Tag Archives: John the Baptist

ORNERY SHEEP

Ornery sheep just are. They think the grass is greener on the other side of the field. Maybe they have a buzzing in their ears that keeps them from hearing the special voice of their shepherd. Or maybe – they are just adventurous and want to see what is on the other side of the mountain.

But ornery sheep are pretty defenseless. They get sidetracked by tasty grass or a lazy afternoon nap or caught between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes, those ornery sheep just miss the danger clues that a shepherd could have given them.

I would imagine that shepherds get pretty frustrated at times with their ornery little critters, and until that ornery one figures out the strange un-like sheep voice that calls them by name, life is probably pretty complicated. No matter how you look at it, loving a group of orneriness – whether sheep or humans or angelic beings – sometimes just takes superhuman love and maybe a voice that can pierce the clamor of the chaotic darkness by calling the name of the ornery one.

There came a day when Yeshua, the carpenter, cleaned his tools, talked to his siblings, hugged his mother and walked out the door in search of some ornery sheep. Since he had grown in stature and wisdom (Lk 2), he knew the voices of his lost sheep, and he knew the voice of His Father’s love and grace.

Wearing but the clothes he needed, he began a journey to rescue the orneriest of sheep. Yeshua knew the Father as surely as he knew himself. He knew that any lamb to be sacrificed needed to be declared pure and without blemish. A pure priest of Aaron in both maternal and paternal line, A priest uncorrupted by the politics of the Sanhedrin. A priest calling in the wilderness. A priest who was calling, listening, and watching for the “one to come after…” him.

“It happened that when he had baptized all the people, he baptized Yeshua also, and as he prayed, the heavens were opened. And The Spirit of Holiness was descending upon him in the form of a body of a dove, and there was a voice from Heaven, which said, “You are My Son, The Beloved, in whom I am delighted.”~Lk 3:21-22

G-d is faithful to all the feasts and covenants that He made with His people. Yeshua held them in his heart as well. When I look at all the ties between Passover and Easter, I feel deeply that there are many more things that happened like that in Yeshua’s journey, so that those with eyes to see and ears to hear would recognize the voice of the shepherd calling out.

When I imagine it in my head, I like to think that the man Yeshua chose to walk away from his earthly life around the time of the Jewish Festival of Lights – just because he would be the Light in that – clamor of chaotic darkness. The man Yeshua walked into the Jordan River to be sanctified by a priest as the perfect, unblemished lamb of G-d, blessed by his heavenly father’s voice and walked out to become Rabbi Yeshua.

A little over three years later, that same lamb – sanctified as pure and unblemished – would be condemned by the head priest as in accordance with the law as the Passover lamb. Led to slaughter for the redemption of all the sins of the ornery sheep no matter who they were – what they had done – or where they lived. The Lamb was sacrificed for all ornery sheep and became the Christus.

Ornery sheep are still out there. There is one sitting in a chair tonight and typing a blog. The shepherd is still calling. He calls me by name and the tears flow once again. Hopefully, ornery sheep everywhere will recognize His voice and run – run as fast as they can to the gate that only He can open. [google images]

PACZKIS

Ok – here it is – another “Fat Tuesday” – another Mardi Gras – another Shrove Tuesday – and I have yet to find Paczkis in NC. Oh – I could travel 50 miles and find some, but that isn’t really my idea of fun. Surely somewhere within a smaller circle of miles there must be a Polish baker who understands my pain. My former principal certainly doesn’t. She sent me a taunting text last night, and I cried myself to sleep…dreaming of those gut-busting, delicious doughnuts.

So instead – I went and picked up the Grandson, spread my metaphorical mantle over the both of us and rejoiced in his hugs and curious nature. (I’m not quite sure what I will do when he decides to be too big to hug on Grandma all the time. His sister is almost there and it is not easy on the Grandma – sigh)

I tend to think this was a much better way to spend “Fat Tuesday” since ingesting multiple varieties of ol’ Paczkis (can’t say that word anyway) would lead to me having to find a much larger mantle to cover the expanding gut. Soooo – as he curled into my lap (while eating mac ‘n cheese), we read a Pete the Cat book AND solved the major problem of all board games. We figured out that if one dice does not give you the number you want in a board game, there is another cube hidden deep in a drawer that may just be the lucky one you need.

“Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.”~1 Kg 19:19-20

Today, I was reading about the passing of mantles in the Bible world. A mantle was more than just a physical covering that enfolded the prophet or rabbi’s shoulders. It was the spiritual calling, the anointing of God’s blessing and covering presence upon that individual for the Ivrim (Hebrews) and later for the world.

