Word and Water

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The light shines on the water.

The Spirit of God hovered over the waters at both creations: in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) and at Jesus’s baptism (Matthew 3:16).  God cleanses and recreates through the washing of baptism.  Simple water does not do this, but rather God’s word added to the water.  Jesus is the Word of God, and He went into the water to be baptized.

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“Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water included in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.”  Baptism “works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”  “Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark, ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”  (Mark 16:16).

— Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

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At the Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska a channel of water leads to the sanctuary.  This water symbolizes baptism which saves us.  In baptism, God puts his name on us, adopts us, and makes us part of his family.  We become his, and come under his protection, he brings us into his sanctuary.  Through baptism God works faith in our hearts.

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For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

— 1 Peter 3:18-22, ESV.
Emphasis added.

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Fall Haiku

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Blue skies wispy clouds
honking skein over corn fields
moving through crisp air.

Bare trees in a line
crunchy leaves under the foot
rich smells of the earth.

Sights scents sounds
Autumn.

Sonnet 73

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Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.

This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

— William Shakespeare,
Sonnet 73.

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All Saints Day 2016

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Happy All Saints Day!  Like the sunlight in that tree, it is the Word of God that makes the saints shine.

“I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:2, ESV).  How does the Church dress beautifully for her husband, Christ?  She adorns herself with the words and promises of God by believing them.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

— Revelation 21:3-4, ESV.

God’s word shines in our hearts giving us light and life.

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At the entrance to High Cliff State Park this red maple stood in a sun beam between the clouds and green trees.  After parking, I walked back, waited for the sun to reappear, and shot some photos with my old Canon A550.

Recently, my Canon G12 died.  I ordered a new camera, but the new camera had to be returned because it had a dead pixel.  So my A550 has come out of retirement.  The 7.1 megapixel A550 was my first ever digital camera, and I have always had a lot of fun with it.  When it retired, the batteries were not making a good connection, but I managed to fix that issue, and now the camera seems to be working as well as ever.

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But for my old A550, this scene would have been lost.  I hope you like the pictures, and that you have a blessed All Saints Day!

The End of My Canon G12

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Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Boyd Lake State Park in Colorado.

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I got up at about 6 am to see the sunrise.  It looked like it might be a beautiful sunrise, so I walked down to the water with my trusted and beloved Canon G12 camera.

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A crane and some ducks foraged for breakfast.

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As I approached the water, the fowl moved off to the side in the bluer areas of the scene.

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The sky toward the sun started out very red with a hint of purple in the clouds.

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Down by the water’s edge, the whole scene was filled with light and color.  Little by little the light shifted from red to orange.

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The blues away from the sun made a beautiful contrast.

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The colors constantly turned and changed as the sky brightened into brilliant orange.  (Some of these photos are best viewed by clicking on them, and viewing a larger size).

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Some of the best sunrises and sunsets are when the sun shines underneath cloud cover causing the clouds to reflect back the light from the sun.  In this case, the clouds reflected the sun, and the water reflected the clouds.  This effect doubled the light.

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This wide angle shot pulled back from the lake to show the full pallet of color.  The sun is just starting to appear, and the colors are retreating.  Please notice the magenta just to the right of the main sunrise.  I tried to capture that color, but failed because my camera malfunctioned on those pictures.

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At this point, most of the pictures were horribly overexposed due to what I think may have been a malfunctioning computer or shutter.  This one turned out okay.

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The light receded off the water even further.

After the above photo, it was clear that something was terribly wrong, and it wasn’t going to fix itself.  I kept snapping photos, but they were all white and covered in lines.  That magenta color would never get its own shot.  Eventually, I would get one last photo:

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The very last photo.

Then the sun rose above the clouds, and the colors faded to gray.  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21, ESV).

And now a moment of photographic silence in honor of my departed G12.

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Autumn Blessings

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The Lord is merciful and good.  So let us fear the Lord in every season.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

— Isaiah 64:6, ESV.

But the Lord is merciful, and sends rain in the Spring and in the Autumn.  Because of Christ crucified and his mercies:

‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.’

— Jeremiah 5:24, ESV.

Every day and every season brings us one ticktock closer to his final return.  For those in Christ, his return will be beautiful.

Notes:

The picture at the top was taken at Copper Falls State Park in Wisconsin.

Unexpected Sunset at Rib Mt

Passing through Wausau on my way home from a business trip, I decided to stop at Rib Mountain State Park to get in a little hiking.  Since it had been cloudy most of the day, I considered whether to take my camera.  Figuring this would be just an outdoor, exercise, and fresh autumnal air hike without the possibility of any reasonably good pictures, I decided to take my camera anyway.

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While hiking on the quarry trail, the sun came out in glorious warm orange, lighting up the autumnal leaves of the trees and the forest floor.  A man and his dog jogged by, and commented on the wonderful light.  It was a nice reminder of the grace and mercy of God.

“Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun” (Ecclesiastes 11:7, KJV).

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I would have taken some pictures of the actual sunset, but I kept dithering about returning to the car.  The leaf covered trail I had taken to this spot had been hard to follow even in the daylight.  (I had considered turning back a number of times before the sun came out.  But when the sun came out, I felt compelled to keep going).  Nonetheless, the last thing I wanted to do was stumble back on that rocky, meandering, leaf covered trail in the dark.  There were a lot of leaves still on the trees, and a cloudy starless night in the forest can be very dark.  I had a flashlight, but was uncertain of the strength of its batteries.

Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:  But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.”  (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8, KJV).

In all your days, may you rejoice with discerning eyes.

Notes

In case you were wondering, I did safely return just as the last usable light of the day had ended.

Also, have a blessed Reformation Day.

Big Sunset

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Sometimes the sunset is too big for the camera lens.

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The truth is beautiful, and when beauty and truth are more than we can grasp, we are left in awe and wonder.

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The world God created reflects His order and His infinity.  It is incomprehensibly large, and full of things that are incomprehensibly small.

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So no matter how much we learn, a full understanding of God and His logical creation will always be beyond our grasp.  It will always be beyond our ability to fully know.  We will always be left in awe and wonder.

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If the logical creation leaves us in wonder, how much more so the Infinite Creator?

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Yet, just as a camera can catch part of a sunset, so also we can understand and receive in part.

That is why God comes to us in means.  Means are ways we can understand and receive God.  Jesus Christ is the one true God.  He comes to us in words that we can understand and sacraments we can see, taste, and feel.

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May we always appreciate the gifts of God, always grow in learning, and always stand in awe of His infinite wonder (both great and small).

Photographic Interlude

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People walk along the shores of Lake Winnebago at sunset.

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Summer is a time to enjoy the blessings of God.