Our Little to God is More Than Enough

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A reed, a little bark.

What we have may not look like much,

Doch whatever we have

God will use to give all people life,

life abundant!

Leviticus 26:5

Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land.

Matthew 14:20

And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.

Words of Grace For Today

God provides a great bounty for all to live from.

All in good order from sowing, to ripening, to harvest, to eating; God provides security for all. Not merely food security, but also food security.

We muck it up terribly so that through history billions go hungry and die of starvation.

Jesus comes to teach us, to heal us, and we gather. It is late. It is meal time. We are not stupid no matter how poor we are. We all have brought a bit to eat with us. We are not stupid no matter how poor we are. We do not bring out the food hidden for safety sake, lest the greed of a few fools and truly poor (who have brought no food with them) brings them to attack us, maim or kill us, and take our little food from us. We, too, are greedy this way. We call it caution or wisdom. Jesus calls it sin.

Jesus does not chastise or demand or expose us. Instead Jesus gathers the little his disciples have, places it in a few baskets, and passes it around for all to take from it what they need. Those with plenty add to the baskets, those with nothing take a meal from the baskets. Jesus does not dictate love, Jesus only lives an example of sharing God’s bounty with all people.

The people follow Jesus’ example, assured by his presence that they need not fear.

In the end many, many baskets of the leftovers remain uneaten. We are not stupid, we have brought more than enough. Jesus is not stupid, he shows us how to share God’s blessings of food and God’s blessings of everything else, so that all have enough, and there is plenty left over.

Now, today, amid the challenges of Covid 19, take the new opportunities we have before us, to relax (which negates fear), to bring out God’s bounty, and to share God’s great bounty with all, so that all have enough to live, and to live abundantly.

Injustice At Home, From Bottom to Top

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Some Days Are Deceptive

We Think Troubled Waters are Elsewhere,

But the Heavens Tell Us Otherwise!

1 Kings 8:59-60

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Revelation 15:4

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.

Words of Grace For Today

We bring our petitions to God each day, praying for justice. Many people think of countries far away, where we hear reports, believable reports of war and genocide, of intentional starvation and deprivation of populations in opposition to or of different ethnicity than those in power, gender and sexual orientation based violence and murder. We pray indeed that God will bring justice to these places around the globe, for we know that we are all in this together.

Covid 19 has taught us that there is no population anywhere on earth that can be separated from the rest of us, denied safety measures and care, without that allowing Covid 19 to multiply, mutated and spread faster, deadlier to all of us on this planet. The effects from infection are deadly to the elderly, at first. Now we learn that for all others, even those with minor symptoms the ravages of this virus can be chronic and debilitating, or give rise to sudden deadly mis-health events like stroke, heart attack, and sudden death. No age, no degree of health before the infection seems to be ‘safe’. We are all in this together, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not.

It is good that we pray for many peoples far and wide. Our petitions for justice closer to home are harder to pray. We are right in the middle of horrendous injustices. We call for awareness of women killed by violent men; and we ignore that ten times more men are killed by violence than women. Why?

It is good that we pray for the vulnerable, for women, for children, for elderly, for the poor, for those caught in systemic prejudice, for the homeless, for those now caught by Covid 19 restrictions and tossed into poverty, for the disabled, and for those of different faiths, customs, genders, sexual orientation, colour, nationalities, and abilities. It is not nearly enough for we ignore so much reality when we pray only these prayers, when we work to bring God’s justice only to these people.

We need to pray for those with privilege, power, influence, and wealth. They perpetrate injustices while hiding from themselves perhaps and definitely from others their complicity in and complacence to injustice which helps guarantee their continued privilege, power, influence, and wealth. We need to pray not just for our government leaders, and all in government, elected and hired. We need to pray not just for those in business, large and small, who benefit greatly from the greed based economy of the world. We need to pray not just for those who serve as police, enforcing injustice as much as they enforce law and order. We need to pray for judges and justices who determine how laws are applied, or as it is in Alberta, how laws are ignored along with truth, as they knowingly, gleefully, and even cruelly hand down decisions that are irrational, unjust, and favour those with connections, influence, and wealth.

