Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 25

Monday, May 25, 2020

Tentatively …

We sojourn in these,

God in these [below]

pure clear beauty reflected in the weeds

Evil is not seen in the beauty of God’s Creation

But God is reflected even in the weeds of Creation

Psalms 5:4

For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you.

Ephesians 6:18

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

Words of Grace For Today

God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

God is merciful and gracious.

God delights in forgiving and receiving home the sinner.

God delights not in wickedness. Evil does not travel to stay temporarily with God.

Evil, and we are that when we sin, tend to run from God. We do not travel to stay with God even temporarily. We want to hide from God’s view, God’s judgment, and our shame.

God though stays with us, no matter where we go. Evil does not stay with God, because God forgives it and transforms it, by the sacrifice of Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Evil in God’s presence is transformed so that the evil is eradicated and God’s good creation abides with God.

That is really good news. It’s exactly as if God stayed with us when we venture out to places with people we are not supposed to be near, and we spread Covid 19 and are silent about where we’ve been so others are infect unawares, until there is another outbreak with no known source.

Except God’s presence eradicates the virus from us and from everyone else that would have been infected. And all is well, not because we’ve done the right things, but because God works for us in all things.

Except God does not eradicate Covid 19 or any other disease, contaminant, or destructive organisms that we can encounter in the world. God is with us, and suffers with us. God gives us eternal life starting the day we are baptized, but God does not make life free of danger for us.

God does send the Holy Spirit to guide us, inspire us, and to light a fire (under us, mostly).

Therefore each day we can pray as the Holy Spirit moves us, for all the other saints struggling, and all others, so that God will also transform their lives to be lives of purpose reflecting Christ’s sacrifice to bring life to so many.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 24

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The grass is greener …

The grass is greenest,

where the most manure is found

(where the cow’s ate for years, when this was a barn yard.)

Forgiveness is not needed for perfectly good people (they don’t exist!)

Forgiveness is needed for the rest of us, every last one of us!

Psalms 130:4

But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered.

Colossians 3:13

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Words of Grace For Today

Rulers and people seeking power have long since used condemnation and fear to control people, with marginal success to surprisingly good success.

God is different. God seeks our respect through forgiving us, being slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

One may (incorrectly) think that God works more on the carrot approach, and less on the rod approach. God goes in a considerably different direction, in fact in the opposite direction from both carrot and rod. Instead of motivating us to do the thing that God wants us to do, with either a reward (the carrot) or with threat of punishment (the rod) what God does requires that we take a step back from ‘trying to motivate’ others to do what we want them to do, and realize God approaches ‘motivating us’ to do what God wants completely differently.

God realizes that the matter of getting us to do what we were created to do is not at all getting us to recognized what we must do, then to choose to do it, and to follow through when the going gets tough.

God shows us with Jesus’ story that no human is capable on our own of recognizing, choosing or following through with what is right.

The problem is that we cannot do what is right, well enough, to make it right. When we fear condemnation and shame for failing, we do even worse things, fooling ourselves into thinking the good is something it is not, just so we can do it, or that we’ve done a good thing, when we’ve at best messed around with good just a bit too much to leave it good.

We need a permanent fix, a re-creation, a new start, total redemption, and total freedom … again and again and again and ….

God does not trifle with us. God inspires us through the work of the Holy Spirit in us to accomplish pieces of goodness, in spite of ourselves. Thank God or everything would be ruined by us!

Covid 19 is just another challenge that forces us to pause. It is a tremendous opportunity to see what we really are like when we cannot cover ourselves with consuming, owning, travelling …. You name it, we’ve used it to run from the reality of our lives.

Now, with much of that taken from us, we’re left to deal with more of the actual reality of our lives … as God’s creatures.

We can now as much as every revere God, for God forgives us and sets us free from our sins to move into each new moment of time as God’s forgiven saints.

God equips us by Jesus’ example to forgive … ourselves, and to forgive others, freely, unconditionally, and repeatedly.

