Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 6

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Bown Shaken but Not Down

Wind Blown Grass and Trees

God is not shaken

though the whole world be shaken off its axis.

Covid-19 shakes nothing when God stands still.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

Hebrews 12:28

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;

Words of Grace For Today

What shakes in your life?

When the wind blows and catches the solar panels on the roof this whole place rocks. The first time the 50 km winds did that, with 90 km winds in the forecast, I climbed out into the blowing snow and ice cold biting wind. I looked at what was shaking me in my boots.

It didn’t take long to figure out what was happening. Solid anyway I thought. Then I retraced the steps I had taken to face the solar panels into the winter sun that barely peeked above the treetops for a few minutes. I remembered how I had anchored everything solidly … and I remembered how the cold and the onset of dark had rushed me. While the front side was anchored solidly to the frame that held all the solar panels to the rooftop, and that was only probably solid enough to stand up to a 100 km wind, I had just left the back side resting on that frame of piping.

So was! The panels all together stood nearly vertically six feet above the roof and five feet wide. That’s a lot of sail force on that frame holding the panels.

It had inherent limits being on the roof anchored to the piping that held everything in place, AND the back side (in the direction the most powerful winds could hit – since there were trees disrupting the wind in the other direction) was just sitting there!

I was lucky it had not just up’ed and walked off the roof top smashing, twisting and ruining everything in its path!

So was!

I had found an abandoned 1″ thick rope a few months earlier. Not friendly to hands, it seemed tough enough, at least it looked tough. I grabbed it and let go of it right away. Then I put on my gloves first and grabbed it, ran out into sharp cold, and ran that rope from the top of the solar panel frame to the one tree that stood close on the side where the wind was blowing from. The next day I anchored it around both sides of the top of the panel and back to the tree. Done.

.

It still shook when the winds kicked up. I no longer was alarmed. Maybe I should have been? The whole set up is different now, but the rope is back in place, and when it shakes, I go right back to what I am doing.

Trust.

in an old rope.

in a tree, which is still alive, unlike it’s neighbours.

in my ingenuity … well not really. I’m just too tired to think how to make it better and then get out and make it so. Soon, one of these days. Maybe when the rain stops.

.

God’s Kingdom is not shaken. It does the shaking throughout the whole universe. Wisdom begins with fear of the Lord, and needs love of the Lord (based on the Lord’s love of us) to grow.

All around, even as Covid 19 shakes us, or it should, God’s wonders are worth being awestruck by. The rope may last another day or so, or a year. But God’s unshakability lasts forever. From generation to generation God rules the universe.

For this we can stand in awe and give God praise and thanks.

There is no wind, or virus, or evil that comes against us that God is not more powerful than.

Covid 19 has shown we can meet the emissions targets set by the U.N. Maybe, just maybe, we will learn to keep it up even as the economies restart, and hopefully grow.

Then the winds may not continue to become more and more ferocious. And we can stand in thankful awe of God’s power, instead of in awful fear of what we’ve brought the environment to do to try to be rid of our destructive ways.

We can

trust

.

God

..

above all else

and count our blessings … they never stop. God is not shaken as more and more blessings pour over us, for us to share with others.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 5

Friday, June 5, 2020

We may be like Grass. Doch

Our Weakness

Highlights God’s Glory

Psalm 42:4

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

2 Corinthians 12:9

He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Words of Grace For Today

Weaknesses abound aplenty. We only fool ourselves if we try to say we have no weaknesses or that they do not compromise us severely, everyday.

We can join all great celebrations and festivals, shouting for joy and giving thanks. The real challenge though is when we think we need all the power of God to be with us to deal with threatening circumstances, and all we have to rely on is our own weaknesses and the Grace of God that gives us renewed life.

We think we have to bring the greatest defences available in all creation.

What we have is our weaknesses and God’s Grace. Seemingly that is not power at all.

Yet there is no power like the power of Grace.

It turns our world’s back as they were all along, as God created them to be.

Grace changes everything.

Grace is everything for us in God’s creation, and our weaknesses make God’s Grace obvious for all to see. It is how we share the news that God asks us to share, that Jesus came to exercise God’s Grace for us, by forgiving all of us all our sins.

Who would have thought that exactly what we find repulsive and weak, is how God makes us so useful.

We certainly cannot know how, yet God certainly uses Covid 19 to make us more aware of God’s grace and God’s will for us all.

It may be that somehow the disastrous care in senior facilities needed to be made known in a manner so that no one could ignore it any longer. It needed to be fixed.

