Sermon notes? outline? sketch? yes that’s it, a sketch.
For the best read, take in the next blog post first, then this one.
Quick sermon outline
for Baptism of Our Lord 13 Jan 2019
John is wild and
calls for the chaff to be burned up.
Jesus will come to
judge, and purify.
We need all that.
But Christ comes and
graciously gives us life.
hellfire and brimstone in that?!
Given free choice so
that we can love
we can also choose (
and continually do) to hate, or to be deceptive and dishonest,
disloyal, or even just plain BAD. Call that EVIL.
If we have choice,
we will somehow, sometime still choose against love, against God,
against living well.
God wants us to
love, so we all get to put up with Evil, and suffer it too.
Well then all that
which brings us to sin and turn from God, to turn from loving our
neighbour as ourselves and our enemies , and our God with all our
heart mind and soul, then and only then Jesus will remove that from
That’s having the
dross burned right out of ya.
And it is like
having the chaff burned up in one big hot fire.
It will not be fun,
But it is what we
most need, and we are going to get it!
To we are baptized,
in the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, always trinitarian,
or it is not a complete baptism.
The water drowns out
the sinfulness, and yet it remains as potential, inevitable
potential, so that we can choose love.
The oil prepares us
for God’s presence in us.
The sign of the
Cross prepares us for sacrifice, even of our lives, so that others
will know Grace upon Grace and God’s love, Christ’s forgiveness
and the Holy Spirit’s wild ride down the white water of life with
wind, flame, breath, and beauty all everywhere.
Then for the rest of
our lives we anticipate the life eternal, in the resurrection with
comes to be, after the dross is burned right out of us, so that we
can enter Christ’s freedom in eternity.
This we look forward
But we do it, well
… we do everything we do, as one of a crowd of witnesses, a crowd
of saints, all in light,
diffused and reflected into beautiful images of God, as we are made.
It may be cold out
there in that cruel world of dishonesty, deception and scapegoating,
but in here, where
the natural fuels are burned,
the fuel of urgency
until in God’s time there is patience,
the fuel of hurt
(could become anger) until forgiveness flows freely like milk with
ginger snap cookies,
the fuel of pride
(that discounts others) until gratefulness abounds at each breath
though one has nothing left,
These fuels are
burned and burned well, until
in this mind, heart
its as toasty
comfortably warm as a great wood stove on a cold winter’s day.
Sometimes it is easy
to feel one is left alone, bracing oneself for what will come,
expecting (as the past had provided) nothing good.
One leans as far as
one can into the wind, treacherously close to losing one’s footing
and disappearing into the abyss.
If we could only get a truer perspective, that we are hardly alone. Of course we’ve known that all along, but we’ve wanted to step out and do something more than just hide in the crowd.
That’s so boring.
It makes one a
in the middle
of a lot of other
and never quite enough green to be completely independent. **
One is like all the rest of the world, only able to thrive and live well if one realizes that one is interdependent; one of many living in concert or at war, but living with many others and connected in too many ways.
There is much to
encounter out there. Best to take it on, along with your own kind.
At least one can be
For reference: kind
is the best thing to be as a spouse, if one cannot be God.*
Independence is a
myth, as destructive for people to pursue as dependence.
life; good or bad, we are interdependent.
So be at least kind.
* of course no one can be God. The original sin was to think and act as if one could. It is now the common sin, and not so original any more.
Quick Sermon Outline fits with this: see next Blog [above].
[** a few Canadians have missed: to Unitedstatesians green is the colour of money, as well the colour of trees, life, growth … all that intended.]
prophet does not need to tell the people that great things will
happen, if and when things are going well for the people. It is when
the people are in the deep of it; then the prophet tells them of the
great future God has in store for them.
tells the people that they will be a shining light in the darkness
that will cover the earth, and nations will stream to them to trade
with them and to find light in the darkness.
the images are wonderful, delightful, full of promise and fulfilled
the rest of the world will be covered with a deep darkness, the
people of Isaiah speaks to have a different future. The light of God
will rise to shine on them! The Glory of God will appear over them.
the sunrise after a deep dark winter above the arctic circle, God’s
light will rise. Now in the days of relative darkness, a day of sun
expected this morning, the first in weeks, there is a feel for this
relief of light in the darkness. Still this is hardly the darkness,
the thick darkness that Isaiah speaks of, that the people easily
believe will happen, or even has happened.
the young people I know, expect a deep darkness. They expect things
to be worse than they were for their parents and grandparents …
that kind of darkness Isaiah tells the people, God’s light will
shine, God’s Glory will cover them.
light is wonderful, even after a relatively short absence of the sun.
But the Glory of God, that’s out of this world marvellously,
is the Glory that the people knew would likely leave them dead if
they encountered it in person. This is the Glory that left Moses
white as a ghost on the mountain, having seen God in person and
having received the ten commandments for the people. This is the
Glory with which Jesus shone white at his transfiguration as Peter
planned to encapsulate it in a memorium, which is simply impossible.
people Isaiah speaks to will have the greatest blessings, while those
around are starved of any light, glory, or blessing.
people, the nations, will flock to Israel to be in the presence of
their light. And through trade with the nations Israel will prosper.
The people’s hearts will rejoice and thrill at their prosperity.
children, their sons and daughters, will return home. Together they
will be a nation revered and honoured with gifts of frankincense and
they shall proclaim the praises of the Lord.
the perspective of the people hearing Isaiah, the hope brought them
is as wide, deep, profound, and inspiring as it gets.
on to that.
know that the rhythm of God’s people will bring them to enjoy the
blessings of God, and to eventually forget who gave them such
blessings, to ascribe their own right to such prosperity and
blessings. They will create out of God’s light and glory their own
greatest delight will never be in prosperity. But from the
perspective of abject poverty, foreign and oppressive rule, and being
scattered as a people, and as families, a bit of prosperity would be
a welcomed and appreciated blessing, one that we would all be
grateful for. For a while anyway.
these are the images, and the place they take in others’ lives.
Where do they fit in our lives? Are we poor? Are we grateful? Are we
blessed already and ungrateful, assuming we have ‘earned’ our
last night arriving home, the stars shone in the darkness. No moon.
No clouds. Just pinpoints of light, in dazzling beauty. Does one need
to setup the camper and shelter for wood heat, light is needed. To
work on a computer, light and power is needed. To hope that this
winter will be survived, and well, a little light and a lot of hope
Canada gives its summary of the weather in 2018 and concludes that
because of climate change brought on by us (no more false ‘Bush’
science to hide the truth) the extremes of weather that we were used
to have all been met or exceeded in 2018, and even these extremes
will be the norm in the future, starting already today!
that were once rare or unusual for our grandparents are now more
commonplace, while we all become more vulnerable due to extreme
weather. As the Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018 bear out, Canadians
must become more resilient—not only for what lies ahead but also
for the variations in climate, which are already here.” Catch
the whole report while it is still available: it is an eye opener, a
frightful look to what the weather has had, and will have in store
for us in Canada.
Canada gives its summary of the weather in 2018 and concludes that
because of climate change brought on by us (no more false ‘Bush’
science to hide the truth) the extremes of weather that we were used
to have all been met or exceeded in 2018, and even these extremes
will be the norm in the future, starting already today!
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
time we can get a ruler, a government collectively, a justice system
included, who/which will provide justice and righteousness, for those
caught in poverty, for those oppressed, for those desperately needing
the basics of life … Anytime God provides us even part of that from
our government, it is time to rejoice. So we wait. We rejoice for the
little justice, righteousness and goodness that is possible in this
time when (like most times in history) those who are protected are
not the poor, the needy, the oppressed, but rather the rich, those
wasteful with luxuries, and those who oppress others in order to
maintain their positions of wealth and power.
our day as well, the oppressors are able to claim they are the
victims, and to motivate hoards of others to continue to make victims
of the supposed ‘oppressors’. It’s always been done this way.
It’s just a surprise when one discovers that it is so in our day,
with the people and institutions one trusted.
psalmist provides hope for the day when a great ruler will arise, and
we are reminded, to be grateful for what we do have, such as it is.
