the sun just up, I trust, since the clouds are thick and low, but it
is not dark as night anymore, when the waning crescent moon supplied
a bit of light to step by to dump the ashes from the night’s fire
as the early morning fire is stoked and left to burn hot,
the sun just up, the logs have been hauled for fuel to heat with, and
the Eucharist celebrated with thankful prayers for family, all.
breakfast, a required meal of fibre and fruit to keep my body from
rejecting most foods with spasms and great pain, is prepared, cereal
in the bowl, coffee measured into a small glass, the french press
ready, and then pre-heated and filled with water boiled on the wood
burning in the fire in the stove … and
then the milk cold from the natural fridge is poured on the cool berries from nature’s fridge, the liquid milk freezes into crystals on the cold, cold berries decorating them with the snow white of frozen milk.
Add the hot coffee to milk, Kafe au lait, and the breakfast is balanced into good measures of blessing
open this portion of the morning, with the routine well accomplished
and work well planned.
task of everyday, exercise, then Eucharist, then breakfast and
under Berries under Frosty Milk, before Coffee Golden
Berries Under Milk, Quiet
only the fire sparks and moans as logs become heat and clear smoke
burned so hot!
well. Tell the truth only. Trust God’s protection and blessing.
everything with Grace, Forgive all who can be, work diligently for
justice for all, and hope for things unseen and for which there is no
evidence it will be provided. For this is life, as God created us to
live it, filled with Love, pure and simple, even for one’s enemies.
the cool days of fall darken earlier and earlier, and the dark of
night stays with us longer and longer …
Dark comes early, closer to South
wood pile is just high enough,
food sufficient for the coming days,
water enough and replenish-able,
the air is fresh,
clothing rather well prepared for the coming months,
shelter from the weather to come is mostly prepared,
labour is directed, consumedly so, towards writing what must be
love grows and wanes, I am loved well and always.
God holds me safe.
more can one ask for from life, from God, from all that might be?
that might be.
many humans have had so much less, so much less, so much less.
beauty of the world is at my fingertips, literally, as a cell phone
camera captures what can be seen and hoped for?
Cell camera photos: harvest moon, over three harvesters
what more would anyone wish from life?
than the time each morning to celebrate that Christ is with us, in
body and blood?
than the ability to see beauty and share it with others?
than the ability to know truth, without doubt, or hesitation?
than to live well?
mitkommen! – from the movie Remembrance, Tomasc calls out to Hannah
to come with him, he dressed as a German soldier initiating their
escape, as he carries a canister of photos of the Nazi concentration
pray that we may Guard the treasure of
faith entrusted to us, relying
on the Holy Spirit in all things!
This is life (challenges and
tragedy): I’d like to tell you it’ll be ok, I cannot honestly do
that: 100% death rate
probably have heard it said, “Do not take life too seriously. You
will never get out of it alive.”
like to tell you that the death rate for humans is less than 100%,
but that’d be dishonest.
It is the pain of death that rips our hearts and dreams right out of
us. It is the basic, most profound fear of each human. It drives us
to succeed, even by evil scheming, which
leads to eternal failure.
OT commonly claims that God blesses the faithful with material
successes. There is no end of advice on how
to be successful.
of my favourites is “Life is 10% what
happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
McEntire gives us: “To succeed in
life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny
the soccer star, offered all together:
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning,
studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing….”
Churchill pointed out that it’s always a process:“Success
is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue
Barrow said, “Music is 10%
exhilaration and 90% utter disappointment.” Many
will confirm this, and it seems success is like that as well: Despite
all our efforts to succeed most of our
efforts end in utter disappointment and only
the cream of the crop rise to the top. Or
as the lessons for today tell us, those who pursue evil schemes seem
to succeed in life’s pursuits, and
God does not bless the faithful with success.
Life’s challenges, tragedies,
defeats – We’d like to say that they are not what they are, but
they are what they are.
looming end of life at our own deaths, and the slim chance of
success, even when we follow the best advice, it would be great if
the church offered some kind of helpful advice to succeed in the face
of life’s tragedies, challenges and defeats. Too often it does, and
most often it is a false teacher who provides something other than
the sound teaching of the Gospel.
Spouse develops dementia
spouse develops dementia, and lives on but does not even know their
loved ones, we’d like to say that it will be OK, but it is not OK.
