Or at what temperature is the Light of Christ pure?
dark in remote northern SK especially in the winter, especially for
first nations youth. Their suicide rate is more than 4 times greater
than other youth.
Pinehouse, like many places around God’s creation, they know well
what it means to arise and shine for their light has come. Youth in
desperate straights, often survivors of multiple suicide attempts,
are finding that learning and practising photography brings light
into the darkness. Photography is all about light: seeing light,
catching light to tell a story. It also requires of the photographer
to see the world in a different light, in the light of God’s
beauty. Photography done well communicates real wonders. It often
remains unnoticed, until the technical capabilities of photographer
with camera and equipment in hand bring God’s beauty to the photo.
the youth actively bring God’s beauty to their photos, they bring
life and hope and light into the darkness of their own lives.
recently added a safety margin to his existence; wood heat. It is not
without it’s risks. Fire is powerful. The wood stove, well a
furnace really, refurbished, with the outside shield freshly painted
after years of abuse can provide heat, and how! With care Tim fired
it up more than once with a decidedly small test fire, to ensure the
draft worked, the smoke went up, and the dampers actually worked. Tim
wanted to avoid explosive possibilities. Smoke is routed around
inside to ensure it burns as much as possible. Less pollution, and
more heat. Fully fired the furnace still occasionally cures the paint
on the shield, and the room becomes insufferably hot. With diligent
care now Tim supplements an insufficient propane furnace (which
lasted only a year before needing to be replaced) with an overly
sufficient HOT wood stove. Left wide open and fully stoked the wood
furnace could probably melt itself to the ground, along with it’s
shelter and occupant.
the relative comfort of my condo, visiting over New Year’s, Tim let
his guard down. A simple candle sat on the coffee table. He set a
simple portion of the newspaper absently to the side. Only a good
sense of smell alerted him that someone must have put out the candle.
no, looking up he saw the newspaper 1/4 engulfed in flame, which in a
minute would have burned the table to the ground and possibly the
condo with it.
newspaper aflame in hand he smothered the flames with what was left
of the newspaper, leaving ashes everywhere. But the condo still
stands, no fire damage. Just a scare.
fire from HOT HOT wood and smoke burning at 1000° degrees, all done
safely. A small candle in the comfortably heated condo, with all the
supports of a city all around goes up in free flame. Why does God let
a fire with the newspaper scare us so?
the Gospel we hear of great things that God does: Wise men follow a
star and bring gifts of wealth. Dreams warn them to return home
safely and for Joseph to take Jesus to Egypt. But we know the rest.
All those children in and around Bethlehem slaughtered by Herod. Why?
Perhaps those Wise men were not so wise, going to Herod’s home town
our way can be challenging. Mostly we like to make our own ways, who
we make friends with, who we care for, who we spend time with.
always surprises us:
Isaiah, the prophet preaches to a group of returned Exiles. They find
themselves in conflict with their relatives who never left. Those who
stayed behind remember that they, and they alone, are God’s chosen
people. The returnees want everyone included in God’s favour.
Matthew the wise men come to honour Jesus, the king foretold by the
star. They are not Jews. They are members of a completely different
Ephesians the central mystery of faith that the writer shares is that
Christ is for all the Gentiles.
ask today isn’t the central mystery of faith the un-earnable,
unconditional Forgiveness? What about God’s Grace being a gift so
that we are saved not because of what we do, say or think or even
believe? It is just pure gift!
course we are included just as Jews may be. That’s old news. …
But in Paul’s time no one besides Jews were considered, until Paul.
