Wednesday, October 17, 2012

These are the aurora pictures from my trip to Alaska to see the aurora. It was fantastic. It is an amazing sight.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The sins of the father. . .

2 Samuel 18
            This is one of the most tragic stories in the Old Testament. David’s son Absalom rebels against his father. He has captured Jerusalem. David is on the run. And yet, David tells his commanders to deal gently with his son. And yet, Joab, the same trusted commander that David sent the letter to that said, make sure Uriah  is killed, kills Absalom. David mourns for his son, crying after him, that he wished he could have died instead.
            Tragic? Well, yes. But the story is so much more complex thant what I have simply hinted at. We need to go back a bit. Absalom’s half brother Amnon raped Absalom’s sister Tamar. Absalom goes to David their father and wants to have Amnon punished. David does nothing. Absolutely nothing. Amnon is David’s eldest son. I don’t think the text ever comes out right and says so, but I’d guess that Amnon is David’s favorite. The oldest often is the favorite. But for whatever reason, Amnon isn’t punished. He gets off scott-free.
And so Absalom plots and plots for two years. Finally, he has his chance. See, I told you two weeks ago, this story was like a soap opera, a story with more intrigue than most modern novels. And he invites Absalom and all of David’s sons to a banquet. And Absalom has his men kill Amnon after Amnon has become quite drunk. And then Absalom runs away. He stays away for several years. Joab finally convinces David to bring Absalom home, but David still doesn’t see his son. Finally, after trying to get an audience with his father, Absalom gets Joab’s attention by burning his field. Joab tries to reconcile the two, but doesn’t succeed.
The story continues with Absalom seeing more things that convince him that David is not worthy of being king. David isn’t hearing the grievances of the people. Disputes aren’t being settled. And so Absalom takes matters into his own hands. He begins a rebellion. He is convinced he will make a better king than David.
            This story might sound a bit familiar. David, too, took power from a reigning king. His father-in-law. Now the story the scripture tells is that God annoints David as king, but someone who isn’t a believer might look at the tale a bit differently and see David as a usurper. Saul himself and his followers might have seen the young man as a usurper.
            This time, though, the usurper doesn’t succeed. David makes a cryptic request of his commanders to deal gently with the young man Absalom. He doesn’t say, spare his life for my sake. He doesn’t say let him get away. He says, deal gently. In the end, Absalom is caught on the limbs of an oak tree in the forest, hanging between heaven and earth. A man sees Absalom and tells Joab. Joab asks why the man didn’t kill Absalom and the man reminds Joab of the king’s request. Joab, the hardened commander that he is, the man who saw to Uriah’s death, takes matters into his own hands and kills Absalom.
            David gets the news. Everyone else thinks it is good news. The rebellion has ended. David is restored to power. They can all return to Jerusalem. They can celebrate. But David is devastated. His grief overwhelms him. The text doesn’t say, but one has to wonder whether David thinks about all the ways he has been complicit in Absalom’s actions. How much have his actions contributed to the actions of his son and his death?
            Several places in the Old Testament the scriptures tell us that God visits the visit the sins of the fathers onto the sons to the third and fourth generations. For a long time, I looked at those statements and wondered why God would punish people who had done nothing wrong because their parents had sinned. It seemed so unfair. And I didn’t want to worship an unfair God. But, I came to realize something else was going on. It is a statement of reality. What the parents do has a huge impact on what happens in their children’s lives. Our children learn from us. Somehow, they don’t seem to manage to learn easily the lessons we teach with our words—share your toys, be nice to others, work hard. They do learn the lessons our behavior teaches very quickly. They absorb what they see us doing. They know right away when our words diverge from our behaviors. We unwitting teach our children things we’d rather not have them learn.
