Scour your closets, donate your Abercrombie & Fitch clothing to the homeless
It just doesn’t make sense. It goes against everything we think we know. If someone hits you on the cheek, turn the other one to be hit, too? If someone robs you, don’t go looking for your stolen goods? If someone asks you for something, give it to them, and more?
And, for me, the one that convicts me -
30Give to everyone who begs from you;
We have always worked hard and saved hard for what we want. How to know who is conning when he begs, and who is genuinely in need? Jesus says it doesn’t matter – give.
27 ‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’
From today’s Lectionary reading, the Gospel:
GOSPEL: Luke 15: 1 – 3, 11b – 32 (RCL)
Luke 15: 1 – 3, 11 – 32 (Roman Catholic)
Luke 15:1 (NRSV) Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Phar’isees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 So he told them this parable:
11 Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living.
14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything.
17 But when he came to himself he said, “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.” ‘
20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe–the best one–and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.
25 “Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the slaves and asked what was going on. 27 He replied, “Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got him back safe and sound.’
28 Then he became angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. 29 But he answered his father, “Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’
31 Then the father said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’”
Sometimes people will leave off the part about the elder son, and just concentrate on the return of the younger son, focusing on the father watching always, hoping for the return of the younger son, ready to forgive and welcome before the words can even get out of the younger son’s mouth.
It is wonderful, and reassuring, for those of us sinners.
Many, however – including me – can also identify with the oldest son who says “I’ve always done everything right and you’ve NEVER given me a tiny goat, much less a fatted calf, and you’re throwing this party for the son who blew his entire fortune on louche living???”
It doesn’t seem fair, does it? Isn’t that really the point of the story, that we can’t behave our way into heaven, it is sheer grace, the love of the heavenly creator, that allows us in? It’s not an easy concept to wrap my mind around, so today I struggle to take it in, and I give thanks for Father Neil who tackles the hard questions and doesn’t just sweep them under the carpet because they are inconvenient. (The sermon isn’t up yet, but when it is available, you will find it here)
More people attending the Preview, more tickets sold, more people buying up antique linens, jewelry and silver . . . I think we’ve turned a corner on the economy. People seem to be feeling more optimistic, seem to be less concerned about buying a small luxury I never see any pearling boxes, or Arabic calligraphy . . .
Christ Church has sponsored this Antique Fair for 56 years now; it is well-respected and well-attended by antique-loving Pensacolians. It raises a majority of the money the church uses to support charities in the communities, and all the labor is lovingly performed by the Episcopal Church Women, who toil and prepare for this event for months. It is open today (Saturday) until five, and from 11 – 3 on Sunday, February 3rd. Admission is $7.
Yesterday, AdventureMan was on an adventure, but I knew there might be an opportunity to grab lunch with him ‘downtown’ so I suggested we try Carmen’s Lunch Bar, which has only been open four months. When I got there, it was full – inside and outside – but an ideal location opened moments later – we were in luck! I ordered a Cranberry Orange Iced Tea, just what the doctor ordered for the remnants of a bad cold still lingering, and shortly AdventureMan arrived, then another, and then two more – we couldn’t all eat together, but we found spaces for groups of two and three, oh what fun. (You can see more photos and take a look at the menu by clicking on the blue hypertext above.)
Here is how to find Carmen’s – next to the Bodacious Olive. There is seating at a large bar inside, against the window and at three or four tables outside:
In my group, we all ordered the North Carolina BBQ plate, which came with potato salad and cole slaw – all good. I loved the sauce, which had candied orange peel in it, piquant and tasty:
It’s not a large restaurant, but it has a happy buzz about it. It’s a mix, the downtown business crowd and locals dropping by for a good lunch and a good chat. They don’t rush you. The menu is concise, but offers an intriguing variety – you can’t go once, you have to go back and try those Moroccan vegetables, say, or the Chicken Tikka Masala. I’m intrigued by the Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs.
I even found a free parking spot, away from the nasty downtown ‘improvement’ board spots where you now have to pay for parking, not far away. There are also parking places behind the Bodacious Olive, which shares space with Carmen’s.
