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I knew there would be a lot to do today when I scheduled those three days off, Holy One. I was right. And it did make for a long day. Still, I’m glad I took those days off. And more than that, I’m grateful I have a job where I could just schedule the days off and where I have colleagues who can take care of what needs taking care of in my absence. And I’m grateful that my congregation trusts me with these things.

And, yes, there was lots to do today. And, yes, 5½ hours in Zoom meetings was a lot. And yet, so much of it was amazing. I was fed. I felt your presence. I recognized your Spirit at work. In so many way, thank you. Amen.

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Live Stream Bible Study - January 13, 2021

Live Stream Bible Study – January 13, 2021

2 Thessalonians 1:1-12


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Evening Prayer - 13 Jan 2021

The President of the United States is being held accountable for his actions of last week, and I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for it, Holy One, because I know that your reign includes a positive peace, a peace that comes with justice, and that a negative peace, a peace that is merely the absence of physical violence, is not enough for you. And so the impeachment that pass the House of Representative today is a good thing because it will help bring our nation closer to justice.

Perhaps it was appropriate that today was the first time that I saw one of the bald eagles who are hanging out not too far from my home. I only saw it from a distance, but I saw it—and it gave me hope. It didn’t do much beside watch the water, but it was there, surveying its surroundings—and it gave me hope.

Thank you for the promise of your reign of peace and justice. Thank you for the hope I still have that my nation can continue to move toward that promise. And thank you for the warm sun and the hope inspired by an eagle. Amen.

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Throw this together before work in your slow cooker, and come home to the smells of Thanksgiving! This could not be any easier. Just whip up a few side dishes and you’re set!

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Erntedankfest mit Apfel (Thanksgiving Day With Apple), 2005 by J.G.Wind

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I guess I hadn’t expected to enjoy quite so much that walk down memory lane. I hadn’t expected to enjoy taking words and ideas and memories and forming them into an essay. I hadn’t expected to feel like it was a day well spent. Thank you, Holy One, for the surprise gifts you bring to each day. Amen.

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I Despise the Turducken

Though the holiday season has long since passed, my hatred for a certain festive meal prevails. The culinary abomination that is the turducken originated in the United States, as all horrors do. I may be unqualified to speak on the turducken as I haven’t (and never plan on) experiencing it, but the mere thought of it fills me with such rage that simply can’t be ignored.

For those blessed with oblivion in regards to the turducken, allow me to tarnish the peace you may have once felt. Picture this: One plucked turkey, a Thanksgiving staple, and on its own perfectly enjoyable. But alas, all that is good must be ruined. In this case, with another variety of poultry: the duck. The unsuspecting turkey will soon find another bird stuffed where ‘the sun don’t shine’ as the saying goes. This process is referred to as ‘engastration’ which couldn’t sound less appealing if it tried. ‘Engastration’ is reminiscent of a medical procedure your doctor recommends after you eat gas station sushi. And, because this dish is of American origin, one cannot stop there- yet another bird is mercilessly shoved into the sorry asshole of the second. Traditionally, a chicken is subject to this miserable end. This grotesque Franken-bird is then finished off with some form of stuffing in its cracks and crevices, just in case the diner has yet to develop some form of organ failure. I can’t begin to comprehend how undignified this must be for both parties involved, fowl and person.

The monstrosity is then baked and served to the crude barbarians that enjoy it. 

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“Status of Premises Question For Court,” Toronto Star. October 18, 1937. Page 37.
Mixed Liquor Party Held in Indian School at Kettle Point

Sarnia, Oct. 18. - Action suggested by Magistrate C. S. Woodrow against 15 or more people who participated in a Thanksgiving party last Sunday night in the Kettle Point Indian schoolhouse, at which George Dill, teacher in the school, and president of the Teacher’s Association of Ontario Indian schools, allegedly was the host, is deferred pending a ruling of the department of Indian affairs whether the school is property to be regarded as Indian lands, Crown Attorney Harry M. Taylor, said here during the week-end.

In Forest police court on Friday, details of a party attended by a mixed party of both Indians and white people were revealed in court by witnesses in a complaint of assault made by Alfred Greenberg, resident of the reserve, against Herbert Wettlaufer of Stratford.

