This Must Be Read

Takes about five minutes and is absolutely correct in fact and logic.  It is from the Townhall website, written by Kurt Schlichter.

http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2014/08/25/untitled-n1882001?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

For all of us who know there is something wrong here, this is an excellent essay.

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The Different Between the Doctor (Who?) and God

I watched the season premiere of Dr. Who? and the debut of Peter Capaldi as the ‘new’ Doctor.  I really like Matt Smith as the Doctor.  Even a little better than Jon Pertwee, who was my favorite Doctor, but was moved to second with Matt Smith.  I think I will like the 12th Doctor (actually the 13th including the War Doctor); but the first episode is always a bit chaotic in terms of character development.

However, this began me thinking – always a dangerous business.  The Doctor – as all fans know – is a Gallifreyan.  He is extremely long-lived – he ‘regenerates’ periodically and very smart.  As such, the Doctor is a rather god-like character.  Sort of like Q from ‘Star Trek:  The Next Generation”.

However, I have noted some differences and distinctions between God and the Doctor.  I thought I’d share them.

God is Eternal, the Doctor is not.  The Doctor has been around for a very long time.  He is old, the result of many years lived.  He is probably older than most living things on Earth, trees included.  However, the Doctor is NOT immortal.  He mentioned his birth, his parents, his upbringing and so forth.  He expects to end his existence.  Indeed his last ‘regeneration’ was to be his last – until the script writer saved him with a plot twist.  But he makes no pretensions to immortality in the absolute sense.

God makes no mistakes.  God commits no errors; everything He does is correct and in agreement with His Divine plan.  Some folks claim God does make mistakes, but upon further investigation, they mean God does things the detractor doesn’t like.  The Doctor on the other hand admits making errors.  He usually learns from them, but still they are made from time to time.  In fact the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) admits to making ‘many’ mistakes and feels he must do something about it.  The Doctor can nearly always extricate himself from problems – sometimes ending in tragedy – but only after several mistakes or blunders en route.

God does not require a TARDIS.  For new or non-fans, the TARDIS is a device called ‘Time and Relative Dimensions in Space’.  It is his home and vehicle, all in one.  Due to a malfunctioning ‘chameleon circuit’ the device is always shown as a 1950s era British Police call box.  This device allows the Doctor to travel anywhere in time or space.  It is a neat bit of technology.  I would love to have such a device, preferably with instruction manual and a full time technician.  However, God does not need a blue box to get around.

The Doctor Who? series has been on television for over fifty years now.  There have been a number of script writers.  According to one wiki entry, there are eighty-nine different credited writers (some of whom are pseudonyms).  God writes all His own scripts.

Similar to the above, God does all His own stunts.

The Doctor is an Anglophile.  All the people who portray him are from the British Isles.  God is not quite so exclusive these days.  At one time, God favored the Hebrews, but He seems to have broadened His franchise since the time of Jesus.

There are other differences.  But this is offered as a somewhat light hearted view of the matter.

 

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Religious War?

Just after the 11th September (or 9-11) attacks on the United States – the concerted attacks on the World Trade Center and the U. S. Pentagon – a friend of mine at work made what I thought was a rather silly remark.  Not wishing to embarrass the person in question, I shall not identify them.  (If you are reading this, just don’t tell anyone and your secret is safe.)  The person said, “I hope this doesn’t turn into a religious war.”

My reply was something on the order of “It IS a religious war from their (the Muslim terrorists) perspective already.  There’s nothing ‘we’ can do about it.”  It is still true today, by the way.  The latest Islamic murderous, barbaric herd is known as ‘ISIS’, the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’ as I recall.  They are currently in the mode of blissfully slaughtering every Christian, Jew, or Muslim they can find.  Wholesale murder on a level that makes the ghosts of Attila the Hun and Joseph Stalin happy.

Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind about the ‘religious’ nature of this merry band of murderous thugs?  They are Islamic, and they ‘champion’ the position of Muslim superiority AND the order to kill all infidels.  That sounds passing ‘religious’ to me.  And do not fail to note they have staked out a position where they will attack the United States.

