Independence.

July the 2nd

During this tumultuous time of 242 years ago fighting off the English since 1773, the colonies wanted badly to gain independence one way or another. The southern colonies desired to keep slavery as their right while the north fought against it. The two sides eventually came together agreeing to declare their right to govern themselves as one united nation.

Thomas Jefferson was quietly composing the declaration of Independence to send to the British crown. Even though he was a slave holder as was Washington, he wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (back in those days the term ‘all men’ included all of humanity regardless of sex, race or nationality) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (impossible to take away or give up) rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Let us not ever forget it, or as Ben Franklin has been quoted saying, “We must hang together or surely we will hang separately.”

 

July the 3rd.

It was yesterday 242 years ago that the colonies agreed to declare their independence, and not until 6 days later when the official declaration was read to the people of Philadelphia. No instant news in those days as news traveled slowly by horseback and sailing ships across the Atlantic delivering the news to England on August 20th: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America.”

A couple days before the end of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, George Mason stood up – a delegate from Virginia, genius, brilliant – and he said, ‘If Congress shall turn oppressive, the only way to reform what’s taking place is through violence. We must give the people the power to address a tyrannical Congress,

Article V of the Constitution provides a means where the states have the right to propose Amendments when ratified by 3/4th of the States, it would be valid to all Intent and Purposes.

It was not until 1938 when Congress declared the 4th of July as a federal holiday to be enjoyed by all. Our customs of celebration has changed over the years, from an earlier custom of building towering pyramids, assembled from barrels and casks and setting it on fire. Currently, we hold BBQ’s, picnics along a lakeside, a campfire, family gatherings in the backyards with sparklers and our own purchased legal fireworks, and then to view the local fireworks displays. We will perhaps record the Macy’s celebration in NYC to watch later.  This Year Hallmark is broadcasting a White House celebration as the President, and First Lady will commemorate the day by welcoming military families for an afternoon picnic on the south lawn and later viewing the fireworks display put on by the National Park Service.

Happy Independence.

 

July the 4th.

The last paragraph of that declaration.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Cicero was murdered in 43 B.C. What might he have said that enlightened the Declaration of 1776?  “There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil,”

“It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing today and another tomorrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable,” Cicero said. “God himself is its author, its promulgator, its enforcer.”

What did Hamilton think of this argument?  “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records,” Hamilton wrote in 1775. “They are written, as with a sun beam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

Then there was Jefferson: “God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn”

R.W. Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

He penned these few lines about the famous Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first official engagement between Britain and the Colonies in Americas beginning on April 19, 1775, which lasted eight and a half years. The American Revolution finally ended on September 3, 1783, with America and the King of England signing the Treaty of Paris.

This document was signed by 56 Americans wanting to be free and independent, many of whom gave their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Tonight, when you see and hear the fireworks exploding, think of the shot heard around the world.

 

Watching a game.

Watching a ball-game the other evening as the right fielder was running hard to his left to catch a fly ball, the movements of his legs caught my attention, and my utter amazement. How does he do that? How do his legs know they must rotate like that, at that speed and in that direction? Two of those legs coming off the hip bone moving at opposing times: one leg forward, the other leg behind the torso, as the front foot lands on the ground pushing the spikes on the bottom of his shoes against the ground and pulling back causing the large thigh bone to rotate back which brings the rear leg forward, the hip bone moving back and forth, left and right.

Was the outfielder thinking along the way? Now the left, the right, left, right, left, let’s go legs, knees move, stretch out more, faster, faster more speed. There it is, I see the ball coming, it’s starting to come down.  Move legs, faster, faster, toes grab the ground and push.  Okay, now the left arm; stretch out all the way, shoulders turn a bit toward the infield, stretch some more arm. Yeah, you can do it, just a bit more. Okay good, now to the hand in the glove; here it comes, rotate palm up some but not too far, fingers open the glove and catch, now close it tight. You got it. Good work body. It’s ok slide along the grass a bit. Thank you. The coach, the teammates thank you. We won.

Unbelievable pieces of equipment. One long thick bone covered by muscles and tissue rotating off his hip connecting to a knee apparatus that connects to another tissue and muscle covering double bones connecting to an ankle which feeds the foot bones connecting to the toes. Two of those opposite mechanical apparatuses moving at the same precise cadence together. Truly amazing how this physical body of ours is put together.

 

When I was just a kid we used to sing a song.

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone,
The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!

Scientists, biologists have it all mapped out how these things work. How the muscles and skeletal bones operate around the joints. They tell us how to use the legs properly. They tell us what could happen if they are abused or if we fall and break one of those bones. They’re quick to inform us of our need to exercise the joints and muscles, not just the leg bones, but this entire physical body of ours that the entire human population is similarly equipped with. They also point out the similarities of our bones with those of horses, cows, monkeys, apes and elephants. How often has a horse, whose legs are so thin seemly lacking in muscle tissue around the bone fall down and break a leg? Or, monkeys as they swing from tree to tree missing a branch falling 20 feet to the ground resulting in a broken hip bone? Have any elephants been found unable to walk because of a broken leg. Our legs are designed for this size body, not the body of an elephant, or a Chimp.

They tell us it’s our brain muscle that sends super-fast signals to these muscular legs to get to work, run and catch that ball . . . quickly. The brain? Another muscle? No, not just another muscle, but a mass, like billions of neurons with possibly trillions of connections working together sending signals received by the eyes, the ears, our sense of smell and touch sending those signals to the different parts of the body to do something. The following fact as explained by the scientists is interesting to me. The left side of this brain sends signals controlling the functions of the right side of the body while the right part sends the signals on how the muscles and bones of the left side of the body should operate, both using the one central spinal cord next to our back bone.

But, all these well-educated scientists leave out the why part and leave out the how was all this designed in the first place. They agree that it was a process of evolution over millions or billions of years as these different parts merged together because of a necessity to functionally operate. Two legs are better than one. One spinal cord can handle it. Five fingers are better than three or four. Two eyes closer together than where the elephant’s eyes are located are better. Wow, if only another eye was situated behind the head what a difference in sight that would be. The knee joints should only move the lower leg up and backwards. Strong bones protecting the heart muscle sending a red substance to nourish the body with fluid, and lungs that continually breathe in and out. And, we’ve got to nourish this body with food on a daily basis, which is digested by a stomach sending strength throughout and yes, discharging un-needed parts of that food through a long winding tube and out of the body. Hmm? And then this brain that recognizes sight and sound is also very curious about the hows and whys things work as our reasoning ability has invented modern technology, designing this computer by combining millions of 1’s and O’s into certain configurations, algorithms.  Yes, THE designer has imagined and assembled all these parts together into one physical body very different than the animal world.

We can catch a ball flying thru the air.

 

The Lone Wolf destroys the peace of many.

What’s going on in this great land of ours from sea to shining sea? A teen-ager grabs a couple guns from his father’s cabinet hides them under a trench-coat, makes his way to the school where he’s a student in good standing and then pulls the trigger aiming and killing some of his class-mates. What was going in in the mind of this kid?  Why? Why is it happening more and more in this 21st century of ours compared with previous times?

In researching this list of previous shootings and rampages in our schools, I landed upon a Wikipedia page listing EVERY shooting in America’s schools going back to the first in 1764 when 10 were murdered by American Indians in what has been named the Enoch Brown massacre. [1]   It was considered a school shooting because a school principal was shot while the others not affiliated with the school were killed in hand to hand combat. Knives and hatchets? Bows and Arrows?

Tracing these shootings through history reveals that in earlier times most were angry outbursts, disagreements of parents angry over the treatment of a child, disagreements of an employee being fired, angriness of one sort or another. Then in 1966, the first mass shooting occurred at the University of Texas when 17 were killed and 31 injured by 25-year-old engineering student, who from the observation deck continuously pulled the trigger on innocents at Sandy Hook for 96 minutes. He had previously taken out his hatred for his parents by killing them that morning. [2]

Fast forward to the 21st century. The first decade had 65 shootings with 110 killed. From 2011 thru 2014: 94 shootings and 36 deaths. 2015 to present: 66 shootings with 84 killed. And now less than 5 months into 2018 there’s been 3 school shootings resulting in 47 deaths.

Let’s go back a few decades.

1940’s- 8 shootings.

1950’s-14,

1960’s-19,

1970’s- 31,

1980’s- 41,

1990’s- 66 separate shootings including the famous ’99 Columbine massacre where 2-teens ambushed   fellow students killing 15 and injuring 21.

