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Showing posts from August, 2009

His Handiwork Delights

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Seeking Beauty

COLD winds can never freeze, nor thunder sour
The cup of cheer that Beauty draws for me
Out of those Azure heavens and this green earth --
I drink and drink, and thirst the more I see.

To see the dewdrops thrill the blades of grass,
Makes my whole body shake; for here's my choice
Of either sun or shade, and both are green --
A Chaffinch laughs in his melodious voice.

The banks are stormed by Speedwell, that blue flower
So like a little heaven with one star out;
I see an amber lake of buttercups,
And Hawthorn foams the hedges round about.

The old Oak tree looks now so green and young,
That even swallows perch awhile and sing:
This is that time of year, so sweet and warm,
When bats wait not for stars ere they take wing.

As long as I love Beauty I am young,
Am young or old as I love more or less;
When Beauty is not heeded or seems stale,
My life's a cheat, let Death end my distress.

(Poem by W.H. Davies, 1870-1940))

Birches

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WHEN I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I w…

Jail-House Prophet

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He was the one who prayed most sincerely for me at a time of great struggle and embarrassment. My wife, daughter, baby boy and I were about to leave Chatham, and I went to Ron for a talk and some encouragement and prayer.

He had been a client of mine in the setting up of a facility for the St. Leonard's Society, giving support, shelter and life skills to recent parolees. I had also known him from a quaint Charismatic fellowship which we attended for a time.

Ron had a criminal record which prevented him from ever again crossing the U.S. Border. Biker. Drug importer. Scrapper. Jail-bird. It was hard for me to believe the reports looking at his clear blue eyes, neatly cropped beard and gentle handsome countenance. His wife and children rounded out a beautiful family. He was leaving factory work at that time for St. Leonard's.

I remember when I first heard him giving a message at another church. He had a burden. It was difficult and delicate. It concerned the story of Tamar, daughter…

Brother from Egypt

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For about a year I enjoyed a friend at my workplace who had come from Egypt. His training was as an accountant but his credentials meant nothing to the Ontario Association. (This is a real problem in our receiving talented individuals from abroad.)

We were building component parts for a Chinese power facility and needed many extra workers. Hany had been laid off from a job as a hotel book-keeper and desk person, and he needed something to fill a gap.

At our first encounter, he found me at a remote desk at lunch reading from F.B. Meyer and his exposition on the Epistle to the Hebrews. "Oh, you read him," he said. "He is one of my favourite teachers, only in Arabic." An Egyptian Christian!

That started a summer of rich discussions, sharing of experience and realization of brotherhood which had come about because of Christ. He was a computer buff and taught our children much, giving them their first computer. He accompanied me to an exporter's warehouse and worked wi…

Air Cadets Canada

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Jordan was having the time of his life. He had been selected as a delegate to represent the Canadian Air Cadets in an exchange program. Young people were going to be traveling all over the planet that summer in their blue uniforms. His destination was Hawaii, but first a side-excursion to Ottawa and to Washington D.C.

This was the real prize. He had previously enjoyed summer camps, leadership camps, survival camp in Northern Quebec, trips to Virginia and North Carolina military/naval posts, private pilot's licence training in Lindsay, Ontario...and now Hawaii. Marvelous training and summer opportunities throughout high school years, and all at the expense of the Departmnt of National Defense.

His host in Hawaii, retired from the U.S.Air Force, showed him a wonderful time. Pearl Harbour. Diamond Head Mountain. Honolulu Airport. Ocean Aquarium. Surfing beaches. Polynesian banquets. Sailing. Snorkling. Surfing. Flying private aircraft over the city. Scrambling down the runway in his &q…

Through the Knothole

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From Psalm 27:

11Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.

12Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.

13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.


This is one of those scriptures which stands as a milestone in my spiritual experience. I clung to it as I went through the knothole.

I was still practicing law and I had been sued by two clients and their bank for solicitor's negligence. A lot of money at stake. Allegations that I had not advised them adequately of the risks of certain financing arrangements in a plan for apartment developments. They met with initial success, but then set-backs and the one partner left the country. The remaining one sought legal counsel from the big city and I cooperated with…

Twenty Bucks for a Ride

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It was a cold and damp January morning and I was trying to kick-start myself for work with a coffee from a Timmy's in a harsher central district of the city. Six-fifteen A.M. on a Friday. Happily only a small line-up and then out the door to the car.

