Troubles – Friday Fictioneers

The coffee shop at the corner under the trains was open. The owner was protected and so were they. The neighborhood still looked civilized, but the troubles had begun.

One year later a quarter of the world’s population died, but it could have been more. No one knew for sure. Official truth was passed on by word of mouth and doubted as soon as it was heard. No one doubted the bodies in the streets.

An unexpected smartening raced through the population like the cleansing fire of revival as the war, the big one this time, began.


Rochelle Wisoff-Fields offers the photo below by Ted Strutz for this week’s prompt for Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz
PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

Whispers and Echoes recently published a 100-word story of mine called Spotting the Heretic. I am grateful to the editor, Sammi Cox, for selecting it. Submissions to this online journal are currently open.

End of Term – Six Sentence Story

People faulted Blake as someone who liked to run around, a term that usually meant he couldn’t stop starting and stopping stuff, popping in here and then suddenly there, or jabbering about this and then that longer than most listeners, they in particular, could tolerate. He wouldn’t dream of denying their charges since he viewed his defects as features except when others exhibited them.

All this running around focused his waking hours on optimizing the quantity of funds he could turn over to questionable, but good enough, causes with little time left over to deal with his own problems. As his future turned into his past and the measurable score of his good deeds exploded, he anticipated that there would be an endless supply of more of the same in spite of knowing that entropy makes a mess of most things.

Reality intervened one day like a waiter bringing a tab he didn’t know he started. Trying to find something of value with which to pay the bill he was surprised to learn that the busyness of his effective altruism provided little, if any, positive value in his present situation to keep the demonic darkness from coming in and taking him out.


Denise offers the word “term” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.


Whispers and Echoes recently published a 100-word story of mine called Spotting the Heretic. I am grateful to the editor, Sammi Cox, for selecting it. Submissions to this online journal are currently open.

Boat, Bathers, Birds

Public Art

Tyrtle
Sand Turtle

Dale offers “public art” as the prompt for this week’s Cosmic Photo Prompt.

What you see above is part of a rather large sand turtle that lasted about a day at Myrtle Beach before the tide washed it completely away.

Below is a flower painted under a bridge that went over a brook for trains passing through an Illinois forest preserve. The forest trail following the brook went under this bridge. The graffiti kept changing over the period of time I walked that trail. I imagine by now that flower, like the sand turtle, is no longer there.

Flower

Whispers and Echoes recently published a 100-word story of mine called Spotting the Heretic. I am grateful to the editor, Sammi Cox, for selecting it. If you would like to submit very short stories or poems here are the guidelines.

Exploration 90 – Counting the Omer – Counting to Pentecost

15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:
16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.

Leviticus 23:15-16 King James Version

The sheaf of the wave offering comprised a dry measure of barley called an omer. Along with the Passover this counting is a remembrance of the Exodus and the time it took the Israelites to reach Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

The morrow after the sabbath begins on Saturday evening and extends to Sunday evening. That is the time of the wave sheaf offering. That first day of the week is counted as Day One. The next day is counted as Day Two. This counting continues until we reach the forty-ninth day which is the seventh sabbath. The fiftieth day is Shavuot an appointed time of YeHoVaH (מוֹעֲדֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה) on the biblical calendar. Since the wave sheaf offering does not always align with Easter, Shavuot can become obscured with the focus on Pentecost (fifty days after Easter) in the solar, liturgical calendar most of us use today.

In both Shavuot and Pentecost there is a receiving from YeHoVaH. At Shavuot the Israelites received the Torah, the instruction, at Mount Sinai. At Pentecost the early Messianic believers received the Holy Spirit during the appointed time of Shavuot in Jerusalem. Before Yeshua’s fulfillment of the Passover as the perfect sacrifice and His fulfillment of Unleavened Bread as the first fruits, wave sheaf offering after His Resurrection, Shavuot was a remembrance of that past event of receiving the Torah and a rehearsal for receiving the Holy Spirit.