It may be that working without a commute is what creation needs from us. It may be that creation needs less vehicles and more bicycles.

It may be that the stress level needed to be raise far enough that at the ‘routine’ death of a young black man, the nation to the south, and supporters around the world would rise up in protest! It is a tragedy that yet another black man died senselessly. It is a tragedy that violence erupts out of peaceful demonstrations. It is a tragedy that the responses are more violence from the police and national guard and hate language by the elected president.

The police in too many places are far beyond their rights and duties, abusing people at will. The courts have stood behind them or blind to them for so long, on the streets evil has no bounds.

This is not only the case for black men, or for vulnerable women, or for people of minority orientations, colours, creeds, it is full out already the case for good, honest white men, gaslit by misandrous women as if all men were misogynists and perpetrators of ill towards women, when they certainly are not.

Some have put it succinctly: Raaj Shetti: Misandry is growing like a wild fire in this world. support feminism, but not misandry.and M.F. Moonzajer: Misogyny or misandry is not a status or a belief; it is just a sickness.

If you still think that misandry is not a hidden, covered up, destructive force, also behind Geroge Floyd’s death and the countless deaths of young First Nations men (more numerous than female deaths) by both police and others, the see these two articles: Misandry: The Invisible Hatred of Men and Why Some People Have Issues With Men: Misandry.

How come we as a people always need to make scapegoats of real good, honest and innocent people … as if that would or could fix anything. Our misguided, hate-filled attempts to fix hate just makes things like racism, misogyny, misandry, bigotry, or simple hatred that much worse.

How come more police could not, as in one city in Michigan, take off their riot helmets and join in with the protesters? How come political leaders are not out in the protest lines, ensuring they are not hijacked by violence by ‘participants’ or police? How come more of us could not join in and ensure that the demonstrations were not pushed by unseen organizers of both extremes to fulfill Trump’s stupid prediction quoted from a tragic history?

This we do not know.

Still we pray: save the people from the temptations to Evil. Save all the people, including those in uniforms holding state authorized weapons with a task to hold back evil with more evil force. God, we pray, save us all!

Regardless, God will work with our weaknesses to bring blessings to all creation.

We Leave Small Tracks

Small, Lonely Tracks

March on!

We may seem small, But God makes us Live eternally

Blessings Come even through this Pandemic

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 4

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Dead Grass OR ?

We are but Grass, Blown in the Wind

While our Enemies Stand like Trees

Doch, God Ensures We are Victors

Eternally

1 Samuel 17:45

But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Ephesians 6:14-15

Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

Words of Grace For Today

It’s war:

The Philistines with Israel.

Goliath versus David.

The Devil and all his powers to destroy versus the Disciples of Jesus proclaiming peace.

Covid 19 versus us, the whole population of earth.

The whole human population of earth versus all life for the survival of planet earth.

The Devil and all his deceiving followers versus the people of God who rely on truth, forgiveness and love, which is a battle with ourselves sinner-saints that we are.

… and all the other battles and wars we are caught up in.

The battles we enter in the wars we are a part of, whether we choose to be or not, are never among equal parties.

It appears that our enemies, like Israel’s and David’s (the Philistine giant Goliath), are much more powerful than we are. It seems futile to engage in what seems to be a battle to them with assured victory, when we insist it will be peace.

Like David (we hope) we are equipped with nothing great, perhaps just a slingshot and a few pebbles, or more likely just a heart filled with gratitude, joy, and hope.

Our enemies have great arsenals:

The Devil has hoards of followers and a long track record of winning and destroying those he conquers. He has the record of setting the world standards in such a way as to make life impossible unless one cheats, lies and destroys others by taking from them what one wants.

Goliath has already scared the entire Israeli army into retreating from fighting with him.

Covid 19 works in stealth mode, catching us when we are unaware, and recruiting us to spread it to others even before we know we are ill. It attacks in many and various ways, depending on the health and genes of the person invaded. We cannot see the enemy until it may be too late.

Maybe we have water and soap, sometimes hand sanitizer, and orders to stay away from others, and to stay the blazes home, but we have no idea if all that actually works, or if we can do that long enough before the virus destroys our economies so far that there is not much left of us.

Doch.

We stand in God’s presence everyday. God stands with us. We need not fight at all. We humbly submit to God’s will, confess our sins and receive forgiveness, new and abundant life, and a calling to spread the news of God’s love in Jesus, which saves us all.

