Thermometer showed 36 degrees when I got up. 36! In late April!!
At least it's above freezing -- area south of here, the area I lived in as a child, was getting frost warnings for last nigh. Not quite tropical.
But We hit the high 60's, which is a whole lot better. And nice blue skies as well, which is also nice.
Dear Wife, niece next door, Wife's sister (nieces mother) and wife's nephew's wife (nephew is wife's sister's son) planned a family get-together, here, today.
Wife had bought a pork roast to make smoked pulled pork, and a whole chicken to smoke. She concocted a "rub" for the pork, a Tennnessee-type sweet rub, which went into the rub Friday evening. So, yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, we fired up the smoker and put the pork butt in it. But by 7 p.m., it had died. Probably what had happened is that the bag of charcoal, never opened until yesterday but purchased last fall, had assimilated moisture over the winter. Result was that our plans changed. So. We hauled out both of the crock pots, cut the semi-smoked pork to fit, and put them on for the next 14 hours or so. Around 08:00 today, the chicken went into the oven, suitably doctored with some stuff (tech term there). I went off to church, she stayed home, hobbling around the kitchen heating beans, chopping a cabbage for cole slaw (and with a home made dressing).
I came home, helped do the fetch & carry stuff, the rest of the army showed, and we ate. A lot. Too much, probably.
May sound rather pedestrian. And it probably is. But recall that we lived the better part of a thousand miles away from her family for more than 20 years. Get-togethers like this, things that have a lot of meaning and importance for her, almost never happened. For more than 20 years. It was hard on her. Not what we planned, but simply the reality of our life.
So things like today have a lot of meaning for her.
Things were pretty low-key in church services this morning. This is a very small congregation, the pastor's son is a deacon and song leader, and HIS wife plays the piano. Normally. But her mother is living far from here, Arizona, and in her last days from cancer. So Kim is with her mother at hospice, leaving husband and kids here. He's working 12-hour shifts, six days more often than not, so just the orchestration of things is a challenge. And several of the members are elderly, or quite ill, or both. Several had messaged that they simply were not up to coming. So we had less than 40 in attendance. I've been in church choirs that had nearly that many female voices. But that's OK, Jesus had 12..
The Old Testament reading is chapters 10, 11, and 12 of 2nd Samuel.
David is, unfortunately, acting in at least some ways in a manner more expected in the pagan nations around. This is the story of David and Bathsheba and Uriah. David misused his power as king to satisfy his lust. That resulted in the death of Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, who so near as I can tell, was guilty of nothing. But died anyway. The lust led to a pregnancy and a baby. Who died, despite being utterly innocent. The Lord sent the prophet Nathan to lambaste him. And the warnings did come to pass. But we also see mention of a son of David and Bathsheba, name of Solomon. We'll see a good bit more of him.
And it came to pass after this, that the king of the children of Ammon died, and Hanun his son reigned in his stead.
Then said David, I will show kindness unto Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father showed kindness unto me. And David sent to comfort him by the hand of his servants for his father. And David's servants came into the land of the children of Ammon.
And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honor thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?
Wherefore Hanun took David's servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away.
When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.
And when the children of Ammon saw that they stank before David, the children of Ammon sent and hired the Syrians of Bethrehob and the Syrians of Zoba, twenty thousand footmen, and of king Maacah a thousand men, and of Ishtob twelve thousand men.
And when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.
And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.
When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:
And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon.
And he said, If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt help me: but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I will come and help thee.
Be of good courage, and let us play the men for our people, and for the cities of our God: and the LORD do that which seemeth him good.
And Joab drew nigh, and the people that were with him, unto the battle against the Syrians: and they fled before him.
And when the children of Ammon saw that the Syrians were fled, then fled they also before Abishai, and entered into the city. So Joab returned from the children of Ammon, and came to Jerusalem.
And when the Syrians saw that they were smitten before Israel, they gathered themselves together.
And Hadarezer sent, and brought out the Syrians that were beyond the river: and they came to Helam; and Shobach the captain of the host of Hadarezer went before them.
And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.
And the Syrians fled before Israel; and David slew the men of seven hundred chariots of the Syrians, and forty thousand horsemen, and smote Shobach the captain of their host, who died there.
And when all the kings that were servants to Hadarezer saw that they were smitten before Israel, they made peace with Israel, and served them. So the Syrians feared to help the children of Ammon any more.
And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.
And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house.
And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
And David sent to Joab, saying, Send me Uriah the Hittite. And Joab sent Uriah to David.
And when Uriah was come unto him, David demanded of him how Joab did, and how the people did, and how the war prospered.
And David said to Uriah, Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet. And Uriah departed out of the king's house, and there followed him a mess of meat from the king.
But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and went not down to his house.
And when they had told David, saying, Uriah went not down unto his house, David said unto Uriah, Camest thou not from thy journey? why then didst thou not go down unto thine house?
And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
And David said to Uriah, Tarry here to day also, and to morrow I will let thee depart. So Uriah abode in Jerusalem that day, and the morrow.
And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him; and he made him drunk: and at even he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but went not down to his house.
And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
And it came to pass, when Joab observed the city, that he assigned Uriah unto a place where he knew that valiant men were.
And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell some of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also.
Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war;
And charged the messenger, saying, When thou hast made an end of telling the matters of the war unto the king,
And if so be that the king's wrath arise, and he say unto thee, Wherefore approached ye so nigh unto the city when ye did fight? knew ye not that they would shoot from the wall?
Who smote Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall, that he died in Thebez? why went ye nigh the wall? then say thou, Thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
So the messenger went, and came and showed David all that Joab had sent him for.
And the messenger said unto David, Surely the men prevailed against us, and came out unto us into the field, and we were upon them even unto the entering of the gate.
And the shooters shot from off the wall upon thy servants; and some of the king's servants be dead, and thy servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.
Then David said unto the messenger, Thus shalt thou say unto Joab, Let not this thing displease thee, for the sword devoureth one as well as another: make thy battle more strong against the city, and overthrow it: and encourage thou him.
And when the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.
And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
And there came a traveler unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man's lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him.
And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD.
And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city.
And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters.
Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.
And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it, and took it.
And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones: and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoil of the city in great abundance.
And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.
The New Testament reading is verses 29-48 in Luke 19. The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This marks the beginning of what we call Holy Week.
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.
And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.
And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, The Lord hath need of him.
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,
And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.