            David has usurped power. David takes what he wants. He saw Bathsheba and wanted her. He had the power to take her. David’s son Amnon does the same thing with disasterous consequences. Amnon sees Tamar and is sick with desire for her. She begs him not to rape her. She tells him that David will give him anything he wants; that David will give her to him as a wife. She begs not to be disgraced. One wonders if these words echo what Bathsheba must have said to David. This story is different though. Tamar has a defender, another of David’s sons. Tamar is taken and discarded. Absalom goes to David for justice and doesn’t get it. He takes matters into his own hands and has Amnon killed. David, too, had a man killed. It was not the perpetrator of the crime, but a victim of David’s crime with Bathsheba, her husband.
            David’s sins have been visited on his children. On both Amnon and on Absalom. Both die for their sins while David lives on unpunished. Except he must have been punished by the knowledge of his sins, on the loss of his sons: the infant Bathsheba conceived and then his two grown sons Amnon and Absalom.
            And yet God continues to be faithful. God is the faithful parent who is always there. Much of the Hebrew scriptures are stories that have a common theme. People sin. They suffer the consequences of their sin. God is there.
            The very first story in the scriptures is the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. God tells them not to eat the fruit of the tree. They are tempted. They eat it. The consequences of the action is to be sent out from the garden. But, before they are sent out, God makes them clothes so that they will have protection. I have this image of God sitting cross-legged as tailors used to sit, carefully stitching clothes from animal skins for his beloved children. Cain kills his brother and God comes up with a plan to protect Cain. Cain is banished, but he still has God’s protection. Sin becomes so rampant that God decides there is only one answer. God will destroy creation, this world with a flood. But God protects a family, Noah’s family in the ark. At the end, God promises never to destroy the world again.
            One scholar has suggested that the work of the writer of David’s history and of the beginning chapters of Genesis want to suggest to Solomon that Solomon must decide how he will rule. Will he follow God or will he follow the example of David? Will he choose unlimited power or will his kingdom be one in which God’s will is followed? Will the sins of the father be visited on the son?
            That is the question that is always before us. Will we follow our own appetites? Will we use our power to get what we want no matter what the cost to other people is? Will we look only to our selfish desires? Or will we follow God’s commandments? To love God and to love one another. To treat each person with respect and love?
            God’s faithfulness in trying to teach us how to live didn’t end with these stories. God’s faithfulness is shown in Jesus and Jesus’ willingness to be faithful to God to the end. The kingdom of God that Jesus taught is the same one God wanted in the Hebrew scriptures. A place where all are respected and loved. Where all have enough. Where no one with power takes advantage of those without power for his own pleasure or gain. Where justice is served.
            Today, we have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of that kingdom. Today, Christians around the world with gather around a table. Somewhere half way around the world, twelve or more hours ago, people gathered around a table and took bread and wine and shared it. Each had enough. And as the earth continued to revolve, more and more people gathered and took bread and wine and shared it. Each had enough. There was and is a place for everyone. Those with great power and those without. Those with great wealth and those without. Those who were joyous and those who were grieving. Those with different colors of skin and different languages. All shared the same bread and wine and had enough. In a few minutes, we too will join those Christians and be for a moment a part of God’s kingdom on earth. Amen.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Text--Mark 6:1-13

