Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tomorrow's Sermon

I will share some of the thinking that comes out of our "Living the Questions" group on Sunday evenings.Keep in mind, these thoughts are just something for us to think about.  They are not written in stone.

Be Reconciled
February 16, 2014
Matthew 5:21–37
Let me begin by sharing our scripture lesson this morning.  Our passage for today continues the Sermon on the Mount. At the end of the previous passage listeners were told their righteousness should exceed that of scribes and Pharisees

In verses 21–22 and 27–28 we find this repeating pattern: “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you….” Jesus contradicted many of the sayings considered the law in his day.  He enlarged upon those commandments to eliminate any chance of someone bending them to serve their own purposes.

21 “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

The first “but I say to you” addresses the commandment not to murder and tells us a higher righteousness demands us to look at what underlies an act of murder—anger. It then looks at how anger affects different relational situations. The severity of the situations progresses and so does the severity of the consequences. To be angry with a brother or sister leads to a judge; to insult leads to the council; and to say “you fool” (even worse offensive language) leads to final judgment. Instead of letting anger control our relationships, we should focus on reconciling with our brother or sister.

Many parts of these pronouncements found in scripture and attributed to Jesus come from the early Christian community. We have to remember that no one followed Jesus around writing down his sayings. Only 5% of people of that ancient culture were literate enough to write and they were the aristocracy. The people of that day had to depend on their memories and the later writers were dependent on that oral tradition. Some of this verse, therefore is doubtful as coming from Jesus but verse 25 and verse 26 almost certainly came from the sayings of Jesus and very probably verses 22 to 25 also came from Jesus in some form although scholars believe the early Christian movement certainly embellished and enlarged upon his words for their community. 
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.]

The second “but I say to you” then deals with committing adultery and tells us one should not even look with lust at a woman. This is followed by some harsh sayings indicating the seriousness of this teaching. It is not just about what one does, it is about what one may be intending to do in one’s mind. Again, a higher righteousness is expected.

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Jesus is credited with some council against divorce in at least three other early independent sources that prohibit divorce under any circumstances. Matthew, in this verse, allows divorce for infidelity. Since the other three sources categorically prohibited divorce, it is believed this exception may have been a softening of the injunction and therefore be the work of the early Christian community. 

This third “but I say to you” dealt with the way divorce was handled in that culture. After the “but I say to you” we are informed that only if unchastity was involved should divorce be allowed. There were two schools of thought on this. One school allowed a large variety of factors to lead to permission for divorce, such as a woman being a bad cook or talking too much. The other allowed divorce only in the case of unchastity, which Matthew states was Jesus’ interpretation. And as only a man could divorce a woman in that culture, we do not find the reverse situation even addressed.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of God. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

This fourth “but I say” deals with use of oaths and again addresses interpersonal relationships. Jesus said a person’s “yes” or “no” should be enough for us. We bring the integrity of the other person in question if we require some sort of oath. These ethical explanations point to a higher righteousness, to right relationships.
What was also attributed to Jesus is found in this admonition in James:

Above all, my friends, don’t swear by heaven or by the earth, or take any other oath. Your “yes” is to be a simple “yes” and your “no” a simple “no”. Otherwise you may be subject to trial. 

So scholars believe fragments of verses 34-35 and 37 may be original with Jesus. While the balance of the formulations in 33 to 37, may be the work of Matthew and James for the primitive Christian community. .
In verses 21–22 and 27–28 we find this repeating pattern: “You have heard that it was said…but I say to you….”

With each of these, elaborations on Jesus’ teachings follow. The teachings deal with interactions among people of that day. Matthew shares these examples so his listeners can understand how being a Christian is different from what they were before. Some think the text may say—here is how we are different from the church across the street. There was a lot of variation in the early Christian movement. .

What follows each “but” reflects the new way of life people are called to live in the kingdom of God.
So, as followers of Jesus, we too should adhere to a higher righteousness.  Now often we fail… but we should always attempt to make good decisions and live as good a life as we possibly can.  
In everything we do, respect for the other person should be most important. We should treat others as if we see God in them and not view them as objects or things. What is more important is to avoid the things that may damage our relationships with others.

