Saturday, December 21, 2013

Storm Warning

Hello Friends

I did a little watching, warning and chasing yesterday with a few friends and that got me a thinkin' about this the last Sunday in Advent.  Of course it helped that we had just had another storm that we had been watching for, that those weather forecasters were warning us about and then I got to chase about in it.  Here's what I am thinking.

Reading the signs — those written on the skies, walls and windows, and those written upon the winds of a changing world is a hard-earned skill to some and a gift to others. One of the 12 tribes of Israel, the Tribe of Issachar, was known as the tribe that “knows the signs and knows what to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32). Jesus also instructed his disciples to learn how to “read the signs.” Or in his words, “You know how to read the signs of the sky. I want you to learn how to read the signs of the times” (Luke 12:56).

But whether we know it, or not, all of us are sign-readers. Every time our peeps watch a stock report they are “reading the signs.” I read the signs when the sun goes down and I watch out Bert's window for my MOM to come to pick me up.  My MOM knows how to read the signs of when I want to go outside, it's the look in my eye and the way I make the door handle jingle when I tap it with my nose.

If you have ever lived in the mid-west, or visited the plains during “tornado season,” you know that one of the most important “signs” you can keep your eyes peeled for is that little funnel cloud that appears in the corner of the TV screen. If the funnel cloud is yellow it means there is in effect a tornado “watch.” A yellow funnel cloud “watch” means it is time to go on “high alert,” to be prepared, to keep vigilant, because the chance of a big, scary storm heading your way is high.

If the funnel cloud indicator on the screen turns red, it is time to “duck and cover.” That color change is an indication that your area is no longer under just a “storm watch.” You are now officially receiving a “storm warning.” Only after someone has put actual eyes on the actual storm, is a “warning” posted. When the forces of change are documented, shared, and on the move — that is when a “warning” is issued to the world. That is when a “watch” becomes a “warning.”

Today we celebrate the final Sunday of Advent. We are in the final moments of a “storm watch.” In three days, a “storm warning” will be declared. The Advent Watch turns into Christmas warning.  I know you are saying "Goose brother don't you mean 'Christmas morning'.”  Nope my friends I mean “Christmas warning.”

The angelic message of the coming of the Prince of Peace, the Son of God, the one who brings “glad tidings of great joy to all,” is also a warning message: a message warning us that everything is now about to change. Life can no longer be the same again. Jesus changes everything. With Jesus, the story of God went from being carved in stone to being carved in the heart. And that my friends changes everything.

There is a new way of living and being in the world. The winds of change are going to blow. A truth tornado has touched down. Kingdom come is a tornado touchdown of beauty, truth and goodness.

Jesus is proclaimed the “Prince of Peace” at his birth. But this “Prince of Peace,” as Jesus himself warned, came “bringing a sword.” This is a Prince of Peace who will be cutting through the protective layers of politics and power and polemics that we shroud ourselves in and use to proclaim our own righteousness. Jesus warned he was bringing “My peace . . . but not as the world gives to you."

The miracle in Bethlehem was not meant to make way for the “miracles” of Wall Street wizardry or the “miracle” of Best Buy gadgetry or even the Macy’s miracle on 34th street. The miracle of Christmas made way for the miracle of life and the miracle of love.

Urban monk and founder of Philadelphia’s community “The Simple Way”, Shane Claiborne, says in one of his books that he once had a conversation with a friend who asserted “Jesus never talked to a prostitute.” When Shane protested that Jesus spent a lot of time talking to prostitutes and other undesirables, his friend came back and said, “Listen, Shane, Jesus never talked to a prostitute because he didn’t see a prostitute when he talked to a prostitute. He just saw a child of God with whom he was madly in love.”

That’s why Jesus left behind him, not peace and quiet, but peace and disquiet, peace and upset, peace and conflict. Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection changed the world. And change is never easy. If you have ever gone through a “renovation phase” at your home, you know that change brings about upheaval and a large amount of messiness.

A few decades ago a new team of scientists were born. They were meta-meteorologists — aka “storm-chasers.” Storm chasers literally put caution to the winds and “chased” around after storm cells that looked like they might generate a tornado. Tornados are notoriously dangerous because they are so unpredictable. Because of the (often fatal) work of these storm chasers, much more has been learned about violent storms, their appearances, their trajectories. Storm chasers have saved lives in dozens of communities.

Jesus was the original storm warning – a “good news” message from God that the world is being invited to participate in a new reality called the kingdom of God, a divinely altered reality because of a new redeeming presence of God in this world.

One of the best signs of Christ’s kingdom is that the “stormy” presence of God always disturbs the status quo. Wherever the “life as usual,” “let’s just keep this up,” “we-never-did-it-that-way-before” mentality is in power, that is when the disruptive, disturbing, “unpeaceful” sword of the Spirit will be unsheathed and break forth. False peace is the bulls-eye target of the Prince of Peace.

We can be there, we can be a part of the storm chase team. We can “share” the good news “Christ is born.” We can be a voice against the storm of sin and evil, for as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow put it in a verse buried in the bowels of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” – “And in despair I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said: ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men’.”