Last Sunday I talked a bit about the connection between the lectionary texts in Mark’s Gospel. This week, it seems that the two sections of the text are not connected at all. In fact, some commentators suggest that pastors choose one or the other. I think that the texts are related and that they hang together in the same way that the texts I talked about last week hang together.
Let’s begin with the first text. Jesus comes home. The people are astounded. But not in a good way. Who is this person? He is the carpenter; he is the son of Mary. These are not just questions about the ordinariness with which they regard Jesus. A carpenter, a builder, someone who worked with his hands was of the lower class. He was someone the learned people, the merchants, the landowners, the rabbis, the religious leaders would look down on..
Even those of the same class might have wondered, who did Jesus think he is? He’s one of us and now, he thinks he’s better than we are. I’ve heard it said about different groups: they are like crabs in a barrel—as one climbs up, the others reach up to pull it down.
There’s even more reason to look down on Jesus. The text says the people called him the “son of Mary.” We are so used to hearing that that we don’t think about it. Then, men were called son of their father. By calling him son of Mary, they are drawing attention to the fact that Joseph may not have been his father. Today, illegitimacy is not unusual, but I remember a time when a child was scarred by not having a father. By referring to him as son of Mary, the villagers are calling into question his honor.
So, because of who Jesus is, the people of his hometown refused to believe that he could do any deeds of power or have anything to teach them. It is easy to assume God is not in the ordinary, the usual. I’m reminded of the story of Naaman. Naaman was a commander in the army of the Syraians. He had a skin disease. He could get no help in Syria. His wife’s serving girl told him that in Israel, they could cure this. And so Naaman asked the king of Syria to write the king of Israel asking for help. To make a long story a bit shorter, Naaman went to Elisha the prophet. Elisha sent a messenger who told Naaman to bathe in the River Jordan. The Jordan River is a creek. Nowhere does it deserve the name river. In most places you could wade across it. It’s not the Mississippi. Heck, it’s not even the St. Francis. It’s like the creek that runs through your backyard.
So Naaman was a bit put off. He was expecting to have to do something spectacular or at least arduous. At least to be sent to bathe in a real river. And so he refused. A servant said to him, if Elisha had told you go do something hard, you would have done it, so why don’t you do something easy.
Like Naaman, we expect God to be in the spectacular, the breath-taking, the unusual. Like the people of Jesus’ hometown, we expect God to be glamorous, spectacular, breath-taking, unusual. We don’t expect God in the ordinary.
I’m reading a book called The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. It’s about Ignatian Spirituality. At one point, the author talks about our desire for a connection to God and how we feel that desire. He tells the story about a friend, a “self-described workaholic who hadn’t been to church for many years,” who went to the baptism of a friend’s child. “Suddenly,” he says, “she as overtaken by powerful feelings—mainly the desire for a more peaceful and centered existence. She began to cry, though she didn’t know why. “ He continues, “she told me that she felt an intense feeling of peace as she stood in church and watch the priest pour water over the baby’s head. To me,” he says, “it seemed clear what was happening: she was experiencing at that moment when her defenses were down, God’s desires for her. . . . But, she laughed and dismissed it. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I guess I was just being emotional.’ “ 
We dismiss God in our lives, just as the people of Nazareth did. It’s just the ordinary. I’m being emotional. It can’t be God. It’s too easy.
This part of the text ends that Jesus was amazed by their unbelief. This is another story of faith. This time of people who didn’t have the faith to see what God had put before them. Without faith we can’t see God; we can’t see what God is doing. This passage, too, is about faith: how what we assume, what we expect matters. It’s about how we should be open to see God in unexpected places: in the ordinary, in ordinary people, in our everyday lives. Not just in momentous occurences.