So what does it mean that our righteousness must exceed that of very religious people?

Some of the very “religious” people in the world have begun some of the most disastrous wars in history.  Let us ask ourselves…what do we hear from our culture about the way anger should be handled, sexual desire, the marital covenant, and the acceptance of the integrity of the other person?

Our culture very often does not live up to the commandments of Jesus, does it? The culture changes….sometimes for the best but many times the culture chooses an easy way instead of the ways Jesus taught. Let us also ask ourselves what we think Jesus would say to us during this worship service about these things? 

Undoubtedly Jesus’ message would be different in some ways from the message he brought into his own culture. It was a completely different culture from ours.  His culture was limited in many ways because they lived under the Roman domination system. One had to be very careful not to offend the Romans or even the heads of their religion. Dire consequences could happen.  And in his culture an entire segment of their population was considered untouchable and even unapproachable. Even the simplest skin problem was considered leprosy and that person was segregated from the general population and reduced to begging at the gate of the town. 
Women were also generally segregated.  They were to lower their eyes when approached by a strange man. They generally were to stay in the home. They went to the village well at just certain times of the day so they would not encounter a strange man.  Children, as well as women were considered the personal property of the father and could be sold or given away at the father’s will.  

So Jesus’ message would probably be adapted some to address our culture and the problems we encounter in it…large problems like drugs and promiscuity. But there are also other simpler occasions for us to recall the teachings of Jesus.

Once years ago, I was working with Karan. I was selling advertising and she was writing the copy for the sales department.  Sometimes she changed the copy the client had written to make it sound better on the air. The client had complained to me about that. That annoyed me. When I brought the copy notes in to Karan, I gave her specific instructions not to change a word of it. How I handled it was not politely though. We had words and I stomped off down the hall.  After I reached my office, I terrible felt pangs of guilt and regret. Karan was one of my dearest friends. I quickly jumped up to go back to apologize. I met her in the hall, coming to apologize herself. We hugged and forgave one another right there.  That is the type of problem we often encounter in our everyday lives and how we handle those incidents makes all the difference in the world in how smoothly our lives go. 

But basically, as we see, the teachings of Jesus are still very relevant to us today. His message was all about interpersonal relationships and how we should treat one another and we are also concerned about those relationships in our world.    His message was about using reconciliation rather then hostility to settle differences in our relationships. 

The world would be a much more peaceful place to live if we would use his instruction to handle not only our personal interpersonal relationships but also our international relationships.  War solves nothing. There are peaceful solutions to every confrontation. We simply need to work harder to make peace. Making peace is seldom easy but it is certainly preferable to making war where thousands of innocent people die.  One of the most infamous struggles for peace occurred in South Africa during days of apartheid.  This racially divided country struggled for years with war and killings.  The struggle included the prolonged imprisonment of Nelson Mandella, who had fought for years against this terrible law.  When he was finally released, and apartheid was finally abolished, he recommended a Truth and Reconciliation Committee be formed with Bishop Desmond Tutu as the chairman. . 

The Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s emphasis on reconciliation is in sharp contrast to the approach taken by the Nuremberg trials after World War II and other de-Nazification measures. Because of the perceived success] of the reconciliatory approach in dealing with human-rights violations after political change either from internal or external factors, other countries have instituted similar commissions, though not always with the same scope or the allowance for charging those currently in power. The success of the "Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s method" versus the "Nuremberg method" of prosecution is open for debate.
In a survey study by Jay and Erika Vora, the effectiveness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was measured on a variety of levels, namely its usefulness in terms of bringing out the truth of what had happened during the apartheid regime, the feelings of reconciliation that could be linked to the Commission, and the positive effects both domestically and internationally that the Commission brought about in a variety of ways from the political environment of South Africa to the economic one. 

All participants perceived the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to be effective in bringing out the truth, however, in varying degrees. 

