Clay, Meet Potter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

We Are Less Than We Claim,

And More Than We Imagine.

Isaiah 64:8

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Words of Grace For Today

Clay.

Filled with spirit and life only by the work of God.

Still only clay.

We’d like to be more.

We’d like to be very significant, remembered, honoured, respected, and comfortable with how we live.

We are still only clay to which God has given spirit and life.

Now, if we, though only spirit filled clay, would at least be able to stop sinning. That would be an accomplishment worth celebrating, and quite the achievement for a lump of spirit filled clay!

But not sinning is beyond us clay footed, clay headed, and clay hearted beings.

Thankfully God knows us so well that God provides forgiveness, and Jesus Christ to advocate for us, though I believe that Jesus advocates less with God for our forgiveness, than with us to convince us that we need to be forgiven. Thankfully God knows us so well.

Still only clay.

Yet spirit-filled,-enlivened,-freed-(even-to-sin),-forgiven,-loved,-and-sent-to-love-others clay.

Clay loved alive by God and freed to love God.

Clay, precious in God’s eyes clay.

Not bad for hard or slick dirt, eh?!

Fire!?

Monday, May 23, 2022

This Way Is Blocked.

How To Break Through?

Zechariah 13:9

And I will put this third into the fire, refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.
They will call on my name, and I will answer them.
I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’

1 Peter 1:6-7

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Words of Grace For Today

This world does provide an ample sample of suffering for anyone who chooses to live ‘eyes wide open’. While some may say it is ‘now for a little while’, the suffering never seems anything like ‘little’ to those who are caught in it.

The image often referred to in scripture, as in these two passages, is that through our suffering our faith is refined, and it becomes more precious. This may be a great philosophical perspective on other’s suffering, though I’m not sure it helps those who suffer now. Yet it is repeated, and repeated, and repeated … as if the repetition would help or that the writers and thinkers just cannot come up with something more helpful.

Maybe there is nothing helpful!

That would, of course, depend on one’s perspective of towards what end, what goal, what value, those who suffer will be helped.

If the end, goal, and value is to not suffer, then there seems (as history well attests to what we humans are capable and eager to do to others) to be no shortage or end to suffering.

What if the end, the goal, and the value is something else than ending suffering?!

What if it the end, goal and value is how one lives, when one is in the midst of suffering, when one is free from suffering, and in fact in all circumstances of life?

Say (given the scriptural witness to this) that the end, goal and value is that we humans live in a love with God, and therefore we love all people, even our enemies and ourselves (which is usually the most difficult kind of love, since we know how little we deserve love.)

This first long weekend of the summer the crowds returned to the random camping area, first dribbling in on Wednesday already to secure a campsite for themselves and their group, most often a group using at least 2 camping units and numerous tents, trucks, cars, and noisy cycles, quads and side-by-sides. By Friday night all but the chilly spots along the lake (all well within 30 metres of the water) were overfilled, most bursting with drink, drugs, and loud music though a few had children and kept a quieter presence.

My nights’ sleep was more than once disrupted by the throbbing base of a piece of ‘music’ that spoke to a visceral, instinctual encounter with nature (having nothing to do with the peaceful nature that surrounds this lake until it is so disrupted by humans trying to escape reality.)

Saturday the kicker came. I made my usual walk along the high road and immediately saw something was wrong. A camping unit sat in the trees where no vehicle had ever sat before. A family had moved in two shorter, older campers, parked them on and on each side of the road easement that forms the border between crown and private land. The easement is only a trail passable by careful off road driving of something more robust than a 4×4 truck. They camped on each side and across the road that is the only way to bring in a camping unit to this end of the random camping area and into the private land where I rent and camp. There is another lower, closer to the lake roadway, with tight turns, many roots and holes where stumps have been removed that exits in the lake side of the random camping area. There everyone sees me coming and going, and it’s impossible to bring water in and out since the rough road spills more water than not. In other words they were blocking my roadway out and back in.