So what does that have to do with the initial memory I was sharing?  Just this:  Our Administration has the same superficial and non-thinking view of the current attacks, murders and terrorism.  Our Administration cannot see this is a religious war.  They think it’s a simple matter of ‘crime’.  The video-taped execution of James Foley is being ‘investigated’ as a murder.  I suppose the FBI will make the arrest?  In Iraq?  Do we have jurisdiction there?

 

This whole pretense is simply an extension of the President’s idiotic claim that the United States is ‘done’ with combat operations in the Middle East, especially Iraq.  The “Peace (at any cost) President” has reduced the size of our Armed Forces, cancelled various logistical projects and cut funds to conduct military operations.  In short, the current Administration has surrendered.

The current Administration has reversed the national policy of nearly every administration since George Washington.  We are being ‘re-designed’ so that the United States is merely another helpless nation.

This somehow will prevent further wars.  The connection in poor thinking between the United States’ Second Amendment rights and a strong military is flabbergasting.  “Gun Free Zones” are intended – says the progressive left – to prevent shootings and murders.  Since people cannot carry a firearm into a ‘Gun Free Zone’, no one will be armed and there will be ability to shoot one another.

Sure.

Which is why none of the recent mass-murderers who killed people in ‘Gun Free Zones’ had guns.  Lack of defensive ability has throughout history been an attraction for the bully, whether as an individual or as a state.  When I was in school, bullies never avoided the weak and disabled because they were weak and disabled.  Likewise, the conquering empires of history never attacked nations or populations that were stronger.

Of course, with progressives, that sort of historical lesson is wasted.

How about any of you?  Can you think?  Do you want a president that looks after the nation, or just his supporters?

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The Blessings of Almighty God and Liberty Be With You All!

Greetings this Friday, 4 July 2014, the official date of America’s – properly The United States of America – independence from England.  In fact, we – and I use the term hopefully – were not quite independent for another couple years.  The British Army surrendered and ceased hostilities on 19 October 1781; then the Treaty of Paris which formally recorded the British admission of independence for the United States was signed in 1783.  This is the date we recognize as when it ‘officially’ began to happen.

On this date in 1776 the Continent Congress started signing the rather well known document known as the Declaration of Independence.  This year marks two hundred and thirty-eight years.

 

The Constitution of the United States was ratified on 21 June 1788.  The Constitution, comprised of Seven Articles (or Divisions to specify certain functions of the U. S. Government) and twenty-seven amendments is the legal structure upon which the U. S. Government is built.  It is, by way of metaphor, the bone and muscle of the U. S.  The Constitution directs the Office of the Presidency, the two houses of Congress, the Judiciary, separation of powers and provides for national defense.  Again, it is the bone and muscle of the United States.  One notes – and this is constantly repeated by those who really don’t understand the function of the United States – the name or title of God does not appear in the Constitution.  The closest we find is in the Preamble – the introduction – where the word ‘blessings’ is used.  The full phrase is ‘… the Blessings of Liberty…’ (note use of capital letters).  One notes the word ‘bless’, ‘blessing’ or ‘blessings’ have a connotation and historic use associated with Divine Providence.  But admittedly, the word can be used as a synonym for ‘benefit’ in a secular setting.

 

However, the Soul of the United States is the Declaration of Independence.  The Declaration is the mission statement, the justification for existence, the underlying beliefs and moral strength of the United States.

In the introduction and the preamble to the Declaration – the first two paragraphs of the document – the writer speaks of God and God’s Creation several times.  The entire document is based on the idea of God’s natural laws, and that God created men ‘equal’ in terms of human value and legal status.  Note that ‘all men are equal’, not ‘all men are the same’ or all ‘men are interchangeable’.

 

The U. S. Constitution is a most valuable and – at the risk of enraging the leftists – ‘inspired’ work of man on behalf of government.  It is arguably the shortest Constitution of any nation in the world.  Perhaps the framers of the Constitution understood the principle of ‘governing best by governing least’?

But we must never forget the Declaration of Independence that provides life and soul to this country, and in turn demanding such an elegant and functional Constitution.

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From the “You’ve Got to Be Kidding!” file

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/23/clinton-im-not-truly-well-off/

Hillary Rodham Clinton, former (annoying)  First Lady, former (mediocre but Liberal) Senator from New York State, former (wretched) Secretary of State – announced she and her husband President William J. “Bill” Clinton were ‘broke’ when they left the White House.  Which may explain why they attempted to steal all the dinner ware and many other items not permanently attached when they left.

Even for a leftist with a by-nature tenuous hold on reality, Madam Secretary shows an amazing ability to deceive herself about her financial status AND the stupidity of the listening public.

What does it mean to a woman with more money than most of us will ever earn in a lifetime to be ‘broke’?  Does that mean she cannot buy a Senate seat without others to pitch in with the purchase price?  How does she keep a straight face saying this sort of stuff?  Stephen Wright keeps a straight face during his monologues, but everyone involved knows he’s presenting ‘humor’, not absolute fact.  The late Buster Keaton was known for his deadpan delivery and acting, but I understand he sometimes laughed on set and had to shoot the same sequence more than once.  But not Madam Secretary.

Seriously, folks; can you believe this?  She charges – according to the article – “… a six figure speaking fee …”  (a minimum of $ 100,000.00 just to be clear) for her speaking engagements.  (In comparison, I get about $36,000 a year from my retirement/Social Insecurity payments.  I collect guns, support a son in university and I’m mostly comfortable.  What the blazes does she do with her money?)  But she’s not “… truly well off …” she says.  AND she claims her income comes from ‘hard work’.  Frankly, I could foul up foreign policy and then lie about it in front of credulous graduates for much less.  What’s so ‘hard work’ about being a protected, pampered, ignorant loser?

Oh.  She wants to be President of the United States.  Does it warm the cockles of your heart knowing she would be a President who identifies with us ‘lesser’ folk?

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The Ortgies Patent Deutsche Werke Pistol

Another one of the European 7.62mm pistols of the early 20th Century is the Ortgies.  It is named after the designer of the pistol, Heinrich Ortgies.  The pistol was made from 1919 to 1924 or 1926 (depending on source) – a total of five or seven years.  Sources indicate new (manufactured but not sold) pistols were sold for some time after manufacture ended, perhaps into the early 1930s.

The history of the pistol is a bit involved, as Herr Ortgies died soon after production was underway and the design was taken by another manufacturer.  All this is available on line if interested.

My collection currently contains two examples of the Ortgies pistol.  They are both .32 ACP.  From what I can glean from the internet, there are SEVEN variations of the pistol.  All the variations are based on the ‘addresses’ roll-stamped into the slide.  The actual design and interior lock work never changed.  The two I own represent a ‘fourth’ and ‘fifth’ style address marking.

Ortgies Pistol serial no. 59000 series Fourth Address variation

Ortgies Pistol serial no. 59000 series Fourth Address variation

Ortgies pistol serial no. 104000  Fifth style Address line

Ortgies pistol serial no. 104000 series                    Fifth style Address variation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, I cannot find any information about the dates of manufacture for a specific serial number, nor can I determine the time periods of the various addresses displayed.  However, all of these pistols were manufactured in a fairly short time period.

One of my pistols has a serial number in the 59,000 range.  The other, later production obviously, is in the 104,000 range.  I shall use these numbers to identify the pistols as needed.

In addition to the address changes, the most obvious change – as production carried on – was the change of the manufacturer’s logo.  All the grip panels I have witnessed have been wood.  Rather plain, darker – possibly stained – hardwood with obvious grain patterns.  All of them have a metal insert – a medallion, perhaps – with the manufacturing logo.

Original Heinrich Ortgies grip logo

Original Heinrich Ortgies grip logo

The earlier examples display an intertwined “H. O.” at right angles one to another signifying the designer and original manufacturer, Heinrich Ortgies.

 

 

Ortgies 104 later Deutch Werke logo cat

Deutch Werke logo

 

The later pistols, after Herr Ortgies passed on, were manufactured and controlled by Deutsche Werke of Erfurt, Germany and the medallion logo changed to a stylized “D”, which upon close inspection is a cat in profile with the tail curving up past the head.  (See picture, it makes more sense that way.)  The cat strikes me as having a mystical Egyptian look to it, or perhaps a long necked leopard.  Probably, it’s just ‘artsy’.