Those who committed atrocities were required to confess to their crimes and then  received amnesty. Even such blatant human rights abuses could be solved peacefully although it took years to do so.  

Jesus was definitely a dissident in his world. He was not satisfied with the status quo of the Roman domination system and the collaboration of the religious leaders of his society. But he was a peaceful dissident. He and his disciples did not take up arms against the Romans. He taught ways of reconciling members of his society and here in our scripture lesson he admonished those around him and those who followed him to reconcile their differences peacefully and to deal peacefully and carefully with their Roman oppressors. 

We all should certainly follow his teachings in order to make our world a more peaceful and just world.
It can be done. It takes work and dedication but peace can happen through reconciliation.    

Cold Much Better

In fact, if it wasn't so soon, I would think I was completely over the cold. I took Cold Ease every two hours all day yesterday and still felt wretched when I went to the Valentine dinner last night. But when I awoke this morning after a good night's sleep, I felt almost back to normal. Bob and I went to breakfast at Eggberts this morning and I bought the Coffeyville Journal and did the crossword puzzle.  There wasn't a lot in the paper but I think it's good for my brain to try to do the crossword puzzles.  The paper is only .50 so I didn't waste a lot of money. 

I guess we'll have chipped beef on toast for lunch with salad.  I want something light because I will be going back to Independence tonight for Cheyenne's birthday party.  Leslie said last night they were having it at Big Cheese. She took my card and gift just in case I wasn't up to the party.

We went on to the dinner last night and it was very nice. The girls had gone all out and decorated the all purpose room to look like an Italian restaurant. The meal was very good and the dessert extra special...some kind of Italian dessert Karan made. She and Becky really outdid themselves and Melissa made the spaghetti and the rest of the meal except the salads, which Phyllis and I brought. Becky brought lots of garlic toast.  I felt so terrible though that we left right after the meal.  Usually I would have stayed and helped clean up. Melissa wanted the kids to do that though since it is their camp the money will go for.

I will be speaking tomorrow at church and I am glad I am feeling a lot better.

More later....

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Blasted Cold

I did it. I caught Bob's cold. His cleared up after four days. Yesterday evening about 5:30, I started sneezing and blowing. He brought over his Cold Ease and I started taking it right away. I also took an antihistamine to try to dry up my nose. I need to take another one now. My nose is dripping. I had my first cold in years last winter and before that it had been since 2003. How disgusting!  My immune system must be breaking down. Old age! Bah Humbug!

We will go to Independence and get his hair cut this morning at 8:00. We will leave around 7:30. I will have mine washed and blown dry and straightened with a curling iron to try to control it.  We have that Valentine dinner at church this evening and we want to eat a light lunch. Neither of us likes to eat a heavy meal in the evening.  They are going to serve spaghetti this evening with salad and garlic bread. Cake for dessert. Becky and Karan went out to church yesterday afternoon and decorated. She said I would be very surprised. She said it looks just like an Italian restaurant.  I will take photos if I remember. I keep the camera Scott gave me in my purse. We are to pick up Phyllis too. She hit a deer awhile back and doesn't like to drive at night anymore.

Bob came over last evening and we watched The Big Bang Theory. Thursday evening is their new show on CBS. The others are reruns from past seasons. We see a lot of reruns on different stations but always get a laugh anyhow.

More later....

Well, Bob and I are just going to have ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch. I will need to go get the shaved ham and some bread.  I have the rest. Then this afternoon I will make up my large salad for the dinner tonight.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Puzzling Laptop

I have been up since 4:00 AM. I keep thinking about that laptop and the printer. I had it up and running for three years and yet for some reason, it has baffled me this time. I got up and worked on it again. It now causes the printer to try to print. The light fades dim and then lights. But it will not print. I may have to break down and call Cox to send out a tech to help me. I hate to pay $35.00 for their support though.  Especially since I can just send my documents to the desktop and print them right off. It's just the principle of the thing.

