Good/bad. We're now more than halfway through May, which is my favorite month of the entire year. Should be nice weather today, at least I hope so. But yesterday, the 15th of May, we woke to a nice toasty 38° of "global warming". Parts of New Hampshire had more than a foot of snow over the weekend. More "global warming" I guess. And snow storms in places like Nevada.
So I woke to a whole 40° this morning, but expecting 81° later, and 87° tomorrow. Finally!
I haven't been giving a "song of the day" the last few postings. Apologies. I went looking for one yesterday that had been in my mind, "In Times Like These", which seems appropriate anyway, but which had been in mind.
But in looking around, I found a link to a group of a capella hymns, which includes that one and several other favorites. And a few that I hadn't recalled. Worthwhile. Better to fill our minds and hearts with such, rather than the "stuff" that seems to invade our attention and fill up the moments.
Our Old Testament reading is chapters 15, 16, and 17 of 2nd Kings. More of the same degeneration of the nation and culture.
A word about the references to the "high places". The Lord had given very explicit instructions as to the nature and location of worship. In Jerusalem, only. At the Temple, only. By the priests, only. In certain times and patterns, only. And, most of all, of Him, only.
But that wasn't being obeyed. Some of these references to "high places" were for the worship of the false gods that were part of the surrounding cultures. The bowing to Ba'al, or Asherah, or golden calves, or even burning their own first-born sons in homage to Moloch. Rites involving priestesses as prostitutes. Or male sodomites. The "high places" might be on hills or mountains. They might be on built-up stages or platforms. They might be in groves dedicated to some false god. Or some combinations.
And this had been going on for some time, even during the reigns of the "good" kings, ones who didn't personally bow down to Ba'al or Asherah or whatever. It had taken hold in the culture. Yes, the culture matters.
And the kings were either participating, or unable (or unwilling) to stamp it out. Allowing it to spread further. "Tolerance" perhaps. Sound familiar?
And even the "good" kings didn't do a very good job of passing that down to their successors.
II Kings 16
II Kings 17
Our New Testament reading today is verses 1-21 in Luke chapter 6. This is the account of the feeding of the five thousand. Note, please, that this was a count of the five thousand men, which does not include the women and children who must have been present in some number.
And note as well the passing reference to the place. Jesus "went over the sea of Galillee". He was coming from Jerusalem, not a trivial thing in those days, or today for that matter, despite good roads and motorized transport. They were going on foot, certainly a journey of several days. So He meant to be there, it wasn't just a quick stop along the highway. It was a destination all by itself.
The precise location has been a matter of controversy for centuries. We don't know for certain, but there are arguments for thinking it was Bethsaida Galillee. One discussion of the issue can be found here.
This is also an account of Jesus walking on the water. Quite a day for those with Him!