No sermon this past week. Sorry. A few photos though still brighten the horizon even as bleak as it could be.
It was a difficult week again. A judge made an order, full of …. You cannot safely say the truth about judges; though it would be nice if judges would base their work on truth.
This past week has been draining.
Gaslighting is a powerfully terrible thing to experience.
These snippets from a google search highlight just what this is, just how terrible it is, and just how terrible it is that the justice system participates in this. All apologies if any are really needed for just grabbing this information without keeping records to give credit. It’s the kind of thing that after one suffers it, again and again, at one’s spouse’s hand, and then repeatedly at one’s pastor’s, (she was ordained today, just for a sample of God’s justice waiting, and God’s Grace filling undeserving lives), other pastors who have great sins to hide in their false accusations about me, and then almost without ceasing by various RCMP officers, even VSU when I called them, a great number of people working in the justice system, and then again and again at the hand of judges …. It’s the kind of thing that when you have to deal with it again things do not always get done with the correct process. So my apologies.
to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Gaslighting is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. … The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. Gaslighting can also be part of an authoritarian personality. A person with an authoritarian personality tends to think in absolutes: Things are 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong. When a gaslighter thinks that they are not the problem and everyone else is, this is called having an ego-syntonic personality.
Signs of being Gaslit
• no longer feeling like the person you used to be. • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be. • often wondering if you’re being too sensitive. • feeling like everything you do is wrong. • always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong. • apologizing often.
The following from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/are-gaslighters-aware-what-they-do
… Gaslighting is a pattern of manipulation tactics used by abusers, narcissists, dictators, and cult leaders to gain control over a person or people. The goal is to make the victim or victims question their own reality and depend on the gaslighter. So, do gaslighters know they’re doing it? It depends on the gaslighter.
Living Well, Surviving Gaslighting
There is only one way to survive Gaslighting:
to live well, as well as one can, given the circumstances. I live well, even if the challenges are great.
My work is rough. Outdoors, building, tearing down, moving, rebuilding. It’s a dream for a young man who loves to build things with his hands. It’s tough and rough work for an older man like me, even if I like working with my hand. My hands, precious instruments of my creativity.
I live well.
The sun sets over the lake outside the window. A canoe rests near the water available to take a camera out to create beauty from what can be ordinary. People respond well to my company, my words, and simple joy of life. I receive grace given to me in abundance. I share grace with everyone I meet, and it makes a visible difference, a positive difference.
I help guide a new truck driver from being stuck to safely position her vacuum truck to be able to do her work and be able to drive out. It just took some well placed shovel work, and some good driving, well planned driving.
I cleaned up 5 garbage bags of drunken, drugged, and orgy leftovers out of this random camping area.
I’ve pulled two dead-falls down this past week, one down by a fool with an axe, the other by a strong wind. Who knows what may have happened, but no one will get hurt from them.
The fireworks after 23:00 are loud, but the view is okay. There are no complaints.
The light is wonderful, when one sees it with the truth that God created it to reflect.
Gas – Lighting
It’s the kind of lighting that only God can put right. I can forgive the family stuff, the gaslighting in the family as horrendous as it was. But the professionals: they should know better: their sins are bound. God will deal with their sins, not forgiven but bound. That, because it is my responsibility to forgive all that can be, and to bind what cannot be. I place it behind me so that I can continue to deal with these people of horrendous deeds with grace. I place it behind me and before them for the rest of their lives. God’s truth has no diminished clarity, no possibility of being lied about, nothing to be spun or hidden.
God’s forgiveness, which I have given, remains as clear as God’s light of truth. Photos show reality, the clarity of God’s light shining on God’s wonderful creation.
its still a draft, the first, but it is a formulation of what will become a sermon.
How do we Respond
Front Yard 1 Juniper hole
yard needed something to replace the juniper that had taken over the
front of the porch, toxic as it was to some of us living in the
house. So I bought a plant to replace the juniper that was cut off
last fall leaving a stump.
The Question of the sermon: how do we respond?
all the lessons for today a theme winds its way: How do we respond?
Who do we respond to?
Isaiah, God is ready for the people to respond to God, but they tell
him to stay away. The Psalmist cries to the Lord for rescue from the
enemies, God saves the Psalmist, and the Psalmist with all who fear
the Lord, sing God’s praise. They remember who God is and whose
letter to Galatians Paul recounts how we are to respond to the
demands of the Law. We can set it aside. And how we are to respond to
the Gospel of Jesus. We can trust it fully to justify us before God,
for our faith is a gift from God and it alone is what we need to be
counted among God’s own children, and heirs of God’s own Kingdom!
Gospel story recounts how a mass of demons respond to Jesus’
arrival with great fear, how the herders respond to the drowning of
their pigs in the lake, and how the towns people respond to Jesus
driving the demons out of the man they’ve possessed for so long.
Most significant is how the healed man responds. He sits at Jesus’
feet in worship, asks to come along, and when denied that request
follows Jesus’ command to tell everyone all that Jesus has done for
him! He becomes the one who proclaims in this foreign land Jesus’
past week Trump found himself in another brinkmanship showdown this
time with Iran. He stood minutes away from ordering an attack that
would break out in another long and costly war. Threatening had
spiraled down to making good on extreme threats, had come to ordering
a military preemptive response.
advice from many corners to stop such brinkmanship showdowns, and
this one in particular, Trump had carried on. Then a phone call from
Fox News came, alerting Trump that his planned attack would certainly
lose him the next election. So Trump stood down the military attack.
Front Yard 2 Snow-shovelled ‘salted the earth’
yard also needed something to fix a foot wide strip of grass along
the driveway where no grass will grow. Each winter snow was shoveled
to the side of the driveway, the only place to shovel it, and all the
salt from the vehicles from the streets has been dumped on the lawn.
Generally it’s suffered, but that first foot has been thoroughly
salted earth. A few brave weeds try to conquer it each summer with
little success. I had tried, as many others had, to ignore that I’d
salted the earth there, but enough was enough.
planned to put in some kind of walk way, which would absorb the salt
and snow melt, and not need to have anything grow there, without just
extending the ‘salted earth’ effect another foot into the lawn.
Responses that deny anything is wrong
it is just easier to deny that things are wrong.
Isaiah, God stands ready and eager to have the people respond, but
they do not. They go so very far as to tell God that they want God to
stay far away.
in the Fiddler on the Roof, when he is asked, proposes such a
blessing for the czar: He asks God to bless the czar and keep him
from them very far. Of course the Czar wishes no good for Tevye and
his community. Good wishes Good for us all!
it is just easier to assume that someone else is the source of the
problem that we encounter, or to pretend there is no real problem at
all, even as life itself seems to melt away to viruses, antibiotic
resistant bacteria, or cancer.
Woman without the Cookies
A woman waiting to catch a flight bought
herself a book and a bag of cookies, settled in a chair, and began to
read. Suddenly the man beside her started helping himself to her
cookies. Not wanting to make a scene, she read on and ate cookies.
For every cookie she took, he took one, too. She got more irritated
and muttered, “If I wasn’t so nice, I’d give him a piece of my
mind!” She wanted to move the cookies to her other side but she
couldn’t bring herself to do it. When only one was left, with a
smile on his face and a nervous laugh, he took it and broke it in
Then he offered her half, and he ate the
other. She snatched it from him and thought, “This guy has some
nerve, and he’s so rude. He didn’t even show any gratitude!” When
her flight was called, with relief she headed for the gate, refusing
to look at the ungrateful “thief.” She boarded the plane and sank
in her seat, reached in her bag to get a book to read and to forget
about the incident.
Next to her book … was her full bag of
Front Yard 3 Porch covered HOLE
remembering had not completed the whole picture. Under my front
porch, with the ground for a good 12 to 20 feet around, there is a
sinkhole in the corner of the foundation that had dropped a good
three feet below grade. The sump pump was right there. Good. It
pumped out the water about 12 feet away along the other wall right at
the rhubarb plant just three feet from the porch corner where the
juniper stood, so all the water freely flowed right back down the
foundation to the sump pump again. No wonder the rhubarb and juniper
did so well every year, no matter how dry a summer we had!
planned to fill that sink hole in with extra black dirt, but then
thought that I’d better fill it with clay, so the water would not
just seep through the black dirt.
Cookies, Clay, Good Creatures, possesed but
redeemed by Jesus
we not only get it wrong whose bag of cookies we are eating from, we
forget the big hole that we have at home, right in our own hearts,
and we simply do not remember what will fill it.
fine for my hole under the porch. But what of all the holes left by
all the losses we encounter through life? What do we fill them with?
to the Norsky Sunday School song, the workers wouldn’t work and the
painters wouldn’t paint, so God in creating the earth thought the
quickest thing to do was to fill it up with dirt.
God came to us humans, God did not create with just dirt. God
breathed into us, gave us spirit and life, memories and regrets, and
thoughts and hopes. God gave us the ability to fear and love God, and
each other. God made us Goooood. Then when we were possessed by the
demons of sin and evil, God sent Jesus, God’s own Son, to
demonstrate for us what we can barely comprehend, but we can
remember: God so loved the world and all of us in it that God rescues
us from all the demons.
baptisms God claims us and makes us God’s own children. There is no
greater thing that God can do for us.
ML Baptized I live in the face of all demons
Luther knew about demonic powers. In his early adult life, after
being near-struck by lightning he completely gave himself over to
fighting against demonic powers. He became a monk serving God with
his whole being, disciplining himself harshly, even flogging himself,
to drive the devil’s demons out, and to make penance for the many
sins he committed every day.
day, Martin Luther again read the letter to the Galatians. That
simple word, justified by faith, not by works, turned his
whole understanding of his part in God’s Kingdom
right-side-up. Luther read that it was not his doing or even
believing the right things that saved him. Rather God acted, through
Jesus, to create faith in him, a faith that trusts the story of
Jesus’ sacrifice for him. This faith saved him.
Thereafter when Luther encountered demons
he fought them off with a little word: “I am baptized” (although
he said it in Latin). …He did not battle Satan with, “I believe
in Christ” or “I am a Christian.” His confidence was not
centered on his faith or beliefs, but on an act of God — God’s claim
on his life given in baptism. (Stoffregen
2010- reworked )
After baptism, after we know we have faith
given to us, then the battles against demonic powers are not ours any
more. We simply surrender 100% of our lives to Christ, and the war is
won, though the battles still rage on.
Lutherans believe that trusting God’s
actions to create faith in us is the Gospel within the Gospel. It is
the central Word of God by which we discern the Word of God in the
rest of Scriptures, in the rest of literature, in the rest of our
We respond to God’s gifts with fear,
love and diligence: We pray as if everything depended on God. But we
do not rest. We work as if the salvation of the world depended on us.
There are pathways to be built, holes to
fill, grass to sow and plants to plant. There are broken hearts to
heal. There are broken dreams to re-form into something possible.
There are the denials of sin and evil to overcome … not with more
threats, but with love and the promise of healing.
Like the man free of the demons, we each
have a story of God’s work in us to heal us and give us new life.
Our work is to tell our stories, which are really God’s story of
God loving us, and to tell it with an abundance of love for each
other, even love for our enemies.