The father said they were not completely set up yet, claimed they (with weed and alcohol in hand) that they wanted to camp away from the noise and partying of the other campers because of the children with them, and refused to consider moving to other established camping sites that were still available where they could fit both their campers.

The threats voiced towards me, the belligerence and profanity, the open threats, and the orders to leave belied … well it belied a fear in them. And an animal that is caught in fear can be unpredictable and destructive. I could well be caught in their unpredictable violence that certainly more than bubbled to the surface of one young man.

I returned a second time later, after continuing to work on the writing due that evening, as I had been before this unwelcomed surprise. I asked how long they would be there. The young man, bursting with profanity and incomprehensible challenges, came so close to striking me that I was shocked. Another man, broken with age, a long grey beard, challenged me as well. Because neither would engage in a meaningful exchange of words I turned to the father who had come around one of the campers to join the ‘not conversation’ and said they would be there until tomorrow.

Tomorrow has come and gone and they camp still there in the way, promising to vacate the roadway if I need to use it, but blocking it from all practical use.

The real threat they pose to me is, since they can see when I come and go, they and others have clear opportunity to come up to my camp and ransack it or sabotage pieces of essential equipment, loaned to me to help me survive year around here, or worse.

How to put an end to this?!

Remove them from the face of the earth? That method has been tried so often in history and the results are ugly and never successful, or if they appear to be successful the backlash is worse than than the problem one sought to solve.

Ignore them and let them block my roadway, and the roadway for others. Another family came in last night to a site along that lower, lakeside road … and busted up the awning on a tree. The road is not wide enough, the turns too tight, and the holes tip a camper into trees one is trying to avoid. Ignoring them campers blocking the roadway is a passable solution, and really the only option for now. The danger is that they will stay with whole summer, or that others will move in when they leave, and the block will continue, and the danger that comes with it.

Or I can reframe my mind about what constitutes a danger, and trust beyond reasonable trust, that though so many will know my comings and goings my camp will not be damaged (again, for the theft and sabotage has already happened more than a few times.)

Or I can work to build some trust with these fearful people, ameliorate their fear, and defuse their under-the-surface anger so that they are less unpredictable, and less likely to vent on me or my camp.

Which is the raw, unfaithful response?

Which is the immature faith response?

Which is the ‘refined gold’ response?

Which provides for ‘us’ and ‘them’ that which every soul yearns for: to be heard, to be treasured, to be encouraged, to be welcomed and accepted just as one is?

May God provide the ‘fire’ needed to refine our faith, so that in all we think, say, and do others will hear us rejoicing and calling on God’s name saying ‘The Lord is our God’, so that the Spirit may reveal with our praise, Jesus Christ’ glory and honour … and love for all people, those that threaten us and that part of us that lives in fear.

May God provide, through us, that every soul will b be heard, be treasured, be encouraged, be welcomed and accepted just as one is!

Without Distinction

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Even as the Sun Sets

and Life’s End Nears,

Jesus Offers to Everyone

Peace

for All Our Troubled Waters

Isaiah 28:29

This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

Ephesians 2:17

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

Words of Grace For Today

While the world (that’s all of us) gauges and categorizes different people for different receptions, different responses, and different levels of care, those most in need are all too often left to fend for themselves.

God does not deal with us this way. God hears the cries of all in need and responds with most excellent wisdom (not which furthers the unjust powers of this world – that’s all of us) but a wisdoem which serves God’s most precious, life-giving love.

God sends Jesus and with God’s own voice he proclaims peace to all, those near and those far off. All receive the offer of peace and the promise of peace.

How counter to the world’s systems, protocols, rules, and ethics! God provides to all without distinction. That might just expand our minds to think about the most needy in our neighbourhoods, the wealthiest in our neighbourhoods, and the most lost in the middle in our neighbourhoods.

‘How are you?’ is a simple phrase, too often a throw-away. Yet, God gives us the ability to ask it of all our neighbours with the most precious love.

