A couple of years ago I wrote posts entitled Sin Makes You Stupid and The Ripple Effect. It's one of those truths that seem to be forgotten or glossed over. It's a truth we should be aware of and watch for within ourselves and others. The stupidity of sinning overflows into the lives of others. The consequences to ourselves is often increased exponentially in the flood of consequences forced upon our family and friends and even more so to people we may never meet.
My husband and I had this brought into our lives this past week. The stupidity of a couple of teenagers in Minnesota impacted the lives of people and businesses across the country.
We are on vacation at the moment. Last Saturday we took a commuter train to Chicago then were scheduled to board the Empire Builder at 2:15 PM and travel west. We didn't leave Chicago until 6:30. It was pretty amazing that we were only 4 hours late when we heard the causes which led to our delay.
If you're superstitious you may blame Friday the 13th. I'm not but I can see how people might think the chain of events worthy of the traditional view. The Empire Builder journey's daily between Chicago and Seattle. It is supposed to arrive in Chicago around 3 - 4 PM and leave the next day after the train is cleaned and restocked. The crew has the night to sleep off the train to be fresh and ready to head out the next day at 2:15 PM.
The trip to Chicago that day had a series of happenings causing it to not arrive on Friday afternoon but 18 hours late. A freight train derailed 16 cars causing traffic back ups and detours. Because of the detour, the engineers and conductors had to be bussed to the train rather than change at the normal station. Delays with freight trains having the right of way. But, you say, none of that was caused by someone sinning. You're right. It's what comes next.
In front of the Empire Builder was a freight train. I'm don't know if there were other trains between. It doesn't matter. On the tracks were a couple of teenagers. Were they drunk, high, or just plain selfish and stupid? I don't know and they can't be asked. They are now dead, hit by the freight train.
Once the freight train hit the teenagers all traffic on the rails stops. The coroner must come, the mess cleaned up, who knows what all must be done before the trains can run again. All told it adds another 6 hours to the lateness of the passenger train. It adds that much to all the freight trains using the tracks as well.
The sin of those teenagers demonstrates stupidity. It caused a tsunami through their families and friends. The wave continued out from the point of impact all across the nation with stopped freight trains. The lives of the Amtrak employees and passengers were swept along in the flood of consequences.
Would the Empire Builder still have been late getting into Chicago? Yes. It would not have had the additional 6 hours all the trains along that route had to endure. There's no way I can estimate the cost of the 6 hours. The loss of life and grief of loved ones is beyond price. The cost to businesses, the train staff having no time for rest between the trains arrival and departure. The aggravation to the passengers waiting for four hours in Union Station. The delays on the route heading west.
Sin makes you stupid. Stupid sinful choices drove a tsunami wave across the midwest and who knows how much of the rest of the nation.
Seeing The Life is off to a great start. It is garnering 5 star reviews and good publicity. Rhubarb Fest this year was good, even though I don't eat rhubarb. I left at noon on Saturday when the radar showed rain coming. I didn't want the books I had to get wet.
So, what's next? I keep getting asked that question. When's your next book coming out? That comes from the mouths of my readers also. Maybe I made a mistake releasing six books in one and a half years. It took me more than that to write them. Now it seems to be expected that I release books quite often.
I write when and what God has me write. I wait for him to give me the stories then I write or at least start them. During the writing of the Cottonwood and Stones Creek series I put aside most everything else to write. I felt the push to get them out and a reader base developed. I think it was in preparation for Seeing The Life. I've been working with Smith Publicity to get the word out about it. It seems to be working even though it's early days yet. It's been featured on several websites that I knew nothing about.
So, what's next? It's summer and I have a garden to keep weeded and then canning and freezing will start. No fruit this year from my tiny orchard but I hope to get peaches and apples by the bushel to can and make applesauce out of. Nothing beats homemade applesauce in the dead of winter with pork chops. Yum.
Also my granddaughter loves to come play with me. I've put up one of those soft sided swimming pools. She's a fish, just like her daddy and me. It's been too cold yet to swim, but we'll spend lots of time in it this summer.
I also have some sewing I want to do. I have enough fabric to cover most of Illinois so I need to get some of it made into things. I also want to finish writing the pattern for Joel's quilt from Giving Love.
Those are my non-writing plans. There are several stories percolating in my head. One story is 1/3-1/2 written. Another is started, though it may be a short story or novella. There is at least one more Cottonwood story as well as Stones Creek. I may branch out into contemporary as well as sci-fi/fantasy in future works.
It all comes down to what God wants me to write. I'll be doing outlines for several of those ideas in my head. I'm planning on writing some devotions based on notes from sermons I've heard at church.
