Love vs Slings and Arrows

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Seen My Love, Lately?’

Psalm 44:26

Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.

Luke 17:21

Nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.

Words of Grace For Today

As the slings and arrows fly at us, we are desperate for God to save us, not only from the things piercing the air so near us, some not passing us by. We need to be saved from ourselves. One only needs to recognize how we have dealt with the beauty of creation around, in and among us to know that we really do screw things up good. Or bad as it were.

So we require God’s salvation, and we cry ‘Rise up, come to our help. Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love,’for it is not on our own merit that we can possibly hope God will redeem us. We need God’s grace provided to us; we are solely dependent on God’s steadfast love as the reason God would save us.

So God provides all we need.

Further we need not look. We need not seek somewhere else. For the kingdom of God is here among us!

Great that it is, a life dependent on God’s Grace, on God’s steadfast love only.

until we collectively and individually screw it up so royally again and the slings and arrows of others’ misplaced anger start piercing the air around and toward us.

So we cry to God to save us

again and again we repeat this, and God, for the sake only of God’s steadfast love, continues to save us.

What a love!

Desires of Birds, Bees, Beasts, and Fish

Thursday, May 6, 2021

God’s Value

Is Everything.

God Values

Every Thing and Being

In Creation.

Psalm 145:15-16

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

Luke 12:22-24

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!’

Words of Grace For Today

I am not sure about this:

You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

We humans have a way of ‘desiring’ so much more no matter how much we have.

Further the birds, bees, and beasts, and not to forget the fish, struggle under the effects of our ‘possessing the land’, ‘dominating it’, and destroying ecosystems that have taken millions of years to establish!

So?

The truth is God created the world quite capable of sustaining all the life created on it, satisfying the desire of every living thing. God promises to provide for the needs those desires are given to life of all kinds, in order that all life can continue on God’s good earth.

That includes our desires that God gave us so that we could continue to live among all the life on this planet.

How did we screw it up so badly!?!

Well, God loved us, wanted us to be able to love, which means we need to be able to choose to love or not, and …

Well so much of the time we humans have chosen, do choose, and forever will choose to do other than love! Youch, what a price!

We are destroying what provides us the ability to live on earth! It’ll take us maybe 100 or so, maybe only 25 or 5 years, to unmake the earth capable of sustaining life, something God created in 6 days, or millions of years measured in our time.

What power we have … to destroy!

And what power we have, as well, to love, when we so choose. Choosing to love is possible, for any one, for every one, of us … though only as God makes us able.

The beginning of God making us able is to promise that God values us greatly. Knowing that we can choose to act responsibly and responsively to that unconditional, life-giving and life-renewing love!

God willing and ‘the creek not rising’ (maybe it ought to be ‘the oceans not rising’) we may still live on planet earth in 1000 years and more!

God’s Word started this all. God’s Word sustains us all. Certainly God’s Word is able to bring us to that miracle of miracles.

So what are we going to do today, with God’s love?

3rd Day of …

Sunday, December 27, 2020

What Do We See?

Birds: A Father and Child Carved from Snow?

The Wonders of Creation?

Or dirty creosote drippings from a dirty chimney burning junk wood?

Psalm 40:5

You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.

2 Peter 1:19

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

We may think we can proclaim the great deeds of God, wondrous deeds and thoughts towards us. We can, sort of, proclaim God’s great deeds, though we rarely get the story to reflect the awesome Grace God begins, continues and ends with when God thinks of us.

God ensures the story of God’s Love and Mercy are told in every generation, and at least partially understood by every generation. The stories of God in every age shine like lamps in our dark places, bringing us hope, which is the fuel for life.

On this third day of Christmas, the 1st Sunday of Christmas, we traditionally have services of readings and carols. It provides a bit of recovery time for pastors and gives us time to sing Christmas carols and hymns that we did not on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

What though is Christmas for us, in truth?

A German tradition was discovered by a niece: a pickle is hung and hidden on the Christmas tree. Then the children come in and hunt for the pickle. The first one to find it receives a gift of special treats, chocolates or sweets.