After nearly a week taken for recovery of health and renewal of strength, even for me God offers:

Whatever troubles our hearts (and there seems to be no end to the possibilities; and as we grow older they seem to multiple geometrically) Jesus’ Word offers and promises peace.

Breathe.

Let that peace permeate all the worries of this day, all the efforts of this day, and all our accomplishments of this day.

Tears and Ears

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

God Gave Us Many Things.

One Would Hope Enough Brains to Figure Out Something Better for the Environment,

Like Haul It Out (As The Law Requires)

1 Samuel 3:19

As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.

Luke 10:16

Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.’

Words of Grace For Today

Letting one’s words fall to the ground.

That’s a great image of losing one’s voice, of not being heard, of not being enough that one’s voice reaches any ear and merely peters out like a plane out of fuel and they bite the dust.

But

To have God ensure that one’s words do not fall to the ground! Now that is something blessed.

We really don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it. And then when we lose our voice, and people shun us (though we’ve done nothing to deserve it, it’s all lies and deception made up to cover other’s sins), and we are cast out, unable to work, or earn a living, and we become dependent at best and desperate at least, and dead at worst.

So after one has been made to be nothing by other people’s cruelties that seem to have no end, when God comes along and promises to ‘not let your words fall to the ground’, it is to be raised from the dead and to be brought home again.

So it is.

Whoever listens, listens. And whoever rejects a person, rejects the one who gives life to that person.

May we learn to listen more carefully, kindly, with empathy to those ‘cast out’ by the world’s ways.

That’s what those two good ears God gave us are for, after all! Holding glasses in place and hanging ear rings from them may be good and even beautiful, but listening …

now that’s what God created those ears for,

and our minds for,

and our hearts for.

1/4 Turned and Twisted

Monday, May 9, 2022

When We Twist

God’s Grace

Even A Bit,

Life Is All Uphill.

Psalm 11:7

For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Ephesians 4:23-24

For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Words of Grace For Today

Ah Ephesians, Ephesians. So like so much truncated and 1/4 turn twisted faith. Jesus shows us we cannot save ourselves. The twist is simple: after Jesus saves us, then we are able to save ourselves.

Ha!

The world and people in it would have to be of an entirely different creator for that to be possible.

Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to recognize that we should, and by God’s grace sometimes do,

put away our former way of life, you old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to clothe ourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

This is a marvellous miracle for us when God accomplishes this in us, and in those around us, or anyone on this planet … and then we go off the rails, back to our old ways

like Ephesians, thinking we can save ourselves, and not being able to at all, but making up story after story as if we can, have and will …

which is the devil’s fertile ground for all the destruction that follows in such self-delusions.

So we beg: God save us again,

and again,

and again,

and again without end,

so that we might reflect the power of your grace for us, so that others may know your grace for them.

Oh, God, give us a bit of righteousness, today, if you could. We certainly do need it. We all need it.

What Goes Around …

Friday, May 6, 2022

God Sees Everything,

Nothing is Hidden,

Not Even by Mountains

or Trees

or Darkness of Night!

Ecclesiastes 12:14

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Romans 14:12-13

So then, each of us will be accountable to God. Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another.

Words of Grace For Today

Today I repaired a wire on the truck I borrow. Not a big deal, just a speed sensor for a wheel, without which the computer stabilizer to help avoid sliding (it’s the computer program that nearly threw me into oncoming traffic when the roads were icy!) , to supposedly maintain traction (when one or more wheels is wont to spin), and to determine when to use the ABS braking. Only the last is worth much, but still it’s best to keep everything in repair. One can turn off the other two if need be.

The thing is the wire to the speed sensor is not in a place where it can get caught on anything, and the wire did not wear through or break. It was cut, not just once but twice (so the wire did not hang down I would guess after the first cut!) Someone came out here while I was bicycling to town and intentionally cut the wire, twice. Talk about … well dirty dealing, sabotage, and something someone is going to answer for! Well, not because of me.

It’s just we always trust or at least hope that those that do dirty deals will eventually be caught and will pay for what they have done.

Our scriptural record tends to support that as well.