Why the escalation? What has changed, what changes occurred in our culture over those decades?

It’s easy to surmise that the trend is escalating, but again, why? Is it because guns are available?  Is it because the legal requirements for obtaining a license to purchase and own a gun are not strict enough? How many of these assaults on human life has been made with an illegally obtained gun? How many of the incidents have been committed with a legally purchased weapon obtained by a student from his parents.

There have been many contributing factors suggested by various leaders, media and politicos including: Failure of government background checks. Higher accessibility and ownership of guns. Desire for fame and notoriety. Copycatism.  The gap between expectations and actual achievement. Mental Illness. Bullying. Psychiatric Drugs. Bullying.

All it just takes is just one to destroy the peace of many.

The political speak is all about gun safety, about the availability of guns, about the need for more additional gun restrictions and even the concept of outlawing guns altogether has hit the airwaves. “Our children are precious to us and their safety is our main concern, so let’s do this now. We must ban fully automatic assault rifles now.” The same old measures are being floated to prevent these shootings from ever happening again.  How about around the world? How do other countries restrict personal gun ownership? Ah, all that is another story.

Allow me to boil it down to just two factors: 1. One or more guns have been used. 2. One human pulled the trigger of the guns.

Do we outlaw all humans from attending schools?

Yes, it’s a human problem of that inherent free-will nature of ours. The first historical account of a human killing another is that of Cain slaying his brother Able. Jealousy is said to be the motivating factor.

There is only ONE solution to this dilemma. Yes, one only, and it’s been known for the last 2000 years.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”    Matthew 22:36-40 New International Version (NIV)

Ten-Commandments 2

Yep, if parents, students and school officials lived respecting and loving each other as themselves it would end school shootings. Centuries before that humans were provided the Ten commandments. And Yep, if everyone obeyed and lived by these standards set forth in those tablets of stone, that would end school shootings.

But, throughout history, a lone Wolf can destroy the peace.

But, these two simple codes cannot even be discussed in schools anymore, nor displayed anywhere in our public-school system. Outlawed by the court. It’s been considered a violation of that separation of church and state doctrine.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists, Inc. became famous in the 60’s for pushing the concept of separation of church and state. She eventual won the banning of mandatory prayer and the daily reading of bible passages from the public schools in 2 supreme Court cases of ’62 and ’63.  The Ten commandments were banned from being displayed in public schools in 1980.

Since then, oh how the basic nuclear family unit as the backbone of society has been slowly degraded.  Now it’s meism. Me first. A disrespect for each other, no more honoring each other above selfish desires. Adultery became a no big deal. Then divorce. It’s our sensuousness, our selfishness. Abortion legalized in 1973. Teen pregnancies. Drug use. Foul language. Cheating. Lying. Stealing. Murder. Rape. Incest. Homosexuality. Bisexuality. Oh, and also, dress codes have changed too. In the 50’s the high school required girls to wear lode fitting blouses and dresses that covered their knees and boys had to wear button-down shirts and slacks, no shorts. Nowadays, well anything goes . . . . just cover your genitals is about the only unspoken dress code.

Summary.

Oh, this part is easy. Even in the churches, the Fear of the Almighty God is not being preached and emphasized.  The fear of what happens after we die: Heaven or Hell. Yes, the creator destroyed the entire population of this earth except for one family because the rest of humanity was living as they desired. The ability of God to do this is not being preached. Yes, God threw His first humans away from that beautiful garden because they did not listen to His one wish. Instead they desired to be like God, to be their own master knowing both good and evil. Oh yes, we do know about evil.

Let me present an analogy.  You’ve been hired to work for a certain company and the owner has informed you of his expectations and rules. Obey those and you’ll enjoy the work, the benefits and the comradery of the fellow employees. You also know that if you don’t live up to those standards the owner has the right to call you into his office and say; you’re fired.

“Fired.” Yes, that phase had its beginnings with the concept of spending eternity in the Lake of Fire.

I can’t hear you.