Magistrate Woodrow, in dismissing the assault charge, said while Greenberg as an individual had a right to investigate noises he heard in the school while returning from church; he had no right to seize a bottle of liquor he said he found in the schoolroom, and which he claimed he intended to take away as evidence for police.

At the same time the magistrate termed the party ‘disgraceful’ and ‘reprehensible’ because it was held in premises used for educating Indian children.

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Learning to Love

Chapter 154 Thanksgiving

“Okay guys. We have authorization. We will be heading out tomorrow night ” Marcus informs them.

“From the east or south?” Michael asks.

“From the south, from Yemen. This mission is totally black, beyond classified. We aren’t asking permission from Yemen or the Saudis.” They all nod in understanding. They will literally be going in under the radar. A dangerous mission just got a lot more so. They are attempting to enter a well guarded compound while avoiding Yemen and Saudi intervention, both coming and going. “So, go rest up guys. We meet here tomorrow at 1800.”

Amy looks up started when Willy walks in at noon that day. She sits in the kitchen feeding John Mark as he sat in his high chair. “Hello family ” he greets them.

“Da Da!” John Mark calls out.

“Hi sweet boy. Are you enjoying those peas?” He asks his five month old son. “Hi Amy darling.”

“Hi. It isn’t a good sign that you are home this early, is it?”

“No. We are leaving out tomorrow night.”

“Oh.” She continues to feed the baby.

“Sorry baby.”

“No. It is okay. The sooner y'all, the sooner you will be back. You make the world safer.”

“Yes.” He takes a seat beside her and takes over the feeding of his son.

“Hello Grace.” Daniel calls out when he walks in the door. Grace walks out of the kitchen where she had been making pies.

“Hello Daniel. You are home early.”

“Yes. You won’t like the reason.” He quickly informs her. He takes her hands. “We are going in tomorrow night.”

“Oh, well we thought this was a possibility.” She bravery says.

“Yes. I just hate to be leaving the day before Thanksgiving.”

“Yes. But it is your job. I am glad the person behind the attacks us going to receive justice.”

“Me too.” His tone and look is furious.

They spend the night and the next day making as much memories as they can. Daniel helps Grace finishing making up the pies. They spend the night making love, sleeping tight together between. The next day, Daniel and Willy join their wife’s in serving an early Thanksgiving to the homeless.

They are ready when it is time to meet up with the others that night.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” Amy asks Grace later that night.

“Yes, I think so.” The wives are all gathering with their children at Carla and Jóse’s house for a family Thanksgiving.

“I am glad we are doing this. It will be nice to have support.” Amy adds as she rocks a sleepy John Mark.

“Me too. It is hard enough not knowing where they are but,” she doesn’t have to say more. Amy knows she is approaching the part of her pregnancy where she lost Patrick. That, and being over a holiday, makes his absence feel acute. Amy lays John Mark down and hugs her friend close.

“I know it is hard. I am listening if you need to talk.”

“Thank you Amy.”

“Okay Team. We are going in with Six.. Going in black, flying in under the radar. The drop zone is five clinks away. The mission objective is to take him alive but that is secondary to stopping him. We are also after any and all intel he has. We know their are others with him but we don’t know their make-up, whether they are MAM or women and children or a combination. We will try to prevent civilian casualties but the mission takes priority.”

His Team is pumped ready to go in and deal with the man that is responsible for the attack on their families.

“Okay gentleman. Gear up.”

Amy and Grace are up at 0500 Thanksgiving morning to start cooking. Of the six wives, three are making turkeys and three hand. They are also preparing at least two family favorites. This will offer a lot of variety as well as plenty of leftovers for their warriors when they return for a delayed Thanksgiving.

“Should I put pineapple on this ham?” Amy asks Grace as they work in her kitchen.

“I would.” Grace already had the turkey in the oven, at her house next door and had came over to help Amy. She is making the ham and also has sweet potatoes ready to go in.

“Okay, I will.” They both hear, ‘ma'ma!’ coming from the nursery.

“I got him.” Grace offers, knowing Amy’s hands are sticky. She finds John Mark laying on his back playing with his toes. “Well good morning little man and Happy Thanksgiving. His cries of 'ma'ma increase at the sight of his Aunt Grace. She lifts him up and carries him over to the changing table.

