Ponderings for Wednesday 22 May 2019: Week 5 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Daily Office Readings for Wednesday: Week 5 of Easter: Year 1

AM Psalm 72; PM Psalm 119:73-96Wisdom 13:1-9; Rom 13:1-14; Luke 8:16-25

“But he said them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’” (Luke 8: 21)

While I love the family of my birth and the family I have given birth to, or raised, I am finding that often the individual members of my biology are not found in my inner most circle of faith and hope. I still love them but our values are often conflicted. Jesus explains that his real family members are the ones that believe in the way that he does.  He does not disown or in any way reject his mother and siblings however he is moving on for the benefit of others.

I know many people who, like me, are more comfortable with people they share church or club or profession or social settings with, than their blood family.  If we forsake family we make a big mistake.  We must keep them in our communications network and in our prayers and hearts.  Who is to say?  Perhaps members of our blood family will find their way into our inner circle, or we in theirs.  Jesus’ Mother was there with him at the cross.

My Fitness Pondering

Numbers become a big part of my fitness progress report.  I want to keep my weight, blood pressure, and the time it takes me to run four miles down, to a certain point. I want to keep increasing the number of pushups, sit ups and pull ups I do, to a certain point. So there are numbers I’m trying to get down while there are other numbers  I’m trying to increase.  Numbers are good in that they measure your improvement in an empirical way. Numbers are not subjective, but rather, objective.  Numbers tell the truth.  It is what it is, no gray area.

My Music Pondering

I just keep on singing.  I sing country, folk, some blues, and a whole lot of hymns. I think the first two songs I ever learned were “Jesus Loves Me” and Sixteen Tons, the latter by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  I was even able to use Sixteen Tons as a cadence chant while taking Marines on a run when I was stationed in Yuma, Az.  I think I have always had a song in my heart and on my tongue.  I never had any encouragement for music when I was young.  So now I encourage myself. It’s never too late to discover what you like and pursue it.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Tuesday: 21 May 2019: Week 5 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Readings for Tuesday of Week 5 of Easter: Year 1

AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 68:1-20(21-23)24-36 Wisdom 10:1-4(5-12)13-21; Rom. 12:1-21; Luke 8:1-15

“Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.” (Romans 12: 16)

I like this advice from Paul.  Rodney King was and African man who was beat up by the officers of the Los Angeles Police after a high speed chase in 1991.  Right or wrong, King did have a good quote; “Why can’t we all just get alone.”  I still remember that.  It is a good question.  Paul says “live in harmony.”  I see it as the same thing.  Both men ask us to be friendly with one another.

Paul also asks us to not be haughty and to mingle with the so-called lowly.  Who are the lowly?  No one is lowly by choice.  In my pondering I think being haughty is the first step in seeing another as lowly. And the last part of verse 16 of Romans 12 is for me not to not claim to be wiser than I am.  I have learned to say “I don’t know.”  Sometimes it frustrates people because they think that I should know the solution to their inquiry.   But oh what a relief it is to just admit I don’t know.

My Fitness Pondering

Pushups and yoga and some other assorted exercises really gets me going in the morning.  After a brief raising of the heart-rate I chew the journal cud for the second time before posting it to the blog.  Physical exercise first thing in the morning fits very well with my daily routine.  It wakes me up and energizes me.  It also just feels good.  I stretch and become aware of all the joints in my body as I hear my bones saying good morning to each other. There is a lot of “snap – crackle – pop going on. But it feels good.

My Music Pondering

Musically, I’m in a fixed pattern of playing my favorite hymns every day.  I pray singing “Lead Me; Guide Me.”  I then move to “Praise to the Lord.”  I love the “Ponder anew” part in the third verse.  And I have brought in “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”  They are easier to sing than to play but it gives me great satisfaction when it is me making the music and it sounds right.  “Go Me.” I think playing musical instruments makes us more godly.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) the people of the Creating Word, and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Monday 20 May 2019: Week 5 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Daily Office Readings for 20 May 2019 Year 1

AM Psalm 56, 57, [58]; PM Psalm 64, 65Wisdom 9:1, 7-18; Col. (3:18-4:1)2-18; Luke 7:36-50

“And he said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  (Luke 7:50)

Jesus often does a miracle of healing wherein he says that the sick or troubled person’s faith made them well.  I find this very interesting.  The faith that is already in us is used by Jesus to heal us.  Specifically faith is the belief in Jesus and the healing power of Jesus.  We see this in Luke’s Gospel at chapter 7: 9 the faith of the Centurion for his servant; in chapter 8:48 the faith healing of the 12 year bleeding woman who reached out in faith to touch Jesus’ garment; in chapter 18;42 where sight was given to a blind man. And, this one for today, Luke 7:50, the restoration from sin for a woman based on her faith.

