The Greatest of These



Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13
Luke 4:21-30

There are some problems with love, the leading one being that the world does not like it. Love is wimpy; it does not scare the predators. Turning the other cheek is a good way to get your face smashed.

No one can fight a war, let alone win, using love. The evil ones of the world will defeat us for sure. We have to be stronger and tougher than the others in the fight.

In Matthew 24:10-13 Jesus described the end times. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be savedNIV

Why will our hearts grow cold? Love and hate are opposites; they cannot exist side-by-side. When we allow hate to flourish, love must die.

The reading in Luke gives an example of how easily hate can take over. As we saw last week, Jesus visited his home synagogue, read Isaiah, and his friends and neighbors praised him.

Today’s reading continues that synagogue experience. Jesus related two well-known stories of two leading prophets, but as usual, he turned the accounts in an unfamiliar direction. Instead of praising the steadfastness of the prophets—everyone there knew that—Jesus stressed the obvious fact that Elijah and Elisha took God’s love and message to Gentiles.

The men of the synagogue considered his words to be blasphemy for which death was the punishment. In spite of the wealth of scripture supporting God’s love for all people, His chosen people could not accept the idea.

In fact, the Essenes preached the need to hate Gentiles.

Today, far too many Christians follow the path of the Essenes. We have groups and categories of people we hate, even as we say we do not hate them. Moslems are high on the list today. We also struggle with loving  Mexicans, Haitians, Chinese, Africans, and generally most non-whites. We also struggle with how to love women who choose abortion, or men who prefer men, or anyone who contracts AIDS.

How to love everyone? Paul spells it out.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Blizzards of 1888

This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book
This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book


Two massive and killing blizzards struck the US in 1888, the first in January.

Blizzard Jan 1888 3

The first of the two blizzards is often called the Children’s Blizzard because it struck Nebraska after sunrise January 12. The children went to school in 50° weather, so they wore lightweight winter clothes. The storm struck with a combination of below zero temps (as low as -40, a 90° drop) and winds over sixty miles an hour. Hundreds of people froze and hundreds more suffered frostbite.

Conditions were even worse in the Dakotas. When the front crossed out of Canada it was moving at 100 miles per hour; not wind speed, but front speed. They were spared the worst because it blew through at night and most were able to survive. Not so in Nebraska.

Charcoal and pencil drawing titled "Minnie Leading the Children" by Omaha artist Watie White for the original oratorio "Blizzard Voices" to be performed with Ted Kooser at the Holland Performing Arts Center in 2008. The oratorio includes poems from 12 finalists about the 1888 blizzard and other notable weather events. 12_Blizzard1888
Charcoal and pencil drawing titled “Minnie Leading the Children” by Omaha artist Watie White for the original oratorio “Blizzard Voices”

Blizzard Jan 1888 2


Blizzard Jan 1888 clearing the tracks     Trains were halted as far south as Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

Blizzard Jan 1888 4

Blizzard Jan 1888

The storm killed most of the remaining cattle in the northern plains, many having already died in the 1886 blizzard and the 1887 drought. The Blizzard of ’88 finally put an end to the open range system everywhere but Texas, as cattlemen put up fences and mowed hay to store for winter feeding. Modern cowboys spend their time mending fences and putting up hay.

The 1888 Blizzard Club "In All It's Fury" Members of the Blizzard of 1888 pose at a historical marker in Valley County in 1967. From left, State Sen. H.C. Crandall of Curtis, Horace M. Davis of Lincoln, Oliver Bell (of Minnie Freeman's school), H. Greeley, Besse Davis, Ora Clement and Leslie Markel. 12_Blizzard1888
The 1888 Blizzard Club
“In All It’s Fury”
Members of the Blizzard of 1888 pose at a historical marker in Valley County in 1967. From left, State Sen. H.C. Crandall of Curtis, Horace M. Davis of Lincoln, Oliver Bell (of Minnie Freeman’s school), H. Greeley, Besse Davis, Ora Clement and Leslie Markel.


The other 1888 blizzard struck the Northeast March 11-14, hitting NYC the hardest with drifts as high as fifty feet. As a result of the storm, the city decided to move electrical power and the train system underground.

New York Blizzard 1888 2 New York Blizzard 1888

Statue of Liberty

This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book
This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book


The statue was designed by Frederic Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel who began work on the Eiffel Tower the following year. In 1886 Liberty was the largest statue in the world. The dedication was October 28, 1886.

Statue of Liberty Paris workshop     Bartholdi began work in Paris by making plaster casts of each part of the design, and forming the copper around the casts. Eiffel’s job was to then design the iron construction to support each piece.


Statue of Liberty first assembled in Paris 1884

The entire statue was assembled outside the workshop in Pairs to make sure everything fit properly and that Eiffel’s iron would hold the tonnage. The arm had already been sent to Philadelphia for the 1876 Centennial.


Statue of Liberty Bedloe Island fort Civil War     This picture was taken during the Civil War of the fort on Bedloe’s Island. Once the island was selected for the statue, the next phase was to decide what kind of base to build. Congress was upset that they were being forced to pay for a base and at first offered the star fort alone. It took several years, but private money was raised to build a taller base using the star fort as a starter.


