I had no expectations that my dryness would be healed, but I've been open. So, we sang about God's love and went through the readings and the sermon. Instead of God, I kept thinking about Mom.


As the lights dimmed in the room as the evening progressed, I remembered a Good Friday mass that Mom brought me to when I was 9. With all that was going on--her job, moving for Dad's new job in Washington state, maybe a new baby sibling, I was getting lost in the shuffle a bit. So, it was attention I wasn't used to getting and as we received communion together, it was a time of real bonding. Even though I had not come to really believing yet, Mom was bringing me to a deeper understanding of Jesus. She also successfully reached a part of me that was drifting further away from the family.


Our pastor spoke of God's love exceeding all loves we as humans experience. Mom had a way of bringing me back whenever I drifted off, which I often do. I believe the Holy Spirit reminded me that Mom really loved me, and God loves me infinitely more. He is fully aware of me and what I'm like, and knows how to reach me and re-connect me to His heart. It's nothing that I can do for myself.

Oh, the flowers of indulgence and the weeds of yesteryear,
Like criminals, they have choked the breath of conscience and good
cheer.
The sun beat down upon the steps of time to light the way
To ease the pain of idleness and the memory of decay.

I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame
And every time I pass that way I always hear my name.
Then onward in my journey I come to understand
That every hair is numbered like every grain of sand.

--Bob Dylan, Every Grain of Sand from Shot of Love

Solid Rock




Solid Rock



Well, I'm hangin' on to a solid rock



Made before the foundation of the world



And I won't let go, and I can't let go, won't let go



And I can't let go, won't let go, and I can't let go no more.






For me He was chastised, for me He was hated,



For me he was rejected by a world that He created.



Nations are angry, cursed are some,



People are expecting a false peace to come.






Well, I'm hangin' on to a solid rock



Made before the foundation of the world



And I won't let go, and I can't let go, won't let go



And I can't let go, won't let go, and I can't let go no more.






It's the ways of the flesh to war against the spirit



Twenty-four hours a day you can feel it and you can hear it



Using all the devices under the sun.



And He never give up 'til the battle's lost or won.






Well, I'm hangin' on to a solid rock



Made before the foundation of the world



And I won't let go, and I can't let go, won't let go



And I can't let go, won't let go, and I can't let go no more.






Copyright © 1980 Special Rider Music










Who wrote the above lyrics?



A. Pope Benedict

B. J.S. Bach

C. Mick Jagger

D. Bob Dylan













Answer: