“God anticipates us again and again in unexpected ways. He does not cease to search for us, to raise us up as often as we might need. He does not abandon the lost sheep in the wilderness into which it had strayed. God does not allow himself to be confounded by our sin.
Again and again he begins afresh with us. But he is still waiting for us to join him in love. He loves us, so that we too may become people who love, so that there may be peace on earth. Saint Luke does not say that the angels sang. He states quite soberly: the heavenly host praised God and said: "Glory to God in the highest" (Lk 2:13f.).
But men have always known that the speech of angels is different from human speech, and that above all on this night of joyful proclamation it was in song that they extolled God's heavenly glory. So this angelic song has been recognized from the earliest days as music proceeding from God, indeed, as an invitation to join in the singing with hearts filled with joy at the fact that we are loved by God. Cantare amantis est, says Saint Augustine: singing belongs to one who loves.
Thus, down the centuries, the angels' song has again and again become a song of love and joy, a song of those who love. At this hour, full of thankfulness, we join in the singing of all the centuries, singing that unites heaven and earth, angels and men. Yes, indeed, we praise you for your glory. We praise you for your love. Grant that we may join with you in love more and more and thus become people of peace. Amen.”
Rest Day Read (SR-65) Cold Enough To Start Your Leg On Fire
by Mike Hays
Back in my football coaching days, we had a group of kids who were, to put it mildly, a bit deviant. One mid-season Monday when we show up for JV game/varsity practice, one of these young men has an injury and is not able to participate. He has a fairly severe burn that ran just below his knee all the way down to the high ankle. When asked how this happened, the young man said he was jumping over a camp fire the past weekend. He guessed he just did not jump far enough. It was a nasty burn. He said he did not go to the hospital because his dad's girlfriend was a nurse. She wrapped it up and would take care of it. Needless to say, he missed some action, but came back no worse for wear a couple weeks later.
Flash forward to the last week of the season. We have practice and it is friggin cold, with a north wind blowing about 40+ MPH. Probably the coldest practice we ever had. Colder than the 2002 practice where we had the entire sidelines of 20 or so substitute players hunkered down in an incrementally lower squat position on the south side of a 6'2" 275 lb. lineman. (Dang that was funny, wish I had a picture of that.). Well, the kids are complaining about the cold. Over and over and over complaining. I just keep telling them it is not even cold yet. Burnt-leg boy keeps saying he's not cold at all. Then it starts drizzling! Misery squared!
Burnt leg boy finally lets go, "!@#$, Coach! How !@#$-ing cold is it out here?"
In one of my greatest stupid-funny lines ever, I answer, "Son, I believe it's cold enough to start your leg on fire."
Rest Day Read (SR-64) 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Award Presentation to China's Liu Xiaobo
-acceptance speech given by Thorbjorn Jagland of the Nobel Committee on 12-10-201 because of Liu Xiaobo's political imprisonment in China. "We regret that the Laureate is not present here today. He is in isolation in a prison in north-east China. Nor can the Laureate’s wife Liu Xia or his closest relatives be here with us. No medal or diploma will therefore be presented here today. This fact alone shows that the award was necessary and appropriate. We congratulate Liu Xiaobo on this year’s Peace Prize."
"Liu has said that "The greatness of non-violent resistance is that even as man is faced with forceful tyranny and the resulting suffering, the victim responds to hate with love, to prejudice with tolerance, to arrogance with humility, to humiliation with dignity, and to violence with reason."
"Liu Xiaobo is an optimist, despite his many years in prison. In his closing appeal to the court on the 23rd of December 2009, he said: "I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme."
Thank you, Liu Xiaobo for exhibiting the courage to stand up for what is right. The great people of China deserve the freedoms promised in their constitution. Each citizen deserves to enjoy a life blessed with the fundamental human rights. They deserve to express themselves in thought, word and action. China is a great country. The Chinese people a great people. Liu Xiaobo is considered a dangerous dissident of the highest level by the Chinese government for the simple belief in freedom. I hope in my lifetime, I am able to witness Xiaobo's China, a free China, a great China. His story, his non-violent resistance and his love and patience should be an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Liu Xiaobo, for standing up for what is right and for the ideals you embrace.
"For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom"
1 In due course John the Baptist appeared; he proclaimed this message in the desert of Judaea,2 'Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.'3 This was the man spoken of by the prophetIsaiah when he said: A voice of one that cries in the desert, 'Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.'
4 This manJohn wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather loin-cloth round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.5 Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him,6 and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins.
7 But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, 'Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming retribution?8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance,9 and do not presume to tell yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father," because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones.10 Even now the axe is being laid to the root of the trees, so that any tree failing to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire.11 I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who comes after me is more powerful than I, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.12 His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.'
This is a scene from Matthew I wish was captured on video. Can you imagine? Picture the Pharisees and Sadducees faces when they get called out by John. They'd heard the rumors and the mumblings about the madman in the desert, preaching, baptizing in the Jordan and proclaiming the coming of the King. They sensed the drumbeats of a revolution, they sensed a HUGE threat to their status quo religious establishment and they crawled their way out to spy on what was really happening. They weaseled their way into the crowd to bear witness of wrongdoing by the preacher in a camel hair garment who ate honey and locusts. But John had guts, John was powered by the Spirit and laid into the Pharisees and Sadducees with a verbal attack the likes they had never been exposed to before. I love it! The holier-than-now Pharisees and Sadducees probably tucked their red faces between their tails and squirmed like snakes back to the comfort of their homes. John the Baptist! I think him and me would have got along very well.
Rest Day Read (SR-62) Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
by Karina Fabian By the 2040s, the shambling dead have become and international problem. While governments and special interest groups vie for the most environmentally-friendly way to rid the world of zombies, a new breed of exterminator has risen: The Zombie Exterminator. When zombie exterminator Neeta Lyffe gets sued because a zombie she set afire stumbles onto a lawyer's back porch, she needs money, fast. So she agrees to train apprentice exterminators in a reality TV show that makes Survivor look like a game of tag. But that's nothing compared to having to deal with crazy directors, bickering contestants and paparazzi. Can she keep her ratings up, her bills paid and her apprentices alive and still keep her sanity?
Doesn't this one sound like fun? Zombie Exterminators reality TV? This is going to be a very entertaining one to read. Release date is December 1, 2010. You can get the ebook for mere pennies at the Damnation Books web site. I am going to dig in and read this ASAP. And how can you pass on cover art like this..