Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 28

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Our Sun

The Light

The Light of Christ

The Light of Christ that is the Life of the Universe

God’s Son, Much Greater Than Our Sun

Psalm 18:32

God who girded me with strength, … made my way safe.

1 Corinthians 3:11

No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

Building a house is a tremendous experience. If one did not have to have the extremely fraught financial limits and stresses it would be more than tremendous, and that already while building, not first decades later – when the stress and pains and angst have subsided in one’s memory and the finished result, so well built, remains still to this day.

The challenge for one who has never built a house before is that from the first few steps to the last piece of trim nailed into place, every step builds on the previous one’s.

I brought the power into the middle of the building. The thing was I did not know that I could not do that above ground, in the building itself! So after the foundation was poured I had to dig the trench for the power cable from the pole, to the foundation – through the weeping tile rocks that I had to dig in after the foundation was poured, since I did not know about them either! All that was done with a backhoe.

Inside the foundation, whereas before the foundation was poured the trench could have been dug with the backhoe, now I got to dig in the hardpan clay a 20 foot 18″ deep trench by hand. When the cable was laid, on top crushed rock I put in by hand having hauled them in with a wheel barrow, along with the water line and a spare water line just in case, and an empty 4″ pipe in case I had forgot or had to redo something, then I got to fill in the trench by hand as well, first with crushed rock and then with clay, tamping it down so the eventual insulation under the cement floor with heating pipes in it would not heave if the ground there got wet or (God forbid) the ground there froze!

Then I got to redo the weeping tile and rocks above the trench outside.

Then we moved on to build the foam blocks to hole the rebar and concrete for the walls up to the rafters, and to pour the upper floor concrete to hold the in floor heating pipes. Solid, a great mass that a geothermal furnace kept warm in the coldest of times that stayed cool in the all but the longest hot days of summer. It all sat on the foundation we poured, that with only a 6 foot level was at most an inch out of absolute level, which was less than the foam blocks settled when the weight of the concrete was poured into them. The rafters were no more than a half inch out – but that was luck with the walls settling … and the skill of the one man who helped pour and finish the top of the upper wall.

Practical and easy to describe and see: everything in building needs be done in the right order. The foundation (not without disastrous cost) cannot be redone. Everything depends on what is done before, and everything depends on a solid foundation.

Christ as the foundation is as rock solid as God, and cannot be replaced.

On Christ the whole of creation, the entire universe (or multi-verse if that’s how we see it now) is built on Christ.

Why? How is that?

God designed us humans to run on self sacrifice and love, while we have the choice to be selfish, cruel and destructive to each other as well.

Christ, the embodiment of self-sacrificial, unconditional love, sits at the heart of everything in the universe. Try to rip that out and replace it with anything else and the whole universe would crumble.

It would be no different than the concrete walls of our home that would have cracked and crumbled if one tried to remove the foundation to lay in a new one!

I did not build with only my skill or knowledge. I had a friend, a wheel chair bound 83 year old builder and designer, who helped with the engineering and who made the construction plans for the house from my rough designs.

We live our lives, one day at a time, building a collection which is us.

Christ, unconditional, self-sacrificing love, is how we are designed to live.

But oh how we choose other, to our own pain, cost, and destruction … and we almost always take down a whole lot of other people with us.

And then Christ steps in, to forgive, redeem, and renew us for yet another day of living in God’s Grace!

A living, forgiving, life infusing foundation … God built well!

No freezing cold of hate, nor searing heat of evil and hell can disrupt God’s well designed and laid foundation.

Covid 19, nor the idiocies the pandemic exposes, nor corruption at the highest levels can disrupt God’s creation build on Christ the foundation of life.

Breathe easy, just not someone else’s contaminated air droplets or aerosol.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 27

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Simple Light

on Ice

As Easy as Kindness

Job 9:2-3

Indeed I know that this is so; but how can a mortal be just before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand.

