Fleeting Sunshine on Smoke or Light of Life

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Much of life is fleeting as sunshine on smoke.

God’s blessings are sure and forever.

Psalm 71:9

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent.

2 Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Words of Grace For Today

What used to take little effort and next to no time or thought, now takes great effort and forging onward through pain, dealing with lack of clear sight, and being exhausted way too soon each day.

Fear makes it worse.

There is almost no resolution.

‘If you have your health that is everything.’

It’s a nice sentiment, though the truth is more clearly ‘if you do not have your health, then nothing else can compensate for that. Life is a finite experience, and without health (as old age takes if from us piece by piece) that finite experience becomes smaller and shorter and smaller and shorter and then will soon end.

Our real comfort is that God does not ‘unbless’ us as we get old and ill.

Even as our bodies and minds seem to waste away, God renews our faith and trust, and thus we are able to continue on, blessing others with all we have left in life, of life itself.

Anything else is a mirage.

Cold Hard Reality … – – – …

… – – – … Cold Hard Reality … – – – … Our Own Sin … – – – … The Start of God’s Work for Us …. ..

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Sun Rises And Spreads Cold Cold Cold Light

God using the sun to draw smoke shadows on curves of snow

Proverbs 3:7

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

Galatians 6:4

All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbour’s work, will become a cause for pride.

Words of Grace For Today

We become accustomed to life, unjustly lived, civilization’s thin veneer holding back barbarism, barely while so many wealthy, privileged, and powerful people utilize outrageous barbarism to hold on to what they value, i.e. their positions, corrupt as they are.

We become accustomed to life and are widely disturbed, our individual and collective mental health plummets, because a pandemic disrupts our customary living …

and we are left to face what truly lies beneath, behind, and beyond our ‘civilized’ habits. It is not pretty. It scares us. It drives us mad.

This is a small piece of the cost of living as if we could rise above fear of God. This is a small piece of the cost of pretending that we need not resist evil at every turn, lest we be dragged into the sea of it’s chaos, into it’s power to uncreate creation, dissolve all time, and possess life itself even as it all crumbles into non-existence.

Being wise in one’s own eyes is like the fool Trump, declaring himself to be so intelligent, even as he spouts idiocies that are easily proven to be false. Remember when he recommended that people drink bleach to eradicate Covid 19 from their systems. Bleach of course is a caustic poison easily eradicating life from anyone who drinks it!

Our own, your own, idiocies may not be so obvious to us, to you, though they probably are to others!

Daily we immerse ourselves in the old, old story of Jesus and his love; which starts with our past and continuing sins confessed and graciously forgiven by God.

We immerse ourselves in this story, not forgetting the beginning (our wretched inevitable sin) so that we do not forget how much we need to be saved from our sins, how much God does to save us, and how terrible our deserved damnation would be if God were not so undeservedly gracious with us. We do not forget our ongoing inevitable sins so that we do not rise to false pride.

Instead we readily accept the reality and confess our sins, knowing in that confession we also accept God’s forgiveness, which forgiveness enables us to also be God-made saints, simultaneously as we remain sinners. God has God’s way with us, and we love it!

We know our own works are pitiful. Our neighbours may look to be so as well. On our own nothing we do amounts to anything (valued by God’s criteria and measure). Aided, guided, and inspired by the Holy Spirit, God accomplishes great things through us. God saves others by giving them abundant life through our work.

Our pride in our work, and in our neighbours’ work, amounts only to pride in what God does through us. Though we last no longer than smoke we remain courageously, creatively humble as God uses us to paint Grace on this world. Meeting the new demands of Covid 19 pandemic and it’s dangers and restrictions is a mere trifle, measured by God’s criteria. It is another opportunity to see, receive, and share God’s unending blessings.

Hammer and Fire of God

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Cleansing Fire, Hammer of God

Come, and Come Soon!

Jeremiah 23:29

Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Luke 12:49

I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!

Words of Grace For Today

In the dead-cold of winter (so mild before this week, but no longer at all mild at -36⁰C) a bit of fire is a welcome thing. Vented, directed, contained with plenty of snow at shovel length to put out anything that approaches too much fire, the heat of fire meets the bleeping cold air and provides a livable space.