I slept pretty well last night. The arms barely hurt this morning. They probably will clear up altogether later in the morning

I will go to the market this morning and buy my few groceries. We will have chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy and a veggie and Bob's salad.  I still have pudding for dessert. I do need to get some more whipped cream though.

I put some cat food out for the foxes yesterday evening. When it gets light I will go see if they ate it. They may be wary of anything humans provide.

Bob came over last evening and we watched some TV together  for an hour or so. I watched Nature and Nova and he got sleepy and went home to get ready for bed. After he left I took my bath and put my PJs on and watched the rest of Nova.

It is supposed to warm up this week to almost 70. Next week on Tuesday, I think it is, it is actually supposed to reach 70. Strange weather!

More later...

I washed my car earlier today after it got up to 37 degrees.  Afterward, we had our lunch. It turned out fine.

I got my groceries this morning and am ready for the next week. 

By the way, something perhaps the foxes, or perhaps squirrels, ate the cat food I put out.  I hope it was the foxes. They have kits in there.

Bobby, Karan's husband, came over this morning and helped me clean the coils under my frig. That is very important for the running of the frig. I will make him some peanut clusters. He wouldn't charge me.

Tomorrow, we will have a light lunch since we are going out to church for a Valentine dinner. That will be a lot of food in the evening.  I hope I can sleep afterward.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Exercise Wednesday Again

I slept pretty well last night considering that I awoke with my arms aching.  I was going to take Aleve with my biscuit but by the time I got dressed and fed Missy, my aches and pains went away.

Speaking of Missy...last night she was on my lap and I attempted to stroke her usual...and she tried to bite me and did scratch me.  Darn cat! I put her down off my lap! The first time she bites me, I will put her in the carrier and take her to Dr. Barta and she will not come back with me. I will not own a cat that would bite me. I would miss her terribly but not her crotchety old age. She is climbing up on the recliner now. I have the laptop on my lap so she knows that's unavailable.  She's glaring at me!

It's almost 8:00 now and we leave at 8:45 for the exercise class. I just took last night's newspaper over to Bob.  He will read it and pass it on the Denise and Terry.

I will cut up the roast beef we had left from Monday's dinner and put it in brown gravy and serve it over mashed potatoes.  I will add a veggie and Bob will bring a salad. I will put out some frozen fruit for dessert.  I hope to make some cookies this afternoon. I also need to go to the market. I don't need much but I do need a few essential things.  I finally got my social security deposit last night.  Next month it will be just as late. The twelfth is not the latest it comes either. The fourteenth is even worse. I always run out of money before I get that late deposit. 

More later....

My peanut butter cookies turned out badly. They were thin and soft. I checked over my recipe and everything was just as it said. That's disgusting. All that time and ingredients! Oh well, they taste alright but seem thin and soft. It's like they needed and other half cup of flour or maybe my . baking soda or baking powder was old.  I don't have a clue.

Oh well.

By the way, the foxes are back. There's a mother with some kits, I believe. I put out some cat food for them but she may not eat it.  She is probably wary of food.

I took the leftover  roast and gravy to Bobby. Karan is on NutraSystem to lose weight.  She cooks for him but I know that must be hard.

I cannot get the laptop to print. I've tried everything. It will not recognize the printer in the den. has for two years. It just won't anymore. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Still Very Cold Tuesday

Toward the end of the week, we are supposed to get a warm up..even into the 50's and 60's. I can hardly wait. I have never been so sick of winter and we have another six weeks of it. Ugh!

I slept well again last night. I went to bed fairly early . I think it was before 9:00. Anyhow, I only woke up once and went to the bathroom but I went right back to sleep.

I spent quite a bit of time the past two days trying to get the laptop to print by "sharing". I have used it that way ever since I've had a laptop ( seven years) but after putting this new lithium battery in it and recharging it a few times, it no longer prints for my laptop. I have to send anything I want to print to the desktop in the den. Aggravating!  I have asked my son (the IT) to give me some help but I haven't heard a word out of him. He must be very busy. I even tried reinstalling the printer to the laptop. It may be one of two things: I have forgotten the name I gave the laptop and also which port I have to use.  I'll just have to deal with it.

