Friday, September 25, 2020

Worship into the Week- First and Last


Worship into the Week-
 Laborers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20:1-16

Some things just don't make 

sense in the economy of Jesus. 

He works with a template that 

doesn't fit how we work things out.  

We like fair and even and divided up equally.

We don't quite know how this works out in the end-

but we are not in charge of that ending.

But, we also don't want someone else

 getting the same as us, 

if they have "worked" less, 

or seem somehow less deserving.

Jesus really hits the nail on the head

 with these following questions.

"Am I not allowed to do what

 I choose with what belongs to me? 

Or do you begrudge my generosity?"

Any of our answers  

lead us into the predicament

 of trying to manage GOD.

And in the way that Jesus turns the tables,

 he finalizes the parable with a punchline.

"So the last will be first, and the first last."

That gives us a lot to think about,

as we sort out what it really looks like

 to be Joyful in Mercy.


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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Petra, Jordan- Part 2

Some of the landscape of Petra.

Fellow trekker Rev. Aaron Bueltmann -

 checking things out.

 It is the people on this journey

 that made it so much fun.

My brother Kim poses 
with the guards for the journey.
A bit challenging to see all the crew.

Brother-in-law Randy is a long way from Indiana.
Lisa Latall is having a bit
 of fun with Aaron's scarf.
My sister Lee Ann and husband Randy
 finishing up the day of walking.
The horse and buggies can take 
walkers back at the end of the day.
A Map of the spread out area to explore in Petra.
We visited the new museum 
right outside the entrance to Petra.
We did not have time to do that the last time.  
The earthquake of 363 destroyed much of Petra.
The city shifts and begins to lose its urban presence 
and most of the residents convert to Christianity.
There is a Byzantine church at Petra.
Head of a Bearded Man- Nabatean late 1st century 
Medusa- Nabatean-early 1st century AD
Intricate carving
Large vessel- amazing to piece these 
pieces together after all of these years.
We found the CAVE BAR 
and enjoyed a bit of time to talk about our day together.
Full of memories. 
Shared with two siblings and their spouses.
What a treasure- our visit to one
 of the New 7 Wonders of the World- Petra.
We stayed at the Petra Moon this trip.
 There is something about this 
other-worldly place that calls me back. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Petra, Jordan- Part 1


This is the iconic view of the Treasury in Petra, Jordan. This is the most famous structure in this archeological site. It is the 45M high    Al Khazneh, with its ornate Greek-facade facade. Petra dates to around 300 BC and was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom.  We visited this site for the second time in January 2020. 

The journey to the Treasury
 begins when you get past these two guards.
The trough on the left is part
 of the ancient water system.
Looking up from the "walkway "
 that is called Al Siq, which is a narrow canyon.
An ancient burial spot.
There are many tombs and temples carved into the 
rose-colored sandstone.
That is why it is called the "Rose City."
Finally, after the .75 mile walk 
there is a glimpse of the surprise ahead. 
The Siq literally means "the Shaft", 
and is the main entrance to the ancient Nabatean city
 of Petra in southern Jordan.
This dim, narrow gorge is 
10 feet wide at its widest points. 
The Nabateans were nomadic Arabs
 that made the most of trade routes to secure their wealth.
The amazing colors of the rock at Petra.
More of the many carved rock spaces. This community flourished in the 1st century AD and they were skillful in harvesting rainwater, agriculture and stone carving. At its peak they believe 20,000 people lived here.
At Petra you will see many donkeys 
and locals ALWAYS wanting to give you a ride.
Places along the way they sell their wares.
One of the things to do after some exploring
 is to sit a bit and have some Arabic coffee.
The view outside the window.
Such a stunning view with this blue sky.
One of the things we did not do
 the last time was a camel ride.
I vowed that if I EVER
 got back to Petra, I would ride a camel.
I laughed for pretty much the whole ride.
The caravan is heading out.
It was a lot of fun.
Even the part when I thought
 I would fall right off.
Dusk comes early to Petra in January
 and the walk back begins
 to cast late afternoon shadows.
It is a rather amazing place.
Even on a second visit.
And yes there are scenes from here
 on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

In Limbo


In limbo here in the house in Michigan
 with the new baby. 

