Prodigal Son ….. 4th Sunday of Lent 2019


Here are some pictures of pre-party fun…..tea party, fort built by the older grandkids, breakfast with Sam giving a pirate face, apricot blossoms, Claire wanting to ride the stick horse.

“Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me’….After a few days, the younger son collected all his belonging and set off to a distant country.” Luke 15

Freedom. The younger son wanted his freedom. Everyone knows the story of the Prodigal Son. Today, as I ponder this story, I’m wondering why he wanted his freedom. Was he lazy and wanted to spend money on worthless, selfish pleasures? Why didn’t he invest his money and balance his time with creating money so he’d have more money to spend on worthless, selfish pleasures? Instead, he spent his inheritance money, his father’s money, until it was gone. Did this younger son want his freedom because he was tired of following directions from his older brother and father? Maybe he wanted to follow his own advisement, have his own opinions, instead of following rules and expectations of other people. Did he not feel respected for his position, the younger son? Why did this boy want to run away? Why did he desire freedom?

This story of the prodigal son was the gospel reading for the 4th Sunday of Lent. This day also followed a Saturday party for my Dad’s 94th birthday. During our pre-gathering fun, there were some political discussions about our Oregon legislative bills for immunization (HB 3063), cap and trade (HB 3250), a rent control bill (HB 2629), pay increases for our legislators (SB 959), as well as discussions about federal issues of border wall, gun control and other hot topic issues. (When I looked on the internet for the senate and house bill numbers being discussed in Salem, I was surprised and shocked at the amount of bills our legislators are going to discuss. They are looking at over 1500 bills. Oh My Goodness.) As I ponder these bills supervising our education, transportation, medical issues, and energy, I wonder how these men and women can declare where I spend my money and dictate my actions. Some of this stuff sounds almost communistic. I’m realizing my independent spirit rebels when I’m being dictated to. Is this what happened to the younger son? I want to choose my boss. Governor Brown was only elected by six counties out of the 36 counties in our state whereas, Baker County wasn’t one of them. Part of me wants to say “she’s not my governor, I didn’t vote for her.” Most of these bills are being presented by legislators that don’t live in Eastern Oregon and at this moment, I don’t want them as my boss. Maybe the younger son was thinking these same thoughts.

In this Prodigal son story, life in the distant country didn’t work out for this younger son. AND as you well know, Jesus’ reason for telling this story was to enforce the truth of God’s love and mercy toward all of us. He wasn’t addressing rebellion, love of money, or loose living. Jesus wanted us to know the fact that God loves us and will forgive us if we only return to him.

OK my lord, my boss, my king, my judge, my savior, my helper, my friend, I need to always seek the truth of your words and not jump into ponderings that pull me away from your lessons of life. I need to think about your words of “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Help me write letters to my elected leaders that will be taken seriously. Protect us from laws like the pharisees and scribes that burden us. AND please keep me focused on “treating my neighbor as myself” when I’m in any leadership roles.


Posted in current events, Lent, love of God, news, pictures, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Matthew 21:23 to end of chapter

 Tom’s sermon

I can’t seem to enter Tom’s sermon as I have in the past. You’ll have to click on it to watch.

Then when I look at my page, it is posted twice…well really three times if you click on the pink words. I’m at a loss as to how to fix this.


Posted in Tom's sermons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Matthew 21: 1-11

I very much enjoyed today’s sermon. If you would like to listen, but not interested in our prelude discussion, scoot past the first 5 minutes of this clip and go right to Tom’s comments about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This story is reported in all four gospels. It’s interesting to read and compare.

One time years ago, Bible Bill mentioned that the custom of laying branches in the road before royalty was to cover the mud and animal droppings that the road always possessed. I imagine it also helped the smell just a bit. Can you imagine the smell of Jerusalem when Jesus entered? If you think a cattle lot and an outhouse smell bad, I’m sure any large city in the year 30 would smell similar. I can see why Jesus spent time on the Mount of Olives where the smell would probably be better. Tom doesn’t mention anything about smells. Enjoy his words about donkeys and children.

Posted in Tom's sermons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fig trees, deserts, and living waters…the 3rd Sunday of Lent, 2019


Jeremiah 17:5-10

“Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings,…….He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season,…..Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,…..He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream; It fears not the heat when it comes…..I the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways….”

I read these words of wisdom from Jeremiah 17 while I was sitting on my sister’s couch in Las Vegas the middle of February. While I was there, we walked a God made desert canyon and then that evening, we walked into a man made casino with a river, water fall, and battery operated animals with moving heads. These words from Jeremiah seemed so appropriate since I experienced the desert and water on the same day. We left my dad in Vegas to visit my sister and brother-in-law for over a month, then the day before he arrives home, the first Daily Reading were these same words from Jeremiah. Isn’t that interesting timing? What wisdom am I to ponder with these readings?

