Monday, March 15, 2010

Because I worked so much last week, my boss made me stay home today.  Having slept most of the weekend, I thought I would tackle the tree.

Following my boss' suggestion, I dragged everything to the front before using the chain saw to cut it down to the proper side for a county brush pick-up.  Doing so took 23 trips back and forth, during which I fainted twice and threw up three times.  I was trembling by the times I was finished, but since I had already called for service, I was committed to the task.

This time, I started the chainsaw on the first attempt!  Cutting through all the tree limbs like butter was most satisfactory and energized me a bit.  I then carried the saw back to the tree stumps and started working there, but the chain came off and it stopped working.  After reading the instruction book, I managed to get the chain back on, but I could not restart the saw.  I am hoping that it is not broken because the part of the tree still standing is resting against the phone and cable lines for the neighborhood and needs to be cut down.  I had researched notching techniques to get it to fall in my back yard, but couldn't put my tertiary knowledge into action.

I put the saw back into the shed and then returned to the front yard to start piling on the pieces at the curb.  Much to my dismay, beneath the pile was one more large limb that needed to be cut in half.  Using the hand saw caused me to faint one more time before I finished.  But I finished.  Before my house is a pile of tree trunk and limbs that is as long as my SUV and about 5 feet high.

The whole time I was working, I kept thinking about my lunch with those two women with MS.  When I mentioned mowing my yard, they both exclaimed, "You're still doing that!"  At their utter disbelief, I felt a twinge of guilt.  I mow. I faint. I mow again.  What else am I to do?  I do pay K when she can mow for me, more this past summer than last and I also let my yard go a bit, mowing every other week or so instead of every week.  Sometimes, I just mowed the front to keep up appearances.

They would have yelled at me quite thoroughly had I mentioned my plan to deal with the tree downed during the Great Snow of 2010.

I admit, I heartily wished that I could have picked up the phone and called for help.  But Bettina is a state away.  Pastor D is not helping me any more and I am fairly certain the church I have been attending wouldn't consider helping haul tree limbs around the sort of thing they meant when they announce let us know how we can be of service.

Gracious woman that she is, Bettina gave up her Me Time (the all-too-brief-span-in-which-no-children-are-pulling-at-her-every-which-way-because-they-are-"napping") so that we could play Scrabble.  She beat me in the first game, but made a wee bit of a mistake in the second that afforded me an opportunity to steal a win out from beneath her.

In between games, she let me read a sermon that I had been asking to have sent to me for awhile.  It is the one Lent sermon that, for me, seems to have Gospel and not LawI really do wish someone would explain Lent to me.  Thinking I might find some clarity, I went searching on the Synod website and found the following:

Early in the Church's history, the major events in Christ's life were observed with special observances, such as His birth, baptism, death, resurrection and ascension. As these observances developed, a period of time was set aside prior to the major events of Jesus' birth and resurrection as a time of preparation.

During Lent, the Church's worship assumes a more penitential character. The color for the season is purple, a color often associated with penitence. The "Hymn of Praise" is omitted from the liturgy. The word "Alleluia" is usually omitted as well. By not using the alleluia--a joyful expression meaning "Praise the Lord"--until Easter, the Lenten season is clearly set apart as a distinct time from the rest of the year. Additionally, it forms a powerful contrast with the festive celebration of Jesus' resurrection when our alleluias ring loud and clear. 

Finally, the penitential character of Lent is not its sole purpose. In the ancient Church, the weeks leading up to Easter were a time of intensive preparation of the candidates who were to be baptized at the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday. This time in the Church's calendar was seen as an especially appropriate time for Baptism because of the relationship between Christ's death and resurrection and our own in Holy Baptism (see Romans 6:1-11). This focus would suggest that the season of Lent serves not only as a time to meditate on the suffering that Christ endured on our behalf but also as an opportunity to reflect upon our own Baptism and what it means to live as a child of God.

So, I get this, sort of, but why all the Hail, Fire, and Brimstone sermons?  I mean, sermons that speak of how we are sinners, yes, for that shows our need for a savior.  But also sermons that give the give hope of salvation from our sins.  After all, I've been savoring my way through Walter for that very purpose, to have the Law and Gospel properly divided.  Perhaps it is only I.  Perhaps I am only seeing Law for that is what I know.  But all I hear seems more works and has been very depressing saying I do not pray enough, I do not praise enough, I do not worship enough, etc.  As a sinner, this I do not do as a matter of course.  Paul himself struggled with this in Romans 7, as I have pointed out over and over again.  We pray because of faith.  We praise because of faith.  We worship because of faith.  Faith that is given to us.  Thus, is it not what we do but what Christ in us does.  Right?  So, why the spiritual beat down week after week?

Oh, I wish I could have some proper instruction on this...

Lord I believe.  Help my unbelief!

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