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Showing posts from 2015
Last Word: Grace Rob Gieselmann, Pent. 29B (C. King Sunday), 2015
Just when he was about to die, Voltaire was asked to renounce Satan. He retorted – and these are Voltaire’s last words – Now is not the timeto make enemies. Groucho Marx wanted these last words written on his tombstone: Excuse me, I can’t stand up.In 2008, when he was dying of cancer, Randy Pausch published his last words in the form of a little book, entitled, The Last Lecture. He wrote the book as a legacy for his three young sons. One of the chapters is entitled, The truth shall set you free .In it, Pausch tells about the time a Virginia patrolman stopped him for speeding. Pausch had just moved his family to Virginia so his in-laws would be able to help his wife with their boys after he died. He still carried his old Pennsylvania drivers’ license. I just moved here, Pausch explained. What brought you to Virginia? the officer asked. Pausch thought about obfuscating – rather than state the uncomfortable truth – But he decide…
Do the Peace of Jerusalem Rob Gieselmann, Pent. 28B, November 15, 2015
In the television show, Madame Secretary – Tea Leone stars as the Secretary of State of the United States.Last Sunday, the show opened with a disturbingly familiar internet clip of an Isis terrorist murdering an American journalist, onscreen.The terrorist is clothed head-to-toe in black – his face shrouded. He stares into the camera and speaks menacingly in farsi, but with an American accent. Tea Leone and her staff realize immediately that the man must be an American – so they set about discovering his identity. Once they think they have it, they invite the young man’s mother – an American – into the office, for her to confirm his identity. She hasn’t yet seen the Internet clip – so they show it to her. Once again, there is the terrorist, shrouded in black – menacing. The woman watches the clip with bewilderment – Why are they showingthis to her? she wonders. But then the man – the boy, really – speaks – And her express…
The Boundary of the Ocean Rob Gieselmann, Pent. 24B, Oct. 18, 2015
Seven or eight years ago, I kicked a sabbatical off with a short camping trip. I drove to Big Sur, and pitched my tent on a cliff, high above the Pacific Ocean.The nights were deep and dark. No moon, no light pollution, only stars. Millions of them, their ancient light, piercing the eternal veil –
Several shooting stars flew high above, as I sat there, alone with God. One, and then another, and one of them flew so low above me, it seemed larger than any I’d ever seen before – Fiery orange, and the size of my fist, and I thought to myself – if I listen hard enough, I’ll hear it splash into the Pacific … The thought was foolish, and the meteor landed miles away. I’m sure.The stillness of that night, the holiness of that dark, and the only sound besides my heartbeat was the low rumble of waves that kept pushing in vain against the craggy coast. Those waves seemed to think they could alter the ocean’s boundaries. The swells mo…
Hope Defiant Pent. 23B, 2015, Rob Gieselmann
I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering, why the rich man didn’t argue with Jesus.
Think about it – The man was honorable.And unlike the Pharisees, he didn’t try to either manipulate Jesus or obfuscate the law for selfish purposes.Instead, he lived a life Moses would have been proud of. He was honest as the day is long, he didn’t commit adultery, and he brought honor to his parents.
And now he is seeking spiritual direction, and that from Jesus, the rabbi. Jesus loved him, Mark tells us.Loved him, a phrase peculiarly out of place in this story, especially if the story is one only about money.It is a story about money – but far more. Upon loving the man, Jesus advised him to divest. Sell it all, and give the money to the poor, then you will inherit life. But what I want to know – like I said – is this:Why didn’t the man argue with Jesus?Job argued with God, literally, like a lawyer.He filed a complaint, a metaphoric lawsuit.I have lived a right…