I think the second part of the text is also about faith, even though the word doesn’t appear. Remember last week I told you that Jesus had been on the Sea of Galilee with his disciples and a storm had come up. Jesus was sleeping and the disciples woke him up. He calmed the storm and then asked them why they were afraid; didn’t they have any faith? Now we see Jesus sending the disciples out with no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; and only the clothes on their back.
They are to go on a long, dangerous journey with nothing! Can you imagine! I am finally getting to the point where I am beginning to pack lightly. Basically it’s because most of the places I go, I can buy whatever things that are essential that I’ve forgotten. But it’s taken me a while. I still pack medicine, just in case I get sick. I always have extra food for the plane because it would be a tragedy if I should get hungry. My carry-on has hand sanitizer, lotion, a tooth brush and toothpaste, eyedrops. All the stuff I’d absoluetly have to have for an overnight flight. In at least ten flights, I haven’t opened the plastic baggie with these essentials. Yet, I continue to pack them.
My first reaction to Jesus would have been, “are you crazy? We can’t possibly do that. What if no one will take us in? What if my clothes get torn? Do you really expect me to beg from total strangers?” I need all my stuff.
A number of years ago, I went to Nicaragua with two pastors. I hadn’t gone to seminary yet, so I was the layperson. We were going to see whether we could set up a partnership between the presbytery and a group of churches in a remote area of Nicaragua. We stayed in Managua the capital for a couple of days and then flew out to the Atlantic coast. From there we were to travel by jeep up to the Rio Coco, the border between Nicaragua and Hondurous. Our plane was late in arriving at Puerto Cabezas. When we arrived at church headquarters in Puerto Cabezas on the coast in the late afternoon, we were told that they had radioed the folks we were to visit to tell them we weren’t coming. The people at church headquarters had been told the plane had been canceled. Our Nicaraguan leader, Pastor Norman Bent ducked into the church’s food pantry. He came out with a can of pineapple, one of corn and one of beans. That’s all they had he said. Norman continued, “They aren’t expecting us, so there may not be any food for us.” And so we left and drove through the waning light into the night.
We arrived at the village. Everything was dark. There was no electricity. Our jeep’s lights woke everyone, though and they happily came out to greet us. They fed us. They had slaughtered one of their few chickens for us and we feasted on the meal. The pastor’s family vacated their one room house so that we could stay there.
One of the pastors on the trip had reflected on the experience. He talked about how we were like Peter who didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. Not that Jesus was too good to wash Peter’s feet, but that Peter didn’t want anyone to serve him. To be served is to trust, to give up control. We had trusted to go on in the dark when we weren’t expected. None of us had completely given up control on the trip. Norman had his three cans of food. I had my suitcase full of clothes and medicine. The others also had overflowing suitcases. What we learned was the possibility of trust. That generosity abounded. The experience is one I look back on and say, yes it is possible to step out into the unknown when God calls us to such a thing.
Faith is trust in God. Faith is to give up control and trust in God. Jesus somehow transformed the disciple who earlier had feared for their lives on the Sea of Galilee, those disciples that Jesus had scolded for having no faith and turned them into men willing to leave everything behind: food, extra clothes, money and to depend solely on God and others. To go out and do. The disciples went out and cast out demons and cure those who were ill.
Faith is the openness to believe. To be vulnerable enough to see, to hear, to feel God. Faith is the trust to go out where Jesus calls us. It is both openess and action. To be surprised both by what God is doing and by what God enables us to do. Amen.