We can be, all at the same time, in a state of kingdom watch, kingdom warning, and kingdom chase, and offer our voices to join the chorus on the side of “peace on earth, good will to all.” On this last Sunday of Advent, I implore you to...

Keep Watching, Keep Warning, Keep Chasing.


  1. Oh Goose we know we shouldn't be laughing during your mom's sermon, but that last picture has us rolling on the floor. You look a little crazy there, but we love your crazy self.

    Millie & Walter

  2. Goose,
    What a lovely post, you always write brilliantly. Reading the signs, I can see that you and your chums are more excited about this storm warning than the peeps! Loved all your pictures, especially the one of Bert caught drinking a muddy puddle!
    Pippa :)

  3. We agree ...the last pic cracked us up Goose. Great post. We hope you continue to enjoy your snow.
    Have a serene Sunday and get in some big easy today.
    Best wishes Molly

  4. Beautiful post ... seems that you enjoy the snow so much

  5. That was just sooooo beautiful Goose! It really touched our soul. (Until we saw your last picture) then Mommy did the coffee out the nose trick again.

    Merry Christmas!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

    p.s. We bet the church looks as beautiful always.

  6. Nice post and loved the pictures. The last picture is great!

  7. Hey Goose!
    Wow, I really enjoyed all of these pix of you and Bert and your furiends enjoying the snow! I'm watching for Christmas and for snow here too.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, Furiend

  8. this is the perfect message for Christmas day and i believe God is still warning our evil world and most people are no longer listening... i must say Goose, snow does agree with you and your friend.

  9. GOOSE... you KNOW how WE love SIGNS. THESE are PERFECT words fur US.

    BUTT beclaws of the high Strong winds we had last night... Two of our OUTSIDE Signs... are GONE with the WIND. They were BOTH SnowFreak Signs... so what do you think THAT is telling us?

  10. A lovely message - but where is your coat goose?

  11. Looks like you guys are having a GRAY-T time. LOVE LOVE LOVE the last photo, too cute! That would make a wonderful card. :)

  12. I've got the message brother and I will think about when I light the last candle today on my advent wreath. I like your pictures very much and I was happy to see Bert, many thanks! The last picture is fabulous, I lost my advent cookie with laughter.

  13. Dear Goose,
    Thank you for sharing such optimistic words, and lovely pics. Love to watch you playing in the snow. Tickled at just how much you enjoy it. I saved the last pic in today's blog - of you with a BIG grin - and you are now on my desktop in living, grinning color.
    Thank you,
    Ruthie and Bella the Rat Terrier Princess

  14. You never fail to teach me, thank you. Love that last picture and wonder if all weims like the snow.. I know our Reno absolutely loved it, was his favorite time of year. Merry Christmas and God's love to you.

  15. We are going to remind our Lady to read the signs more. Have a lovely day! Lee and Phod

  16. Hari OM
    BOL..... what a wonderful way to help us read the signs!!! You are a 'card', Goose-ji; and given the date that makes you a Christmas card (hehehhhe - don't worry, aunty's off on her own tangent there...) Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  17. Great Post! Mes LOVES it and me loves all the pictures of yous guys in the snow.
    And me especially loves that last picture of yous!!!

  18. Another beautiful message, Goose and Mom. And of course, we giggled at that last pic too:)

    Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning

  19. A great message, and FANTASTIC photos!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Abby the Hippobottomus

  20. Thank you for sharing this beautiful message.

  21. Enjoy your snow!

    Stop on by for a visit

  22. Dropping off some woofs & huggies for a wonderful holiday and happy New Year! <3

    Oh my goshies... I LOVE that last photo! :)

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

  23. ★˛˚˛*˛°.˛*.˛°˛.*★˚˛*˛°.˛*.˛°˛.*★Merry*★* 。*˛.
    ˛°_██_*.。*./ ♥ \ .˛* .˛。.˛.*.★* Christmas*★ 。*
    ˛. (´• ̮•)*.。*/♫.♫\*˛.* ˛_Π_____.♥Everyone ♥ ˛* ˛*
    .°( . • . ) ˛°./• '♫ ' •\.˛*./______/~\*. ˛*.。˛* ˛.*。
    *(...'•'.. ) *˛╬╬╬╬╬˛°.|田田 |門|╬╬╬╬╬*˚ .˛ ...

  24. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

  25. Hi Y'all!

    Have a blessed Christmas!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  26. Merry Christmas to you, our wonderful blogger friends.

  27. Hey Goose, buddy! I'm hoping you and your Mom are having a magical and Merry Christmas! I'm sure do hope that you received your Exchange pressie that I sent to you....I'm a little worried that maybe you didn't get it. Could you let me know, please?
    Grr and a Festive Woof,
    Sarge, Furiend

  28. Goose, that last pic took my breath away! You are too handsome!!! Lovely message!
    Hope you and your mom had a very Merry Christmas!

  29. That was so beautifully said, Goose! I think Jesus is the best tornado EVER!!!!! And the most powerful, too.
    Mom's such a weather geek; she just loved your analogy.
    Play bows,

  30. Book. Period.

    P.S., that last pic of you, Goose, is out of control hilarious!