“There are two ways of knowing how good God is:
one is never to lose Him,
and the other is to lose Him and then to find Him.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen
(Christ Pantocrator, the oldest known Icon of Christ, 6th Century AD / St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai)
This past week has been one full of ups and downs, highs and lows,
and a week of all things in between.
Much of which has been beyond our immediate control.
So I think it was Tuesday morning when I actually was afforded my “quiet time”—
a time when I could truly be alone and in fellowship with God.
A time that was once as regular as clock work…
then people retired and mornings were no
longer my own…
Juggling time took on a whole different sort of meaning.
Tuesday morning I opened my morning devotion, a book of The Divine Hours—
I pray the liturgy of hours—an ancient form of
prayer based on a fixed time of prayer during the course of a day—
mine is an abbreviated devotion of morning, midday, and vespers.
A typical monastic cycle is based on a schedule of 7 times dispersed over a 24 hour period.
According to prayerfoundation.org:
The Seven Historical (Canonical) Hours of Prayer is based upon Psalm 119:164
“Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws.”
6:00 am – First Hour (Matins / Lauds / Orthros)
9:00 am – Third Hour (Trece)
Noon Prayer – Sixth Hour (Sext)
3:00 pm – Ninth Hour (None)
6:00 pm (Vespers / Evensong
9:00 pm (Compline)
These times basically overlap in the three large liturgical denominations…
Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican communions.
When I was attending the church of my childhood, Evensong was my most favorite service–
It was small, quiet, and intimate.
And that’s probably because I grew up in a massive Cathedral
and Evensong was always in a small gothic chapel rather than the cavernous sanctuary
and was always sparsely attended…but I digress.
Nowadays, I’m just lucky to be able to get in the morning devotional–
So Tuesday morning, when I began my reading and recitations, I began reading the affixed
reading for the day—a reading from the Book of Revelation:
Because you have kept My word of perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of the testing,
that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who live on the earth.
I am coming quickly; hold firmly to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
The one who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God,
and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God,
and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God,
and My new name.
The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
This is not a revolving sort of reading but a fixed reading.
Meaning it was not chosen precisely for this year of 2020.
It was not chosen for this surreal time but was rather more of a permanent piece of scripture–
it is the same verse read over the years, over the seasons on this particular day–
this Tuesday, the 3rd week of Advent.
And yet here it was staring at me on this particular Tuesday morning,
plain as day— speaking so pointedly to our trying days and time,
speaking plainly to our current prickly world which has been trying our souls day and night
since early March.
We have got to remember that God still sees and He still knows—
He knows we are heavily burdened.
We knows we are down trodden.
And in that seeing and knowing, He will write his Name upon us.
We will be His and He will be ours.
Tuesday was the feast day of St Matthias–May 14th on the Gregorian calendar…
the calendar most of the world now follows.
However, our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters follow the Julian calendar
and so their commemoration of the feast day is August 9th.
But for our purposes today, for those of us who adhere to the Gregorian calendar,
we’ll just stick with May 14th.
St Matthias was the disciple that, following the death and Resurrection of Jesus,
and then that of his Ascension was voted on by Peter and the others to fill the void left
by the betrayal and subsequent suicide of Judas Iscariot.
It was the replacing of one who betrayed with one who remained faithful.
It was also a fulfilling of prophecy.
May 14th was also a day that I actually had time to catch the latest youtube episode of
Anglican Unscripted with US host Kevin Kallsen and our favorite rouge Anglican priest,
Bishop Gavin Ashenden.
Our dear friend actually started the segment by mentioning that their day’s discussion
was to be quite timely given the fact that it was the feast day of St Matthias.
After watching the episode, I understood the nod to the significance of St Matthias.
That being the replacing of betrayal with dedicated devotion.
A devotion that, in the face of severe trial and grave threat to life,
never wavered–one iota.
Those in the US, other than disheartened Episcopalians and Anglicans such as myself,
may not understand nor be interested in what a former British Anglican bishop has to say.
They may wonder why I continually reference the man.
So for those of you who wonder who in the heck I keep talking about, quoting or referencing,
in a Wikipedia and from his own bio nutshell, here is who is he is… “Gavin Roy Pelham Ashenden (born 1954)
is a British Anglican clergyman.
He was a Chaplain to the Queen from 2008 until his resignation in 2017.
He was ordained in the Church of England, but left it in 2017.
That year was consecrated a missionary bishop by the Christian Episcopal Church,
a continuing Anglican jurisdiction outside of the Anglican Communion.”
On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017,
the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr. Ashenden
had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.
But there is more to the man than a quick bio—
Bishop Ashenden knows music and its history, he has a law degree, he studied psychology
and theology, he is an accomplished and deeply published author, he has been a teacher,
preacher and even smuggler—smuggling Bibles into the communist Soviet Union.
He has served in small parishes and he has served a Queen.
He is keenly knowledgable about history be it the history of religions, governments or law.
In other words, he is a man who knows his stuff.
Yet because he knows “his” stuff, why should any of that matter to you, you might now be asking.
Well, because my friend, if you are one who considers themselves a Christian, as well as a member
of the Judaeo/ Christian democratic Western Civilization, Bishop Ashenden paints a grave yet
painfully honest picture of your very world…a truth that you need to familiarize yourself with
before you are caught like so many will be, blindsided.
Would I call Bishop Ashenden a prophet?
Perhaps I would.
I do know that much of the modern-day world wonders why we have not heard from the
likes of such prophets like those from the days of old.
Those wizened voices who rose up most often from obscurity,
bending the ears of kings and warriors alike by foretelling things that were to be.
Those men who dreamed dreams and shared visions.
Not like a Nostradamus mind you, but more like a Jeremiah, Obadiah or an Isaiah,
or even a John The Baptizer.
I know I’ve been guilty of lamenting ‘where are the prophets?’
Where are those voices of Truth…?
But as I’ve pondered such a notion…it has dawned on me that the prophets are indeed
alive and well…they are found the world over and rest in the voices of men and women who
speak the Truth about Jesus Christ…His life, His teachings, His death, and His resurrection.
They are the ones who do not bend the Truth for convenience sake.
They are not the appeasers or the pleasers of an egocentric society or a materialistic world.
They are the men and women who literally die each and every day for their faith because their
trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in Christ alone.
They do not care about social norms, culturalisms, objectivism, convenience, or popularity.
They do not care what a world gone mad thinks of them.
They are not afraid.
For those who speak Truth are never afraid.
During Tuesday’s segment, host Kevin Kallsen made mention that he had seen on a
recent Yahoo News interview freshman Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib,
who happens to be a practicing Muslim, state that the notion of the Holocaust gives her
“a calming feeling.”
Are you kidding???
Holocaust and clam used within the same sentence???
And yet Congress, along with mainstream media, has basically all ignored such a statement.
Who in their right mind has any sort of sense of calm or peace whenever thinking of the Shoah,
in other words, the Holocaust???
I’ve looked into the back story a bit and it appears that some feel her words were taken
out of context…but, I don’t agree.
And so as the segment’s conversation continues,
the good Bishop actually takes a closer look at Islam and that of the Chruch’s odd embrace
of a religion that has always stated that living
in harmony with the followers of the Cross will never be tolerated.
Bishop Ashenden notes that Mohammed’s Islam has, for the better part of 60 years,
been taught by theologians to be one of the three legs of the Abrahamic religions…
with the other two legs being that of Christianity and Judaism.
However our dear friend staunchly, and without hesitation, states that that thought
is absolutely not the truth.
Mohammed borrowed the Biblical characters such as Noah, Mary, and even Jesus,
in order to give credence to “his” religion.
And he denied that Jesus ever rose from the dead.
The good Bishop states that “Mohammed is nothing more than a dictator who demands submission.”
whereas Jesus Christ offers himself as a sacrifice.