Most people in homes enjoy the balance of fire against cold as a product of natural gas ignited in a furnace with the heat distributed to the rest of the home by electricity (either an air fan or a water pump.)

There are cautionary tales to be told or rather seen: the house that one day is an example of a grand house on a hill in the woods, and the next a scarred roof line behind an untouched facade, which on closer viewing displays the chimney standing on it’s own with the building around it on the side and back of what used to be a house, missing and what is visible is jagged and charred. A chimney fire it seems consumed a home, hopefully without loss of life. The 5th wheel RV appears setup along side the remains of the house for the remainder of the winter, spring and summer, with the dogs running outside as they usually had.

Fire.

Or

One sees on the news videos of thick smoke and vehicles making their collective and slow exit out of Fort McMurray as wildfires wipe out huge areas of the city.

Or

One sees the photos of a railroad accident fire that has burst and melted rail cars and rails themselves.

Or in a figurative understanding of fire:

From Mistakes – Despair, Inc. At https://despair.com/products/mistakes

It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others. Not every life can be a success, just like not every vessel can be seaworthy. But there’s no shame in being one spectacular shipwreck.

God’s Word is like all that, taking what is evil in the world, what is evil and sinful in us, and burning it up like chaff ….

Ah, what a fire that will be!

God’s Word always is a two edged sword, cutting away evil, also from us, among us, and from within each of us!

The Word of God cleanses with fire, and what a fire it is already in us!

The Word of God cuts away and burns away our sin and evil, and cleanses us, pure and righteous! By Grace we live through the cleansing fire.

God provides more than an RV replacement for a home. God provides us a home in the New Jerusalem, the City of God, the New Creation.

For some of us so connected to nature in our existence God provides that we need not move into a city; God provides a home in the wilds of nature’s wonders and beauty.

God’s cleansing fire that Jesus brings is destructive, powerful and wonderfully just. We pray it will be kindled soon among us. We pray the hammer of God will break apart Evil from within us and from among us, so that all will have homes, all will have food, all will have a good life, an abundant life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 4

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Standing on level ground

as God’s mysteries pour in

Psalm 26:12

My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:26

What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Words of Grace For Today

Standing on level ground: building up the gathering of followers.

Out hiking in the mountains, more so as the years accumulate on one’s frame, one needs to take breaks from the steady walking forward, upward in order to catch one’s breath, to regroup one’s commitment and to let one’s body catch up on the energy output so slight for each step, yet so great for hours and hours of steps forward and upward.

A cool drink of water, or juice, and a handful of trailmix or cheese or pemmican helps the body and the spirit rejuvenate.

While one rests it is the first obvious thing, one seeks out a level spot, perhaps with a log or rock on which one may sit to rest. Experience will teach one that sitting is best kept brief, and that standing or walking easily about, catching any great view available, is the best way to rejuvenate one’s spirit for the arduous labour of one step times thousands per hour.

So also it is best to find one’s place in the congregation standing on level ground, orienting oneself to the view, toward God in our midst, and toward the people gathered, and toward all the people who are not present but are out there. So oriented one can assess the circumstances and discern God’s work, and with all that one brings to the congregation one can ensure it will build up the congregation, each person and all of us together.

What does not build up has no place in the congregation.

Paul had an earful of what the people in the congregation at Corinth were capable of, which did not build up, but rather divided the congregation.

Paul did not give up on the congregation, nor anyone person in it. He writes with clarity about the divisions and actions of the congregation that tear the congregation apart, that tear it down. And he points to ways the congregation can work to build each other up, to provide for each person, and not to continue hubris practices that divide and destroy the congregation.

For generations now those words, and unfortunately those circumstances, resonate as people stand against each other, against faith with integrity, and for their own limited vision of what the church is. We still pray: God save us from division. God grant us unity.

and then we whisper: my kind of unity, thank you God.

We really need to take a break, on level ground, give God thanks, and celebrate what the Holy Spirit has made of each person.

Together we can pray: God save us from temptation and deliver us from Evil.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 31

Friday, July 31, 2020

False Witness like Smoke Spreads

and cannot be undone

and can only be stopped

by putting out the fire

Exodus 23:1

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

Words of Grace For Today

False witness.

Truth witness.