NANO comes in November. That's National Novel Writing Month. The goal is 50,000 words in a month starting a novel on November 1 and writing 50K during the next 30 days. I'll be writing furiously that month. I've won each of the three years I've done the challenge. I plan to win this year also. God willing. Always God willing
She is standing in the Court of Women, looking in vain for her husband. The thousands of people milling around make it impossible to see him. She has her infant daughter nestled against her chest in a sling. She rests her hand on the head of her three year old son who clings to her leg. The smells of unwashed bodies, blood, animals and their waste fill her lungs. In addition there is smoke from numerous torches that have been burning for several hours.
They had come to the Temple in the morning hoping to have their lamb sacrificed soon after the priests began the ritual sacrifice of the Passover lambs. Her husband had taken the lamb into the Court of Israel. Just as they started at noon darkness had fallen. A darkness not caused by clouds. It was an unearthly darkness. The torches seemed to shed less light than normal. The ritual for each family was taking longer because of it.
Now, three hours later, the sky began to lighten. Slowly at first, then the brightness chased the darkness from all corners of the Temple. Everyone seemed to breath a collective sigh of relief, but too soon. The earth began to shake. The tremors increasing with every second. The noise of the earthquake built as people began screaming and shoving to get away from stones falling from shaking pillars.
She knows there are too many panicking people to get through. She picks her son up resting him on her hip. Carrying both children is heavy but she don’t want him trampled.
A loud sound directs her eyes to the Holy of Holies. She sees the veil covering the entrance tearing, as if by unseen hands, from the top to the bottom. How can this be? It takes 300 priests to carry the veil as it is replaced each year for a clean one. It now hangs in two pieces.
A stiff gust of wind makes the veil flutter. One side catches on something keeping it from closing. Now all can see the emptiness of the room that used to be hidden behind the veil.
This scene could have been written for my recently released novel Seeing The Life. The story revolves around the life of Christ, but though he is the focal point of the characters, we see his life from the view of people living at the time.
During my research I became interested in the veil covering the Holy of Holies. It was 60 feet high and 20 or 30 feet long. Woven of linen in 72 panels which were sewn together. The Ryrie Study Bible claims Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, said the veil was four inches thick. Josephus describes the veil but does not mention the width (War 5.5.4).
Many contend the veil was four inches thick, stating it was the breadth of the hand. Being aware of the difficulty in understanding ancient Hebrew and Greek through the culture of the western mindset, it puzzles me that the width or breadth is always assumed to be across the palm. My first impression when I read this is not across the palm, but what we would call the depth or thickness of the hand. This would make the thickness closer to an inch or less.
As an experienced quilter and embroiderer I can understand a one inch thickness much more than four inches. There are several reasons for this. One is simply the size of the needle being pushed through so much material. In ancient times, bone or ivory needles would have been used. These would have more drag as it goes through the fabric than our metal needles of today. The diameter of a needle which could pierce and go through a four inch thickness would be more than anyone could do. Upholstery needles of today do not normally go through that much fabric especially being pulled by hand.
The veil was woven linen embroidered with blue, scarlet, and purple threads. We think of linen fabric as thin. In ancient times linen was woven into lightweight as well as heavier fabrics. To carry the weight of the veil, the linen base would have been woven from heavier thread creating a thicker, courser fabric. This sturdy fabric would then be embroidered as specified.
They may have covered the linen base with the background color with fine stitches to hide the roughness of the weave. This would add more to the thickness, especially since they, most likely, covered both sides of the fabric. Then the embroidered elements would be stitched on. These might have been layered also and on both sides of the veil so the back was identical to the front. The thread would also be a thick strand. The thicker the strand, the more each strand covers in one stitch. Each stitch, layer upon layer, would make the fabric thicker and denser.
The veil covering the Holy of Holies dated back to the time of Moses when the Lord gave the instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle. The arc of the covenent was within the Holy of Holies separated from the people by the veil. Only the high priest could enter to offer the sacrifice for the people of Israel. This happened once a year on the Day of Attonement at Yom Kipper. If the sacrifice was accepted the High Priest remained alive. If not God struck him dead.
The veil separated God from the people. It represented the separation which occured when Adam disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge. This broken relationship was represented by the veil hiding the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. No longer could man approach and fellowship with God. Instead, only the high priest entered to offer the sin sacrificial offering on the Day of Attonement.
Jesus’ death was the ultimate sin sacrifice. He died once paying the price for each person’s sin if the person accepts the offering Jesus provided. At the moment of his death the veil tore. The separation of God from his creation was no longer needed.
Whatever the thickness of the veil, tearing such a heavy drapery from top to bottom could never have been done by human hands. Those in the Temple that day witnessed death of Jesus as he paid the price for all man’s sin. No more would access to God be limited to one priest one day a year. Now we can boldly approach with nothing blocking our way.
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