And we are warned, that if we are the oppressors, God’s not pleased
with us, and our time will come to an end, if not soon enough, to
save our victims.
is a flavour different than Paul himself, yet an interesting, if
somewhat disturbing, difference.
is imprisoned, or perhaps was and is no longer to be seen or found.
Someone, a follower, writes in Paul’s name. Today it is
unacceptable. In Paul’s day it was both acceptable, common enough,
and an honour to have someone write in your name … as long as the
person did not get it all wrong.
writer didn’t get it all right, but right enough.
is a prisoner … not because he is a common criminal, but as a
result of preaching the Gospel of Jesus the Christ … not to the
Jews, but to the Gentiles. Which was common enough, even if one did
not preach about Jesus. Just believing and someone reporting you
could get you arrested and killed. It is a wonder that anyone
survived; that the church survived, for the effort to eradicate the
earth of the Way of Jesus was thorough.
writer is not focused on Paul’s situation, as if it is old news or
long ago history even: Paul is gone like ALL the earlier disciples.
Paul’s impact on the early church is not and this writer furthers
Paul’s legacy; that the Gentiles can believe and be accepted as
fellow followers of Jesus.
writer describes Paul’s sharing the good news with the Gentiles,
including the intended readers of this letter, as a ‘commission of
mystery is revealed to Paul in a revelation (on the road to
Damascus); the mystery is not about Jesus. It is that the Gentiles
can be followers of Christ along with the Jews. Our retrospective
perspective informs us that of course the Jews are not even part of
the church; they have a separate and exclusive faith, not a Christian
faith. Yet without Paul, and others, reaching out to the Gentiles,
only Jews would have been acceptable as Christians. We would all be
merely a small group of a different kind of Jews. Instead, we are
distinct and dependent upon Jewish faith even.
is grace the writer says, grace to be a servant, grace to be in
prison, grace to be a saint, the least of them, but a saint, and a
bearer of the Gospel.
is made known now clearly, what before was hidden.
mystery of faith moves out of the shadows of the unknowns, into the
light as a known piece of faith; namely that God is for all people
Jews first and then all Gentiles who believe.
end of this faith is that together they have access to God; not
because they have earned it, but because it is given to them, by
faith, a gift of grace.
Three wise men come seeking Jesus. In the normal manner (is there any normal about this?) they inquire of the king’s whereabouts in the capital, Jerusalem, where the ruler, King Herod, hears of their inquiries.
Are the men really wise? A king is born, given to them to know by a star. Do they think that this is just going to be a son of the king who rules, and not a usurper? So they just ask in the home town of the siting king for the newly born king. And what they start!
Herod is frightened. And when a despot king is frightened all the
people are frightened with him, not for the same reason, but because
of what the king will do because he is frightened. We know now that
people who are frightened make poor decisions. We know that one of
the qualities of people who handle risk on our behalf, like pilots,
surgeons, priests and emergency response people is that they do not
panic under pressure, but respond with extraordinary calm and clear
thought. The fright they experience in an emergency is contained and
not let loose to run havoc in their minds. Instead they evaluate
risk, find solutions, and act quickly, decisively and per-emptively
to bring the emergency to a good end and to minimize ongoing risks.
rulers do the same.
is not a good ruler. And the people know it.
too are frightened by the crazy, impulsive, power hungry Herod. There
are plenty of crazy, impulsive, power hungry people, in the churches,
in governments, in the courts, in the streets, in vehicles going down
the road. They are everywhere, and one has reason to be rightfully
frightened of the chaos they unleash on others.
wisemen do get Herod to do their work for them. He calls together the
experts to find out where the king is to be born. They bring back the
right answer: Bethlehem. So off go the wisemen, to find Jesus, no
longer in the dark.
the help given by Herod helps them not a bit. The start continues to
lead them. So why the stop? Proper etiquette? The star leads them
right to where Jesus is. Note that it is no longer ‘in a stable’
in a manger. It’s quite some time after Mary and Joseph have
returned to Nazareth with Jesus. But no mention of that, so maybe
Mary does not so soon make the return trip, for health or reputation
or safety reasons.
