Another Springtime

The full bloom of a lone dogwood keeps me company this spring morning. If I could retain it in its present form, I would. But then perhaps would the treasure fade? So better it should lose its petals only to return another spring.

As the Son of God was stripped of life one springtime long ago, He shall indeed return to bloom forever in another. And would that we be there and keep Him company in that unending season.

You may want to check out my post from May 17, 2020: Ascension of Jesus

Billions – Millions – Trillions

We’ve been hearing a lot about trillions of dollars being distributed by our government to a great number of people, places, and things,, some of which seem removed from our lives but deemed worthy by? whom. I googled “How many billions is a trillion?” and received an interesting answer on a www. prepscholar.com. Since my blogging has been vacant for some weeks now, due to a blank space in that part of my brain, I will share what i found with you here.

I million is 1000’s 1000 or 1,000,000. If 1 million pennies was stacked up on your desk or anywhere else, it would be 1 mile high. If given to each United States resident or citizen (which is not specified by the site), each would receive i/2 of one cent.

1 billion is 1000 million or 1,000,000,000. The stack would be 870 miles high and each person would get $3.33

! trillion is 1000 billion or 1,000.000.000.000. The stack would be 870,000 miles high and each person would get $3000.

This may be trivia but far from trivial. It is interesting that this particular website/ blog was a site for information on the college admission exams; ACT, SAT, etc. Perhaps they anticipate a sharp rise in education costs. I imagine the printing presses are in full swing in our treasury department. It is miraculous a country in huge debt can just print and spend so generously!!!

The Resurrection: Excerpt from Daybreak

The series of events that occurred next was not only miraculous,it answered the mysteries of my life. I was released from the prison of doubt and set free to accept all that haunted me for so many years.

Part 11 Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but He has been raised.

Luke 24: 5-6

Peace filled my dreams. Scenes of happiness from my life came to me throughout the night. Times with my parents and family, Sarai, and also friends who came into my life.

On waking I thought of the tomb in the garden where they buried Yeshua. I quietly found my cloak and opened the door to leave. The air felt crisp though not cold.

While all the events of the last three days took place, signs of springtime began to reveal a rebirth in nature? The sun peaked from behind the Mount of Olives as I left the dwelling of Josephus. I found my way out of Bethesda and headed west and through the streets of Jerusalem. They were not yet filled with pilgrims, just an occasional group headed east toward the Temple.

My intended destination lay a mile or more away to an area not far from Golgotha. I noticed the figure of a young woman coming toward me. How strange she walked all alone. She came closer, and I realized I knew her. The woman was my wife. Instead of running toward her, I froze. She turned at an intersection and I lost sight of her.

“Sarai, Sarai! Come back. Don’t leave me,” I called out and ran to the street she entered. A voice spoke to me, not audibly; I heard it with my heart. You’ve seen her but you cannot go after her. All is well.

Tears filled with every emotion relieved a grief I held on to since her passing. At last I felt free from the shadow called death that hung over all mankind. We would meet again, Sarai and I.

***

Nothing could stop me from going to the tomb. The Lord guided my footsteps. I entered the garden through a narrow gate. It was appropriate He rested in a garden. That was His Father’s original intention for all His creation, to live in the garden of Eden. There were sounds of earth’s awakening all around. Birds singing, a small brook splashing over rocks, a gentle breeze rustling through the trees.

I saw the place where we hid yesterday and then the tomb. The entrance was open, the specially made stone rolled to one side. There were no guards or mourners. I hesitated but could not resist entering. The slab was empty where a dead man should have been. Only the burial cloth and the costly scent of myrrh and aloe remained. The appealing fragrance filled the tomb. It felt sacred. In one corner on a small ledge, I noticed the face cloth of Yeshua folded neatly. The light from the entrance lit up the whole area. He had risen as He said!

Trembling I knelt on the stone floor uttering a prayer of gratitude. The Messiah had come. Born like every man, He died so men might live forever. He conquered death by dying and rising. Who could understand the mind of the Lord?

I left the tomb and walked outside into the light. Everything appeared more intense and vivid. Something made me look down and I saw a patch of tiny white flowers, the kind I picked for Sarai the night we met on the roof of my uncle’s home.

