Of kings and thrones

“When kings the sword of justice first lay down,
They are no kings, though they possess the crown.
Titles are shadows, crowns are empty things,
The good of subjects is the end of kings.”

― Daniel Defoe

“Christ is on the throne.
We are not.”

David Robertson and the Wee Flea

clovis-nuremberg
(Woodcut image of King Clovis I (466-511), ruler who untied all the Franks, was the first
King of France who in turn declared Pairs the capital, as well as being one of the first
pagan rulers to convert to Christianity /
image from the Nuremberg Chronicles 1493)

“Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour
millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead:
even famous prostitutes or gangsters.
For spiritual nature,
like bodily nature, will be served;
deny it food and it will gobble poison.”

― C.S. Lewis

and soon there will be but one…

“At sixteen, you still think you can escape from your father.
You aren’t listening to his voice speaking through your mouth,
you don’t see how your gestures already mirror his;
you don’t see him in the way you hold your body,
in the way you sign your name.
You don’t hear his whisper in your blood.”

Salman Rushdie

dscn4765
(after 3 months, when the adoption was complete, I finally had a permanent home late January 1960 /with a father
who adored his new daughter)

Simply put, our time together is running out.

dscn4763
(the roles are now reversed…
the one who once cared for, fed and protected is now the one being cared for,
fed and protected…)

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think’st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee;
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie
Thou art slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And doth with poyson, warre, and sickness dwell.
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, death thou shalt die.

~John Donne

May there be…

“I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches;
and he to whom that is given need ask no more.”

Henry Fielding

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(the grounds of Ross Castle / Co Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance,
praise
and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”

Teresa of Ávila

tick tock

“Bible teaching about the Second Coming of Christ was thought of as “doomsday” preaching.
But not anymore.
It is the only ray of hope that shines as an ever brightening beam in a darkening world.”

Billy Graham

wells-cathedral-clock-dial
(Wells Cathedral Astronomical Clock 1386)

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote a post about the Doomsday Clock and of how precariously
close mankind sits to the dreaded midnight hour…

You can find that little post here:
https://cookiecrumbstoliveby.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/3-minutes-til/

And maybe it’s because we are in the first month of this new year that the keepers of this said
Doomsday Clock are back in the news again with their latest gloom and doom forecast.

Back in the news with an update which merely emphasizes the fact that most news outlets,
along with many an individual,
are each of the mindset that the US has just narrowly dodged a major bullet of total annihilation
following the election of Donald Trump…
So maybe that’s why the demise of mankind is making headlines again,
as the said clock keepers have moved the hands a half a minute closer to total obliteration
of the human race…
all because we just held the inauguration of a new president…

Hummm…

It seems that we are now poised at 2.5 minutes until midnight.

You may read the latest article by the BBC here:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-38760792

Not only is the world protesting and marching and turning on itself,
the clock keepers of the end of life as we surely know it have also now jumped into the fray.

So just when we thought we might actually survive an election then an inauguration….
those seemingly all knowing soothsayers have decided that we aren’t too likely to
survive the next four years.

Hummmm…

However it appears that I am not the only curious soul out there who’s
interest has been piqued over the news outlets and their desire in sharing the
prediction of our humanly demise…
The Scottish pastor, David Robertson, also recently mused over the topic on his Wee Flea blog.
His musings took him back to the writings of John Newton as Newton drew parallels
reflecting in a letter he wrote in 1777 to a politician regarding mankind,
earthy rulers and the Divine Providence of God….

“I have lately read Robertson’s History of Charles V, which, like most other histories,
I consider as a comment upon those passages of Scripture which teach us the depravity of man,
the deceitfulness of the heart, the ruinous effects of sin, and the powerful,
though secret, rule of Divine Providence, moving, directing,
controlling the designs and actions of men, with an unerring hand,
to the accomplishment of his own purposes,
both of mercy and judgement.

Without the clue and light which the word of God affords, the history of mankind,
of any, of every age, only presents to view a labyrinth and a chaos;
a detail of wickedness and misery to make us tremble,
and a confused jumble of interfering incidents, as destitute of stability,
connexion, or order, as the clouds which fly over our heads.
In this view, Delirant reges, pectuntur Achivi
(The Kings go mad and it is the Greeks, their subjects, who are punished),
may serve as a motto to all the histories I have seen.

But with the Scripture key, all is plain, all is instructive.
Then I see, verily there is a God, who governs the earth, who pours contempt upon princes,
takes the wise in their own craftiness,
overrules the the wrath and pride of man to bring his own designs to pass,
and restrains all that is not necessary to that end;
blasting the best concerted enterprises at one time,
by means apparently slight, and altogether unexpected,
and at other times producing the most important events,
from instruments and circumstances which are at first thought too feeble and trivial
to deserve notice.

John Newton 1777

Pastor Robertson sums up this latest henny penny the sky is falling,
as in the end is near clamoring, as such as he reflects on the words of Newton:

Instead of reading the bible through the eyes of history and contemporary politics,
the Christian has the great advantage of being able to read history and contemporary politics
through the eyes of the bible.
In effect, our current cultural/political commentators are like those who are looking through
a telescope the wrong way round.
Maybe its time we all got a sense of perspective?

David Robertson 2017

And so whether we are hours away, minutes away or knocking on the very door of our complete and total annihilation…there is one, and only one, who knows the timing of such and that is the One
whose hand waved us into existence in the first place…
therefore, be not afraid….

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows,
not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,
but the Father only.”

Matthew 24:36

infinitely more than yourself

True, He is infinite Majesty, but He is also infinite Goodness and infinite Love.
There can be no greater Lord than God;
neither can there be a more ardent lover than He.

Saint Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori

dscn4749
(a January Georgia morning sky / Julie Cook /2017)

“It is only the infinite mercy and love of God that has prevented us from
tearing ourselves to pieces and destroying His entire creation long ago.
People seem to think that it is in some way a proof that no merciful God exists,
if we have so many wars.
On the contrary,
consider how in spite of centuries of sin and greed and lust and cruelty and hatred
and avarice and oppression and injustice,
spawned and bred by the free wills of men,
the human race can still recover, each time,
and can still produce man and women who overcome evil with good, hatred with love,
greed with charity, lust and cruelty with sanctity.
How could all this be possible without the merciful love of God, pouring out His grace upon us?
Can there be any doubt where wars come from and where peace comes from,
when the children of this world, excluding God from their peace conferences,
only manage to bring about greater and greater wars the more they talk about peace?”

Thomas Merton

“In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself.
Unless you know God as that—and, therefore,
know yourself as nothing in comparison—
you do not know God at all. ”

C.S. Lewis

keep on…

Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on
Right on truckin’
Ain’t nothin’ holdin’ me back nothin’
I’ll keep right on
Right on truckin’

Lyrics Keep on Truckin
Eddie Kendicks

dscf0760
(Robert Crumb’s famous comic, Keep on Truckin / 1968)

When I was an adolescent, Robert Crumb’s iconic 1960’s cartoon of the “keep on truckin”
man was a prolific image.
It was reproduced on everything from T-shirts to posters to coffee mugs …
and as an adolescent, I certainly bought into the image….
doodling it all over my school notebooks, having mother sew a patch on my favorite jacket…

And so perhaps now it is more than just little ironic that the thought of this certain
little cartoon percolates back to the surface of my consciousness.

This exaggerated comic drawing appealed to me not so much because the image was
heavily tuned into the hippie / anti establishment movement,
as that was a far cry from my little corner of the world,
but rather because it seemed to represent a lackadaisical, yet persistent,
air of perseverance.

A sense of pressing on while just keeping on…
Going on despite any sort of obstacle….
As in stepping over any sort of barrier,
or just letting things roll off like the water off the back of a duck…

And as it often so happens in life,
those seemingly benign little things from our past that must have made some
sort of timely or even a minimal impression,
come bubbling back to the surface just when most needed…

Perseverance…steadfastness…persistence…
or as stated by dictionary.com, the continuance in a state of grace to the end,
leading to eternal salvation.