Front Yard 4 Remembering the whole project
shared with Tim my plans to plant that replacement for the juniper, I
remembered that the sink hole would be filled part way with the clay
dug out from along the drive where the earth was salted. The whole
area where I wanted to put that plant would be a construction site,
and it needed to be this summer.
remembered that all the ground around the porch, rhubarb, and the new
plant spot needed to be sloped with fresh black dirt so that water
drained away from the building towards a trench in the lawn that
would take it to the street.
remembered that flagstone was possibly the best for that path: solid
but with space between the rocks to allow water and salt to seep
was reminded so I remembered, which was just as good.
went to Burnco to chose stone with Tim, and then got out of the way
as he took his three days plus to pull out the juniper stump with the
truck, dig out the salted black dirt and 8 inches of clay along the
drive, toss that clay and more under the porch more than filling the
hole. He then layered the bottom 6 inches of the resulting trench
along the drive with road crush and topped that with a layer of sand.
With help from Richard lifting the heavy rock to save Tim’s back he
danced the irregular stones into a pattern for the walk and filled in
the gaps with more sand. Then he took new black dirt, re-sloped the
grass area to be, and planted seeds.
when I stepped back in to help ensure the area was watered lightly
many times each day. A week later the seeds have sprouted.
that was all to replace the juniper with the plant I bought two weeks
earlier. Meanwhile it had to be planted elsewhere, to be out of the
way, and so as not to die in it’s pot.
Respond by remembering, working, fearing,
praising and telling
we respond? Sometimes it’s all about remembering.
how God created us, made us good, and sent Jesus to save us from our
sins. Then we can see the steps, hard as they may be to bring living
beauty back into our lives where something toxic has grown and even
the ground has been salted.
remembering will remind us that there is a great deal of work to be
done. God needs us to be the hands of Christ to make things happen,
to make the Goodness of Creation possible also today. Often that will
be something completely new, un-imagined until we see the desperate
need of those around us.
remember God’s great gifts given to us, we will be fearful,
awestruck, and we will give God praise. We will go out to tell all
everything that God has done for us, healing us of our every ill,
naming us as heirs to God’s great promises.
lessons present powerful images, critical issues, and connections to
issues today are profound.
a sermon not to missed, not to be sloughed off as something ordinary,
or made into something other than what the lessons present: The
reality that is ours: God verses Evil in our own hearts> God wins
every time, and it always looks like Evil wins, because our measure
is tainted, while God’s measure of winning (and everything else) is
pure, simple, clear and based in truth.
just jump to write a sermon, it is after all already Saturday
morning, the week being a series of tasks that once started
commanded my full energy-time-focus so that here I am, not starting
with the sermon process, but putting it to paper (so to speak) for
the first time this week.
Reminder of the steps I take at a minimum to prepare to write a sermon:
the texts at least once through.
re-read each text, highlighting in yellow all the crucial phrases,
and in green the really outstanding phrases or words, so that in a
glance I can see the text again with the significant points clear
read others’ take on the lessons. This presumes that I have already
through the years done many proper exegeses of the texts. I wish I
had time to delve back into the original language but those resources
were jettisoned when there was no room for me in the Inn.
develop an outline from the crucial ideas of the lessons, connected
to this world, connected to this week, and this congregation (which
sometimes is an actual congregation and sometimes, without a
congregation I place it in any one of many congregations I am a part
of this week): I organize, prioritize, and start to develop the flow,
the point, the purpose of the sermon, and the story of the sermon as
a whole. All this answers one question first: What will the sermon
rework the outline, to that crucial question: does everything help or
hinder proclaiming what the sermon will proclaim.
look again at the outline, and sometimes the paragraphs I’ve
written to fill out some points: I ask: does this proclaim Gospel or
Law. Does it proclaim the freedom from sin and the bondage to Christ?
Because if it is the other way around, it needs to be fixed. This is
often a matter of a few degrees, and it is so easy to allow one’s
writing and preparation slip away from Gospel into ‘laying on the
people what they must do to please God.’
write the outline into paragraphs.
8. repeat 6
shorten the sermon to 13.35 minutes give or take 5 minutes. While
shortening I use the criteria of the question in 4. Everything that
can be dropped or shortened or tightened, so that the Sermon remains
the proclamation it is intended, that’s what’s done to shorten
the result. This is where good thinking, good writing, and excellent
language skills come into play. The editor.
I repeat 6 again, and invariably there are a few degrees that need to
be made. When there is not, I become suspicious of my ability to see
repeat 9 and 10 until I run out of time or energy. Sometimes, rarely,
I need to add an idea back in, or find a completely new idea.
Unfortunately, if that happens, that usually happens Sunday morning,
requiring 9 and 10 to be repeated yet again. It helps to know I can
preach well from an outline, so if I need to jettison the whole thing
and start over, I only need an outline. But that’s got to be
significant, because … well see 9 and 10: doing those on the fly is
ideas from the highlighting:
From Isaiah 65:1-9
ready. What is it like when God is not?
calls Here I am! But the people are rebellious. As always? Or often!
people follow their own devices. Today the language means something
interestingly different and significant: the people follow all their
electronic devices, instead of being able to think clearly for
themselves, and like following GPS directions, they/we often end up
someplace wrong! Which applies to the original meaning of following
their own devices.
people provoke me: and in the sense of the old law: sacrificing in
gardens, incense on bricks (other god worship … see devices above),
sit in tombs (see the Gospel: the man who lives in tombs), eat pig
with abominable things in the broth.
staple of worshiping other gods prevalent still today: the people say
to God: keep to yourself. That’s Tevye’s blessing for the Czar:
may God bless him and keep him from us very far!
the real kicker: Stay away God, for I am TOO HOLY for you!