Now that Shavuot has also been fulfilled it remains an appointed time for remembrance of both events. Keeping these appointed times reminds us where we are in the story of redemption, a story that had been laid out before us in advance and reinforced through the yearly appointed times of the biblical calendar.

The difference between cyclic pagan calendars and this forward directed biblical calendar is the story of redemption from the Exodus to Yeshua’s Resurrection to the coming of His Messianic Kingdom. That story is not something that can be derived from human experimentation and reasoning nor from New Age nature sentimentality.

As I see it, this story comes only through biblical revelation which makes the biblical calendar unique. However, if you think there is some other competing world narrative worth considering, let me know in the comments.

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:3-5 King James Version

Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Acharei Mot, 29 Nissan, 5782 – April 30, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 16:1-18:30
Haftarah: Ezekiel 22:1-19
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 9:11-28
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Meadow

Under Here – Friday Fictioneers

Armed agents secured the area. The recovery team searched the abandoned store on the old road up the mountain range both inside and out.

Someone noticed the large, white graffiti-painted letters PHERE above the entrance, threw out the P, and asked for a ladder. What they were looking for was spread thinly beneath the paint. They carefully replaced the items with fakes.

I’d like to say these were the good guys, but if they were, why were they up there? Anyway I doubt they realized that they weren’t the first to find the stuff I hid there.


Rochelle Wisoff-Fields offers the photo below taken by Carole Erdman-Grant as this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt.

PHOTO PROMPT © Carole Erdman-Grant

Trees, Forest Walks and Dewdrops – Six Sentence Story

Barry had a handful of chickens on his tiny homestead in the woods which were a handful too many for his dog, Fred. Things might have turned out differently for the birds if they had not taunted Fred while he was chained to his dog house. They knew just how far his chain would reach and teased him until he lunged at them only to be snapped back by the chain.

Things also might have turned out differently, or at least gone on precariously, were it not for Barry taking Fred on walks far down the forest trail and then letting him off his chain to freely romp about in the trees.

Early one morning before the sparkling dewdrops vanished Fred dragged Barry further down the forest trail than usual. Barry’s hypnotic dreaming of what he would do if only he had a homestead as big as this beautiful woodland area popped like a forest faery fantasy when he watched Fred run back to take care of those pesky chickens.


Denise offers the word “tree” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories. Eugenia offers “dewdrops” for her prompt this week.


I am grateful to the editor, Sammi Cox, for accepting one of my stories, “Splashy“, for Whispers and Echoes.

Old Golf Course and Trees
Old Golf Course and Trees

Three Views From One Spot

Dale offers the theme “three views from one spot” for this week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge.

This is a spot where the sunset was very beautiful a week or so ago. However, tonight it was overcast.

The first view shows a residential construction area. The land is raised higher and some of the drainage system is in place. The second view is a bit to the right of it. The third view is to the left and shows the edge of a fenced in dog recreation area.

First View
First View
Second View
Third View
Third View

Bad Driver – Terrible Poetry Contest (WINNER!)

I am grateful to Chel Owens for selecting my free verse poem as the winner of the most recent Terrible Poetry Contest. The award winning poem and my attempt to explain it are below.

Also a new Terrible Poetry Contest has started. You may be the next winner!


Bad Driver

I told my shrink that the cops brought me here because of my bad driving and he said I had no record of ever driving a car in my life and I told him, not car, spaceship, S-P-A-C-E-S-H-I-P, and he said I had no spaceship and wasn’t an alien because my DNA test, D-N-A, showed I’m human enough and I told him, well, then why am I in that padded cell and he said I wasn’t in any cell and I asked him if he was trying to drive me crazy and if he was he wasn’t doing a good job of it and then he said I was brought in because I was scaring the neighborhood kids and the judge assigned me to him and I told him that I had a lot of fun turning my head 360 degrees like an owl and he said I couldn’t do stuff like that and I asked him whether he ever saw me and he said no and so I asked him if he wanted to see me turn my head 360 degrees and he said, “Sure, Marvin, go ahead turn your head 360 degrees like an owl, go on show me” and so I turned my head 360 degrees like an owl and he called the exorcist.


