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Connected (May 31, 2015)

Sermons - Sun, 06/07/2015 - 19:47

Shoot for the Sky (May 24, 2015)

Sermons - Sun, 05/24/2015 - 22:23

Eternally Grateful

Father Rob's Blog - Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:07

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"Would you like me to take your picture?" I asked the young woman.  She was taking a picture of her friend, and I thought maybe she'd like a picture of the two of them together.  "No," she replied, "We just wanted a picture of the donuts.  We waited an hour for them!"

They had arrived at the donut store--Duck Donuts, as I trust you have gathered--at 6AM...

She went on.  "Some guy ordered 16 dozen."

"Uh, that would be me..."  I admitted sheepishly.  And then  quickly added, "But I did order them a week ago." 

"Oh," she said.  "So you waited a week for them?  I guess an hour wasn't so bad!"    We laughed.

And the donuts?  Holy cow--they were every bit as good as everyone says.  Maybe better even.  Especially the ones with maple icing and bacon.

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But you know what was even better? Being  able to do something nice for the folks at St. Matt's who do so much for  others.    For each and every one of the folks I am privileged to serve, I will be eternally grateful.

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A Bust With A Nice Payoff

Father Rob's Blog - Tue, 05/12/2015 - 11:11

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"Blue lining" is a term for finding unnamed, unexplored steams that are basically just a blue line on a topographic map.  It takes a lot of research, but the rewards are worth it.  They just don't always include finding fish.

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I recently hike about three mile pretty much straight down only to find a shallow stream that quickly went underground.  Dang--not what I was looking for.   All that was let to do now was the brutal three mile hike that was pretty much straight up.  Turned out, though, that it was worth it. I saw a scarlet tanager just as I reached the top.

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There were also lots of interesting--and beautiful--wild flowers.  And lots of solitude, always a plus in my book.  After climbing back out, there was still time to hit another stream close by.  It had a few fish.

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Getting It (May 10, 2015)

Sermons - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 01:28

What Not to Do

Father Rob's Blog - Thu, 05/07/2015 - 01:10

At church this evening I was walking down a hall and heard voices of couple young ladies in the ladies.  I just assumed it was a couple of our youth group members, and it sounded like they were approaching the door.  So I hid around the corner and figured I'd play a little joke and jump out at them.

They came out the door and around the corner.

I jumped out.

They threw up their arms, screamed, and said "ACK!!!!"

But it was not teenagers from the youth group.  They were not members of the church at all, but from an Narcotics Anonymous meeting in a room in another building.  This was bad.  Very bad.  And though I don't embarrass easily, I was quite embarrassed.    Beet red, I think.  Mortified.

As quickly as possible I began apologizing profusely, explaining I was the pastor of the church, I thought they were teenagers in our youth group, and thought I'd play a little practical joke.  They were both very gracious and laughed.  One even said (when she caught her breath), "Oh, I do things like that all the time."

I was still mortified.

Get Up and Go

Sermons - Wed, 05/06/2015 - 23:26

The Incredible Mr. Fox

Father Rob's Blog - Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:15

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With my newly resurrected camera, pictures are again possible.  Like this beautiful red fox in a classic pointing pose.

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I have no idea what he is digging. for; earthworms, maybe?

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Eventually he had enough, trotting back into the woods.

Back from the Dead

Father Rob's Blog - Sat, 05/02/2015 - 11:34

Sunrise

Crossing a stream earlier this spring, I heard a splash right behind me.  Then I saw it:  down under the water, bumping along the bottom in the current, was my good camera.  It had fallen out of my back pack.  And no, it is not waterproof.

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The camera spent the next three weeks in a sealed Tupperware container of rice.  Occasionally I'd pull it out, but you could still see water deep inside the lens structure.  Looking through the viewfinder, all one could see was a grey cloud.

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But then, one day, the cloud was gone.  And in its place were all the glorious colors of a new sunrise.

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Focus returned.

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Unaffected, the cat simply said, "Will  you put that camera down already and FEED ME!"

Youth Sunday (April 19, 2015)

Sermons - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 00:20

A Bigger Reality

Sermons - Sun, 04/12/2015 - 21:02

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Sermons - Sun, 04/05/2015 - 22:38

How Rude!

Father Rob's Blog - Sat, 03/28/2015 - 12:27

I had an official function at a house last night.   I knocked on the door of the house, where I was greeted by a man I didn't recognize.  I figured he was a guest, and waited for him to ask me in.  Instead, he took his time putting a coat on the small child in front of him.  "How rude, " I thought.  "Doesn't he see I only have a suit on when it's so cold outside?  How impolite not to ask me in."   But I stood there and smiled while he finished dressing the child, who then went outside to play.