I had to tell my dearest relatives: Yeshua had risen! I had to tell everyone.

Palm Sunday: Excerpt from Daybreak

With the gifts of Purim given, I experienced sadness yet freedom. Unaware of what was about to take place in the following month of Nisan, I embarked on relocating to a place overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Mount of Olives. Still grieving the loss of my mother I was comforted by friends with whom I survived the best and the worst of days.

Part 8 Hozanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord Matt.21:9

Entrance of Yeshua into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday

The following morning, the eighth of Nisan, proved to be extremely busy for me. After many sales that morning, absolutely no one passed by after noon and I decided to go home and relax. The sun was well past the highest point in the sky as I sat outside with a cup of wine and some figs and barley bread.

My view to the east faced across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. I leaned back as far as possible to see the summit but could not view the highest point. Walking out past the cover of the arbor, I was able to see the crest of the lush mountain. It was actually a range of peaks ascending and descending with the final drop being deep into the Kidron Valley before me. I heard commotion off in the distance and saw what at first I thought I imagined, a mass of heads appearing as people approached the summit. Soon I could see a great number in a procession as they came to the crest of the hill.

The river of people streamed down the mount strewing something like branches. As they progressed further, a wide path of greens appeared covering the brown dirt road. It mystified me. What was all this? The sound of singing and laughter like a celebration, perhaps a royal wedding.

The procession continued and I strained to see a man seated on an animal, a donkey. How very strange. After perhaps an hour, some of them were already coming through the valley and back up toward the Sheep Gate, where the lambs to be slaughtered for Passover would soon pass through. The flow of people began to process by on the road to the temple, which lay to my left.

I heard the words they kept singing.

Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest

I ran back to my dwelling, grabbed my cloak and walking stick, and went to join the procession. By the time I caught up to them, there were hundreds ahead of me. I caught a glimpse of the man on the donkey a ways behind, and the remainder of those processing jubilantly.

“Who is that?” I yelled to get the attention of a poorly dressed man next to me.

“That is a great prophet and wonder worker from Nazareth!” he shouted back.

I realized it was Yeshua. They were proclaiming loudly the Messiah was among us. They recognized him and were praising God whom He called Father. I became part of the great stream of people singing the words written in the Psalms.

My pace slowed purposely and after some time I stood along side Yeshua and looked up at Him. His eyes did not reflect the joy being expressed by the crowds. He smiled at me but the expression of sadness returned. I thought He recognized me and wanted to tell him I no longer sold in the house of His Father. Yet I could not say a word.

Everyone continued walking through the streets leading to the Temple. People still threw palm and olive branches, as well as some cloaks, on the road in front of Yeshua, while their voices increased in volume.

The tension seemed to rise steadily, but as the processors poured into the Court of the Gentiles. their voices no longer chanted praises. Perhaps it was because they feared the scribes and pharisees, many of whom hated Yeshua.

After I entered the Court, I waited for Him and wondered if he would angrily drive out the animals and their sellers and turn over the money tables, as He had done once before. He walked through the Court and looked at everything. He went around alone just observing quietly.

Garden On My Wall

There is a garden on my wall
Flowers, an old cottage
In barely gilded frame
It is misplaced there
From the home I knew
No longer found
Among the trees and grass
And blooms of home
But treasure lies
Within the tarnished frame
No wall confines
The flowers blooming there
Upon my wall.

This short poem was written on June 20, 1996 during some illness that temporarily confined me inside my home. It has been edited several times since then, eliminating some words and changing others. Some years later, I wrote a short piece about the place and time that was the source of its inspiration. I would like to share the first paragraph of that memoir:

The faded picture in its worn frame on my bedroom wall, filled me with an awareness of my past and its affect on my present. It was just an old calendar print, cut and placed under glass in a recycled frame many years ago. It depicted a thatched roofed cottage with a lovely flower garden in front, that hung on the wall above my grandfather’s chair for as long as I remember. I removed it from the vacant, deteriorating farmhouse before they burned it down.

Unfortunately, in an attempt to remove the print from the frame it fell into pieces of aged paper. By chance or perhaps divine providence I found a similar print lovelier than the first in a local antique shop. This now hangs on my wall, a much cherished remembrance. Written in script at the bottom are the words: Home Sweet Home.