This poem is in imitation of Gerald Stern’s American Sonnets. These “sonnets” have no rhyme nor meter (and often no sense that I could detect). They are mostly one sentence long allowing the reader to put in line breaks or not. I would call them terrible American sonnets, but he won some award for them and they are occasionally entertaining.

And now I’ve won an award for one as well!

Chel Owens' Terrible Poetry Contest Winner Award

Exploration 89 – Easter, Good Friday and the Passover Seder

Thou shalt have none other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 5:7 King James Version

This is a long post. It is more a set of notes to myself. You might want to skip it. If not, let’s go down the rabbit hole.

This is how I currently see the chronology of events represented by the traditions of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. You are welcome to set me straight in the comment section.

  • Yeshua (Jesus) fulfilled the sign of Jonah. He was in the tomb three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:38-41) That was the length of time Jonah was in the great fish. (Jonah 1:17) Hence we have a length of 72 hours, no more, no less.
    Clearly one cannot fit three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. What we have are two full nights, one full day and two partial days.
  • Yeshua died on an afternoon and He was in the tomb before sunset on the Day of Preparation before the first day of Unleavened Bread, a special Sabbath. (Matthew 27:45-65, Mark 15:33-44, Luke: 23:50-56)
  • The women went to the tomb on the first day of the week, Sunday, and an angel rolled back the stone showing them that the tomb was empty. (Matthew 28:1-8)
    I used to think Yeshua rose with the rising sun on Easter Sunday. What I understand now is Yeshua rose on the late Sabbath before sunset, 72 hours after His burial, prior to the morning of the first day of the week when the women looked for him but found the tomb empty.
  • In summary, Yeshua could not have been crucified on a Friday. He was crucified on the fourth day of the week (Wednesday) in the afternoon as the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. His Resurrection occurred three days and three nights later on the Shabbat (Saturday) afternoon before sunset. Celebrations of Resurrection Day should focus on the setting sun, not the morning sunrise.

The Church of God, one Christian group that seems willing to give the Bible priority over Church tradition, produced a detailed Timeline from Passover (the 14th of Abib (Nisan)) to the Wave Sheaf Offering on the first day after the weekly Shabbat. The chart shows the parallel between what happened in Exodus with what happened in the Gospels. The only part of their timeline I suspect may not be correct is the year of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. They claimed it occurred in 31 AD. I am more convinced by Navah’s view that it occurred in 28 AD.

Why does this matter?

  • The neglect of biblical feasts and the rejection of the Shabbat suggests a cultural anti-Judaism that goes back before the time of Constantine when it became institutionalized Church tradition justified by attacking Judaizers.
  • However, the use of an alternate pagan calendar also suggests a drift into idolatry through compromise. People attacking this compromise sometimes point out that there is no need to rename Yeshua to something that sounds like JeZeus except to indirectly focus on the Greek deity Zeus.

To see the idolatry connection, Michael Rood gave an account of where Easter came from in his teaching on the Book of Esther (“Easter”, as he called her) (about 34:00 to 38:00). He talked about the tale of Nimrod who became the sun god upon death and Semiramis, his wife, who was impregnated by that sun god to give birth to Tammuz on December 25th where the Julian calendar put the winter solstice. He included the reincarnation of Semiramis as Easter from an egg landing in the Euphrates along with rabbits and a reference to Playboy since this is all about pagan fertility worship.

For more details on this, mostly in agreement with Rood but from a Church of God perspective, see Christopher Eames’ article, Easter – In the Hebrew Bible?

When I wonder how the Israelites could have fallen into idolatry, I think about the deviation of the Christian liturgical calendar from the agricultural calendar presented in the Torah. I am equally puzzled how that could have happened. The Israelites had to obey their judges or kings, but when prophets came to correct them, I suspect many figured what they were doing was close enough in their own eyes to be acceptable to YeHoVaH (God). That’s probably what I would have thought were I one of them.

