“What Can I Do?”


Mediation for November 16, 2014, the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)

Judges 4: 1 – 7; 1 Thessalonians 5: 1 – 11; Matthew 25: 14 – 30

I started this, then hit a “road block”, then got started again. I don’t know how good this one is.

A colleague and friend, in preparing her sermon for today, asked a very simple question, “What would you do if you only had one talent?”

Had a chance to think about what you were asking and came up with my own question, “What can I do?”

Do we do as the one individual in today’s Gospel reading did, take it and hide it away? Or is there some way that we can do something with what we have?

When I looked at the Old Testament reading for today, I saw that Deborah made one choice. Her single talent was to make the right choices; that’s why she was a judge.

Paul’s words to the Thessalonians speak of not knowing when Christ was coming back and that we probably shouldn’t be preoccupied with that notion but focus on what it is that we can do right now.

Each person has at least one talent; sometimes they know what it is, often times they do not know. But there are others whose primary talent is finding others. And that means that there isn’t a problem that cannot be solved.

But it also means that there comes a moment when our preconceived notions about time and space have to be cast aside. If we live in the present world, we will see things in only one sense. What was that George Bernard Shaw quote that Robert Kennedy so often used when he campaigned for President in 1968, “You see things; and say ‘why?’ But I dream of things that never were and say ‘why not?’”

That is where we are. We as a people are faced with many challenges and sometimes we think that we are unable to do anything. But we have been given the opportunity through Christ to see new ways to solve those problems. It changes the question from “what can I do?” to “when do we start?”

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My Grandfather’s Diary entry for this day, 11 November 1918


As noted, this is something I have posted before. Not too many people are going to pay attention to the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month today and that’s a shame. As George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (“Reason in Common Sense”, p. 284, volume 1 of The Life of Reason) When you see how the victors treated the losers at Versailles, you begin to understand why there was a second world war (when the first was supposed to be the war to end all wars) and why we have the conflicts in the Middle East even today.

Thoughts From The Heart On The Left

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“Guy Fawkes Day”


This is a combination of things that I posted on my Facebook page this morning.

There is a certain irony in this day being the day after the 2014 election. It happens to be the anniversary of Richard Nixon’s election at President in 1968. And it is also Guy Fawkes Day! Any English historians wish to comment on that? 🙂

Okay, we woke up to the same world this morning as before. The Sun is coming up in the east (we need only worry if it comes up in the west but that means you did something really awful or interesting the night before).

Unfortunately, the rules for politics remain the same as well. That means that seniority rules and all the newcomers to political organizations will have to wait their turn. Or they will cause such a problem that it will make people even more disgusted with the system. The end result will be more and more people turning away, leaving the system to those on the extreme who will change the world to fit their view.

Some may say that it is too late, that the world is on a path of destruction. But I don’t think so. First, we have been saying that for how many years now and it hasn’t happened. Second, all change comes from the bottom, not the top. Those who think that they can change the world from the top will quickly find that it doesn’t happen that way. True change comes from those individuals who work local, with their friends, their neighbors, and the people they meet on the street. True change comes when you educate people, not when you tell people what to do or think.

We need a political system but we are reminded that politics is derived (I think) from the same root that gives us people (something Pete Seeger once said). So, the questions becomes, what are you going to do today that will make the world better tomorrow?

One final thought, I am sure that there were some in Israel two thousand years ago who complained about the system and that fact that the political/religious structure ignored them and blocked them out. But there was someone from Nazareth (and we all know that nothing good comes from Nazareth) who showed that there was a way to the truth and to the life. The political/religious establishment sought to silence Him but they failed and the world became a better place.

Change comes when you meet and work with all the people. The groundwork has been laid; now all we have to do is build on it.

Peace this day and Peace tomorrow.

“Thoughts On A Sunday Morning”


Some quick thoughts on this Sunday morning, 2 November 2014.

First, please remember that Tuesday, November 4th, is Election Day. There is no more important election than this one but that statement is true for every election. When you forget to vote, two things happen: 1) You lose the right to complain about how things are taking place and 2) You allow someone else to tell you how to think and talk.

Right now, my fear is that too many people no longer trust the political system and will not vote. This will give those who seek to manipulate the system for their own benefit more leeway to do just that. And it is becoming more and more evident that certain groups do not want people to vote because they fear the expression of the free voice. These special interest groups want to turn the clock back, not one hour, but 200 years, to a time when only certain individuals could vote.

I happened to watch a program on the democracy that was created in Athens some 2000+ years ago. Granted, the power to vote and govern was limited but if you were in that group that had the power you were expected to vote and take part in the governmental process. What we have done over these past 2000 years has redefined who is a part of that process. And this has caused those who considered themselves “elite” to seek changes that save their position at our expenses. Democracy was never meant to be that way and the only way that it will revert to a select group of individuals controlling our lives is if we let them. So in the end, participate in what I have always called the single greatest act of political protest known to mankind, VOTE!

I hope you remembered to “fall back” this morning. What I needed to do was remember which clocks I needed to set manually (five of them) and which did so automatically. Now, if I could get the coffee maker to put in the coffee and add the water automatically, I would be set.

I normally don’t do this but in your prayers this morning, left up the United Methodist Church. There are those who would sacrifice the denomination for the law and who place the value of the law over the value of a human soul. I don’t see this as a conservative/liberal/progressive issue but as one that falls within the meaning of the Gospel. But I do think that those who espouse the viewpoint that the law supersedes grace are locked into a mind-set that is out-dated and incomplete.

Also, as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, pray for the families of this country. As the gap between rich and poor increases and many of the rich seem bent on keeping it all for themselves, we need to remember that many individuals and families do not have the resources to survive. The Gospel message, for me anyway, has always been about helping individuals meet their needs, be it housing, medical care, or food. As we begin looking to the ends of the next two months, pray that all will find the resources needed and that all will give so that all receive.

And finally, a quick thanks to those who have visited this blog over the past three months. There has been a gradual increase in readership and it suggests that the projected group of the blog is on track.