We have a nice group at the women's study, though many are still traveling. It's been a long time since we've been together so it's good to catch up.
The evening study is just as good. On the way, we check out a friend's place. Sometimes it's good to have alternatives for meeting.
The sky is beautiful overhead.
We pass the parliament building in the center of town. It's a beautiful landmark.
The tracery of branches against the sky is a gift of art for anyone who looks up.
Our final Ramadan guests leave today. The dog we have been dog-sitting since last Saturday enjoys a final tummy rub.
In a week, the dog has learned to come when called by name or whistle. It sits as soon as it reaches me. (Yup, it gets a treat.) It learns to walk beside or behind us rather than pulling, sitting when we stop. And it stops barking at everything.
Gypsy teaches it to bark at strangers and to bring a leaf to us when it's happy to see us. It's eating from Gypsy's dish (though still growling when G eats from hers.) It seems to be thriving, here until next Monday night when the owners get home from a conference.
Gypsy resents the fact that the little pooch is allowed in the house and he is outdoors. He sneaks in as far as he dares.
One night, there seems to be an odd shape on the window beside the entry. When I turn on the light, there's a smooth green 4" frog sticking to the glass. It hops along the sill as I pull the drapes shut.
It's a long and wonderful day. I lead the service and enjoy the worship at the international church. W teaches one of his theology classes. After, we chat with a few people and invite them over tonight for a farewell potluck for friends who are moving to Australia.
Then we join a birthday lunch for Scott at Wild Grass. It's great to connect with friends old and new.
There's a scorpion-like green spider on the rim of someone's beer bottle. The client doesn't chase it away but lets it roam.
One of Scott's gifts is a beautiful painting on coconut fiber from Dr H.
I've never seen some of the white flowers blooming in the yard - I can only imagine the pretty shapes at night.
I'm back at home before 2. I put my handbag on the counter on the kitchen and get to work. It's a potluck but we have no idea how many guests will show up. We've had a lot of messages, "Busy." "Working tonight." "Other appointments already." And so on. Who knows. Get cooking!
I'm trying several new recipes today. Some of the guests are gluten-free. The beans soaked overnight and the ingredients are ready. But it takes all afternoon to prepare: cheese balls, vegan chili, black bean soup, a fried-watermelon (fake tuna) salad, and bread. And then there's setup - and the first guest is here.
People start coming at 4:30 and keep arriving until 8. The conversation is lively, the food they bring adds delicious variety, and we have a wonderful time.
Hendy brings a cake to celebrate the long friendships.
W and I agree: the day was totally worthwhile. Hmmm. Maybe I'm not young enough to do this many days in a row, though.
My first meeting is online at 7, the second is on the porch at 9:30, and the final one is a lunch meeting at 11:30.
Lucky Ibu S: we have left dishes in the sink - we did several loads yesterday and gave up at 10 last night.
The group is reading Luke 20 together. Jesus tells the story of the tenants of a vineyard who refuse to give the owner his due share and abuse his collectors. The religious leaders, guarding "their" turf again God (who owns everything), are livid - they understand that the story is about them.
There are lots of takeaways but this is mine: so many of us think God is circling around us. We are the center of our own existence. God is a presence nearby, in our orbit. When we get an answer to a prayer, we are happy and call him good. When we are abused by others' free choices or experience harm, we think he is far away or a bad god. (Not that he is the enemy of our souls who harms us, but we don't think of that.)
Yet, through the ongoing study of scriptures, I watch some of us coming into a better balance and truth. We are accepting that God is our center and everything we do must revolve around him. He is a God who is near and not far away - closer than we can imagine. He promises to live in us if we will accept his terms of engagement, life through the one-and-only, "God with us."
*He (David) said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. 2 Samuel 22:2-4 NIV
*O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 107:1
*Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. Daniel 2:20
*Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Zechariah 2:10
*John the Baptist answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven.” John 3:27
*God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 1 John 4:9
Moravian Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for loving us, for redeeming us and for blessing us. May we respond with faith, love and hope. Give us courage to accept all your gifts—including wisdom and power—with humility.
Dearest Lord, thank you for coming into our hearts to live with us today—and always! May our faces be illuminated with your glory. Jesus, you make us shine with love for others. Amen.