altars

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator
as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You.
Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us.
Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”

Augustine of Hippo

dscn0509
(altar tomb in the Rock of Cashel, the Cathedral of St Patrick / Co Tipperary, Ireland/
Julie Cook / 2015)

A thick blanket of smoke hangs heavy in the air.
It’s not the result of burning effigies or burning communities
but rather from the woods of North Carolina and northern Georgia which are on fire…
and the winds have shifted…

The sinking grey smoke is a somber reminder that there is a dangerously severe drought…
and the parched land is now beyond thirsty…

Yet there is more to this current drought than simply a lack of rain…
for there is more that is dry than mere vegetation and brush…
And there is more to this endless thirst than a need for water….

Vehemence and anger are filling the air, accented by vile and profane sentiment.
As the mobs march toward the altars of self indulgence and guile.
Immaturity laced with ignorance stokes the fires of rage as the hate filled
smoke fills the nostrils of a nation.

Self absorption and egocentric worshipers have taken to the streets.
They have taken to their computers and to their phones…their current altars of choice.
All the while they shout vile rhetoric as they stomp their spoiled bored feet.

If you must…
Protest against atrocities,
demonstrate against hunger,
fight against killing…
but not because you’ve simply forgotten, or have never known, how to lose.

Young dismayed parents now publicly lament how are they to console their
confused children who cry in fear from the big bad what ifs of hysteria…
simply because democracy has been at work–once again…

Nay, answer with truth…
the truth that one person lost while another person won…
For that is how this game is played…one person wins while one person loses…

Yet ours is a culture currently obsessed with the win win…
because we’ve grown moralistically soft while deciding everyone should be a winner…
We cannot live with the sad notion of losing…
Never mind old adages of always trying again…

There are those who are falling at the altar of womanly feminism…
which is currently shored up by gender neutrality, resentment and anger.
Marching not for policy or real equality but rather for the notion that
the wrong sex was the victor…as the votes which were cast are ignored….

Tears are being shed not because freedom has been lost
or because lives have been lost,
nor because a nation has lost all hope…
No…
rather tears are flowing because an election was lost…

And now we no longer want to play…
Because reality is simply no longer considered fun.
While we have found ourselves kneeling before all the wrong altars…

Ours are the empty altars of hero worship and of self…
the altars of gadgetry, boredom, appeasement and ignorance.
Altars of fear, anger, hostility, emptiness and divisiveness…

For what or whom has become our idol, our god?
Who or what are those hungry deities which have left us empty, sad,
frustrated, angry and resentful…
as we turn upon one another in the feeding frenzy of resentment?

We have gathered before all the wrong altars for far too long…
These altars have left us shallow and empty while also full of loathing and contempt…
We continue to march without leadership and direction…
lost and wandering…all the while lashing out at those we assume to be our enemy…
never realizing that we are all actually one.
One people…one nation…

And all the while hidden deep within the suffocating smoke of our thirst
lies the only One true proven path in which we need march…

Yet we have decided it’s far easier to wander angrily in the parched darkness
while hiding behind the vitriol sputum which oozes forth from our mouths…
spewing out upon our fellow human beings…

As it seems we’d rather choose…
paranoia to Grace
greed to Offering
ignorane to Enlightenment
darkness to Light
death to Salvation
egregiousness to Gentleness
hate to Love…

May we all fall at the foot of the one true altar,
the cross of Resurrection, Salvation, Hope and Life.

The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son,
whom he gave to us and who was born for us,
should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross.
This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made,
but for our sins.

Francis of Assisi

leap second

“How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

DSC01130
(Prague’s Astronomical clock / Julie Cook / 2012)

Huh?
Yeah, I thought the same thing.
What in the heck is a leap second??
Maybe it’s some kind of newly discovered leap frog, or maybe it’s something like a nano second or perhaps some new scientific discovery???

I actually caught glimpse of an article yesterday about this leap second business and curious, I investigated.

It seems that in order to keep the world’s atomic clock on track with the spinning of the earth’s rotation, which by the way doesn’t seem to be exactly constant, we’ve got to add time to our world’s biggest and most important time piece—the atomic clock.
The mother of all time keepers.
THE clock that all computers, data bases, cell phones, mantle clocks and wrist watches claim as the go to for exact, precise and on the money, time . . .
And you thought time was simply relevant. . .

The BBC reported yesterday that “the last second in June, 2015 was actually 61 seconds.

Whoa.

It seems that our dear ol planet’s rotation is not exactly consistent–we’re not spinning around with each rotation at the exact same speed. It appears we’re a bit herky jerky or a bit of stop and go as it were.
So in order to keep up with our rotations, or rather the slowing down of the rotations, we’ve got to add time.
And if that isn’t enough to make you dizzy, we’ve been doing it, on and off, since 1972.

Hummm adding random time. . .

Does that mean we all just got several seconds older or younger?
Does that mean since 1972, I’ve been afforded a longer life?

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say. . .

“Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that,” NASA’s Daniel MacMillan said in a statement.

“Basically, our clocks are better at keeping time than the Earth is. Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC (which is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight time) is based on an atomic clock, which calculates the length of a second based on (very predictable) changes in cesium atoms. It takes more than a million years to lose a second on atomic time.”

Not so for our fair planet, which is always getting just the teensiest bit slower. In theory, the Earth takes 86,400 seconds to rotate once. In practice, it’s clocking in at about 86,400.002 seconds. For shame, Earth.”

(here’s the link for the full story:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/06/29/on-tuesday-the-world-gets-a-leap-second-are-we-all-gonna-die/)

Okay, so now I’m really confused.
If daylight savings time wasn’t enough to push me over the edge, this whole “lets randomly add time to our lives” is surely the kicker.
And if we’ve been adding seconds since 1972, with what I read being an initial 10 second addition, only to be adding seconds on a regular basis, except for some random 7 year dry spell which was reported, then does that mean I’m roughly 40 seconds to a minute or so older, younger, better or worse. . .?

Time has always been a concept none too easy to wrap this ol brain of mine around.
Time zones, falling back, jumping forward, “I’m late, I’m late”. . .
The one thing I do understand is that I have always prided myself on being preferably early verses regrettably late. Punctuality being a quality I’ve been proud of—that is until now. . because now I don’t know if I’ve actually always been early, right on time or now sadly late. . .hummmmm. . .

And whereas it may make no never mind to either you or I about this whole adding of seconds business, it does however speak volumes to our ever growing dependence on computers— as in it is devastating.

It seems that computers operate on the whole 60 seconds makes a minute, makes an hour, makes a day sort of notion and they don’t take too kindly to a scosh of time here and a pinch of time there.
They pretty much prefer the whole exact, precise, black and white business—no leeway, skimping, fudging or tweaking with them—no sireee, it’s exact or it ain’t nothing. . .no in-between for them.

And now as this is all beginning to sound way too time-traveling and creepy Matrixish. . .

There is but one thing and one thing only that I know with all certainty. . . that for God, time has always been His and thankfully never truly my own.

Who has saved us and called us to a holy life –
not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time

2 Timothy 1:9