The story behind Carmen’s is also interesting. There is a couple in Pensacola, Quint and Rishy Studer, who worked hard and made a lot of money, which they are now using to benefit Pensacola. Carmen’s resulted from a contest; over 100 people submitted business plans to have this spot, Mari Josephs won. I am guessing some of the close runner ups will be featured at the Al Fresco lot nearby where airstreams are showing up with fun names, including Jerry’s Cajun, which a lot of people have missed greatly since it closed.
If you look at the photo of the exterior tables (above) you will see another building the Studers have bought and are renovating; I can’t wait to see what this building becomes. AdventureMan asked what I would do and I told him I would make two condos on the upper level, perfect for Pensacola as long as downtown remains sleepy once the sun goes down except for Gallery Night. Other than that, just a parade now and then, otherwise, fairly quiet and great location with one of those old Spanish balconies overlooking the street. What’s not to love?
Fresh from the Pensacola News Journal Page:
Wow. Wow. Wow.
A $5 million pledge by Quint and Rishy Studer has kick-started a drive to build a new downtown Pensacola YMCA on a waterfront site at Community Maritime Park.
Studer said this afternoon he is interested in seeing a new YMCA downtown because of the positive impact it can have on children and adults, on community health and on residential development in the downtown area.
Studer said his pledge is contingent on the YMCA being located on a waterfront site at the southwest corner of the park, and that the project move forward at a rapid pace.
“We told them (the YMCA board) if they are serious, this has to move quickly,” Studer said. “Emotionally, Rishy and I can’t take another long, drawn-out things like with the stadium. We can’t take getting beat up again.”
Studer said the YMCA project, tentatively estimated at about $10 million, would be an excellent fit for the Maritime Park.
“There is a vacant piece of property there and either there’s going to be nothing on it, or a private developer will build something, or there can be a YMCA there.”
Brian Hooper, chair of Mayor Ashton Hayward’s Urban Development Advisory Committee, said a new YMCA in the downtown area was a key recommendation of the report released last month.
“One of the most common suggestions we heard from the public was the strong desire to see a family-oriented community center downtown,” Hooper said. “As our final report recommended, a new YMCA in downtown Pensacola would provide those who live and work in the community with a centrally-located hub for recreation, wellness, learning, and community. And I’m excited to see that many of our recommendations — such as this one — are already being acted upon.”
In addition to Studer’s pledge, community benefactor Terri Levin said she is co-chairing the YMCA fundraising committee.
Levin also said she will be making a dollar pledge to the project but has not yet decided the amount.
Pensacola developer Eric Nickelsen and real estate developer Joe Buehler are co-chairing the steering committee.
Nickelsen said the 10-person, all-volunteer YMCA steering committee, which includes former Mayor Mike Wiggins and former Pensacola City Councilman Ron Townsend, is meeting later this month to recommend a site to the Y’s board of directors. It’s
expected the recommended site will be the CMPA’s waterfront parcel.
Nickelsen said the YMCA project is in the early stages of development, but has considerable momentum.
“Apparently there is good feeling among our committee members that we can be successful in our fund raising campaign,” Nickelsen said.
When I was living in Kuwait, and my son married, one of my new daughter-in-law’s aunts sent me pecans from Texas. She didn’t just send me a pound or two, she sent like 15 pounds of pecans! It was a wondrous gift, and oh, we had pecan muffins, pecan date pies, pecans in everything. Pecans in Kuwait cost dear, you can’t imagine, and these pecans were TASTY, so so good. She tells me it is because they are from Texas, where everything tastes better.
At Thanksgiving, she gave me a HUGE bag of pecan meats.
“I want you to have pecans from TEXAS!” she told me. Her car was packed with sweet gifts for all her nieces and nephews and all the little ones related to her in any remote way. It’s just the way she is. She can’t help it, she is wired to be loving and generous.
AR, I am so thankful you are in my life! I am enjoying every cup of pecans I use, and although I have used a lot, there are so many pecans left it is like I haven’t used any! You are so generous, and I am enjoying your pecans so much! All of Pensacola is enjoying your pecans!