It’s a loss for which hardly anything can prepare us.
family member or friend becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, we’d
like to tell you that they need to go to AA or NA and you to Al-anon
and everything will be OK. It is so important to go to AA, NA or
Al-anon, but that’s only a small step. For the addict the rest of
life is one drink or fix away from the same devastating decline
towards death. Those close to the addict are invisibly drawn down the
same road as they fight to make the world right again. But attempting
that impossible task robs us of all the goodness of life. Al-anon
only helps us see the invisible road to disaster, even as we remain
one misstep from jumping or rolling right down that path again.
perhaps the worst tragedy hits and a child dies: We cannot tell you
that it was God’s will, and that everything will be OK. We can tell
you that most people agree that parents are not supposed to have to
bury their children. It’s a loss and tragedy that is beyond
Habakkuk pending defeat to Babylon
much more to say in the face of every challenge or tragedy, so do not
this is what especially the OT
lesson for today tells us. There will be destruction, violence,
strife, contention and justice that is perverted, and it will seem as
if God has deserted us. Besides
the breakdown of their nation’s integrity, the
prophet’s people faced inevitable defeat
by their powerful neighbours, Babylon and
Egypt. The Promised Land will be lost. They
will go into exile as slaves.
Worst of all,
their identity as God’s people in the Promised Land will disappear,
if it has not already.
The Prophet’s Complaint and Plea,
Posture (Standing, Waiting)
the prophet cries and pleads with God, how long must they wait for
God to save them from themselves and their
neighbours?! The prophet does not lie down
in resignation. Instead the prophet stands in wait for God’s
God’s Answer: a Vision, a Promise
answers with a vision in which all is put right. It may seem to take
too long, but in God’s time all will be done right!
That’s quite the promise. That promise is repeated in Paul’s letter to the Galatians where it was instrumental in Martin Luther’s break through to understand that we are saved by Grace alone! Can we live abundantly in that promise, when we face challenges, losses and unimaginable tragedies, when we see creation rebelling against our abuses and we know success is rare and death is sure?
That’s much harder than following all that advice on how to be successful. We might well cry to God, “Help! Give us faith!”
Gospel prelude to today’s lesson:
the verses leading up to today’s Gospel Jesus has told the
disciples that they must forgive, and forgive and forgive without
end. The disciples see that as too hard.
They do not know how to succeed at this. So the disciples’ plead
with Jesus: “Increase our faith!”
answer Jesus tells them the smallest amount of faith is more than
sufficient. We know from Paul’s letters, especially Galatians,
reflecting Habakkuk’s words,
that faith is not up to us. It is a free gift that
God gives to us undeserving sinners. That
to us by Grace transforms everything in our
lives. We become
God’s children who act out that same Grace for everyone around us.
Turning Point: Christ abolishes death!
read in the Letter to Timothy how profound this transformation is:
“This grace was given to us in Christ
Jesus…, who abolished death
and brought life
to light through the gospel.”
is the power of God! In Christ Jesus death
is abolished. Our core identity becomes not how we live, not what we
do, not who we live with, nor even
for whom we live out our lives. Our core identity is established
again as it was at creation: we are God’s people by Grace alone. It
is what God does to us, not what we do, that gives
us our identity.
trust the promise that, even though we be overrun by a foreign power,
the Promised Land be taken from us, and we are scattered across the
face of the earth, we remain God’s people.
Waite, as an envoy for the Church of England, negotiated the release
of a number of hostages in the Middle East. Then during one
negotiation, he was kidnapped and held from 1987 to 1991. For
most of those five years he was isolated and blindfolded. It would
have been so easy to lose himself, his identity, his sanity. A key
component to his survival was daily Holy Communion. By himself, by
memory, he went through the service using the old words from the
English Book of Common prayer, even when he had no bread or water for
the elements. This Word of God reminded Terry who he was and it
reminded Terry who God was. It pulled him into communion with the
faithful of every time and place – day … by day … by day: he
was the one for whom Christ died, so that he might be forgiven and
live abundantly, even in captivity.
tiny bit of the faith, that Grace alone saves us, is enough for us to
extend that same forgiveness to everyone around us.
Facing Real Life, even Defeat, as God’s
even the smallest spark of that faith in us, death does not
have the final say in our lives. The treasure of
this grace-given-faith through
the generations overcomes
every challenge, tragedy and defeat. When
a spouse develops dementia, when a loved one becomes an addict, even
when a child dies, then we can trust that God carries us
onward in the world God made and said “It is Good!”
Everything taken: we remain God’s Children
can be taken from us. Like Paul, we can be imprisoned and even worse:
our reputations can be ruined, our church can be taken from us, our
livelihoods and ability to work can be taken from us, our freedom can
be taken from us. Still we will remain God’s children, for God
alone has made us God’s children. Nothing can take that from us.
Billboard of faith
billboard the Holy Spirit has engraved the Gospel of Jesus on our
foreheads with a cross, poured it into our hearts as love, and
kneaded it like leaven into our minds and actions, so that a runner,
or a fellow disciple in deep grief or having forgotten
Grace-given-Faith, will easily be able to see the treasure of
Christ’s Grace in our lives.
that Christ has defeated death and is raising us to new life, at the
end of each day, whether it was challenging or not, we will not
have chased after trite nor revered successes.