Moshe, as he ascended the mountain for the last time, laid his hands and his mantle upon Joshua. When Elijah dropped his mantle to the ground as the chariot of fire came and whisked him away to heaven, his disciple, Elisha, reached down and picked it up, The spirit of Elijah – the spirit of Elohim came upon him. Each leader – each prophet – each rabbi – passed on his mantle.

[Elisha] took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”~2 Kg 2:14

When Yeshua entered into the Jordan to be baptized, John passed the mantle just as his ancestors had done. And just as before, the Spirit of the Father descended and covered the man who had chosen to pick it up and carry it forward. But this is where it changes. The mantle Rabbi Yeshua carried could never be carried by just one man ever again. Instead, when He laid down His mantle, the Holy Spirit of God enveloped all who choose to pick up the mantle. We celebrate this day by calling it Pentecost, but in truth, whenever one God’s children chooses to pick up the mantle, to be born-again, the Spirit of God is present as well.

“And during the arriving of the day of Pentecost, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound like a violent rushing wind came out of heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them dividing tongues as of fire and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit was giving to them to utter forth.”~Acts 2:1-4

“Shrove Tuesday” – “Fat Tuesday” – Mardi Gras – however you want to refer to it – was all about spreading my own cozy mantle. Spreading the mantle instead of the girth of my belly. I guess, I’m not ready to lay down my mantle yet. He keeps tell me there are some more rabbi days left in me and most of the time – I tend to believe Him. I just wish he would be a clearer on the specifics of it all. Looking at the backside of a tapestry is a puzzle my brain doesn’t always decipher well.

In any case, day-by-day, I’m definitely spreading my own mantle out over the shoulders of those around me – physically and metaphorically. FB, blogs and Goggle docs keep me writing, editing and teaching in more ways than the traditional classroom allows, and I am enjoying it. I’m also enjoying cuddling under my mantle with the Grands – even techno cuddling via FB with my MI Grands. The blessings of His Mantle never fails.

Just a “Water” Type of Day

“Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children,
Wade in the water
God’s a-going to trouble the water”

What a way to wake up in the morning.  “Wade in the Water” flowing through my mind and into my toes.  Just makes me want to go to the beach. If I was richer than Midas, I would have my husband build me a “Stanley K” house on the ocean. A house where the music of the wind and waves would lull me to sleep every night (I don’t think I would ever watch TV again). The best part would be walking on the beach with the water just covering my feet – during the day – the night… Can you tell I’m day dreaming? In fact – whenever we do go to the ocean – that is the best part of the trip. Well – I do like to walk out even further when the waves are crashing, and the wind is whipping at my face. Ooooo – and when it is stormy, I am fascinated by the power that makes anything I do look puny and helpless.Brown-Pelicans-Holden-Beach-NC

Sometimes it is good to feel that way. It makes you wonder at everything around you from the tiniest piece of sand to the massive clouds drifting over your head. In the old days, I could just plop on the sand and enjoy. Now a days, I have to think twice about that since getting up is not quiet as easy as it used to be…sigh…but I am working on it. Physical therapy, stretches and more exercise may bring plopping back down in the sand reality once more.

“When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.” Joshua 3:8b

Joshua is one of my favorite books in the Bible (which is a story for another day because today seems to be a water issue). While the Grands jordan01played in the water this afternoon, I wished for the umpteenth hundred time that I could reach my feet over the side of the pool and just dangle my feet in it. However, it’s just not that kind of pool. Next – my Bible readings followed Moses and the Israelites as they crossed the sea on dry ground. Old story and yet, like always, sucks me right into the miracle. Finally, my devotional book led me to Joshua’s crossing of the Jordan another miracle that wraps around my mind. do you see what I mean about this water thing?red sea

“…I am the LORD, who heals you.” Ex 15:26b

By this stage of my life, I have figured out that there is a reason why Our Father brings things together in a certain way. I’m sure that I am only picking up on a tenth of what I’m supposed to be figuring out when He does this, but I’m getting better. Water in Jewish tradition often refers to purification or repristination.(Re`pris`ti`na´tion. n. 1. Restoration to an original state; renewal of purity). So it made me wonder – what am I supposed to be figuring out about the two times the Israelites crossed two bodies of water? Guess what – I’m still wondering, but at least – I have figured out I’m supposed to be wondering.

“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Lk 7:22-23

The Jewish people walked through water twice before getting to the promise land. John the Baptist baptized many, and then baptized Jesus with water before He began His ministry. My mind continues to turn these things around in my head. It is still hard for me to be “still” – to listen to the faint words of my Father’s teachings. Someday, I may become a wise woman – for now – I’m just struggling through each day. Trying to make my body stronger with physical therapy, a much better diet and a daily walk along the beach where I can get my feet wet in the ocean of His WORD.

Southern Ocean