God’s response: smoke in my nostrils, fire that burns all day. In the wake of forest fires leaving the air difficult to breathe we know how putrid and tiresome smoke in the nostrils can be.
God respond!? Look out! (here is the temptation to become the
proclaimer of the LAW:
repay, I will measure into their laps as they have done to me!
that extreme judgment is taken back: and the whole is spared the
judgment of the few.
the chosen will settle the land of those who worship other Gods.
that we have ages of wars over whose land it is anyway. As we all
forget that it is God’s creation to be shared equitably!
From Psalm 22:19-28
the deliverance, the freedom, the praise.
not despise the poor their poverty! Unlike the world!
Psalmist will praise God, and the poor will eat and be satisfied.
FEAR the Lord will praise God!
ends of the earth will REMEMBER! That one’s green!
it is not to learn something entirely new, though it may seem so, it
is to remember God as creation’s creator, as faith’s giver, as
life’s breather into us!
Dominion (green) is God’s. All that we seek to take as our
dominion, all that is false, corrupt and the core of the demonic! All
dominion is God’s.
I had a friend who came to me amidst great lies and gaslighting and worse, and proclaimed to me that God was not out there somewhere, but in her. So that she could create a false reality and make it true! It is the same kind of thing that the movie Vice portrayed Bush and Cheney shows motivated them, as one must surmise may motivate Trump: the unitary executive theory claims that if the president does it, it is legal. Which is a bunch of hooey and trouble for everyone.
From Galatians 3:23-29
wonderful Galatians: the source of Luther’s realization
(remembering) that we are not saved by what we do, but by faith,
which is what God does to us.
was the LAW, imprisoning and guarding us, but with Christ we are
freed from the LAW, we do not need it?, at least we are not saved by
we are clothed in white clothes of Christ’s righteousness. We are
justified by faith (which is God’s gift to us.)
no distinction upon which civilizations are built: Jew or Greek
(nationality or land of origin or culture practiced), slave nor free,
NOT even male distinct from female! All ALL are ONE in CHRIST!
are all HEIRS, offspring of Abraham (by God’s act, not by blood),
and heirs according to the PROMISE. The Promise is after all that by
which Abraham became significant for us all in the first place!
From Luke 8:26-39
Jesus has passed into the foreign territory and there encounters a
demon, not just a single demon but a legion of demons.
a serious case: the demon has possessed him for a long time, and many
more demons have entered the man. He no longer wears clothes, lives
in a home (but tombs instead, the the OT notes). The people have
sought to control him with chains and shackles, but like a person on
Meth he breaks the bonds and goes wild. See the movie, A Beautiful
Boy (2018 with Steve Carell), if you wish to begin to understand Meth
and other drugs’ destruction of and attraction in a young person’s
demon knows Jesus is God’s Son. Demons may be evil, but they do
know the truth of what they are and who God is. They just present it
differently to those they possess.
demons want to know what Jesus has to do with them. They expect to be
tormented, as they torment their victims!
asks first what the demons’ name is. The name is the handle. It’s
sort of like computer programming. If you do not know the name of a
procedure or event or function or container it is really hard to even
start programming or make anything happen, without getting stuck in
the goo or gui.
demon gives up it’s name, and then begs not to be driven back into
the abyss. Speculation is rife on what that means, with plenty of
scifi to go with it. But the result is the demon begs to be sent into
the pigs, Jesus does that, and the unclean pigs drown themselves.
They are not that dumb, they know a demon when they see one! And the
demon ends up in the abyss anyway. Water is the pre-creation void and
abyss welling up from below.
sends them to the abyss after all and the difference is that a whole
herd of unclean animals gets eradicated in the process. Of course we
eat pork. And we understand the waste. So is this cleansing good for
the poor pig farmer? Is it fair? Is it necessary? All questions
beyond the Gospel of the day, but worth another look at some other
time than in a sermon, maybe?
result is clear: the people of the country side are seized by fear,
and they want Jesus to leave them. The thing that the demon wanted.
The thing that the people of the Isaiah lesson do to God, which
raises God’s ire!
For these people who want nothing more of him, Jesus leaves a witness and no better witness is to be found. The man, once demon possessed and driven mad and wild for a long time, now healed, tells all the people all that Jesus has done for him.
those that know their illnesses most closely and clearly, who Jesus
heals, who can tell the wonders of God most poignantly, so that God
can create faith in many more people.
those people can recognize their illnesses, honestly, and they will
be healed as well.
the Gospel: If you do not know your illness, there are plenty of
people who can tell you the power of Jesus to heal, how it healed so
many people. Thus armed and emboldened, many will be able to face
their own horrific illnesses, the ones that drive people to
dishonesty, destruction, and false claims of being healthy, even
while cancer, viruses, and diseases eat the very life out of them.
And to heal us, sometimes there are things that we or others must lose in the process, even things that are our livelihoods. Instead we are left with the bread of life, the Good News of all that Jesus has done for us.
What, if it were to take place for you this week, would fill your eyes and heart with tears … tears that could hardly stop, tears for all things lost, and tears of unbounded joy.
Age of Adeline
In the movie Age of Adeline a woman stops aging as a result of a car accident at the age of 29. This starts out to be the fulfillment of a dream that many of us may have: to live without the effects of aging. The movie follows her life as those around her age and she does not, as she is able to accumulate wealth that others simply cannot, for she has time and through the years an abundance of wisdom. She remains a young and beautiful woman inside and out as she accumulates decades of life with no end in sight.
Ah, to have it so. No arthritis, no forgetfulness, no impending death, no illness, no drain of one’s energy, no need to be impatient with life, but to be able to travel, to enjoy, to work, to read, to write, to create; all without the pressure of knowing it will not be so someday, for one will eventually lose the ability to do all of these wonderful things, yet one will live on.