wisemen provide Jesus the gifts they have brought. Mary and Joseph
are suddenly quite well off. Today it takes about .5 million to raise
a child. Mary and Joseph get a headstart on what it took then, plus a
wisemen are warned off in a dream about returning to Herod, to let
him know how to find the baby king and to allow him to ‘pay
homage.’ They finally understand that they have brought a crazy
king news that is likely going to bring the death of the child, who
the star has led them to find.
know how the story develops. Mary flees to Egypt with Jesus. Thank
heavens for the frankincense and gold to pay their way.
the other children of Israel ….
people had good reason to be frightened of Herod being frightend.
all children in Canada, three and under, being killed to keep a
despot government in power! We’d not allow it. We allow plenty
already to keep ‘our’ government in power, but that is not
usually on the table. Instead, in government, in churches, in courts,
in vehicles on our roads, we sacrifice truth … and little by little
we teach our children and all people, here you have good reason to be
frightened that the truth will be sacrificed, and eventually your
children will learn that truth is not safe, instead one must learn to
lie and lie well to be able to survive.
who tell the truth are relegated to the trash heaps of life. So if
you want a bit of security, a bit of warmth in the winter and
protection from the rain and bugs in the summer, then you must learn
to lie and lie well.
is good reason to be frightened.
Jesus is born, survives the pogram, teaches, is sacrificed,
crucified, dies, is buried, and is resurrected, we know that God is
with us. We do not need to lie.
can hope for a day when truth will prevail.
I write this the wood stove, really a wood furnace, freshly stoked
for the day with wood, and left with plenty of air, reaches it’s
peak heat. The warmth spreads throughout the living space, and
against the cold, the warmth prevails.
likewise does God’s truth, God’s grace, God’s commission win
out over all temptations to lie, to force our wills on others, to
busy ourselves with penultimate life-work. God’s goodness prevails
in our lives, by grace, by faith. We need only surrender and get out
of the way, and sometimes become the hands, feet, voice and heart of
So likewise do the fires of judgment burn hot, consuming the dross of our being, the evil that we allow to play havoc with our lives and with our neighbours’ lives … and the children’s futures.
that image of heat and hell and dross burning off is not in the text.
It’s just in the smell of newly burned-in paint, from the freshly
painted furnace, wafting my way on the waves of warmth, that repel
the cold and preserve my life.
2018 Dec 02 First Sunday of Advent Jeremiah 33:14-16 Psalm 25:1-10 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Luke 21:25-36
As with all the Sermon Prep Notes, it’ll start off with rough notes throughout, and be refined as the week progresses. I may even make it to posting a completed sermon occasionally.
Fear and Trust
Fear and Trust are mutually exclusive
Fear begets Hate
Trust begets Love, and the relationship is even more tightly wound. Love requires trust.
Fear and Hate severely limit life, for us and all around us.
Trust and Love open the horizons of our lives, for us and all around us.
Caution, it’s another thing
5 inches of ice.
Checking what will hold us up,
before venturing out …
on the Lake …
and through the winter …
and on into the days of life.
Advent is all about staying alert!
It is Time for change, whether we are ready or not, whether we like it or not.
It is the New Year, the New beginning in the church,
Which starts with the same old season, advent, the blue hope of advent.
We’ve seen this a few times before, one for each year we’ve lived. And it can be challenging to face, just like the same old blue, darks and lights of the Cloudy, snowy, foggy end of November days, which promise more of the same and deeper cold months to come.
The horizon limits the empty white.
Favorites: Blue and Advent
Now these are some of my longest held favorites, and since I’ve seen more than a few decades and they’ve been there all that I can remember of those few days.
Blue: The sky, the water, clean and life giving, blessed hope.
Advent: Not Xmas mess, it’s not that fake bought and sold holiday we’ve let it become all around us and deep into our bones.
Rather Advent is still about deep introspection and searching of our traditions for the ultimate of life. We must wait for the ultimate: Christ returning to earth, as we gather together with all living saints and more. These days of waiting, this attitude of shared waiting through all of time are the center of our real basis for true hope.