The Habit of Costly Faith Courageously Shared
Instead, having treasured Grace and forgiveness as a habit so that it comes easily to us, we will say: “We, faithful servants of Christ, have done only what we ought to have done! Though it cost us, like William Tyndale who was martyred in 1536 for translating the Bible into English, with the courage of the Holy Spirit we share with others the Grace that saves us.” …. [breathe!]
10% what happens to us, and 90% how wereact …
[breathe!] Yet it is 100%
what God does for us that counts!
to the cold the colours left when photosynthesis cannot any more
shed summer and fall pushing the liquids of life back into the ground
expansion of freezing that would tear out their hearts.
still air as the light of warmth reaches through the tops to the
yellow carpet below
the trees cry ice drops,
melting from the freezing night’s moisture collected on leaves not yet having succumbed like their fallen comrades
to the wretched destruction of passing time,
to the blessed transition from green biting-bug-and pollen-filled hot days transitioning to the cool respite of fall.
drop, drip … it is time
celebrate what was
prepare for what will come
time to haul wood, trees murdered for a bit of white bark or taken as the victim’s of drug-hyped-senslessness and bravado that a madman with an axe can fell living trees just for the show of it, for the false exuberance of finally being able to master something, since he could not master himself.
Cost for Truth has been everything for me, except a sleeping bag, a
tent, my clothes and a bicycle.
the reward for truth is a clear eye and a clear conscience.”
eyes enable one to see the beauty of life.
The True Work of Justice
is as important to exonerate an innocent person as to convict a
Clearly Fog Challenges Clarity
I have a clear eye and clear conscience.
So many who’ve had the chance have not paid any price for truth. It is a party where they imbibe the intoxicating evil of false power based on the Devil’s seductions, drunk so deeply in order to ignore the truth.
I do not see good people working for justice to exonerate the innocent, myself included. Like hundreds of thousands others, I see good people become evil, working to convict the innocent like me, a kind, generous, man of great integrity, an excellent stay at home father.
long view allows one to see the the rocks and sticks, and the
colour that plays with the light.
in the solitude and calm is possible as God blesses those persecuted
without just cause.
But woe to those who unjustly persecute the innocent. For God judges without rules of evidence or games of cover-ups possible. God judges the reality of one’s life and actions. There is no hiding possible for evil. There is no negotiating for something other than actual reality, for that is what God sees and judges. Entrance to blessing never comes with Spin or Cover-up, or declaring something to be other than it is.
life, our challenge is to not become like the persecutors, not to
become vengeful and vindictive … but to remain, trusting God’s
promises and quiet blessings each day, … to remain fully alive with
As for me and my non-existent household, unjustly taken from me thrice, I and the Holy Spirit, we choose to live only by Grace.
As the loons haunt the dim dawn light with their forlorn wails as if begging for something close to truth to be recognized in the coming light, the not quite still lake undulates softly the moon caught in it’s liquid mostly-water.
There are many powerful and privileged people of luxury far beyond necessity or souls’ enjoyment who fear the light, not of a simple day’s dawn, but the Light that dawns as the Truth is revealed.
There are more people who look to this dawn of brilliant Truth with expectation of exoneration and finally, finally real justice through which real mercy is possible.
As so many have confessed through generation upon generation, if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
It certainly cannot be that God plays games with us like those in power, teasing us and tempting us just to catch us off guard. No, if who we trust to be God is God, creator all powerful and merciful, loving, forgiving and gracious, yearning to delight in our existence, our joys and even our sorrows that make up an abundant life, then certainly God plays no games with us concerning the Truth of who we are and what we have actually done; whether we acknowledge the Truth or we hide from it.
it is so much simpler than we want to acknowledge, when we want to
deceive ourselves. Like the water we too often want for wind to blow
the clear reflection of what we have done, so that no evidence of the
truth is discernible.
But the light will shine, and I for one, I, Tim Lofstrom, like I, Daniel Blake, eagerly wait the Light that will shine on the Truth. For I will be exonerated and those who have fabricated lies about me, bullied me, threatened my life, and sat in false judgment of me will be put to shame.
That which in them thrives on the darkness and falsehoods of their doings will be put to an end, as consumed by the fire of God’s judgment. Then our victory will be double, for not only will we be free, all of us falsely judged and destroyed by lies, but those who unjustly ruin and destroy us will be set free from the darkness that grips their whole unnatural being. Though little of them, who have given themselves to the Evil One, may survive as the kernels are separated from the chaff, still together we will bask in the Light, the Truth and the Grace which God delights in giving to us. Our collective shame will be ended.
this day we wait, as we wait for the rising of the sun to replace the
crescent moon which leaves darkness’ canopy pressing down on our
hearts, our hopes, and our joys.
