Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ruth and Esther

Sunday my wife and I attended the 11:00 am video presentation of The Crossing church in the large screen theater on the third floor on Provision Living at Columbia. This was our third consecutive attendance. She did not identify with the same type of service on our TV or the big activity area TV from The Community Bible church in San Antonio, Texas. We had attended this service several times when visiting relatives in past years.

The Crossing singing and speakers seem to capture her attention. The music is familiar. The message is simple. They have the ability to bring scripture to life in the world as it is today without having to know much about theology or history.

My wife wanted to wander after the evening meal. We toured the entire first floor. Then she headed for the front door. We sat down with several other residents near the waterfalls. A number of topics were reviewed.

“And what have you two been doing today?” We mentioned we had been to church for three Sundays in a row. “What is different?” I related the above and added that the sermon was based on one of the woman in the Bible.

“Which one?” “Ruth.” My mind went blank. I had an aunt Ruth, but that was not right.

It was one of those “most embarrassing moments”. I knew the name was the same as a relative. I could not recall it. I also could not recall anything about the sermon.

Back in our apartment, I picked up Maggie’s mother’s 1978 New International Version: the book of Esther!! Maggie’s mother’s name is Esther!!

Two strings of information became entangled. The result was embarrassment, paralysis and anger.

I wish the BASIS body monitor had not been recalled. It would have recorded skin temperature, heartbeat, and sweating. I have avoided reactions like this most of my life by being “scientific”.

Feelings and emotions lead to a world I could never trust or feel comfortable in, with one exception: marrying Maggie. I always plant more than one plant or more than one variety in our milkweed garden. The truth is in the comparison.

 [The new meditation class takes me to the world of feelings three times a week. I can relive many moments of my childhood. Floating on a spider web held up by my breath carried me back to when I could see myself from a perspective of being above, behind and to the right side of my head. I played this game many hours.]

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The sermon emphasized that God is at work in our lives even though we are not aware of it. The book of Esther does not include the word God. Esther took some time to realize that the sequence of events going on around her were not just chance or a lucky set of coincidents.

 [Just now (1:46 pm) as I am writing, a caregiver returned Maggie to our apartment for a rest. I glanced out the window as I cleared the daybed for her to lie down. The repotted milkweed plants we raised from seed where in full sunlight on their first day outside. I went out and moved them to the east side of the pine tree in the shade.

Maggie wanted the door propped open. I knew where it was as I had just helped another caregiver search Maggie’s four sorting boxes for the erasable marker missing from the laundry. Found it in the last box she was working with.

Is this coincidence? Or is there a hand at work here? Our caregivers seem to show up at exactly the right time on many unique occasions.]

From the sermon, I got the impression that Esther and Mordecai were talking to one another, “. . . came to her and says . . .”. In the Bible they were trading messages because of the limited access to the palace. This does not change the message; just the style of the storytellers has evolved.

My first reading of the Book of Esther many years ago impressed me with the 75,000 people killed by the Jews. That is how things were done in Old Testament times. (And still are in that part of the world.) God’s work (evolution) is taking a long time to civilize human beings. It took two world wars (where Christians fought Christians) to produce the European Union.

Somehow I did not get it; that one of the most important Jewish celebrations, Purim (March 9-12, 2017), helps Jews to remember the fact that the entire Jewish nation may have been wiped out except for Esther’s actions. The sermon got it.

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For a moment, I thought that I may be experiencing what some memory care residents do on a daily basis; a degree of being lost, loneliness, and anger in an inability to understand and to express in words what they are experiencing.

Fortunately for me, I can still read, use the Internet, and relearn (update) what is now appropriate for our times. An inability to do this, for many valid reasons across the nation, may have produced the votes needed to elect our president in training.

Now to see what God does next. I would pray that the time for wars (that created the digital age and smart robots) is about over.

What is in our brain may be stored for eternity within the lifetime of the next generation. The ability to activate this information then ends the need for quarrelsome humans on earth to continue evolution (God’s work}.

Most of the plants and animals that ever lived on earth are gone. They prepared the environment for the present plants and animals, including human beings (creations that are aware of God).

Are huge masses of human beings the final information, awareness, climax? I doubt it. An all-powerful, unlimited, God, that I believe in, must have other plans that we can only dimly discern.

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