And Advent sees us
for the birth of a baby.
And almost everyone understands the gift of the birth of a baby.
As a man who was one of the first to be the at home father, for all six children, and an old man with no grandchildren …
A father who misses his children,
And misses the wonders of nurturing children,
The waiting for the birth of a child is a little closer to my heart than for some, but obviously not an uncommon waiting …
Waiting … for children.
And Advent is about Change.
Some of it is always Good
Like getting a new car (bicycle), falling in love and getting married, birth of baby, starting a promising new job, moving into a great home, retiring with ample to live on. (that would be precious compared to being driven homeless and destitute!)
Advent is a New Year. And the seasons of the year begin their circle once again, with promises that this
‘year in Jerusalem’
God’s promises will be manifest in our lives.
All around we look and see
Signs of change.
Not Good Change
There are plenty of signs that the change will not be good,
Also not this year.
In the Gospel Jesus points to the fig tree with its
and signs of the beginning of the upheaval of the order of the universe.
Signs in the sun, moon, stars, water.
That last seems easy enough,
Unless you’ve survived the horrors of a flood.
But it is more poignant for Jesus’ listeners because water, in their worldview, was what the pre-creation universe was made up of.
Water lay below the earth and welled up in the lakes and oceans, sometimes to wash out of the banks and consume land and life.
And water was above the heaven’s firmament, a barrier between creation and the chaos above. With storms God allowed the chaos to break in on the earth from above, with chaos breaking through the barrier, in measured doses, giving life, but beyond control, again consuming everything in its wake.
For us today, with our view of the universe:
It is as if gravity were decaying, planets and stars disengaged, galaxies sent splattering across the emptiness of space between galaxies, which at the same time were invading the sub-atomic particles of our very being, and our environment: it would be macro and micro chaos.
The chaos would be as if time were coming unwound and disconnected from matter.
Our very skin would crawl with the chaos,
Our hearts unwind
Our minds go in a manner that by comparison Alzheimer’s would seem benign.
Order of everything turned upside down.
Like an unexpected death or divorce, or a borderline personality disordered spouse: what seemed to hold one’s world more or less intact, dissolves.
Love of spouse;
Or a borderline personality disordered spouse who moves from loving and affectionate to cruel, Gaslighting, lying, and betraying, and back without warning. Disordered, chaos creating, projecting and blaming to avoid any hint of responsibility.
10% of life: what happens to you
90% of life is how you respond.
Grace, the ‘secret ingredient’ for a great life:
Some things: only God can help us respond to with grace.
Most all the important things, all the ultimate things:
we need God’s help to respond to with grace.
Not up to us:
We like to think: it’s up to us, or to me:
We are or I am so good, that things will go well for me.
No one is good enough to make the universe hold together,
To respond well when the sun, moon, stars fall apart, people come apart in expectation
And nations explode,
Who can respond well when:
The foundations of life evaporate, with a divorce, a death, a disordered spouse, or with the Courts falsely convicting one over and over again. (And no, no one is safe from this being done, intentionally to them. It is only a blessing that it passes over most of us, or rather you.)
We all react with All-out fear.
How not to be dragged Down!?
How to hold our heads up then?
That visceral fear grips us,
The foundations of life, goodness, hope, love, trust are not just attacked,
But wiped out of our lives.
Who can withstand that onslaught beyond imagining?
We survive, but
Only by God’s Grace
Because God promises to bring in one who will execute justice and righteousness!! Allow us all to live in safety!
Now is that not the image:
Us living in safety
While the whole universe slowly comes apart at the seams
Or is it
It all seems to come apart
And some miracle holds us together?
And with each other!
Where do the Signs bring us? Foreboding,
Look ahead to travesty and decay
At a sub-atomic level and at the macro astrophysical level.
And we look like a person suffering Alzheimer’s, knowing what will happen to our minds, hearts and souls, as our ability to be aware, to be sentient, to be empathetic, to love
One minute there, the next not, and then again
With an awareness of what happened in between,
And that it will happen again.
We are rightfully horrified,
Or we are already insane not to be horrified to the core.
