Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Afternoon Bird Photo

American goldfinch

I love seeing these bright yellow birds, and I had heard that if you just put out a feeder full of nyjer (or Niger or black thistle) seed, goldfinches will just find it and start hanging out in your yard.

So off I went a few weeks ago to the bird feeder/seed place to get some supplies. I hung the feeder in the back yard near the bird bath and other feeders. And then I waited.

As it turns out, I only had to wait about five days. One morning I came downstairs and looked out the window and there was a female goldfinch on the feeder. It flew away when I opened the door to go outside.

Next morning, there were two and then three goldfinches on the feeder.

Now they come every morning, still the three of them as far as I can tell (2 males, one female), and they often come in the late afternoons as well. They are more skittish than some of the other birds (the chickadees practically sit on the arm of my chair and the sparrows steadily ignore me while they fill all the perches on the fruit and nut feeder). But oh so pretty and a lovely song as well.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Morning Psalm

Psalm 66: 11 You let enemies ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water; *
but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.

12 I will enter your house with burnt-offerings
and will pay you my vows, *
which I promised with my lips
and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What do I know?

When [Jesus] had entered, he said to them, "Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him. Mark 5:39-40a

Too often I think I know. I think I know what God wants. I think I know what is going on. I think I know how things really are. So often, I am wrong.

God's work is about bringing wholeness out of brokenness, bringing joy out of sorrow, bringing life out of death. But I am likely to be found among the crowd, laughing with derision, not willing to be open to the beauty that God brings out of the wreckage of the world and out of my own life. It is a failure of imagination on my part, an inability to abide in a place of wonder and awe, to only see the surface and not see what could be.

God has promised abundant life to us, even in the midst of death. That life often comes in surprising and creative ways - ways I am not able to be open to because I think I know everything already.

Lord, help me know you instead of knowing everything.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Caturday! Happy Birthday, Bella and Sally!

Bella and Sally are one year old this week!

Here's a throwback to their younger days. Today they are too busy sleeping late for a photo.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Music Two-fer

The great Van Morrison teams up with the great Chieftains on this live recording from County Antrim in 1999 of The Star of the County Down.

If you are of the Anglican persuasion, you might recognize this tune. We sing the same thing in church to hymns set to Kingsfold. While the more famous hymn is "I heard the voice of Jesus say" this one (sung by the Harvard University Choir) is called "We Sing for all the Unsung Saints," text by Carl B. Daw, Jr.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thursday Bird Photo with Poem

It was a shame that we didn't get to hear the song of this song thrush. But as you can see, it was surveying the landscape without comment. And what a beautiful spring landscape it was, that sunny afternoon on Iona.

Robert Browning has this to say about April and thrushes in his poem Home-thoughts from Abroad:

Oh, to be in England,
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England - now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows -
Hark! where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray’s edge -
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower,
- Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Standing against evil

Luke 22:6 So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Judas wanted to find a time to betray Jesus when no crowd was present, when there would be few to stand up for Jesus, to stand against the temple authorities. We might call this cowardly, or we might call it shrewd. Either way, Judas knew that his plan would work best if there were few people to oppose it.

Sometimes I look around the world, or my neighborhood, and see things that I think are wrong, but I don’t get involved. This might be because I am confused, or want to give people the benefit of the doubt, or am uncomfortable. I might be afraid of being hurt. 

When I don’t stand up, when I don’t voice my opposition to wrongdoing, the wrongdoing is more likely to continue. Guarding against evil is more than just trying not to get involved in it myself. I also must become part of the crowd that resists it, calls it out, stands up for its victims. 

Evil is powerful. Like many of us, I often don’t feel equipped to stand against it. Our best chance at resistance can be found in community, a community that commits to being present in both the neighborhood and the world.

Tuesday Sheep Photo

It was lambing season when we were on Iona. We learned that most of the ewes had twins and that most of the lambs would be sold for meat within a very few months (if not weeks). This made us sad, but certainly we saw that the lambs on Iona lived life to the fullest however long that life might last. They played and snuggled and climbed and jumped and basked in the sun and drank their fill of their mothers' milk.

Here are a pair of twins with there mother just before sunset, when the busy world is hushed and the fever of the day is past. It was lovely to see them all together, if only for a while.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Morning Gospel

Then he told them a parable: 'Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.

Luke 21:29-30 


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