Whether we prevail as David did with just a pebble, God ensures that our efforts as part of God’s Kingdom bring peace to earth, in God’s time and in God’s manner.

God ensures, despite our efforts, our successes, or our failures, that there is peace for us and for all others who call on God’s name.

That outcome is why it is possible for us to engage, against all odds, to bring truth and Christ’s light to bear on all evil.

Covid 19 may not be easy to battle, yet we are on the winning side, even if it ends our lives or the lives of our loved ones here and now.

God has overcome death with Jesus’ resurrection. This we can trust.

Prayer: For Trinity Sunday & Everyday

Our Breastplate Prayer for Today

tip of the hat to St. Patrick and his Breastplate Prayer (see below)

Mist and Mysteries

Caught in the Mists

of Mystery, Doubt, and Threats,

We Invoke

The Trinity, 3in1

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

As the saints before me faced these same battles, help me persevere giving God the Glory, even under threat of death.

Help me remember all that God has given us:
the Goodness of Creation, the Law, the Prophets,
the Psalms, the Gospels, the Epistles, and more
to revive my weary spirit and sagging strength.

Jesus came to tell God’s story most plainly: God is always for us, claiming us, forgiving us at great cost, sending us out to share the story of Jesus’ Grace, God’s Love and the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing together people of all kinds.

Seeing the wonders of creation that the last centuries of progress have laid to waste, I still affirm: God wants this all to be GOOD again, including all that I do.

Yet, the Devil would have me filled with fear.

Name the fears of this day:

Fear of a virus called Covid 19.

Fear of being alone and forgotten.

Fear of deadly and destructive riots hijacked from peaceful protests against police abuses (as if God does not treasure young black and young First Nations’ men as much as us!)

Fear of police power and martial law abused.

Doch!

God, you have promised again and again I do not need to be afraid!

Christ sent the Holy Spirit, the mysterious, powerful fire of God, to envelop, motivate, and protect me:

up, down,

to the left, to the right,

in front of me, and behind me

(making sure I am not lazy in the calling Christ sends me to!)

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

Now as I raise my hands from the bed, make them work for Christ.

As I put my feet to the floor, make them move for Christ.

As I warm up my voice to speak, use my voice to proclaim the power of the Trinity: Creator, Redeemer, Holy Maker and Guide.

Amen

..

.

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer Information

These words came to us as part of a collection, published in 1903, of hymns found in two old manuscripts. With this hymn/prayer were these words: Saint Patrick sang this when an ambush was laid against his coming by Loegaire, that he might not go to Tara to sow the faith. And then it appeared before those lying in ambush that [Saint Patrick and his monks] were wild deer with a fawn following them. [‘Wild deer’ can also mean they were hidden in a thick mist, something well-known in Ireland.] see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Breastplate

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.

Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism.

Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,

Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In hope of resurrection met with reward,

In prayers of patriarchs,

In predictions of prophets,

In preaching of apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of holy virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

.

Christ with me,

Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation.

Amen!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 3

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dead and Dying

Dead and Dying

or

Wonders of Creation

See What You Will

Beauty is Still There in Creation

Psalm 34:16

The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

Words of Grace For Today

When instructing new skiers, it is important to teach them to fall first, then to ski. Falling is inevitable, especially as one learns, and for most skiers always. It is also important to teach them to focus on what they want to do, and where they want to go … not on what they do not want to do and where they do not want to go, like into a tree, other people, and obstructions of any kind.

God created us able to love, and therefore also able to choose (otherwise it is not love since an essential part of love is one’s choice to love). Choice means there is something other than love to choose, which is hate, which is sin and evil.

That is a simple explanation, though helpful when we get frustrated that evil persists all around us.

God wants us to remember and focus on choosing the Goodness of life that God makes possible for us in creation. To accomplish this God turns away from evildoers (that part of each of us, not a ‘them’ vs. ‘us’ who supposedly do no evil), so that our memory of evil is cut off from all the earth going forward.

That starts with forgiveness.

God forgives us so that we deal with our sins:make confession and restitution … and then move on, focusing on the Goodness of creation, instead of focusing on our sins. Likewise God makes us then able to forgive others, so that we and they can move to focus on Goodness, instead of their sin and the evil it reflects and creates in the world.

Jesus sends us out to tell Jesus’ story, of forgiveness bought and paid for at huge cost to God. That story focuses us on what is Good in creation, and helps us minimize evil’s role.