About the March for Life

Since 1973 when Roe V. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, pro-lifers gathered in Washington DC to protest that Supreme Court Decision close to its anniversary of January 22. It was during the term of Pres. H.W.Bush I first attended the Right to Life March in our nation’s capital in 1989. With one or two exceptions due to weather or illness I marched every year up to and including 2009 a few days after President Obama’s fist term began. After that I watched the March on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), throughout the day.

Each time the day arrived and I was unable to March in DC I felt extremely disappointed. I missed getting up by 4:30 am, packing a few snacks and driving ten or so miles to board a bus. We made one quick stop on the way, prayed the Rosary together, had a sandwich and soda included in the price of the trip before reaching our destination shortly before noon. Some people slept a while during the trip. Most of us talked. Everyone felt a calling to be there either from a life experience or circumstance or like myself an overwhelming realization this evil is as bad as it gets and needs to be recognized for what it is and made right again.

Over the years a major change occurred in the composition of the crowd and a most significant one at that: the overwhelming number of young people. I certainly noted the change from 1989 to 2009 and in watching EWTN after that. One thing remained pretty much the same and that was the extremely scant coverage by the mainstream media except for the 2020 March. It was the first time ever in all the 47 years the President of the United States spoke from the stage in person. The media coverage ensued and the size of the crowd revealed itself visually.

This year although a small segment of the number of supporters marched, the inspiring event lent an even greater impact at least on me. More somber, even more prayerful and I would say more determined considering the turn of events due to January 6th and the rescinding of laws put in place by President Trump. The pro-life movement in my opinion will eventually be the most unifying force as the numbers continually increase and truth shows itself in the sweet face of the child and the endearing face of our elderly.

Smoke And Mirrors: Continued

The phrase smoke and mirrors refers to a particular method of magic first used in 1770 by the magician, Georg Schropter who claimed he conjured up spirits. It is an illusion brought about by a “projector, the beam of which reflects off a mirror into a smoke which in turn scatters the beam to create an image”. In other words the audience sees an image floating in mid-air. The smoke draws attention away from what is really happening

That brings us to the unbelievable event of January 6th 2021. Why was the Congress convened? It was the meeting of the electoral college to confirm the electors, as well as, hear objections to their confirmation. Much preparation by numerous members of congress, lawyers, and citizens to object and call for an examination of various documents of evidence indicating that an investigation of fraud had occurred in the November presidential election. As everyone knows the proceedings began as usual but were interrupted by a number of bad actors.

There are numerous unanswered questions as to who instigated this both farcical and horrific invasion. Horrific, because people died by violent acts; farcical because the whole affair was marked by ineptitude and unexplained takeover of a top security building by a few armed, and let’s face it, unusual characters who were allowed to lounge around in the chamber of our Congress. The videos showed a number of normal looking people being ushered in through a flimsy barricade by basically one welcoming policeman directing them as they calmly walked toward the main entrance. There was lots of smoke and crazies climbing up the walls unhindered. Uncharacteristic of the million or so outside and totally packing the area.

The real story that day lay with those outside and some of those inside, who came to challenge the electors. However, conveniently, they were ignored, as were the projector and the mirror, hidden by the disruption and sadly the violence. Shortly after our congressmen returned, the Speaker carried out her mission and the majority of the original objectors declined to speak. The few that did are now being banned by the mainstream media. The peaceful protesters were herded away.

The illusion using smoke and mirrors successfully portrayed as an insurrection incited by a leader who told the main crowd to peacefully march up to the Capitol. This is just the illusion needed to totally remove the freedom of speech, at least from the mainstream media.

Our wonderful country is divided now. Let’s wait and see if the next four years brings us together, when the smoke clears and truth is revealed!

Smoke and Mirrors

There is something about the truth that cannot remain locked in a person’s heart; it needs to see ‘the light of day’. I suppose this is how I see it because of where I grew up and live my life. It has to do with the freedoms ingrained in us, citizens of the USA; for instance the freedom to speak the truth and deny the untruths. Therefore, in order to maintain my own peace of soul, knowing not everyone will agree, I see a great injustice has come to pass. It is simple yet complicated. It is about hundreds of thousands of people ignored because of a couple of hundred who completely took away their right to speak their truth this January 6th. They represented the millions in this country who believe the sanctity of our election was violated.

