Thursday, February 18, 2016

Ready or Not

PCNH reprints of front pages from the early 1940s WWII era and an October 1953 issue with Korean War news are in the tray here in the Beck bedroom. May 1942, German submarines operating near shallow waters in the area, I do remember that. I remember worrying my mother about my father, during the war a Maritime Service officer in a tanker steaming the Gulf of Mexico where U-boats were prowling. October 1953 I was a freshman at the University of Florida.

At two o’clock in the morning the liquid supper came home to roost as Father Nature knocked insistently, jumping up and down on my bladder. Our first lenten Wednesday soups were delicious as ever. I try to have a taste of each, concluding with a bowl with cooked carrots and cooked mushrooms, two favorite ingredients. All tasty.

Wednesdays after church generally are social, supper and visiting. But Lent we have an excellent program I really liked, short film “Twenty-four Hours that Changed the World,” a Methodist pastor giving tour, talk and lesson in Jerusalem. Relaxing, informative, pleasant. Over against Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting of the Last Supper with Jesus and disciples sitting at a traditional modern table, the pastor showed us how it actually was, a long, low table, dinner guests on cushions, stretched out reclining to eat. The host at the second place, an honored one on each side. The pastor’s presentation made it logical and obvious that Judas Iscariot was one of two especially honored with a place next to Jesus that night; on the other side of Jesus, the disciple Jesus loved (a figure only in The Gospel according to John).

We watched two of the films, must have been about ten minutes each, and informal discussion after. In the second short film the pastor took us across the Kidron Valley with the little company after supper, including showing us a tree in the garden said to be three-thousand years old, and still there to this day. I can’t help listening to what people say and watching, as I did here, for something that catches me up short as not quite right, or even wrong. Sorry, but I did it again, it happened here. Describing confrontation between Jesus and the devil (the pastor may have called him Satan), the pastor said (don’t recall exact words) that Jesus refused to give up his mission of dying to save the world. I didn’t say so during the discussion after, but the statement struck me as more sentimentality, naively pietistic than anything I’d likely have said, not to mention asynchronous. Giving the pastor positive credit, it did sound more Methodist than Episcopal (at least, my Episcopal). My name is Thomas and I doubt Jesus had it in his mind that night to decline Satan’s offer so that he could go ahead with his mission of dying to save the world. That theology of the cross was retrospective, laid down by the four evangelists and Paul in their writings and developed by the church in generations to come. Jesus’ intent as the pastor expressed it in his statement was a bit much, too sentimentalistic for Thomas. Still and nevertheless, the films are informative, spiritually moving, quite good, and the pastor gives an excellent presentation.

Up early this morning, Thursday, way too early because I couldn’t go back to sleep after Father Nature left. So thinking and typing, and totally absent as an hour long version plays into my head of Canon in D, stirring love in heart and mind.

/s/ Thos+ at 80 remembering 17 & 39 & 63 as Pachelbel hums along. As τὸ δαιμόνιον loves to torment me, old age comes much sooner than expected. I wasn't ready. 

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