I get my hair done and cut today. It's a bushy mess.  I may meet my daughter for lunch if she can get away. She has been so busy since the first of the year. Bob will be on his own for lunch.

More later..

My daughter had all day meetings today so I called Juanita and asked her if I could come visit.  I bought two mini pizzas from Big Cheese and went to Juanita's about 11:45  and stayed until 1:15. Then I came on home to rest up. On the way home I saw a big wreck at 8th and Cline. I had to detour around it.

I see Bob is home from his doctor's appointment in Bartlesville and is probably taking his afternoon nap.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snowy Monday

We are getting the snow flurries that were predicted.  I don't know whether they will hold exercise classes or not. Later I will call the radio station and ask. If school is cancelled, they close the senior center too. 

I slept well last night. Yesterday my knees were hurting. I assume it was in anticipation of the snow. They don't hurt now. My arms are not hurting either. In fact, I feel pretty good this morning. I usually do unless something really traumatic happens. Then I may stew a little.

I called Bob awhile ago. We still have some of his jello salad so he will not need to get a salad put together for lunch/dinner today. We will have that small roast I bought a few weeks ago and froze. I will cook it in the slow cooker this morning. We will have it with potatoes and veggies and his salad. I will probably fix gravy too. I still have cupcakes for dessert.

We had our Living the Questions group at Keith and Joyce's last evening. Everyone except Marilyn was there. Marilyn has a cold and could not come. Joyce had vegetable soup and it was very good. I took olives and cheese. There wasn't much discussion. Since Howard and Judy moved away, the discussion just doesn't happen. I try to get it started but the others just don't respond much.  Anyhow, the fellowship is good.

I finally stripped my bed this morning and am washing sheets, socks and underwear.  I need to wash my green afghan too. Missy sleeps on it all the time and it is probably covered with cat hair. I try to wash those two afghans at least twice a month.

I don't know whether I will able to make my hair appointment tomorrow or not. Bob will not be going for his. He has a doctor's appointment in Bartlesville at 11:00 AM..  I will call Carol in the morning if I cannot make it up 10th street road. It's pretty treacherous when it snows.

More later....

Since Bob has a doctor's appointment in Bartlesville tomorrow morning, I am going to pick up a couple of mini pizzas and go visit my old friend, Juanita.  Leslie could not have lunch with me. She has an all day meeting tomorrow. I haven't seen Juanita in months and so we will catch up tomorrow.  Bob will be on his own for lunch.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cold Sunday

It's cold today. But not as cold as it has been. There is a wind though and that makes a difference. One of my weather sources says we will have freezing rain today. The other does not. It will be interesting to see what develops.

I let this battery recharge all night and it seems to have taken a charge.  I have it unplugged right now and it's still working.. I hope it will hold a charge.

We have church this morning. I hope it doesn't rain.

I ran into a movie on TV this morning I really like and have seen a dozen times.  It's called "You've Got Mail". It's a chick flick but I enjoy seeing it. (I guess I still qualify as a "chick") So I'm going to watch it again for the gadzillion time.

I just took the newspaper over to Bob. After he reads it, we will take it to church to John, my son-in-law.

I slept really well last night and so did Missy. She's back in the chair in the dining room  now....napping.


Before I went to church I discovered that the laptop was working now just fine except...I can't print from it.   I have to print from my desktop. I tried re-installing it but that did not work either. So now, I'm having to send everything to the desktop if I want to print. I'll mess with it and eventually figure it out but it's been years since I've had this trouble and I've slept since then. Disgusting. I've checked sharing so that isn't it.

After church we ate at El Pueblo. I had my usual chicken chimachanga ala carte.  It's always good.

Now this evening we will go to Keith and Joyce's for vegetable soup at 6:00 PM.Then we will watch the last of the Living the Questions DVD. But I have another one ready to go next time.