When she has diaper changed, she carries him back into the kitchen. Amy already had a bottle made. Grace takes it from her and sits down to give it to him. She watches him take it with a grin. She can’t help imagine feeding her own child four months from then. "God willing.” She adds in her head.

Both Teams sit silent in the Chinook helicopter that will be dropping them at the landing zone. They are thinking of their families, preparing for Thanksgiving without them, of his thankful they are that they are able to celebrate, that the scenes and plans of the man they are after, hadn’t been successful, and, of course, of the mission. Each privately going over their individual mission. Rehearsing their duties in their heads.

“Ten minutes to the drop site.” They hear in the ear mike’s. To a man, they are switch completely over to mission readiness.

By 0900, both the ham and and turkey are done. Amy has her mom"s recipe for sweet potatoes in the oven as Grace has pies warning in her own oven. Amy dresses John Mark in jeans and a sweater.

“He looks like such a big boy.” A charmed Grace says. They take a ton of pictures to show his dad and uncle when they return.

The Teams line up, ready to jump in a minute when the helicopter reaches the drop site. They are dressed to blend in with the night, head to toe in black. They carry weapons, medic kits, communication equipment. They will be landing, guns hot, unsure of what they will encounter.

They insert silent and deadly on 'allied land.’ A land that is sheltering the mastermind behind four terrorist attacks. It mattered not to any of them what the politicians say. They that fight on the tip of the spear know who their real friends and real enemies are. Not one has lost sleep over the black ops on friendly ground.

Michael, followed by Willy, take point for Team Two as does the spotter and sniper for Team Six. They move silent and almost invisible through the night, five clicks to the component.

Amy and Grace load up the food and baby, with his gear, into the mini-van and drive towards Carla’s house. “I know you aren’t getting an ultrasound to determine gender but do you have an idea, one way or the other?” Amy asks Grace as they drive towards Carla’s.

“Each day I think differently. I do have names.”

“Will you tell me?”

“Of course. Judah Ethan or Judith Erin.”

“Beautiful and unique. I love them.”

They pull up to Carla’s where they are greeted warmly as the wives help them get the food and John Mark in. Carla has playpens set up for the babies and videos set up for the older children. It keeps them entertained until dinner was ready.

As their wives and children prepare for Thanksgiving, their men approach the component. It is 0200 the next morning. Danial and Jesse, the tech guy from Six, approach first. They are shadowed by the snipers and spotters.

They are looking for bombs and other traps. Having an idea where their prey is, helps. But they are also trying to get a measure of where the other residents are and who they are.

Jesse and Daniel split, heading left and right as they approach. Communication equipment is put into place and they continue on. By the time the circuit is complete, they are already getting data.

Their families are going around the table stating what they are thankful for.

“People in the first two floors. All seem to be in burkas but doesn’t mean there isn’t MAM hiding amoung them. No sign of our quary.” Daniel reports. “A mixture of folks. Most asleep but some very awake and aware ”

“Good job Chief. How do you wish to approach this Rocky?” Jonathan, 'Rocky’, Callahan, is head of Team Six.

“We need to secure the civilians, search out any hidden MAM and find Ibrian. Since some seem up and alert, they know we are here. So, I suggest we fast robe in from the top and you guys follow through the front door. Fast and hard.” There are nods all around.

Willy takes point for Two and they are soon kicking doors in, flash bang grenades tossed ahead.

“Please pass the turkey.” Matthew, Marcus and Tonya"s eldest asks. They have been eating for thirty minutes and the table is full of stuffed children and good conversation. Grace loves that these wonderful people will be a part of her child’s life.

Daniel and the rest of the Team enter the first house and split right and left. Every piece of furniture is scanned, every curtain. They miss nothing.

“Clear,” echoes around them.

Willy takes point again as does John. They enter the next room at the same time. Willy lifts his hand to lop a flash bang grenade when he feels a pain in his upper shoulder.

“Down Tex!” Michael orders. He drops without thought. Michael takes out the shooter with a clear shot. It takes Willy a second to realize he has been shot. Liam drops beside him and starts to treat him after moving him into a sheltered place.

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