"I'll pay you twenty bucks if you will drive me to de-tox." "What was that?" "Excuse me sir, I need to get to the de-tox centre behind the hospital. I'll pay you."

She was in her young thirties. An outfit of slacks and sweater that had been worn one day too long. A thin autumn rain jacket. She nursed the last of her coffee for the warmth, on the sidewalk and under the night-light. Her make-up running. Trembling and stunned by the cold. Obviously a Thursday night outing gone very bad. An apologetic, eyes-downward expression for yet another fall off the wagon. Then she looked up imploringly with what appeared to be younger girl's eyes, and I knew that I had to provide this help.

I held open the car…

The Pony-Tail

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My wife jokingly referred to her as the "Pony-Tail". I had seen her on numerous occasions in the neighbourhood of the university campus and adjacent park. She was college age, dressed in jogging attire and loping the miles away. I found her strikingly attractive. This Hilary could tell, and I received not a few gentle jabs from my wife, all in good humour.

To be frank the thing that really caught my attention was the apparent total lack of self-awareness in her activities. Her stride was ambitious; her upper body and arms were relaxed and purposeful (something many joggers miss); her face registered confidence and contentment; her blonde pony-tail swayed from side to side like a metronome. She never seemed to be impacted by the weather. She just liked running.

Don't get the impression that I was stalking her, O.K? We just kept on encountering her in our various travels.

How often I have seen good-looking men or women who apparently know that they are good-looking, or good j…

Drummond Still Speaks

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A Christian classic ranked by many in the "top seven" apart from scripture itself is "The Greatest Thing in the World" by Henry Drummond (@1880). It is a presentation on Paul's chapter of love, First Corinthians Thirteen. Consider his remarks on "kindness":

Kindness. Love active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ's life was spent in doing kind things--in merely doing kind things? Run over it with that in view and you will find that He spent a great proportion of His time simply in making people happy, in doing good turns to people. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and it is not in our keeping; but what God has put in our power is the happiness of those about us, and that is largely to be secured by our being kind to them.

"The greatest thing," says some one, "a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to some of His other children." I wonder why it is that we a…

After Hours, Elvis Sang This...

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How Great Thou Art

(Lyrics by Carl Boberg, 1859-1940)

O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all
The works Thy Hand hath made,
I see the stars,
I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy pow'r throughout
The universe displayed;


(Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!)


When through the woods
And forest glades I wander
I hear the birds
Sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down
From lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook
And feel the gentle breeze;


(Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!)


When Christ shall come,
With shouts of acclamation,
And take me home,
What joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow
In humble adoration
And there proclaim,
"My God, how great Thou art!"


(Then sings my soul,
My Saviour God, to Thee…

He Kept on Marching

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Again dear old J. R. Miller hits the mark with today's devotional:

Go Forward

“He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”

Luke 9:51

We do not know what lies before us in life. Some great sorrow or anguish may be awaiting us on the morrow, but it casts no gloom over our spirits today, because we are ignorant of it. This is a merciful provision in our lives. If some of us knew all that we must pass through in the future, it would make our lives very bitter, even while our joys are unbroken. It is a great deal better that we should not know until God leads us to the edge of the experience.

But there was no such kindly veiling of the future from Christ’s eyes. He saw every step of the sorrowful way to the close of His life. Yet this makes the scene before us all the more grand. Knowing all, see how eager He is to press on in His path. He could not be held back. He steadfastly set His face to go, and bent His steps with intense haste to His journey, which He knew would lead Him to Get…

Word by Revelation

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Peter in his First Epistle said something that caught my attention. Look in the first chapter:

23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.


Were not the word and the gospel the same thing? No, it would appear that the gospel includes something about the way the message is rendered and something about the experiences, character and personal illumination of the speaker. By the time of Peter's writing the correspondents knew of his challenges, victories and shortcomings in the Galilean ministry and in the darkening final year leading to Christ's passion. They also knew or would soon know something of the transformation in the Big Fisherman - from impetuous, self…

Gospel in the Rainbow

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Royalty (purple)

Left Heaven (blue)

To come to earth (green)

To give the light of life (yellow)

To human clay (orange)

At the cost of His own blood (red).