With heads raised: Yet, the Jesus calls to us in this Gospel lesson to await these coming changes, disasters, decay of everything we know and are, not in horror,
But with our heads raised!
Jesus calls us to
To Trust God’s promises,
For even as this is to happen,
Instead of the rulers and courts that plague us all,
With facts that are not based on truths or reality,
God will bring in a ruler, a system, a way of living through which
True justice will be executed,
Instead of innocent people.
And absolute righteousness will be the basis of our relationships
Between people, and among all of creation,
We will all
Even in the face of micro-macro universal decay.
And this will be named
God is our righteousness!
Eyes and Mind wide open Until that day
Be on guard,
Do not be weighed down with
Dissipation – that giving in to apathy, giving up on the goodness of life and becoming a being without true life, often referring to a descent into debauchery, decadence, excess, overconsumption, self-indulgence, wildness.
Drunkenness – that taking in to oneself anything that warps one’s mind,
Worries of this life – that concern that drives us to take life from others,
even though we suffer plenty of concerns of this life, plenty enough to consume everything about our lives!
Pray for we cannot do it on our own
Pray for strength to survive to see the Son of Man.
Advent can be that way as we prepare for Christmas.
We pray for strength to see baby Jesus once again,
To make it past the fake sales nad hyped lights,
To survive the jangled music,
And to endure the obligatory and trite parties
That year after year after year
catch us and
We get used to, or numb to their
Blatant contradiction to the wonder of Christmas.
Even when we think everything is the same It is changing.
Stay alert for Colours
Real change: The real change happens not outside ourselves, but within
As the Holy Spirit
Moves our hearts, minds and souls from fear to trust.
Which brings us into love, to be loved by God, the ultimate love, and to be able to love (which is the greatest challenge in all of life.)
And in spite of ourselves
We end up
Loving our neighbours, as ourselves, and even our enemies!
And loving God with all our heart, and mind, and soul,
Whether the change coming this year is the end of time.
The end of another year.
Thankful for each other, hope-filled
As we watch, alert, and pray that the Holy Spirit will change us
That we may always be able to be thankful for one another, and to grow together in faith.
That we may always be able to pray for our enemies with love, and let God judge their destruction.
That our hope may always remain that God may move them to choose not to be our enemies.
That regardless we may love them and wish them well.
The Miracle of Christmas, the preparations of Advent As we prepare for Christmas, we know the same challenges will again this year, this month, this day force their ugliness on us. But we also know that the miracle of seeing Christ … in the manger … in one another … in the light that holds back the darkness … in the gift of life given to each other … this miracle is the Holy Spirit transforming our hearts from
And then all things are possible.
Take the Long-Wide View Even when it’s not large.
Comments or questions welcome at shm at prwebs dot com.
What is truth?
Gospel: John 18:33-37
Selections from the texts for Christ the King Sunday, 25 November 2018, plus one verse:
Pilate: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus: “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?”
Pilate: “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own … have handed you over.
What have you done?”
Jesus: “My kingdom is not from this world.
If … then, my followers would be fighting.
Pilate: “So you are a king?”
Jesus: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born,
and … to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate: “What is truth?”
I went looking today:
I wanted to see things clearly, to know the truth about faith, love and hope.
I went looking as I often do across the water.
The water is hidden by ice,
Which is hidden by snow.
And today even the far shore is hidden by the fog across the lake.
I looked right.
I looked left.
I looked further to the left,
to the white sticks of birch.
But nothing about clarity came to me.
Pilate does not want to, but still he asks the question that must be asked: is Jesus the King of the Jews?
Jesus says he was born to have Pilate ask him this question … and
To testify to the truth.
Those that belong to the truth listen to Jesus’ voice.
So that Jesus is testifying to the truth: that’s simple enough: the whole life, death and resurrection of Jesus is a story that we can listen to and understand.
It’s not a story about another world or another realm.
Jesus was born as a human.
And God sent Jesus to live, die and be resurrected to leave us with a story that profoundly changes everything we see in the world.
We see God more clearly: God intends and does free us from our own sins, not the consequences in this world, but the consequence that would separate us from God. Instead, as Jesus story makes clear, God sticks with us always, all ways.