Friday was a senior day at the BA community Center on Main.  Many companies wishing to make known to the hundreds of seniors leisurely strolling from one booth to another while passing by others, what they could do to help seniors. Senior living. Nursing homes. Independent living.  Hospice care. Medicare info. Yes, and funeral director and cremation services too. Not a fast food booth anywhere to be seen.  I stopped and had a conversation with a lady at a hearing aid booth. Told her of my predicament with inadequate ability to hear plainly as I had done for 60 some years previously. Even In situations where background noise was high, I could understand the person sitting across the booth. Now, you put me in a smallish room with cement walls and the voice sound bounces off the walls creating a double tone, an echo of sorts.  Now you put me in a restaurant where background noise is part of the atmosphere and it’s hard to understand a distinctive word said to me by a person leaning on my shoulder.

That’s my dilemma, I told her. “Ah, come on in and we’ll test your hearing”.

Sure. I’ve been through four or more of those tests of sitting inside a soundproof booth with earphones listening to a beep. All I must do is listen and press the button when I hear the beep. Wonderful. Ha, to me they’re useless. That’s what is used to program that tiny computer inside the tiny devise that sits behind my ear that has a tiny tube connecting to the microphone inserted into my ear.

Well, anyway, I’ve got an appointment set for the second week of May.

Our ears. What marvelous pieces of equipment they are. Two of them separated by a 7-inch skull. A sound enters the left ear at the same time a slightly different sound enters the right ear. Perhaps even somewhat similar to our two eyes being separated allowing us to view in 3-D.  The sounds enter the ear canal sending the waves to that drum that vibrates the waves on to another cavity over microscopic bones to the inner system which interprets the sound sending the info to the brain which let’s me know what you said. Holler out BOOM and the drum vibrates faster than the hairs on my head as I descend the ride on the roller coaster. Softly say my name and I suppose the drum barely vibrates.  Is the skin of the drum damaged? Or is it the inner system that interprets what the ears have transmitted damaged? Or, and yes, knowing me, is it the brain that is damaged by that last ride on the roller-coaster, by being hit by a baseball, by the loud noise of a rock band concert, by months of having my ears closely tuned into a radio intensely listening to the dots and dashes of Morse code, or is it the years of operating noisy equipment without ear protection? Hmm?

And our voices, what a distinctive sound we make with our tongues, lips and vocal cords. Our languages; so many there are. Thousands of different languages throughout the world and within each of those are very different dialects. Even here within this smallish town of Broken Arrow, there are many distinctively different dialects of American English, and yes, some too who have not learned enough English words to speak it understandably to a local. There you are in a crowded restaurant of peoples from similar or very distinct backgrounds most all speaking softly, some louder and more forceful unaware of disturbing the next booth of four just wanting to enjoy the fellowship over a nice dinner. The voices of all bouncing off the ceiling, the panels of smooth walls and glass windows, so I must carefully pick which one of those eating places to enjoy a conversation. Rush hour is for them, not me.

Imagine the vocal sounds of a German, a Frenchman, a Russian, a Chinese, a Scandinavian and a south American who have just learned to speak some English incorporating the homeland dialect into the Brooklyn dialect. Would you understand much, if any at all?

This post started with the idea of documenting my own inability to hear well enough to understand the words of someone sitting just a few feet away. My personal conclusion: to all of you with good ears, stay away from those loud in-door concerts, from most of the loud noises that have penetrated this world of secular sensuous arm waving happiness. In a stadium of 70,000 watching a ball game, bring some ear plugs to deafen the noise of the speakers yelling: “Make some Noise.”

Don’t forget nature. Take a walk through the woods. Listen to the waters of a stream, to the bristling of leaves. Tune your ears to hear the calling of a yellow finch, to the sound of butterfly wings, of a hummingbird, and, yes, even the thundering of a lightning strike. Sounds of nature will not hurt your ears but sounds of machinery will.

 

You’re Fired

Recently a headline of our everyday, every minute news broadcasting the latest providing us citizens information on what’s going on somewhere else, by someone else. One headline in bold type stated: “You’re Fired.” The inside story was about a previous administration politically appointed individual who spoke against President Trump and his fascist discriminative ways being dismissed from his position. This brought back memories of the TV series: “The Apprentice.”

Hmm? Everything has a beginning, a history. Yes, even commonly used phrases have a starting point, a beginning somewhere in past history. So, I wondered where and when did that phrase have its beginning. You may already perceive where I’m going with this, but anyway here goes. I entered the phrase into the computer search box and up popped many bold typed headlines with answers, one of which was that TV series when Trump is facing the contestants announcing which of them is being terminated from the next segment saying: “You’re fired.” The camera focused on the look on that person’s face revealing the disappointment, the dismay of not meeting his standards of performance.