The question by one of the uncles was whether the pickle was a real pickle, for then the smell of the pickle would easily give it away. But no, the pickle in question (now a daze) was a plastic pickle, which then a nephew produced for all to see. A fine plastic pickle with a string through one end to make hanging on the tree convenient.

The tree, is of course, environmentally ‘friendly’, a plastic and reusable tree with tinsel and lights already in place.

The ‘old time’ German tree was a tree out of the woods, a fresh pine or spruce tree. The lights were candles burning with real fire – so no old dried out trees would do. The decorations were of many kinds, none plastic, some wood, some metal, some ceramic (maybe), but more were natural like pine cones dipped in flour-water to look frosty, home-made jellied fruit and sweets, some soaked in rum and/or brandy. The pickle was real as well, and the prize was almost certainly home made sweets. The tree wafted the smell of it’s sap. The decorations filled the house with smells of sweet and delicious and special treats. The pickle’s smell was well concealed by the aroma of Christmas.

But what does this all have to do with Christ? With Christmas?

Nothing, other than it is how families for generations kept traditions about how they gathered and spent time, special time, with each other, playing games, inviting children into simple games of hide and seek, and all partaking of the ‘special’ time, eats, and drinks.

These ‘Christmas’ traditions are not bad or wrong. They simply are not about Christ.

So it is with most of what today we call Christmas, and which so many people during the restrictions of Covid 19 bemoan not being able to partake in.

On this 3rd day of the 12 days of Christmas, what have we done to celebrate God’s wondrous deeds and thoughts towards us? What have we done to keep the lamp shining in every dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in hearts? What have we done to tell with out thoughts, words and deeds the old, old story of Jesus and his Love … for all people?

Facing Covid 19 and Evil: Daily Words of Grace – November 10

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

It’s an empty bird house.

God has a Home for Us All,

Each of Us, and

It’s Not an Empty Bird House.

Psalm 86:16

Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving-maid.

Philippians 4:19

My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many things to ask God for.

There always have been so many things to ask God for.

There always will be so many things to ask God for.

Our pleas have filled the nights and days since we first imagined that God existed. From the comfort of our palatial homes, the likes of which Pharaohs, Caesars, Kings, and Queens could hardly dream, we plead with God for yet more.

In Palestine the church pleas for basic human rights, where a home is for most people a dream unattainable. Where refugee camps are the norm. Where violence and ensuing death is inevitable, it’s only a matter of when. Where clean water, nutritious food, adequate clothing and shelter, meaningful labour and the freedom to love and be loved unconditionally are all in short supply, if attainable at all.

God will fully satisfy every need of yours ….

This is blatantly not so, not today, not in all our yesterdays, and not for all our tomorrows.

God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

… ‘according to’ these are the modifying words that make this true, as part of God’s promise to provide for all God’s people.

God does not promise that everyone will receive the basic requirements of life, nor the recognition of their human rights. God promises to provide everything for us according to God’s riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Which means according to God’s Good News, that God loves us unconditionally, frees us from our sins so that we may live in grace and be that same grace for others.

God’s riches in glory in Jesus Christ are beyond our imaginations, and yet Jesus lived out them in his life, ministry of healing, welcoming all especially the outcast and sinners, and sacrificing himself so that the whole creation would be redeemed and re-newed, that is re-created pure and righteous and holy.

God does not come to save us from our trials. That happens rarely. God comes to save us in our trials, suffering with us, giving us God’s strength to endure and still be gracious, with ourselves and with others.

We may well wish others to evaporate from the face of the earth when they cause our suffering, and others’ suffering, especially when there seems to be no end or limit to the suffering. God prefers to save these enemies of ours, for they are also God’s creatures, just as we are.

Hang on then. Pray for everything we need. Hope for justice based on truth for all. Expect daily bread. Prepare for unending suffering.

We are all in this together, oppressor and oppressed, privileged and deprived, faithful and evil. Just as Covid 19 can get any of us, evil can take any of us under, and only God can save any of us.

God’s promise is that, through Jesus Christ, God saves us all, unconditionally.

Now we get to live out of that promise, bringing that promise to bear on the lives of everyone we encounter in anyway, every day.

What a life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 29

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Shows Us the Way Home

Do You See, the Beginning Place for Life

Starting with an Egg?

Deuteronomy 4:2

You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.

1 John 2:7

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard.

Words of Grace For Today

God created a wonderful universe, and us in it. We also can be as God created us, wonderful.

As scientists explore, research, and experiment, they come up with formulations of theories, which if they prove to be reliable become known as laws. These are serious, accurate descriptions of how the universe works. Until they are not … not reliable, not serious, not accurate descriptions of how the universe works. Or sort of.

We still call Newtons Laws, laws, even though they fail on so many levels.

Still scientists plug on to describe how what happens around us … and as a result they or others are able to develop amazing technologies.

Computers are one example. Not just the one on many people’s desk or hauled with them in a pack pack. – I remember when the computer at the University of Minnesota which one could book time to run one’s punch cards through and receive answers on punch cards and reels of magnetic tape filled more than one floor of a building that occupied a long, very long block. I got to visit with my dad, a post grad student, in the input room and walk the hall, looking in the windows at the air conditioned rooms that held monstrous rows of tubes and wires and what ever not! I was impressed, sort of as a kid. This was bigger and more powerful than the computer that sent the first men to the moon.

That computer had the power of one of today’s hand held calculators, a simple one.

The computer carried in a back pack today is what? millions and millions times more powerful than that computer at the UofM?

The laws of physics allow technologies that make computers possible. And they are everywhere, in vehicles, in almost everything with a combustible engine or electric engine or even an electric anything.

We know more, and we seem to know less about the universe, than we know and do not know about God and God’s Will for us humans.

God sends us signs, and laws, and prophets, and rituals grow out of all the extra-ordinary experience of God.

Evil people have since the beginning of time used religion, changed it, bent it and perverted it to serve their own purposes of control over others.

So God spoke to Moses and commanded that not one iota could be removed from the law, and not one iota could be added to it. That really did not stop people from trying and seemingly doing just that.

Jesus, God’s Son, came and lived as one of us. God’s Will for us ‘spoke’ to us in his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus is God’s Word.

Many thought that made different laws from God the by word of the day. It’s been done so many times that religion of every kind is full of the results.

Jesus, the Word of God, John wrote to teach us, was at the beginning. This Word created the universe.

There is no ‘new’ Word.

For many there is a new hearing, a new comprehension, a new life for sure.

God’s Word remains the same.

Adding to it, or taking from it does no one any good.

The mystery is grand enough that if we love God with all our heart, mind and strength, and our neighbours (including our enemies) as ourselves (as Jesus loves us – unconditionally) we are in for a life of discovery, research and experimentation, of happiness, grief, despair and profound joy, and of faith, love, and hope.

We do not add or subtract from God’s Will or God’s Word, but there is always more to comprehend, and more sins (ours and others) to forgive, and more life (ours and others) to redeem and set anew.

From the beginning of life to it’s end we have only Grace, which is the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

It’s old, and if you engage with it, it will always surprise you as if it were new … in it’s demands on you and in it’s rewards for you and yours.

Warp drive or not … plot in a course … engage.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 7

Monday, September 7, 2020

Robin on Tire

Tire and Robin

I’m tire-d

But by Grace Alone I see God all around.

Sing for Joy, even if you are tired!

Jeremiah 32:19

Great in counsel and mighty in deed; whose eyes are open to all the ways of mortals, rewarding all according to their ways and according to the fruit of their doings.

1 Timothy 4:10

To this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

Words of Grace For Today

I’m tired. Tired of being Gaslit, by people I do not know, people I’ve known intimately, people who claimed to have loved me, people who I’ve loved, people who’ve corrupted their authority to protect and serve, people who are supposed to be religious leaders, people entrusted to exercise the law to provide justice based on truth.

I’m tired. I’m tired because it’s a whole lot of work to stay alive each day, and I’m getting old, worn and weary.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of people (without masks or shields or any protection for them or me, or without any brains about how Covid 19 kills old people and young people as well) trying to push me (yes literally push me) aside to walk past me while I’m shopping. Or people breathing at me from a foot or two telling me it’s ok that ‘I’m so close’ to them when they walked right up behind me and I have to turn around because a lift blocks the aisle ahead.