God chose him specifically to preach to the Gentiles. While the rest
of the apostles stayed in Jerusalem, with Jews joining them, Paul
travelled the Mediterranean, spreading the Gospel to everyone,
especially Gentiles. It was dangerous to be a new Christian. They
were targeted and killed. If Paul had not spread the Good News, the
early church, contained only in Jerusalem, made of only converted
Jews, may easily have died off in the first few years.
generations of God’s people claiming only they were chosen, and
they held themselves apart as identifiably chosen, what is God up to
letting in the Gentiles, us Gentiles?
it comes to our God and our lives, God continually surprises us, yet
we still have a long wish list:
in today’s lessons we read how we want: Just rulers, and Light in
the darkness, which means a resolution for the all ails of the human
condition. We want Prosperity in Light and Glory and access to God
and Power. We want to be: God’s servants with authority.
want OUR family together. We want our children in town or close by,
our grandchildren nearby, and relative prosperity to accompany us
all, always, to make our paths smooth.
way, as history should fully teach us, though is not at all about our
power, nor our wishes, nor making our paths smooth. God’s way is
about light, and we get stuck in the Darkness. Our darkness is us not
acknowledging God as God, Love as our commission, and Evil as the
necessary result of our inevitable and unavoidable sin. Darkness is
us damning others for the evil that we and others suffer.
REAL danger in life is not knowing the real power of God, present in
various ways. God’s power is so powerful it is like a fully stoked
furnace, in the guise of a candle flame, but capable of burning down
the whole universe.
we choose to remain in darkness. We choose to not know the
destruction of fright at injustice. Fright freezes us, or causes us
to flee, or to stand and fight; all are choices in the face of
obvious malfeasance that will sink us like an overheated candle melts
in the midst of a condo consumed by fire.
choose to be ignorant of today’s injustice, malfeasance, and
corruption. We’ve heard the stories of old, but they are very
present today, perhaps worse than ever since they are so secreted
under spin and even blatant lie.
terribly costly lie was the official and political denial of the
destructive power of CO emissions. Now we have Climate Change run
rampant. Environment Canada, reporting on the top ten stories of the
past year, warns that the extremes of the past are now the new norms.
We will not survive the new extremes without greater resilience than
ever before. Perhaps the overly sufficient wood stove may become
our darkness with light pollution all around we may not be able to
see the wonders of the stars, the marvel of the wilderness worth
preserving, nor the inherent beauty of even our city, our streets, or
even our own backyards.
our darkness we may not acknowledge the futility of security sought
in prosperity. Even though we live in boom and bust Alberta, we too
often seek security in wealth. We hoard it or we live lavishly. But
prosperity and wealth can evaporate like water on an overheated wood
furnace. It takes only a turn of a market, a corruption of an
investor, a foreign or domestic attack, a new Storm, or a bad health
event for ourselves or a loved one. After all we are all dying after
the age of 26 or so; our bodies literally falling apart. It’s
normal, for no one gets out of life alive.
true Gospel, for also the Gentiles, given as a free gift, not earned
by compliance to a set of rules or piety, is a true mystery. It
brings the true light with true blessings to all who hear it.
live not by prosperity but wholly by Grace. God commissions us to
carry this same undeserved Grace to all others. We are only lowly
servants. Our only power is Christ’s Power of self-sacrifice,
truth, and of bringing life to others.
whatever ways we are rulers, we can be just rulers. Even as middle or
low class citizens or guests, or even as homeless squatters, the
Spirit uses us to be for others Christ’s voice, Christ’s heart of
grace and unconditional love, and Christ’s hands.
share what we have freely received without cost: we share Hope based
on God’s promises. We share God’s un-earned forgiveness. We share
God’s over abundant grace.
any good photographer will tell you, light is everything, and it is
the contrast to the darkness and the play of specular light, light
that is diffused and then reflected, that creates beauty. We are
reflections of God’s diffused light. We are specular, spectacular
and beautiful. We have the whole power of Christ moving through us,
just as a small candle has the same power to consume a home, as a
fully stoked, left wide open, wood furnace.
is flame. The Holy Spirit is the source of our light, our breath, our
hope, and our warmth and passion for life as God created it for All
people to enjoy: Life as Christ’s servants is beautifully full of
wonder. Arise and shine for our light has come!
celebrating when pictures come back from the other side of Pluto.
landed on the dark side of the moon, seeing images not seen before.