Thanks be to God, there is so much to do, so much forgiveness to do, especially for ourselves, our enemies, and the stranger who seeks refuge among us.

That’s why being kind is the beginning of every good day. If one is kind, it’s easier to move to forgiveness from kindness than any other attitude when forgiveness is required (and it always is or will be shortly.)

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 23

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Lost but Now Found Again! and Again! … and Again!

This photo somehow ended up in a folder it had no business being in.

Why? Don’t know.

Like us, when we are lost, though God claims us, we need to be put back online where we belong.

Being on track doesn’t make us God’s children, being God’s children gets us back on track, sometimes.

Deuteronomy 11:26-28

Moses said, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known.”

Colossians 3:24-25

Since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for whatever wrong has been done, and there is no partiality.

Words of Grace For Today

Blessing for obedience. Curse for disobedience. Payback for doing wrong. Serving in order to gain an inheritance.

All of this is religious language of coercion; a well organized chorus of controlling others.

It frames life as nothing more than doing what is right and being rewarded; or doing what is wrong and being punished. This is the thought of a two year old, dressed up to look like an adult’s thinking. It is the most common thought pattern applied in most every situation and from nearly all perspectives. It is still childish and falls short of the reality of life as God created us to live it. It is the perversion of the Devil that takes something profoundly good and turns it just a few degrees and lets it loose on us, until down the road we are light years away from the goal God has set for our life on earth: to give God glory in all we do, bringing abundant life to the poor, disadvantaged, and outcasts; and bringing a life of God’s meaning and worthy purpose to the wealthy, privileged and powerful.

Before we get too far along uncovering this devilish perversion of life’s meaning, let us affirm that there is a blessing and a curse in obedience or disobedience. Obeying God does bring blessings to others (rarely to ourselves), and disobeying brings curses to others ( most often to ourselves as well.)

The reality of God’s creation is that God rewards us with an inheritance as God’s own adopted children, and therefore we serve Christ. The direction of causation between our behaviour and God’s rewards correctly stated is simple. Because God acts, rewarding us with blessings, therefore we serve and obey.

The devilish perversion is to think and live as if we act either obeying and serving or disobeying then on the basis of our thoughts and actions God either rewards us with blessings or punishes us with curses.

It is a childish approach to life to think and live as if one’s actions determined God’s blessings and curses. On first blush we might well wish that our thoughts and actions had such influence on God’s response to us. An honest appraisal of human history and our own experiences lays bare the reality that we can never do enough things well enough to please God, or event o accomplish something profoundly good enough to actually FIX a problem the world faces. Every good thing we do is tainted by incompleteness and unintended disastrous consequences … and sinful motivations and results.

It does not matter how hard or diligently we try, or how much self -disciplined we apply to our attempts, one just has to read the honest words written by good thinkers to realize … every human attempt to FIX a problem is a failure. Self-discipline and self improvement is only a mad dash from one hot issue slightly tamed to the next hot issue, only to have a host of previously tames issues raise their hot little heads as major impediments to our living well.

The project of being good enough in life is a futile chasing of one’s tail to no good end, or worse to the destruction of one’s self and many others.

If our actions determined God’s response to us, there would be no hope for us at all! Thank God our actions do not determine God’s response to us!

An old pastor spoke up at a cigar smoke filled room with Scotch glasses set next to the second deck of cards: Looking back at my ministry I pray mostly that I have not harmed anyone.

Relatively young (in my 40’s) at the time I thought it was an odd prayer. Why not pray that the good one did would actually bear fruit in a cascading style through many generations?

Now I understand all too well. Life is really not about how much good we can accomplish, if one is (trying to be) a good and kind person. Doing Good is wholly dependent upon God working in and through us, so that we get good things done almost by accident (actually its by the Holy Spirit ‘accidentally’ getting good things out of us.) Not doing intentional harm to others is something that is much more in the realm of our possible control. The old pastor’s prayer though deals with the unintentional harm one can hardly avoid doing, and from which only God can save us and those whom we have offered ministry to and still harmed.

The true project of human life is simple: to Give God Glory, by

1. confessing one needs saving, cannot save oneself, and God has through Jesus’ sacrifice redeemed us and set us free to …

2. sacrifice what may be seen as ‘our‘ ‘rights’ and ‘possessions’, so that others will experience through us Christ’s redemption of them, and God’s love that holds the universe together.

The world thinks reality is: IF we x, THEN God y.

God’s reality is this:

BECAUSE God blesses us, THEREFORE we can offer ourselves as servants who joyfully obey God’s commandments, loving God with all our heart, mind and strength: particularly obeying Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and even our enemy.

There is great blessing in obeying God, it is that God gets more done through us for others. There is great curse in disobeying God, and it is that we have failed to recognize the blessing God has already given us.

The challenges of Covid 19 intensify the need for us to see reality clearly, to trust God’s Blessings, and to listen to creation groaning under and rebelling because of our disobedience to God’s commands to love and protect all of creation, as stewards which God has made us to be.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 21

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Imperfect Reflections

Evil Uses Imperfect Reflections of God’s Will

to Guide Us to Our Destruction

Psalms 97:10

The Lord loves those who hate evil; he guards the lives of his faithful; he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Ephesians 4:15

Speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

How does one say this: some people are stupid. In Canada, one does not say this in polite company. Is this right? Or maybe the question is wrong. It should be: Is this the best we can say?

This past week campers have gathered as every year for the first weekend of the summer. In the random camping area where I live on crown land, there were no restrictions possible to limit units to every other campsite, since no official campsites are designated. There are unofficial ‘campsites’ well established though. Established enough that they are named.

Doublesite is the first site on the left as one enters the area. It has the end of the circle-road bisecting, after it loops through to the main campsites and just before it joins the entrance road again. It’s large enough open space to easily fit three (four are tight) camper units on one side of the road and two units and two large tents on the other side, though more are possible. This weekend three units circled tightly the central campfire (not fired up, thankfully with the fire ban on). Tents were pitched on the other side, but only one or two. People and especially the half dozen pre-teen children freely mingled and met around the toys and food tables.

There seemed to be little concern for Covid 19 physical distance restrictions. Someone will get killed from Covid 19 because of their carelessness.

Rightsite is the first site on the right as one enters the camping area. It has a 100 metre separate roadway through trees into it’s wide opening around a huge campfire pit. A favourite site, it is usually occupied by one unit, maybe two units. There are two pathways/roadways leading away from it where other units can fit into, though it’s not all that optimal. It can work though as a group campsite and occasionally it is just that.

This weekend a bus and three camper units, plus three tents were squeezed in around the campfire pit. Set off by itself it was hard to see whether a fire was lit. But the space hardly allowed for anything but absurdly normal interactions between the people with so many units filling the area, with no concern for Covid 19 restrictions of any kind. Someone will get killed from Covid 19 because of their carelessness.

Along the loop further past the winter landing for ice fishers, two sites (Lake 1 and Lake 2) sit between the road and the lake, within 5 metres of the water. This weekend the first was empty, but the second was occupied by one unit, a truck, a truck pulling a boat, and a third crossover vehicle.

Around at the end of the loop, before it returns through Doublesite a number of roadways intertwine between the trees making up Website. Usually one or sometimes two units fit back there, not necessarily camping together. This weekend it hosted three camper units and three tents, and twice that many vehicles, with vehicles coming and going all weekend long. The older teenagers and early 20-year-olds carried on like it was a regular bush party, drinking, making lots of noise, louder as the night wore on, tossing frisbees, and setting up drinking games (with shared bottles). After they left there were a number of areas a short ways into the woods with used toilet paper and not quite empty toilet paper rolls strewn about. Someone will get killed from Covid 19 because of their carelessness. Can you spell Darwin Awards?

And at night, the perpetrators unknown, someone lit off a series of fireworks, despite the fire-ban. If they had started a wildfire the dry conditions and the huge amount of dry junk brush in the woods and dead trees would have sent an inferno rolling through and out of here.