Since today’s 3rd Sunday of Lent reading was Jesus’ parable about the fig tree that didn’t produce fruit, maybe I’m to be pondering the fruit from my life. In the parable, the master wanted to cut the fig tree down, but the gardener says: “Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.” How do I accept the master gardener’s work in my life? Do I accept His forgiveness for past errors? Do I listen for the Holy Spirit’s wind and bend to His breath?

Oh my Lord, who alone can probe the mind and test the heart, help me always seek the refreshment of your waters. AND enlighten our grandchildren to understand this wisdom of trusting you.

Posted in Christian Living, Lent, trust, Uncategorized, walking | Leave a comment

Magic of Three …. A St. Patrick pondering

B808A043-D961-4C60-A802-F4BF7BC7FF99“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” Loren Eiseley

I’ve often thought the number three was magical. I told my writing students they needed to use at least three reasons to explain their position. I called this the magic of threes. We looked for three examples in books by other authors. We practiced writing sentences using three descriptions. We tried to use three of our five senses to explain the visual of a situation. I even today try to use the magic of three in my writing.

Here’s more examples of three. How about a three legged stool? It is well balanced and can I dare say, more interesting than a four legged chair? Then of course there is the saying, “third time’s a charm”. There are three primary colors. People used to wait three days before burying their dead. Not to mention that St. Patrick used the three leaf clover to teach about the Holy Trinity….Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The first time I drove to Portland to babysit Claire, I pondered this magic number three. After Jesus was born, he spent 30 years in basic obscurity….3 times 10. Then he was baptized and lived three years in the public eye….healing, teaching, and arguing with Jewish leaders. Jesus suffered three horrible hours of darkness during his horrible crucifixion. “From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.” (Matthew 27:45) He laid three nights in the tomb before resurrection Sunday, just as Jonah laid three nights in the belly of the great fish. Since Jesus hasn’t returned as recorded in Acts 1:11 “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven”, I wonder if our calendar will turn to the 3000 year before “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven” (Matthew 24:30). I certainly don’t know the “when” this is going to happen. No one knows. Jesus said in Matthew 24: 36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Yet, I wonder if his return will have the number three in it somewhere. I wouldn’t be surprised because I think the number three is magical.

Lord it is fun to speculate and dream. Yet my desire is to be rooted deep in the certainty of your promises. Help me live with your recipe for happiness: “those who love your law have great peace”. (Psalm 119:165)

Posted in Christian Living, Lent, numbers, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Luke 9: 51-56

Jesus’ beginning of his exodus was setting his face toward Jerusalem. Determination. What are we determined to complete?

Posted in Tom's sermons, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If….Then 1st Sunday of Lent


Yesterday (March 9) I read from Isaiah 58: 9-14 and God basically says: If you care for the needy, then I will be with you. If you honor the Sabbath, then I will bless you. I especially liked the verse that says: “repairer of the breach’ they shall call you, ‘restorer of ruined homesteads.” (Isaiah 58:12) I liked the idea of mending after a day of listening to upset toddlers where no nap could be found.

As my child watching day progressed, I desired a place of inclusion instead of bickering over “mine” … grandma, my cup, my place, etc. I craved for a start over day where I didn’t get angry at these children whom I love deeply. I’m disappointed in my example of “God with us”. Today, I’ve asked myself why I couldn’t seem to promote God’s name.

Sunday, I read from Romans 10 where St. Paul uses if, but not then. He says, “for if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9), but he doesn’t finish the cause with an effect starting with “then”. Paul simply says, “you will be saved”. I wonder if the “then” isn’t there because some of us would think saying the magical words of “I confess” and “I believe” would be an easy get into heaven card. It’s the believe with the heart business that can’t be conjured up with a good attitude or trying hard. I can have the best of intentions, but only God can heal the heart. My best intentions of teaching/grandma skills needed God’s intervention of peace and love, which I didn’t take time to request.

Oh Jesus, as I’ve thought about my reaction to Friday’s disappointing day, you’ve reminded me to dwell upon the good parts of the day (Philippians 4:8). I need to think about the fun game of hide and seek, the imaginary tea party, riding in the sliding box across the kitchen floor. AND I need to preface every day with prayer and request your presence in my daily bread. Then maybe I can be better at inclusion and less focused on my narcissistic pride.

Posted in Christian Living, focus, Lent, Uncategorized | Leave a comment