While evil is eradicated from memory (or a good start towards that is made) Jesus assures us that the Holy Spirit is with us. When we need, desire, or hope for something, Jesus encourages us to ask, seek, and knock; The Holy Spirit will help us receive all that is given to us, find all that God has made for us, and the doors that lead to an abundant life in God’s creation will open to us.

Ask, it will be given; seek, you will find; knock, the door will open: all this does not apply to asking for, seeking out, and knocking at the door of evil. Thank God. What a mess we would make of the world … of course we’ve done just that anyway.

God gives us blessed things overflowing, to help us choose to leave evil alone to die on the vine.

Like a virus that will not go away, we remain infected with the desire for other than love, i.e. evil; thankfully God continually transforms us into saints, so that we can also, by the power of the Holy Spirit, embrace the Goodness of creation.

Ask to see beauty where you are, you will see it.

Seek out the wonders of God’s creation, and you will find them.

Knock on the door behind which blessings overflow, and that door will open with an outpouring of blessings flooding your life.

Thanks be to God.

Take that Covid 19.

By being respectful and kind to others we can choose the goodness of life without this virus infecting us, and through us others.

Mayor Nenshi, of Calgary, said on CBC: Don’t act like someone who doesn’t want to get sick. Act like someone who already has the virus and doesn’t want to spread it.

Act like everyone you come into contact with is your favourite 90 year old grandmother.

Remember clean hands, clear heads, open hearts, stay safe, be kind always!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 1

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Rock

The Rock

Jesus, the only Rock of Salvation

Isaiah 44:8

Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

Matthew 10:27

What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.

Words of Grace For Today

Whistle blowers are not generally well received or liked by others. People simply do not like to have their nefarious activities exposed to the light of the public’s scrutiny … and possibly to face criminal charges for crimes committed.

Investigative reporters put everything on the line to search out sources, for stories that people of power may not want to have published, and which usually some people of ordinary living desperately need to have published, so that things can be set right for them, at least somewhat.

We do not need to work investigating to get the story we live to tell. Jesus story is an old, old story. We can hear it in many different voices and settings.

The story has been told since the days of old.

Jesus tells us to tell the story again. And again.

And again!

We are God’s witnesses to other people that God sent Jesus to save us from our sins, to give us new life, and to show us we no longer need to scapegoat or gaslight others in order to gain peace for ourselves.

The Holy Spirit brings us peace. We reside in it, abide in it, and when we sojourn, it stays with us. It is as permanent with us as the cross on our foreheads at baptism that never goes away. Claimed as God’s children we need not fear anything.

Not a virus, not anything.

Which does not mean that we are stupid about protecting ourselves and others from the virus as so many people are, walking as close to others as is convenient, breathing on others without further thought, and loudly telling everyone that there is no virus here!

When we are not afraid, then we can be wise about protecting ourselves and those we live with from the virus. The recommended precautions are just a beginning. We are ever vigilant … and always we pray, God protect us, for you alone are God, the rock of our living, the rock of our salvation.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 2

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

When One’s Child is Taken

All Beauty Begins to Die

and wither as if winter were setting in

1 Samuel 2:1

Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.

1 Peter 1:8

Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,

Words of Grace For Today

It is sometimes much easier than at other times to give God praise. We stand in awe of Hannah, though, because her heart exalts in the Lord at a most unlikely time. Her victory is nothing small. It is what Jewish women (or so we are told by tradition, fuelled by the need to increase in number in a sparsely populated earth!) in her day saw as God blessing them, that is to have a child demonstrated God blessed them. To be barren was the opposite. Societal expectations aside, Hannah has prayed for a child, has given birth to one, a son, who they name Samuel. So far so good!

Before Hannah sings her praise of victory, she has prayed with such fervour that Eli thought she were drunk. Now! now she gives up this child, her only child to Eli that he may be raised as a Nazirite! Hannah sings to God of her victory as she loses what she has prayed for: her child.

I’ve had children and raised them as the at home dad, long before that was common at all. I cannot imagine giving up one of my children. I was forced to, due no fault of my own, but as part of being terribly gaslit. It was and still is one of the most painful losses I have ever suffered. Those responsible, who are mentally ill, I have forgiven. But others, people of position and power, authority and responsibility who do this repeatedly, routinely, as a matter of course, and then cover it up … these people I cannot forgive, and I have bound their sins – God must deal with them, judge them, expose their sins that they cover up so well, and then move on as if they have done nothing wrong. I have learned of a corruption that I never thought could exist except in history books. My response is to remember everything, and pray to God every day. Every day I practice who I am and whose I am, so that I neither forget the gaslighting nor God’s gifts of beauty, joy and love that remain in my life, despite the Gaslighters’ efforts to ruin everything in me and in my life. I give God praise each day, but not for the loss of my children, or the gaslighting that was done to accomplish it.