Out of a Puddle

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The prophet Ezekiel rebuked errant Israel and reminded her that God had given her everything after finding her in a pathetic situation. It was the story line of "My Fair Lady" in grand scale.

But the "cleaned up" young woman had become vain, self-reliant, lewd, unthankful and disloyal. Hear his burden from the Lord in chapter 16:

4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths.
5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.
6 Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!"
7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels. Your breasts were formed and your hair grew, you who were naked an…

Not Quite Grace

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We listened to a speaker on Creation Science. He was in the practice of persuading people that the Genesis account is totally reliable. God willed the creation in six actual days. Adam and Eve were a literal first couple. Their wilful disobedience brought in sin and death. Noah prepared for a world-wide flood which fashioned a great deal of the geological and fossil records. Dinosaurs have been found with soft tissue left un-fossilized within the bone suggesting a much more recent date. So often, he said, curious inquirers would stumble at the veracity of these Genesis accounts and as a consequence would doubt the Bible entirely. The presentation made much sense until he suggested that with this ammunition and scientific backup we could debate or persuade people into the Kingdom of God. He suggested that we start this campaign with our own children facing the onslaught of evolutionary teaching in the schools and colleges. But souls are not saved by persuasiveness.

I have heard much tal…

Wheel A Rollin'

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Three blocks from our house the church sign read: "What is the Secret of Being Content?"

Don't ask me why but the first thing that popped into my head was an image of a gyroscope. You remember the little child's metal spinning top? It had a symmetrical disk mounted half-way up a spinning rod which was attached by pivots to a metal ring. The ring had affixed to it a head post and foot post.

Pull a wind-up string and the unit would spin and maintain a straight-up position. My Dad explained that there was a balance of centripetal and centrifugal forces causing the toy to stand. You could put it on a table, on a tight string, on a drinking glass rim. But when the speed of spinning diminished the unit would start to wobble and eventually fall over.

The prophet Ezekiel described a phenomenon which came to him in a vision. Within four wheels there were strange living creatures each having four faces one on each of four sides. Each of these wheels appeared to be in another whee…

Cavendish Sands

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Two summers ago Hilary and I enjoyed a trip to Prince Edward Island, the smallest of Canadian provinces and perhaps the quaintest. It had come about as a consequence of an inherited gift and we were long overdue for a holiday. All planning of the itinerary was left to my wife and she did a fabulous job. There was much excitement leading up to the flight as we had consumed the excellent travel literature available from this province.

Visions of sandy beaches, exceptional golf courses, lobster-fests, fiddle-fests, endless fields of potatoes and white wheat, Green Gables fairy-tale farm and acreage, Charlottetown centre of Confederation conferences, beautiful theatres, tiny red and white lighthouses and the nine-mile bridge recently joining the island to the mainland.

We were stunned to learn that the capital city had a population in the thirty-something thousands! But not a thing was missed in the mix - lush parks, excellent restaurants, maritime boutiques near the harbour, exquisite home…

Cuban Friends

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I have a friend at my factory who is the son and son-in-law of Pentecostal pastors well known in the Cuban house church movement. He is an assistant pastor at a Kitchener Latin fellowship and he serves our company as a versatile metal worker.

The accent is distinctively "Desi Arnaz" and in a resonant low voice. The face is handsome and the eyes straight and clear. In his story he would relate that he gained permission to leave the island alone on a speaking tour through various American churches. He never went back home, but continued up to Canada, having friends and sponsors in the Latin community in Kitchener. His claim was one of refugee with a long story of the persecution which his family had experienced under the Castro regime for holding Christian services.

The house church under his father-in-law had gotten so productive, with several gatherings daily and all over the "house property", that the police resolved to shut him down for unauthorized assembly. He sh…

Too Many Chiefs

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I have been stewing over how to present this message - that there is an excessive tendency in the Church to promote "chiefs" with official ministry titles, according to their gifting. "Too many chiefs. Not enough Indians." This leads to spiritual pride and a tendency toward "Watch me now, watch me". I am reminded of the little girl getting her legs on the new two-wheeler bicycle, and seeking encouragement and applause from the family audience. I might get into the listing of spiritual gifts contained in Romans 12 and in First Corinthians 12. I might allude to the ministry inventories which I have seen pastors take up with their flock. "Where might you be gifted? How might the church call upon you? How should you develop this inner potential?"

