As usually happens, the Sunday that daylight saving begins (meaning we get an hour less sleep that day) was also chock-a-block with things that we had to do and places we had to go.
It didn't help that I reset the time on my alarm clock but forgot to switch on the alarm. It took a while for the clock radio to wake me on Sunday morning, but we did get to church on time.
R1 was back from his month away, and gave as his first sermon "The Transforming Power of God". He examined some of the miracles in the New Testament and emphasised that we shouldn't expect miraculous things to happen on request, no matter what some over-zealous preachers might promise in their descriptions of worship.
A miracle is not just an event we can't explain by reason or logic - biblical miracles are extraordinary events designed to strike us as a demonstration of God's redemptive love.
Miracles, I understood from his sermon, are like punctuation marks in a paragraph. God uses them to draw our attention to the important parts of what he is saying to us.
People who pursue miracles as an end in themselves are missing the point. The vital thing about a biblical miracle is not the healing but the healer. What would have worried the establishment at the time was that these miracles were being performed in the name of Jesus Christ.
We can pray to God about our aches and pains, but the reason Jesus came was not to improve our everyday lives but to lead us to eternal life. Focus not on the miracle, we are told, but on the miracle-worker!
[further reading: see John 20:30 and Acts 3:1-10]
My sister and I had planned to have a quick lunch of coffee and sandwiches before taking off, but we stumbled over a group of Elders and their wives having a meal in the church hall before attending a meeting. So to our surprise we ended up having a full sit-down meal before feeding Julie's livestock.
Then on to Linmor Hall at the Collegiate School in the city to the annual Wurlitzer concert for Seniors Week, courtesy of the Theatre Organ Society. The organ was in fine form, and a variety of players took their seat at the console to regale us with a selection of show tunes and light classical.
(This is the sort of occasion where if somebody says "Here's something a bit more modern" it means they're going to play something from the last 40 years.)
After a quick stop for petrol, I let Julie take the wheel and we drove up into the hills under Mount Wellington to Jan's house at Ridgeway, high above the city and suburbs. Our mission there was to pick up a rooster who was otherwise going to end up on the chopping block.
Jan, who was suffering from a head cold, had tried to catch the hyper-active fowl, but he had easily fluttered past the piece of plastic with which she was trying to corral him. Julie being more clear-headed and much more experienced in the ways of the farmyard had a try and cornered him in the shed where she collared him without difficulty.
We popped him into a feed sack and I kept a tight grip on it all the way down to Julie's house. She released him into the fenced-in area we call the Poultry Plaza, where he was greeted without much enthusiasm by the other roosters.
I think it might be because he was fully grown that they saw him as a threat to the status quo. Mostly a new rooster takes a comparatively short period of time to find his place in the pecking order, but the arrival of this new boy definitely put their backs up. Julie spent quite a while supervising the barnyard, hoping they'd settle down eventually.
By the time we finished there, the sun was beginning to go down even with daylight saving! We drove back to my place and it was nearly 7:30 by the time we made a cup of tea and sat down. It seemed quite a while since we had left that morning.
"I've finished my book." Words to disturb any brother with an avid reader in the house. That means that I need to dig out another book from the thousands in the house for her delectation.
Any of you that have seen my home will think that is probably not a tall order, given the piles of reading matter in every room.
But I have to select something that suits her guidelines.
These ran something like this...
- ~no cruelty to animals
- ~no blasphemy
- ~moderation in bad language
- ~not too much violence
- ~fewer rather than more sex scenes
- ~absolutely no unhappy endings
- ~preferably a strongly plotted story
With these restrictions I usually end up giving her a vintage English whodunit or an old Robert Heinlein novel. She loves Agatha Christie and Edgar Wallace but will settle for Georgette Heyer or Dorothy L. Sayers.
I try to keep a few books stockpiled but it isn't always easy to keep ahead of someone who has been known to read a paperback in a single sitting.