Islam is not a cousin of our faith but on the contrary…runs counter to Christianity.
The troubling thing, however, is that we are today witnessing a global Chruch who wants to
appear friendly, accepting and even embracing of Islam.
Going so far as to inviting Muslim neighbors into a Chruch’s sanctuary in order to celebrate
the ending of Eid by covering up the crosses in order not to offend.
Is not covering the cross on the altar of the Chruch a turning of one’s back to Christ and all
He stands for in our faith?
Is that not a betrayal of convenience?
To follow Jesus means that we are not to be ashamed nor disassociate ourselves–ever.
Bishop Ashenden reminds us that we know more about Hell from Jesus than from anyone else Biblically.
He shares that Jesus was and is very specific about consequences…
So much so that He tells us that to deny Him, results in the opposite of Paradise…
it results in Hell.
Yet so many of us will argue that we are a polite society.
We don’t want to rock the boat.
We want to accommodate and be neighborly and friendly.
But to what extent?
At what cost?
Do we opt to turn a blind eye, ignoring public servants who speak positively about
egregious atrocities such as the Holocaust?
Do we rewrite God’s word so that His words now fit better into our current day and times?
Do we cover up and hide the key representative symbol of our faith,
thinking that others of differing faiths may find it offensive?
Evil is alive and well…yet no one likes to admit such let alone think about such.
Bishop Ashenden tells us that Christianity, and only Christianity, offers a defense against Evil.
Jesus cleanses the human heart of such Evil.
Yet the fingerprints of Satan are very much visible within and across the global collective Church.
Truth is being turned upside down as there is not enough regard for the truth in our
And yet we are reminded…
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life…the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life…
Do not compromise.
Do not be ashamed.
Do not hide.
Do not deny.
Do not pretend.
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest.
The soul, uneasy, and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”
(cue the Lenten Rose / Julie Cook / 2018)
We still have so much to talk about…
So many pressing issues of the soul and the salvation of man.
That being our salvation.
There is so much history that we need to recall, lest we be doomed to repeat it all.
Discussing those things of true importance while discarding those unimportant things
vying for control.
There has been such a wearisome heaviness pressing down on us…
The political circus of both country and globe.
The helter-skelter stock market.
The sheer burdens of our individual lives…
The uncertainty of the uncertainness.
The list seems endless.
I have felt as if I have not been outside, really outside, taking stock
of a winter barren waste-laid landscape in a string of seemingly nonending months of time.
Its just been too cold, too wet, too grey…
just too, too…
I actually went outside and filled up the birdfeeders.
The sun was shining and it wasn’t freezing.
In fact, I could feel the sun’s warmth.
An unfamiliar yet most welcomed sensation.
I cleaned out the bird boxes, ridding them of the old nests…
making ready for new residents who will soon be out house hunting.
I trimmed away a few dead and broken branches from plants, bushes, and trees—
all who had suffered under the weight of the snow and ice—
trimming wich I had simply not felt called yet to tackle.
To be honest, I think I’ve just not felt like doing much of any of it, period.
I’ve not felt motivated or excited to do so…
both of which are not me.
I chalk such lack of motivation, lack of get-up-and-go, to life’s wicked blows,
to the winter blues and to just the never-ending chill which
has delighted in reaching down to my very bones.
The good news is that I do not have the full blown hemochromatosis I spoke of
about a week or so ago.
I am however a carrier…only half mutant.
Yet it’s off for the nuclear stress test come Monday…
all to figure out the reason for a sedentary blood pressure for a non-sedentary individual…
of which probably points to another mutant gene…
My son made me watch the X-Men cartoons with him when he was a little boy—
I always did have a soft spot in my heart for Beast—
I mean, who doesn’t love a soft-spoken, Shakespearian reading
manly man who happens to be blue?
Yet I suspect some might simply call my winter languidness, age.
However my little outdoor excursion Tuesday offered up a marvelous surprise.
