The Law of the Lord is Perfect



Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12-31a
Luke 4:14-21


People often say that the Law is in the first five books of the Bible—the Torah—and the Law is the Law of Moses.


In part.

The Law of God is in every chapter of the Bible and a portion of it did come to us through Moses. Actually a large portion: Leviticus, Number, and Deuteronomy.

Moving to Psalm 19, we see: The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about GodTLB The Law.

Today’s reading from Luke contains the passage from Isaiah 61:1-2. This is the Isaiah version:

The Spirit of Adonai Elohim is upon me,
because Adonai has anointed me
to announce good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted;
to proclaim freedom to the captives,
to let out into light those bound in the dark;
to proclaim the year of the favor of Adonai
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn

It is important to understand that these words are all the Law of God.

In the synagogue, the scripture readings were set for the year. Jesus arrived on the very Saturday that Isaiah 61:1-2 was to be read. Usually, the leader of the synagogue would have been the reader—rabbis were not yet the leaders—but when an important personage came to visit, he was asked to do the reading and comment on it as well. That is how Jesus came to read the important passage about himself.

Everyone stood for the reading of scripture—as is still done in synagogue—because all Israel stood when Ezra read the Torah, as described in today’s text from Nehemiah. But it was also custom for the congregation to remain standing while the reader commented on the text while seated.

The reading from Luke for next week continues the story, but it is important to note that when Jesus said, This text is being fulfilled today even as you listenNJB the people were pleased. He made a veiled claim to be the Messiah, and they had no problem with that. As we will read next week, the trouble was over something else.

For Paul, there was on longer any question about the Messiah; Jesus is the Messiah. Paul, in his image of the body of Christ, placed Jesus at the head. The rest of us make up parts of his body. A person who is a skin cell on the little toe of the left foot, is part of the body of the Messiah, and as such, is part of the Law of God. The Messiah is the Word of God and the Word of God is the Law. It is our role as the body of Christ to live the Law of God, the God of Justice and Love.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

Annie Oakley

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


Phoebe Ann Moses was born in 1860. Her family called her Annie as a child. She was next to youngest of seven children. Her father died in 1866 and three years later, her mother sent her to the poor farm, called the County Infirmary, because she could not feed everyone.

After a year there, she went to live with a family that treated her as a slave for two years until she ran away. Back at home, she found that she was now the sixth of eight children, her mother having remarried. However, the second husband died before Annie returned, so she began to use her father’s war musket from 1812 to hunt game on their farm. She became so good at it that she began to sell game to restaurants in town.

At the age of 15, the local hotel owner set up a shooting match with Frank Butler who was touring the country with his own shooting exhibition. Annie bested him in shooting and did not reject his attention afterwards. They maintained a long distance relationship until their marriage in 1876. However, their only existing marriage license is from Windsor, Canada dated 1882. It is generally believed that Frank had a difficult time getting a divorce and they chose to be married in spirit. Annie never spoke of it.

She chose the stage name of Annie Oakley, possibly after an aunt, and toured with Frank, and then they joined the Sells Circus, and then Wild West a year later. She was so popular with crowds that Frank became her manager as well as co-star, though Annie did most of the show. They were with Cody for sixteen seasons. When Cody brought in Lillian Smith in 1886 and gave her equal billing to Annie, trouble began. They both went to London in 1887, but the rift became so serious that Annie and Frank left the show and only returned when Lillian was gone in 1889.


Annie Oakley and Frank

An early photo of Annie and Frank before they joined the Wild West. They always had a dog to use in the show and may have had hunting dogs as well. They both enjoyed bird hunting.


Annie Oakley behind back shot Annie Oakley closeup 2 Annie Oakley closeup

The three photos above give us a good look at the attractive and young Annie Oakley. She always wore her hair down when performing to emphasis her youth, even as she aged. She also wore short dresses (for the period) in the shows, only conforming to society outside the show. As a part of that, she insisted on being called Mrs. Butler when not performing. She stood five feet tall, weighed 115 pounds (most of her life) and had, as you can see above, a 16 inch waist.