If you look closely at the footage of the protest, not the ones on the steps and inside the Capitol, you will see the vast numbers attending were families and all ages, not really mostly over fifty as one reporter remarked. They were orderly but enthusiastic. They held signs stating something had been stolen from them. They chanted USA, still cherished by at least half the country. They are the patriots who came because they love our constitution, our rights, our ideals. Many prayed and sang as they waited to march to the Capitol. They had a leader and with him they were called the angry mob. That expression in reality also identifies all (including myself) who agree with those who came that day to peacefully protest, who were completely hidden by the smoke and mirrors, the mayhem, committed by the few still mostly unidentified mobsters.

Perhaps you think differently and are as passionate about what is in your heart. Instead of burying these ideas should we instead express our view without anger and listen to one another seeking truth. As for me I have more to say and God willing plan to continue in my next post.

The injustice was that we the people were once again ignored by the smoke and mirrors that took place.

What’s in a Name?

The name Jesus means God saves in Hebrew. It was given to His Mother by the angel Gabriel at the annunciation. There are also many names identifying Jesus, including one from the Canticle of Zechariah. Mary was already three months pregnant when she visited him and his wife to help her cousin during the birth of John the Baptist. After the child was born Zechariah prophesied about his son: “And you, child, will be called prophet of the most high, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give his people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins, because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us.” Luke 1:76-78

This designation for the son of God, Daybreak from on High, became the name of the novel that grew out of it like the shoot of Jesse finally arrived in the world as promised by Our Father in heaven. This came about by His tender mercy and that is the reality I hoped to convey in this work of fiction.

The Feast of Lights

Returning home from our Thanksgiving dinner with family some miles away, we noticed a number of homes arrayed with Christmas lights. It reminded me of my childhood when returning from my grandparents during the holiday season, my siblings and I sat staring out the car windows at the array of lights trimming the majority of houses along our route.

Have you wondered where this custom came from? Of course we know Jesus was born to be ‘a light to the world’. We know He was born in the town of Bethlehem in Israel that happened to lie a few miles south of Jerusalem where high on the platform of the Second Temple Jews were celebrating the Feast of Lights on the 25th of the month of Kislev which corresponds to our December 25th, Christmas. The following passage from my novel describes the history of the Feast of Lights/ Hanukkah.

Excerpt from: Daybreak From On High

With the feast of Tabernacles past, the crowds in the Temple dwindled. In a couple of weeks, another festival was to arrive, the Feast of Lights, also known as the Feast of Dedication. It was celebrated on the 25th of Kislev. In my studies I learned on this date more than one-hundred and sixty years ago the re-dedication of the Temple occurred.

Forty years before, Israel was a state of the Seleucid Empire ruled by the King of Syria. It was a Greek State, and they worshiped Greek Gods, the highest of whom was Zeus. The king at that time allowed the Hebrews to practice their Jewish faith. When a new king, Antiochus IV, took the throne, he wanted everyone to be Greek and worship Greek gods. He called himself Antiochus Epiphanes meaning Antiochus the visible god.

The brother of the High Priest bribed Antiochus to appoint him High Priest, and killed his brother to avoid opposition. Three years later another man gave Antiochus a higher bribe and then he became High Priest. Sadly some of the bribes came from stolen gold objects used in the Temple.

Antiochus brazenly put up a statue of Zeus on the 25th of Kislev. To rid himself of the Jews he burned some of their homes and slaughtered many of them. Matthias, a Jew named like my father, began a rebellion which finally succeeded under the leadership of his son, Judas Maccabee. Judas and his men lived in caves during those years.

On the 25th of Kislev three years later, they tore down the statue of Zeus and cleansed the Temple. The men worked eight days and nights restoring the Temple to purity even though there was only enough oil for one night at most; miraculously the oil lasted for eight. For that reason pilgrims processed each year through Jerusalem holding lighted torches. In the Court in front of the Temple, eight impressive torches on lampposts were lit, making it one of the most beautiful festivals.

NOTE: Some two-thousand years since the birth of Jesus millions of Christmas lights dispel the ‘dark winter’ of 2020 in our country and in the world.