Martin Luther, the victim of a false conviction achieved by many false witnesses and corrupt judges, equated bearing false witness with murder.

Spreading rumours is essentially the same as bearing false witness. The audience is the open community instead of the confines of a court.

An old story recounts how a student asked his teacher what was so wrong with rumours. The teacher, on who effectively used illustrations and demonstrations as much as lectures, instruct the student to take two feather pillows, place them outside on his neighbours doorstep, and slit them open and return with the pillow cases. The student did this and returned to report to the teacher asking what this could possibly mean. The teacher instructed the student return the next day. That next day the teacher directed the student to take the pillow cases, collect the feathers, and sew up them closed to be used as pillows.

The student stood aghasted. It will be impossible to collect the feathers now. The wind has blown overnight. More than a handful of feathers will be impossible to find, yet alone collect.

The teacher said, so it is with rumours (and false witness). Once rumours are spoken the spread like wildfire in the community and beyond so that nothing can undo them, true or not. They destroy like invisible poison not only the person they are told about, but the people who spread them. In that way they are like Covid 19.

False witness, like rumours, once told are sins for which little restitution can be made to the person they are told about, and certainly not to all who hear them in the community or the courts. They are an indiscriminate poison that kills both body and spirit.

Thus we followers of Christ are not called to speak falsely of others.

We followers of Christ are not called to silence, rather we are called to speak truth. Always truth begins with what God has done for us, Jesus’ story, our salvation and daily renewed life, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Against rumours and false witness: we can do no other than to forgive as we can, to bind sins for God to judge, and to clearly speak the truth in the face of all false witness and rumours. We can expect that those caught in rumour and false witness will expend every effort to end the truth, and us with it; history will continue to repeat itself, and good people will be killed to protect the lies of corrupt and sick people.

Life following Christ is not safe, and never boring. It is life abundantly blessed, even when one is caught in life threatening poverty.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 12

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Light

Light is a Gift

Like Salvation A Gift From God.

We See Salvation More Clearly When We Confess Our Sins,

Like Smoke Makes Light Obvious.

Daniel 9:7

Righteousness is on your side, OLord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us all , those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.

Ephesians 2:8

By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Words of Grace For Today

It is good to confess one’s own sins.

It can be helpful to confess your people’s sins, in which you are part of that guilty community.

It is most helpful to confess that we are saved by faith through grace – and that our faith and the saving us is not our doing, but a gift (which is Grace) from God.

Most things in life that we receive are earned through work, some of it extremely hard work. The work can be ours or someone else’s.

The car in your drive, or the bicycle against the post: someone worked hard to have them.

The house you wake up in, or the ram-shackled shelter the wind rattles you out of in the morning, which keeps you somewhat dry and warm through the nights: someone worked hard for them.

The nutritious and balanced fresh food you put on your table from which you can choose a selection to enjoy, or the past-the-best-buy-date canned food from the food bank that may fill your belly and only get you a little sick: someone work hard for them.

The clothes in your closet from which you have your pick of styles, functions, and colours, all freshly cleaned, or the same old sweaty and stained jeans and dirty T-Shirt that you slept in last night: someone worked hard for them.

Salvation cannot be worked for, though. When we try, the results would be comical, except it is tragic how much harm we usually do others and ourselves in the effort. It’s like trying all day to find your glasses … which sit perched on your nose.

God’s Grace provides us salvation without effort or cost to us, but at great cost to Jesus.

After we confess, trusting we are forgiven, we can only extend that Grace to others, at whatever cost is required of us, in order that they can live life, and live it abundantly.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 2

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Pastor

A Spouse

You get the idea,

If you have a spouse

Psalm 8:2

Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

Luke 1:49

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Words of Grace For Today

All through life we learn how to respond to challenges. We learn to tie shoes. Maybe not, since more and more shoes are just Velcro. We learn to make allowances for others while we play, then as we study (if we learn to study), then as we raise a family (if we have children), as we mature with a spouse (you get the idea: if we mature -:), as we work, and as we age, retire and kick the bucket (stubbing our toe as we most always do).

All this supposedly gives us common sense, which seems less and less common. All this supposedly gives us knowledge, which seems less and less based on reality for many. All this supposedly gives us opportunity to fill our lives with goods, which we throw away for newer, maybe better goods as if our own worth were dependent on our goods.

