Saturday, May 31, 2008

Carnage in the Kitchen

When we came back from walking the dogs this morning, my husband found a fat spider crawling across the kitchen floor and squashed it. The carcass exploded into hundreds of itsy bitty spiders, which rapidly began to scatter while he ran to fetch the handheld vacuum and suck them up. I walked in on the tail end of this drama. I was glad not to have hundreds of spiders running amok through the house, but also sad at the thought of so much death and destruction. I am a mother myself after all.

I'm preaching tomorrow on the general topic of chaos, and this event was a good prelude to my discussion of the ways that chaos has of crashing unexpectedly into our lives. And a good reminder of the real topic of the sermon, which is that living lives of faith and obedience gives us a life preserver to hold onto when life's storms and inevitable chaos threaten to drown us. At least that's the message I took from Jesus' parable about the wise builder who built on a solid rock foundation by hearing and following Jesus' teachings from the Sermon on the Mount and whose house stood when the rains fell and the floods came and the wind blew.

One of the commentaries I read in preparation said there is an ancient rabbinical parable that also tells of two builders. The wise one knows the Torah and acts upon it, while the foolish one merely knows, but does not act. More is required for faithful living than just hearing the teachings. Life change in response to hearing is the only thing that will give us a solid foundation on which to stand when life's storms come crashing in upon us.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

Monday, May 26, 2008


We managed to have all our children and all our grandchildren together in one place at the same time this weekend for a couple of hours, an increasingly rare occurrence. As I watched my sons and their wives interact with our grandchildren, I marvelled at what good parents they are. And I also wondered at where the time has gone, for it seems only the blink of an eye since our sons were little and demanding more energy and attention than it seemed humanly possible to provide. What a blessing to have lived long enough to know my children's children. I do not know if I will live long enough to see great grandchildren, but I am content to know my times are in God's good hands. At times such as we enjoyed this weekend, life seems filled to overflowing with God's goodness. At such times especially, it is worthwhile to take the time to reflect on that and to give thanks.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

Sunday, May 18, 2008

For everything there is a season

And a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;... a time to week, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance." Ecclesiastes 3:1,2 & 4

This week has been a time for death and mourning in our family. My husband's father died after a long life and 6 months of increasing illness and disability. It was also a time to laugh and share memories and to be with family, which is always good for us even under difficult circumstances. I like the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible because it's a blessing for me to know it's okay to have a dark view of life at times and that one can still worship and hold God in deep reverence from such a perspective. The teacher who is credited as the author sounds much like a modern cynic at times.

I've been reading and contemplating different scripture as I prepare to preach again in a couple of weeks. The scriptures on the lectionary for June 1st have to do with water, and I've been thinking about the fact that to the ancients water was connected with chaos. I guess not just for the ancients as recent events in Myanmar demonstrate and in China where water is adding to the destruction of the recent massive earthquake.

Death is a different type of chaos. Roget's Thesaurus lists disorder, confusion and void as synonyms for chaos. Having lost my mother 15 years ago this month, I think those are all good descriptions of some of what I felt after losing a parent. My husband commented that now he's the old man in his family, as I'm the old woman in mine. I'm grateful for the teacher's writings in Ecclesiastes on the seasons of life and of death. I'm not sure of all that God had in mind when we were created as creatures who die, but I do know that we are all in God's hands and that they are good hands. And I'm content to face the chaos of this life and this world secure in that knowledge.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue