Baptism of Our LOrd

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.

Where’s the hellfire and brimstone in that?!

Well…

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.

But

When

Jesus

comes

and

judges us!

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 us …

But

it

is

not

going

to

be

feeling good.

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 Christ.

There

Freedom promised 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 to.

But we do it, well … we do everything we do, as one of a crowd of witnesses, a crowd of saints, all in light,

specular 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 and soul

its as toasty comfortably warm as a great wood stove on a cold winter’s day.

Which it is that, too.

Christ the King – Truth

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)
Choose also
To love,
Forgive,
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
Of the
Lake.
If
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,
The sun
Is
There

 

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 …

my neighbours,

my self,

my enemies,

my God.

with all my hearth and home,

all my heart, mind and soul,

and all my words, and photos.

 

Comments welcomed at shm at prwebs dot com.

Winter Fresh

Winter Fresh
11 April and we get a 4” dump of fresh fluffy soft powdery wonderful-for-skiing snow.
Now that’s a gift.
The view after sunset is quite something.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many ways to see the same thing.
It’s good to have choices.

More than We can Imagine

More than We can Imagine


Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine. Alan Turing

On the deep side of the ice forming with wind shaking the water just as it freezes into patches and cracks, there stands a person never seen nor geachtet.
The morning is barely underway, with light sending the darkness back, but the bright light of day not yet having taken away the reach of darkness. The shadows not yet formed. The moon still perched in the west above the clouds. The beaver pond creek still flowing fast enough to keep the water from freezing hard.
There is more to this than we can imagine.

Where just a bit of light can be confusing, leaving one to wonder if night would persist or if light would arrive after all to make things more than clear.
Is there more to this than we can imagine?

Across the pond the trees stand tall, the bush not relenting, and the pussy willows the only colour amid the black and the white. Let there be more light so that colour can be better known, the withers and whethers, the downs and ups, the dreams and the realities made more obviously clear.
Can we imagine more?

There were white giants once standing, now broken and stripped clean. The wisps of fluff, standing stout, bending yet firmly staunch against the outrageous rages of whether or not.
What is it that we can imagine that we do not know.

One short and angled against the bronze reeds above the silver white snow of age still vibrant.
Imagine that.

It is the silent light disguised by the flowing water so close to freezing that will set the fires of recognition and revelation ablaze, warming the hearts that will choose either Grace or Retribution and DESTRUCTION.
Can anyone really not imagine such choices of life and death so close to the everyday, to the simplest ways, and for which so many things are perverted and converted through deception as if reality never were a thing at all?
Sometimes it is the people who seem to think they can know they can get away with everything who cannot imagine, who cannot imagine that other people do not play the zero sum game.
Every day there are choices that we each and all make,
To be the means of Grace
Or
To be the instruments of retribution.

Light will shine and make the darkness visible and clear to all.
How will you,
How will we,
How will they,
Find the light?
By surprise or predictably knowing:
Caught or Free.
Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of
who do the things that no one can imagine.

Beaver Block

Beaver Block
Tonight after supper we headed out for a canoe paddle, exploring the outlet to the lake.
A beaver has dammed up the outlet, thus the ever higher water levels.

The calm beaver ponds were ringed with flowers purple, lush green reeds, and pussy willows.

The dam showed signs that the beaver are of course building higher and higher to contain the water, anxious as they become at the sound of flowing water, thus the ever rising level of the lake, inch by inch higher with each substantial rainfall.
Signs of grace and beauty that one can only explore in a canoe.

Hanging Loose, Hanging Tight

Hanging Loose, Hanging Tight

We found ourselves out in the mountains again. Observing the environment of plants, animals, humans, and machines.

The spectacular sights outside our window in the morning make it all worth the effort.

 

 

The expanse of the clouds above the mountains off in the distance as we were nestled in the privacy of the trees on an open field with the sun setting made it wonderful.

 

 

 

And literally taking the kitchen sink, the bed, the toilet and tub, the table, the fridge, stove and furnace, and our clothes and luggage make for an easy waking in some marvelous spots.

 

From a very helpful machinist we got the tip that there were three falls just a few paces off the tarmac. We investigated in a heavy downpour.

 

 

We only found two but these are a combination of human engineering and beaver damming that result in protecting the road from surely otherwise eroding away.

A bit upstream we found another falls and rapids series, and never did find the third as we were soaked and cold.

 

 

But the creamy white and the wild wet rocks played along well, as long as we could hold out.

 

That evening we hung the truck and camper not loose at all but very secured to the side of a decommissioned logging road. The specular light turned the green canoe (another part of the trip) into a bronze wonder.

 

There, on the side of the mountain the wake up out the door view was even more breathtaking and then breath giving, as the sun played with the clouds and the valleys were visible for miles and miles.

 

The dreamy feel comes from the fog laying low on the mountains as fresh rain evaporates to fill the air.

 

The vegetation is lush, framing (sometimes blocking) the views.

 

At our feet daisies and red paintbrush flowers created a carpet of colour.

 

The sky for just a moment even took on the hue of the lush lilac coloured flowers dotting the mountainside in lines and groups.

 

The sunsets were awesome.

 

The light bedazzling bringing the trees to life otherwise not there.

And that is good photography.

Some of all that can be reduplicated with ordinary photos and lots of software work, usually hdr, to try to bring out the light, but nothing works as well as finding the moment the light dances, and being ready to capture it, in order to share it.

 

While I was out I remembered quickly the difference the exposure time makes on water.

Creamy here.

 

Sharp and clear here.

 

A landscape with just one spot of colour.

 

Or a portrait to lose almost all the colour except the one rose.

 

And playing with the focus if you just let the camera do its thing, sometimes everything wrong is in focus and the thing out of focus.

 

So you have to make sure you control what is happening to get what you want.

 

Sometimes the great difference in light levels is just too much and something is lost.

 

And then multiple exposure HDR can sometimes bring the light of everything to be seen in one photo. – But with better software there are better options.

 

The Falls This Time In Late Spring

The Falls, again so lonely.

Where is it falling,

Just a little lonely compared to the last time

 

With so many feet running every which direction

 

And just a little shinier in the early evening light

 

 

And a whole lot colder with the falls’ water freezing making it all slide a bit more,

 

 

and what …

 

What a view

 

to the light

 

and the person of hope.

 

With trees leaning into the future.

Simple Spring Snow

Simple Spring Snow
As the heavens poured out the white, winter, down-duvet-split-open-softness on to our heads and campsite and woods the colours and light danced so quietly
as my boots crunched, the water gurgled and Karin’s beer spray protected us all from invisible rye and malt humour.

So is the bed of peace and hope.

There are a few children missing, but nothing more than what is being done can be done. So pray with us, for us, for them.

 

There are views of life that are so subtly similar, yet a step to the right, left or ahead provide a completely different perspective, seeing in through the cracks that are in everything the light that is Grace and Hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Trees, alive with light on the walk out of the warmth into the wilderness.

 

 

Water the source of life, the wonder of life, the beauty of life. Green. Why?

Not because it’s cold, but because it is not cold enough to keep the glaciers from melting.

 

Glowing, white streams in the green of gorgeous. Can you see it here, too?

 

The River looking onto it from various points, perspective that changes light and subject, all the same yet completely different.

 

Turtles, of the snacking kind were at the table the night before, and here they appear again, a bit molded and quiet, looking not to be eaten anymore.

 

The soft look of fallen snow and fog on the mountains beyond the river.

 

Rocks … below and …

Rocks below … and …

 

Rocks beyond …

 

The River Upstream

 

Turning 180°

 

More turtles and …

 

Rocks and …

 

Rocks and …

 

Rocks and …

 

 

 

Rocks … until …

 

There are no more rocks in view as one looks downstream to Pyramid Mountain.

 

The path back to coffee and breakfast.

 

 

As the snow hangs tight but loosened by melting, waffles wait with syrup from trees and butter enough.

 

The light and the drips of water frozen in place the evening before.

 

 

The Pine trees up-close, frozen mid-drip.

 

 


The victory.

River in the Mountains

River in the Mountains

The River is far enough behind the trees that we neither heard the water, nor could we reach the water without little hike through the trees, down the hill and then over and down the bank of the river. Then across the rocks and ice to see the water up close.

The water running catching light in swells.

 

 

Looking upstream the clouds hung swift in the way pointing to the peaks covered with snow.

Rocks Clouds in the Valley

 

 

 

Downstream the river provides a great foreground framed with trees on the shore pointing to Pyramid Mountain.

Rocks to Pyramid with Trees

 

 

 

Of course there are numerous ways to see the view and put it into a photo.

Rocks to Pyramid

 

 

While we park the view is not of other trailers, nor the mountains clear across the open parking lot. Instead we were in the quiet of the trees, with between them a view even to the tram.

Trailer beneath the Tram

Look to the upper right through the trees, there’s the tram.

 

 

And a close up through the trees reveals the perch on top the mountains.

Tram on the Mountain

60 years in the making, finally a photo

Time

Passes

Most of us by

At a ferocious pace.

So it took a few days to catch up to put these on the blog.

I wake on this day so long in coming, and out the door I step with bathrobe, boots, parka, hat, gloves, and camera, to the stillness of heart, mind and world that only the wilderness can afford.

Only the quiet of nothing brushing across the freshly sunlit snow

Fallen the last few days to bring spring to an end

And the wonders of winter covering like a blanket of frozen breath what once whispered a promise of green buds, bird songs, and mosquitoes.

Let the chill keep the bugs at bay for another week or more, a month or three as is seasonally to expect.

Here the water flows despite the minus 25 degrees Celsius.

The sun is warm on the trees and behind them sparking anticipation of a full bright day after three of clouds and snow drab grey.