Sitting amidst packing boxes and disarray,

 no matter how much we are trying to help keep

 a sense of normalcy for a 2 and 4 year old.

And also for us adults.

New for the parents.

And all in a sleep deprived state

 with a two week old baby.

We see the end of the tunnel.

                         Little Miss Hadley is trying to figure out

 this new squirming thing.

                                                    Dan as Daddy and Uncle-

sets out with four on the sidewalks

 in a mini Tour deFrance.

The two littles can be

 heard shouting- "Go Fast!"

Feeding the boys.

Now we hear that it may be a much longer wait

 to get test results back for this little sweetheart.

Oh Lord, waiting is hard- 

 bear with my impatience,

 my fidgeting heart that wants things quickly.

Bring peace in this "waiting till" days-

 that we may breathe deep 

and savor each moment until 

your Right Time.  Amen.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Worship into the Week- Have Mercy


Worship into the Week- 
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
 Matthew 18:21-35
Oh Peter! You come to Jesus 
and ask about forgiving your brother.
Seven is a good number.
Then in the way that Jesus 
He tells Peter-
seventy-seven times.
That would be a good start. 
It's actually meant to mean-
just keep on forgiving
with great mercy in your heart.
 Then He tells them the parable to emphasize
 just how serious He is about this principle.
The final punch is pretty plain.
Forgive your brother from your heart- or else.
That is the edict of how we are to be

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Machaerus, Jordan


(from our January 2020 visit)
This is the Dead Sea vista 
from the Jordan side at Machaerus. 
It is the fortified hilltop palace located
 16 miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river.
According to Flavius Josephus, it is the location of the 
imprisonment and execution of John the Baptist.
According to the the chronology of the Bible-
Mark 6:24, Matthew 14:8, 
this execution took place in 32 AD shortly
 before the Passover. 
This was following an imprisonment of two years.
This shows part of the steep rock-lined walkway
  to the top of Machaerus. 
 It is not for the faint of heart.
Archeologists found and reconstructed
 this column in 2014.
The lone sentinel at the top of the hill.
A part of our group at the top of the hill.
The sheep are headed to the camp
 at the end of the day. 
                                                                                       (photo from Wikipedia)
Distant view of the site.
We had tried to get to this four years ago,
 but the wet rains prevented a safe ascent.
I was thankful that this trip allowed a visit.
A bit more of the history:

The fortress Machaerus was originally built by the Hasmonean king, Alexander Jannaeus (104 BC-78 BC) in about the year 90 BC, serving an important strategic position. Its high, rocky vantage point was difficult to access, and invasions from the east could be easily spotted from there. It was also in line of sight of other Hasmonean (and later Herodian) citadels, so other fortresses could be signaled if trouble appeared on the horizon. Nevertheless, it was destroyed by Pompey's general Gabinius in 57 BC, but later rebuilt by Herod the Great in 30 BC to be used as a military base to safeguard his territories east of the Jordan.

Upon the death of Herod the Great, the fortress was passed to his son, Herod Antipas, who ruled from 4 BC until 39 AD. It was during this time, at the beginning of the first century AD, that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded at Machaerus.

After the deposition and banishment of Herod Antipas in 39 AD, Machaerus passed to Herod Agrippa I until his death in 44 AD, after which it came under Roman control. Jewish rebels took control after 66 AD during the First Jewish RevoltShortly after defeating the Jewish garrison of Herodium, the Roman legate Lucillus Bassus advanced on Machaerus with his troops and began siege in 72 AD. An embankment and ramp were created in order to facilitate Roman siege engines but the Jewish rebels capitulated before the Roman attack had begun. The rebels were allowed to leave and the fortress was torn down, leaving only the foundations intact.