And so, as I find myself “truckin” on over to Dads..
where all is in a state of hanging in,
hanging on
and hopefully keeping on….
indeed, here’s to the notion of keep on keeping on–
trunking on with Grace…
all the way to eternal Salvation…
Cause it’s the only way to go…

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
and giving joyful thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom
of the Son he loves,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Colossians 1:11-14

vigil

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.

1st verse to an ancient Welsh folksong

“And, in the end
The love you take
is equal to the love you make.”

Paul McCartney

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(the little Ga Tech bear that sits vigil at the foot of Dad’s bed)

There’s a lady in our town who makes teddy bears.
The premise is that you can bring her an old blanket, shirt or some other piece
of clothing, from either a growing child or even a departed loved one,
and she will make a bear using the blanket or fabric of said loved one…
she calls them “remembrance bears”…

Just before Christmas, when I was picking up a prescription at my pharmacy,
I saw this Ga Tech bear sitting on a small stool at the end of an aisle.
I asked the pharmacist if this particular bear was for sale or merely a display.
She informed that it was indeed for sale as her mom was now making collegiate bears.

“Well”, I excalimed,
“I know just the perfect person for this particular bear”…

And ever since this little black and gold bear has been sitting at the foot of dad’s bed,
or in the nearby chair…
keeping a steadfast silent vigil throughout these days and nights
of both waxing and waning….

and right now the days and nights are waning.

I was meet this morning by both nurses…hospice and the care service.
Dad had had a bad night, throwing up repeatedly, resulting in them having to administer
an anti nausea drug from the “emergency” hospice kit.

This emergency kit was provided when Dad was first placed on hospice care.
It’s a little brown box that was to stay in the refrigerator
as it had the emergency morphine for when pain got really bad…
as there may not be time to quickly order new meds.

It’s a little brown box I pushed way in the back of the fridge…
hiding it behind the eggs and milk…
as I didn’t want my stepmother to mistakenly throw it out,
and I didn’t want to see it,
I didn’t want to be reminded of it,
and I prayed we wouldn’t have to use it.

They started using it about three weeks ago.

The hospice nurse was also giving him a good going over….
from head to toe…checking the catheter, his vitals, etc…
When one is terminally ill, dignity is the first casualty.

Later my nurse friend came into the kitchen where I was waiting
and told me that she really didn’t think it would be much longer…
Maybe a week at best.

I reminded her that we said that two weeks ago…
yet I was very aware that we both knew the deal…
that no one can ever predict time in these sorts of matters…
however I also knew that she’s ridden in this little rodeo before…
her knowledge and intuitive skills certainly surpass mine in these sorts of situations…

And so after running to the grocery store and doing some errands for the
maintaining of their household…
I went back to sit with dad.

His speech was slurred, his eyes fluttered open and shut…
but he did have his cable news turned on and was attempting to go through
the motions of reading over the newspaper.
It is from Dad that I get my keen interest in all things news, political, football and history.

His legs were twitching back and forth,
As he told me that a former caregiver had died.

She had not died and is actually alive and quite well.
His mind is working hard to sort reality from that of dreams.

And as I sat with dad, watching news story after news story concerning the complete
idiocy of this nation of ours, I was suddenly and tragically aware that there were countless
other families doing exactly what I was doing…
and that is keeping vigil over a loved one.

The furtherest thing of importance that should be on our radars are these
ridiculous demonstrations, protests and marches.

When you cut away all the minutia of life…
all of the pettiness,
the bitterness,
the anger,
the tantrums,
the selfishness,
the lies,
the hate,
the lunacy…
you will see what is truly important…

And that is simply living,
as well as dying,
and most importantly the love that it to be found in each of those human functions.

Damn to pink hats, to rock stars, to actresses all performing for the mania…
those who now only live for the “will he or won’t he” that is gripping the minds of the hysterical,
It all matters not one iota when you find yourself slowly losing either your own life
or slowly losing the life of one you love…

It is the love found in that life that really only matters.
The love given, the love demonstrated, the love received…

May you open your heart not to the maelstrom of the mania that is currently
roaring past you…
but rather may you seek and find the love in life…
that one lasting piece of each of us that really truly only matters…

because in the end…it is only the love that will remain…

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height
nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-38