Annie Oakley with medels

She was clearly one of the top ten best shooters in competitions, as this partial collection of medals would suggest.


Annie Oakley good pic    Annie Oakley on bicycle

Annie appeared in Wild West posters nearly as often as Buffalo Bill. Cody knew she brought in more money for the show, but he also had great personal respect for both Annie and Frank. Like many people who grew up poor, Annie was always willing to lend her name to products for a fee.


Annie oakley poster

This poster did not have to elaborate on her abilities. She was a great athlete. Not only could she high jump, in a dress, she could carry an 8 pound shotgun while tramping through the woods all day.


Annie Oakley shoot apple

One of her most popular features was shooting an apple from the head of their faithful, and trusting, dog. This picture was taken after the Butlers left the show and did their own exhibition shooting.


Annie Oakley on Star Street

Anytime the show stopped at one site for a few days, tents were set up for the stars. They were placed in line and the show called it the Street of Stars. Annie and Frank also had their own rail car when they traveled and lived in it even on long stays. The stars did not sleep in tents. You will notice only a lounging chair inside. The stars did spend most of the day in and around the tents because they did two shows a day and there were customers in the grounds for most of 10 hours.

In 1901, the Wild West traveled in three trains. The Butler’s car was part of the second train. Due to a switching error, their train met another train head on. Because their car was one of the last on the train, neither sustained lift threatening injuries, but it was enough for them to quit the show. They visited a warm spring spa shortly after that and Annie was left much too long in the old metal steam box. She was unconscious when removed and her hair turned white as a result. In 1922, she was in a car wreck and fractured her hip and an ankle. Annie had to wear a metal brace, but did not stop hunting.


Annie Oakley Frank and Dave in later years

The Butlers around 1920.


Annie Oakley marker near Greenville Ohio

Annie Oakley marker near Dayton

When Annie died, Frank stopped eating and died 18 days later.



The family grave markers in Greenville, Ohio.

Washington DC

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’s trip to the nation’s capital was a great experience. Here are some of the sights of the period.

Washington DC streets & Capitol     Pennsylvania Ave about 1886.

Notice the street cars are horse-drawn.

Washington DC Capitol view with canal     This view was painted before the Civil War and the addition of the new dome. Notice the water canal running close to the capitol building.

Washington DC arial view 1892     By contrast, this 1892 view shows the river frontage, much of which was filled in for the Lincoln Memorial and other works.

Washington DC Mall     The Mall has changed.

Washington DC panorama

Washington DC Penn Ave and 15th

Washington DC street

Washington DC newsboys at Capitol    Newsboys.

Washington DC Nationals baseball playing     The Nationals making a play at first base. The camera is looking out to center field and the Capitol building.

1886 Wild West Season part 2

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


This is the second half of the 1886 season for the Wild West. Upon leaving Cumberland, they arrived in DC for a week and a half. Again, not all these pictures are from 1886, some are as late as 1900.

Washington, DC Thursday-Saturday, Sunday rest, Monday-Saturday, May 27-June 5.

Washington street

Washington hotel

Washington Bach_Abe_0

Sunday rest.


Philadelphia, PA Monday-Saturday, Sunday rest, Monday-Saturday, June 7-June 19.

Philidelphia Betsy Ross home

Betsy Ross home in the center.

Philidelphia Liberty torch on display 1876, then moved to New York

The torch on display in 1876 before being sent to Madison Square in NYC.

Philidelphia Mill Creek sewer

Philidelphia street 2

Philidelphia street with elivated

Philidelphia street


Staten Island, NY June 20-25 to prepare, parade in NYC on Saturday, June 26.

Staten Island baseball stands 1886

Drawing of the Mets field at St. George.

Staten Island beach

There were several nice beaches for the New Yorkers to visit.

Staten Island Ferry boats

The Staten Island Ferry leaving New York.

Staten Island homes

Two of the wealthier residencies.