But... the whole thing is not about self-actualization. It is about selfless service where needed in the life of the church family. And remember there is tremendous power vested by Christ in His Indians. (S…

Relationship in "The Shack"

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The Shack by William Paul Young is a publishing phenomenon. Topping its category on the New York Times Best-Seller List for months. Thrilling the churched and un-churched alike. Selling like hot-cakes in Gospel and secular bookstores.

But it was only intended as an attention-getting novella for some of the author's thoughts on faith to be preserved for his children.

The story traces a family who endure the anguish of a child abduction during a summer camping holiday. The daughter Missy is never found alive. An area-wide manhunt confirms that in her final hours she was held hostage in an old shack not far from the holiday resort.

Months pass and the father, Mackenzie Philip, "Mack" is having a crisis with God and all things noble, as he considers this senseless loss. A day's mail contains a card which says simply, "It's been a while. I've missed you. I'll be at the shack next weekend if you want to get together. signed Papa". This had always been hi…

Wasn't That a Service?

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(Older Woman to an acquaintance after service:)

Wasn’t that a service?
Didn’t praises ring?
Couldn’t miss the Spirit.
How that choir can sing!

Weren’t the children eager,
Coming at their time?
Marvel how that teacher
Keeps those kids in line!

Wasn’t that a challenge
For the mission field?
Have to raise the money
For a heathen yield!

Wasn’t that a sermon?
Could have raised the dead!
Have to get a copy.
Must know all he said.

Wasn’t that a prayer line?
Elders all in white.
When will Sister Sarah
Ever get her sight?

Wasn’t that a clear call
At the closing hour?
Preacher got three sinners ;
Fell beneath the power.

Really, dear, so quiet;
All’s not well with you?
Tell me, girl, your problem;
Quickly now, we’re through.”

(Younger Woman, thinking to herself:)

(Oh that I had someone
With the heart to show
How to keep my husband,
When he wants to go.

How my son is hurting,
Failing at his school.
Only needs some guidance.
Really, he’s no fool.

Landlord gave me notice.
Have to leave my flat.
Are the foreign missions
Only where it’s…

Idols. Watch Out!

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Exodus 32
"Make Gods for Us"
1 When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, "Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what's happened to him?"

2-4 So Aaron told them, "Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me." They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.

The people responded with enthusiasm: "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!"

5 Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.

(The Message)

We are all familiar with this kind of idol in primitive cultures. People make their god exactly as they wish. The prophet Isaiah saw this as ludicrous. He suggested that in e…

Bigger Medicine

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If possible get a copy of the book "Like a Mighty Wind" by Mel Tari local evangelist in East Timor in Indonesia during a time of exciting revival. The Spirit of God hit a little Presbyterian mission church in extraordinary manifestation.

On one evening the roof of the church appeared to be going up in flames. The volunteer fire fighters were called to bring things under control. But they could not fight this fire! It was not natural. It was a manifestation of the glory of God.

Attendance increased, as might have been expected, and people got serious about repentance, life change, hearing the scriptures and bringing in new babes in Christ. There were communion services where pots of water were turned into wine for sharing the remembrance of Him.

Neighbouring villages and islands were eager to be included, and itinerant evangelistic groups were organized and commissioned to go. Tales were told of tropical storms averted and crocodile streams cleared for the crossing.

One of these …

Declension

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He would stop me
By the Mall.
Excuse himself.
Ask for change.
Words came out awkwardly.
Almost shaven,
Hair curly, uncombed.
Usually sunny days.

As if seeing a friend,
He once more would
Expect a bit.
Damp morning, this one.
Did I catch a smirk?
Coin in hand, searching.
No longer any small talk.

Early winter wind.
Rushing to bookstore;
Almost tripped
Over him,
Crouching in the vestibule
By a warm vent.
Feigning guitar performance,
Two strings missing.

Heavy snows last night.
Grabbing java before work.
Heated conversation
Over my shoulder.
Turned...to him,
Alone and jabbering.
Cradling warm Tim's cup.
Mongrel dog leashed outside.

Happy to feel
First promise of spring.
But ruckus on the road;
Car horns blaring.
Straining to see
Scarecrow figure, spittled beard.
Pacing the white line.
Window to window.