We looked at each, both smiling awkward smiles.  Still he didn't ask me in.  "Enough of this," I thought.  I opened the door and squeezed past him (I think our chests just about touched as I did so) to step inside.  There was only a woman there, who looked to be his wife.  No other guests. 

Now I had been to this house before, so this was rather confusing.  "Is Sally here?" I asked.

"Sally?"  the man said, clearly just a confused as I was, and perhaps a bit alarmed.

"Yes,"  I said.  "Sally.  She lives here.  I have a service to do in just a couple minutes.  Will you please tell Sally I'm here?"

"There's no Sally here,"  he said.  "We live here."  

I felt like I was in the twilight zone.  And then it dawned on me, slowly from somewhere in the back of my mind.  Sally had moved.  I had just barged into someone's house.

Mortified, I apologized profusely.  Though I did not feel comfortable laughing at my mistake, I was glad they did.  It turns out they were not rude at all, but exceptionally gracious. 

Fading Away?

Father Rob's Blog - Fri, 03/27/2015 - 11:52

As Christianity has lost its influence, days like Good Friday have faded from our cultural consciousness. For most people, April 3, 2015, will be a day like most other days. We will go to work, exercise, eat and drink, read and write emails, give and receive constant input from our mobile device, and so on. But this is quite a recent development in western culture in general and in Christian practice in particular.

Once, for instance, most Christians regarded Good Friday as a “Fast Day”.   This practice is now left largely to the Roman Catholics, and the rest of us have little familiarity with fasting at all.     Fasting on Good Friday generally meant that  those who were able  refrained from food from sunrise to sunset. Another way of fasting is to eat only one full meal and two smaller meals being (say, an apple or an orange) with no food consumed in between.  

Good Friday was also known as a “Day of Special Devotion"  (and still is in some churches.)  The Book of Common Prayer, for instance, say this means that it is to be “observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial.” So it may be that whatever we decide to do about food, we choose to abstain from other comforts such as email or our cell phones/computers.

Attending church was also an essential part of devout observance.   It used to be that from noon until 3pm, everything closed. This was the time when Jesus hung on the cross. Many would spend this time in church,  using this time to pray, meditate, and reflect.  

Whatever we do on this day, the idea is that we really do think deeply about the life and death of Jesus. We ponder the things he said and did. We contemplate our sins, the fact that God loves us anyhow, and what it means  to be redeemed from them. We consider what we are really saying when we say Jesus gave his life for the world, and what our part is in making what is wrong in the world right.

For those of us who observe these days, I pray that we might approach Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter in such way that they give us a greater appreciation of God’s love for us, and that they so inspire us to show greater love and appreciation to the people and world around us.

Family Time

Father Rob's Blog - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 12:51

Bbs

Several summers ago, a skunk family made its summer home under our deck. There were six babies, all of them cute as can be. People ask us if it was hard living with a family of skunks. Yes. It was hard not to pick up the little fluff-balls or at least try and pet them.

One morning the skunks remained active later than usual.  Linda, my daughters, and I sat on the grass and watched the skunks shuffling and snuffling as they searched for food. Just like kittens or puppies, they played and fought and romped and stomped and sniffed and snipped at each other. For our part, we just laughed and laughed and laughed. Two families together having a great time.

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Eventually  most the skunks retreated back under the deck. The runt of the litter, however, took that as an opportunity to feed more freely now that his pushy ol' big brothers and sisters were no longer present. He ventured further and further out into the yard.

Skunks have very bad eyes, so it wasn't until he was just inches in front of us that he saw us (and Christine in particular). He was shocked! He arched his back like a witch's cat, stood up as straight and tall as he could, tail erect. He stomped menacingly, coming even closer.

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We all tried not to laugh as we didn't want to surprise him further. To this point his tail was still turned away from us, so we weren't worried--but we didn't want that to change. He stomped again, just to make his point, and then took several steps backward. He repeated this action, wanting so badly to look fierce and intimidating but somehow only managing to look all the more adorable in the process.

"Awwww. Please can I pet him?" one of my daughters said. Fortunately, at that point he too disappeared under the deck.

Sunshine on My... Feathers?

Father Rob's Blog - Fri, 03/06/2015 - 13:51

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A good breakfast is important on a cold day.

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There's quite a selection for even the most discerning diners.

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The guests arrive.

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It's always nice when a friend can join you.

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You can even get breakfast to go.

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Maybe my favorite picture in the series.  It's hard to catch them taking off.

Have peanut, will travel.

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