I have seen photographs of plastic grips.  They are the rather unimpressive black plastic of the early portion of the 20th Century.  The logo is cast into the plastic in place of a metal medallion inset.  I cannot recall seeing an actual pistol so equipped, but that may speak to my limited range more than anything else.

Ortgies 59719 serial number redacted and country of origin mark

Serial no. marking (partially redacted) and Country of Origin

Ortgies 104 serial number redacted and country of origin mark

Second example of redacted serial no. and Country of Origin markings

The serial number is roll stamped – all the markings seem to be very carefully and properly done – on the frame, forward of the trigger guard, underneath and behind the muzzle.  Both examples I have bear “Germany” in English – as opposed to Deutschland.  This marking is the required ‘country of origin’ marking for importation into the United States.  I’m sure these pistols were both imported into the U. S. and sold commercially here in the 1920s or 1930s.  This would be prior to the leftist hoplophobic mania and anti-gun hysteria of later years, of course.  Ahem; I digress.

 

Ortgies 59719 magazine left side with 9mm (kurz) mark

Early magazine left side, marked 9 m/m with six observation holes.

Ortgies 59719 magazine right side with 7.65mm mark

Early magazine with faint 7.65 m/m and HO logo marking on right side.

Markings on the magazines changed a bit from beginning to end, but the magazine design didn’t change much.  The early magazines would interchange between 9m/m kurz (9 mm short, in English, or .380 ACP for the ‘west-side-of-the-Atlantic’ faction) and 7.65m/m (.32 ACP) without alteration or adjustment.  The early magazines are marked on the left side with “9mm” and have six holes in the side of the magazine, presumably for checking round count; while the right side of the magazine is marked“7.65mm” and has seven holes.

 

 

 

 

Ortgies 104 baseplate of magazine

Later magazine with caliber marking and “D” logo on base plate.

Later magazines – at least those for 7.65mm – have seven holes on either side, the “7.65m/m” and the manufacturing logo (the stylized “D” for Deutsche Werke) marking is on the base plate.  In complete candor, I do not know if the later magazines will function in a 9mm kurz pistol.  The magazines appear identical, but I haven’t had opportunity or reason to check.

The pistol is not a shocking departure in terms of design.  It is a simple blowback action, with a spring driven striker as the igniter.  The standard Ortgies was produced in 7.65mm or .32 ACP, and 9mm Kurz or .380 ACP.  Ortgies also produced a 6.35mm or .25 ACP pistol during the same period, which appears to be a smaller pistol.  Interesting to me, the only safety on the pistol is the ‘grip’ safety which is the moveable ‘bar’ on the rear of the grip.

Ortgies 104 grip safety extended engaged

Grip safety extended; safety engaged.

Ortgies 104 grip safety depressed disengaged

Grip safety depressed, safety disengaged.

When extended – safety engaged – the sear is blocked mechanically by some extension of the safety.  When depressed – safety disengaged – the firearm is free to fire when the trigger is pulled.  Unlike the grip safety on pistols made by Colt and other manufacturers, the safety does is not spring-loaded and does not automatically extend when not manually depressed.  The grip safety stays in the depressed condition until a ‘release’ button is pressed.  This button is mounted on the frame, near the rear of the slide, on the left side.  (That release button is also used to field strip the pistol.

I understand this type of safety is being re-introduced on the new Remington “51” pistol.  I haven’t seen a live example yet, so this may not be fully – or partially – correct.

The Ortgies pistol was designed and sold as a personal defense pistol.  .32 ACP was considered a normal defensive caliber in that time period.  Truth be told, I rather imagine the .32 ACP chambered pistol is still in reasonably popular use today, if for no other reason than many were bought in the past one hundred years, many were brought home from the Second World War – back when our government trusted servicemen to retain firearms as souvenirs of service – and they are all still around.  Also in the mix is the factors the pistols are usually easy to load, handle and fire and the recoil doesn’t intimidate many people.

Ortgies 104 front and rear sight

Rear view of front and rear sight.

Ortgies 104 sight picture

Sight picture. One should focus the eye on the front sight, a skill my camera lacks at present.