That’s something … okay that is everything.
Even though we step away from God, God follows us, even picks us up and carries us forward when we can no longer walk in God’s ways or even in God’s creation.
To be loved by God, that’s everything.
That’s what Jesus’ story tells us about God most clearly,
And that we can follow in Jesus’ way …
We can (God equips us so)
And be gracious
With all people
In all ways.
There is living water, flowing freely here
Beneath the ice
And it is visible
At the edge
One looks in the right place for it.
Water freely flowing from under the ice.
We no longer need to sacrifice anyone or anything in order to make ourselves right with God.
First of all we cannot in any way through any means make ourselves right with God.
We just are too broken to do this.
Secondly we do not have to make ourselves right with God, because God, as Jesus did, makes Godself right with us, where ever we meander in life.
And God turns our meandering into dancing,
Our fear into deep breathing calm and assurance
And our chaos into God’s blessings for us and for others.
Abraham’s story of ‘sacrificing’ Isaac, being interrupted by God, is the story about God instructing us to stop sacrificing children to God, to appease God.
Jesus’s story of his life, death and resurrection is the story of God instructing us to stop sacrificing anything and everyone … God does not want any sacrifice, it does us no good, and God already is there by our side even when we still scapegoat someone … again … and again.
In response to the story unfolding before him, Pilate is like most of us, a bit befuddled and unaware of what’s at play before his eyes.
He thinks like a ruler of the Roman empire about to spiral into decay: there is no truth, there is no real God, there is only subjective, relativistic truth and there are only the many gods of the many religions of the many, many people conquered by Rome.
Who knows what is true about what happened before time,
Yet alone even tomorrow, given all the fake news, the lies upheld as truths, the spin that so many people put on so many things that even those that lie so freely, cannot keep track of what really happened.
But this is truth:
God so loved the world that God gave God’s only son to die for all of creation, so that those that believe in him might live, truly live, and know the truth of God’s Grace, Forgiveness, and Love.
Now that is a truth to base real hope on, hope that cannot disappoint.
That is truth.
It is the light that is always there, even if today it is obscured by the clouds so low,
Visible at sunset
Yesterday after the clouds hung around all day.
And what do we do in response: Jesus calls us to love our neighbours as ourselves, even our enemies, and to love the Lord our God with all our hearth, mind and soul.
[okay, on further proof reading I see that I meant to write:
with all our heart, mind and soul.
I could have just corrected it, but I kind of like the image mixed in with the command to love God,
That we would love God with all our hearth … that spot below a fireplace or wood stove, from which heat is produced to keep us alive through the Canadian winters, or just cozy in modern Canada … well at least for most of us, or you all, cause I need a wood stove to help stay warm and alive this winter since I cannot afford the propane, nor to replace the furnace every two years. But back to the image:
That we would love God with that warm spot in the home, a place of family, parents and children, oh how I miss children. and that we would dedicate all that might entail,
sitting with children, reading near the hearth, playing on the hearth
sitting with one’s beloved, after the kids are in bed, or gone from home to their own lives and homes, near the hearth, reading or resting or enjoying a glass of Mosel, Saar, Ruhr – Riesling – Kabinett
and reviewing the gifts of God that day; those received and those given.
But perhaps you would have preferred I’d just made the correction to the typo.
But then I would have missed out on those memories, if not real, then hoped for, and the hope of soon having those memories near a wood stove, for real practical reasons:
I’ve these addictions I try to provide for:
I’m addicted to clean air, clean water, food, sufficient clothing, shelter enough to smile at the cold and snow, rain and heat; as well as meaningful labour, and to be loved, and most of all to remain capable of loving …
It is a sweet month, November is, a month when winter is not set, though the sun sets early and rises late. The hard cold is not yet, and the water is still clear for canoeing.
A month to prepare, a month that is the end of the church year, a month when travelers are few and far between and solitude and peace are more easily found in old haunts and newly explored places.
Then on the first day of this sweet month, with temperatures already below zero often in October, the cold arrived over night at -7 with a low forecast of -4. In town it’s -3.