God, in many and various ways, keeps trying to communicate to us, hard headed and stiff-necked that we are, to show us all of this is inside-out, up-side-down, or of no consequence when it comes to being part of God’s good creation, and the goodness we are to be (in thought, word, and deed) for others and our own souls.

How great it is that God keeps communicating with us, generation after generation, day after day. Only God who is holy could bear us rascal sinners with such loving patience and grace.

It is not complicated. It is so simple that this way of being (sacrificially loving, forgiving and renewing others) can easily come from infants and young children.

We get to unlearn the world’s lessons, and practice the foolish truths that a child’s perspective on the Goodness of Creation can teach us.

Thanks be to God.

Covid 19 places huge challenges before us. The blessing in these challenges is that we have to re-orient our lives and have therein opportunity to practice again that foolishness of Christ, which brings life to all people.

What Is Energy?

Energy is Something, eh?

Wood Cut

Is energy what God stores, in places we’ve found, to extract to use to warm, power, and run our lives of greater and greater comfort.

.

..

Small Pile

Can we store up energy, in a pile, or in tanks, in order to stay alive?

.

..

White Birch Lovely

Does God Store Energy in Beauty?

.

..

..

Fire Red

Does God Store Up Energy in the White and Red Clouds?

.

..

Smoke and Cloud

Can We See the Energy That is There?

.

..

Branch and Light

Certainly There is Great Energy in a Little Branch and Great Beauty

.

..

Water Swirls Reflect Reality?

Sometimes Swirls of Clouds Reflected in the Greatest Reservoir of Energy is God’s Clue

.

..

See the Light? Fear the Light as the Wicked, Or Rejoice in the Light?

The Light of the Sun has the Greatest Energy, other than its Maker

.

..

It is the Maker that we reflect with hope and faith.

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!

Gaslighting One-Track Moon Hope

There is no way to fully counter Gaslighting

The best way is to live the truth, speak the truth, trust God,

When everyone who should know better,

everyone who is a professional and equipped, supposedly, to know better,

joins in the Gaslighting what can one do?

Trust God, look for God, encounter the infinite.

One Track Free After Dusk

O

N

E

Track

Mi nd

Go

I

N

G

Outward

T

Ards2

N

O

Where

O

Where

Has the

Dear

Sun

Gone?

Getting ready to

Stice

The

Poor

Sol

.

Suns that forget to rise, Sun that stands still!

What will come next, that this hell will (once again) freeze over?

Even

T

he

Moon

Shy Winter Moon

Is shy

Of

T

He

Sky

barely poking its own light even as low as the sun stays in the shade all day

this is winter.

Before long there is

more than one track

now that the Fishers are out

Whose Fishing, Whose Hunting, Whose the Prey? Pray it’s not you.

But where to? Where do they all go?

To out there somewhere

left of the lynx tracks?

Or just

out

there?

What to do when tracks that are, can be photographed and proven to have been even when they melt,

but

words

that are said

that are used to define me

are

not

a reflection of even a shy moon?

Or even

a long since erased lynx track?

Yet alone the person I am!

How does one prove

that the profound Gaslighting

joined

in by

so

many

who

are entrusted to know better

how can one prove that the

supposed tracks

of

a

dog

do

not

belong

to me?

Because the false claim is made so long ago and consistently since with new twists of total fiction

that

I

am

(supposedly)

a

dog?

A dog could make tracks like a lynx, yes.

But

I am a child of God

ordained

kind

generous

a messenger of and creator of Grace!

I leave tracks of new life, hardly of a dog, hardly vicious, hardly (fill in you favourite lie about me.)

What damage the lies do

least of all to me

and most of all to those

who make them up,

and those who

accept the lies given to them

and then make up their own

and

demonstrate to children and observant adults that truth

is long since

insignificant

when one can make one’s way

by

the lie

to

anywhere?

Remember Real Stuff

Remember, live well, and reflect the light of Christ …

the truth is the gift that remembered will set one free from the death of Gaslighting.

Remember as clear as one can spring, fall, and summer

when water required a canoe

for

now as

one walks on water

The miracle that one is still alive after all this Gaslighting is

more

than

walking on water, even if it were not frozen water.

Give God thanks.