‘Even if other humans never know what you’ve done, God knows and you will have to pay for what you thought you got away with’, or so goes the thought. Much like the wall hanging I once saw and was caught off guard by enough to take a photo of it:

Karma,
I have a list of people
you seemed to have missed.
Come around again, please.

The list of popular sayings along this line are endless, for example:

What goes around, comes around.

Crime does not pay.

If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword.

Everyone gets what’s coming to them, eventually.

Except, despite all our wishes that it were so, this is not how God tells us God works.

Yes, what is hidden or secret will come to light.

Yes, though everyone else may not know, God knows. God knows everything.

Yes, there will be judgment for everyone.

Yes, yes, yes … except.

God’s clearest statement for us is in Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, by which it is clear that God’s foremost and consistent manner of dealing with us is grace, ie God judges us and forgives us our sins. God judges our enemies and all evil doers, and all people, and God forgives us all … except some sins God does not forgive … but we will never know what sins God will not and does not forgive.

We can bind or retain all the sins we deem worthy of such note, but we do not judge others. Only God judges, and God judges us all, as God knows all, sees and hears all, and reads every mind and heart.

Where does that leave us?

Should we toss every care to the wind and make our way through life of sin and evil with no care in the world, because God will, after all, forgive us anyway?

Should we not notice other people’s sins and care that their sins hurt not only us but many, many other people?

Should we just give up!

No, none of that, not no way, no how!

God graciously deals with us and equips us to love … to love ourselves, to love our neighbours all, and even to love our enemies.

Our task is to share God’s Grace, not to pretend we can judge others for God.

Yes each of us will be accountable to God.

But the best we can do is get out of God’s way, and not get in other people’s way of seeing God.

Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling-block or hindrance in the way of another.

That is the tricky part: not being a hindrance to others, and not putting stumbling blocks in others’ way to seeing God’s Grace for them!

Tall order, for short people … but short people well equipped for the gift of life and grace for all.

What’s On Your Invitation?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

This Was On My Latest Invitation.

I Keep Accepting Them.

This was one to a wood gathering party!

(The Parties are the BEST. I do the sweaty labour, God does the drinking, Works out the best for us all!)

And I Keep Getting New Invitations!

Isaiah 42:6

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.

Ephesians 3:12

We have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

When Sheila gave gifts they always spoke loudly of the strings she attached to them. She gave her husband, a high school math teacher, two airline tickets to Hawaii one Christmas, and a membership in a local fitness club. It went without saying that she expected him to get fit to show himself off in a bathing suit by the middle of February when they would be on their way to the sun and beaches and the surf.

Sheila gave her three kids full scholarships to the university of their choice along with memberships in the local chapter of the conservative political party. It went without saying that she expected each of them to pursue a career that would gain them recognition so that their contributions to returning the conservatives to government happened sooner rather than later. When her oldest daughter decided to major in philosophy, political science, and economics she was pleased. She was not as happy that her daughter chose the university most noted for it’s liberal, even socialist, professors. She didn’t know about the anarchist movement among the PPE students. When her daughter decided to continue on to law school, her mother was so proud. She even offered to pay for law school. Her daughter graduated at the top of her class and passed the bar in three provinces. And she accomplished the extraordinary: she passed the bar in three American states as well. About that time her second daughter was just finishing her degree in education. Her mom didn’t say much. But when her oldest, the lawyer, took work with the innocence project and then her second daughter started teaching in an inner city school, both living, working and contributing to political parties not their mother’s conservatives, she demanded they repay her for their education costs.

Both thanked her again for her generous support, and told her there was no way they would think of trying to repay her.

About then the youngest, Sheila’s only son, looked at what his mother was demanding of his older sisters. He passed on university and his plans to double major in architecture and engineering. Instead he took an apprenticeship. He figured he could work 5 years and save enough for his first year of university and maybe figured it out on his own from there to get his degree. He had no plans to owe his mother for anything, and he had no plans to join any political party. He volunteered at the local food bank and helped out at a weekly soup kitchen. His long term plan was to design and build low cost housing that promoted healthy living, but he’d never dared tell his mother that.

Sheila’s husband graciously accepted the airline tickets for two, visited the ‘fitness club’ of his choice, and in February took that trip to Hawaii with his ‘fitness’ club’s owner, who was two years younger than he was, but about as committed to nothing as anyone Sheila knew. After the first 5 hours he and the ‘fitness club’ owner agreed to go their separate ways. Sheila’s husband didn’t need to put on a swimsuit once during the vacation and he enjoyed every minute of it out in the sun and inside in the air conditioning. He’s filled for divorce and never looked back.

God gives us greater gifts. There are no hidden, unspoken expectations. There are no performance reviews, or right political party to join (though there may be a few not to join). God provides everything we need, and only asks (and asks clearly for anyone to hear who has ears to hear) that we share everything God gives us (less things and more so Grace, forgiveness, love and life abundant) with everyone we possibly can figure out how to share them with.

Most importantly God takes us by the hand and guides us, if we but listen. We are not on our own, ever. Secondly, God does not deal with us so graciously so that we can hide it all under a bushel basket in the back yard and pretend that life is somehow the same. Everything is different, not because we have earned it or changed, or done the right things, or not even that we’ve believed the right things. What changed is that we have acknowledged that God is there with us.

God presents us, like any proud parent would, to the world. God is not bragging about us, but showing off what God can do … with sinners like us. God invites the nations into God’s kingdom of grace. God puts us on the invitations as examples of how life is good for those who acknowledge, with boldness and confidence through faith in Jesus, all that God has done for us!

Have you seen the invitation with your name on it, or are you still trying to ignore it? First God wants to give you everything that life has to offer and then God wants to show you off as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.

Get used to it, it’s not about you.

People of Light?

Thursday, April 21, 2022

One Guest Took Exception

to the Hospitality

I Offered

and

This Was the Result!

Amos 5:15

Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Ephesians 5:8-9

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.

Words of Grace For Today

When the ‘chips are down’ is when one’s true character is revealed.

Or as Michelle Obama said at the Democratic convention that nominated Barack to return for another four years in the White House about her initial misgivings of what the presidency would do her husband, “Being president doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.”

So the Hebrew people are dismembered into fragments by their enemies. Yet Amos urges the people to conduct themselves against evil, for good, and to establish justice in the gate. Perhaps God will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph and they may become a great people again. When they do, they will need to be able to govern themselves with honour and truth, and justice.

It is said many times, we, the children of light, should bear the fruit of living in the light. We should be the people of all that is good and right and true.

My guest’s reaction was unexpected. A blow to my minimal comfort, to my dignity, and my face is hardly what one expects from such a humble guest. I should have known better.

Like so many who fight wars, who live lives of constant deceptions to ‘get ahead’ at all costs (as long as others pay the costs), and the many who work in, feed and feed on, and who benefit from the corruption in our province, our nation, all nations, and around the world, I had gone at the lives of my guest’s relatives without regard. But then no one could expect me not to, could they (as all tyrants and liars are wont to say!?)

So what if I cut them off from the rest of their ‘family’ and even from their own identity as standing tall and strong against the winds of change. Their life’s work as carbon negative beings had come to an end. So why not take them for my own purposes? So what if I cut them to bits and burned them to provide for myself. They were nothing any more, right? Besides it’s not like there are not plenty more like them where they came from!

So what if I had knocked them down to size for my purposes. So what if I split them up? Then this one guest, so odd a guest it was heading off apparently in it’s life from all expectations to take twists and turns that seemed unnatural in a world that is all about being natural!

I had not taken time to reduce this one to the simplest forms, so I was stuck using force to cut it down to size. That’s right I used the crudest and sharpest tools available to me, and added my own brute force, minimal as that may be.

Then that errant guest decided to fight back, and landed me a punch right to the lip, breaking skin, pouring blood about, and dazing me to stagger back and away. At first I wondered what had happened. Then it came back to me. That twisted guest had decided to fly at my face with unexpected speed. Could I have anticipated such a counter move? Maybe, but no guest had ever done anything remotely like this.

So what am I to do?

I will have to get out the chainsaw and go at the remains of that guest, cut it to small pieces, and feed it to the fire.

That is what one does, right?

This guest is after all, a very spirited, very twisted

piece of a tree.

Am I not right in pleading that this is how we deal with trees as guests? We cut them up, split them to size, and feed them to the fire to provide warmth so that we can survive.

It’s one thing to do this to trees fallen in the woods, something quite acceptable, right!?

But what can we say

about all those who do this to their guests, their neighbours, their family members, all who are real people?

Don’t think for a minute that this same treatment is not dealt out to millions of people each day. We can look at the Ukraine, but our view around the world would hardly have begun. We should not be hesitant to look at how this same behaviour flourishes right in our own backyards, our own acreages, our own houses and apartments, our own cities and towns, and similarly around the world.

We just treat guests terribly, and family, and neighbours, and strangers, and our enemies.

Oh how much better my own life would be if this guest were the only one taking potshots at me, unexpected punches to my ‘face’, and delivering knock out blows to my efforts to continue to live in God’s good creation.

How much better life would be for billions of people if all people hated evil and loved good, and established justice in the gate!

“Being [alive and under stresses unimagined] doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.”

So Covid reveals much about us as a species, as a people, and as individuals.

When and how will God be able to call us back to all that is good and right and true as people who live in the light of Christ?

When and how will our character be revealed as the people God created, redeemed, and renewed us to have?

What will it take?

Christ already died for us, to show us God’s steadfast love for us all!

What will it take?

Another punch to the face!?

Another dismembering of the people?

Pray that today God’s Spirit of the people of light will shine in and through you, and in and through each of us, and in and through all of us,

and that justice will be established in the gate, and everywhere including in our homes and churches,

and in our courts especially.

Blizzard Fools

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Is This the Path, The Life, That Christ Calls Us To?

Where from Comes Our Strength to Carry on

Into the Wilderness?

Only from God Who Walks with Us!

Isaiah 45:23-24

By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
‘To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear.’
Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,
are righteousness and strength;
all who were incensed against him
shall come to him and be ashamed.

John 6:51

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’

Words of Grace For Today

Yesterday the snow started in SE Saskatchewan, cm and cm fell. Then the wind up to 90km/hour blew it around like a chauffeur on meth.

The CBC article was well organized. A truck headed east to Brandon stopped to wait out the storm. Not his life, not his cargo is worth the risk of piling it up in the ditch or worse into other vehicles.

A young couple from Brandon travelled to a concert in Regina and they are on their way back, interviewed at the same spot the trucker has parked his rig, along with a collection of 18-wheelers. Who goes to a concert now in Covid times when all the restrictions are lifted leaving everyone so vulnerably exposed!?! A photo from the RCMP shows the visibility, which is forecast to get worse out of SE Saskatchewan into Manitoba. The road disappears into the white of snow and cloud ahead at 100 feet at most. The young couple says they are going to keep heading east until they come across a barrier across the road, or they simply cannot go further.

RCMP photo near Estevan SK

They are hell bent on getting back home.

What a contrast to the trucker who wisely sits out the danger of killing himself or others.

The arrogant leader portrayed in Isaiah at least knows where from his righteousness and strength come from: it comes from the Lord. I suppose that kind of arrogance could see him head out into a blizzard, ‘knowing’ that God calls him to travel!

But not likely.

For no matter how haughty we humans become, and even foolish, for those who recognize that their only righteousness and strength is not their own but that given as a gift to them by God, do not test fate for little to no reason. Risks are taken only to do God’s work.

So we know, that our lives are not anything, in fact we would not still be breathing, except that God has fed us the bread of life, Christ’ body. In him there is no darkness at all, the night and the day are all alike. In him we do not succumb to the fear of life, the fear of having to make our own way, the fear that we must achieve in order to have value. We know that our value is given in Christ’ body, and no one can take it from us. We are free and forever righteous and full of strength!