Today I ask myself something similar: Are Easter and Good Friday close enough to the Passover, the sign of Jonah and the Wave Sheaf Offering to be acceptable to Yeshua even though we lose the significance of the events evident to early Messianic believers and risk participating witlessly in pagan ritual practices?

Not everyone agrees with the above. For example, Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International presented a detailed opposing view. He asserted that Easter is not of pagan origin and tried to fit three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning by counting partial days as full days.

Some want to promote an even further compromise of Christianity with paganism. For example, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian occultist, presented a description of Good Friday and Easter from a pagan perspective. Here Christianity is just another religion in a cyclic calendar going from springtime rebirth at Easter to autumn anticipation of death on All Saints Day (after Halloween). This sentiment seems typical of what C.S. Lewis called Pantheism in the “Christianity and ‘Religion’” chapter of Miracles.

The reason to present the occult views of Steiner is to see how the pagan cyclic calendar contrasts with the biblical calendar of Leviticus 23 that reveals a direction to history. The biblical calendar identifies the appointed times of YeHoVaH (מוֹעֲדֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה). These appointed times are more than annual holidays. YeHoVaH gave them to us to remember what He had already done to move history according to His will. For example, on Passover we remember the Exodus and now also Yeshua’s redemptive sacrifice in the Crucifixion. YeHoVaH also gave them to us to prepare for future events such as the Second Coming and the Messianic Kingdom with the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Succoth.

Having an annual calendar with a divinely revealed direction through the years and not just a birth-death-rebirth annual cycle of nature makes the Messianic story unique and something far beyond the imagination of pagan religions.


What about the Passover Seder?

I am grateful to Geri Ungurean, a Jewish Christian, for mentioning the video below on her blog. The Last Supper as recorded in the Gospels and reenacted by the early Messianic believers may be the origin for the Passover Seder. Such a ritual would be needed after the destruction of the temple. Those at the table in the video were discussing such a view from Israel Jacob Yuval in his paper, “The Haggadah of Passover and Easter“. For those who want to know more about Haggadah see chabad.org, a Jewish site.

As I see it the Last Supper occurred at the beginning of the 14th of Abib, the day of Passover after sunset. After the meal they went to the garden where Yeshua was arrested. Before the end of the day with the coming sunset, Yeshua died and was buried. Yeshua fulfilled the Passover by becoming the sacrificial lamb.

At the moment I am concerned with reconciling Matthew 26:17 with John 13:1. Did the Last Supper occur after Passover on the first day of Unleavened Bread (Matthew) or at the beginning of Passover (John), the day before that? Justin J. van Rensburg translates Matthew 26:17 as And a former day of Pesach [Passover], the talmidim came and said to him, “In what place do you want that we prepare the Pesach?” which would resolve my concern if the Hebrew manuscript he was using from the Vatican Library is an authentic copy of the original Hebrew autograph.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Passover Day 8, 22 Nissan, 5782 – April 23, 2022
Torah: Exodus 12:21-51; Numbers 28:16-25
Haftarah: Joshua 3:5-7; Joshua 5:2 – 6:1; Joshua 6:27
Brit Chadashah: Luke 22:7-20; John 1:29-31; 1 Cor 15:20-28
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Old Golf Course
Old Golf Course

Lost and Found – Friday Fictioneers

The snow kept piling on and on. The piles made by the snow plows went higher and higher. We thought we’d be buried in a glacier until uncovered by shocked archaeologists refusing to believe it as the evidence falsified everything they held dear.

That’s when spring came. That’s when we could credibly whine about global warming again. That’s when the snow melted.

As it did things we couldn’t find reappeared. All of this uncovered evidence falsified explanations we cherished about what happened to that missing stuff only a fool would have left outside.


Rochelle Wisoff-Fields offers the photo below by Dale Rogerson as the prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson
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