Hannah gives up her only child willingly! and then sings God’s praises! She does give up Samuel to live with Eli and to be raised to serve God. She trust her son to God’s care and service. Samuel will become more than he ever imagined.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves us to be more than we imagined we could ever be. Too often the Devil invites us to be more malicious and destructive than we ever imagined we could be.

We pray again today that no matter the stress of Covid 19 or anything else in our lives, we will respond to the Holy Spirit working in us, and not the Devil working against us all.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 31

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Living Here is a Little Tents, no Covid though.

Better than some

Temporarily Good Enough

It’s Inhabited by Grace

Isaiah 5:8

Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land! The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.

1 Corinthians 12:13

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Words of Grace For Today

Those who greedily gather more and more for themselves, though they have many houses, even if the are physically in one of those houses, that house is desolate and uninhabited; for it takes a person of gratitude and generosity to inhabit even a small house, and it takes yet more grace, gratitude and generosity to inhabit a large house, yet alone a mansion.

Row after row of BIG BOX HOUSES line the new subdivisions. Families move in and the houses are left without inhabitants.

To be a person … a person at all and more-so a person in God’s Kingdom … one needs to rely on the Holy Spirit gifts given at baptism …

One needs to drink the Holy Spirit and become one of the saints connected with the other saints through every generation …

working with the gifts the Holy Spirit gives you to build up the people of God

and as the Spirit makes one able, to call upon the Lord in humble confession and profound gratitude for the forgiveness given, the new life received, and the Grace enabled in one’s heart, mind and strength.

There is no person who is not offered these gifts from the Spirit of God, all Greeks, Jews, Gentiles, Free and Slave (to the powers that be), of whatever gender or preference of drink or joy, whatever generation from whatever family. All are equal. All receive precious gifts. All can accept them with gratitude and live to build up instead of tear down the people of God.

From the gift of true soul-peace we gain the ability to generate external peace for those around us.

We pray, may our living spaces (some of us have no home) be inhabited with God’s people of Grace.

Charlotte’s Home

Charlotte is not Home

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 30

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Gold and Green Carpet

All the Gold in the World

Cannot Create God’s Beautiful Creation

Numbers 22:18

Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, ‘Although Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more.’

2 Corinthians 2:17

For we are not peddlers of God’s word like so many; but in Christ we speak as persons of sincerity, as persons sent from God and standing in his presence.

Words of Grace For Today

Human history is fouled with people using God’s name as a commodity, peddling it for sale, no matter the consequences. Or using it as a hammer to shame, condemn and control others. Or as a means to power.

The world today is built on globalized capitalism. Poor people living in conditions no human should have to endure, put their labour (time and energy and life-force) into the hands of wealthy multinational corporations to produce goods that rich people like us buy at great prices (for us), with the corporations taking more money from our purchase by far than the labourers receive for making the goods.

Everything can be bought and sold for a price. Leonard Cohen wrote that the Holy-Dove is bought and sold again. And while his poetry-words seem to refer to the process of Peace being sold and bought and sacrificed and sold and bought again, it is an image that applies to all that is good in life. Capitalism brings [in-]stability, false security, and irreverent comfort to a few people, while the great majority are kept in poverty, so as to be available for cheap labour, and so as not to consume what the few consider their zero-summed resources that support their comfortable, privileged lives.

It is not hard to write, read, or talk about the injustices in the economic systems of any age. It is dangerous to actually live so as to bring about a bit more justice, a little less injustice in one’s short time on earth.

Balaam speaks clearly to Balak (through his servants): Balaam is not for sale. God’s Word is not for sale. Balaam will not go against God’s Word, no matter the price paid by Balak. Telling power that it is corrupt and one does not and will not participate in that corruption is a good way to meet one’s maker more quickly, with a shorter sojourn on this earth than God may have made available to one otherwise.

Pastor Brian Rude, in El Salvador, reported that they are able to secure food for a few days. You think that your life is complicated a bit by Covid 19 restrictions. There most of the people do not have a secure food supply. They have no food supply, or water supply, or health care at all. Each day they need to venture out to find food, in the city, in the countryside. Most often water and food is there to be found, maybe … maybe enough to not die of starvation or illness from malnutrition. With Covid 19 if you venture out to secure food and water the police arrest you and place you in a quarantined area, which is more a prison than anything else, and the disease and death rates are astronomical. It’s a death sentence, slowly implemented.