In today’s Gospel lesson, Luke 13:10-17, Jesus reaches out and sets a woman free from 18 years of being held hostage to an ailment, an illness. She is set free and can walk upright, humbly unimpeded by a body oppressed by dis-ease in God’s creation.
The woman and the people are over-joyed. She is free!
the temple priests have no joy because they are threatened. They have
not provided this freedom and therefore they are not celebrated. They
and the people now clearly know that the priests live in darkness and
the light has just burst the seams of reality in ‘their’ temple.
They use the law as a hammer against the Light, to no avail. The law, given to guide the people in freedom, is corrupted in their hands to become the hammer that strikes down faith, joy, and hope in all the people. They would treat animals better than the people needing God’s Grace. They try to maintain an order that provides them false power and oppresses people into the mud of life. But the Light shines brightly.
people rejoice in the healing of the woman.
priests, they who would claim dark power over others, are put to
shame. Their grip is loosened, if just for a few hours, days or
weeks. Not only is this woman free, but all the people bask in the
Light, sharing in this woman’s joy.
are you today?
Are you the woman, who after 18 years of suffering illness that consumes the essence of life right out of you, and yet leaves you a shell of a human still looking down at the daisies, wishing for freedom even if that freedom arrives on the other side of the grave?
Are you the people, who after generations of suffering the oppression of those who rule in darkness over them, are overjoyed that the Light has arrived for this woman, for they are caught also in its Light? Their oppressors are put to shame.
Are you the priest, the oppressors, who live in darkness, who are skilled at turning truths in to dark falsehoods? Are you one who plays with truth as an axeman cutting trees, with falsehoods chipping life out of your victims, over whom you claim power? Are you put to shame by the coming of the Light and Truth? Have you put yourself outside the delight of God, to whom the coming of the Light not only means shame but loss of most of who you have made yourself to be, against the yearnings of your creator?
Are you the hands of Christ, who understand that the perversions of the Law, perversions of God’s Grace even, can be healed with a word, a redeeming touch, with sacred oil, water and bread? Are you the one who God uses as a conduit, and instrument to set people free? Are you one, like so many in the great cloud of witnesses we inherit, who sacrifices the abundance of your life that others may simply live, knowing that God’s Light shines brightly even in our darknesses?
thing is certain: God’s Light will shine brightly! Not according to
our plans, but as God chooses.
As Isaiah. prophet of Exile awaited, survived and returned from, wrote of our simple ways and God’s mysteries of Grace:
If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. 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. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
As the loons haunt the dim dawn light with their forlorn wails as if begging for something close to truth to be recognized in the coming light, the not quite still lake undulated softly the moon caught by it’s liquid mostly-water.
are many powerful and privileged people of luxury far beyond
necessity or souls’ enjoyment who fear the light, not of a simple
day’s dawn, but the light that dawns as the truth is revealed.
There are more people who look to this dawn of brilliant Truth with expectation of exoneration and finally, finally real justice through which real mercy is possible.
When the Light comes we will have a double victory: for ourselves and for you, our oppressors.
Get a life. That’s what people had told the farmer-woman, when she
discovered her ex-husband had molested their children. Get a life. She’d
already left him behind after the cops only took him for coffee when they came
and found him playing Russian Roulette with her life. Get a life?
She told her story when a new acquaintance, an older
man, mentioned to her how the cops tried to arrest him after is ex, with whom
he can have no contact, chased him down country roads trying to force contact.
He was afraid for his life and called 911 when other vehicles were caught as
she blocked the roads in front of him. As the cops left, threatening to arrest
him if this ever happened again, they told him to get a life.
Get a Life! What is Life? Who are we to get it? We think we know and
then the Good News of Jesus Christ (also in today’s lessons) turns our
understanding of life right-side-up.
expect God to demand; not.
As we read the OT Lesson we may expect Moses to demand that the people
obey God’s commandments, which are hard to understand, require research to
discover, and great effort to obey. But maybe if the people persevere
and obey the commandments then they will get to enter into the Promised
Land. Not at all so.
Twain: Do Good, gratify,
Mark Twain once wrote “Always do right. This will gratify some people
and astonish the rest.”
Twain’s humour catches us because we too often think that always
doing the right thing is an option too far from reality to be
Parable of surprises
Today’s Gospel is delightful, full of corrections that keep surprising
us, even though we are so familiar with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus Answers Different
The lawyer’s questions are
often our own. They seem right and most important for life. Yet they are all
wrong. In fact, Jesus answers as if the lawyer had asked different questions.
The lawyer asks: what must I
do to inherit eternal life.
Jesus answers: how can we have life now.
The lawyer asks: who is my neighbour whom I shall love.
Jesus answers: who is a real neighbour, to those in need regardless of
who they are.
It would be so much easier if Jesus just answered the question of who
our neighbour is. We could limit who we must love to just those people! That
would be a little more possible to do, and we could always fudge who was our
neighbour so that we did not need to help the billions who are in great need.
Samaritans Loose teeth
When we see people in need, it’s too easy to come up with all sorts of
reasons to walk by on the other side of the road. The robbers could be lying in
wait for anyone who comes to the aide of the half dead man.
An old Winthrop cartoon (1982) shows two small boys staring off into the
distance. One of the boys, Winthrop, starts to recognize what he is seeing.
“What’s going on over there? Looks like a fight! … It’s Nasty McNarf … He’s
beating up on some kid! … Come on… Let’s go and make Nasty leave that kid
The second boy speaks up, “Wait a minute…I don’t think we’d better do
“What do you mean?” asks Winthrop, “Don’t you want to be a Good
“Frankly, no.” replies the second boy. “Good Samaritans always wind up
with loose baby teeth.”
But remember: we are going to lose baby teeth and our lives eventually.
Adult teeth and life eternal will replace them.
We try to get eternal life
on our own terms
Exactly, so we are right there with the lawyer asking what can we do to
inherit eternal life. Instead of answering that question, Jesus asks back what
the lawyer knows well: what does the law say he should do. The lawyer answers: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your
soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as
Jesus replies: You know it! Now do it!
love look like? (in the Gospel)
What does it look like to love God, our neighbour, and ourselves, with
all our heart, soul, strength and mind?
It looks like crossing the road in order that we can
help, aide, assist, and care for those who are left half dead by the roadways through
the world, and thereby allow ourselves to be marked as foolish, unclean,
not-blessed by God, and not welcome at work or in worship.
It looks like giving a full day of our life to an unexpected need of
another person, again and again.
It looks like giving a great portion of our purse or wealth so that
another less fortunate person’s wounds will be bound up and given a chance to
heal, so that person will regain life.
It looks like promising carte blanche that we will cover the costs of
providing life to another person in need.
All this to our enemy
It looks like doing all this for our mortal, religious, economic, and/or
personal enemy who is left half dead on the side of life’s road, left there by
all those things and people and circumstances that can so easily beat us up,
rob us of everything we have, and leave us half dead. It is knowing always that
but for the Grace of God, we would never survive even a day of the Devil’s
guile and destruction.
Guy who gives
Tony Campolo, a minister and sociologist from Philadelphia tells this
“… walking down the street in Philadelphia … a [dirty looking homeless man] came towards
me. I mean a … filthy guy .. from head to toe. …He had this huge beard
rotted food stuck in [it]. As he approached me, he held out a cup of
McDonald’s coffee and said, ‘Hey mister, want some of my coffee?’
“[I thought to myself, not on your life, but] I said, ‘Thanks, but
that’s okay,’ and I walked by him. The minute I passed him, I knew I was doing
the wrong thing, so I turned around and said, ‘Excuse me. I would like
some of your coffee.’
“I … sipped … and gave it back to him. … ‘You’re being generous.
“… this [guy] looked at me and replied, ‘… the coffee was especially
delicious today and I think that when God gives you something good, you ought
to share it with people.’
“I didn’t know how to handle that, so I said, ‘Can I give you anything?’
I thought that he would hit me [up] for five dollars.
…‘No.’ [he turned to go, and then turned back], ‘Yeah, yeah. … there
is something you can give me. You can give me a hug’
“[I held my breath, wishing he’d asked for] five dollars! He put his
arms around me and I put my arms around him…. as I, in my establishment
dress, and he, in his filthy garb, hugged each other on the street, I had the
strange awareness that I wasn’t hugging a bum, [no. Jesus was hugging me.]”
In Baptism: Enter the
Promised Land, then Obey for Goodlife’s Sake
Returning to the OT lesson: God does not reward obedience with entrance
to the Promised Land. All get to enter. The commandments are not far away,
difficult to find or to understand: God has put them in our mouths and in our
hearts! The commandments are not burdensome; they are life-giving. They are
God’s guide for abundant life. Obedience brings us to live well, so that God
delights in our renewed prosperity as we move out of slavery into the Promised
In our baptisms we have already receive eternal life. Now what are we
going to do with this life in the Promised Land?
As the farmer-woman drove away, she shouted out her truck window to the
man harassed by his ex and the cops: They are jealous. Don’t let them tell you
to get a life; you have one. They’re just trying to take it from you.
not be afraid, Do not be shamed.
Jesus says do not be afraid, we cannot be
shamed for we already have a life, a good life.
So what are we going to do with God’s
gift of our good, abundant lives in the Promised Land?
Giving what God Has Given
Jesus’ Parable compels us to ask: What kind of life do we live if we do
not stand ready to risk losing everything that God has given us, in order that
others may live, and live abundantly?
After all, without Jesus’ redemption we would remain strangers to God,
and no matter what we would do, we would be lost, our lives worthless and
meaningless. But with Jesus’ redemption we inherit the Kingdom of God.
