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Issue 017

Mad Mondays Issue 017
Pagan Moontide of Aphrodite 27, Anno Domini 2020

Easter 3: Between a Rock and No Rocks

"Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you." Psalm  116

Death is Swallowed Up in Victory

Over centuries, the Japanese have organically developed a system of massive stones set to mark the height water lines of past known tsunamis. (1)

Some look built by rich men, with carvings and calligraphy to tickle your minimalist Asiatic-pining heartstrings. Others look as if the men were just thankful to get the blasted things moved to the spot without the aid of electricity. 

All of them will almost undoubtedly be there long after you die. 

And after the Portland Trailblazers win their next championship.

And after Twitter files for bankruptcy and has its global network gobbled up by predators in the year 2342.

And after Joe the Conqueror gets to see what is really in Fort Knox in the year 2783.

And after the first Lutheran Mass completes its holy benedictions on Mars in 3176 (just twenty years after everyone else).

But this is to say whatever else may transpire between now and then, there is a quality chance that those stones will still be standing to see the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Generally, the same cannot be said of…

  • your family’s last name (You, too, Smith, you cocksure mutton mouth!);
  • the popularity of your first name as a new name for children in a few generations;
  • huge stone cathedrals built specifically to last until Jesus comes back;
  • your local church always being there to go to on the Lord’s Day.

But if your local church is going to meet together every week until Jesus come back, it will be because right now you are using the opportunity of a worldwide, viral, critical, economic and existential tsunami of pandemic, panic and Purell, to do four things together.

  1. Push pause on the endless dubstep remix of Crazy Train that has inserted itself where your life used to be.
  2. Go find the watermark stones that God put there.
  3. Don't move them.
  4. Make damned sure no one gets a hankering to move them.

The wisdom of the Japanese on this matter is critical. If you are going to devote your life to anything, what could ever be more compelling than learning to see and achieve such things? Pebbles alone are carried off at whim, and what is a statue but the vainest paperweight. But to set before men such good works as can serve them both today and one thousand years from now?

This would be the sweetest success, and all the more sweet for the dream begun and the end left entirely in the hands of the God of history. 

For, there are also other things. The great work and true stones are more weighty and real than even boulders. Indeed, should the whole planet give way, these watermarks shall not be moved. (Hence, the need for the Lord’s Supper on Mars on both counts...) 

But better still than seeing what I did there is what follows here:

The good man says, "Find the need for stones today, and fill it with your efforts and hopes." 

But the wise man shows you a better way still, "Find the stones that have been left from those who came before, and trust them to know a thing or two more than you do."

Especially when the guy who healed leprosy with a touch of the finger put them there for you.

Be strong, and let your hearts take courage,

Wait for the Lord,
Rev. Fisk

(1) Hat Tip: Wired Magazine, What We Leave Behind, Paul Ford, May 2020.

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

The 'we're playing the long game' edition of

Clickbait Paradise

A journey of a thousand steps...

..begins with a whole lot of arguing. It is understandable, if witnessing the endless crossfire between those who wish to reopen the country and those who want to wait causes you to glaze over. From the pearl clutching to the finger wagging, it would seem the thinking about how and when is just as confusing to the average Joe as all things coronavirus have been so far. While the federal government has taken considerable heat for planning to reopen the country, it has largely kicked the can to the states, who are in various degrees of lockdown/freedom, depending on what each governor decides

Rev. Fisk has informed us that his state of Illinois will continue shelter-in-place orders until the end of May. Will there be an economy left? One model out of Harvard University, suggests that intermittent social distancing might be necessary until 2022. The cloud of uncertainty hanging over the future seems to have brought out everyone’s inner-legalist and although many stores deemed essential are patronized by big groups of people, churches are still receiving flak for any form of physical meeting, even being ratted out by their own members

But in many places, it looks like the American people, whether out of desperation or boredom, have decided to return, even a little, to their pre-corona activities. In Wisconsin, police were called to a socially-distanced game of pickleball and in California, where a skate park was covered with sand to prevent people gathering, dirt bike riders made the most of it.