Can one say ‘stupid’ loud enough and long enough? With Covid 19 restrictions, who knows when firefighters enough may appear to control it! Who knows how much property would have been destroyed and how many lives would have been lost!

In Cold Lake itself, when I go shopping typically people breach a one metre physical distance from me on a regular basis despite my best efforts to avoid them, forget about 2 metres. I sat at the tailgate of the borrowed truck picking up hardware from Canadian Tire. No less than a dozen people walked past me, all within a foot, two at the most. I finally pulled out a 6 foot stick that I use to pull things out of the 6 foot truck-bed and propped it against the tailgate out onto the pavement easily covering the area where all those people had walked. It forced the next dozen to walk at least 1 metre away from me, and most did that and no more, cutting from the corner right past me at the tailgate.

I’ve heard people foolishly say that there is no Covid 19 in Cold Lake. 2 tested cases were reported, but the military do not report their cases, nor could Cold Lake report an outbreak or real numbers lest threats to Canada could know our military is unable to respond due to illness.

Can one say ‘stupid’ loud enough and long enough? Someone will get killed from Covid 19 because of their carelessness.

As Monday noon rolled around the vehicle noise from that end of the camp area increased, then settled down. I sat writing and out the window off to one side I saw a black something move across the narrow view. I stood up and peered out the window where I might see the whatever if it kept moving the same direction. Nothing, then from behind the borrowed truck meandered a young adult black bear, nosing about for food. Coming right toward me, it was no more than 3 metres away, through the window.

I grabbed a camera to get a few shots. Then as the bear continued to poke about and started toward the camper itself I started shouting. At first there was no response, then the bear slowly changed it’s slow meandering course away from the camper back toward where it had emerged from the roadway to the rest of the camp area.

This young bear has already learned that human campsites are a source of food. That makes for a dangerous bear, one that is not afraid of humans, one that will easily attack humans. Someone is going to get hurt, badly and likely killed eventually, before this bear’s life ends. Who left food out and when so that this bear learned humans are a source of food?

The Bear Truth:

Someone Taught this Bear

Humans Mean Food!

Can one say ‘stupid’ loud enough and long enough?

One can, but is it the wisest or best thing to say?

As we grow up into Christ we learn to hate evil, but to speak graciously and gently about others sinfulness. We remember our own and all that Christ forgives us. We extend that grace towards other sinners.

We speak the truth (about our and their sinfulness) with love (the same love God exercises for us in Christ, that erases those sins.)

The truth is, the population is rebelling against the present restrictions. Even the restrictions are not strong enough to stop Covid 19 from spreading; they will just slow it down to avoid spikes in cases that overwhelm the health care system. If we were under restrictions strong enough to stop Covid 19 from spreading, we would be in full rebellion.

Speaking the truth in love sometimes meaning saying what can be said to get people to do what can be done, and not trying to do what cannot be done, so that people rebel and do nothing to help reduce the dangers we face.

Lake 2 was the only campsite where a bunch of garbage was left scattered behind, (if one does not mention the used toilet paper around Website) though the fire-pits everywhere seem to be treated as if they were garbage cans. So there is that to thank all these campers for: comparatively little mess to clean up after them!

Now feeding that bear, intentionally or inadvertently by leaving food or garbage out for it to find … there just is no excuse for that.

Come to think of it, there is no real excuse for any sin, or for any of us to participate in evil. Yet we keep doing it, thinking it will bring us life.

Only life lived out of God’s Grace brings us and others life.

Be everything good and gracious you can be. At your worst, be kind. That will get you and yours through every challenge in these times when we are ripe pickings for the Devil’s temptations to call others ‘stupid’.

God’s Beauty

Perfectly Created

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 20

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Poor

Struggle to Survive as They are Able




Leaves Up Close

Like the Poor

Need to be Recognized


Proverbs 29:7

The righteous know the rights of the poor; the wicked have no such understanding.