Answers not far, nor
impossible, for God is with us
The answers to life’s questions and mysteries
are not too far away in the chaos of pre-creation between the galaxies that we
must send someone to bring the answers to us. The answers are on our lips, and
in our hearts: We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind,
strength and soul, and our neighbours as our selves.
This love is all very possible for us:
for our strength is from God’s all-mighty
for our freedom and faith are given to us as
free gifts by Jesus,
for our days are guided, inspired, and
completed by the spectacular truth and light of the Holy Spirit.
We’ve got a life, given to us … and there’s
really good coffee coming down the street toward us. …
Are we ready for Jesus to give each of us a
huge, warm hug?
No sermon this past week. Sorry. A few photos though still brighten the horizon even as bleak as it could be.
It was a difficult week again. A judge made an order, full of …. You cannot safely say the truth about judges; though it would be nice if judges would base their work on truth.
This past week has been draining.
Gaslighting is a powerfully terrible thing to experience.
These snippets from a google search highlight just what this is, just how terrible it is, and just how terrible it is that the justice system participates in this. All apologies if any are really needed for just grabbing this information without keeping records to give credit. It’s the kind of thing that after one suffers it, again and again, at one’s spouse’s hand, and then repeatedly at one’s pastor’s, (she was ordained today, just for a sample of God’s justice waiting, and God’s Grace filling undeserving lives), other pastors who have great sins to hide in their false accusations about me, and then almost without ceasing by various RCMP officers, even VSU when I called them, a great number of people working in the justice system, and then again and again at the hand of judges …. It’s the kind of thing that when you have to deal with it again things do not always get done with the correct process. So my apologies.
to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Gaslighting is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. … The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. Gaslighting can also be part of an authoritarian personality. A person with an authoritarian personality tends to think in absolutes: Things are 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong. When a gaslighter thinks that they are not the problem and everyone else is, this is called having an ego-syntonic personality.
Signs of being Gaslit
• no longer feeling like the person you used to be. • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be. • often wondering if you’re being too sensitive. • feeling like everything you do is wrong. • always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong. • apologizing often.
The following from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/are-gaslighters-aware-what-they-do
… Gaslighting is a pattern of manipulation tactics used by abusers, narcissists, dictators, and cult leaders to gain control over a person or people. The goal is to make the victim or victims question their own reality and depend on the gaslighter. So, do gaslighters know they’re doing it? It depends on the gaslighter.
Living Well, Surviving Gaslighting
There is only one way to survive Gaslighting:
to live well, as well as one can, given the circumstances. I live well, even if the challenges are great.
My work is rough. Outdoors, building, tearing down, moving, rebuilding. It’s a dream for a young man who loves to build things with his hands. It’s tough and rough work for an older man like me, even if I like working with my hand. My hands, precious instruments of my creativity.
I live well.
The sun sets over the lake outside the window. A canoe rests near the water available to take a camera out to create beauty from what can be ordinary. People respond well to my company, my words, and simple joy of life. I receive grace given to me in abundance. I share grace with everyone I meet, and it makes a visible difference, a positive difference.
I help guide a new truck driver from being stuck to safely position her vacuum truck to be able to do her work and be able to drive out. It just took some well placed shovel work, and some good driving, well planned driving.
I cleaned up 5 garbage bags of drunken, drugged, and orgy leftovers out of this random camping area.
I’ve pulled two dead-falls down this past week, one down by a fool with an axe, the other by a strong wind. Who knows what may have happened, but no one will get hurt from them.
The fireworks after 23:00 are loud, but the view is okay. There are no complaints.
The light is wonderful, when one sees it with the truth that God created it to reflect.
Gas – Lighting
It’s the kind of lighting that only God can put right. I can forgive the family stuff, the gaslighting in the family as horrendous as it was. But the professionals: they should know better: their sins are bound. God will deal with their sins, not forgiven but bound. That, because it is my responsibility to forgive all that can be, and to bind what cannot be. I place it behind me so that I can continue to deal with these people of horrendous deeds with grace. I place it behind me and before them for the rest of their lives. God’s truth has no diminished clarity, no possibility of being lied about, nothing to be spun or hidden.
God’s forgiveness, which I have given, remains as clear as God’s light of truth. Photos show reality, the clarity of God’s light shining on God’s wonderful creation.
are we? Do we need to make a name for ourselves? Will we ever be
satisfied with God’s Word present among us?
created the universe.