It turns out the first deaths in the USA from COVID-19 were actually in early February in California, not late February in Washington as previously thought. This may have implications for tracking the origins and spread of the virus. A study out of China has found there might be 30 mutations of this virus.

It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel [insert emoji]

Not everyone is enjoying their corona-cation - living through a ‘once in a lifetime’ event is not all its cracked up to be with Bloomberg reporting that people are working longer hours and are tired and stressed. Even with more productivity apps and sanity-saving online entertainment than ever, the Utopian vision of the Silicon Valley giants to automate everyone’s lives and engineer world peace through inter-connectedness has not materialized. 

Despite our increased time at home and also online, reports of loneliness and ’Zoom fatigue’ abound as the issues that made us suspicious of tech companies are starting to crawl out from under the rug. Before the plague, there were many calls for regulation of Big Tech because of issues with moderating content and privacy breeches, whereas now the focus is who gets to call balls and strikes on ‘misinformation’. With views on the pandemic and how to handle often (strangely) falling along partisan lines, this is easier said than done.

For anyone who is finding they are spending lots more time typing, it has been suggested that a cheap gaming mouse could ward off carpal tunnel syndrome. Speaking of working long hours, a bunch of workers have clocked off after voluntarily living at their factory workplace for 28 days, making PPE for medical staff. Well done, fellas!

The bottom’s dropping out of the barrel

With lockdown-clear skies, Germany has produced record levels of electricity from solar power, which may highlight one of the perennial issues for renewable energy - how to store it when you don’t need it. 

The price of oil recently dropped into negative territory, with low demand for gasoline and storage at capacity. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean we’re going to be paid to fill up, but in the meantime, if you’ve been wondering how to maintain your car while it’s not getting much use, here’s a guide.

For the joy set before him

Times of disaster and suffering bring the fallen state of creation into sharp focus, yet God the Son joined us here, taking our disease on himself, dying, isolated from his Father, bringing about the breathtaking conquering of death. This article ponders Jesus’ healing of the leper in Luke 5, highlighting Christ’s compassion towards us in our helpless state. 

He is not distant but continues to vivify his saints in a sin-plague ravaged world. 

"For the last enemy to be defeated is death, death and all of its symptoms. Take heart, friends, Jesus will not quarantine himself from you."

For our readers in the northern hemisphere...

Spring has sprung

Warmer weather means...keto ice cream? This one has peanut butter and cookie dough but you might want to put some steak on that. Big companies have been releasing recipes for some of their iconic menu items - Disneyland’s Dole whip, McDonald’s McMuffins and Ikea’s meatballs (no hex key required).

Spring also means blossoms, freshly cut grass and hay fever. A recent study has found that a beetle might help in the fight against particular allergies. 

Another thing that might make your eyes well up is the NFL draft. Fans can still register their ‘boo’ virtually and in real time through a program written by a college student and Budweiser will raise money from disdain for Roger Goodell. Two worthwhile causes in one?

SMChill, meet Snapchat

Rev. Fisk's hair-growing, hat-wearing project is working out just fine...

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

The back cover of Dust starts the flood of reviews:

‘Dust’ coming alive in words on pages is an answer to prayer, which shall continue for you, your hand; the Lord’s will be done.

The blurb is impressive. The last three lines especially get this reader’s brain firing, wondering who are ‘we’ and what compels them to say, ‘Not today’. I could guess, but I am keen for the story to tell me.

I have never experienced an aurora, but imagine it to be awe-full, taking one upwards out of the awfulness of this ugly world, which at present is wounding my soul, making it weep.

Anyway, here’s a very short review of a book I have not yet read, from first impressions:

Fisk’s ‘Dust’ is a brave read. He takes us into a dystopian world that may be more like ours than we dare see.

Eagerly waiting for more,

Promo of Friends

Check out Villiage Lutheran for livestreamed services.  Never before has there been such an opportunity to "visit" so many churches!  Despite Satan's use of the coronavirus to keep us out of the church buildings, the Word of God continues to be preached.

Don't forget to continue giving to your church - your pastor is worth his wages.

Sweetness You May Have Missed...

More on 1 Peter:
Enter the World

Recent Release

What about the Apocrypha?

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Dead is Swallowed Up in Victory

Let us pray: O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.