 

 

 

The Ortgies is not a perfect defense pistol by any stretch.  The sights are milled from the basic block of steel that forms the slide.  The sights are fixed, and rather small by today’s standards.

Lest anyone think sights were considered a mere obligatory addition, the sights on both Ortgies pistols I own shoot quite close to the sights.

 

 

These pistols were never adopted for use officially by the German military.  However, officers and probably enlisted men could purchase their own sidearm and some Ortgies pistols were so employed.  From the sources I can find, one does NOT find Wehrmacht acceptance stamps normally.  If a family legend has it that one of your forbearers acquired his example from a German soldier, it is quite possible.  (However, it will not usually have the ‘country of origin’ marking which is needed for importation to the U. S.)  For collectors of such items, U. S. soldiers should have had ‘bring back’ documents showing they acquired ‘souvenirs’ legally and properly.  Such documentation trumps any conjecture based on perceived markings or lack of markings.

The trigger pull is not so heavy; I have two Ortgies pistols, one with a trigger weight of just over 4.5 pounds, the other pull weighs in at 6.1 pounds.  Not as heavy as some, but they are long and creepy.  When I say creepy, I mean one can feel the sear sliding out of engagement with the cocking piece.  They are manageable however.  Certainly not the sudden ‘glass rod breaking’ feeling of a top grade target trigger, but capable of discharging the arm while not completely disrupting the sight picture.

Another not often mentioned phenomenon:  They bite.  Not in the sense of operate poorly, but the slide (in recoil when fired) can easily gouge the upper portion of the web of my hand.  I’ve found a number of pistols which share this trait.  Perhaps my hands are too fat.  Lord knows the rest of me is.

The pistols are all single stack type magazines.  These were made for personal defense as concealed carry arms.  They are made to fit into a pocket.  The 7.65mm versions hold eight rounds in the magazine (and one in chamber).  Further, this pistol employs a typical – for the time – European style ‘heel catch’ magazine retainer and release.  It is simple to use and make, but IPSC shooters are horrified at the difficulty of making a ‘quick reload’.  (I feel a rant about “… thirty round bursts …” coming on; I shall endeavor to avoid such.)

The grip length is long enough for a proper grip.  My hands are not huge by any stretch, but reasonably ‘average’, I should think.  (No one has yet said, “Gee Arch, you have little tiny – or great big – hands!”)  I can get a full shooting grip on the arm; at worst, my little finger somewhat straddles the forward lip of the magazine.  Recoil is not great enough to make that a problem.

I purchased these two Orgties designed pistols just over a year apart.  The first in December of 2012 and the second one – which is the earlier manufactured – in April of 2014.  For that reason I test fired them on two separate occasions.  However, I did use ammunition by the same manufacturer – Privi Partizan – and the same lot of ammunition.

I confess I failed to observe the same testing protocols.  I’m already dieting, don’t expect any massive penance in addition.  Feel free to pronounce ‘fie’ upon me; I’ll man up.

On the good side, I did test both pistols at an initial distance of fifteen yards.  Fifteen yards is probably ‘long’ for a personal defense pistol; personal attacks usually are measured in single digits of feet units, but I feel fifteen yards is not a bad distance to evaluate mechanical accuracy of the device, without being distorted by (aging) eyesight and such.  In a burst of confidence, I shot the earlier produced pistol at twenty-five yards with suitable results in terms of accuracy.

The later produced pistol competed in one of our local ‘combat’ matches – with my assistance.  While the pistol did well in terms of accuracy, hitting pretty much everything on the first attempt, the impact of the 71 grain FMJ bullets did NOT dislodge the plates from the ‘Texas Star’ device.  Nor were they impressive on the dueling tree.  How discouraging.

The shooting – as always – was performed (committed?) on the Four Rivers’ Sportsman’s Club near Hastings, Nebraska.  No one was occupying the outdoor range and I made myself at home.

Setting the CED chronograph, I did – on separate occasions, as mentioned – some velocity testing just as a base line for discussion.  Just for the record, from the 3rd Edition of Ammo & Ballistics published by Safari Press and authored by Bob Forker, the SAAMI standards for this round indicate a 71 grain FMJ bullet is ‘expected’ to have a muzzle velocity of 900 feet per second (fps) and an operating pressure of 15,000 copper units of pressure (CUP) or 20,500 pounds per square inch (PSI) by transducer measure.