On the seventh day God rested and declared it was all
good. God created
us with such
potential: the potential to reach for the stars, the potential to
love one another, ourselves and even our enemies. Our power of
imagination to see what is not and strive to accomplish things new
and wonderful carries us from one generation to the next. We can
share the breath of beauty, the wind of hope, and the fire of the
future with one another.
also gave us freedom, so that we have the
potential to reject the gifts God gives us. The
goodness of life is fragile. There
are so many ways for life to go wrong. We
can choose to dive into
the depths of darkness, to hide our false pride and
our self-centered arrogance, to wallow in
the despair that
generation after generation. We can
to addictions and armed conflict, to abuse
and terror that causes PTSD in its victims, to Gaslighting, bearing
false witness, and even
murder. We have
the potential to destroy all of life
on earth, but the real destruction are all
the avenues we create for life to implode on itself.
sat at the table in her favourite restaurant, enjoying the familiar
smells that reminded her of the news she had received here. Years
ago, on this very spot she’d opened her letter of acceptance into
university, the first one in her family, ever. That shaped everything
about her life, now a Doctor of History, a professor emeritus, a
famous author. Later that same day years ago she’d received the
other news that formed her life and was bringing it to an indecent
early end. She had MS. She had lived with it for so long, many years
in a wheelchair, but now her systems were slowly giving out. Her name
given to her at her baptism is Jane.
the lesson from Genesis we read how the people came together to build
a marvelous city and a tower that would reach the heavens, in order
to make a name for themselves. They also distrusted God’s rainbow,
and wanted security from any future flood. God comes to bless the
people with confused speech, with different languages, so that their
prideful project will halt. Divided the people disperse far and wide
to inhabit the earth. Ever since, we create divisions and conflict
more easily than we build healthy communities. We have built more
than a tower of Babel as our fossil fuel consumption produces more
pollution than the earth can tolerate, resulting in violent climate
change. Our civilization is built on time bombs that destroy people.
George and Emily
and Emily walked the beach, they’d grieved the addiction of their
daughter for an eternity, grieving the birth of grandchildren, each
lost to foster care. Now they’d received the phone call they’d
feared. Jenny had overdosed on drugs yet again. This time she had not
recovered. Their names are George and Emily and they gave Jenny her
name at her baptism.
Languages A Gift
we recognize the power of languages. They keep us apart and distinct.
Yet when we live in a second language, we experience not just
different grammar and words. We experience more of the world that God
created good. Different languages carry different pieces of the
marvels of this creation which we can barely fathom in a full
first Pentecost the disciples proclaimed in their own language the
wonders of God’s work for everyone. God inspired the listeners to
hear the disciples in each listener’s own language. As at Babel God
confused the language of the people to save them from their pride, so
at the first Pentecost God overcame the language barrier in order
that people could hear and understand each other and the Good
News of what God had done in the life, death and resurrection of
was born in Jena, in East Germany. A Christian, at great cost she had
dedicated her life to serving Christ. Working with youth she
excelled, until jealous gossip was started about her. Under intense
pressure and unearned shame Greta slowly lost her confidence, then
her sense of self, and finally her sense of reality. She succumbed to
a half living state of senseless babble that sometimes erupted into
excruciatingly painful clarity about what had been done to her, and
how helpless she was. Her name, given to her at her baptism, is
Greta. She remained Greta even as she lost her mind to the horrendous
cruelty of gossip that pretends to know reality beyond God’s
Clarity in Miracles
the disciples we always want God to be more clear. The words are
plain enough. Yet God rarely leaves it to just the words. The signs,
the miracles, that accompany the Good News are remarkable. We may not
recognize what God is doing, but we always hope that in the end all
will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,
for God created the universe and said it was good.
first Pentecost so that people could not miss the miracle of the Holy
Spirit given to God’s children, God marked the disciples with
tongues of fire.
of the distinct gifts God gave humans is Fire. It is powerful, both
for good and for evil. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, guided
the people through the wilderness with a pillar of flame, and will
cleanse us at our judgment with God’s purifying fire.
we have breathed these past weeks, the result of climate change
brings more wildfires, and more smoke that covers vast areas,
inhibiting life in so many ways. Humans are not the only ones
affected by wildfires. The smoke reduced the available solar power, a
nuisance at least for those whose electricity is produced by solar
power. The greater loss was to the plants whose basis of life depends
the face of life so challenged, God finds ways to bless us, with
Sam and Allicia
and Allicia both lost their childhoods to wars of terror and
genocide. In their teens they each survived the squalor and hunger of
refugee camps, their families having all been killed. Sponsored as
immigrants in their late teens by a Lutheran congregation in
Edmonton, they met, shared the struggles of finding their way, fell
in love, were married and are expecting their first child this
summer. With different mother tongues they communicate in Canadian
English. Their names given to them at their baptisms are Sam and
Allicia. They have chosen names for their first child at its baptism,
in memory of their families lost.
we reach for the stars, to make a name for ourselves, to succeed at
what we attempt, even to make life more than it is, there is no name
that we can make for ourselves greater than what God has already
given us. With tongues of fire God has marked us, anointed us, and
Three Confirmed, we stand with them
these three, Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah, were marked with
the cross in their baptisms, and now they
stand as young people, maturing, beginning to accept responsibility
for their own being, so
we each were marked. At
the right time we also stood
on our own to respond to the gifts that God gives us, promising to
receive, abide in, act out of, and grow into the people God calls us
to be. Today we
still stand, not on our own as if our faith
were merely personal or private. Rather
we stand as one
faith community united
by the fire of the Holy Spirit. As
we stand with one another in love, so we
stand with these
three young people. Their names, given to them in their baptisms, are
Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah.
