Equality Is Not Possible Through Revenge

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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God Created All Equally Favoured.

We can be courageous to live so, today!

Genesis 2:18

Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’

John 19:26-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Words of Grace For Today

There is something very wrong with this creation account in Genesis. How it has been used makes this very clear to anyone who wishes to pay attention.

While humans are both female and male, the story places one as the first consideration for God, and the other as an after-thought, a help mate for the first.

This story came out of a male biased culture and has been used to place females as a second class kind of human. Abuses have abounded through history based solely on this false preference of God’s for males. These biases and their subsequent abuses used to seem so acceptable to some people, especially those that benefited from them. In truth they always have been an abomination for the whole species.

Today, as it this helps at all, many have turned these biases and abuses on their heads. Females are given free license to devalue, abuse, lie about, gaslight, and even kill males as if it were their birthright as females. This can never set right the abuses of a bias for males. In fact in is worse than the male favoured bias. For many the bias favouring males was unintentional, and it has been supported also by females for their benefit.

The new (to our culture) bias favouring abuse by and benefit for females at the expense of males cannot be claimed by any to be participated unawares. It is the flip of a terrible bias in history. For that matter continuing male-favouring biases is no longer excuseable if it ever was because one was unawares.

A bias participated in aware of it is worse than an accidental bias in that it is on top of everything else consciously chosen.

Female favouring biases are also most often pursued with revenge in mind, i.e. it is as if the abuse is pursued against this good male to take revenge for the abuse of other males, even though they are related on in that they are males.

That kind of blind revenge bias is many measures worse. It claims to set things right, yet it adds layer upon layer of lies and deception and damage to every situation.

Only Grace brings us to live past bias of any kind.

Jesus, on the cross, does not change that woman have next to no possibility to ‘take care of their own business.’ They require a man to own the property and from that provide for the woman. Instead Jesus acknowledges the disadvantage this places upon Mary, his mother, and he ensures that one of the disciples is now recognized by Mary as her son, and she is recognized by him as her mother.

Jesus does not remove the bias. Instead he ensures despite the bias, his followers and his mother are cared for as all people should be.

We can make changes, if all too slowly, to cultural biases. We need to do this with great courage and persistence. We need to do this to remove the bias, not to merely replace it with an equally if not worse bias!

And as we recognize our own sin, and the sin of our culture’s biases, we need to work swiftly and effectively to mitigate the suffering our cultural biases cause people. We need to provide the care every human deserves for everyone we can.

This is the meaning of life, and the purpose of each day. For this we can live grateful lives.

Can We Sinners Live Wisely and Gently?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

In the Darkness of Sin,

We May Not Know How to Live Well!

Sanctified, We Can Learn to Live

Wisely and Gently

As the Holy Spirit Guides Us.

Psalm 119:66

Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.

James 3:13

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

Words of Grace For Today

After we recognize our own hopeless sinfulness, which God redeems at great cost, forgiving us and renewing life in us, and that we need God’s forgiveness constantly, for we simply cannot stop sinning, then the question is how are we going to live?

The measure we humans have held up returns us right back into works righteousness, as if God suddenly has made us able not to sin, so that we must preform or lose God’s favour and blessings. These two passages certainly could be interpreted that way … making it easy for us to dismiss them.

There is more to it than that.

Once sanctified (made saints by God), though we continue to sin, God pulls out of us great works that further God’s will and work on earth among humans and for creation. Most simply put, God’s willa and work is that God’s Grace is demonstrated to more and more people, and more and more people embrace the cross as God’s demonstration of God’s love for all people; forgiveness, redemption and new life is for everyone. We can live to cooperate with God’s will, or we can constantly choose to defy God’s will and live as if God does not exist, has not created us, does not forgive, redeem and renew us, and as if we can go it alone.

We can go it alone … right to our own damnation, choosing to separate ourselves from God. God still comes to us, forgives us, redeems us, renews us … except at some point God allows us to have our way … and the hell we have created for ourselves is the hell we live forever. At what point this happens is not anything we can know. But that it happens we can know: we can choose to deny God’s good work in us.

How else can we live? There are options that God makes possible for us. Wisdom is one of them.

We can pray: Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.

We can live each day so that our God-given wisdom and understanding is evident in our works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

These passages then speak to how we can pursue wisdom in our daily lives, not to our own benefit, but to the benefit of everyone around us. They speak of our penultimate striving that God make possible for us.