Mark 12:32-34

Then the scribe said to him, ‘You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that “he is one, and besides him there is no other”; and “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength”, and “to love one’s neighbour as oneself”,—this is much more important than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.’ When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Words of Grace For Today

Jesus brings wisdom, wisdom that the intelligent, the powerful, the wealthy, and the privileged rarely comprehend yet honour and embrace.

Jesus calls the simplest part of each of us, the kindness string of our DNA, and commands us to love God with all our heart, and with all our mind, and with all our strength”, and to love our neighbours (all of them) as oneself.

It is not complicated. It is not really difficult.

It just goes against the selfishness that drives most people to success with wealth, power, privilege, and intelligence. Love is not built on one’s own accomplishments.

This selfless, unconditional, complete love for God, one’s neighbour (including one’s enemies) and oneself can only grow out of one’s acknowledging that God provides as free gifts all that one needs for life.

Many fools with power, privilege, intelligence, and wealth have attempted to argue with God that it is the way they have lived that is God’s will. It is a futile argument. No one can contend with God, nor without God’s Grace survive.

Thanks be to God. We live, breathe, and laugh. Kindness and real honour win the day, for all eternity.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 26

Monday, October 26, 2020

Walking to Nowhere

Though Evil Leaves Us Isolated

God Comforts Us

and Promises Us a Home,

eternal …

starting already today on earth!

Isaiah 51:12

I, I am he who comforts you; why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die, a human being who fades like grass?

1 John 4:4

Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Words of Grace For Today

Some days, there is so much work to do that one has little time for anything else, except to eat and sleep.

It is not fear of mere mortals, it is that one has a strong drive to survive and the courts are set on bringing me to my death, bullying me toward that end, with empty threats. But from nothing they have convicted me of crimes I have not committed, not even nearly. And for my good behaviour in court faced with a dirty, unethical, blood thirsty lawyer’s blatant lies I was declared a vexatious litigant.

One used to respect the courts, least I did. Not so much any more. I know that they lie and cheat, bully and threaten, and destroy and kill faster than others, for they are immune from criminal prosecution. One hopes the office of the Court can still be respected, but that decays pretty fast when those that fill that office treat their own office with such disrespect. The horrendous failings of the Courts needs to be addressed and corrected, soon, before the whole thing collapses on itself and we are left in a barbaric reality. It’s no video game, it’s gonners for most of everything we hold dear, just because those with power and authority corrupt and abuse their positions and the people they deal with.

So work, to the best of my ability I did. While the cold of fall set deep freeze in the air, into the ground and through the lake, so that it is partially frozen over.

God has conquered these evil people’s intentions and evil works. Fear is not how one need respond to corruption. Pity is more appropriate.

They and their evil and poisoned produce of theft and lies will fade like the grass. God’s grace and we, God’s saints, will survive, for yet another day on earth, and in eternity when our days on earth come to an end, long and full or cut short by evil it does not matter.

In Christ we have a home, even though our home is taken from us on this earth and we are left to live rough, managing as we can, with help from friends who are barely able.

Ahh, Grace and Kindness and true Friends: these are gifts from God that help us stand up to the evil that hounds us day and night, and to say with Christ: get behind me Satan.

Now, to breathe fresh air, enjoy the warmth of a fire, and the quiet of the wilderness night, from a warm down covered bed among the trees.

Life is still wondrous.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 25

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Dark and Light

Following Jesus

Guarantees

The Best Life Possible

That Ends in Death

100% of the time

Amos 7:14-15

Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

Mark 1:16-17

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fish for people.’

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many excuses not to serve the Lord our God; excuses not to fear and love the Lord with all our hearts, minds and strength.

It is a narrow path by which we find ourselves, completely turned around in our lives, doing the last thing we expected to be doing, all in service to our Lord Jesus.

That narrow path is not ours to find on our own. God finds us and pushes us on to it, like Amos. A herdsman and dresser of sycamore trees who God seconded to be … a prophet.

A quiet, hard labouring life, at the bottom of the human food chain, being a shepherd was not an elevated station in life, not even an inch or millimetre elevated.

A prophet, an official prophet, could be very lucrative. But a prophet of the Lord, that was not so. That meant speaking the truth, not what the wielders of power wished to hear. As a consequence prophets of God were most often terribly abused and eventually killed … because they followed God’s instructions and challenged evil corruption in all ways it disrupted and corrupted God’s people.

Simon Peter and Andrew were fishermen, hard working men who ventured most days out on to the surface of the lake, the bubbling, boiling, roiling surface of anti-creation that swallowed more than a few fishermen with the sudden storms of winds and waves that sent boats, men, and their catch to the bottom.

Jesus walks along and calls them and for some reason they follow this glutton, itinerant preacher, teacher, and healer who has no home and nothing to pay them. They leave honest labour to become dependent on the donations and care of others. They become servants of a man they do not know, of whom they perhaps have heard much, or maybe nothing. They are uneducated, working near the bottom of the human ‘food chain’ subject to little respect, but upon whom many are dependent for some of their food. Following Jesus does not elevate their status. They, like the prophets, are eventually killed for following Jesus.

God calls and leads us down paths that demand everything of us, and eventually we will (as history proves) be killed for following Jesus.

The world just does not like good, honest, gracious, and holy people. We show up the corruption that the world tries to hide as normal or necessary for life.

But what a life God calls us to!

We live fully, participating in all of creation as God created us to be able to. Sharing Grace with all we meet. We are, like Patch Adams, bullied and gaslit for being excessively happy, excessively honest, excessively kind and gracious.

It is the life that is a well lived life, more than any other. We cannot find it on our own. Only God’s Holy Spirit can guide us to this life, in our own particular way, where Grace and Truth mean more then money or privilege or comfort … or even survival.

On this path of life, called by God to be here, we see God each and every day, visible in the the beauty and pain of even the mundane of life.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 24

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Holy

God’s Holy Spirit

Like the Wind Moving the Untouchable Clouds

Moves Our Hearts and Minds

Haggai 1:14

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God.

1 Timothy 4:14

Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.

Words of Grace For Today

Like the wind that blows unseen, gently and refreshing at times and other times with great effect filling the sails of many and destroying others, the Holy Spirit moves through time and generations, stirring us up to do what we would not otherwise be capable of doing.

In baptism hands bring water over us and us under it, and bless us with touch and holy oil. Gifts of the Holy Spirit wend into our lives at that moment and every moment since, just as wind moves through the air we breathe.

We can try to fake the gifts and the Spirit, like turning on a fan to create air movement in closed spaces, out of reach of the wind. It is fake, and other than to deceive and open a door therewith for the Devil to bring us to do evil work, it is ineffective; certainly it cannot bring God’s blessings.

With confidence, like seasoned sailors, not foolish or reckless, we step into the winds that blow our times this way and that, and thinking-speaking-acting out the Holy gifts given to us, we contribute to the building up of the community of the saints.

The Devil has many people working overtime to destroy. The Holy Spirit has more power in the sacrificial, unconditional love of the saints for all people. The Devil will not triumph, for Christ has already defeated death and all the works of the Devil, though the Devil has not yet admitted it and laid down in surrender.

One person at a time, the wind blows into people’s lives and transforms them into saints with gifts that give life to all, without price exacted, as freely as God has given us life.

What a life it is, for us!

For those who still work to destroy us saints, bit by bit, one feels pity for the curse they live out will eventually consume everything about them and leave only ashes for eternity.

What a hell of life it is for them, until God’s Spirit reaches their hearts … then there is a celebration for the double victory, first that they no longer seek our destruction and second that they are counted among God’s saints on earth.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 23

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Golden Light

Christ’s Light

Showing us the way to God’s feast

Where everything is free and plentiful

for everyone!

Isaiah 55:3

Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

May God make us complete in everything good so that we may do God’s will.

Incline our ear, come, listen so that we may live.

This sounds like we must take the initiative to turn to God and listen and obey, and therewith somehow earn our right to live.