Another explanation referred back to times of clans and tribes when a person committed a serious offense and they burned down his home.

Another explanation went back to 1885 indicating that it was a play on the word ‘discharged’ which has two meanings: dismissal of an employee, or to fire a projectile or weapon.

On this earth of ours we see the effects of fire in Volcanoes, forest fires destroying neighborhoods, wild fires burning brush, lightning strikes causing fires and the casual burning cigarette being throw out the car window. We enjoy sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows. We enjoy the warmth of a fireplace and in olden days the light provided by a wick burning within a glass.

Interesting, but still not conclusive for me as I seek to retrieve older historical records of the first beginnings from the most read, most publicized book ever, the one translated into every language: The Bible. First: the story of the old cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when burning sulfur destroyed the area because of the wickedness.

How about this one from Isaiah: “then they will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed against me for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched: And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

From the book of Revelation: “He also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” 14:10

This also from Revelation: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” 20:14-15

“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:49-50

“If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, for it is better for you to enter life crippled than having your two hands to go into hell; into the unquenched fire. Mark 9:43

Is that enough? We sure don’t hear many, if any sermons on this topic anymore, do we? Why is that? Do we disbelieve, dismiss these verses as being uncharacteristic of the merciful, gracious all caring creator Almighty God, who wouldn’t or couldn’t do such a thing as it goes against His goodness.

Sorry, but “You’re Fired.”

Born Again? How is that possible?

It’s been told to us that one must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Huh, Jesus what are you talking about? I’m a grown man. I’m too big, and I just can’t put my mother through all that pain again, and she’s not around anymore anyway. Even if she was how would I get back into her womb anyway? Gads, that’s not only impractical, but it’s impossible. So how will I or anyone else be saved and enter into that kingdom of heaven. No way Jesus, there’s got to be a mistake here, a misunderstanding of some sort.

So, Jesus re-stated the declaration: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” [1]

Okay, clarify that some more. Like I stated before: I’m a grown man weighing in at 175 pounds, nearly 6-feet tall with arms and legs and two-feet which sometimes struggle just to get around.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” ]2]

“Oh, so watch the wind, eh?” I asked.  “All I know about the wind is that today it’s blowing in from the north heading south and yesterday it was coming from the west swirling around a bit heading toward the northeast. And that dag gone wind disturbs my golf shot. It causes hurricanes and tornadoes too disturbing all the homes we’ve built. Yeah, that’s all I know about the wind. It’s not predictable. This is really getting mysterious. Jesus, why don’t you make it easier for us simpletons to understand. Yeah, for sure, I would rather go to that peaceful place you call heaven when this body of mine wears out rather than into that fearful tortuous hell-fire, but requiring me to be born again?

“Alright, Listen closely.” Jesus tells me again. “You were once born of the flesh as your dad and mother enjoyed that wedding night when he planted a seed within your mother. You were once a seed and now after all these years you’ve grown into manhood with intelligence and the ability to make choices and yes, to impregnate your wife for her to provide you with sons and daughters. You’ve watched how a tiny seed grows into that beautiful flower, how that seed sends out roots to absorb nutrients and water sending the vine upwards into the air to receive heat and light from the sun and thus it grows mightily big, the vine expanding into branches and leaves that shed a shadow for you to sit under protecting your sensitive skin from sun-burn. Do you not understand how this all came about?”

“Well, sort of, but really it is a mystery to us earthlings how it could be done in just 6 days.”

“Yes”, Jesus answered and started to explain it a bit more. “It was done so we’d have friends on this earth of yours to fellowship with and to love. Really it was not that hard, my Father spoke it to be and it was done. He provided water and the wind. You can see water, and you feel the wind. You only see the wind bristling the branches of the tree tops and sending your golf ball into the creek, but you don’t really see the wind, do you?”

“No, I guess not.”

“But you do see the water, don’t you? You feel the coolness of the water when you go for a dip in the lake or pool, but you do not see the wind which represents the spirit. When you put your hand in the moving waters of a steam that water passes your fingers once and that water is gone downstream as different waters now pass over your hand. You feel the wind whipping your head of hair as it comes and goes. When you stand in your shower the water from above passes over your head, down your cheeks, over your shoulders, your backside, your belly and, yes those parts your ancestors covered in shame, over your legs and down through your toes and out the drain cleansing your body sending the fleshly accumulated dirt into the pits never to be seen again, washed clean. That dirt is gone.”