What are your Covid 19 restrictions like? How are you coping? Do you have water and food enough, and the ability to secure more when you need them? Do you have the ability to worship as you choose? Do you have people who value you, whom you value, with whom you can speak freely, even if you cannot gather with them, cannot exchange hugs and handshakes, and cannot participate in food preparation and meals together?

Count your daily blessings!

Every challenge that we face (the real ones) is better met when one comes to each day thankful. A grateful heart and mind function better.

And as you meet others who are struggling, remember that you can be in much worse circumstances. The change can come as quickly as a day or less.

So be kind. You may be dependent on others’ kindness much sooner than you ever thought possible.

If you are one who cannot be kind, rather you are compelled to compete for as much as you can get and always demand more than you already have… if you are a greedy, covetous, dangerous, cruel person … well pray that you learn sooner than later, and before it is too late … that we are all in this together.

We are in this Covid 19 pandemic together. We are sojourning on earth as God’s people together.

What you do does come right around to you.

If you think that life is all zero-summed, then eventually that is all you will encounter, after you have ruined so many people it is impossible to count how many. And whether you get ‘enough’ of everyone else’s ‘share’ of what is available in goods, there will be no goodness in life left for you.

If you are kind and sacrificially generous with all that God has given into your care as a steward, then life will continue to be a blessing, and even if/when you do not have enough, or the vagaries of life catch you and you meet your Maker earlier than needed to have been: well every minute of your life will be an ever increasing overflowing abundance of gratitude and generosity. That is what life is about, that is what makes life good and worthwhile. The amount of goods you have and consume is not the measure of your worth, nor of the goodness of your life. Giving (and forgiving) to those in need is the measure of our worth before God.

One who stands in God’s presence, who with sincerity speaks God’s Word for others, will know first how to humbling fear and love God before anything else.

Pray that you are that person who is grateful and generous, and not the person who is greedy and covetous.

Covid 19 makes our choices to be blessed to be a blessing, OR

to greedily take what we can from everyone else

that much more obvious.

Learn, reflect, and grow in Christ.

Golden Light Display of God’s Might

God’s Wealth is In Light and Grace

Grace is Beyond Compare

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 29

Friday, May 29, 2020

Bare Bear

Bare Bear

Face one of these up close without a wall and window between you

and you may give thanks for weeks.

Face the devil as we do each day

and there is cause to give thanks our whole life long.

Psalms 35:28

Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all day long.

Luke 24:52-53

They worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Words of Grace For Today

If you have ever faced death, like in a car accident that should have killed you, and recovered from the shock, you may be familiar with that overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude at being alive!

On a late winter day we set out to a study conference. Unknown to us … well wait for that. Climbing a hill to a right full speed bend in the highway down to the hotel and lake that we would continue by on our way … with no warning the minivan started to fishtail.

The opposing lane was suddenly filled with vehicles and a semi. I held just a touch of power and barely held the van from spinning out. The turn finished I caught the fishtailing and it was just one moment from ending … when we hit the bridge over the railroad track very far below the van lost it completely as the tail end slowly spun counter clockwise, crossing the opposing lane, missing the railing on the far side of the bridge by less than a foot.

It hit the hard snow bank a few feet high already facing backwards and did a full flip in the air down the steep embankment, rolled twice more and stopped against the tree line at the bottom.

We walked to the hotel and when the highway patrol arrived he stayed only as long as it took to ensure we were okay and to share the news that he had 75 calls due to the ice storm that covered roads with black ice for hundreds of miles. Our near death accident was nothing compared to many fatalities that morning.

The next day, sore and stiff, with cuts on our hands and faces, we progressed through the usual work day … until … about supper time … we both told the other how fully alive, engaged and joyful we were. The day before we were not depressed but we had great cause to see life dimly, for the congregation we served had served up a real sour douzer.

This joy lasted for weeks.

This kind of surviving is exactly what Jesus does for us each day, forgiving us and setting us loose, free in the world to share the Good News … of Jesus’ forgiveness for everyone!

We get to be the feet, hands and voice of Jesus freely dispensing forgiveness that brings new life to everyone.

Give praise and worship God each day, all day long, even as we work, play, and relax.

This is what God created us to do.