Hebrews 6:10

For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

Words of Grace For Today

The rights of the poor

are known by those who are righteous, who seek to do God’s will,

but they are unrecognized by those who are wicked, who turn from God’s will.

This is a statement about what we now call universal human rights: that all people, wealthy or poor, powerful or weak, privileged or disadvantaged all have the same rights. These rights are everyone’s simply because they exist. They are inherent rights.

No one can give these rights, nor can anyone take them away or assign them to someone else. They are inalienable rights.

These do not fully exist. For the sinfulness of humans always leave those who are privileged and powerful to ignore or pervert the rights of others, poor or wealthy, in order to gain an advantage for themselves. Though our Canadian court system is supposed to uphold these inalienable rights, they tromp all over the rights of the disadvantaged. Minorities, especially First Nations and Metis are dis-proportionally convicted and incarcerated. Decades ago men used to bring their wives to court and have them convicted or worse detained in psychiatric facilities (drugged out of their minds) for years without end. Now women can do this to men, and the police, the churches, and the courts oblige them convicting on lies and against hard evidence, using W.D. as a full means to override truths with the biased will to convict no matter, just as long as the woman will lie somewhat convincingly under oath.

Those who are wicked, who think that since they break the laws and act in blatantly unethical manners, therefore everyone does, easily dismiss false convictions as if they are not a concern, or rather false convictions are SOP.

Those who strive to do God’s will, do recognize that even the courts are corrupt, falsely convicting innocent poor people routinely. And with the routine false conviction, courts blatantly invite police and women to freely lie in court. Worse they are free to gaslight their chosen victims, and to invite other bystanders to do the same.

Covid 19 makes this blatant perversion less of a priority to be dealt with than it ever was. Good people turn their eyes to ‘more important things, like the community surviving this pandemic.

Doch the righteous always recognize, work to protect, and struggle to uncover the abuses of universal human rights.

Who do we choose to be today? We will not always choose to deal with injustice and follow through, sinners as we remain. The beginning, and sometimes the best we can do is to remember. Remember how God saved us, and how God desires to use us to save others from injustices, and abuses of their basic rights.

God does recognize and reward our efforts. God already gives us salvation, freely, overwhelmingly, without reserve. We are in God’s family, God’s own people. God recognizes and rewards our efforts to support the saints (the God-made saint in each of us baptized people.) The rewards never end, and include contentment with life, a clear conscience, a pure heart, loving empathy, and renewed energy for life.

These rewards are part of the abundant life God promises us.

Rest in God’s promise, and work like the dickens to protect and keep everyone aware that universal, inherent and inalienable rights for everyone always need protecting.

This will inform our efforts to deal with Covid 19, as well. We bring protection, treatment, and (eventually) the ‘cure’/vaccine equally to everyone.


God’s Rewards

Abound for Those

Who Recognize Universal Rights also for the Poor

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 19

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The Fog Covers Our Horizons

As Our Sin Perverts our Spirits

Yet God Takes Delight

Only in our Turning Back

to God.

Ezekiel 33:11

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, Ohouse of Israel?

Luke 19:8

Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.’

Words of Grace For Today

Amazing Grace that saved wretches like us, though we did not deserve anything good from God!

Why does God choose to save such wretches?

Because God lives and has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but eagerly waits for the wicked wretches to turn from their evil ways that produce nothing but death. Instead God desires the wicked to turn from their evil ways and live!

There are obvious wicked ways and not so obvious ways, ways wherein we may even deceive ourselves into thinking the way we proceed is not evil. Evil remains evil. It robs life from us and all around us. This is not the end-of-physical-life death. This is the many little deaths of our spirit that we suffer until there is nothing left of us as creatures of God, though we continue to walk and haunt and destroy the earth with our terrible ways.

Sometimes turning from our evil ways, which have netted us great ‘security’ in power, wealth and reputation, will cost us more than it ever netted us in the first place.

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who only made money when he cheated people by collecting more taxes than he had to pay to Rome. Whatever difference he collected was his to keep as his own. Here he will return half of everything he has to the poor. Then as he defrauded everyone out of their money which really was not due for taxes, he will return to them fourfold what he stole from them. Either he will not be able to …. He will be broke long before he repays everyone. OR There is a new definition of fraud.