Therefore we follow Christ’ example: ministering to the poor, the marginalized, those whose voices have been taken from them. We bring God’s promise of life abundant, in sacrifice, giving life to others.

Come what may, blizzard or heat wave, floods or drought, war or barbarians ruining peace, we know that we live to Christ. We will die to Christ. And then we will live again with Christ.

So now we trust that God walks with us, and rests with us, as we stop to wait out the blizzards of life.

Humble Hubris

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Falling

Snow

Should Take Our Pride With It

to the Ground.

Isaiah 40:13

Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

Romans 11:33

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Words of Grace For Today

I have often prayed for what I needed, or at least what I thought I needed. I have often prayed for more than I needed, for what I wanted, and I still do and will as long as I live. Sometimes I know the difference. I am sure sometimes I certainly do not.

It probably is that way for most people, to varying degrees. The variation in the degree of knowing the difference seems to astound me. Maybe people are astounded by what I do not know as well.

The bottom line is this: none of us know everything that we should, could, and would if only … if only we knew what we’ve been taught and what our ancestors have experienced and should have taught us. But that is how it is with us, we just do not learn all that we could by being alive in God’s creation.

The most challenging piece of wisdom to grasp, and nearly impossible to hang on to for very long, is how humble we really ought to be.

Listen to our prayers.

Listen to our wishes.

Listen to the words we write.

Listen to the words we speak in private and in public.

From the sum total of all that we humans have thought, prayed, said quietly and cried out loudly for all to hear … from this sum total (if we could grasp it all, so even a small slice of it will have to do as an illustration here) we would deduce that we humans thought we controlled the universe down to the last detail, or at least some of us do, and the rest are alive to suffer what the others determine for us.

God

did

not

create

us

so.

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Mostly, we humans seem to have the smallest of clues at best of what God chooses and executes for us and for all creation!

Yet we think we can control God. Fully name and explicate God. Roll down on others God’s commands and judgments!

But Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

None, not a one.

Only by Grace do we know anything at all about God, and through Jesus, the Christ, we know that God’s primary attitude to us in one of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love.

Our place is not to understand God, or God’s ways. Our place is to exercise God’s primary attitude of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love in all we do and say, so that others will know the little bit we understand of God.

Where are you this morning? Where is God this day?

It’s rained all night. The cold water streaming steadily on to the 3 feet of heavy snow covering the ground and the deep ice still on the lake. The smoke from the fire wafts this way and that, steamy in the damp morning light. Not another scent can penetrate the air. The green bows of the spruce trees, the tuffs of green grass showing in the few spots where the sun has burned away the snow pack lowered by shovelling my way through the winter, not even the Moose droppings next to the large spruce where it spent a frigid night alone.

It is as if the world is reduced to sights and sounds: geese arriving and staking out territories, the fighter jets smashing air aside as they return to base, wheels and flaps down, throttle set at half for full noise below the sound barrier, the drip of the water falling from the leaves and tarps around my camp, the steady stream of snow flakes dropping, dropping, dropping on to the rain-sodden snow pack, the music floating in my mind, haunting oboe, intricate turns of words of comfort amid ordinary and extraordinary disasters. Thankfully the fire continues to burn, contained and directed to provide a duration of heat, for warmth, for heating water to wash with, and for cooking.

In this morning, so ordinary, so extraordinary, how can one see and know God? How can one not?! For my enemies have long since sought my death, seldom directly, constantly indirectly. And if not my death then my exile to some far distant location from which I could not be heard to speak the truth. In this morning of rain and snow, quiet and solitude, beauty and wonder, that I breathe is a miracle provided by God.

Likewise, I think, it is for all of us, should we be able to notice all God does to bring us breathing into a new day.

For God is everywhere! And we are here in God’s creation … likely not as humble as we ought to be, but wondrously comforted by God with us and thus emboldened for all we can do this day.