Sunday, July 08, 2007

Visitors and the new Greeter at Nazareth

Friday evening we picnicked with Pastor Stafford at Spring Lake Park in Lengby. His family is gone until Sunday evening. So our kids were disappointed that they couldn't play with Pr. Stafford's kids. But they had fun in the lake anyhow.

Saturday I held worship at Mt. Olive and Confirmation class. When I got home we were fixing up the house for our visitors. My grandparents and a cousin arrived around 2:30. We were trying to get the lawn done. I helped Grandpa set up their camper in the back yard. Pretty hot one today. In the evening, Louisa, Elsie, my cousin Amber, and I went fishing. We got a lot of bites, but mosquitoes don't count. As we were coming back we saw that one of the neighbors was celebrating Independence Day, so we got another nice show of fireworks.

Sunday I went off to St. Petri first.

Surprise, surprise! Doro (center) and her mother (left) were visiting Kelsey's (Kelsey on the right) family. Doro came as a foreign exchange student from Germany whom Kelsey's family hosted last year. Our family took Doro out to Denver a year ago last May so she could see a bit more of the U.S. Not only was the geographical experience new, but riding in a van with as many children as we have was also a new experience for her.

St. Petri is a long trip from Germany. It was nice to see Doro again and to meet her mother.

Second service was at Nazareth. From July to December Nazareth gets the 9:45 slot on the schedule.

We had a new greeter at Nazareth today. This Great Horned Owl was sitting at the end of the driveway, just looking at everyone who drove by. I walked out to it and didn't see any signs of blood or broken bones. It probably just didn't make it home last night.

As it was sitting there all squatted down, it was between 14 and 16 inches tall. I got within 4 feet of it and all it did was open its beak a bit. However, that beak looked really big and sharp. So I just said a few pleasant words, asked permission to take its photo and left it at that.

It was still there after church to bid everyone farewell.

Then it was off to Oak Park for the last service of the day.

There's a nice positioning of the Gospel lesson for today (Luke 5:1-11) after the last two weeks of Jesus confronting the Pharisees. Peter's reaction when he recognizes who it is that really is sitting in the boat with him tells us everything we need to know about how God's Law applies to us. His reaction to the presence of Christ contrasts sharply with the reactions of the Scribes and the Pharisees who sought both to show Jesus how good they were, and to discredit Jesus when He associated with sinners. And Christ's response to Peter tells us everything we need to know about how God's Gospel applies to us. Christ removes Peter's fear and chooses him to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah 16, Peter is now chosen to fish for the lost of the tribes of Israel. Yes, Peter's words about himself are true, he is unworthy. But Christ's words to Peter are also true, He has chosen Peter and does not regard Peter's sin any more. So also is God's Word applied to us. May we be as willing as Peter to recognize our own inadequacy and inability to please God, and may we also recognize the forgiving Words of our Savior that He applies to us in Word and Sacrament.

I was going to do a couple of visits this afternoon, but I had forgotten that I had pre-marital counseling scheduled for Knute and Angela. So I'll go out tomorrow to do the visits.

At supper time Grandpa, Grandma, Amber, and our family all packed up for a picnic supper at Spring Lake Park in Lengby.

This really is a nice place. It can get a little crowded and loud on hot days. But the city does a nice job keeping the park clean and safe. It's free. That means a lot to a family our size.

Here is Elsie jumping off the platform. Matt, Louisa, Elsie, and Clara all do this. Clara is doing a good job learning to swim.

Sophie, John, and Stella stayed close to shore.

They all love the water (even Jeremy, though he pretends not to). Stella has a fascination with finding rocks and sand and bringing them to mom as great treasures. She runs down to the water's edge, digs a bit, runs up to Mary and says, "Wok, Mama, Wok!" Mary takes the rock and says, "Thank you." Thus rewarded, Stella goes to find more treasure.

But she loves rolling in the water too. And the weather was nice and calm for swimming. A bit too calm though. The mosquitoes were out and hungry.

Another Owl note: On the way home I had to break fast for an oncoming animal. It was big, and nearly went through the windshield. Another owl. There are a lot of Owls and various raptors in our area.

One day there was this huge Bald Eagle, a young one because he was still mottled, but the tail and the head were mostly white. The thing is, this bird was standing over a carcass at the side of the road. I'm sure his head came up to the window on my escort. The descriptions say that they can be 37 inches tall from head to talons (yes, they have talons, Napoleon--see the bottom of this page if you doubt). Their wingspans can be 90 inches wide, that's almost 8 feet. So while I was tempted to try to stop and get a photo, I wasn't really ready to get out of the car and approach this bird. However, it flew off as I slowed down. It's wingspan looked to be as wide as my car windshield.

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