Today we celebrate the Holy Trinity
Sunday is the only Sunday of the entire church year that we celebrate
a doctrine of the Christian Church. The doctrine of the Trinity is
the core doctrine of the Church. The doctrine that defines more than
anything else what is Christian and what is not.
The spectacular Doctrine:
Three Persons in one Godhead. So God is one God, but God is three.
Three yet one. That’s a paradox. What usually cannot be is: Three
describes one and one describes three.
Martin Luther spoke of the two sacraments, and then he would name Baptism and Holy Communion, and Marriage and Confession, and on he would go until he had named most of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church that he tried to reform, had booted him out, named him a nonperson who could be killed by anyone who wished, and it would not be murder, and who Martin Luther demonstrated it’s corruption as he corrected it and established churches similar but improved, sort of. Still filled with sinners, even if everyone is a God made saint.
That kind of numbering of the Trinity, Three in One, is not what Martin Luther was all about in naming the Sacraments. This is us being as clear as we can be about God who really is beyond any clear explanation.
know and affirm is that God and all of creation is at it’s core
The lessons speak about Trinity and
In our lesson from Proverbs Wisdom calls out to all who live, to know her. (As the original Hebrew ascribes gender to her): She is God’s first act of creation. She witnessed all God’s acts of creation and she was God’s delight as she delighted in God’s inhabited world and in the human race.
was written long before Jesus walked the earth, before the triadic
expressions of God in the NT writings, and before the doctrine of the
Trinity was formalized starting with the Nicene Creed of 325, revised
in 381, and settled under the leadership of the three Cappadocian
Fathers in its current form by the end of the fourth century. In
Proverbs we have a similar relationship between God and wisdom as
Arianism understood the relationship between God and Jesus; that God
created Wisdom and Jesus. This understanding was not accepted by the
wider church. It was supplanted first by the understanding that Jesus
is fully God, present always as one of the three persons of the one
God. The last piece of the doctrine to be settled was that the Holy
Spirit, often understood to include the OT traditions of Wisdom, was
also not a creation of God, but existed with God always, the third
person of One God, the Trinity.
Proverbs we see how significant it is that God delights in Wisdom and
how Wisdom delights in the human race. Creation is all about God’s
delight and God’s glory, all portions of what love is.
Psalm celebrates God’s glory, and presents that same glory in
lesser portion given to humans. It is stated that God has put all
things under the humans’ feet. Today we would understand that this
is not just dominion over, but responsibility to preserve, nurture,
and ensure the survival of. We would no longer embrace any idea that
we are to exploit creation for our selfish benefit to the detriment
of future generations or the future of creation. Which is also a good
portion of what love is all about, love for future generations and
for all of creation.
Gospel of John is chosen because in Jesus’ Farewell words, given
after the Last Supper and before his arrest, he gives words to the
trinitarian God; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Today we might better express that as God the Parent recognizing
first the equality of all genders, second our innate limits when it
comes to knowing anything about gender for God, and third the
powerful impact our providing God a gender has towards gender
powerful and crucial point that John’s Gospel makes is that it is
God the Holy Spirit who continues to reveal to us more of the truth,
as we are able to bear it. There is a kindness in God’s approach,
revealing to us what we can bear; and we would expand that to say,
revealing to us what we can grasp, understand, and make use of. It is
always helpful to remember that God is not ever done teaching us
about the truth.
At no time do we posses the truth of God in its entirety. At best we have a good start. That is a powerful reminder that humility is always a good starting point and ending point for us. Which is also a good portion of what love is all about.
lesson from Romans is one of the enduring passages of wisdom, hope
and love that Paul provided to the Church. First that we are
justified before God not by what we do, but by the faith given to us
by the Holy Spirit. Second that what we value and can boast about is
not us, but God, and not our accomplishments, but God’s, and not in
our glories, but we boast about our sufferings.
we encounter what appears to be the upside down, and inside out logic
of God’s relationship to us and our relationship to our own
experiences. Who ever heard of boasting not about our successes, but
about what others have made us suffer! The Word of God though is
right side up, outside out, inside in. It is our thinking that is
topsy turvy. It is our taking over God’s place by thinking that our
successes are what constitutes real glory. No Paul makes it clear, we
followers of Christ know that our suffering is what we can boast
about, because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint
us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the
Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
love begins with the Holy Spirit pouring love into us and it grows
through suffering that begets endurance that begets character that
is an essential portion of love, which the Holy Spirit pours into us!
all the generations of Christians, we have utilized the doctrine of
the Trinity to clarify that though we cannot know many things
absolutely about God, as the Holy Spirit continues to reveal to us
more and more as we can bear more truth, we can affirm
whole-heartedly that the basis of God’s own being is not as an
independent God. God exists in relationship with God’s self, with
all three persons together.
are created in God’s image, God intends for us to exist in
relationship as well, in relationship with God, in relationship to
each other, and in relationship to all of creation.
they involve suffering, endurance, character and hope supported by
love, our relationships with God, each other and all creation are to
be fundamentally relationships of delight; which is perhaps the best
portion of love.
All the things that we could dream
enjoyment of life’s opportunities and options.
(You can fill in examples or stories about each of these.)
The one thing that the doctrine of the Trinity affirms is THE EVENT of our dreams.
relationship of love.
be a life partner, a spouse.
companion, or a person with whom one can share one’s life’s work.
a reason that movies, books, poems, yearnings, and our hopes so often
land on falling in love.
life with all kinds of other strivings and measures of success.
life is made up of what we are: we are made in God’s image. We are
made for relationship.
lives are made to make sense only when we love.
not that we need to be ‘in love’ which is indeed a life changing
matter. We are made to love other people.
the people we like.
people, all the people around us. Even our enemies.
