Saturday, June 23, 2018

Brighten the corner where you are!

Brighten The Corner Where You Are

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!

Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.

Ina D. Ogden 1913

Maybe it is because I am 73 that I reminisce more than I have when younger but I fondly remember my Sunday School days with the instruction with the teacher using felt board bible figures. There was also lots of singing. The songs were simple, easy to learn and sing and full of truth.

It is also easy as I age to become more of a crabapple. It seems like the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It it all too easy to become hyper-reflective, preoccupied with myself and critical of others.

What will one more letter to the editor do other than scold scofflaws who probably don't read the paper anyway? What can I possibly do to improve things? 

What better advice can one reflect on than to "Brighten The Corner Where You Are"? We are urged to act now, not wait. We are urged to think of others instead of ourselves. Maybe our lasting legacy will be helping only one person. In reflecting the life of Christ, we are offering hope to those who are lost.

I am persuaded that when we focus on brightening the corner where we are, God will attract those in darkness to our small corner of existence. Help my light so to shine Lord. Amen


Friday, June 22, 2018

Bishop’s Note: June 22, 2018 – GAFCON Update #2

Plenary Session

Today’s Plenary was led by The Rev Canon David Short, of the Anglican Network in Canada. Rev Short delivered a bible soaked message, reminding us that God’s strategy is a strategy of salvation, and that, “The church is both the goal and the agent of God’s strategy”. To view the entire talk click on the link below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

God's Consolations

Fr. Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Dale At Millerton Lake Near Fresno CA

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19)
         The past year has been personally difficult for me. The problems are mostly age-related illnesses that are chronic. They create physical discomfort, a loss of confidence and self-efficacy, uncertainty about the future and a general malaise. This is not a situation unique to me but common to folks in the last stage of life.
         But God continues to offer consolations. The 2017-2018 season offered the most opportunities to view and photograph eagles in general and Golden Eagles in Particular. Last year at this time, I had given up trying to get any photos of Goldens. I had done considerable hiking to this end with no good result not even sightings.
         This year, I had a new model camera and telephoto lens that were not even yet available last year. This year, I had new leads on possible locations to look. My own photography skills improved also.
         After discovering the Golden Eagle nest, I returned 24 times over the span of 4.5 months. It was an even bigger thrill to see a 3rd chick appear after three weeks of watching 2 chicks. At first I thought it was a runt that I had missed seeing in the nest. As it turned out the third chick developed into a hawk. How the hawk got into the nest is a mystery. It is the first recored account of Golden Eagles raising a hawk to fledge. About 20 days after the hawk fledged, the eagle nestlings also fledged.

It was a two-mile round-trip hike with about 800’ of gain overall. Thus, this adventure involved nearly 50 miles of hiking with 20,000’ of climbing. I also had a mile round trip on six occasions on the other side of the lake for distant photos. I wore a heart rate monitor and my cardiologist would not have been pleased had he known how far above his recommended maximum my heart rate went.
         I was of necessity secretive about the nest location for I did not want hordes of folks heading up there which may have resulted in the adults abandoning the nest. Two bald eagle nests at Millerton Lake were abandoned this year for unknown reasons.
         The adults only came to the nest once while I was at the view site and I tried to keep my visits short and infrequent knowing that I might be disturbing the feeding and care of the chicks while there.
         I can say that I prayed often for the chicks in general and the hawk in particular. One cannot observe wildlife for any period of time without being drawn into their story and the attendant drama. Just as the hawk was an adopted member, I became ‘extended family’. While the adults were not pleased, the chicks did not seem to be bothered, only curious.
          With eagles, it is impossible to observe them without them seeing you also. Even on the other side of Millerton Lake, I could see them looking at me in my Camo, as I viewed them through my telephoto lens or binoculars.
         This was quite a process viewing these tiny snow-white chicks develop into huge dark raptors. During this time, I collected over 50 Gigs of photographs and video. They became the second largest wildlife quest I have ever engaged in. I put together a YouTube video called “Golden Eagles Raise A Hawk”.
Photographing and filming the endangered Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep was an even bigger project which became another consolation from God. I hiked many miles across the Sierra Crest and over high passes to no avail only to walk up a trail near Lone Pine Peak one day and stand within 75’ of a group that allowed me to photograph them until I could no longer hold up my camera and lens.
One thing that I continually considered was the ethics of observation. How frequently and how close was too frequent and too close. These birds and sheep cannot fill out a consent form so it is up to the observer to exercise caution to avoid observation becoming intrusion. On one occasion, I was watching the adult on the eggs and the bird flew off. It was a cool day and I immediately left out of concern for the viability of the eggs.
I want to thank God first of all for this opportunity and privilege. I also want to thank my wife Sharon who encouraged and sometimes accompanied me to the nest view site. Finally, I want to thank Mike Smith the resident Millerton Lake eagle expert and eagle boat tour docent who gave me both guidance and cautionary advice. I am also glad we had an opportunity to hike together to the view site on one occasion.
I am also happy that I could share this experience with so many others via my Mid Sierra Musings blog, the YouTube Video and the California Fish and Wildlife Facebook page. I now wish to share this story with my Soundings followers.
May God bless you.

Adult Golden Eagle With Eagle Chicks On Left and Hawk Also Raised By The Eagles Perched On Right

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bishop’s Note: June 14, 2018 – GAFCON Update

Bishop Menees is traveling for GAFCON, so the Bishop’s Notes during his travel will be updates related to GAFCON, starting with the following bidding for prayer!

guarding and proclaiming the unchanging truth in a changing world

As delegates begin to gather in Jerusalem for the 2018 Gafcon Conference, please pray for them.

Keep in mind that this opportunity comes only once every five years. So it is crucial that each person leaves the conference with the resources that will enable them to spread uncompromised biblical truth with those around them.

Many are more or less standing alone against the voices of secularism, and they need the encouragement they will receive from this supportive, well-informed and powerfully encouraging group.

Our deep desire is to see the Anglican Communion change from within. So pray with us for a unified Church, just as Jesus did...

“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21).

Thank you for praying that God will bring about true unity, not compromise – as we continue to uphold the unchanging, biblical truth.
May God bless you!

Dr Peter Jensen

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Bishop’s Note: June 7, 2018 – Jerusalem Declaration- Part 2

Bishop Eric Menees

Last week’s Bishop’s Note introduced the Diocese to the Jerusalem Declaration, written at the First Global Anglican Futures Conference in 2008. I promised in that Note that I would dedicate the next several Bishop’s Notes to unpacking this historic document. This is especially poignant as I prepare to head off for GAFCON 2018.

The preamble to the Jerusalem Declaration:

In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth. We express or loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus. We joyfully embrace His command to proclaim the reality of His kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all. In light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican Identity.

First, the Jerusalem Declaration begins by naming the God we believe in and serve: “In the name of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.” Recently we celebrated the feast of the Holy Trinity, and throughout the Diocese I’m sure that the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” was sung. This old hymn proudly proclaims, “God in three persons, blessed trinity.” This hymn states our belief in the Trinity - namely our belief that God is one God in three Persons. Throughout the scripture God reveals himself:

God made himself known through his Son, who saves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The true nature of the Father was made known Jesus said to him,  ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’” (John 14:9)in the son. “
The Holy Spirit reveals to us both the Father and the Son. “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

Belief in the Trinity is a fundamental aspect to
“Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.” our faith as Anglican Christians. We regularly respond to the psalms by stating,

Second, “[w]e the participants in the Global Anglican Future Conference, have met in the land of Jesus’ birth.” It is significant that GAFCON was born in Jerusalem, the birthplace of our Lord, the place where he lived, taught, served, suffered, died, rose from death, and ascended into heaven. It is significant that GAFCON 2018 returns to Jerusalem with 2000 participants representing 50,000,000 Anglican Christians around the world.

Third, “[w]e express or loyalty as disciples to the King of kings, the Lord Jesus.” As Anglican Christians, we are under the authority of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords; this is how Jesus appears in the Book of Revelation: “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:16)

Fourth, “[w]e joyfully embrace His command to proclaim the reality of His kingdom which he first announced in this land. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news of salvation, liberation and transformation for all.” We cannot open an internet browser, turn on the TV, or listen to the radio without learning of “bad news;” the consequences of sin and disobedience. The good news of Jesus Christ is the only truly GOOD news. That Jesus paid the price for all of us who receive him as Savior by receiving the death that we deserve. Instead, when we believe in Jesus we are adopted as his sons and daughters and heirs! “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” (John 1:12)

Fifth, “[i]n light of the above, we agree to chart a way forward together that promotes and protects the biblical gospel and mission to the world, solemnly declaring the following tenets of orthodoxy which underpin our Anglican Identity.” The path forward became clear – to unite in a common belief in the authority of scripture, the authority of creeds, and a common Anglican identity.

Next week we’ll begin looking at the individual points of the Jerusalem Declaration!

I pray you all a blessed week!