This faith has been placed in us and can be used by God in Christ Jesus to cure us and save us.  Unfortunately, we are not able to manipulate it for a cure ourselves.  We need Jesus to make use of our faith to fix us.  And it seems from some of the examples above that Jesus doesn’t have to put hands on the person to do the job. Jesus’ presence or awareness is all that is necessary.  Good and healing just flows from him.

My Fitness Pondering

Blood circulation is very important in the human body (and all animals).  This is particularly true for our extremities like the hands, feet and head.  As we walk erect, our feet are a long way from the heart and our hands stretch out pretty far as well.  And the head is so important because that’s where our brain is and our head is located at the highest point of our upright norm.  I believe water and food that is easily digestible helps keep the blood moving throughout the extremities.  Also important is exercising the extremities.  The regular wiggling of the toes and fingers draws blood to the muscles of the extremities.  Perhaps some neck exercises would be good for just getting the blood moving in the direction of the head.  Our bodies are life-support systems for our minds.  Our minds contain “who” we are.  Therefore, exercise helps us to maintain who we are.   

My Music Pondering  

 I am fortunate to work at a church where there is a piano.  I stop and play just a little bit on it every time I pass it. Truth be known, I often go out of my way to pass by it. I am reminded of what one of our pianists told me some time ago.  She said I must practice every day.  How much time at one setting, she said, had less impact than with the frequency of times. Even as little as fifteen minutes makes a difference.  The repeated touching of the instrument improves my skill. Thank You Jesus speaking through our pianist.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through (and to) the people of the Creating Word, and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Sunday 19 May 2019: Week 5 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Eucharistic Readings for Sunday: 19 May 2019: Week 5 of Easter

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus gives us a new commandment!  He commands us to love one another.  Why is this commandment new?  Has not the commandments always commanded us to love one another?  Actually, according to the Ten Commandments we are told, in list form, how to “treat” one another.  The last six Commandments address our relationship with one another and have us to honor our parents, not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to give false testimony against a neighbor, and not to covet. While this laundry list of commandments keeps us in good relationship with one another it only runs around the edges of what God really wants. And that is for to love one another. 

Jesus has us to love each other as he has loved us. As I have pointed out in earlier blogs, this Command differs from the Synoptic Gospels in that it does not say “love your neighbor as yourself” (Hoping that you love yourself).  But rather requires us to love our neighbor as Jesus loves us – and it must be remembered that Jesus loved us all the way to his death on the cross.  This was sacrificial love, unconditional love, agape love.

In the first expressions of love the word love is used as a verb, that is an action we are to do, that is to love one another.  Jesus ends with love as a noun.  That is, he says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  To have love makes love a thing we have, and, we most certainly do.  And it is in us to share and relate to others with.

My Fitness Pondering

I met a remarkable man yesterday.  He was not a particularly large man but it was apparent that he was in good shape as he helped us unload eight-foot tables and some chairs.  It was revealed later by a friend that this man got up every day at 3:30 AM or so and went running.  I was impressed!

My Music Pondering

I was whistling the melody for “Come thou fount of every blessing” yesterday when a parishioner asked me to actually sing the words to that tune.  And I did.  She knew she knew it but perhaps could not quite remember the words.  It is good always to hear a hymn in our hearts.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Saturday 18 May 2019: Week 4 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

AM Psalm 55; PM Psalm 138, 139:1-17(18-23) Wisdom 7:1-14; Col. 3:12-17; Luke 7:18-28(29-30)31-35

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3: 16 – 17)

The writer of the words to the church in Colossae to admonish one another carries with it also the message of being willing to be admonished as well.  We correct others and we are corrected by others.  It is give and take.

This writer also encourages us to sing.  I like this encouragement.  Singing hymns is praying. I have favorite hymns I like to sing that I am also learning to play either on guitar or piano.  Sometimes when I get really into it, I move to the melody.  I love it when it takes over me.

Lastly, this Colossians writer teaches us to do the work we have been given to do in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God.  So, counsel, given and received, singing to lift our spirits, and then all we do and say, we do in the name of Jesus.  Got it.  Thank You Jesus.

My Fitness Pondering

I am in a good place with my morning workouts.  It has come to just being habit for me.  It has moved on from something I sometimes dread.  I can’t remember the last time I did not do pushups first, or almost first thing in the morning.  Now I have to watch and be careful not to add too much to my morning workouts.  I hope that when you who read these words of mine you are mindful of your body and the need your body has for exercise. I believe daily exercise is better than having to take pills every day. Is this something that you want to work towards?  Your doctor should be the judge of that.  Exercise is my daily pill, as well as my milk cow “every day ethic.”