The Outing

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It is a cooler
Late-summer Sunday,
When grand-daughter finally
Gets the time to take
Rose to the Park.

The two cross
The lawn slowly (walker included).
Shaded picnic tables
Invite to a comfortable
Vantage point.

Before arrival,
Half-dozen ducks
Amble toward them,
Chuttering welcome.
To Rose’s laughter and surprise.

Once seated,
Grand-daughter suggests
Cold drinks,
If that would be all right.
Leaving the elder, in broad sun- hat.

Five-year old blonde,
In long braids, crying
For lack of sandbox toys.
Soothed by Rose’s reassurance
And peppermints.

Young couple, bicycling
Along cinder path,
All smiles and small-talk.
Reminding her of John
In that first summer after the war.

Grand-daughter back
With refreshments.
Apologizes for the wait.
Rose gestures a “de nada”.
“It’s a good time for ice-cream line-ups.”

Distant, muted loud-speaker.
Rise and fall of children’s cheers.
Sunday-school picnic.
Cavalcade of colours - towels,
Marquis tent, sun-hats.

Grand-daughter feels no need
To struggle at conversation.
Rose’s eyes are every…

Sea-scapes First-hand

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Taken from the narrative poem "Dauber" by John Masefield:

He was the painter in that swift ship's crew,
Lampman and painter-tall, a slight-built man,
Young for his years, and not yet twenty-two;
Sickly, and not yet brown with the sea's tan.
Bullied and damned at since the voyage began,
"Being neither man nor seaman by his tally,"
He bunked with the idlers just abaft the galley.

His work began at five; he worked all day,
Keeping no watch and having all night in.
His work was what the mate might care to say;
He mixed red lead in many a bouilli tin;
His dungarees were smeared with paraffin.
"Go drown himself" his round-house mates advised him,
And all hands called him "Dauber" and despised him.

Si, the apprentice, stood beside the spar,
Stripped to the waist, a basin at his side,
Slushing his hands to get away the tar,
And then he washed himself and rinsed and dried;
Towelling his face, hair-towzelled, eager eyed,
He crossed the spar to Dauber, and there stood

Castle Living

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With the atmosphere of Glencoe weighing heavily on our Protestant consciences, Hilary and I drove north and east toward Fort William with the intention of stopping at Glengarry Castle near Invergarry for a stay.

My parents had alerted me to this opportunity. "A real castle, Doug, with the old stained beams, tapestries, stags heads on the wall, sword and shield regalia, the sense of tartan in everything." We couldn't resist the opportunity, and were met happily by the owner's black and white Scotch Terriers in the parking lot.

Beautiful room assigned with fascinating highland art on the walls and a large window overlooking a pasture of grazing cattle. Dinner, we were told, would be served at the ringing of the bell at 5:30. Nothing Holiday Innish about this! Beautiful dining room. Plaid everywhere. Dazzling white ironed and pleated table-cloths. A specific menu with "tonight's offerings". Courtesy and good cheer abounding. Tables were all small and intimat…

Brooding Glencoe

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Four months in the heavy winter of 1691. Four months in which to get the bothersome Jacobite highland chiefs to swear their unconditional allegiance to King William. The Stewart line must be kept away from Scotland.

In the halls of diplomacy and power under the new King from the continent, names such as Campbell, Hamilton, Dalrymple, Breadalbane, Livingstone and Stair saw here an opportunity to humble if not eliminate some old territorial enemies. Many stories had there been of farm raids and herd and flock rustlings.

One of the most despised of the chieftains in this political environment was Alexander Macdonald of Glencoe. Travel north-west from Glasgow and Loch Lomond toward Skye or Fort William and you will traverse his rugged estate.

Macdonald initially gave a show of resisting the order, but in the final days of 1691 capitulated and took a group of hardy men through blizzard conditions to Fort William to see Colonel Hill the Governor and take the oath. Reason appeared to have preva…

