Holy/Maundy Thursday-New Covenant

A reminder for this day.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

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What is Happening:  We don’t know anything about what happens earlier in the day other than Jesus is focusing on the Passover Meal (start reading at Matthew 26:17).  At some point his disciples come to him and ask where he would like to eat the Passover Meal.  According to Wikipedia, the Passover Meal is:

“The Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר‎ [ˈsedeʁ], “order, arrangement”; Yiddish: Seyder) … a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient…

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A Second-Second Chance

Still true

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

second chanceA Gust of Grace: blew through my life when I was in the US Army.  I was in during the height of the Vietnam War (1967-1970).  I had finished basic training at Fort Knox and the class ahead of me and the class behind me all were sent to Vietnam.  Then ten months later everyone in my class except another fellow and me were ordered there.  I had an office job, but my heart was heavy with concern that someday soon I would have to kill people.  This became my entire focus and so in August of 1969 I left my post and headed to Canada.  There were a lot of other young men also leaving because they had serious reservations about that war.  For me, however, the bottom line was fear.  I was afraid and so I drove north.

I contacted a man who was in the business of…

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Prayer: It’s Just Telling Him What’s Going On

A good reminder.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

The two men were desperate.  They couldn’t see, but they could hear.  A multitude was passing by.  Who are they?  What’s going on? Jesus is passing by.  Jesus of Nazareth…the healer.   They started screaming “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!”

More sounds….commotion…people telling them to be quiet.

Suddenly, nothing…

“Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32 NRSV)

It’s him.  It’s really him. 

They quickly told him:  “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”

He did it.

I wonder if we would have spoken up or gone quiet.

Jesus stands still and asks us:  “what do you want me to do for you?”

Our answer is our prayer.

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Getting Past the Fear of Computers

atari2

Living in the Past What was it like to live through the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy’s Assassination and other historic events. It might be of interest to learn how things were done in the past as a curiosity. Descriptions of other events that might be of interest  (eg. the first personal home computer).

Computers

Computer– an electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program. (source: Apple Dictionary).  Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the “father of the computer” (source:  Wikipedia)

My first encounter with a computer was in an introductory class taken so long ago I am unable to recall where and when it happened.  I do recall being awed by IBM punch cards that carried code which when fed into a computer, that looked like a giant reel to reel tape deck, could solve problems at lightning speeds (eg. calculate the amount of money you would now have if you had started with a $1 back in 1492 and a bank paid you 5% interest compounded quarterly).  I remember the teacher trying to take away our fear and awe of computers by telling us “computers are only as smart as the programmer” and that we should not be afraid of them.

It was exciting to get my first personal computer back in 1986.  It was manufactured by Atari, a company more known for games than for work applications.  I didn’t buy a monitor, just used my 19″black and white portable TV as a screen.  My keyboard was similar to the one on the lower left in the picture.  I used a cartridge which slipped into the little opening above the  “6”,” 7″, “8” and “9” keys.  Everything about that computer seemed powerful and mysterious.  I believe the fact you could so easily correct a typed mistake was my favorite feature.   I cannot remember how many apps I had on the computer, but I do remember having to occasionally get out of a program and into DOS so I could run some utility or open a different program. My work was saved on a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk.  I remember that I had 48k of storage which seemed mind-blowingly  large to me.  I bought  a floppy disk that had a program called Lotus  Works which was a word processing program,  a data base manager and a spread sheet program.  Even though Lotus Works was intended for work applications, I found it was fun seeing how it worked, although there were times I wanted to trash the whole setup.  Maybe computers were not for me.

As nice as that Atari was, I soon tired of it and wanted a computer with Windows on it.  Eventually I was able to get a computer with Windows on it and my life became more complicated.  Many times I found myself scratching my head wondering what the computer was doing.  I had an operating system called Windows 3.1 which was soon surpassed by the release of Windows 95.  There were several more operating systems developed and for sale from Microsoft, but eventually I became very frustrated because it seemed like with every upgrade I would have problems with my existing programs.  It eventually seemed like the whole computer was out of sync with itself.  I had no idea what it was doing.

There have been many upgrades I’ve purchased including changing from a Windows based computer to a Mac system.  Switching to their operating system took a long time.  Here too there were times I had no idea what the computer was doing or wouldn’t let me do.

I have, however, learned a few things in my thirty one years of computing which have taken away much of my fear of them.

  1. Always, always make a back-up (maybe two or three to make sure).  I once accidentally erased a theme paper I had been working on for several hours.   I sat in shock staring at the now blank computer screen. Nowadays, I normally make three additional backup copies (two of them are free online services)
  2. Get familiar with a new program when there is no outside pressure.  Trying to learn a program under a time demand is a good way to put out bad work and also to get sick.
  3. When learning a new program, use only a few examples.  For example if I am exploring a spreadsheet program, I make only a few entries to see how the program handles them.  If I am working with a word processing program, I type in a few words to see if my printer is connected, how the program saves my work, what commands are needed to copy and paste.  This has saved me a lot of time.  At first, I was inclined to type in a lot of words or numbers  then discovered something didn’t work and lost all my work.
  4. When encountering a problem, stay calm-I have learned over the years that when I get an unexpected result, I need to stay calm, believe there is an answer, take a break from the work.  When I am calm and relaxed (usually the next morning), I come back to it and assume the computer has reacted properly, that I missed an instruction or I made an error putting the information in.  When I am relaxed the problem becomes more like a game or a puzzle and I am much more likely to see the mistake.
  5. When there is time (i.e. free from pressure), read the owners manual for your software to spot any additional capacities which you may have overlooked when you first started using the program.

I would love to hear of other’s experiences with computers

 

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This Present Moment

General Observations on Life: Observations on life and suggestions for a Happy Life.   The advantages of forgiveness, thankfulness.  The ability of family relationships to produce lasting pleasure versus the short pleasures of instant gratification.

 

When I was quite young, I couldn’t wait until I was ten years old because then my age would show as a double digit instead of a single.  The first time I joined a record club, it felt like my free records would never arrive.  I just kept thinking about how great it would be to have my own records to play on my sister’s stereo.   I was always looking ahead for some great experience I wanted to have like my first kiss, first car, or my first laptop computer.

Other times I would look back with longing for a time in the past.  A couple of years ago, while watching a movie from the 1970’s, I suddenly felt sad and trapped because I could never go back to that period of time.

Too often we are either remembering the past  with regrets or looking forward to some event in the future.  But all we ever have is the present moment.

Someone had a song many years ago that sort of followed this thought when it suggested that we ought to learn to enjoy every moment of our life.  I have tried this at times with doing chores like the dishes and mopping floors or some other “unpleasant”task.   I remember one time contemplating whether to mop the floor or not.   I thought If I wanted to do it, then it might feel like fun.  But, if someone told me I had to do it, then I might hate it.  The difference in perception seemed to lie within me and not the task.  If true, then it would seem I could enjoy whatever activity I was involved in.  Why not consider it to be enjoyable.  It could make all the difference in how I go through my days.

Life can seem an amazing miracle if I look at it with baby’s eyes.  Coming home Friday night, I noticed the trees, empty of leaves just standing there with their limbs outstretched to the sky as if either pleading for sun or rain or the covering of leaves.  Each one had it’s own unique stance, like an array of sculptures placed worldwide for the delight of every person on earth who stopped for a moment and enjoyed the view.  How pleasant.

So when I am doing chores, I have the freedom to do it any way I choose.  When doing dishes I can stack the dishes a certain way or I can reverse how I do them.  When cleaning the floors, I can see how many creative ways I can do the work.  Maybe I’ll start downstairs, or maybe I’ll start in the upstairs bedroom.  Even raking leaves can be a great time, looking at the number of leaves there are and thinking how every one of them was on a tree just a short while ago.  Those trees while empty of leaves now, will soon be filled with brand new leaves (today is the first day of Spring).  How can such a massive drop of leaves be completely replaced?  Where is the machine that produces such a quantity of leaves for the world?