I cannot measure pressure with my equipment.  However, my chronograph does a fair job of bullet velocity.  The ammunition used in the testing is Prvi Partizan brand.  It bears no particular ‘item’ number but is described as “32 Auto” and “FMJ (full metal jacket) bullet, 4.6 grams/71 grains”.  The box has no printed claim to velocity.  The end flap interior has a stamped number of 1103, which I presume to be the manufacturing lot number.

According to the chronograph, pistol ‘59’ fires the ammunition with an average velocity of 666 fps.

Pistol ‘104’ runs the same lot of ammunition at an average of 701 fps.

So much for the anticipated 900 fps.

Both pistols using the same ammunition work very well.  Ejection and cycling is subjectively positive and regular.  The rounds register on target close to point of aim (where the sights line up according to my eyes).

In shooting, I find this pistol to be rather comfortable and ‘ergonomic’, even if that word was NOT in common use when the pistol was designed and made.  The tiny sights are a bit difficult to obtain rapidly, but the pistol seems to shoot to the sights.  I have complained in the past about the ‘issue’ sights on the Colt Government Model.  They are small.  The Ortgies sights are ‘tiny’.  Plus, as the photos demonstrate, the rear sight on the Ortgies is a narrow ‘V’ shape while the front sight is an inverted ‘V’ or pyramid shape.  (These sight profiles were popular in Europe on rifles as well as pistols.  I have heard them referred to as ‘barleycorn’ sights.  My personal conjecture is they were devised with assistance from “John Barleycorn”.  I could be mistaken.)

The groups derived are indicative of repeatability; that is, the shot holes are in an actual group and not just ‘on target’.  One has confidence the next shot will go in about the same place.  That’s a good feeling in any arm of consequence.

I have attached some photos of the results of the shooting tests.  They pretty much speak for themselves, but since I’m blogging, I’ll explain them anyway.

Ortgies 59 target 15 yards enhanced

Fifteen yard target

The multiple target (six targets) shows a single, ten shot slow fire group; the lower right hand corner.  From the picture, one can see the pistol tends to register on the right side of the target.  This group was fired two handed, deliberate aim and trigger pull.  I was trying to get all the accuracy from the arm possible.

The five targets with single shot holes was a somewhat rapid fire sequence.  I fired one shot at each target in turn, from top left to bottom right (down the left side then down the right side).  I did fire this string one handed, for reasons I cannot recall.  I note the shot holes are much more centered firing one handed.

Ortgies 59 target 25 yards enhanced

Twenty-five yard target

 

 

The twenty-five yard target is nothing remarkable, save it was fired with a .32 ACP pistol with really tiny sights.  The pistol tended toward the right side of the target, but are all on the scoring rings.  I did fire this two handed and as fast as I could get a sight picture and trigger release without moving the sights.   The target shown is NOT a standard NRA B27 target for 50 yards.  It is the reduced size which simulates a 50 yard target at 25 yards.

 

 

These little pistols never fail to amaze me.  All my life I was told how poorly they worked; how impossible they are to fire with any degree of accuracy; and they have no real world use.  Which just goes to show one should ‘trust but verify’ in many areas of life.

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Gloomy Saturday, A. D. 33

It was the ninth year of Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome.  Rome ruled the greater part of the Mediterranean Ocean basin.  The Roman Empire spanned from the Iberian Peninsula in the west, up through France, well into Germany.  In the south, Rome ruled from the eastern portion of Morocco across Northern Libya, most of Egypt and the Levant, east through Syria.

Most of the Roman world was at peace, more or less.

However, in the Roman province of Palestine – in the area called Israel by the inhabitants feelings were mixed.

It was Passover weekend.  It was at the time – and still in many cases – the most Holy Celebration of the Jewish religion and religious people.  This was the anniversary of the escape from Egyptian captivity, the Exodus.  The time when Almighty God, the Lord of the Israelites killed the first born of Egypt and allowed the people of Israel to leave Egypt and bondage to begin their journey to their promised homeland.  It was normally a very joyous occasion.  It was the reminder of the love of the Lord and hope for His assistance.

