Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Easter, 2013


There are no daffodils, lilacs or tulips here in south Texas in the spring. But the season of new life cannot come without showing off its beauty. So the huisache trees are covered with tiny, lacy yellow flowers, the retama trees are all decked out in a new green hue, and buds are beginning to form on the prickly pear cactus. Spring is here!

The spring showers that bring May flowers in the mid-West are several years overdue here in south Texas. Much of the vegetation is parched, brittle and a dismal brown color. Farmers and ranchers of the area are very worried about their future. Hay is scarce and cattle herds are being sold off. Drought conditions in both south Texas and north Mexico are putting some strain on the international agreement regulating the use of the water of the Rio Grande. But spring comes anyway, as it has since the beginning of time. The renewal of nature always brings us hope that good lies ahead for us and for our world.

We continue to enjoy spending our winters in south Texas, about 15 miles north of the Rio Grande. We keep busy with a variety of activities which we enjoy: involvement in a little United Methodist Church nearby, taking dance lessons, coordinating a weekly bicycle ride to some place of interest or beauty in the area, weekly Bible study, various gatherings with friends both inside and outside of our park. Bruce also teaches a weekly dance class here at the park and coordinates a blood donation drive in the park every 3 months.

He also serves as liaison with the staff of a nearby school located in a very poor community just a few miles north of us. That has involved a "Christmas gifting" project for the past several years. A friend, who is one of the administrators at the school, estimates that more than 75% of their students are "economically deprived." The school provides breakfast, lunch and a take-home bag snack for each student. But, during school vacation breaks, many of their families cannot afford to feed all their children themselves. So this year we’ve added a food drive for spring break week.

Our summers we spend traveling in the mid-West visiting friends, family members, and seeing some of the other beauties of the U.S. We don’t travel fast and we don’t travel far in a day’s time but we really enjoy the experiences we have and the sights we see along the way.

God has blessed us with good health, and we do our part in keeping it that way! We continue our daily exercise routines, and wise eating habits. Nevertheless, doctor and dentist appointments seem to be taking over more of our schedule. We have not any major health problems, just nuisances. Floaters in an eye, an abcessed wisdom tooth, a painful corn, soaring blood sugars, and other realities of aging are what add medical professionals to our social calendar.

We are grateful for your friendship through the years. We pray that this season of new life will infect you with hope that lifts you up, joy that cushions the bumps along life’s road, and faith that in Jesus Christ God’s love is stronger than death!
Easter Greetings,
Bruce and MarySue


Incarnate God,

Good Friday we understand:
-the prison of unanswered prayer
-the abandonment of sleepy friends
- power politics and mob rule
- military callousness
- the treachery of self-interest
- clouds of doubt and storms of fear
- earthquakes of despair
- the death of innocence.
Yes, Creator God, in our own lives
we understand Good Friday.

But, God of Surprises,
Easter makes no sense at all:
- life springing from death
- a stone seal broken silently
- hope bursting out of a tomb
- women with spices and men behind locked doors
- a Risen One who calls his friends by name
- the powerful helpless and the helpless powerful
- a disappearing body and a visible Spirit
- God Incarnate recognized in the breaking of bread.
No, Mysterious God, we cannot comprehend Easter.
Grant us Your grace to believe what we cannot understand.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Daylight Savings Crime

(This blog was written five years ago on the occasion of  the "spring forward" of daylight savings time.  I repeat it because I feel the same today!)

I don’t like daylight savings time! The very audacity of human beings stealing an hour out of a day at a time of their choosing is shocking to me. Who do we think we are, trying to re-arrange the schedule of time established by the Creator in the beginning?

 Some conservative Christian groups get very upset when the "theory of evolution" is mentioned. Where are they – and their protests – when engulfed by the fact of daylight savings time? I’ve not yet seen any public demonstrations against this subtle but present threat to the time schedules to which we all are so addicted! It’s downright un-American, I tell you!

 I have no doubt that Daylight Savings Time is the result of a powerful but silent conspiracy by some secret chronological enemy of our "American way of life." What else but the threat of national destruction could motivate our entire nation to change its clocks, not once, but twice each year?

 Another demoralizing technique of this "daylight savings time conspiracy" is forcing all of us to get out of bed in the dark. It takes my body months to make that adjustment and, by the time I’m finally in sync with the clock, it’s time to go back on God’s time again!

Arising before morning light seems to me to be highly disrespectful of the Sun, our Great and Gracious Giver of Daylight. For years, I’ve resisted giving offense to the sun by not getting out of bed before it rises. Then, every March, daylight savings time requires it! I often wonder what great disasters lie ahead for humankind if the sun ever tires of our annual disrespect and refuses to shine. Eternal darkness? Global warming? Perpetual political in-fighting? It sends chills up my back even when the temperature is in the 90's!

Some have argued that daylight savings time makes it safer for the children who have to walk home after school. Well, what about their walk to school in the morning in the darkness? If they can carry a flashlight one way, why can’t they carry one the other way?

 Other people defend daylight savings time by saying how much they enjoy the long, sunlit summer evenings. Perhaps, but those who make backyard grills, leisure equipment, gas stations and oil companies are the ones who really benefit from this re-arrangement of time! Whatever its recreational, political or economic benefits, I consider Daylight Savings Time an unnecessary nuisance – or worse. And I don’t like it!

17Mar2008 - mshr