De-story-ing OR God’s Story

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Blood Red Sun Sets

Through the Smoke

Telling Us, If We Listen

That There Is a Cost

As We Try to Breathe

For Ignoring Climate Change Warnings for Decades

Genesis 50:21

Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.

Ephesians 4:29

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

Words of Grace For Today

There is too much to fear these days:

The Covid19 delta variant and other more transmissible and deadly variants that will come out of unvaccinated populations where Covid still runs rampant threaten us all.

Climate change disasters like crop failures, disasters for the farmers and for the people who depend on that food (at a cost that can be afforded), floods that destroy homes, businesses, industries, and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt), fires that destroy homes, businesses and forestry industries and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt, and drive even higher the cost of building lumber – so that it is out of reach for so many people), and wildfires that put so much smoke in every direction into the air that for thousands of miles people have trouble breathing.

Barbaric fabrication of reality (by spouses and children, police and pastors, lawyers and judges) in order to gain a fast diminishing advantage (money, power, and/or status) over good and honest people, falsifying science results or ignoring science’s best results (by politicians who lead us into destroying the very things that we need to live on earth, and by Covidiots and others who put every life at risk with their unsupported insistence that they can be right with their foolishness), and the accumulation of power by people who have driven fear into huge portions of our populations so that they are willing to surrender their freedoms in exchange for false promises that their fears will be dealt with. Instead more and more of their freedoms are taken and hate based decisions by despots destroy the lives of many good people. All which disconnects us from reality, the basic reality that God walks with us, and blesses us with many things in order that we can share them with all other people.

How are we to respond to these very real causes of fear in and among us?

First we listen as we have listened for years, for decades, and for generations to God’s promises.

Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.

Second we learn how and practise daily to be the people who live past fear in the Grace that God provides, so that we can share that Grace with others.

We let no evil talk come out of our mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that our words may give grace to those who hear.

If that sounds simple, it is, and it is impossible for us. Doch with God all things are possible and God calls us to live exactly this way. Living beyond fear, filled with Grace and sharing Grace with others, with our words and our actions, is exactly how God created us to live in the world.

There is too much to fear these days, just as there always has been for every generation. We can get lost in that fear, destroying (and de-story-ing) ourselves and others in the process … OR

We can remember and live in the story that God has for us: God makes us saints who share the Light of Christ with the whole world and all the people in it.

We cannot help but to fear and destroy and de-story ourselves and others.

Doch by God’s Grace we are saved and can be part of God’s work of saving everyone of all time.

Not so small a deal, when we think about it and remember how much God has done for us through the generations.

God Blesses Us Despite What We Do!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Beaver

Giving Warning.

Do We Heed God’s Warnings? NO!

Yet God Continues to Bless Us!

Psalm 91:14

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

1 John 3:21-22

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

Words of Grace For Today

Julie and Greg sought refuge from the heat, well over 35⁰ each day from 8:00 to 20:00 or later making sleeping difficult, and at best restless. The packed up their little camper behind the truck and headed out to a lake more than an hour away, since all the campgrounds at other lake closer were overfilled. There was no proper campground, just crown land where random camping was allowed.

They were hardly the first to arrive, and most of the possible sites were filled and overfilled with others seeking relief from the heat and being cooped up for more than a year with the covid19 restrictions. With luck, or was it a pure blessing, they arrived just minutes after another family left one of the furthest campsites, one set among birch trees on a hill more than 50 feet above the lake. They settled in and carried their canoe down near the four log steps to the water.

For a week they ‘enjoyed’ temperatures that did not climb above 32⁰ and nights that cooled off after sunset at 21:30 to the high teens, making sleeping a wonderful and restful reprieve. The first few days they recovered and found wonder in the relative cool nights, and the canoe outings during the hottest part of the day into the cooler air above the water. They knew that God had delivered them.

Then they became accustom to the reprieve, and noticed the challenges of camping: the swarms of mosquitoes morning and evening made being outside less than comfortable, the flies that chewed small chunks right out of their arms, checks and even eyelids, and the bees and wasps whose stings they were allergic to. Then there were the late night parties from the other parts of the campground that seemed to never end until the sun rose; a downside of uncontrolled camping producing loud music and fireworks at all late hours! The quads, dirt bikes, and side by sides chewed up the dirt right before their camper, blowing exhaust into their camper at any hour. They became complainers instead of giving God thanks.

