Sunday, September 15, 2013

All That is Gold Does Not Glitter

I love it when ministers reference books I've read. Today we had a guest minister who referenced "The Riddle of Strider" poem in Lord of the Rings. I remember the last lines being recited in the movie as the sword for Aragorn is re-forged, but I did not remember the whole of it in the book.

The entire poem is
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
The minister used the second line as his sermon title, "Not all Those Who Wander are Lost," and talked about how it resounds as true not only of Strider, who the hobbits did not know would become king, but of Paul and of Jesus and of the church in the world. He brought up the way the church is not viewed in society as an authority and does not "hold sway" the way it did, at least more than now, in the past. So, in a way, the church, which is "gold" is not glittering, and people may think the church is lost because they do not recognize its power.

The verse that stood out for me in the Scripture reading was
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves... (Philippians 2:3)
I struggle with acting out this kind of humility sometimes. I don't think I'm conceited, in so far as bragging about myself or my accomplishments, although certainly that happens, too. It's more that, especially when I am in a group, I like to be heard. I like to get what *I* want to say out there. When I'm feeling that way, I'm not "valu[ing] others above [myself]," right? I'm going to pray, and try to remind myself of this and improve. I'll try to be the gold that does not glitter.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Beautiful Day at the Ocean

I had a beautiful day at the ocean today. I took myself to Capitola. I read recently that there are negative ions in the air around ocean waves, waterfalls, and rivers which, contrarily, make you feel refreshed and happier. No wonder I like it at those places! When I go to the ocean it makes me feel like it's "blowing the cobwebs" from my brain. And I've always liked staying by rivers. I thought it was the sound of water that I liked so much, which I do, but I bet those negative ions are having an effect, too.

There were more birds there this morning than I've ever seen. I wonder what attracted them. I had especially not seen so many pelicans in close proximity like that.

This looked like a pelican family to me.

I'm reading a book by Jane Goodall with a bunch of stories about groups of people trying to save different animals from extinction. One of the stories was about California condors and she talked about how at first she thought they were so unattractive, but she saw their beauty when they spread their huge wings and flew. I thought of that when I was watching the pelicans.

It was fun sitting on the pier and hearing the kids who were playing close in. Most of them had little boards and were trying to catch waves. Their squeals and screams and chatter were good to hear.

I sat and read -- re-read -- a British mystery, Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. A Lord Peter Wimsey book by the ocean. Very pleasant.

At one point the fog came in very quickly. It receded quickly soon after. I kept thinking of a line of a poem about fog coming in "on little cat feet." My mom put that poem up on our frig once. I seem to remember she put several poems up for a while, to try to make them familiar to us. What a good mom.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on. 

Carl Sandburg