Up and Gone

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I dreamed of a City
Which had stretched
To the point of bursting.
Its new zones
Boasted two-by-four, truss,
Storm-pipe and cable.
Its old zones, their
High-rises and
Desperate renewal.
Smog, signs and noisemakers
Were everywhere.
Traffic constituted
The armoured blood
Of its arteries.
Milling crowds, the corpuscles.
Birds were not to be found.
They had left abruptly
For some remote wood-lots
And fields
Unsuitable for construction.
Few spoke of their
Departure.
Life was just too busy,
Scheduled, connected,
Multi-tasking.
But occasionally,
I made contact with
An old-timer,
In one of the sterile
Paving-stone parks.
His eyes would flash with glee
As he remembered the comic
Antics of the skipping sidewalk sparrow.
Beautiful purple of a
Grackle on freshly cut lawn.
Tapping of industrious downy
Woodpecker on the old oak.
White shower of
Pigeon wings at the
Civic fountain.
Crimson explosion of
Cardinal at top-of-tree,
Caroling with water-pipe
Clarity.
Scolding of blue-jay
In some territory dispute
With a squirrel.
Persistent gutturals
O…

The Night the Angels Sang

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Recently I posted a moose adventure experienced by our son. This sort of thing must run in the family.

Early in our marriage Hilary and I took a trip to Washington D.C., Richmond Va. and West Virginia. The road map showed a beautiful drive called the Skyline Drive Parkway on the Blue Ridge and overlooking the Shenandoah River valley to the west.

We had had a good dose of the big city, Lincoln Monument, Smithsonian, Capitol Hill, Supreme Court. Now it was time for some "Mountain Momma" greenery. The Parkway was about 120 miles long as I recall, but we were making poor time because of all the lookout stops. Breathtaking photo op's. Even hillbilly shacks down in the valley. At one stop a young college age lad was seated on the precarious stone wall playing his banjo - "Dueling Banjos" in fact.

Sunset painted a beautiful swath over the valley, and there we were, up a mountain, no accommodation in sight, getting groggy and "Deer Crossing" signs posted frequen…

Move In a Little Closer

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J.R. Miller D.D.
Come Ye Apart
August 14
Christ’s Special Friends

“Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John”

Matthew 17:1

These three disciples belonged to the inner circle of our Lord’s friends. There must have been something in them that peculiarly endeared them to Him. We know that Peter was a leader among the apostles, and also a bold confessor; that John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved;” and that James was the first of the band to die as a martyr. It is very encouraging to look at Peter who was admitted to such high privileges; a man with so many faults, who made so many mistakes, who even at the last shamefully denied Christ, and yet we remember that he was one of our Lord’s closest friends. It gives encouragement to us that, with all our faults, we may yet be very dear to Christ.

It does not seem so strange that John was allowed to enter the inner circle. His disposition was gentle and amiable, very much like the Master’s. Yet it is probable that John owed his sweetness and gentleness o…

Moose, Moose

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In the autumn rutting season they will challenge a transport truck and almost win. In the spring they will want to climb into your fishing boat and tip it, plunging you into deadly frigid waters. At any time of the year on northern highways they will go where they want and when they want.

I remember in August a few years back, taking our son Jordan to Confederation College (Aviation) in Thunder Bay. The highway warning signs for moose became increasingly alarming the farther north one got. Initially "Moose Warning"; then "No Night Driving"; and eventually "Hey Stupid, the Moose Up Here Can Kill"

Jordan would tell us in the following months how wonderful it was to see these enormous, free creatures from the air.

Fast forward to ten weeks ago. After stints at a northern fishing outpost (Ear Falls) and at a training academy for Chinese commercial pilots (Dunnville), Jordan accepted an appointment back at the college as an instructor. Bags were packed; Sunfire w…

Comfort of the Fields

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COMFORT OF THE FIELDS
Lampman, Archibald (1861-1899)


What would'st thou have for easement after grief,
When the rude world hath used thee with despite,
And care sits at thine elbow day and night,
Filching thy pleasures like a subtle thief?
To me, when life besets me in such wise,
'Tis sweetest to break forth, to drop the chain,
And grasp the freedom of this pleasant earth,
To roam in idleness and sober mirth,
Through summer airs and summer lands, and drain
The comfort of wide fields unto tired eyes.

By hills and waters, farms and solitudes,
To wander by the day with wilful feet;
Through fielded valleys wide with yellowing wheat;
Along gray roads that run between deep woods,
Murmurous and cool; through hallowed slopes of
pine,
Where the long daylight dreams, unpierced,
unstirred,
And only the rich-throated thrush is heard;
By lonely forest brooks that froth and shine
In bouldered crannies buried in the hills;
By broken beeches tangled with wild vine,
And log-strewn ri…