But those that proceed this verse put it in a different context:

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.

Incline your ear, and come to me; listen ….

God has set a banquet of food and drink: it is free to buy without money or price. Yes, that’s kind of a contradiction. God does not just dump it on us, so that we must eat and drink.

God invites us, and offers to sell to us for nothing. We get to engage, but the price is free. We do not loose our integrity, but God establishes that God gives freely to us all that we need.

And it is not spam or food beyond it’s best buy date, or canned food, or just water or flavoured sugar water called fruit drinks. God offers rich food, milk, and wine!

This is a feast that we get to take home.

This is the nourishment that will sustain us for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness of life.

So we are fed, and our thirst slaked. We do not just live when we receive God’s generosity. We live well.

When we have feasted and feasted again at Jesus’ table then we are ready. God has work for us. On our own we have no way of knowing what God’s will is or doing it. But after we have feasted and drunk our fill, then God makes us complete in everything good and equips us to do God’s good work on this earth.

This is the work that God created us to do, to love one another and ourselves, and to love even our enemies. This is the work that is pleasing to Jesus the Christ.

What a life!

No one need thirst or hunger again …

We, God’s people, are the one’s called to ensure that this is so, working to provide food and drink and invitations, so that all are invited to God’s feast, where the food is rich, the milk and wine does not run out, and blessings abound.

We are not only in this together, God brings us together, to do God’s will more effectively, to provide for every neighbour, with love.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 22

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Ice On Reeds, the Start of Freeze Up.

As Sure as the Lake Will Freeze Over in Fall,

So Will the Season of Christ’s Light Come.

Let it be soon, God.

Psalm 39:6

Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely they are in turmoil for nothing; they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

2 Timothy 1:10

This grace [which saves us and gives us a holy calling] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Words of Grace For Today

The world’s way of living is to try to make something from nothing, to have more for oneself. It is a turmoil like no other, yet no one can know who will get to gather in the rewards for all our striving to make something for nothing. Few of us reap the rewards of our efforts. Some reap the rewards of many others, and claim it is their right. It is not. Most of us give up great effort and see no reward at all.

Only those who labour for Christ are rewarded for their efforts, not with the heaps gathered in by others or by themselves. Rather we who labour for Christ receive first the reward for Jesus’ sacrifice, and then we live dedicated to following Christ’s will for us and others.

This is a holy calling. We no longer lives as a shadow, as part human, part darkness, outlined only by a brighter light. We live as the beings God created us to be, full, embodied, clearly seen in the light, solid even in the darkness of any kind, especially that of evil.

When one toils in order to have enough to provide the basics of life to oneself and one’s family, one can see no end of toil. For there is never enough for oneself and one’s own. When one toils in order to have the basics of life for oneself and one’s own … and for all those around in need, then there is always enough … enough for life that is worth living.

Yesterday I stopped at Walmart to pick up the four grocery items I need to deal with GERDS, for which I hope I have enough money since the gift card I was given had less than a dollar on it.

Done the first isle following the assigned directions to maintain physical distancing, I came face to face with two grocery carts. I stopped and waited for the people behind the carts to place in the rather full carts what they were looking for on the shelves. Then the proceeded to come further down the isle the wrong way towards me. I asked them to turn around, that they were going the wrong way. The first of the two carts instead turned to the side of the isle to try to force his way past me. I turned my cart to the side two inches to close the gap and he rammed my cart. I asked again.

With cursing the two cart drivers turned around, and a third man with them, starting verbally abusing me, threatening me to find me in the parking lot. As I continued with my shopping he continued to yell abuse at me from the next isle, from 20 and 50 feet away. I looked for staff. There were none to be found.

I headed for the checkouts, and while I was trying to deal with the 0 value gift card, the verbal abuse and threats started up again as the group joined the que to the checkouts. I yelled for security, afraid for my life, that this guy might actually follow me out into the parking lot!

Security came, or was it the manager. He was questioned. My credit card transaction was held up as they pulled my id. Finally I was allowed to exit the entrance doors to distance me from this guy.