Tucked away in what is usually a dark tiny tree ladened little nook,
an unsuspecting patch of pine straw nestled between two small boxwoods…
rests 4 nearly hidden reminders that there is indeed life lurking, waiting and
really ready to get busy.
And as if right on cue, just in time for the beginning of this week’s coming Lenten season…
a time which happens to be bringing both Valentine’s day and a certain grandbaby’s
a reflective time of death, Ressurection, and life…
the Lenten Roses are in full blooming regalia.
Hope does Spring eternal does it not?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me,
and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
I will be found by you,” declares the Lord,
“Well I won’t back down
No I won’t back down
You can stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down”
(my son’s 7th grade school picture shortly following 9/11–
the kids all made the small flag pin he has pinned to his shirt—we still have the pin)
How is it that we remember?
How do we mark those important moments in life?
How do we best remember them–both good and bad?
From the perspective of a parent, it is most likely by our children.
how old they were…
where they were…
what they were doing…
My son was in the 7th grade that fateful September day.
It was a warm Georgia, clear blue sky, kind of day.
With razor sharp precision,
we remember exactly where and when,
on those earth shattering days when tragedy strikes…
as life suddenly stands still.
Life stopped in time,
that New York, clear blue sky, fateful Septemeber day.
Life stopped in time,
that warm Pennsylvania September Tuesday morning.
Life stopped in time,
that typical September Tuesday morning in Washington D.C.
For thousands of Americans that September day,
life simply ceased.
Stopping forever for…
young and old,
male and female,
For stopping and ceasing does not bother to discriminate nor separate.
Parents were suddenly gone.
Brothers were suddenly gone.
Grandparents were suddenly gone.
Sisters were suddenly gone.
all suddenly gone.
With the breaking news…
those of us who were parents,
suddenly felt an innate urge to run and find our children.
It mattered not that they were at school, day care or with sitters
and that we were at work, or at school, or on business trips….
We wanted our children.
We wanted to run to them,
gathering them in our arms…
Wanting, needing, yearning to…
holding them close and tight in our arms—
reassuring ourselves that our small world was…
For thousands of Americans that clear blue sky Tuesday September 11th morning…
their worlds were broken…
for both those who were gone and for those who remained….
And the fact that those holes still remain in the hearts of those who survived…
or remain in those who simply remained,
left to carry on without those who they loved and still long to hold close…
that is something the rest of us must always remember…
Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace;
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go;
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living;
But the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
(Two doves who look to know that today is indeed a Monday / Julie Cook / 2014)
Why do I think Mother Goose got it all wrong??
Today is Monday or by the time you’re reading this, it will most likely be, thankfully, Tuesday or hopefully some other day–any other day than Monday!
Monday marks the dreaded beginning of the work week.
It is the day most folks wish would quietly come and go as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Maybe Monday’s child should be full of dread, difficultly, foreboding–no offense to any of you born on a Monday— but fair of face?? Really?? I beg to differ.
You never hear of folks clamoring for a Monday to hurry up and get here like they do for a Friday.
You don’t hear of people getting ready to kick off Mondays by starting the party on Sunday evenings.
I suppose that’s why they invented Monday Night Football—trying to bring the weekend down easy. . .
I suppose I should have seen it coming.
I suppose I should have realized it this weekend when “they” decided it was time (get it) to switch up the times on me. This whole time thing, dark in the morning / light in the evening, light in the morning / dark in the evening. . . is an entire post of its own waiting to happen—
but I’ll just stick with Monday for now thank you very much—I can only handle one bad thing at a time!
So as I was saying. . .I should have been a little more cautious this morning when first light forced my brain awake at 6:15, which was really 5:15 or maybe 7:15 or was that really 8:15–all I know is that two days ago it was an entirely different time—-see what I mean—why do “they” enjoy tormenting me this way???
As I had by now opened my eyes, there was no going back, there was no other alternative but to get up.