The meaning of life, not 42, or
chocolate: but love
What really is the meaning of life??! The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy presents it as the completely random and meaningless number 42. Some people say with taste buds delighted and a bit of energy renewed from the caffeine and sugar that it is chocolate.
death beds, almost everyone, who has opportunity to tells us,
reports, we will find no solace in the many things that we have
striven for and achieve or not.
Work success, wealth reputation, security, enjoyment of life’s
opportunities and options, nor anything else.
death beds only one part of life will gives us solace, comfort and a
sense of union with God’s universe. Only one thing will afford us a
sense that all is well, all is well, indeed all manner of things are
well. The one thing that will give us a sense of what God has had for
us all along is the love we have given to others, and the love we
Adaline Looses the Essential of
Life: to Love and be Loved
ideal life, where the ravages of age do not touch her, does not
progress so ideally. Because she does not age she suffers profound
losses. She loses the ability to keep her own name. She loses the
ability to develop life-long friends, not even pets. But most of all
she loses the ability to love and be loved; and most precious of all,
to face suffering and one’s impending death with someone she loves,
with someone who loves her. She has great opportunities to delight in
all of creation, but her tears that continue to increase in intensity
are of losing the meaning of her life; she is unable to love.
cinematic highlight of the movie arrives when she must decide,
whether to risk choosing to love, as she is able, even though she
will never grow old with the one she loves; even though if she is
found out, she will be treated as a specimen to be studied, probed
and experimented on. Can she, will she dare risk that suffering, in
order to finally be able to love someone?
Jesus’ Command: Be as God Created
us to be
Trinity Sunday we celebrate that God is a God of three persons in one
godhead. Which sounds paradoxical, but that is how it is with
relationships of love. We are people meant to love one another.
Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and even our enemies, is not a command that we need to follow … or else!
It is a command that we should follow if we want to not just to be happy, but because it is who God created us to be! As we love others we will be right with God’s universe and with God’s Will for us.
The words sincerely said: “I love you” do not just give us life, but withholding love from another robs them of God’s intent for them. So wherever you are in your life, know this: God the Parent, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, all three, in one voice that shakes the greatest molecule at the beginning and ends of the universe … God says most sincerely to each of us, “I love you.”
Now it’s okay to cry with tears that cannot stop, for both the suffering and pain of all that has been lost, for the pain of all that never was which should have or could have been, and with all the joy of all the love that has been, is and always will be. It’s always okay to cry those tears of loss and overwhelming joy. This is what being at Peace with God looks like!
For this God created us, to be delighted with one another, with all creation, and with God, three in one.
are we? Do we need to make a name for ourselves? Will we ever be
satisfied with God’s Word present among us?
created the universe.
On the seventh day God rested and declared it was all
good. God created
us with such
potential: the potential to reach for the stars, the potential to
love one another, ourselves and even our enemies. Our power of
imagination to see what is not and strive to accomplish things new
and wonderful carries us from one generation to the next. We can
share the breath of beauty, the wind of hope, and the fire of the
future with one another.
also gave us freedom, so that we have the
potential to reject the gifts God gives us. The
goodness of life is fragile. There
are so many ways for life to go wrong. We
can choose to dive into
the depths of darkness, to hide our false pride and
our self-centered arrogance, to wallow in
the despair that
generation after generation. We can
to addictions and armed conflict, to abuse
and terror that causes PTSD in its victims, to Gaslighting, bearing
false witness, and even
murder. We have
the potential to destroy all of life
on earth, but the real destruction are all
the avenues we create for life to implode on itself.
sat at the table in her favourite restaurant, enjoying the familiar
smells that reminded her of the news she had received here. Years
ago, on this very spot she’d opened her letter of acceptance into
university, the first one in her family, ever. That shaped everything
about her life, now a Doctor of History, a professor emeritus, a
famous author. Later that same day years ago she’d received the
other news that formed her life and was bringing it to an indecent
early end. She had MS. She had lived with it for so long, many years
in a wheelchair, but now her systems were slowly giving out. Her name
given to her at her baptism is Jane.
the lesson from Genesis we read how the people came together to build
a marvelous city and a tower that would reach the heavens, in order
to make a name for themselves. They also distrusted God’s rainbow,
and wanted security from any future flood. God comes to bless the
people with confused speech, with different languages, so that their
prideful project will halt. Divided the people disperse far and wide
to inhabit the earth. Ever since, we create divisions and conflict
more easily than we build healthy communities. We have built more
than a tower of Babel as our fossil fuel consumption produces more
pollution than the earth can tolerate, resulting in violent climate
change. Our civilization is built on time bombs that destroy people.
George and Emily
and Emily walked the beach, they’d grieved the addiction of their
daughter for an eternity, grieving the birth of grandchildren, each
lost to foster care. Now they’d received the phone call they’d
feared. Jenny had overdosed on drugs yet again. This time she had not
recovered. Their names are George and Emily and they gave Jenny her
name at her baptism.
Languages A Gift
we recognize the power of languages. They keep us apart and distinct.