Saturday afternoon all that complaining ended with a real danger. The emergency broadcast service rang out from their cell phones: a tornado warning! A funnel was sighted moving fast NW just 30 miles away to the SW of their precious campsite. There was no basement or building to hide in against the SW wall. They did what they could. They pulled their hand-made cedar strip canoe high away from the lake and secured it among some strong trees and bush. The parked the truck on the lakeside of the camper, opened it’s windows and all the windows on the camper (to prevent the severe drop and rise in air pressure from blowing up either the truck or camper.) Taking a larger tarp they found where a tree’s roots had been ripped out leaving a depression, laid down the tarp, sat and laid in on it, and covered themselves with the tarp to protect themselves from the rain that pelted sideways at them in the high wind.

The last thing they saw before covering themselves was a funnel approach the other side of the lake, tossing trees out of it’s path like toothpicks, and throwing a great blinding spray of water that hid everything from sight as it came across the lake. The deafening sound grew until it went totally quiet, not from lack of sound but from the pressure built in their eardrums that made hearing anything impossible. In their bones they felt instead of heard the roar, the explosions and earth shaking thuds, and then the stillness ….

When they uncovered themselves all the trees for 100 yards in all directions were gone, in their place were shreds of logs piled in places like matchsticks poured out of their box by a child playing with danger.

They walked back to where they had laid their canoe. Miraculously the trees were gone, but the bush remained covering their untouched, precious canoe. In that same moment they recognized behind a jumble of logs their camper, and then their truck, both untouched by the destruction.

In the rest of the random campground 4 people were killed, 10 others injured, and many vehicles and camping units were damaged or totally destroyed. Some trees, though not many, remained standing as before. The shoreline was hidden beneath a mess of bush, logs, and the remains of boats that had been in the water or on shore. Julie and Greg used their truck to transport 8 people to the hospital and then a second trip with the other 2 less severely injured and 2 bodies they had found.

For weeks after both Julie and Greg, knowing that their sins were many and varied, knew that many days they had done nothing to please God, yet God had delivered them. They were alive. Their precious canoe, truck, and camper were undamaged. They were the only family camping that completely escaped damage or injury of some kind. They did not deserve this, so they gave God thanks, with words each morning and night, and with acts of kindness for others, helping others recover property, and cleaning up the camping area as they could. Somehow the heat that had returned, the mosquitoes, flies, bees and wasps that continued to swarm, and the parties that people somehow continued to hold each evening made little difference.

The goodness of life itself outshone all the challenges, obstacles, and ugliness around them.

Julie and Greg knew that God blessed them not because of what they had done, or not done, but simply because God so chose to bless them. They learned, slowly as the blessed shock of surviving unscathed, how to reflect God’s blessings in their daily lives, how to maintain their gratitude for each breathe and moment of life, and how to shine undeserved grace to other people.

Even scripture, given to humans to write, can be wrong when it somehow conveys that God blesses us because we obey his commandments and do what pleases God.

First God blesses us. Then like Julie and Greg we slowly learn to obey and do what pleases God. And we inevitably revert to our old ways of complaining about life and doing all things only for ourselves, until God surprises us with an undeserved blessing, so that we slowly learn again to obey and do what please God…. Until we inevitably revert to our old ways … and God surprises us again and again with undeserved blessings.

Precious to Whom?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

In the Heat of (Climate Change Ever More Extreme) Summer

God Remembers Us

And the Many Paths Our Machines Have Made

In the Cool of Winter.

‘Chill’

God Recommends We

‘Chill.’

2 Samuel 7:22

Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Words of Grace For Today

In this rough and wild world of self-interested cheats and liars all, it is good to know one’s friends well and to have friends in high places, very high places.

No better friend than God, for there is no one like God, no god besides God, whether we’ve heard it or not!

The trouble with human friends is that when they get to be in high places, they cannot be trusted not to turn on you for their own interests of staying in high places, or demanding dirty little favours of you to help them stay in high places.

God does no such thing. We need not fear that God will turn on us, or turn us into petty criminals doing God’s dirty work so that God can remain God. God has no such concerns, for God has not stepped up higher than is God’s place (like some friends do, and all people in high places have done!)