It wasn’t so bad. I hadn’t slept anyway and seriously, what woman my age does sleep? (Digressing)
6:15 or 7:15 beat my mornings when I was teaching as I would have to get up at 5 AM, which would have been 4 AM or maybe it would have been 6 AM–AAAGGGGHHHH—see what I mean. . .again digressing.
Any whooooo. . .
As I get busy going about my morning routine and rituals, my husband readies for work.
I feed the cats, fix my coffee, post my post, clean the cat box (joy of joys), let one cat outside, the other cat out on the deck (he’s an indoor cat who’s outside is the deck), kiss my husband good-bye, let the cats back in and out respectively at least 10 more times, move some things out of the garage, come back in, read my devotional and say my prayers. . .next it’s off to strip the bed as this is “wash day”, let the cats back in and out respectively at least 10 more times–yada, yada, yada. Plus I knew I needed to get a move on if I was going to exercise before heading out to the grocery store and the Monday ritual of errand running.
Down to the basement I trot, checking on all the plants I’ve had to move in due to the freezing temperatures suffered all weekend. My workout area is now crammed full of giant potted plants and two fruit trees loaded with green fruit, who are taking their own sweet time to ripen.
30 minutes of weights then 30 minutes on the nemesis, aka Elliptical.
Huffing and puffing with just about a minute of time remaining to the run, I begin to hear an odd bit of thumping. Note to self–remind husband to check all the nuts and bolts, making certain things are good and tight—when suddenly there’s a snapping sound and a thud, as I am propelled forward falling precariously to the right while at the same time trying to stop the 5 mph speed of motion of the arm swings before real damage occurs to both me and machine.
“What the. . .??!!” IT BROKE!!!! AAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!
Are you freaking kidding me???!!!
Lifting the broken leg bar, which must have some sort of resistance or tension against it, as it immediately snaps back down, out of my hand, slicing open my wrist. You know, the side of the wrist those wishing to end things go for—it’s deep, it’s bleeding— so now, not only am I mad, I’m going to bleed to death.
Sweating like a pig and out of breath, remember I was just finishing the workout when the blasted thing snapped, plus now bleeding to death on top of being mad, I grab the information booklet and head upstair to the phone in order to call these Sole Elliptical folks on their 1 800 number.
Greeted with automation I push the number button I’m directed to push in order to speak with a representative.
The phone disconnects.
I dial again.
Pushing more numbers.
Still bleeding to death with paper towels wrapped around wrist.
The automated voice tells me I am caller number 2 in line or in the imaginary “que”.
I head up stairs, with phone to ear and pressure on sliced open wrist, in order to rummage through file folders for the receipt.
Always keep the receipt!!!
A person finally answers.
I’m still bleeding.
“Mam, do you have the 16 digit serial number?”
“Where would that be located?”
“On the machine”
I run back down stairs, a double flight back to the basement, while holding the phone to my ear and pressure on my wrist.
“There is no number on the machine”
“Yes mam, there is, it should be on the fly wheel”
“There is no number on the fly wheel”
“You need to pop off the covering over the fly wheel, it’s located inside the housing”
“WHAT?”— now he tells me
Jerking and pulling, I can’t get the plastic covering to ‘pop off’
“Yes mam, it should just pop off”
“It isn’t popping off, did I tell you how the thing sliced my wrist wide open??”
“Mam, we’re here until 7PM CST if you’d like to wait for your husband to come home to help you.”
Still pulling and pushing I ask if he’s certain this thing isn’t screwed shut.
“Mam, you may want to get a flathead screwdriver.
Oh ho buddy, I’m one up on you, I’ve already got the screwdriver!!
By this point, thinking I’m going to break the damn thing with Marcel (the name of the representative) wanting to hang up on me. . .
I pry open the panel just enough the see the blasted serial number.
“Oh wait, I can just see the sticker, let me read you the numbers”
“Mam what’s your address? Full Name? Phone number?”
“Am I going to have to ship this whole thing back to you all??!!”