Yet when we live in a second language, we experience not just
different grammar and words. We experience more of the world that God
created good. Different languages carry different pieces of the
marvels of this creation which we can barely fathom in a full
first Pentecost the disciples proclaimed in their own language the
wonders of God’s work for everyone. God inspired the listeners to
hear the disciples in each listener’s own language. As at Babel God
confused the language of the people to save them from their pride, so
at the first Pentecost God overcame the language barrier in order
that people could hear and understand each other and the Good
News of what God had done in the life, death and resurrection of
was born in Jena, in East Germany. A Christian, at great cost she had
dedicated her life to serving Christ. Working with youth she
excelled, until jealous gossip was started about her. Under intense
pressure and unearned shame Greta slowly lost her confidence, then
her sense of self, and finally her sense of reality. She succumbed to
a half living state of senseless babble that sometimes erupted into
excruciatingly painful clarity about what had been done to her, and
how helpless she was. Her name, given to her at her baptism, is
Greta. She remained Greta even as she lost her mind to the horrendous
cruelty of gossip that pretends to know reality beyond God’s
Clarity in Miracles
the disciples we always want God to be more clear. The words are
plain enough. Yet God rarely leaves it to just the words. The signs,
the miracles, that accompany the Good News are remarkable. We may not
recognize what God is doing, but we always hope that in the end all
will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,
for God created the universe and said it was good.
first Pentecost so that people could not miss the miracle of the Holy
Spirit given to God’s children, God marked the disciples with
tongues of fire.
of the distinct gifts God gave humans is Fire. It is powerful, both
for good and for evil. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, guided
the people through the wilderness with a pillar of flame, and will
cleanse us at our judgment with God’s purifying fire.
we have breathed these past weeks, the result of climate change
brings more wildfires, and more smoke that covers vast areas,
inhibiting life in so many ways. Humans are not the only ones
affected by wildfires. The smoke reduced the available solar power, a
nuisance at least for those whose electricity is produced by solar
power. The greater loss was to the plants whose basis of life depends
the face of life so challenged, God finds ways to bless us, with
Sam and Allicia
and Allicia both lost their childhoods to wars of terror and
genocide. In their teens they each survived the squalor and hunger of
refugee camps, their families having all been killed. Sponsored as
immigrants in their late teens by a Lutheran congregation in
Edmonton, they met, shared the struggles of finding their way, fell
in love, were married and are expecting their first child this
summer. With different mother tongues they communicate in Canadian
English. Their names given to them at their baptisms are Sam and
Allicia. They have chosen names for their first child at its baptism,
in memory of their families lost.
we reach for the stars, to make a name for ourselves, to succeed at
what we attempt, even to make life more than it is, there is no name
that we can make for ourselves greater than what God has already
given us. With tongues of fire God has marked us, anointed us, and
Three Confirmed, we stand with them
these three, Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah, were marked with
the cross in their baptisms, and now they
stand as young people, maturing, beginning to accept responsibility
for their own being, so
we each were marked. At
the right time we also stood
on our own to respond to the gifts that God gives us, promising to
receive, abide in, act out of, and grow into the people God calls us
to be. Today we
still stand, not on our own as if our faith
were merely personal or private. Rather
we stand as one
faith community united
by the fire of the Holy Spirit. As
we stand with one another in love, so we
stand with these
three young people. Their names, given to them in their baptisms, are
Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah.
Our name: potential as love
today we share with them the name God has given us all. There is no
greater name. It is not a name we could make for ourselves.
It is the name that God gave us in our baptisms and shares with us
each day. God names us God’s children.
language of our name is not limited to one of the diverse languages
that God gave us to propel us across the earth, to inhabit it and do
well by it. The language of our name is love, in all its rainbow
our love for one another we best reflect the One who abides with and
in us, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. It is in our love for our
enemies that we dance with the miraculous power of life which
the Spirit pours down on us in the form of flames of fire.
we do what it takes to love one another, though the world roils with
conflict, abuse, and destruction, we rest in the abiding presence of
the Holy Spirit. We have no cause to be troubled. Nor do we suffer
the greatest enemy: the denial of evil’s potential. Nor do we need
to fear flood nor fire nor anything, for God is at work to keep evil
in its place and God in God’s place … and to keep
us on earth with and for each other.
name given to us in our baptisms is children of God. We are
the inheritors of the miracle that brings life to be with a word,
with a breath, with a breeze, with a fire.
One language, one gathering, making a name making a name for themselves:
God helps them avoid disaster: nothing will stop them! Not even them destroying the planet or at least life on it. God saves us by ending it, prayer answered: NO! God comes to see the city, the tower, and God is alarmed? Displeased? Not said: just God ends it: confuses languages and scatters them.
Divisions vs community
Divisions over conflict is EASY, building community despite differences is the challenge, the miracle that shows God is at work with us!
Confuses Gramma [r]s
God confuses their language, into different words, sounds, gramma(r)s, they leave off the tower building.
HS with ability to hear and understand, unites people from every language into the church, All hear in their own language: not glossolalia! But clear speech beyond language barriers!
All that it is: God’s presence, God’s guide in wilderness, mark of humans, gathered at campfire safe from animals who fear fire, fire that purifies by consuming dross, as judgment purifies us of sin, by consuming it with fire. Fires burn, destroys: revenge of the earth to climate change by burning fossil fuels beyond our share. We’ve built more than than the tower of babel. We’ve setup the earth to turn on all the life on it, us included. Fires: prevented fought down, now the fuel available is generation’s worth, burns all at once and the sun is blotted out. Solar power: winter 1.2 to 3 maybe 4 amps. Now in mid day 15 easy. But with fire’s smoke, down to 3 or 1 or less. Solar power, the basis of photosynthesis; the growth of plants, upon which the chain of food is built, from smallest life forms, to plants, to small bugs, to small animals to larger animals to largest to the most dangerous: humans.
Prophesy of Joel:
All will prophesy, sons and daughters, slaves men and women; old men will dream dreams (usually stop because there is no hope that the dreams can be fulfilled or seen through, a surrender of the world to the younger generation) but here: old men dream and set to being the fulfillment of dreams, God’s dreams.
blood, fire, smoky mist, moon to blood, Lord’s Day before the Lord’s glorious day!
Call upon him and all will be saved!