God does no such thing. Instead God assures us we need not fear God’s Power and Might. God has turned that all powerful, all-mightyful reality toward resolving all that would destroy us.

God chose to be born as one of us, weak and vulnerable to corrupt powers that pretend to be more than they are, just as many of our judges and police and politicians do today. God suffered a terrible death at their hands, and defied their ‘power’ and the real power of death and evil itself! All so that we can live free of such fears, of petty powers and of real destructive powers of evil and even of death itself.

That’s what a real good friend in the very high places (and the low places and everywhere in between) does for us.

We must be some extraordinary precious!

Breathe in that reality!

We are precious to the Ultimate Most Powerful One!

What a life!

What are we going to do with it, that’s the question for each of us each day!

Why Lord, Why?!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Lord, Why When the Light is Right in Front of Us

Do We Still Seek the Darkness?

Isaiah 61:1

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Words of Grace For Today

God, why …?

God why is it so hot!

Sweat pours down my back and arms and all over dripping all my work in stinky wet.

My jeans stick to my legs as I try to move. My shirt tugs back at all my efforts to move. It’s hard to get anything done, and when I do I feel like someone has wrung me out like a sopping wet towel and left me still soaking and stinking.

Ok, God, I can get used to the heat, it’s not easy but I’m adapting to it, but

God why are there so many miserable mosquitoes ready to bite me at all hours and at dawn and dusk they swarm so thick it’s hard not to inhale more than a few just walking a few feet from the door. When they bite it hurts, and then goes away, just to come back with a terrible itch that simply will not go away and will not be ignored! What’s that about anyway. If I try to ignore them and merely wash the itch away with ammonia in the glass cleaner, that sort of works until I get itchy all over inside my eyes, my nose, my throat and my ears and I start to have a severe allergic reaction that starts to take my breath away. Really, does it have to be so bad all summer long!? I have to wear long jeans and long sleeves, thick socks and a hat with flaps down my neck and over my ears soaked in DEET to keep them away. Then every night I have to wash all that DEET exposure away before I sleep which takes water which is expensive to haul here to have to wash with. Fortunately I have friends who have loaned me the things needed to shower each night and haul water often enough from town that I can shower on the hot days before sleeping.

So God I guess I can get used to the mosquitoes, but God, I mean really: does there have to be so many black gnats that dive bomb into my face, my eyes and ears and take little chunks away as prizes for their kamikaze efforts, which because they are so many they usually survive better than I. I end up breathing them into my lungs at least once a day. I have to constantly wave my hand in front of my face to keep them away, which sort of works and they only seem to be out in certain places while I am mowing grass. So it’s not all the time, thankfully.

So God I guess I have figured out how to survive even the kamikaze gnats.

But God why are there so many wasps, not just ready to bite me when I try to work on the tarps that shelter me from the cold in winter. They did sting me, hard sending shock waves through my body and brain freezing out all other thoughts or impulses except to run. Not just once, but twice, and they hurt unbearably for hours, then itched and ached for days. The memory returned fresh each time I stepped outside and the sound of a wasp buzz reached my ears. I live in fear everyday of being smashed into panic again. I cannot have that. I cannot work. I have to huddle in fear inside.

That just cannot be. So I’ve made a suit to protect me from head to toe, even a piece of screen left over from repairs to guard my face, all duct taped together with no gaps at all. I’ve read on the internet that dish soap will suffocate wasps. I cannot find any prepared wasp control/killer spray, so I’ve filled a spray bottle with a water soap mix and I’ve destroyed the nest on the tarps, and three in the woods so close they wasps swarm around the camper each day.

So God I guess I’ve figured out how to deal with the fear created by being stung by wasps, and in the fall they will all dies off. Next spring I know what to do to keep them from creating nest here again. It’s simple if I am ready.

But God I really don’t know what to do with the people that gaslight me, that scapegoat me, that bear false witness against me, and the judges that lie about the evidence before them in order to convict me and deny me true justice. How can a society survive such barbarism anyway. It’s like the truth does not count for anything and whatever someone makes up for the courts and whatever the courts want to make up for themselves will be taken in the worse possible way for me, and I’ll pay and pay and pay until I have nothing left and still I’ll be driven into debt, further and further and further, and made to give up even the most common decent truths about myself. I have had to celebrate the Eucharist each day to remember that you too were betrayed and scapegoated and convicted and … well you were crucified. I have not been killed. I have found your blessings in each day in the most profound and simple things, like having enough to eat, and a good cup of coffee with fresh milk in it in the morning, and having medications I need, and having reason and opportunity to work hard to survive, and write and dream and use photography to speak about the wonders of your creation.

So God, I guess I have gotten used to evil all around in the most trusted, honoured places in society in this adopted country of mine. I have to remember how much you forgive me, so that I can remember that you may forgive these people as well, though now I cannot say their sins are forgiven, for they have not admitted they did and still do this same thing to others, and it is horrendous for the children. So I have bound their sins so that they might fear that they will answer to you, though with you I hope for a double victory, now that they provide justice based on truth, and that they join your people in celebrating all your gifts, encouraging others to do the same.

But Lord, it’s so hot, there’s so many mosquitoes and gnats and wasps and so many enemies of goodness, kindness, truth, and love. How can I deal with all of them all the time.

So I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep

and if I die before I wake, least I won’t wonder how much is still at stake

for the dance of life is more than a dance, gracefully, graciously partaken in.

It is also a feast and celebration with you, God, with all your people, in thanks for all you’ve suffered to do good things for us all.

So I guess I can wait for the cold, when the sweat will not run freely, the mosquitoes will be done for another year, the gnats will disappear and I can breathe easy, and the evil people are kept at bay by the cold and snow.

But God why does it have to be so cold and stormy, and why does there have to be so much snow.

I mean I like to have my peace and be able to ski ….

So Lord I pray, give me your peace, in the sleep of the righteous and pure, graciously so made a saint of your light by your own choice and by grace through faith alone.

Another simple normal summer day.

When does autumn start to arrive?

But Lord, why do the bears start to come around in the fall …..?

Lord, whatever it is that holds me captive, free me. Whatever it is that blinds me, give me sight. Whatever it is that robs me of joy while serving you and sharing the good news of your Grace with others, take this from me so that

because you give me life

I can be one of the saints who bring good news to the oppressed, who bind up the broken-hearted, who proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

Help me live in the freedom you have so preciously bought for me; help me not return to the slavery that I know so well and feels so comfortable … until it binds me so close to evil that life starts to shrivel right out of me leaving me alone with my fears.

Barriers to Truth

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Breathe the Light,

See the Loon’s Wail,

Know God’s Power,

For God Walks with Us!

Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Mark 10:27

Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’

Words of Grace For Today

Tina stood outside her camper, breathing in the sunset air with light pounding against the still lake waters. How had it come to this? Such beauty, wonders, and peace after a decade of Gaslighting?

She had not earned it, nor felt any claim to it, though her attachment to the land and waters ran through her bones deeper than it had a right to.

For mortals this would be impossible to imagine; but even this is not impossible for God.

For years what troubled her is that people could do what they had done: lied, gaslit, scapegoated, made false reports to the police, blatantly lie in court (even police officers), and then the lies the judges told in order to convict her, send her to prison. How could people choose to do such things? How could people think they would get away with it, and then it seemed they got away with it.

She had always known she had not committed the crimes, or done the terrible things reported and rumoured about her around town. The impact of being declared a criminal though ran deep and she questioned what she had done wrong to ‘earn’ this kind of treatment, even if people were so evil, corrupt and cruel to do to her and say about her the things they had.

It took years of loneliness, despair, prayer, hope, and many repeat acts of people lying about her, pushing her back down as she tried to gain a voice. That was it for the first few years, silenced about the false police reports and false charges. Then silenced about the lies told to the courts. Silenced by unjust and cruel judges. Everyone was so afraid of the truth, now that the ‘game was afoot’ to scapegoat her for evil they had previously, otherwise done, and which they still continued to do.

It took years of coming to understand that the evil done to her had very little if anything to do with her at all. All those years of confusion, pain, loneliness, silence, and lost hopes. Slowly, ever so slowly she came to understand how very little it had to do with her and how terrible the things were that she had learned about, the lies and games that people played creating the lies, the horrendous perversions that people participated in and covered up, with influence, money, and raw force.