“No mam, we should be able to send you a part”
“Can you take a picture so I can see what exactly broke”
“I can do that”
He gives me his e-mail address and we hang up.
With me still bleeding and Marcel nonplused over my ordeal–probably needed to act unconcerned thinking I was sue happy.
I snap the pictures, upload them, compose the e-mail and off it goes—into cyber-land.
Have I heard back?
Shouldn’t some sort of a reply of confirmation come back letting me know that Marcel got the e-mail????
One can only hope. . .
My wrist is still bleeding.
I head to the bathroom in order to preform some sort of triage.
I pour betadine over my wrist, now turning everything yellow,
Next, cotton balls soaked in alcohol AAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!
Still bleeding but at least things should now be sterile.
I probably need a stitch, maybe two, but who has time to sit in an ER for 4 hours??
And of all things, here I am, not trying to commit suicide, and I’m going to be the person who bleeds out.
I let the cats back in, for the umpteenth time.
I dry may hair
I bandage my wrist.
I let the cats back out
I dress (don’t worry about the order—it all gets done, clothes, no clothes, comsi comsa)
But now I’m afraid to leave the house.
Wonder what’s waiting for me out there if all this happened in here?!
Hummmm. . .
Oh, I’m just probably delusional from the loss of blood.
Fast forward to my arrival back home, thankfully in one piece.
Still bleeding through the bandaging, I proceed to bring in the groceries.
I notice the mailman at the neighbor’s box so I make my way up the driveway to meet the carrier at my box.
I know they see me coming because it’s a clear shot of our driveway from the neighbor’s mailbox.
Just as I reach to open the gates (yes we have a gate, because we have a fence, because of those blasted rodeo bulls, the ones living across the street in the bootleg fenced-in pasture, which are constantly breaking out of their bootleg fence, so we put up a decent fence to keep them out. You’d think their owners would get the whole good fence / bootleg fence concept—digressing)
–the mail carrier pops the mail in the box and takes off.
“Well nice to see you too” I think to myself as I open the box in order to retrieve the mail.
Sitting on top of the mail is one of those “sorry we missed you” cards stating I have a registered parcel which they couldn’t deliver because I was not home.
Are you freaking kidding me?!
Heeellloooooo, here I was and here I am!!!!!
I was at the gate, just about to open it to met the carrier!!
They never pulled into the driveway, just popped it all in the box and quickly took off!!
They had to see me coming up the driveway—I was in broad day light and a clear visible shot!!
I hurry back to the house, picking up the phone, I call the post office.
My wrist is still bleeding.
The number is busy for about 5 attempts, finally I get a person.
A very unfriendly person.
I explain what happened and that I was just about to meet the carrier, when they took off.
“Could you radio them to come back letting them know that I am here and was trying to met them?”
“Name. Address. OK”
“OK? OK as in you’re going to radio them or OK, what. . .?!”
What is it with the postal folks??
I proceed to actually go outside in order to sit, in plain view–remember the trees are now gone—you can’t miss me, nobody misses me!
I proceed to wait, and wait and wait.
Finally the mail truck pulls down the driveway.
“I thought you saw me on my way to meet you”
“You always keep those gates closed?”
Oh great, a new carrier.
“Well not always, but we do prefer to keep those bulls out of our yard”
“You need to sign the card”
“uh, do you have a pen I could use?”
Reluctantly handing me a pen, I sign the card, hand it back to her as the happy carrier (note my sarcasm) hands me my parcel.
“Thank you” I mutter as she drives off into the sunset. . .
Yes, sunset- – -remember they changed the freaking time on me.
The sun is starting it’s decent, as in it’s now later, or is it earlier???
No matter, all I know is that this Monday is soon setting and I couldn’t be happier!!
And yes, I’m still bleeding.
Here’s to Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday and, well you get the point!
As seen on the web:
I want to break up.
I’m seeing Tuesday and
Dreaming about Friday.
Sincerely, it’s not me, it’s you.