I’m tired of people lying, begin stupid, and trying to kill me, intentionally or stupidly out of ignorance.

I’m tired of people lying to steal everything I have and then trying to steal even more than the courts have lied to give to them from money that is really not mine to access, or that they really should not have access to either.

I’m tired.

Perhaps you are tired, too, of things similar, or of different Evil worked against you and people you know and care about.

Or perhaps you are not tired at all, since you have everything that you need for life, and your energetic work is about accumulating more wealth and privilege at others’ expense, so that you can get ahead in life.

For us all we read today: [God knows all and rules everywhere, and judges everyone,] rewarding all according to their ways and according to the fruit of their doings.

Yes, we can say. May it be so.

Finally Justice based on real truth for everyone! Especially those who’ve dealt with me as if I were a completely different person than I am. Justice. Let it be done, and soon!!

So we can wish. Unless we look at the sins we’ve committed to separate us from God – which are NOT what people Gaslight me or you perhaps, saying I have done. Sins that allow words that are unkind to be spoken, selfish acts to be done, and selfless acts to be undone.

Then we may be more humble, resting in God’s Grace given to us, trusting God’s wisdom not to be so simplistically applied to all, but with Grace first.

Still for those who corrupt justice, who seek to destroy others for no good reason other than the joy of the destruction, can we not hope that God’s Justice may reflect what they have done already?

So we pray: God save us, save us all from Evil. Help us each day to toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people.

I’m tired of it all, Doch God help me rest in you, in your justice and grace.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 26

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Together

We are all in this together.

We are all in this life on earth together.

Proverbs 14:31

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honour him.

Matthew 25:40

And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Words of Grace For Today

Yesterday was six months since the first Covid 19 case identified in Canada.

More than 15 million people have been infected world wide. More than 640k have died.

In the USA more than 4 million people have been infected. Less than 42 days ago that was only 2 million. It took more than 90 days to reach the first million. More than 140k have died.

Canada reports 113,206 people in Canada have been infected, and 8,881 have died, 80% in long term care homes.

Alberta reported 112 new cases on July 23.

This M.D. where I live, as of 23 July, had 1 active case, and no deaths from Covid 19.

These numbers are those that are reported. Reality may vary markedly.

This is a serious pandemic, not to be taken lightly nor passed over as if one could simply dismiss it and be done with it. A person may indeed get away with being so stupid, but more than likely their stupidity will cause others to get infected and some to die. This is serious stuff.

Many lessons are evident for the learning. If care in long term care homes is sub-human, there will be a cost. It’s only a matter of time. If those caught in poverty and those without housing are not provided care commensurate with basic human dignity, there will be a cost. It’s only a matter of time.

It is less expensive to provide a basic level of humane care for all people (homes, health care, clean water and sufficient food) than it is to pay the costs stemming from not doing so. The costs in an pandemic include death of many people, not just the poor and homeless.

Since the beginning of time, and as a mainstream in Judeo-Christian tradition, the wisdom and rewards of caring for the disadvantaged has been recognized, or at least paid lip service to.

Jesus’ parables repeatedly refer to how blessed it is to provide care for the needy and vulnerable, the sick and the poor, the poor and the outcasts.

So we are blessed to be the ones who bring Jesus’ care and compassion to all in need.

So we are called to be the ones who bring Jesus’ care and hope to all in need.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 11

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Coming Together

Peace

One Piece at a Time

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Acts 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

God gives strength to the people of God’s Kingdom and blesses them with peace.

Peace is much more than the absence of conflict, and can enfold conflict as well. That seems contradictory, since we’ve ascribed the world’s application of peace (the absence of conflict) to God’s promises.

Caught in a war zone, literally or figuratively, one yearns for the end of conflict. Truth is the first casualty of war, then MIA are the children and the vulnerable. When the conflict starts to eat at one’s being, one’s conscience and heart, then one yearns for an end of the hostilities. Any other option, other than capitulation, would be welcomed by most reasonable people.