Arnold had invited, begged, persistently courted and pursued her. In court he’d said she was the one who had pursued him, for his money, for his children, for his home. All of that was lies. He had pursued her for the good company she was, for her great way with children, and, after he’d seduced her, for the sex. He made out that he was charmed, needy, and fulfilled by her. But he really knew nothing about love at all. He begged her to marry him and not just have an affair. She agreed and he promised they would marry when she was divorced. And when she was divorced he said they didn’t need to get married, that it would be just like they were married.

On it went, a marvellous, unbelievable six months of being in love, with the isolation from friends, the constant critique of little things mostly of things he did and blamed her for, the silence about her past, and all the stories about how perfect his first wife was. All that even after he confided to her that he had driven her to kill herself when her two life insurance policies overlapped and both paid out handsomely making him a multimillionaire in months. She was perfect in every way, and when she made a wrong decision he made sure she changed her mind and made the right one, especially the last decision to end her life.

He went to work on Tina right away, and got her on a drug that caused her to be suicidal, and he drove her hard, hard, hard until one day with half a bottle of sleeping pills and a bottle of alcohol Tina was ready to find her freedom from Arnold’s abuse.

How had it come to this?

How had that come to sitting by a lake breathing in the sunset with light pounding against the still lake waters. Such beauty, wonders, and peace after a decade of abuse, Gaslighting, and one suicide that failed only because the cream in the Irish Cream slowed the absorption of the sleeping medication – that took three days to work it’s way out of her system?

How had it come to this after that?

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; God’s understanding is beyond measure.

So many times Tina had resigned her to God’s care and understanding of what was being done to her, for it made no sense at all, not at all, at all!

It took years but it had come to this, by the lake.

Tina still did not understand, though she agreed, For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.

Where are you today? How did you get there?

What unbelievable challenges blocked your path so many times in so many ways?

How has God shown you, that for God all things are possible?

Hot Party! or Keep Your Cool!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

No Matter What Fogs Up Our View of the World

God Will Bring Blessings Each Day

and the Cool Blessed Days Will Return

Isaiah 12:6

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Luke 19:37-38

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’

Words of Grace For Today

July 1, 2021 approaches and the end of all (almost all) health orders providing restrictions because of Covid 19 will come with it, in Alberta. Unless or until the Delta or some other variant changes everything, again.

Still people are hungry for release, for freedom, for the lack of order that can be filled with their chaos, for ‘life like it used to be’ but really never was – which is always a stupid person’s excuse to want things so simple that dictators can easily take over. There will be a party of all parties, with instances duplicated all over the province, in kitchens, around dining room tables, in halls and in door conference spaces, in tourist destinations and next to the lakes, and in the bush … well that party has already started here, down the way, with fireworks and drinking, smoking and loud music and screaming into all hours of the night. Why not!?! It’s freedom, Right!?

Everyone loves a good excuse to have a party, well almost everyone, or truth be told everyone does except for the introverts (which is estimated to be somewhere between 15% and 50% of everyone).

Jesus enters Jerusalem. He is known to speak with authority and that the authorities are threatened by him. He is the common people’s hope for change. Even though he rides on a foal of a donkey, people shout and throw palms and lay down their garments for his path into the city. Which is a great excuse for a party … and for the authorities it is a great excuse to be rid of him once and for all.

God enters our days, usually quite quietly, walking with us, inspiring us to be the saints forgiven by God that God has made us to be. We make no fanfare.

Jesus is heralded as King with great fanfare, noise, and pomp. Yet he is not the people’s king to free them from foreign dictators. He is King of the universe, and King of our hearts, minds and breath … and of out lives if we continually accept that we need forgiveness, Christ forgives us, and we can live free from sin and the free from the power of the Evil One.

Each morning we have more reason to celebrate, to shout for joy, to bring on a party, than even when Jesus enters Jerusalem.

Yet it is quiet. The sun shines bright and hot on the cool of the morning, so warm already even the song birds are done until evening. The shadows are long from the northeast, the shade provides a momentary cool. God has been here even before it became light and we are quiet, the meadows and woods and lake are quiet. The partiers from last night are now quieted.