If I could toil for this guy and the guy in a vehicle going 110kph passed me on my bicycle on the right, on the shoulder of highway 55, … If I could toil for these guys to not be idiots, not put my life at risk with their frustration that things are not going their way, how would that look?

I’m at a loss what to do for idiots, and many more others of so many kinds, who breach the social contract we have, which holds the barbaric nature of humanity at bay with such a thin veneer of civility. That thin veneer suffers attacks everyday, and its amazing that it still holds. If we are not careful, if we are not all careful, it will dissolve all too soon.

Then toiling for the basics of life will be an impossibility for us all, idiots, liars, deceivers, even for former holders of great authority, and also for us saints with a holy calling.

Pray that the Light of Christ will shine soon into the darkness that has descended on these lands and on these people,s here and across the globe, so notable as it is just south of the border.

The Light will expose the evil done, burning it up like chaff, as it finally abolishes death and brings life and immortality to light through the gospel.

Soon and Very Soon, we pray; Come and Deliver us, all. We are ALL in this together.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 20

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

When the Courts take everything ensuring your death, though you’ve done nothing wrong, the social contract disintegrates … further.

When Someone is peels away your protection from harm,

is it evil or good?

It is evil … and it is God’s blessing.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

On the day of prosperity be joyful, and on the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them.

Romans 8:28

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Words of Grace For Today

There are all sorts of explanations for why evil exists.

Prosperity is easy for humans to explain; we worked hard for our success and deserve the privilege and comforts afforded by our prosperity.

Adversity is also easy for humans to explain, as long as it is not their own adversity; they did not work hard but were lazy, or made mistakes because they were not smart, or were corrupt (like everyone else) and got caught, or took risks and had bad luck and were caught out … or … and on go the explanations.

Neither are right, necessarily nor primarily, nor are sufficiently correct to stand long on their own. The beginning of the real explanation for prosperity is that God blesses creation with some success. The beginning of the real explanation for adversity is that God blesses creation with some failure.

From there, why we and others enjoy prosperity or adversity, is a complicated mix of circumstances of time and environment and agency – a bit of our own, but mostly others’ agency.

Ecclesiastes’ explanation is interesting: God makes prosperity and adversity so that we do not know what will come in the future. That may well be. It teaches us that ONLY God can be trusted, not adversity (for example of our enemies) nor prosperity.

Paul in many and various ways points us to rely on God alone. Here he provides the reassurance that all things work for good … (which is blatantly not true, but he qualifies it with) for those who love God. Which is blatantly not true, for example all the martyrs through the generations, and all those Christians who have suffered at the cruel hands of others.

Paul is right though in a more profound sense: while the circumstances and suffering of our lives may not seem like they are worked out for good, ours or anyone else’s, God works in marvellous ways to bring blessings from evil. In the end God always will win, and therefore even when we suffer not, God will bring good out of it for us and for all others. In this way Paul is most certainly right. God works all things for good! for everyone.

Even our most evil, cruel enemies.

God is creator and always the victor. We are blessed to be God’s children, adopted by the sacrifice of Jesus.

There is a story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “May be,” said the farmer.

We can answer with the farmer, “Maybe.” With Christ we can answer to both prosperity and adversity: “It is God’s blessings, no maybe about it.”

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 19

Monday, October 19, 2020

Out there … Alone.

Whether it seems we stand alone, like the tree, or the ice house, where everyone passes us by, or turns far away from us,

God created us all,

and we are ALL in this together!

Psalm 146:7

Who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry? The Lord sets the prisoners free.

John 8:36

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Words of Grace For Today

Who executes justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry, and sets the prisoners free?

We should all do this each day!

Do we? Not many and not much! We leave this to God to do.

Who frees humans from their captivity, the real captivity that robs life from us, the captivity to sin (to turn away from God and try to make our way in life on our own, almost always at other people’s expense … so that people are oppressed by our efforts to get ahead in life, so that people go hungry while we are well fed and live in superfluous comfort, so that people are imprisoned for telling the truth as we lie in order to gain and retain our ill-gotten privileges and wealth!