John 14:8-17 [25-27]
We will never be satisfied, but we continually hope. Even when what we ask for is right in front of us, we ask for more.
DO help us believe that Jesus is God is the Holy Spirit is Jesus … is working in our midst Ask, I will give. But so much asked for and not ever yet given. Be careful what you ask for, sometimes Jesus gives us what we ask for: we ask for foolish things, impossible things, things that will hurt others, and Jesus answers NO. Other times Jesus gives us what we ask for and we do not recognize it.
Love and Obey
Love is to obey Jesus’ commands: to love your neighbour as yourself and your enemy!
Lawyer in court – Advocate – Of New
God gives advocate (lawyer in God’s Court for us), who will be with us forever, though Jesus goes away. We see HS, the advocate, the Spirit of Truth! Able because God is in us, HS in us World cannot receive him, does not see him, New, always present Jesus tells us, so we will know, but the Advocate will be with us, reveal new things, make us see new things, remind us of Jesus!
No worries Mate
Do not be troubled, do not be afraid (Fear is the greatest enemy), anxiety gets people to behave in bad ways.
1. Thoughts Towards an Outline
the season, the ban, the power, the saving power – distinctively human the destroying power, wildfires, smoke, solar blocked, photosynthesis, stopped, dross, judgment where sins are burned away like dross, leaving us pure, ready for the New Jerusalem. Spirit Ruah, breath, spirit into inert forms →life, inspiration, spirit means vivified, and for God’s good purposes.
Language, the basis of communication, but more, the basis of thought! New language, new thoughts, new history new manners: 2nd language: a world opens up when one lives in it. Computer languages: a whole new world opens up, but it is not filled with people, but imaginations made statically moving, reading conjures up the creative imaginative mind. TV rests the mind and slowly atrophies thoughts and creativity; computer interactions with games, deepens the narrowing of the thought, away from others, to chips. Everyone knows chips are not healthy, not potato chips, not chocolate chips, though tastey; neither computer chips alone. But as a tool, as an avenue to other people, to expand imagination in writing and conceiving uses, ways to be used, ways to be helpful to others: first text to talk: allow blind woman to continue significant work in the community (PR),
Reaching to the Heavens
Reaching to the Heavens, the dream of humans since we peered at the stars outside the safety of the cave. Space travel.
Conflict and Differences
Conflict and Differences : Blessed by God, caused by God to save us from our own selves. Limits on name for ourselves: God’s blessing
Working out the bugs
There are some bugs to work out, of course, these are just rough thoughts scratched together.
I have a wise old friend who told me her story, so similar to another I know as well, too similar for both not to be listened to, believed, and heeded. It is a story how the darkness overcame her and landed her in the darkness from which there was no escape, no matter what she tried. It nearly ended her.
The small light in the darkness saves many. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. Who indeed cares for the truth? Is it little, too little perhaps, to ask that the truth be spoken, heard and listened to? A young girl saw her mother cry silently without words not knowing what was happening. … the guest did as he wished with no fear for if anyone objected then or later complained death would come quickly. And so many times, a different guest, a repeat guest, a different guest. The young girl was ordered to ready the house for the guests so that they would be pleased, moving so quickly to run from the terror. She left behind any thought that she was a person, other than one that made everything ready for the guests. Until this daughter was taken in turn, too young, and taught the small pleasures that are possible, of sorts. In that moment the lies began, and they overtook reality, the horrible reality, that nothing could make right. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. But the darkness, somehow for this little girl, is still lighter than the void that took her soul. Who cares for the truth? It is no joy to know, but the truth does make a few things understandable, even the lies.
So why ask or hope for truth? Through all of time girls and boys have hoped that there would be a place for them in the world, not just a pit of worthlessness, but a path through the sun, through the rain, through the cold, through the heat, through the storms, and in the calm evening breeze on the lake. Why ask if truth is a factor? Cannot one just live with the lies? Cannot one live with the fiction that demeans some in order to eliminate them, and leave more space on the path for others? We have been doing it forever as humans, why not just let it continue? God. God loves. God loves all. So all will be well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well. And we will be the ones to make it well, for all. That is why the truth is important! The truth, bright, blazing truth of Christ, takes all that is not well, makes it brilliantly clear what it is, horrendous and terrorizing, and makes it also well.
The other night, as the evening darkness began to colour the world in blues and oranges, a small beaver swam by going south out from its home in the creek,
and alerted to my presence on shore slapped an alarm and dove to safety leaving the rings of golden shimmer against the night between the trees.
And came back to the surface further on its journey, out in the deep.
The beauty of the night deepened and shone as a few stumps left by the earlier beaver stood watch as the horizon climbed over the shore into the little light that remained.
While just a tinge of light still touched the shore, the beaver came back, heading home for the night, leaving a wake behind that danced in the blues and in the orange-silver-golds of the set sun. Ahh, the night was set right and I headed back home as well …
but no, the beaver was still out for more yet this evening, going back away from, not towards home.
I did then head home, to sleep well, no guests.
Under the care of the Spirit that makes all things well.
Light Truth Joy
It is at sunset as the light begins to close the day, that we see how the light, the goodness of the light persists always to bring us to face, see, hear, and heed the truth, for then the watchful Spirit inspires us to be able to know profound joy.
The sun that daily sets … and rises new again each morning. This friend came to see her darkness, to embrace it, and to set it aside with truth telling and truth listening and truth sharing. Which inspired a number of people to embrace their past, of darkness and ill, and to allow God to redeem it with love for themselves.
There is a path for everyone, or rather a path for each of us, not that it exists until we walk forward, but it unfolds under our movements forward in life toward the end, which is not death, but the ability to love, truly love, with all the sacrifice that entails.