We play these games often, telling ourselves that what we do is not sinful Rather we redefine sin to exclude what we do, and include what others do, so that we can condemn them and feel ‘good’ about ourselves. It only works if we are very self-deluded. We always know our own lies.

Still, God wants us to take time for the amendment of our lives … to change our lives for the better (measured by our Creator’s intention for us.)

That shift, that transformation, that redirection of our lives is what God hopes for from all of us.

Covid 19 gives us the opportunity to reflect more honestly on what we have measured our living by, and to adjust it to fit our Creator’s intention for us more closely.

It can feel like a losing battle, finding our Creator’s intention for us ….

We have no real excuse, though. For Jesus has shown us God’s will for us.

We often do not like it.

But we know what it is … and doing it will give us life, and life abundant.

Only a fool would pass up that opportunity.

Still God rescues the fool along with the rest of us wretched sinners.

Thanks be to God.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 18

Monday, May 18, 2020

God Provides

Even as We Near

the End of the Road

Nehemiah 9:20

You gave your good spirit to instruct them, and did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and gave them water for their thirst.

John 14:26

The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

Words of Grace For Today

40 years in the dry wilderness, God’s people wandered. Freed from slavery they crossed out of civilization into the barren land. Life became difficult in new and different ways. They had no water. They had nothing to eat. Then they had no meat. It did not take them long to complain that perhaps Moses had led them into the wilderness to die. When God provided water flowing from rocks struck with Moses’ staff it did not take them long to complain that they had nothing to eat and to blame Moses and God for it. God then provided again what they needed; manna appeared on the dry ground each morning for them to gather and eat for the day. It’s shelf life was only a few hours, so each day they depended on God to provided them again this wonder. Still it was not enough. They complained again, this time that they had no meat to eat. So quail appeared in flocks that they could harvest from for their meat.

No matter our real needs, God has always provided for us.

Or has God?

Millions of people die from lack of water. No rocks produce water for them.

Millions of people die from lack of food. No manna appears each day for them.

Millions of people die from lack of proper nutrition. No quail appear for them to harvest.

Millions of people are torn from life by injustices: roving murdering bands ‘disappear’ people, courts accept and thereby invite police and citizens to lie in order to destroy innocent people, advocates for human rights are detained, the earth is ravaged and those living nearby are left to die from the pollution … on goes the list.

How can we forget?

Yet we so easily, striving to gain just one more thing that we think we need for life, forget all the people that suffer injustices, murder, and worse.

We forget so easily all that God has done for us, like water from rocks, manna in the desert, quail that arrive on their own … our list could be long or short and yet we forget how God has blessed us and continues to bless us …

even if we suffer injury, illness and death …

even as Covid 19 challenges us in new ways to make sense of the world we live in and our role in the progression of time as it moves us toward eternity.

We forget so easily as we get buried under new injustices, new accounts of new threats to our way of life, new things that would kill us, or new challenges of all kinds.


God does not forget us.

God does not let us forget.

The Holy Spirit, the Advocate, comes to remind us of all that Jesus has taught us:

The poor, the meek, those suffering injustice, the outcast, the ill and dying … these are the ones that God builds God’s Kingdom out of.

We receive all we need for eternal life, for life abundant now … for all we need is the willingness to give up everything so that others can experience that God loves them! Just as God has loved us.

We move forward in time, in step to the music of the spheres for the Creator of the Universe is for us, claims us, redeems us, and sets us free …

to be …

those that remember, trust, and share …

all that God provides.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 17

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rutted Ways Ahead

Lost in the Ice

Canoe Ready

or Set in the Comfortable and Familiar

The Challenge to be

Who we are is Constant

1 Kings 8:58

Incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors.

Colossians 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many things to do to discipline oneself to live well.