Staten Island Indians in show

Staten Island map

Staten Island Mariners Harbor modern view of trees

A modern picture above of the general site where the Wild West set up.

Staten Island New Brighten

Staten Island Roller Coaster

Staten Island St. George ad

Staten Island Street

Staten Island, NY, first show June 28, last show September 30.


New York City, NY The Garden at Madison Square, first show Wednesday, November 24, last show Tuesday, February 22

madison Barnums_Hippodrome

The Garden as it would have looked while the Wild West was there.



Garden # 2 below at the same location. It is the tall tower and building behind Madison Square. It served the city until 1926.

Madison 1890

Madison Square 2

Madison Square 3


Garden # 3 was built at 8th Ave and about 50th St. It was in use until 1968.

Madison III

Madison III 2

Notice the open windows for air conditioning. This Garden closed in 1968.


Garden # 4 again at a new location, this time at about 8th Ave and 31 St. It was built to be part of the remodeled Penn Station complex, in part to take advantage of the subway access.

Taxi cabs sit in front of Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The Madison Square Garden Co. is scheduled to release earnings data on May 3. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Penn Madison 3

Penn Station 4


Penn Station was an institution in NYC for many years, second to Grand Central Station in traffic. Grand was first built on site in 1871, but has been remodeled several times since. Penn Station was built in 1910 and much of it remains from that day.

Pennsylvania Station in NYC jammed with people during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Pennsylvania Station in NYC jammed with people during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Penn Station 7

The view above shows Madison Square Garden above Penn Station and the many rail lines leading into the station.

Penn Station     Penn Station


Below, Madison Square is now Madison Park and judging from the maps, it is the same size as it was in 1886. I do not know what is currently located on the site of the first two Gardens.

madison-square-park 2




About the Wedding



Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11


John records only eight miracles (Matthew 21, Mark 20, Luke 21) and six of them are found only in John (the exceptions: walking on water and feeding five thousand). Each of the eight present us with an important lesson about how God works in the world.

The first miracle is all about the wedding. Yes, Jesus turned water into wine, but that’s almost a throwaway. The real miracle is that The Wedding is taking place.

My NIV desk Bible is the 1985 edition. Some portions of the text are updated in later editions, including verse 7b of Psalm 36, but I like the older, less literal translation:

Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wingsNIV King David is singing of God gathering us in to his presence. He goes on: They feast on the bounty of your house, you give them drink from your river of pleasureNJB We will not be disappointed at God’s Wedding Feast, the one He is putting together for His Son’s marriage.

Isaiah wrote directly of the Wedding, saying that Israel (Messiah) would become Beulah, that is, Married. The theme is found in many places in Isaiah and other prophets, but it is also found as early as Genesis. God has been planning the Wedding since before creation.

Jesus understood the prophecy. When his mother said, they have no more wineNIV the response was curt: Jesus said, “Is that any of our business, Mother—yours or mine? This isn’t my time. Don’t push me.” She went ahead anyway, telling the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.” MSG

There has been much hand wringing over Jesus’ response to his mother, but it is not that serious.  “Mom, the real Wedding is yet to come, my time is later. However, since what you ask does fit God’s Forever Theme, I will do this simple thing.” Mike Lawrence paraphrase

Weddings play an important role in the teachings of Jesus and it is clear in the Bible that people who are faithful to him will attend the Wedding. It is not so clear what role each of us will have at the Wedding. Some will be a part of the Altar, some will be the Bride, and some will be guests.

Each of us has a role to play on earth as well. Paul uses the term spiritual gifts to differentiate from earthly talents. Sometimes they are the same, but at least as often, they differ greatly. Possibly, the Kansas City Secret Santa is an example. His earthly talent is making money. His spiritual talent is helping people in need by handing out $100 bills (1,000 of them).

What is your gift? How can you best serve God and the people around you? That Gift may change over the years. At thirty, being a loving parent is number one, at forty being a best friend becomes more important, at fifty we provide more leadership for others, and at sixty we begin to discover some of those latent gifts God has been saving for us like belated Christmas presents.


Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence