Yeah, Sure!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

You Can Say Whatever You Like,

But That’s a Lake,

As Sure As Covid is

a Serious and Deadly Pandemic.

Exodus 23:25

You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you.

Matthew 6:31-32

Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Words of Grace For Today

Quite sure sickness is rampant among us. Coming out the back end of the Covid pandemic, and it’s not done with us yet by any means, is anyone ready to say that as we worship God our food and bread is blessed and we have all sickness taken away from among us? Covid is simply so contagious that measures to stop it are useless (well not really but people are no longer willing to pay the small price of wearing masks and keeping physical distance and restricting their social interactions to a small group of people so … well so measures are not kept and therefore governments are giving up on keeping them). The greatest sickness is exemplified by the guy who says Covid was a big hoax. Tell that to the families of all the people who died!

I’m sure that if I do not work hard for wood to heat with in the winter, and persist to find money to buy groceries with and show up at the food bank to supplement the ever smaller amount of groceries I can afford, and, and, and … I am sure if I do not strive heftily, I will meet my physical death.

So these passages are difficult to hear.

The truth of the matter is, when we worry about food and water, rather than actually working to ensure we have them, our worry sucks the life right out of us.

The truth of the matter is, sickness will never be wiped out from among us, not completely, and when we either think that it can be and behave like it has been or we ignore that sickness is part of life, we endanger ourselves and so many people around us.

The truth of the matter is that God created the world and said it was good! Hunger, poverty, drought, thirst, illness and death are part and parcel of our being able to choose to either love God or not.

Today is another day of opportunity: to ruin our days with worry and denials of sicknesses and death OR to enjoy our days with thanks for everything God gives us, and appropriate work to secure our daily needs and have enough to share with those without enough, and to live sensibly and cautiously so as to foster our own health and the health of those around us.

What’ll it be today for you?

Groaning

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Is this Your Lost Camper?

What’s It Doing In My Yard?

The VIN of the Lost/Stolen/Misplaced and Unlicensed Motor Home

Psalm 73:26

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Romans 8:23-24

Not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?

Words of Grace For Today

There is every cause to groan at the developments of the previous days …

besides the reasons of every day: death is a’coming as our bodies give up life; we may be adopted and redeemed, but our bodies still have so many demands and limits and … well life, as one gets older and older, does not seem to get better, in fact, quite the opposite. Our bodies are not the only things that wear out. Machines that we rely on do as well. While our bodies are covered under the provincial health care plan, and we may have supplementary insurance, our machines cost lots of money to have someone qualified fix them.

So our machines get cobbled back together again and again, and pretty soon it’s a marvel that they work at all.

Our bodies get health care, such as it is, if a doctor will even care at all about you. All of that costs lots of money that comes out of our pockets as taxes, supposedly more if we have and make more money, though it seems not to work out that way. Even with the best health care, though, our bodies still slowly and sometimes quite quickly decay as if pulled back to be dust.

We can rejoice that with all this decay, God is our strength and portion forever, and that even our bodies will be adopted fully and redeemed fully and renewed, better than in our first life. We wait. We wait for God to keep the promise that our bodies will be redeemed and renewed. There is no proof available that this redemption and renewal will happen. So much of what we observe and experience points in exactly the opposite direction. So we are given hope. Hope alone. Hope in what is not obvious or not seen or sometimes apparently simply not possible.

Hope is hope when it anticipates what is not seen or proven or provable.

God gives us plenty, even when in the previous days someone parks a 40 foot old motor home in my yard from across our campers where I live. This motor home has no license plate, is a mess inside as much as is obvious through the door’s window. It has all the signs of being stolen and dumped here, out of sight and in my way. The yard is used as a dumping ground.

Now that stupidity is a cause for so much groaning. When will it stop!

God gives us hope that even things like this will be resolved, since redeemed is a bit much to hope for.

Wanting More

Sunday, May 29, 2022

See God There?

With God’s Hands Raised High,

Reflected In The Water,

God Blesses Us and Sends Us …

1 Kings 8:27

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!

1 John 4:12

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Words of Grace For Today

David built himself a fine palace. He wanted more. He wanted to build God a temple, God’s own house on earth. That would demonstrate to all that David served God … well, really it would demonstrate that God served David, so God says no.

Solomon moves ahead with David’s plan to build God a home, a temple on earth, even though Solomon is wise enough to know that God cannot be contained by … well, God cannot be contained by anything! Solomon builds the temple so the people have a place to go to pray to God and know that God hears them. Of course God hears us wherever we pray, but sometimes we people want more. We want to be convinced by mind games others play on us, that God is with us.

It’s hardly ever enough for us humans to know that God is with us and hears us and guides us … and suffers with us. We want more.

The verse from 1 John points to how we frail humans can fully know that God is with us. When God’s love is perfected in us as we love one another, then, though no one can ever see God, we can know that God lives in us.

True: God lives in us. True: when we love one another it is God in us that makes that possible. False: then we must work to love one another to convince ourselves that God lives in us. Nope, doesn’t work like that.

Start with God. Continue with God is for us. Then on to trusting that God lives with us and hears us and guides us … and suffers with us.

And we want more.

So we go off on all sorts of quests to achieve the unachievable in order to fully live life, leaving behind us in our dust the only thing that gives us life at all, and full life at that: that God lives in us.

There is no more. From that we can be more than we can imagine, bringing God’s love and grace to other people.

Still we want more.

So we pray: God save us … and give us more.

That’s what the Devil plays with, and it is that which brings so much suffering to us, other people, and to God who lives with us.

If we could only admit that we see God every day, in the most ordinary and the most extraordinary things and events. We would know that life on this planet earth is everything because God lives in us, walks with us, hears us, and guides us through every day.

Oh well, today like every day, we will do the best we can to reflect God’s love to all people and creation!

… the rest we trust God will somehow forgive, mend, and renew.

Ready or Foul, Here It Comes

Friday, May 20, 2022

Where to Today?

Where from Today?

Where Ever, What Ever, Always

God’s Power of Love

All Around Us!

Psalm 38:5

My wounds grow foul and fester because of my foolishness.

Colossians 2:11-14

In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

Words of Grace For Today

There is really only one huge challenge in life, and that is: to perceive, comprehend, and wisely respond to the reality one faces each day.

Our minds are marvellously powerful organs, capable of visions and imagining a better tomorrow. We are also able to hide from the reality that we face, and make life going forward next to impossible for ourselves and/or for people around us, even people around the globe (now and in the future!) Oh, what power we have!

When one is ill, the symptoms can be mild. One can try to ignore them, continue with the aid of medication to minimize the symptoms, share the illness with unsuspecting contacts, and likely end up with worsening illness if not in the short term then as a chronic condition (which one may not even recognize as being a result of one’s ‘carrying-on with a stiff upper lip’.)

When the symptoms become severe, as the Psalmist reflects today, with fouling and festering, the illness is hard to ignore. A stiff upper lip will not do. Yet one may be so out of it that one cannot figure out how to or be able to provide the necessary care to bring about healing. The psalmist makes clear that the challenge is to find the cause of ones illness. Admitting that the cause is ones own foolishness is difficult, or at least all too often avoided by us humans.

The Colossians passage puts it right out there: we humans are very successful at … sinning. And it leaves us spiritually rotting, festering, and fouled. God uses Jesus’ story to convince us that, no matter the power of our minds to deny reality and our successes in building a perspective of life for ourselves that excludes God and God’s saving love for us, – no matter what God works to save us. Our sins are nailed to the cross. The illness of our spirits are healed. We are spiritually ‘circumcised’, so that God’s mark is made on us, a protection from all illness is provided to our souls, and we are set free to live as God created us to live: being the reflectors of, the voices of, and the hands of God’s saving love for all people.

Young William McCormick Sudbury, ON, with a group of two dozen people was awarded the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers this last Apri;. Only one piece of his volunteer, work McCormick started A Place to Call Their Home with his brother, with a goal of reaching out to underrepresented or underserved populations by sending care packages of school supplies, and providing clothing to groups in need. He said, “My parents have always tried to instill in us a deep sense of gratitude for the situation we’re in.” Then came his rare words of recognition of the blessings he enjoys through no merit of his own: “I’ve been provided a loving family and all the support I could ever need. It was really important to try to give back.”CBC Morning Brief <info@newsletters.cbc.ca> for Friday 20 May 2022

If we could only see the true reality of the day we face each day, and our place in it (for most of us that is a place of privilege so great it has been unimaginable for most humans who have ever lived!)

Since we rarely do see God’s reality for us which includes both our foul and festering souls and God’s healing, loving grace, God uses every means possible to open our eyes, ears, minds and souls to the day that comes our way.

Ready or not here it comes.

God’s Time

Thursday, May 19, 2022

No Matter the Darkness We Face,

God Keeps an Eye On Us,

a Gracious Eye.

Psalm 77:9-10

Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?’ Selah

And I say, ‘It is my grief that the right hand of the Most High has changed.’

Romans 5:20

But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more!

Words of Grace For Today

It hurts.

That sums up much of the evil that we encounter in life, whether we are the cause or others are the cause.

It hurts.

We cry to God, but it seems God does not answer.

Selah

[Selah is an unknown word in Hebrew that shows up as a refrain in the Psalms – ‘God be gracious!’ or ‘God hear us!’ … or it may mean ‘so it is’ … or it may just mean ‘Sigh!’ or some other onomatopoeia.]

There is nothing more hurtful than to have all the evidence before us that God has turned from us and condemned us, that God has ‘forgotten to be gracious and in anger shut up his compassion!

Were God to abandon us to our own ways and means and the Devil’s guile, deceptions, and seductions there would be no rescue, no respite, no release from such a terrible state.

In all circumstances, though, no matter who convinced we are otherwise, God does not abandon us. From all evil and the hurt it does to us people, God still reaps greater demonstrations of grace. While we dig ourselves deeper and deeper in the muck of life, God shows how powerful Jesus’ saving love is for us. God’s love is always more powerful than any evil we can make or be subject to.

A young man pulled a 32’ foot bumper pull camper in to the random camping area a few nights ago. He tried to pull it on the ‘Low Road’, through trees and turns that no one has ever even tried to pull a camper except for the first 30 feet, and that only with a 12’ camper. He did not smash the camper sides against any tree, though. Instead he caught the roots of the first tree with the hitch jack, bending it back 30⁰. Which means he probably did not have a weight distributing hitch in place. He left the foot by the root where it was ripped off the jack. The propane tanks were taken off and the regulator left hanging in disarray. The battery was missing as was the cover to the battery case. On one side half the lug nuts were missing on one wheel, and the lug nuts were loose on the other wheel (one barely still on it’s lug). A support set of boards, screwed together for stability was dropped 100’ away.

It had all the signs of being a stolen camper, though the young man and woman returned last night at 3 am, and ‘parked’ their big Ram truck next to the camper where they had left it, backed into Lake3 or Wet3, which is always soggy unless it’s near drought conditions. When they tried to pull out with the truck the front end sank into the soggy grass covered ground and (from the hours of the truck roaring ways) they spun it deeper and deeper into the muck.

This morning the truck sits on it’s oil pan and lower frame under the engine, a jack is set up half way back on one side, rocks and branches are on the ground or poked into the holes made by the wheels. A straight edge shovel stands poked into the soft ground.

He needs it lifted off the frame or a big tow truck to pull him out. By grace there are people who will help him, people who have big equipment. People who once helped me out of my folly of trying to pull a camper through soft sand. I had three days more to work my way out of that and the winch pulled the camper and truck back up on top the sand and out. The truck and camper were not bottomed out, though. I had enough sense not to keep spinning the wheels when there was no movement forward or back.

When we try to get ourselves out by spinning our wheels, they act as little shovels, round and round they go, digging a deeper hole in the muck of life, sending us deeper and deeper.

Selah.

Our only hope is help, help sent by God.

Grace abounds.

Love is more powerful than Evil.

God’s creative power flows through the universe, like a great big tow truck and winch, pulling us up out of the muck, healing and restoring us. The greater the mess we get ourselves into the more obvious the power of God’s great love becomes, as we are set free.

God’s right hand has not changed, neither God’s left.

Grace brings renewed life to us, every day and every moment that we need it, often before we know we need it so badly.

Be of good courage today, this is (another of) God’s time with us!

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.

Dammed or Damned

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Which would we rather,

to be dammed by ice and all that is not nice,

OR

to be damned by our own blindness and foolish ways?

Jeremiah 31:34

No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

John 6:28-29

Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

Words of Grace For Today

This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’

Or to put it another way: It is God’s work, not ours, to believe in Jesus.

Here we see Jesus responding to questions that really have no good answer, not as those asking would understand what a good answer might be.

The person comes with a certain way of seeing the world. It is a very unhealthy, sometimes really destructive way of seeing the world. It is a common way of seeing the world. It is to see the world as if God really did not exist and as if God did not create the universe and everything in it and as if God did not love every person in ways we can at best imagine only a little bit.

One such common question is ‘How can I save myself and my family from the threat of the foreign powers that rule our world?’

There are lots of things that one could try to do. Maybe they are even possible to do. But none of them will save you from the real threats to you and your families lives, because the foreign powers are not the greatest or the worst threats to your lives. The greatest threat to life is always to assume one lives outside God’s favour, blessings and grace.

Another common enough question is, ‘How can I get a [fill in the romantic preference, girl/boy/woman/man/monkey (just kidding)] to fall in love with me?’

The reality is no one can get anyone else to fall in love with them. Often people think they can ‘trick’ or ‘seduce’ another person to love them, but the result cannot ever be love. It is much, much less and if it’s based on deception, it will always be destructive to all parties.

The right question is, ‘How can I love someone with all my being, even when they might never love me in return? And if they never do, can I then learn to love someone else with all my being?’

The answer to that question is simple: be honest, open, trustworthy, kind and … be yourself. Then if someone should love you, they will love the real you.

The tricky part of all these ‘love me’ questions is not the love part, it is being ‘me’, and being ‘me’ in such a way as to be the best that God created ‘me’ to be.

But, as is almost always the case when people ask important questions, the problem is in the person asking the question, not the world around them; and usually the problem is they have not figured out how to be themselves. They imitate, pretend, hope, and fail, but they never really know who they are.

So in the reading for today the people come to Jesus and ask, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’

Which is an odd question. They might mean, ‘what must we do to do what God would have us do?’ but instead they ask, ‘what must we do in order to do the things that only God can do?’

The obvious answer is ‘you cannot do a thing since you simply will never do God’s work for God’. God does that work just fine, thank you. And only God does that work.

But telling the people who are asking in earnest this odd question is not kind. So Jesus answers another question, perhaps a question the people meant to ask, and perhaps the question that they could have asked. Always Jesus answers the people with something that is REALLY important for them to hear.

So Jesus tells these inquisitive people: ‘God’s work is to believe in me, the one God sent to you!’

That’s what they need to hear. It’s all about believing in Jesus.

The thing they do not hear is this: only the Holy Spirit can bring a person to believe in Jesus. Oh, people, dear stumbling, controlling people. No one can bring themselves to believe. And look at all the work, the words, the movements, the effort spent over the last 2000 years to get people to believe in Jesus!

Writing long before Jesus’ day Jeremiah knew well what faith in God was all about. It is about God working in us all that God wills for us: that we know God and love God, ourselves, our neighbours and our enemies, and all creation! Jeremiah sees that God does it all for us: ‘No longer shall we teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for we shall all know God, from the least of us to the greatest, [as the Lord says]; for God, and God alone, will forgive our iniquity, and remember our sin no more.

Now that will be the day!

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.

God Save Us! Do Not Forsake Us in Our Darkness!

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Oh, God, Save

Those Caught In The Darkness of The Bright Days

And Those Who Cannot See, Hear, or Imagine …

Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by a road they do not know,
by paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.
These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Words of Grace For Today

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

He could not see the horizon out there where the sun should have been. Not that many years ago he’d met Beatrice and she swept him off his feet before he knew what was happening. She was in her mid-thirties. Jim was 8 years older. Then he’d fallen in love and given everything to her. They proclaimed their love for each other and promised their lives to each other, until death did them part. They were madly in love with each other and everything looked so wonderful.

Jim moved in with Bea in her grand house and he worked to turn it into their shared home. They travelled to France and then to the Maritimes. They went sailing in the Caribbean for a week. It was all a dream come true. Their second year together their twins arrived, a girl and a boy. As agreed he stayed home to raise the children so she could go back to work. He put his career on hold. That first year was a dream come true.

The honeymoon shine wore off soon after Bea became pregnant with twins. He did everything he could to support her. She flew off the handle at him and others, making wild accusations. Her screaming at him cut him to the quick and he’d be silent trying to ‘fix’ whatever Bea ‘needed fixing’. He interpreted everything she did in the best possible light and went out of his way to bolster her fragile ego. She tore strips of him, saw everything he did in the worst possible light and worse blamed him for things he had nothing to do with.

Jim tried valiantly to reconnect her to her parents and siblings, though she seemed to hate them for no real reason. He met them and they were pretty good people, and as in-laws they were very supportive of him, even in awe of him. Bea refused to have anything to do with his family or his friends. She’d have a wild tantrum, throwing things, and even beating on him every time he spent time on the phone with them. Visiting any of them was out of the question. Soon he gave up keeping any contact with them.

Then Bea started telling ‘stories’ about Jim to her family. They were things he had never done. Some Bea had done to him. When she told them that he was the one beating on her, they stopped talking to him all together. He heard from their daughter’s teacher at school that she said he was sexual with her. It wasn’t true but soon it was impossible to go to school with the children for anything. People at church started to avoid him.

That had been more than a year ago. Jim could barely sleep. The doctor put him on one drug, then another, then another until he was taking 5 medications besides his allergy medicine and the sleep apnea machine he wore at night. Every two weeks he got either a testosterone or a B12 shot. He was so dragged out he could barely get anything done. He would often sit down alone after everyone left for school and not notice anything until the bus arrived to deliver the twins home. He talked with two different therapists by phone, and once a month travel 3 hours to see one of them. His hair turned grey and already the first year with Bea he’d lost 50 lbs trying to please her. He just went hungry and did not eat. No one could tell him what the matter was with him. He prayed, he meditated, he gave Bea gifts for no special occasion. He had worked out at the gym for a year but gave up on it when he injured his shoulder. He tried to walk but it was slow going, nothing like the running he’d done when he was in his 20’s. He told his doctors and therapists that he felt like he was 85 or 90 and barely able to think, work, sleep or even exist.

Bea’s promise to him, and his to her, that they would love each other until death did them part, looped endlessly in his mind. The only sense he could make of anything was that he needed to die, to be free of the weight, to finally be accepted by someone somewhere. He already had a new bottle of sleeping pills. He bought 2 large bottles of the cheapest whisky he saw at the liquor store. He cleaned the house, sorted the garaged, and their two vehicles. He made sure the groceries were bought for the coming two weeks. The fridge was bursting. He even took the recycle bottles to the depot and the garbage and recycling to the transfer station. Months ago he’d made sure his life insurance was in order. There was nothing more he could do to make things better.

Jim sat in the darkness of the bright day.

There was no distance between the end of the horizon and his arms stretched out pleading in prayer. No one heard his voice. No one had heard his voice for longer than he could remember.

It was a Sunday evening. He read a story to the twins and said good night. He made sure everything was secure in the house. He grabbed his backpack with the whisky in it. He put the sleeping pills in his pocket, put on a warm jacket and walked a mile to the woods. He sat on his special log, took all the sleeping pills, drank one bottle and most of the second before he was numbed and so tired. Finally he would be able to sleep and be free and be home.

Jim knew well most of the Bible. He was familiar with Isaiah’s words: I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them.

He had to trust that this path he’d taken was the only one God had for him.

There were no shelters for abused men. People could not imagine that men are abused just like women are, not the therapist and certainly not the doctors or the teachers or their pastor or any of Bea’s family … or any one at all.

Not one single person could imagine a man being abused, not one person Jim had talked to in the last 9 years as he suffered … until he could not take any more.

Many of them may have been members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that they may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called them out of darkness into his marvellous light.

But no one thought they could help Jim find the light of life, because, well, women may beat on men, but they do not abuse them, not women. Reports are abuse kills ten times as many men than women, many of them by abuse that drives them to suicide. It is important to stop men abusing women, because it always ends in death for the abused. But, they say, men are not abused,

so they say.

So Jim is just another statistic that is ignored. And Bea will find another man to raise the children for her, and abuse him and the children. He will likely die, and they will become abusers if they survive.

But women do not abuse men or

so they say.

Oh, God, save us!

Save us all, though it is too late for Jim and millions like him, God, save us!

Turn the darkness before us into light, the rough places into level ground.

Do not forsake us!

Do not forsake the men who are abused to death!

Do not forsake the children who never have a chance to know what love really is.

.

Today, many men will sit in the darkness of the bright day. No one will see them. No one will hear them.

Oh, God save them and us who do not see and do not hear and cannot imagine the darkness of their reality of being abused.

Heil & Truth Reclaimed

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Life as God Created Us To Live,

Full of Wonder, Forgiveness, and Hope.

Isaiah 58:11

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.

John 4:14

Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.’

Words of Grace For Today

God made us so that we could live, and live well, healthy and abundant lives. This God intends for us.

The Devil intends that life not be for us, but against us. All the devil’s works, done so well by so many humans, and by all humans, look to cheat us of life.

It is done slowly, tempting and pulling us into a way of living that consumes us, our hearts, minds and souls. And then the trap is sprung and whether we notice or not, we are trapped in a life that is horrendous.

Dietrich Bonhöffer wrote:

Noch will das alte unsre Herzen quälen,
noch drückt uns böser Tage schwere Last.
Ach Herr, gib unsern aufgeschreckten Seelen
das Heil, für das du uns geschaff
en hast.

Siegfried Feitz translated it to sing:

The worst of the old year still torment us
we’re troubled still by long and wicked days
Lord give our frightened souls the healing
for which you have chastened us in many ways.

Much of the meaning is changed to keep the meter I would presume.

A not at all meter-keeping translation might go like this:

[after the first verse ends wishing to enter a new year with you the second verse continues]

Yet the old [year or times] are wont to torment our hearts,
Yet the heavy burdens of evil days weigh us [down]
Oh Lord, give our startled and fearful souls
that healing, for which you had created us.

The bolded word ‘Heil’ carries with it a great connotation that one can hardly avoid noticing, as Bonhöffer wrote this while imprisoned by the Nazis, shortly before he was shot on suspicion of being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler.

No matter one’s language, one must recognize the phrase ‘Heil Hitler’, which was required of the German people by the Nazis many times a day. It’s translation is hardly ‘Health Hitler’. The literal meaning would be something like ‘Long health for Hitler’, but the actual meaning is closer to Hail Ceaser, or Long Live the King, and it certainly indicated one’s submission to Hitler’s rule.

So when Bonhöffer writes: Oh Lord, give us the Heil, for which you had created us, the connotation is unmistakable:

God give us back the word Heil, so that it once again is the health for which you created us, instead of being used as crowd rendered submission to Hilter’s dictatorship and all it’s cruelties to so many people.

As every temptation presented to us by the Devil, at first the invitation is given so that it sounds just so right. This is, the crowds say unawares, just what we’ve always wished for, dreamt of, thirsted for.

The Taliban did it, winning the hearts of the people by raising critiques of their imperfect world, government, and even their faith. They then, with small perversions at first and blatantly bombastic perversions by the end, turned the good faith of Islam against the people, against the women, against their critics, and finally they brought in brutal force to ensure compliance with measures no sane person would every wish for or support, except the perverted minds who wish to control the masses in barbaric ways.

Dictators in all times in all places have used similar methods, from the Thirty Tyrants in Athens (who killed Socrates among so many), to the cruel Caesars of Rome, to Russian dictators from Lenin to Putin, to the ‘Populist’ rulers like Trump. The first sacrifice is truth.

They cannot have truth hang around, for it will expose the lies that are told the people, the lies that cover for their collecting and exercising cruel powers against so many people. Inevitably what follows is the extermination of whole ‘kinds’ of people.

Martin Niemöller’s words are powerful reminders:

First they came for the socialists,
and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,

and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—

and there was no one left to speak for me.

Niemöller admitted in 1963 he harboured antisemitism yet he was one of the first to speak out (in his book Über die deutsche Schuld, Not und Hoffnung published in English Of Guilt and Hope)“Dear Friend, I stand in front of you, but we can not get together, for there is guilt between us. I have sinned and my people has sinned against your people and against yourself.”

Life is not simple for any of us, with our biases, prejudices, and bigotries. And once the Devil has got us down that road of self-righteous condemnation of ‘them people over there’ it leaves so many perversions of truth in it’s wake it is humanly impossible to bring things back to some semblance of life as God created us to live it.

Thus we pray: Guide us, Lord, continually, and satisfy our needs in parched places, and make our bones strong; make us like watered gardens, like springs of water, whose waters never fail. Bring us to be the springs of your water gushing up to eternal life from which many may drink and never again thirst for truth, or for life as you have created us to live it.

Save us and all people from cruel dictators, unjust judges, corrupt police, and evil bishops and pastors. Save us from the temptations to pervert truth for our own interests, and from scapegoating innocents to hide from and cover up our own dreadful sins.

Instead, give us the water of eternal life that we might not ever again thirst for justice or for truth.

Instead, give all people the water of eternal life that no one will ever again thirst for justice or for truth.

Instead, forgive us our sins. Forgive our enemies their sins. Forgive the tyrants and bullies their sins, that they may know, as we do, the wonders of your love.

Oh Lord, give our startled and fearful souls that healing, for which you had created us all.