The challenges are never ending, sometimes overwhelming, other times simple. Life without challenges is not life. The questions constantly before us are:

A. Who are we?

B. Whose are we?

Every other question is subsumed into these, and the answers we give to every other question with our living (thinking, dreaming, planning, organizing, talking, writing, and doing – or not) are also the answer to these two questions.

Once we realize and confess that we are

A. wretched sinners saved by Grace alone (not by anything we do/not do/are/aren’t), transformed continually to be Saints, and

B. God’s people by baptism into Christ,

Then we have our work cut out for us to live out the promise God creates us to be for other people: That we will bear God’s Grace and the Good News of Jesus’ saving us all, also them.

So we continue to live our lives rooted and built up in Christ, as we are established in faith.

We incline our hearts to God walking in Christ’s Way, keeping his commandments to love our neighbour and ourselves and our enemies as he has loved us.

And, as the saints in light who have gone before us have taught us, we live with overflowing gratitude.

Covid 19 has put somethings in perspective, slowed us down, kept us home, given us time to see ourselves and our families up close for hours on end, or to submerse ourselves in solitude (for those of us who live alone.)

The challenges are still great, and they tax us in new ways, and they give us new opportunities to discover who we are, and whose we are.

For this we give thanks!

The Fog of Life

Makes the Light of Christ


We Reflect God’s Perfection Imperfectly

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 15

Friday, May 15, 2020

See the Light

No matter the trees, rocks, weeds and water,

No matter the clouds or storms that may,

The Light of Christ always Shines.

Deuteronomy 26:7

We cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.

Luke 18:7

And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many people throughout history who have been afflicted, toiled in slavery, and been oppressed; there have been so many people throughout history who have cried to God day and night, and God has not delivered them.

Are we to say they were not God’s chosen people and somehow delude ourselves that it will be different with us, and all God’s chosen people today?

Are we to say that the delay is not long, even though vast numbers of people in history, a number greater than the sands and the stars, have died without ever seeing justice?

Are we to deny that today a great number of even Canadians are gaslit, lied to and about in their communities, by their churches? Are we to deny that false reports are made to the police in order to destroy innocent people? Are we to deny that the police have not added more lies in order to create false reports about innocent people? Are we to deny that the police have solicited and recruited false reports from citizens to support their gaslighting in order to knowingly make false arrests? Are we to deny that further gaslighting by lawyers and Crowns is needed in order to bring the false charges to trial, and they easily, routine provide these lies? Are we to deny that the Courts continue the Gaslighting adding their own false accounts of the already blatantly false evidence in order to convict when the person on trial is clearly innocent? Are we to deny that the Courts of Appeal add to the Gaslighting with their denials of appeals where the false convictions appealed are blatantly in error, the Gaslighting palpable and overriding?

No we cannot contribute to the lies by denying that such things commonly happen, for I can tell you from my own experience that this is so.

Is God listening to our cries for justice? Even if we do not wish for revenge, but for the amendment of life by those who participate in the Gaslighting?

One could say, like Leonard Cohen wrote about Alexandra Leaving, that we should not imagine that these things have not happened, that we should not stoup to strategies like this.

There are real evil things that God’s own people have suffered, are still suffering today, are here at home suffering and it is covered up by bullies who think that they have won by piling lies upon lies.

No, we will not imagine that these things do not happen. No we will not stoup to strategies like that.

No, our ‘Alexandras have left and are lost’ in so many ways. Our ‘Alexandras’ are far more than romantic relationships. They are hardly that at all. Our ‘Alexandras’ are all the love of life that could be for so many people, the grace that restores honour in the face of disgrace, the assurance of justice for all people (not injustice to the advantage of those who already have privilege and wealth), the hope that all things will be well, all manner of things will be well.

But our ‘Alexandras’ have left at so many turns, denying life, and robbing so many people of hope. We can recover, but unlike Cohen’s serial relationships about which he writes so well as he probes the trials of love, these are not replaced, displaced, or forgotten. These leave holes in the fabric of life into eternity.

So …

Where is God? Has God left? Is God lost also?


