Reflection for North Balwyn Uniting Church 7th of February 2021
Isaiah 40:21-31 Psalm 147 Mark 1:29-39
We woke up on Thursday morning to a new case of community transmission in Victoria. The covid19 journey is truly a wild rollercoaster of a ride. This week we swung from celebrating effectively eliminating covid19 by going twenty-eight days without community transmission, to once again masking up and reducing the size of our gatherings. It is exhausting.
The Book of Isaiah, that wonderful ‘fifth gospel,’ offers us perspective. The last time we heard from the prophet we know as ‘Second Isaiah’ was in the second week of Advent, when we were given the beginning of his words of comfort from the ‘Book of Consolation’. Whenever I preach from Second Isaiah I remind the congregation of the circumstances in which he was prophesying so, in case you have forgotten: Jerusalem had been conquered by…
I stood outside at the fence today and ate a sandwich and watched everything go past. A grey day, warm, and some rain, and a group of tradesmen over at the picnic table drinking coke and iced coffees.
A couple came past. They looked in my windows. They don’t notice me up the street a little, at the gate of the little carpark. So they don’t lower their voices. He says, ‘Wonder why Strath has two bookstores!’
‘Don’t reckon there’s a need for either of ’em myself, I don’t.’
As they pass me, they join hands and lean against each other.
The thing about bookshops is that their owners are so mindlessly besotted with them that nothing can dampen our enthusiasm or distract us from our purpose. Except other bookshops. Obviously.
Chris drove up in her gopher and said a bit of rain is always useful.
Collecting books for collections is intensely enjoyable. Many people do it, especially young readers. It doesn’t matter what the book is, if it fits a collection, then it is worth having. I now do it myself. If a book has been published by The Nonesuch Press, I want it. I don’t know why and seldom bother to worry about it. Books in collections are slices of something good; fruity, restorative, rich. When a reader says, ‘I’m adding this to my collection’, I know what they are referring to. They are keeping it for later. Later is a realm of time ahead of us that has seats, shelves, warmth, and wooden tables of quiet food.
A set of books is something you can enter, like a realm, and inside, it is complex and never still.
I have a small Gingko (also known as a Maidenhair Tree), in a pot, about 8 inches tall, which I have grown from a seed given to me by a friend. It took about 10 months of watching and watering bare soil before my little tree decided to grow – patience rewarded Hope my little tree lives as long and becomes as beautiful as this one!
Once a year, thousands of leaves on this towering 1,400-year-old tree change into a radiant shade of gold.
Located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple, in the Zhongnan Mountain region of China Thought to have been planted for Emperor Li Shimin, the founding father of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), this famous tree draws in people from all over China.
The idea to count years from the birth of Jesus Christ was first proposed in the year 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, a Christian monk. Standardized under the Julian and Gregorian calendars, the system spread throughout Europe and the Christian world during the centuries that followed. AD stands for Anno Domini, Latin for “in the year of the Lord”, while BC stands for “before Christ”.
In the 1980s we became more multifaith and politically correct and began using BCE/CE. CE means “common (or current) era”, and BCE means “before the common (or current) era”. Although these abbreviations are really not so new, dating from at least the early 1700s.
But 2020 has been such a significant year (for all the wrong reasons), that I’m thinking we should start again with BC/AC – Before COVID and After COVID. Here’s hoping that AC begins soon!
My new look for the next 6 days, and I was not the only masked shopper this morning. Empty streets and empty supermarket, unlike the berserk panic shopping yesterday. But some very empty shelves as well. OK…its only for 6 days, unlike poor Melbourne. I will miss gym, church on Sunday morning, and walks on the beach. But we’ve gone early and hard – only way to deal with this nasty little virus.