But not exclusively on this instance.

The day before, the local Roman Governor, Pilate had executed three local men.  Two were unnamed and unlamented – save possibly by their families, no comments noted – and one unusual Jewish carpenter who …

Hard to say.  Some said he was a troublemaker.  He surely upset the ruling Jewish council, the Sanhedrin.  He announced a philosophy of Judaism that sounded rather solid against the teachings of Moses and the Prophets, but struck a sour note with the current religious authorities.  He taught and spoke as a Prophet.  Some took him to be Elijah, or another of the prophets.  He taught with a certainty and fresh delivery that seemed to claim the role of Prophet; of one who spoke God’s message.  He claimed more though.  He said – in so many words – He was God.

That last bit really infuriated the Sanhedrin and others.  It is rumored they were the ones who had Pilate execute the man.  There is no record of this fellow – Jesus, he was called – committing any crimes against the Roman authority.  Indeed, other than that incident in the Temple, he never did anything which harmed or inconvenienced anyone.  Yes, there was that time he healed a man’s withered arm on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees were really upset he ‘worked’ on the Sabbath; but fixing a man’s arm?  Is that such a violation?  And all he did was look at the man and tell him his arm was fixed.  It wasn’t like Jesus lifted a tool or load, or spent several hours sweating and laboring.

But Jesus was indeed executed by a Roman execution party.  The whole city – more or less – went out to watch.  There were still a number of people there – including his mother, poor woman – when he died on that cross.  It was a quick death for a crucifixion.  Still pretty disgusting.

His followers all faded away.  Except for his mother and a couple of her friends who stayed to observe the final preparations for burial.  And a surprise; a fellow named Nicodemus claimed the body for burial.  Another surprise, Nicodemus put the body in a nearby tomb belonging to Nicodemus.  An unused tomb, yet!

 

All his disciples were in hiding.  They were fearful the Sanhedrin would have them arrested and executed as well.  Probably a reasonable fear.  Peter had ventured after Jesus the night before, but hadn’t been able to free Jesus or do much of anything.  This night, he was silent and kept to himself.  Not usual for Peter; typically Peter was the center of attention.  Peter was the first to talk, nearly always.  In the absence of Jesus – the clear leader – Peter was the senior man, so to speak.  But Peter wasn’t himself.  Not at all.  Nor could anyone get him to talk about why.  Peter sat off to one side and nervously fingered a pebble in his hands.

Jesus was dead.  Jesus had been the hope of the little group of men, and of a greater group of other men and women.  They all been convinced he was an important man.  Most had thought him Divinely inspired in one way or other.  Some had thought him the promised Messiah.  Peter – now silent – had once declared belief that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  All the disciples had agreed with that assessment.  Many of the larger group had agreed as well.

The Messiah, the long awaited Deliverer of Israel was here!  Soon, the Messiah would begin the process of throwing off the Roman oppressors and restoring the glory of Israel.  Soon, the nation would again possess the kingdom of David and be rich and powerful and unbeatable!  Soon!  The Messiah was HERE!

And now he is dead.  So much for the future.  Hope was gone, but gloom they had.

Hard to define or even describe, but there was a ‘yet’.  Not ‘hope’ so much, just a ‘but’…

They talked, desultorily and sporadically.

What had he said?  One offered he missed the details, he had been thinking about his position in the new kingdom.  Others didn’t say much out loud, but had similar thoughts.  They remembered Jesus had said something about dying – which seemed different now than before – and something else… but what?

“He said He would assemble his believers and followers” Peter spat out, the first thing he had said all night.

The others nodded, remembering.  No one wanted to provoke Peter, so they were silent.
“Not much chance of that now” Peter said in a vicious tone and threw the pebble across the room.

Silence again in the room and among the disciples.

Another of the disciples finally said he was going to get some sleep.  So they all began the process of preparing for sleep as best they could.  One of them said, “I’d sure like to remember what else He said.  He spoke about – doing? – something after He was killed.”  The other disciples muttered something all at once and lay down.

Peter spoke one last time, “I don’t think I’ll sleep much tonight”.

But he was wrong.  He – and the rest – slept that night.  And, they dreamed.

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