“Come now and be baptized just as John poured the water over my head baptizing me and then the spirit came upon me.” [3]

“The second part is being born of the spirit which I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, [4] another helper, another guide, yes that spirit of truth that will abide with you working within you as it blows away the fears, the doubts, the ways of the world, the dark clouds hiding the truth, the wind swirling around exposing myths built upon sand. Your inner soul gets cleansed setting you free blowing away the shifting sands, so you can build your dwelling on solid rock, on solid ground becoming one of my branches reaching out to others.”

“A new commandment I give to you: to love one another as I have loved you. [5]  You did not choose me, but I have come into this world to choose you as my friend, not as a servant, but as a beloved friend being trusted with these truths for you to share with those that come near your path, and that’s why all this is being revealed to you.”

“Come now and enter into the Kingdom of My Father prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” [6]

 

[1] John 3:6   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
[2] John 3:8   The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
[3] Matthew 3:13-17
[4] John 14:16
[5] John 13:34-35   A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
[6] Matthew 25:34

Alone with un-familar faces.

The other day as I sat having breakfast in the assembly hall of a large church in Houston, TX, I was  looking over the crowd, hundreds from all over the country in small groups enjoying the chatter over the eggs, a slice of sausage, a biscuit with gravy, I caught myself scanning from one to another wanting to know if there was anyone present I would or could recognize. Looking at their facial composition, skin tones from light to pitch dark, looking at the eyes and the raised brows above, ripples, the shapes of the nose, mouth and chin, the cheek bones and crevices flowing out from the eyes, from the sides of the nose down to edges of their lips, by their head of hair hiding or circling the ears, mustaches and beards, whether they were wearing glasses or still had good eyesight. All those unique features within an average ovalish area of 8 to 9” by 5 or 6”. There were many older folks close to or in retirement, many in the 50’s pushing the golden years, those still young enough that their hair was without grey streaks, 20’s to 30’s, teens and elementary children too were eating away before the morning devotional.

Nope, I did not recognize anyone. Hundreds of un-familiar faces.

My mind then wondered, how is this, why is this? Hundreds of people, each with totally different facial features contained within such a small oval shape.  Look at the features of a group of horses or herds of cows, a few monkeys and their head features are so similar, it is hard to distinguish one monkey from another, one cow from another. Would one monkey be able to recognize his cousin from a dozen of others perched in a nearby tree?

Humans are unique. Our DNA is unique. Our designer has made us this way. A photo of a face is used to identify a criminal walking the streets. Our finger prints are used as an identifying tool. The one and only designer must have wanted to be able to recognize each and everyone of us as an individual, as a unique person so very different from all the rest.  The designer, the grand architect wanted to recognize each one of us distinguished from the millions. Surely the maker could have formed us a bit more like monkeys with the addition of free will,  intelligence and enough curiosity to invent technology.

Yep, The Almighty creator made us this way so, that when I call upon Him, He can say: “yes Arnold, glad to hear your voice today? How can I help?”

I then entered the auditorium of this church where the morning worship service was about to start.  Ah, what a different atmosphere this was compared to the churches I’m accustomed to in my old age. Lights streaming across the stage, a large TV type screen on each adjacent wall, the lights flashed a large picture of the pastor standing on the center stage. It did not have a pulpit raised up as many of the older cathedral churches have, most having two, one for the pastor to use as he delivered his morning sermon, and one for announcements. In the rear of this thousand plus seat auditorium, there was the sound booth with 3 guys adjusting the controls of the computer driven sound system changing the booming effects to large speakers, adjusting the lighting effects streaking down from the ceiling.

From the street, I would not have recognized the building as a church except for the steeple atop the pointed roof and the name emblazed on the marquee on the street.  It appeared more like an auditorium. In America there is the divide between Catholicism and the numerous protestant denominations and sects, but the basics are the same adhering to the one God, the creator of all things sacrificing part of Himself to remove our transgressions so that we could enjoy that blessed reunion in that heavenly realm along with those we never recognized here on earth.