Everything the saints in light have given us, everything we have heard, listened to, known to be true, believe, trust, and hold precious lead us to pray daily:

God save us from our afflictions, our unjust toils, our oppressions, and the injustices that evil bullies work against us even now!

Covid 10 has levelled the playing field in many ways. The bullies, oppressors and their victims alike must ‘stay the blazes home’ and rightfully fear contracting what can be a deadly virus.

We know, since we have received the saints’ accounts of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, that God is with us …

no matter what comes our way; bullies who gaslight or Covid 19 or whatever.

No matter what comes our way we remember the truth, the suffering, the unjust toils, the oppression, and the perpetrators of this evil throughout history and even today, for God is with us.

Take that Covid 19!

Take that bullies and Gaslighters!

Take that oppressors, in all history and especially today!

You can work against us and even kill us, but God has saved us and promised us eternal life and in that life (started long ago at our Baptisms and re-starting always in the now) that the Light of Christ will shine on all that is done to us. Christ’s Light has already exonerated us, relieved our afflictions, unjust toils, and oppression, and provided true justice.

With Cohen we sing and ring the bells that still can ring. We celebrate the cracks through which the Light of Christ gets into this world.

With all the saints in light we pray each day: God deliver us!

For God stands right there with us in all we suffer, supporting us, shining truth, justice, and hope on all that comes our way.

Sing it however you like: this is God’s creation, we are God’s own people, and God is victorious, even over death! For Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 14

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Through the fog


the Sticks and Stones

of Reality.

Job 13:9

Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one person deceives another?

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to pass the test!

Words of Grace For Today

An exam, sample exams, test scores, failing marks, proving oneself.

All of these come into play for human examinations.

God works differently.

First, there is actually a kind of failing, of standing against the work of the Holy Spirit so doggedly and determinedly and persistently and … or something else (we simply do not know what it is that we can do to fail.) Certainly we know we all fail to be good enough; we are saved only by the Grace of God, through faith, by the work of the Holy Spirit.

That’s exactly the breaking point of our trying to determine when we fail God’s Grace so completely that we are outside God’s abundant love. We humans cannot judge it.

All we know is that God’s Grace is for us and for all others, even the most wretched sinners … as we all were before Jesus saves us …


still are!

There are serious deceptions that humans carry out in daily life to get the better of others for themselves. None of these work on God.

God sees right through us to the core and all the way to the core and back. God knows everything about us.

If we were planning … no (it is not IF, it is since … so) Since we all plan to try to deceive God about ourselves this is definitely something to worry about, to be fearful of, and to become existentially anxious about.

The freedom we seek is to realize our attempts at deceiving God and how futile the are, and to once again throw ourselves into God’s mercy.

We can test ourselves. If we are so out of touch with our place with God it is a good place to start some finite self-awareness. The real test has already been played out on the cross, and with the resurrection we have all passed … on Jesus’ coat-tails.

When we realize how dependent our existence is on God’s Grace, then we more often, perhaps more quickly, give up on our efforts to deceive God … and other humans … about ourselves. We learn to point to God’s Grace, and offer it to others.

The greatest freedom is ours when we no longer need to depend on our own performances at all the tests life puts in front of us. We can boldly, courageously, faithfully, and lovingly trust that Jesus is with us each step of the way … and use all our energies and focus to work to give God glory in all we attempt, give God thanks in all we accomplish, and be even more grateful that we survive all the times our attempts fail.

Covid 19 is more than a test of our health. It is a test of our ability to work with and for other humans. We will fail. We will succeed, only as God gives us the abilities and we work diligently with them.

Covid 19 may be in many ways a test of our faith.

Consider that every day we face tests of our faith.

Consider there is much we each can do, even in these times.

Testing our faith does not produce a grade or pass/fail. It is not a measure of our pasts. It is a preparation for the future. It gives us a measure compared to the saints in light, which helps us answer the question, “Is there more we can do! If so, show us!”

Prepare us. Guide us. Rescue us.

one day at a time.

Ain’t life wonderful!