Halloween was a cold one again.
And November came in with just a skiff of snow.
Snow on the canoe.
A closer look at the obvious presence
Of a beaver, obvious because of the telltale tooth marks on the trees, as the beaver prepares for winter, setting the food of trees in storage next to the beaver house, not 50 meters distant downstream.
This, just a stone’s throw from the wake up view, is the outflow creek of the lake. The beaver have taken this creek, dammed and controlled it to keep the lake at high water marks and made a quiet pond, a home for them, and for us to canoe on just down the creek a bit, over a couch some fools left on the ice one winter past.
This the stillness of wonderful weather, quiet from the throngs, and distance from the noise of the city, but not out of reach of the military jet sonic booms as they reach out to distant sorties.
Here the soul, on All Souls Day, can live well.
Here the saint, on All Saints Day, can live well.
Here creation is good.
Money is scarce, fuel for transportation and electricity (generator made) is short, and propane for heat is dwindling.
Ah, a wood stove in a shelter on a trailer, which would provide dry heat, a system for heat that costs labour and chainsaw gas and oil, and truck gas to haul in the wood. But that’s a pipe dream.
Even so, here, whatever may come,
all is well, all is well, all manner of things are well.
The autumn this year has been mixed as to whether we are going to experience a bit of summer finally or at least a taste of fall, or is the weather just going to quick-jump right into freezing temperatures and snow cover, but never enough to ski on.
Summer to Snow
Snow lays on the ground even before the leaves have all fallen.
The snow is gone and the leaves with it.
Piles of Ugly
The trash shows again, that people thought it was their privilege simply to toss along the path into the woods.
There are high piles of ash dotting the edges of the campsite and the woods around, as if to carry and pile them around were to have cleaned up after oneself. Nails, broken metal rods, pallet plates, bricks, concrete blocks, half burned plastics, old cans, broken plastic you-name-its, and the most disturbing, an old quad lead-acid battery. (We got that back into the recycle system thanks to Primco Dene’s staff at the car wash and oil change business!)
The bad behaviour of humans should no longer surprise me, but it does. Good behaviour is always welcomed and I try to remember to thank people for it.
The real joy of being home, at no-home, are the views and light and water and sky.
Whether it’s the solid white-ish grey trunks of the poplar,
Or the tops of leafless trees crossing the grey skies.
Or the white birch barely hanging in there on the shore.
Wedges of Reality
There simply is nothing like being able to canoe out on to the lake to see the afternoon sun playing with clouds and pure reflections making harmonious orchestration wedges of trees on the shores.
Until the sunsets behind the trees on the shore beckoning me to wander closer to the wonders of creation.
Then the universe comes together in specular beauty as the water reflects in ripples my presence in the canoe in the reeds as the sun claims clouds on the horizon as its playing field.
For being homeless, this is a wonderful home, creation with a small wonderful place for me.
Where is your home?
Do you see beauty all around you?
Do you see creation as a gift?
Life, each day, each hour, each moment as time to marvel at all that is, bad and good, ugly and beautiful
In creation and creatures alike?
The View in Words
Wake orange on dark blue black water waving still in a hardly breeze.
No animal, then a neck or nose, a loon or a beaver?
A Sock under the water out a foot into the water, wool and warm and orphaned.
The wake joined by a second this closer and obviously a loon or duck maybe, and then the other moves and two new wakes colour the water.
The red spread of sun having set small in area with tinges of red reflected in water and clouds.
The muskrat’s footprints, and then a crow’s footprints. Clear water into the sand and reflecting amid the reeds bent in submission to the cold, doubled in their own reflection curved top and bottom breaking the water view, but still coloured by the setting sun.
The orange water catching the sunset not red but orange as if the sky were more beautiful than it is.
All these words
because I missed the sunset canoe ride and forgot my camera, even my cell phone, and must remember the view as it is, until another showed up with a camera and I borrowed it to record what I took note of in my mind as the view for tonight’s setting sun.
This is the sunset.
The colours, the view, the sunset.
Words, as great as they are, are not as verbose as a photo.