Friday, July 6, 2012


A few days ago, I sat down with my journal. At the end of journal, my habit is to write a list of things I'm grateful for. I started a number of years ago when I was at Homer and feeling very isolated. Thinking about all the good and great things in my life shifted my attitude so much.

As I was writing this week, I looked down at my list and saw I had written "cancer." I was shocked. I had vowed never to be one of those sacchrine sweet people who expressed gratitude for the ordeal of cancer. Not me. Not mean, bitchy me.

But there it was. Staring up at me. So, why do I have any gratitude for cancer? One reason--showing me the beauty of life. I still take life for granted more often than I'd like. I still live my life as if I were on autopilot much of the time. I still struggle to live mindfully, to savor each moment. But I know in my heart that I am mortal; that this life will end. I stop more often to look at the belladonna vine I need to rip out and marvel at the heart-shaped green leaves. The sun dappling the leave. I feel the water from the faucet on my hands as I wash them. I feel my shoulders strain as I swim another stroke. I love the mourning doves that wash and splatter in the small pool of water above the small waterfall in my back yard. I notice the green rice growing along I-55. I stop more often. I try to care more for other people.

It's the same reason all those other ickily sweet people give for being grateful for cancer--joy in life. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday's Sermon

1 John 4:7-21

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

            I grew up in a large family. There were five of us children. We fought all the time.
I think the biggest fights were over who got to sit by the window or in the front seat. Of course, since I was the oldest, I thought I should always sit up front or by the window. My siblings for some strange reason disagreed. We’d head out to the car and the shouting would begin. “Front” or “window” would be called out.  And then the arguments would begin over who said it first. The next most frequent fight was over whose turn it was to do the most dreaded tasks in cleaning up the kitchen after supper. And we’d squabble among ourselves over what TV program to watch (when our parents weren’t around).
            The church doesn’t seem to be all that different. In fact, I think it’s much the same. Congregations fight and aruge over the most unconsequential things: the color of the carpet, the rearranging of furniture, the pictures in the parlor, whether the service should be contemporary or traditional. The denomination has been fighting among ourselves for at least 20 years. In fact, if you look at all the Presbyterian denominations in this country, all, with the exception of the Cumberlands, left the main denomination over doctrinal disagreements. And, it seems it has always been that way.
            Marcus Borg tells another story about church division. It comes from the late 1800's in North Carolina shortly after the Civil War. A small town businessman from a remote community in the mountains of North Carolina went to one of the larger cities--I think it was Raleigh--and there for the first time in his life, he saw an ice-making machine. Now, machines that could make artificial ice were a recent invention; he thought this was wonderful because it meant you could have ice all summer long. So he returned to his small community in the mountains of North Carolina--he happened to be a Baptist--and told his Baptist church about this great new invention. Within a month the church had split into ice and no-ice Baptists. The theological issue in this case being is it a violation of the natural order established by God to make ice out of season. If God had wanted us to have ice in the summertime, God would have raised the freezing temperature of water seems to have been the argument.
            Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth reflects his concerns about their disagreements with each other and with him. Less is known about the circumstances of the writing of the letters we attribute to John, but they also seem to reflect disagreements or fears about false teachings.  All of this calls into question Tertullian’s quote “Look at those Christians, how they love one another.”
            I want to clarify that I don’t think the fact that we disagree with each other means that we don’t love each other. We can disagree and treat each other with love and respect. But most of the time when we disagree with each other, our disagreement seems to move quickly from the object of our disagreement to a personal dislike. It’s the way we disagree with each other that says we don’t love each other. We say hurtful things about those we disagree with. We refuse to talk with them or to be in the same room with them. We don’t treat each other with dignity and respect. We cast them out of our fellowship. We set up a new denomination. We call them names.
            Loving one another is difficult. I read somewhere, “It’s easy to love your neighbor in the abstract; it’s difficult in traffic.” It’s easy to love someone far away—in Africa or Mexico, say where we don’t have to interact with them. We can imagine their plight and then their gratitude for our meager generosity. It’s a lot harder to love those we are in contact with on a day to day basis. The boss who wants us to work harder and harder and yet seems to ignore our efforts. The child who forgets our birthday and all we gave up to rear her. The next door neightbor whose cows are constantly getting through the unrepaired fence and tramples our garden. Loving someone next door, in the same house, in the same family, day after day is really hard.  Loving our brother and sister who we have seen is hard. It’s so much easier to love God whom we can’t see.
            I think the writer of this letter understands this. The writer tells us that God loves us first and that because God loves us, we can love each other. In fact, it is only becasue God loves us first that we are able to love one another. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegard told this story:
A prince wanted to find a maiden suitable to be his queen. One day while running an errand in the local village for his father, he passed through a poor section. As he glanced out the windows of the carriage, his eyes fell upon a beautiful peasant maiden. During the ensuing days he often passed by the young lady and soon fell in love.
But he had a problem. How would he seek her hand? He could order her to marry him. But even a prince wants his bride to marry him freely and voluntarily and not through coercion. He could put on his most splendid uniform and drive up to her front door in a carriage drawn by six horses. But if he did this he would never be certain that the maiden loved him or was simply overwhelmed with all of the splendor.
The prince came up with another solution. He would give up his kingly robe. He moved, into the village, entering not with a crown but in the garb of a peasant. He lived among the people, shared their interests and concerns, and talked their language. In time the maiden grew to love him, because of who he was and because he loved her first.
The writer of the letter tells us that God has loved us first and sent his Son so that we might live through him. It is Jesus’ example that shows us what love looks like. It is Jesus who shows us how we should love one another. Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, healed the sick. Jesus also ate with the Pharisees. He spent time with the rich. He didn’t shun those who disagreed with him. He treated them with respect. He sat with the outcasts, the lepers. On the cross, he asked God to forgive those who tortured and killed him.
Love is not easy. But it is possible. My sisters and I don’t fight over who gets to sit in the front seat anymore because it’s just not relevant. We don’t agree on politics or religion. We tend to ignore each other’s FaceBook political and religious posts (except those sisters who agree with each other). We love each other, though. We will support each other. Our love has matured. That is a better translation for the word teleos that the English translates as perfect. It is mature love that we fcan ollow Jesus’ example to grow into. Mature love that loves our brother and sister. Well, even so, loving them in traffic is still hard for me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Five!

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five

1. Name a woman author you very much love to read.

Well, I love Barbara Brown Taylor, but so does almost everyone else. I confess my favorite reads are women detectives by women authors. Julia Spencer Fleming does a great job with her Episcopalian priest/murder mystery series. Marcia Muller and Sue Grafton are classics. I'm discovering more and more. And I'm looking forward to reading Elaine Pagels' newest on Revelation.