Yes! Who executes justice, feeds the hungry and sets prisoners free when we are the oppressors, the one’s who take away food, and lie to have people imprisoned?

We leave it to God!

And God’s people step forward to undo the injustice, hunger, and falsely imprisonment that we cause … and ignore … or worse, celebrate, as if the one’s we’ve done these atrocities to are our enemies.

They are not. They are God’s people, on this sojourney in life with us.

Thanks be to God, God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, came to live, heal, forgive, die, and be resurrected that we might know God chooses to free us from our captivity to sin.

The Son frees us, and we are free indeed!

Free to be the one’s to bring true justice to the oppressed so no one need fear their neighbour or the authorities’ bullying, false arrests, and robbing of life; to feed the hungry so no one is hungry or without the basic necessities of life; and to set the prisoners free so that no one is falsely convicted or falsely imprisoned, and more …

so that all people will know that God’s Son has set us all free from captivity to sin … we can trust that God will bring out of us all the goodness that God created us and all of creation to be.

That’s such a fundamental revolution in the way people think, speak and write, and act that so many people resist this freedom.

And the injustice, hunger for daily bread, and false imprisonments continue and even increase.

It is no solution to turn on (and try to exterminate like the pests they are) the bullies, the oppressors, those who take, deprive others of, and hoard the daily food available in creation, and those who hold others in prison cells or poverty in a reserve or in a land distant and separate. Others will only replace those who are exterminated, and those who exterminated others simply become the oppressors.

God wants a victory for all, a double victory (as Martin Luther King Jr. called it), a victory where everyone is free. God does not delight in an evil person’s death. God delights in Jesus setting them free.

What else did we think God created all this universe, and us in it, for, but for us all to live, choose, love, and hope freely … all by Grace alone?

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 18

Sunday, October 18, 2020

trees across the meadow January
trees across the meadow April
trees across the meadow June
trees across the meadow October

Ritual,

Taking the same shot, nearly everyday.

Until the poor, bright light

seems refreshingly clear.

Boring or revealing

of nature,

of self!?

or of God’s Grace?

1 Samuel 15:22

Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.

Romans 16:19

For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good, and guileless in what is evil.

Words of Grace For Today

It is common, too common, that we humans point to meaningless ritual that we keep, so as to divert attention from the truth of our sins as we try to ‘prove,’ or at least make the appearance to others, that we are ‘good’ people.

From powerful politicians fear mongering or even starting senseless wars to divert attention to their terrible politicking, to the abusive and neglectful mother who easily created lies about her husband to divert blame from herself to him, to even the youngest of children who point to their siblings or pets to lay blame for something bad anywhere. Just not on themselves.

Sacrifices on the altars started out as a meaningful observance of God’s right to all one had, and they became ways to keep up appearances for the rich, powerful and corrupt while they wreaked havoc on God’s good people, all in order to maintain their undeserved wealth, power, and fame.

Obedience to God’s Law was never taken seriously by such appearance keepers. So Samuel calls the people to be obedient to God’s Law.

Then playing out one’s obedience while breaking the spirit of it became the game the corrupt played with themselves, each other, and they thought with God.

God was not fooled, nor amused. God wept.

Paul encourages new Christians to not only be obedient to God’s Law, even it’s spirit, but to go much further. Paul calls them to become wise, to know beyond the letter and spirit of the Law. Paul calls them to know the Spirit of God (revealed to them by the Holy Spirit, and by Jesus’ example).

And not only to know, but to live accordingly, since the Spirit of God is not about anything if it is not about everything, including how one lives each moment, starting when one rises, and ending … well never ending!

What a life! To live according to God’s Spirit. Not that we can do it on our own at all, not at all. Instead the Holy Spirit transforms us and our thoughts, words and actions so that we live as God intended when God created us, forgave us, redeemed us, and made us holy people.