My Music Pondering

I played with two other guitarists last night.  It was fun playing and singing contemporary Christian songs. I mingled with old friends. We had good food and fellowship. But it began and ended with music.  Music is so important to us humans.  I believe God made us that way on purpose.  From David to the Revelation to John, singing has been shown in Holy Scripture to be something God intends for us.  I have been told that I have large ears.  Good!  I love hearing the Word and hearing hymns and songs of all kinds. It is becoming my art of choice.  Thank you Jesus.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Friday 17 May 2019: Week 4 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Readings for Thurgood Marshall: Lawyer and Jurist, 1993

Psalm 34:15-22Amos 5:10-15,21-24Matthew 23:1-11

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.” (Psalm 34: 15)

I have a repeating saying that my congregation has grown used to.  It is that “God’s ears hears tears:” probably not correct grammar.  I explain to them that all crying is prayer.  Even if a person swears that he or she is an atheist, yet if they cry, they pray.  God has planted in us this signal that connects us to God should our countenance fall.  While the ears of God are open to the cry of people, God’s eyes are upon the righteous as the Psalmist says. I believe Thurgood Marshall was one of the righteous.  This day we remember Thurgood Marshall.  “Thurgood Marshall was a distinguished American jurist and the first African American to become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.” (Taken from The Great Cloud of Witnesses for May 17)

“At the age of 32, Marshall successfully argued his first case before the United States Supreme Court and went on to win 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the court. As a lawyer, his crowning achievement was arguing successfully for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1954…..”  “Marshall compiled a long and impressive record of decisions on civil rights, not only for African Americans, but also for women, Native Americans, and the incarcerated; he was a strong advocate for individual freedoms and human rights. He adamantly believed that capital punishment was unconstitutional and should be abolished.” (Taken from The Great Cloud of Witnesses for May 17)

Thurgood Marshall was one of the righteous as the Psalmist says because he loved people, all people, African Americans, women, Native Americans, and the incarcerated.  He was a good judge because of his love for all people. How about you and me?  Can we stretch our hearts out wide enough to embrace those different than ourselves?

My Fitness Pondering

Exercises done early yesterday, I went to my weekly Cursillo Group Breakfast.  So it was a rush through the exercises.  But I have that good feeling of fulfillment when I’m done.  I truly believe that the “will” to do daily exercise must be committed to in the mind first.  Once we have made up our minds to do something we will do it.  This understanding also works for things like quitting smoking.  We just have to decide that that’s what we want to do and do it. Be in charge of yourself.

My Music Pondering

I’m doing lots of playing now.  This everyday thing is really working. Tonight I play guitar in a Cursillo group.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.

Ponderings for Thursday 16 May 2019: Week 4 of Easter

My Faith Pondering

Readings for the Martyrs of the Sudans (16 May 1983)

Wisdom 3:1-9 Psalm 116:10-17 Hebrews 10:32-39 Matthew 24:9-14

“And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.”  (Matthew 24: 12)

On this day we remember the horror of the Martyrs of Sudan.

“On May 16, 1983, a small number of Episcopal and Roman Catholic clerical and lay leaders declared they “would not abandon God as they knew him.” Possibly over two million persons, most of them Christians, were then killed in a two-decade civil war, until a Comprehensive Peace Treaty was signed in January 2005. ( Taken from the Great Cloud of Witnesses for May 16)

Many people have been killed because they profess Jesus the Christ as their savior and redeemer. I am always hurt by the torture and killing of people solely because of how they believe in God, especially when the way they believe in God does no harm to others.  I am also struck by the death defying determination of clergy who live and work for the sake of the Gospel.   Would I continue in my ministry if my ministry was under threat of persecution and/or death?

We have it easy here in America.  I pray my faith is strong.  I don’t want it tested but I realize I stand on the shoulders of many Christian martyrs, men and women, who would not back down or renounce their Christianity even to save their own lives.  The decision to stand in the faith is not always a clear black and white choice.  Sometimes, like the evangelist says, little tolerances or intolerances grow and the increase of lawlessness eases us into more and more unloving ways. As this happens, our love grows cold. We must remain vigilant and inclusive.

My Fitness Pondering 

My new schedule of working out after posting my blog seems to be working.  However I know myself well enough to know that if I procrastinate till later in the day, I won’t workout at all. 

My Music Pondering

In the same way I have decided to just become music focused after working out for the remainder of my day, as much as I can with all that I have going on.  Also, while learning a new piece I like just playing the melody, single-handed first, and then going full on. This is exciting for me.

As I look to the next chapter in my life I really want it to be musical in some way.  I do not know exactly how that is going to play out but I am excited about it.

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to the people of the Creating Word and then let us “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”  John Thomas Frazier Sr.