Posted on Wed, Aug 31, 2011
As I begin this, I have just seen CNN’s report on the earthquake that struck the east coast today. I immediately called (as did several million others) to see if my family was all right, and my neighbors to see if my shore house was still standing. The latter is fine (and btw, waiting for the hurricane that is to follow), and my family is likewise. It was Elijah’s first earthquake and his mother’s as well on the east coast. Still, Krystle was especially “freaked out” by the whole event—because she is from California!
Then, after watching the news, I checked my email here at the office, and the first thing I saw was an advertisement from Crab Place.com back on the Eastern Shore of Maryland featuring an Earthquake Sale—about two hours after it hit. I couldn’t believe it! Were the crabs that disturbed by the tremors in the Chesapeake Bay that after the quake that they just wanted to get steamed? Or, was this a quick- thinking, marketing ploy that took clever advantage of the quirks and “quakes” of nature?
As I write this now, the promised hurricane—Irene by name—has come and gone to and from the Eastern Shore and Baltimore proper, and all is well. It has been quite a week back there; I don’t ever recall an earthquake occurring on the entire east coast from Maine to Florida, followed by a major storm that covered the same territory all at once, with both events taking place within days of each other.
There was an article on the web today that suggested that Irene was a result of global warming. And I have heard that some Texas preacher said that she was God’s punishment for letting gays and lesbians get married (or letting them be eligible for ordination?). Now, it seems to me that if either were the case, it would follow that we should have never had hurricanes before the globe started warming up, and that God is being less than discriminating in punishing the Outer Banks of North Carolina where same sex marriage is illegal, while slamming it to New York where it isn’t—and not singling out members of the United Church of Christ or the PC(USA)!
It is very hard for people to make theological sense out of natural events that seem so unnatural and contrary to what we perceive as God’s best intentions for us—especially when so many of us suffer for it. A ten-year-old boy was killed while he was helping his mother get the house ready for the hurricane. An elderly woman staying put in her house during the storm died in her living room when her chimney collapsed and fell on her. And, all this attention to the weather has diverted us away from the rest of the world, where starving children are dying by the thousands in Somalia, where hundreds are being slaughtered in Syria, and where the hunt for Gaddafi goes on in Libya, and hundreds more have died in the drug wars in Northern Mexico. We could go on, but what’s the point….
Years ago in summer church camp I remember one of the counselors, a young Presbyterian minister from Delaware, who kept saying in chapel services that “people are no damn good.” He was quoting someone else to make a point, but he said it with such conviction that I began to believe that he believed it himself. When we witness the human effects of terror and evil in the world as we can do so quickly today, or when our “terra firma” isn’t so firm because of “earthquake, wind and fire,” we can easily convince ourselves that not only are people no damn good, but God isn’t our best friend either. So, where does that put us in the greater scheme of things and where do we go from there?
In the 8th chapter of Mark, Jesus teaches his disciples that they must bear a cross, just as he is about to do. But he also assures them that their lives will be saved, perhaps not in the way they imagined, but in a way he knew they needed to have life as his followers. That assurance applies to us in our time and place as well. Even Jesus said that trouble will always be with us, and there is always enough for one day. So, we are called upon, and put upon, in the days of our lives to bear heavy burdens that, like a storm surge, threaten to overwhelm us. But those burdens may also contain a message and an invitation to reconsider the direction our lives are taking and revise the story that we thought we were living. And that may lead us to a hard truth that Jesus may want something from us that we were not willing to give until now.
I think all of us have those moments of insight from time to time. Now, I wonder, is it time to do something about them, knowing that whatever we might have to give up in our lives, Jesus will give back tenfold?
The Field of Honor is a community event that will take place on September 9 through 16 this month. Thousands of American flags will proudly stand at the New Mexico Military Institute on Stapp Field to honor all those who died on 9/11, veterans and those who have made the supreme sacrifice so that our land remains free.
This event is being sponsored through the Elk’s Lodge at 1720 North Montana. The committee meets the 2nd Monday of the month there at 6:30 pm. All who are interested in helping out are invited to attend. They need volunteers to assemble flags, post flags, read names, and take down field.
To volunteer, get more information, or to purchase a flag (at $25 each), call the Elk’s Lodge at 575-622-1560. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Great has been the blessing from consecutive, diligent, daily study [of the Bible]. I look upon it as a lost day when I have not had a good time over the Word of God.” George Multer.
A final, little peek at the reference section of the library. Of course, there are many fine study aids available. These are just a couple of great, old classics readers should find interesting and informational.
First is a little paperback, abridged edition of Halley’s Bible Handbook. Admittedly ancient (first edition 1927, edited down through the years to 1964), it has been a valuable resource for preachers, teachers, and laypersons, and I’ll wager it still occupies an honored space on many ministers’ shelves to this day.