God’s promises are not about the absence of hostilities, though God surely is not much taken by our fighting. God’s promises are about peace. The kind of peace that surpasses all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds.

When we live with that kind of peace, then we approach the conflict that leads to open hostilities and killings differently, with hope. We approach the conflict that tears families apart differently, with empathy. We approach the conflict that tears communities apart differently, with compassion. We see that God never promised anyone the lack of challenges in life, one constant challenge being conflict. Conflict is an essential part of life. When there is more than one person involved, there will be conflict, or someone is being dishonest. Conflict, handled properly, motivates one to hope, empathy, and compassion for the other, and if one can operate with collaboration then one works for the other’s best interest, trusting they are working for yours.

The quick example is the poverty captive couple who each sacrifice their best in order to give to the other what the other would most treasure. She sells her beautiful long hair to buy him a chain to match his gold heirloom pocket watch. He pawns his grandfathers’, fathers’, and now his golden pocket watch to get her the jade hair combs she has adored in the shop window.

What is instructive from this example is that each cares for the other by giving what the other would most want. More importantly, though each ends up with combs without hair, and a chain without a watch, they end up with what is most valuable and cannot be taken from them: their love for and devotion to each other. With that they will face all challenges together, and even if they lose everything else, they will have each other.

That kind of love is why God created us!

God’s promises promise us that kind of love from God, which gives us an enduring peace which nothing can take from us. We know we are right with God, not dependent on what we do, but as a gift given to us, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so that, marked with that cross, we can face whatever life brings to us.

That is real peace.

That is the kind of peace that does not require an education to receive from God. That is the kind of peace that ordinary and not so ordinary people can all receive from God. Even well educated people can receive it from God.

So no matter your circumstance: may God’s peace be with you.

.

Bearing God’s Peace is kind of like wearing a mask because of Covid 19. It does not benefit you directly, but helps protect others from you – which indirectly protects everyone, including you.

Wear a mask because Covid 19 exists, bear the Peace of God because the Devil is always active in and around us all. They protect others from what you could infect them with that would destroy their lives.

God’s peace always brings life with it.

A Riddle in Photos

An early morning stroll

Before Eucharist and Coffee with Breakfast

Brought me to the road towards the East and the rising sun.

Golden light and a sound alerted me to a photo about to be.

Can you see the sound?

Can you tell what is different in each photo? (ignore that the position of the camera moves slightly so that the view shifts, the edges are different.)

What is a wonderful Saturday morning, -2⁰ with clear sky and waning gibbous moon, a touch of frost and a good warm fire keeping ‘home’ warm, and the water for coffee boiling,

if not a perfect opportunity to play and make a small riddle-puzzle, seek-and-find photo series?

First View

.

Second view

.

Third View. See it yet?

.

Fourth View. Have your glasses on?

.

Fifth view. Get out the magnifying glass?

.

.

How long did it take you?

What is your time compared to God’s time?

Loon, Where to?

The signs of spring are well sprung

geese since weeks strut about

song birds galore fill the morning air

fishers drive through no more

the ice with cracks like rifle shots broke up, the wind pushed it to the shoreline and the warmer weather melted it off the lake, except for a few remnants on the windblown shore.

The occasional camper ventures out for a weekend.

Allergies return in force.

But my favourite by far is the return of the loons.

Calm after, Preparation for, Speck of Haunting Beauty

The question is always

where to this day, this month, this year, with this life, precious as Christ has claimed it to be?

The path toward the light at sunrise

Every moment opportunities to do well, do the right thing, are before us.

Which will you choose this day?

Will you walk to the light?

Or will you choose to remain in the darkness of greed, self interest, deception, and destruction in order to just make it through the days you’ve filled with such pain for others, and your own soul?

[replace the above with and fill in your own choice of sin, evil, and darkness – we all have our favourites!]

In the light is truth, grace, health, purpose, and peace.

And profound joy, even in the midst of grief.

Your choice?

The haunting loon returns with all the other signs of spring, by instinct, by the pull of nature, and for pure survival. Humans can choose more than survival and instinct. You can choose new life in the light, and choose to share it with everyone,

Or not.