Even visiting someone who is sick can be pleasant.  I have seen appropriate humor relieve the most tense situation.  Sometimes the other person wants to share deep feelings and worries and even that can be seen as a blessing to that relationship.  Last night we watched the movie “Sully,” a movie about the captain of a commercial jet who had to ditch the plane with 155 passengers on board into the Hudson River.  What touched me was how fast the emergency people moved out to the slowly sinking plane.  They didn’t stop to consider if it would be too cold (it was) or too wet (they were in the water), or a hassle.  They just put on their gear and moved out into the middle of the river.  Sometimes, sickness or accident can be a motivator for people to come together who might otherwise not.

Each day has it’s own opportunities, rewards and challenges. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 (English Standard Version)

 

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Those Probing, Prying Medical Exams

Medical physician doctor hands. Healthcare background banner.

As a very young boy I prided myself on being able to take a shot from the doctor without crying.  I thought I was better than other kids who would cry and fuss over it.  I recall thinking that I was a “big boy”because I could take it. Those people in white coats didn’t scare me.

As the years went on and I learned more about my body, I became more protective and private.  When I saw the doctor in his brightly lit, picture-less office, I didn’t trust him with my deepest secrets. When I  received my first physical, which included inspecting the normally  covered areas of our bodies, I was extremely uncomfortable and  embarrassed.  When I was ordered to Fort Wayne, Detroit for my Army physical I was even more uncomfortable because I had to become part of an assembly-line with a bunch of other guys.  Whew, was I glad when that was over!

After the Army, I had to undergo another thorough exam by my employer’s doctor.  In addition to being awkward, it was painful at the end.   Then there was my overnight stay in a hospital to see if what I thought was a heart attack really was.  It was not.   It was just a panic attack which can have similar symptoms.

In the course of my life, I have come to realize probing medical exams are unavoidable. I learned that getting looked at by medical professionals was the best way of coping with the changes of aging. I discovered that the uncomfortable preparation for a colonoscopy was the price I had to pay to make sure the plumbing downstairs was in good working order.  I found out that complex eye exams were necessary because problems in the eyes can develop.  Getting these exams helped me understand and accept my health changes rather than allowing  my mind to imagine morbid possibilities.

Since turning sixty,  I have relaxed before and during medical exams of all kinds often joking with the individuals or even getting to know them better.  For one diagnostic test, I learned the technician had graduated from the same college I did. We had a nice talk while the paper work was being finished.  Since reaching my older years, I have learned that I don’t have to give into my fears, that it is always better to know what is going on instead of pretending the problem isn’t there.  Years ago, I had a tumor on the inside of my right ankle.  I ignored it for months and finally submitted to an MRI and a biopsy which  revealed it was simply an unusual but harmless tumor.

For anyone suddenly facing  tests in sterile rooms with giant machines making strange noises and flashing digital lights, it might help to switch your focus from the machine to the person in the room with you. A friendly word or joke can clear the room of all fears and worries in seconds flat.

“Hey doc, did you hear about a woman who becomes frustrated after a bus driver calls her baby ugly. She angrily carries her baby to a seat and informs a nearby male passenger that the driver has insulted her. The man, encouraging the woman to go back and reprimand the driver says, “I’ll hold your monkey while you go.”

 

 

 

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All That Gray Hair

Still true at 71-½ years of life.

Rich Rockwood, Christian Author

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Experience as a Flashlight: I stared at the man in the motel lobby who was talking to some other people.  He was balding and his face had moles, lines, and bumps.  I saw him however as a young man.  Underneath that exterior, I saw a man with a full head of hair, young skin, sharp features and determined chin.  His youth was still there even though his facial parts had changed due to aging.

I now see myself in the same way.  Even though I see gray hair around the temples and in most of my beard, I know that inside I am the same person I have always been.  Oh sure, I have gained some wisdom from the experiences I have been through, but I still have a lot of the same fears and uncertainties I struggled with when I was much younger.  Even though I can’t throw a…

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