Dr. Henry H. Halley was a well-respected author, minister, and Bible lecturer, who dedicated his life to spreading his passion for Bible study and memorization. The original grew from small pamphlets that he gave away to encourage churches and individuals in Bible study. It was born out of his conviction that everyone ought to read the Bible daily. The first edition was a small give-away booklet of 16 pages and grew into an 864-page “almanac” of biblical information, a bestseller in many languages.
The book includes a concise Bible commentary, important discoveries in archaeology, related historical data, church history, maps, and more. It is the classic companion text.
Another valuable study aid is Eerdmanns’ Handbook to the Bible, edited by David and Pat Alexander. While no one handbook can replace all the resources available—dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, atlases, geographies, concordances, and writings of celebrated theologicans—Eerdmans’ offers a comprehensive chance to see and understand the Bible in its historical context and provides answers to many questions about biblical times and places.
It is divided into four sections for convenient use, general information about the Bible, with articles on various texts and translations, guidelines to biblical interpretation, and a chart on “Christianity and World Ideologies.” There is an essay on “Meeting Objections to a Christian View.” These are followed by substantial sections on the Old and New Testaments, histories, and commentaries, etc. The final section presents key themes and doctrines, a “General Subject Index,” additional indices of people, places, maps, and great illustrations, with a quick-reference map and chart.
Check it out!
Anne the Librarian
It’s time once again to help out Hungry Harold. He has informed us that for September, he is in need of Kool-Aid along with Canned Vegetables and Instant Mashed Potatoes. He sends his thanks for the many blessings he has received from the families and friends of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
In May we studied the last lesson for the year and had election of new officers for 2011-2012. They are as follows:
Moderator - Goldene Mondragon
Vice Moderator - Peggy Stokes
Secretary - Margaret Johnson
Treasurer - Dorothy Straley
Together in Service - Veva Byrd
Phyllis Zumwalt 3 year
Veva Byrd 2 year
Goldene Mondragon 1 year
Starting out the new season, our next meeting day is September 12, at 9:30 am. The book we will be studying from is Confessing the Beatitudes. Lesson #1 is titled “Greatly Honored Are the Poor.”
As Goldene Mondragon is out of town, Peg Stokes will be leading the meeting, furnishing refreshments, and Mary Puckett will be teaching the lesson. Thank you, Peg and Mary! Your hard work is greatly appreciated for this.
July 31 -- 49
August 7 -- 49
August 14 -- 49
August 21 -- 41
August 28 -- 45
A Handy Little Chart -
You say: “It’s impossible”
God says: “All things are possible.”
You say: “I’m too tired”
God says: “I will give you rest.”
You say: “Nobody really loves me”
God says: “I love you.”
John 3:16; John 3:34
You say: “I can’t go on.”
God says: “My grace is sufficient.”
II Cor. 12:9; Ps 91:15
You say: “I can’t figure things out.”
God says: “I will direct your steps.”
You say: “I can’t do it.”
God says: “You can do all things.”
You say: “I’m not able.”
God says: “I am able.”
II Cor. 9:8
You say: “It’s not worth it.”
God says: “It will be worth it.”
You say: “I can’t forgive myself.”
God says: “I forgive you.”
I John 1:9; Rom 8:1
You say: “I can’t manage.”
God says: “I will supply all your needs.”
You say: “I’m afraid.”
God says: “I have not given you a spirit of fear.”
II Tim 1:7
You say: “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
God says: “Cast all your cares on ME.”
I Peter 5:7
You say: “I’m not smart enough.”
God says: “I give you wisdom.”
I Cor. 1:30
You say: “I feel all alone.”
God says: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Sept. 1. 5 pm. CASA
Sept. 2. 2 pm. Worship Committee Meeting
Sept. 4. 2 pm. Communications Committee
Sept. 6. 7 pm. Property Committee Meeting
Sept. 7. 2 pm. Evangelism & Concern Committee Meeting
Sept. 8. 9:30 am. Community Kitchen
Sept. 8. 5 pm. CASA
Sept. 11. Session Meeting
Sept. 12. 9:30 am. PW Circle
Sept. 12. 2 pm. Mission & Stewardship Committee Meeting
Sept. 15. 9:30 am. Community Kitchen
Sept. 15. 5 pm. CASA
Sept. 16. Chimes Deadline
Sept. 22. 9:30 am. Community Kitchen
Sept. 15. 5 pm. CASA
Sept. 25. Cents-Ability Collection
Sept. 26. 9:00 am. Piece Maker’s Day
Sept. 29. 5 pm CASA
Albert & Ann Dye
Marno Talbott & Tom Berckes
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