There is no need to make loud noises, for this is common, everyday, every place: God is long since been with us.

We pray that God will be with us on 1 July and for months beyond, for Covid 19 is here to stay with us so we pray that the vaccines will stay effective, that the whole world will be vaccination soon, and that we will learn to be the opposite of covidiots – covid-smarts, and all-life-smarts, knowing and trusting God’s Grace as our sole breath and life.

Weary? You Bet!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Rest, at Sunset, In the Calm

That Christ Offers

Isaiah 12:3

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Words of Grace For Today

Like no other words these are so welcome …

now after 15 months plus of Covid 19 restrictions and unknowns,

when my enemies pile on more lies and destruction, take more money I will never have piling debt on debt, and when it seems there are too few people who know who I a really am. Because I certainly am not the person reported to and by the RCMP, or testified about in the courts, or convicted and labelled a vexatious litigant by judges who care not for the actual truth,

when illness and disabling arthritis and injury combine to keep me from doing what I had planned to do to keep healthy, busy, and keep the mosquitoes at bay: mow, mow, and again mow,

when the death of a loved one rips the foundation of life out from underneath us,

when the darkness of the Evil One convinces us that the world is always going to be dark, even when the sun shines longer today than any other day in a year, and that evil will always win the day,

What we thirst for at those times, and now, is a place to rest in safety and

Jesus calls to us:

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Once again God works to convince us, to reassure us with hope beyond hope, that

With joy we will today draw water from the wells of salvation.

There are no better words that these:

Come you who are weary and I will give you rest, so that with joy you will draw living water from the wells of salvation!

When we have rested, and washed ourselves and souls once again clean, when we have drunk our fill, then Christ calls us to share these words, these opportunities to rest and be renewed, and this living water. Christ calls us because there are so many people weary, carrying heavy burdens, who lose themselves as if they were separated from the love of God.

These words, these offers, this living water is all we have, it’s all we need to be able to share, it is all that anyone needs from life.

What joy comes when God calls us out of our weariness, and we share it all with others!

Working Against the Evil One?

Friday, June 18, 2021

It’s A Long Haul

in the Darkness.

How Can We Stay Afloat?

Or Will We All Go Loony?

Psalm 60:13

With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

Covid 19 (and the restrictions placed on us in order that fewer people get sick and suffer the resulting long term disabling consequences or even death) have shown us once again that we must work diligently as God’s people to protect not only ourselves but all people from all evil.

Much of that work seems impossible. How does one protect those who live around a covidiot who when she/he lies dying of Covid 19, barely able to breathe, still insists that Covid 19 is a conspiracy to take away people’s freedoms? How does one protect the hundreds of covidiot-young adults who gather at a bush party where hundreds of people mill about in packs, drinking, smoking, and doing drugs, with no thought to physical distancing or masks or safety? How does one protect people from leaders who refuse to recognize that restrictions are needed and must be followed or thousands more people will die and even more will suffer long-haul Covid disabling complications?

How does one protect oneself? The best science shows that hand washing or sanitizing and physical distancing are only very superficial protections against becoming infected, that masks (that we have available to us) do little to protect us and only somewhat help protect others around us, and that even vaccines (as good as they may be) are never a 100% protection against becoming infected with or even dying from Covid 19!

The best science shows that hand washing or sanitizing, physical distancing, masks, and vaccines are all together great deterrents to the spread of Covid 19 in all its variants. Common sense is that this is what we can do, and therefore must do.

Still, like so much we have to deal with in life, this is not enough to provide a guarantee that we will survive and live well.

It is all too easy to throw caution to the wind, toss off the masks, and join the crowds of covidiots (pretending that life continues ‘normally’ as before) eating and drinking and making merry. Life is short no matter what. Everyone will die. Why not live it up while one can?!

Instead, God remains faithful and trustworthy. The Lord is faithful; God will strengthen us and guard us from the evil one. God promises to walk with us, and to face every challenge with us, even Covid 19, even if we or those we love become sick, suffer long-Covid, or lose our breath and life to it. No matter what happens God remains faithful and trustworthy.

We are not in this alone, even when being alone is the safest precaution we can take against Covid 19, though the riskiest to our ability to maintain resilience, to maintain good mental health, to stay healthy on so many other fronts. The truth is we often spend far too little time alone, with ourselves, facing the reality of our own lives and sins, and being ever so thankful for God’s Grace that gives us renewed life each day.

Even as we face Covid 19, the grief of lost loved ones, the loss of resilience with the rise of languishing … and our inability to do anything about all that, with God we shall do valiantly; it is God who will tread down our foes.

With God we shall do valiantly; it is God who will tread down our foes.

Sunscreen or Sonscreen?

Wednesday, June9, 2021

The Golden Light of Christ

Shines in Every Darkness

Bringing Breath

and

Life Abundant

Isaiah 60:17

Instead of bronze I will bring gold, instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will appoint Peace as your overseer and Righteousness as your taskmaster.

Hebrews 2:1

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.

Words of Grace For Today

Isaiah 60 begins:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
   and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
   and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
   and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

That is the context of the advancement that God will provide to the people, no longer merely stones, doch God will provide also iron. No longer merely iron, doch God will provide also silver. No longer merely wood, doch God will provide also bronze. No longer merely bronze, doch God will also provide gold.

The story continues through history as God provides more and more materials, until alloys, plastics, composites, rare metals, and oil abound in our lives.

We want more and more. By our wanting more and more, using and burning more and more oil for example, we will bring upon ourselves the darkness that will cover the earth.

Isaiah could not have foreseen what we would do, though Isaiah saw clearly what people are capable of. The story of God’s people was and is and always will be that the people are blessed by God with an abundance beyond our basic needs, we exploit the blessings, perverting it into all that is against God and God’s creation – and against the people, even God’s people, us! So we turn from God. We lose God’s blessings and end up in exile, ruled by others who are perverse and evil.

God does not leave us there. God’s love is steadfast, even if, and especially when, our love of God and God’s creation is so fickle. God comes to forgive us.

That is the message of Isaiah. The people are in exile, ruled and exploited and assimilated by other people of other power.

They hear Isaiah’s words.

The darkness is coming over all the earth, doch God will bring light to God’s people and all the people of the earth will search for, and come to bask in, that light. For it is the Light of life.

Again and again God’s Word sets God’s people free, as the Word of Life, Jesus the Christ did for those who believed in him in those early generations after his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. So also Jesus frees us that we may live abundantly.

We need no more than the very bare basics of life. Sometimes we live more abundantly with no extras, no luxuries, none of the usual comforts that so many see as ‘givens’ for life today in the western world. Without the extras we must focus on the necessities, and we soon learn that while the physical requirements to stay alive are significantly important (especially to the billions who do not have them), the requirement of life abundant is not more and more and more.

It is to give, to give, to give to God and God’s people.

It is to serve, to serve, to serve God and God’s people.

It is to love, to love, to love God and God’s people.

It is to forgive, to forgive, to forgive, and to forgive even more all of God’s people.

It is a true blessing from God when we are able to remain fully cognizant of that, even while we are so easily distracted struggling for the basics of life, or more fully distracted by the false promises of a ‘good life’ achieved by having more and more and more.

So we pray that we will give greater and greater attention to what we have heard of the old, old story of Jesus and his love, so that we do not drift away from being the ones who share that Good News with all people, bringing the Light of Life into the darkness that has descended upon so many people in so many places, in so many hearts consuming so many minds. We are to revive those hearts lost to darkness, those minds consumed by the dark.

The Light of Life is here. See it. Receive it. Share it. Bask it in. No sonscreen is needed.

Whatever the Challenges of Our Days …

Monday, May 31, 2021

God’s Deliverance

Awaits Us

Each Day

Isaiah 56:1

Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.

2 Corinthians 6:2

For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

Words of Grace For Today

We’ve waited, waited, and waited …

and now is the day of salvation.

Except it is not that our enemies are eliminated,

It is that we are redeemed and set free from our sins.

We still will struggle to maintain justice, to do what is right, and to be gracious with people who are not just, who do wrong, and who are everything except gracious.

What is new, and is new each time we recognize that the Kingdom of God is at hand, is that we know that God has and continually delivers us.

That is the basis for living in grace, living out grace for others, and finding hope, joy, and peace in each moment whether it’s a challenge or not we are in the middle of.