2. Name a woman from the Bible with whom you would like to enjoy a nice long coffee talk.

Mary Magdalene, of course. I have a secret desire to write a biography of Bathsheba who wrote J. (Someone whose name escapes me at the moment asserted that a woman wrote J; who else but Bathsheba?)

3. Name a famous woman from history with whom you would like to have lunch.

As a teen, I loved Mary Queen of Scots, who I thought was unfairly executed by Elizabeth. Now I see her as simply stupid. So, I think I'd love to lunch with Elizabeth. And talk about how she managed men and power. Did she regret what she gave up; the choices she made? Did she realize that she was reigning at a cusp of history? Did she know Shakespeare was as great a playwright as he was?

4. Name a living famous or infamous woman with whom you would like to go out to dinner.

Hmmm, choosing a person to have dinner with involves choosing someone who is fun to be with, who can kick back and laugh. So, tho I'd love to have a conversation with Hillary Clinton or Madeline Albright, I'm not sure either has a sense of humor. I think it would be interesting to sit with Carly Fiorina or Meg Whitman, but I think they, too, would be too uptight. Tina Fey comes to mind as the right combination of intelligence and great humor. I imagine I'd be laughing so hard that I wouldn't be worried about my diet.

5. If you could be SuperWoman (o.k., I know you already ARE) what three special powers would you like to have?

Three special powers. Flying (because I can't afford business class), the ability to speak any language (shoot, I'd like to be able to remember my little bits of Hebrew and Greek), can't think of a third.

And oh, yes, I'd like thin thighs and world peace.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Trying to be more mindful as I eat, I looked at my spinach salad: dark green spinach leaves; cherry red tomatoes and bright orange carrots nestling under the shelter of the spinach. It struck me that it was beautiful. And how unbeautiful is American food--bland pale white limp french fries, white rounds of bread filled with greasy ground beef, brown microwave plastic trays, dull reds of canned tomato sauce. No wonder we have to fill our food with fats and salt and sugar. No wonder corporations strive to find the right addictive combinations of fat, salt and sugar. Otherwise, given a choice, with taste buds unadulterated by an overload of sugar and sat, why would we choose limp french fries over a glorious pink lady apple: crunchy, sweet with yet a hint of tartness, juice spilling from the corner of one's mouth and dripping down arms.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

That We But Mortals Be

I have avoided reading The Fault in our Stars by John Green, though several of my friends on FB raved about the book. I tend to avoid anything concerning cancer by anyone who has not been there. Like pink ribbons, it offends me that people capitalize on the disease and on the journeys of those who experience it. And besides I didn't want to have my heart broken by the death of characters I had grown to love.

Cancer reminds me of returning from Nicaragua those years when I went there as a part of the partnership the Presbytery had with the Moravian Church on the Rio Coco. Unless one had the experience (or a similar one), one could not understand what it was like. Oh, I could tell stories, but I could not give someone the wrenching feeling in the gut when I returned in early December and opened the Plain Dealer (which must have weighed five pounds that Sunday morning) filled with page after page of stuff no one needed, but everyone seemed to have to have. One might be able to understand the feelings intellectually, but that is not the same as actually experiencing them.

I listened to an interview with John Green this morning and he sounded like he got so much right. He wanted to show the capriciousness of cancer. How, it makes no sense. How random it is.

For me it is the capriciousness of cancer that is the most difficult to deal with. Why me? No cancer to speak of in the family. (Though later I found out about relatives' cancer that had been kept hidden when the disease was something no one talked about.) After all, I knew that heart disease was the greatest killer of women. I was exercising to keep my heart healthy. And why did I live when I lost two friends to cancer, that fall, friends who had been diagnosed at the same time as me? Capricious. The universe is random. Our search for order is fruitless. We deceive ourselves when we believe that there is order there.

We yearn for order, for meaning, for understanding. All I can do is hold up Revelation's vision of the new Jerusalem come down to earth. Then, creation will be compete and order will hold sway.