Statue of Liberty base 2       Statue of Liberty base


Statue of Liberty driving first rivet     The venerable magazine, first published in 1845, published a detailed drawing of driving the first rivet for the iron tower.


Statue of Liberty face uncrated 1885

A photo of the uncrated face on Bedloe’s.



Statue of Liberty steel framework     Statue of Liberty under construction 2     The iron frame.



Statue of Liberty under construction

The framework is close to finished in this photo.



A view of the dedication from NYC.

Statue of Liberty dedication 2     A photo of the boats around the island.


While still the largest statue in the US, it no longer makes the top ten list in the world. The copper statue is 151 feet tall, the stone base is 305 feet, but the base does not count as part of the statue.

Considerable reconstruction has been done over the years. Today, Liberty holds a new torch, the old one considered too corroded to refurbish. The flame of the torch is covered in pure gold. Portions of the copper skin have been replaced where holes appeared, especially where bolts held the skin to the iron frame creating a galvanic chemical reaction. Most if not all the iron frame has been replaced with stainless steel and two elevators have been added.

Because Bedloe’s Island belonged to the War Department, they were given control over the statue until 1933 when the military no longer had a use for the island. Bedloe’s was renamed Liberty Island in 1956.

Here is a video about the statue and it’s construction from the History Channel:


Parade Magazine gives us 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Statue of Liberty. 




1886 World Championship

This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book
This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book


The current Major League is made up of the National League (the Senior League) and the American League (the Junior League) and dates to 1901. However, the National League began in 1871. Many other leagues attempted formation, but the American Association in 1882 was the only one to pose much of a match for the National League. Because most, if not all the American teams were sponsored by beer and whisky companies, they were often called the Beer and Whisky League.

Each year beginning in 1884, the American Association winning team approached the National League’s Champions with a proposal for a play-off between them. Nothing formal was ever in place and the rules changed each time. In 1884 the Providence Grays of the National League played the New York Metropolitans of the American Association. Each team put up $1,000 with the winner to take the $2,000 by winning 2 out of 3 games. The Grays won the first two games.

In 1885 The National League was represented by the Chicago Whitestockings (nicknamed The Chicagos) and the American Association by the Saint Louis Browns. They played 7 games for the $2,000 prize, and because of a disagreement in game 2, they split the prize and not declare a winner.

In 1886 the two teams met again, this time for the winner to take the entire gate receipts, after expenses. The Browns won in six games. It was the only time the Americans won in the 7 times the series was played. The American Association folded in 1891.

St. Louis Browns major sponsor:

Bush beer plant and train     Bush beer plant around 1900.


Bush beer workers     Bush beer work crew late 19th century.


Chicago World Serise 1886 flyer


Chicago White Stokings

Chicago White Stokings 2

The top photo of the White Stockings, aka, the Chicagos, is from 1886 and the bottom is the 1888 team. Teams normally played with 9 to 12 members, with the manager being one of the players. Pitchers often played other positions on the days they did not pitch. Sometimes a team played with fewer than nine. They were paid to play, but only when they played and not enough to get through the year; every player had to find winter work. Not until after WWII did lesser players begin to earn enough not to have to have a second job.



Comiskey managed the St. Louis Browns and played first base. He went on to buy a minor league team in Sioux City, move it to Chicago, rename it the Chicago White Sox (eventually) and became one of the major forces in the creation of the American League and of Major League Baseball.


St. Louis Browns 2     The Browns

St Louis Browns 3     After the big win.

St, Louis Browns railraod car to Chicago     Thee Browns rail car for the series.

St. Louis Sportsman's Park Browns stadium    Home of the Browns, and of the Wild West in 1886.



Charleston Earthquake

This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book
This book will be available February 1 from Amazon, in either print or e-book


Remmy was feeding livestock about 9:30 in the evening when he felt the ground moving. This is why:

August 31, 1886, Charleston, South Carolina suffered the worst recorded quake in the southeastern US, perhaps all of the east. While seismographs existed at the time, there were none in the US to record the event. The best estimate today is around 7 on the Richter Scale.

It was what is technically known as an intraplate earthquake, meaning that it was not the result of two earth mantel plates rubbing against each other as is the case in most major quakes, especially along the Pacific coast on both sides of the ocean.

Charleston sets well away from the nearest plate interaction, so the quake was caused by some unknown disturbance  under the city. Intraplate quakes are being studied, but we still know little about them. We do know the Charleston quake was an up and down motion. That type of movement can cause huge tsunamis, but Charleston was lucky to miss that.

Nonetheless, over 90% of the buildings were damaged, and 60 people were killed. The total population then was about 50,000. The city continues to be in a high risk zone for a future quake of about the same magnitude.


Charleston 3

This solid brick building was no match for the quake. The recent 7.0 quake in Haiti left damage much like this.

Charleston 4     A locomotive was thrown onto its side.


Charlston earthquake 3

Some fifty miles of track had to be rebuilt.


Charleston 5

Notice the two buildings in the center of the picture are in the street.


Charlston earthquake 2

Charlston earthquake


Remember that just 21 years earlier Charleston looked like this:

Charleston 1865

Civil War damage.