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Pastor Gen - Thoughts from a Sabbatical #10

Waxing (getting bigger) moon from the Southern Hemisphere.

Waxing (getting bigger) moon from the Northern Hemisphere

Dear Veradale Friends,

Thursday night I arrived home! Now, I need to start working on another article for The Fig Tree, as well as organizing the photos to use in worship, putting together a presentation, recording expenses, reflecting on the learnings, continuing to live in awe of the amazing experiences, going through mail, reading three books, and catching up on yard work. Phew!

Reflections and thoughts about the Moon as seen from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres:

On the first night in New Zealand, the moon was just a tiny sliver of light. Great, I thought, because in our hemisphere what I saw would have meant it was a waning moon, where the moon gets smaller each night — that is what a photographer wants in order to take images of stars. Well, when the weather cleared enough to get stars the moon was much larger and from the wrong side and upside down! I think Becky may have told me about this when she and David came home from New Zealand a few years ago. It’s the same moon, with all the same features but it is upside down and backwards. People in the Southern Hemisphere say they see the moon as it really is and people in the Northern Hemisphere say they see the moon as it really is. Since the moon circles the equator, it might be said that those on the equator actually see the moon as it really is. The waxing moon — getting bigger and brighter and the waning moon, getting smaller and dimmer both have the same U shape at the equator - or smile shape. Sometimes when seeing something from the center, all a person can do is smile.

In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well. She comes at noon, likely to be there alone. One day, she is surprised to find that she is not alone. There is a Jewish man who talks to her and asks her for the kindness of a drink of water. She responds with questions - a Jewish man would usually shun a Samaritan and a man would avoid conversation with a solitary woman. Jesus simple seems to smile and meet her with a full knowing of who she is and what she has been through.

Remember, the scripture tells us that after talking with Jesus, this woman tells the towns people about meeting him. These people listen to her, so, she must have their respect. Did she want to be alone because she is a many times grieving widow now living with a man who is not her husband because woman must live under the roof of some man — like maybe her brother. Whatever her reasons for being alone at the well, it isn't out of fear of the community shaming her — they listen to her.

The society today often see this woman another way — a promiscuous woman who can’t hold a marriage. That, however, doesn’t really fit with the respect the town has for her. The past and the present societies have ways of looking at that same woman and seeing something totally upside-down from the other. On the other hand, Jesus — well -- he just smiles. He loves her enough to ask for help from her and offer her living water (another clue that she might be a widow. Imagine what that would sound like to a widow!). It is that smile of Jesus, that like the Moon at the equator, knows the truth and shines a knowing light during the dark nights of our souls.

Reflecting on this experience of the Moon the Southern Hemisphere, a warm feeling comes when thinking about the smile at the equator. May that smile warm all our hearts and help us see each other and ourselves with a light of truth and love.

With blessings,

Pastor Gen

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