Our name: potential as love
today we share with them the name God has given us all. There is no
greater name. It is not a name we could make for ourselves.
It is the name that God gave us in our baptisms and shares with us
each day. God names us God’s children.
language of our name is not limited to one of the diverse languages
that God gave us to propel us across the earth, to inhabit it and do
well by it. The language of our name is love, in all its rainbow
our love for one another we best reflect the One who abides with and
in us, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. It is in our love for our
enemies that we dance with the miraculous power of life which
the Spirit pours down on us in the form of flames of fire.
we do what it takes to love one another, though the world roils with
conflict, abuse, and destruction, we rest in the abiding presence of
the Holy Spirit. We have no cause to be troubled. Nor do we suffer
the greatest enemy: the denial of evil’s potential. Nor do we need
to fear flood nor fire nor anything, for God is at work to keep evil
in its place and God in God’s place … and to keep
us on earth with and for each other.
name given to us in our baptisms is children of God. We are
the inheritors of the miracle that brings life to be with a word,
with a breath, with a breeze, with a fire.
I have a wise old friend who told me her story, so similar to another I know as well, too similar for both not to be listened to, believed, and heeded. It is a story how the darkness overcame her and landed her in the darkness from which there was no escape, no matter what she tried. It nearly ended her.
The small light in the darkness saves many. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. Who indeed cares for the truth? Is it little, too little perhaps, to ask that the truth be spoken, heard and listened to? A young girl saw her mother cry silently without words not knowing what was happening. … the guest did as he wished with no fear for if anyone objected then or later complained death would come quickly. And so many times, a different guest, a repeat guest, a different guest. The young girl was ordered to ready the house for the guests so that they would be pleased, moving so quickly to run from the terror. She left behind any thought that she was a person, other than one that made everything ready for the guests. Until this daughter was taken in turn, too young, and taught the small pleasures that are possible, of sorts. In that moment the lies began, and they overtook reality, the horrible reality, that nothing could make right. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. But the darkness, somehow for this little girl, is still lighter than the void that took her soul. Who cares for the truth? It is no joy to know, but the truth does make a few things understandable, even the lies.
So why ask or hope for truth? Through all of time girls and boys have hoped that there would be a place for them in the world, not just a pit of worthlessness, but a path through the sun, through the rain, through the cold, through the heat, through the storms, and in the calm evening breeze on the lake. Why ask if truth is a factor? Cannot one just live with the lies? Cannot one live with the fiction that demeans some in order to eliminate them, and leave more space on the path for others? We have been doing it forever as humans, why not just let it continue? God. God loves. God loves all. So all will be well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well. And we will be the ones to make it well, for all. That is why the truth is important! The truth, bright, blazing truth of Christ, takes all that is not well, makes it brilliantly clear what it is, horrendous and terrorizing, and makes it also well.
The other night, as the evening darkness began to colour the world in blues and oranges, a small beaver swam by going south out from its home in the creek,
and alerted to my presence on shore slapped an alarm and dove to safety leaving the rings of golden shimmer against the night between the trees.
And came back to the surface further on its journey, out in the deep.
The beauty of the night deepened and shone as a few stumps left by the earlier beaver stood watch as the horizon climbed over the shore into the little light that remained.
While just a tinge of light still touched the shore, the beaver came back, heading home for the night, leaving a wake behind that danced in the blues and in the orange-silver-golds of the set sun. Ahh, the night was set right and I headed back home as well …
but no, the beaver was still out for more yet this evening, going back away from, not towards home.
I did then head home, to sleep well, no guests.
Under the care of the Spirit that makes all things well.
Light Truth Joy
It is at sunset as the light begins to close the day, that we see how the light, the goodness of the light persists always to bring us to face, see, hear, and heed the truth, for then the watchful Spirit inspires us to be able to know profound joy.
The sun that daily sets … and rises new again each morning. This friend came to see her darkness, to embrace it, and to set it aside with truth telling and truth listening and truth sharing. Which inspired a number of people to embrace their past, of darkness and ill, and to allow God to redeem it with love for themselves.
There is a path for everyone, or rather a path for each of us, not that it exists until we walk forward, but it unfolds under our movements forward in life toward the end, which is not death, but the ability to love, truly love, with all the sacrifice that entails.