God’s Story for Us is Never Complete

Monday, March 1, 2021

The End of Our Story or

God’s Beginning

Of the Rest of Our Lives?

Genesis 37:14

So Israel said to Joseph, ‘Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.’ So he sent him from the valley of Hebron.

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

Words of Grace For Today

Israel sends Joseph.

That begins Joseph’s story of betrayal, slavery, advancement, a woman’s false charges, jail, interpreting dreams, and rising to Pharaoh’s most senior man … able then to rescue his family (including the brothers who betrayed him) from famine, which then results in Joseph’s descendants being enslaved by the Egyptians and God’s delivering the people, bringing them into the Promised Land. This story of deliverance will be retold generation after generation as the basis of God’s relationship with God’s chosen people.

When we think that our enemies have done us in, God uses all circumstances (especially our great disaster) to bring about witness and long-lived stories of God’s Graceful Deliverance of so many people.

God’s guide for us comes in many various words and ways. Paul relates a few of them to the Philippians: Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

Let us live wondrously filled with trust in God’s deliverance, for God walks with us through all circumstances. We need not look after our own interests. We receive life and breath that we may look after others’ interests.

God’s Wonders Keep Us In Life, No Matter What Comes Our Way

Sunday, February 28, 2021

God is with Us

Always

Though we Despair,

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Blessings and Joy.

Isaiah 43:5

Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

Words of Grace For Today

God promises us no easy or comfortable life. God promises us, though, when life is horrendously challenging, we need not fear what may come our way: We need not fear.

Some people somehow learn not to panic in the most stressful situations, though we all have our limits. There are things that drive everyone of us over the bend, and into such distress that we cannot see our way forward.

Life with Christ as our guide, though, need never leave us in doubt; God accompanies us, and when we stray, God gathers us and our offspring in from all the corners where we have strayed and been scattered like dandelion seeds in the winds of summer thunderstorms. Life can be rough, so rough that it will easily appear to do us in.

God promises us we need not fear that such misadventure will do us in. Paul puts it well: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

God calls us to be saints, the people who reflect Christ’s light to all the world. As we work to bring to light the wonders of God’s miracles among us, there will be no end of challenges that we will face, that will tempt us, and that will do us in, except God finds us, delivers us, and sets us right again, to breathe for yet another day of service.

Light and easy our lives may not be, though accompanied by God we can trust we will endure everything that comes our way. Knowing God’s promises are sure, we need not panic. Not because we are so great or practised or immune. We need not panic because God guards our hearts and minds and strength with God’s own strength. Life for us never ceases to amaze or challenge or inspire.

Breathe. God’s spirit enters us, cleanses us, and inspires us.

Breathe. All will be well. All will be well. All manners of things will be well.

Challenges, Darkness, Light

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Light

Let Us Be Light

For Those In Dark.

Deuteronomy 32:11

As an eagle stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young; as it spreads its wings, takes them up, and bears them aloft on its pinions, so the Lord alone guided him.

Philippians 4:7

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

The challenges we face everyday are not inconsequential.

On our own the Devil always gets us and has his way with us.

God does not abandon us.

Like an eagle providing care for it’s young, God looks after us. Like a loving parent God guides us all our days.

We need not panic, or lose heart, for the peace of God surpasses all understanding, guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, and guides us to be saints, the people of Christ’s light, Christ’s Grace, God’s love for all we encounter.

God’s peace is everything we need for this day, for each day … one day at a time.

Striving Onward to ‘Greatness’?

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Every Living Thing Strives and Grows,

Trees Were Once Seedlings And Before That Mere Seeds In Pine Cones

Up to Be More Than They Started Out To Be

Psalm 102:26

They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment. You change them like clothing, and they pass away.

1 Corinthians 1:8

He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

We humans strive.

It’s built into our DNA, that we strive.

We strive to provide the necessities of life for ourselves and those we are responsible for and those we are responsible to.

When we no longer need to strive to provide the necessities of life we continue to strive, to make life more, to make life easier, to make life more comfortable, to make life more secure.

Our striving requires that we persevere through even the apparently most unendurable circumstances in order that we can hope that we will emerge successful.

Our common, built into our DNA, sin is that in our striving we think highly of ourselves, and with our successes when we strive, we think even more highly of ourselves. This assessment of ourselves provides us a base, even if totally falsified, from which we operate with boldness, sometimes raw foolish boldness, to achieve what we strive for.

Besides falsely assessing ourselves, we falsely assess other people. We think less of them. If they have not achieved with their striving as much as we have (measured by what we have striven for) we devalue them. This gives us a greater assessment possibility for ourselves. If they have achieved more than we have (measured by what we have striven for) then we devalue their achievements in order to give us a greater hope of matching and surpassing their achievements.

The most deceptive part of our striving is that we also devalue God, the ultimate power, creator, and judge of us all, in order that we can move forward in our own ways (measured only by our own standards of what is acceptable and what is not). We throw off the inconvenient truth about the ethical value of our strivings, methods, and accomplishments. It is simply a drag on our confidence. We deceive ourselves into thinking that we are capable of god-like achievements, that we have out-paced other humans, that we have stepped above the rest, and even that God must be dead because we can achieve enough on our own to be able to prove that God cannot exist if God ever did.

Ah, yes, we become godlets to ourselves and those around us who worship us.

Until God changes us like clothing, and we pass away into oblivion.

To avoid such a terrible end, an end of the same kind of nothingness we’ve actually achieved with our lives founded on the sinking sands of deception, we know we must turn to God, confess our sins, and worship God. Thus we may remember who we actually are; mere creatures of God’s making.

We know we must pray (or when we are so lost we no longer remember to pray we need others to pray for us): strengthen us to the end, so that we may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know on our own we can strive all our lives long and achieve nothing worth anything. With Christ Jesus our Lord graciously forgiving us, redeeming us, and renewing us, there is no limit what God can accomplish in us, with us, and through us.

Always wretched sinners, simultaneously God-made saints, our lives lack nothing. Compared to the highest roller coaster ride, our lives require that we ‘hold on to our hearts, minds, and souls (and soles)’. There is never a dull moment. God walks with us, and moves us to places, events and endurance we could never imagine possible.

Hang on, here we go!

God is Great, … We Ain’t Even Close To Great

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

We May Creatively Make All Sorts of …

God Makes Everything We Create From.

Psalm 65:6

By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might.

1 John 2:2

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Words of Grace For Today

God is the mightiest further beyond the existence of the universe. God established the mountains. God established the whole universe and beyond, also time itself. So great is God.

We on the other hand in comparison can only pretend at greatness.

It is terrible what we require. We require forgiveness, all of us require forgiveness.

God is great enough to speak a word and make it so. We on the other hand need more. We expect grace and forgiveness to cost us something, and for that God does so much more than speak. God sends God’s only son, Jesus, to live as one of us, to demonstrate God’s love, grace and forgiveness, by dying to demonstrate that God forgives us, demonstrating that Jesus pays (atones) for our sins.

The story is simple. The implications for us are wide and deep: we cannot pretend that God created the universe only for us, that we and not others can receive God’s Grace and atonement. Jesus’ death is God’s demonstration that God has paid for all our sins, for all the sins, of the world.

With a word God created the universe and all that is in it, including us, all of us. With a life God demonstrates for us sorry lot that God provides all that we need, including the demonstration for us that all our sins are forgiven.

All the other things that we need God provides as well. Life in God’s world is not a zero sum game where we have to take from others in order to have enough. In fact, God showers us with more than enough so that we can share it with others. In our sharing the goodness of life, the goodness of life is multiplied for all people, and for us. It is God’s way that the abundance of life comes to all people. It comes in such a quality as to ‘infect’ the whole world with it’s goodness exactly then as we share God’s goodness with others.

Covid 19 spreads, with new variants it spreads even faster, through droplets of virus in the air that spread and linger like the aroma from a meal cooking in the kitchen can be appreciated upstairs and downstairs, and for hours after the stove is turned off.

God’s Grace spreads even faster, through our sharing with each other the goodness that we find in life.

So while the restrictions are in place, call someone new each day, and share some goodness with them. For God’s sake, and for everyone’s sake, including your own sake.

May We have Peace on Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

God Gives Us Light To Find Our Way Home,

To Accept and Give Forgiveness Always to Everyone

So That All May Know Peace!

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Ephesians 2:17

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.

Words of Grace For Today

Peace is not the absence of conflict, nor the absence of violence even. Peace can coexist with both of these, though it works to pull us from violence to negotiation with each other, and from conflict with each other to harmony with (not each other) … with God’s Will for us.

CBC gave air time to a woman looking to organize mass fasting to call attention to domestic violence. She wanted those fasting to explain why they were hungry, and how terrible it is, now with Covid 19 restrictions, for women to be caught at home with their abusers. She wanted men to find a better model of what men can be. She wanted to call attention to the many, many women who are killed as a result of abuse.

All sort of good and well, as far as it goes. She seems to want, as many do, for us all to forget that ten times, got that, TEN TIMES! as many men die from violence as do women. Her project is a common one voiced today: women need to be protected from evil men. There are no good men, just evil men.

If similar things were said about women, their would be an uproar of denunciation of the misogyny. But no one even mentions that this woman’s statements devalue men, categorizing us all as abusers and as evil men who need to rethink who we are in order to become something better. No one voices the realization that this is misandry (the hatred of and devaluing of men.)

Make no mistake: some men kill women. AND some women kill men. Some use force, some use manipulation.

As if to make it sound like women are under greater threat, among other misandrist statements, it is said men are afraid a woman will laugh at him; women are afraid a man will kill her. The reality is when a woman laughs at a man, she devalues him, announces it for many to see, and taking his respect from him leaves him easy prey for both men and women bullies and abusers to kill him, if not directly with force then with psychological manipulation until there is nothing left of his life, not at all, not at all. The truth is men are as afraid of women killing him (often using men to accomplish the deed) as a women are afraid that men will kill them.

Abuse is abuse. Gender is not really a factor. Stereotypes are a serious problem because the mask the real issues with false issues.

That’s what is so terribly wrong with this woman’s campaign to get people to fast; it assumes all men kill women, and forgets that lots of women kill men, and regardless of who does the killing and how, many more men (ten times as many as women), our brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and grandfathers, are dying, murdered by others.

Peace is not to point fingers and eradicate the falsely identified murder or the murderers. Peace is much more profound. Peace, real peace, requires that we acknowledge true reality. Real peace is to first realize that a part of each of us contributes to the conditions and circumstances we all live under in our society. Peace is second to forgive ourselves and accept others’ forgiveness of us, and to accept God’s forgiveness (actually that has to come first before other forgiveness is possible.) Third, peace is to forgive others so that there is no more finger pointing or calling out for others to change. The change has to be made within each of us first, and we have to point to the other as already forgiven … so that they may choose to change. Fourth, peace asks of each of us that we be profoundly thankful that forgiveness is possible, that God starts us off down that path, again and again each day.

If we are going to fast (and some like me cannot fast without putting ourselves at great physical risk of needing hospitalization to recover or we die) then it is to fast quietly, for this is what we need most: an inward healing of our relationship with God, God’s creation and God’s creatures, especially other people.

If we are going to put on a campaign to raise awareness of injustice, and in particular avoidable murder, then we cannot tie that message to misogyny or misandry. That only exacerbates the underlying lies we tell ourselves about the polarized genders, which drives us further and further from any possible reduction of avoidable murder. It in fact raises the conflict to higher levels, which in turn gives rise to more pain, which gives rise to more violence (physical and psychological) and that leads to more destruction of people, including physical and psychological deaths.

We need models for real peace. God sent us Jesus to live that model for us. There are a great number of saints who have provided models as well. We need to remember the old, old story of Jesus and his love, and of the saints that teach us faith and real peace, giving us real hope. Remember the good examples (they were human so they were not perfect) of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Bonhoeffer, and many others. Above all begin each day remembering Jesus and his love, and all God does for us. From gratitude for all God’s blessing we can find our way to peace, even amidst conflict and violence and injustices all around us.

Fins, Trust, and Saints

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Down Which Road to Where

Will God’s Work as Saints

Take Us This Day?

Psalm 67:2

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us: Selah That your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations Let the peoples praise you, O God.

John 1:16

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Words of Grace For Today

In a warmer climate than mine, a group of friends ventured out from their hotel to go sight seeing. They were on a Spring Break tour, something usually reserved for college students. These were people in a collective mid-life crisis, as it were, seeking some evidence they mattered in life still, even though the vigour of their youth had disappeared, for some decades ago, for others only years ago.

When one man described them as a diverse collection of ‘old farts’ he was pretty spot on, if you allow that some 40 year-olds enter this category way too early in life. They included a sampling of a number of races and genders. They were not as a group too pale.

When a tourist hawker saw them he approached as a few others had, and offered to ferry them as a group in a pontoon boat around the outlying islands. The idea took off like wildfire. It was a lazy way to do nothing while being able to convince themselves they were doing something very adventuresome. They set a time to meet again at the pontoon boat’s dock, going in various directions to collect supplies for the day, food, water, alcohol (mostly rum), and some sun umbrellas.

It was a motley crew that set loose from the dock on what appeared to be a more motley collection of flotation things (some barrels) under wood planks with more than a few gas cans, two outboard motors, and the requisite rudder. There were half enough chairs for the crises-escaping group. One man, George, who was kind of a leader more than a participant, offered (wisely it turned out) to stay behind as ‘a safety reporting person’ he said. ‘Call me if you run into trouble,’ he called out, as if the groups was not in trouble already the minute they left together on this trip.

Two hours later George received a call, recognized the voice, ‘We’re sinking near the reef behin ….’ then the connection went dead. True to his promise he remarkably quickly found a ‘rescue service’, gave them the exact account with times and word-for-word the call. They recognized where the pontoon had most likely gone down and headed out in three larger boats. ‘We need two for the people and one to hold the other two against the current,’ they explained and added that it would be thousands of dollars per hour for each boat.

Out near the reef, the mostly sober pontoon ‘owner’ (actually an assembler of junk into something that might just float) had succumbed to the cries of the surely not sober passengers yelling that they wanted to see the reef. ‘Closer! Closer!’ With no notice the calm waters whirled into a ‘rip tide’ effect right under their pontoon, one stream going out, the other 2 feet away going in toward the reef. It whipped the poor ‘boat’ around and around until it came apart like matchsticks falling out of their box, spilling the people into the water. Luckily as quick as the rip started it ended, and they found themselves in the water pretty much as a group. The stragglers soon enough found their way to the group, everyone hanging on to flotsam or treading water nearby. Considering their state of sobriety the group did well for the first while … until the first circling fin was spotted.

More than one panicked, thrashing about trying to get out of the water. The one fin was joined by others. The more thrashing, the closer they came. One person panicked entirely and set out for the spot on the reef that stood out of the water. Grant, a millionaire developer, almost made it before a slight current caught him and whipped him against a sharp rock. Blood coloured the water for a bare minute before fin after fin swung in and back out as he disappeared beneath the surface.

Finally one sane head among the whole group caught their horrified attention in the moment they all went silent watching Grant’s disappearance. ‘Quiet! Listen! Calm Down! The more you thrash about and make noise the more they will come after us. We have to trust that George will be here soon enough to save us! If we do not trust a rescue is on it’s way, calm down and do what we can together, none of us will survive this! So Stay CALM!’

His advice took hold. The group gathered themselves together with pieces of flotsam deepest in the water making a ring around them. Just minutes later, though it felt to the group like hours, the ‘rescue service’ arrived, tethered two boats to the third so the two could approach the group. Out came the high power rifles and more than one fin trailed away with a dark streak behind it, others collecting around the streak until all the fins were out of sight.

One by one the crises-escapees were pulled from the real crisis they had driven themselves to seek out. One by one they came to their thankful senses about how fortunate they were as on the return trip the ‘rescue service’ exclaimed that this was the first time they had ever found a live person to rescue. The predators usually cleaned up the tourists’ messes long before they could arrive.

There was no hesitation at paying the exorbitant rescue fee. More than one person rescued was ready to offer them everything. One old hippy offered the remainder of her days on earth. Such it is when people are rescued from real danger that they create for themselves.

We all ought to know this from our own experiences before God.

From God’s fullness we have all received, grace upon grace and we ought to be ready to offer God all we have including all our remaining days.

Each one of our remaining days begins with an appropriate prayer of thanks: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us: Selah May God’s way of grace upon grace may be made known upon earth, and God’s saving power among all nations! Let the peoples praise you, O God!

God sends ‘Georges’ and ‘rescue services’ of many kinds to save us again and again and again from our foolish sins. God often uses us, all we have and all the days we have left on earth, to rescue others. We become God’s ‘Georges’ and ‘rescue services’, more commonly referred to as saints.

There is much for us to do as God-made saints. If we do not start today, when then are we going to start!?!

Cold Hard Reality … – – – …

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

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Sun Rises And Spreads Cold Cold Cold Light

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

Proverbs 3:7

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

Galatians 6:4

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

Words of Grace For Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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