Bill Hordern wrote:

Therefore, as Reinhold Niebuhr saw so clearly, governments are never simply a protection against injustice, they are also strongholds of injustice. Although the Christians ought to seek to have the government protect the weak from the strong, in fact most governments tend to protect the strong from the weak. The sword is wielded to maintain the status quo and all its inequities. Therefore, we should be prepared to see that service to God rather than to man may sometimes bring us into conflict with the rulers over many more matters than just the niceties of theological doctrine or ecclesiastical practice. (Living by Grace p.195)

These words were quoted by a now bishop in a text study decades ago. This year a good pastor added: Hence the wisdom from the theology of the survivors of WW2, and the wisdom of the Civil rights warriors like John Lewis who said:Get into good trouble!’

We need to pray everyday that God’s day of judgment will come soon, and save us all. So we plead with our ancestors:

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

and

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.

Always Darkness in Corrupt Power, Light in Christ

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Even in the darkest of nights and tribulations
God provides a promise of Light

Christ’s Light

To reveal all Truth and Grace

1 Kings 8:59-60

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Revelation 15:4

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements have been revealed.

Words of Grace For Today

Bill Hordern wrote:

Therefore, as Reinhold Niebuhr saw so clearly, governments are never simply a protection against injustice, they are also strongholds of injustice. Although the Christians ought to seek to have the government protect the weak from the strong, in fact most governments tend to protect the strong from the weak. The sword is wielded to maintain the status quo and all its inequities. Therefore, we should be prepared to see that service to God rather than to man may sometimes bring us into conflict with the rulers over many more matters than just the niceties of theological doctrine or ecclesiastical practice. (Living by Grace p.195)

These words were quoted by a now bishop in a text study decades ago. This year a good pastor added: Hence the wisdom from the theology of the survivors of WW2, and the wisdom of the Civil rights warriors like John Lewis who said:Get into good trouble!’

It is as true today as ever, and especially here at home in Alberta, Canada. A partner Gaslights her partner, children lie, a pastor lies and schemes with the police to gather false reports, and to harass the target. Many false reports, false arrests, lies upon lies already and charges are laid. Church leaders lie to the RCMP. A petition to the court is made to protect the children. It is not only ignored and defeated and used as a ‘blood sport’ weapon against the good, honest, and kind (though not perfect) father to ruin his reputation, drive him so far into debt he will never get out of it, and to drive him homeless. Blatantly corrupt lawyers and their assistants bald face lie to the courts. Prosecutors lie to the Courts. Witnesses blatantly lie to the courts. Dozens of judges deal with the matters, those at crucial turns in the process blatantly lie about the evidence against (most of it lies already) the good father, and even about the evidence for the good father. He is falsely convicted, jailed where his life is threatened – mostly by the staff, and even by a nurse who administers a badly needed drug that has to be ingested with food, and denies him food for more than a half hour – it’s a miracle his stomach does not develop an ulcer – though he survives protected by a host of inmates and a few guards who do not want the old man needlessly hurt.

Denied support the good, honest, and kind father, Gaslit beyond imagination, is driven homeless. His body starts to fail, and he seeks the healing power of solitude and wilderness. He survives despite continuing efforts to kill him by courts, lawyers, and always his ex.

He prays daily in thanks for all he has, especially breath and health and love and work but especially for solitude during Covid 19. The most dangerous thing now is the contact he must have directly with people as most people are in flat out angry denial that Covid 19 is to be taken seriously.

The sin of so many people that has brought him thus far are too many to track, many remain hidden and unknown. This cannot be the first time such gaslighting, police harassment, blatantly false evidence by police and witnesses, false convictions and corrupt rulings, cruel games played by judges to hide they lies in their judgments, and persistent efforts are mounted to kill a good, honest, kind father. It is done so well, so practiced, so effective, so well hidden, with such disdain for truth and without fear of being caught out.

So this good, honest, kind father, now a holy hermit is me. I have forgiven my ex who is surely a borderline personality disordered person, and bound all other’s sins, known and unknown. Now I have prayed daily for God to bring the truth to light, and to deal with truth and justice and grace with those sins and sinners.

So I read today’s passage as if I had written it myself and know that I certainly not the first person to be so treated by other people. We humans really have a tremendous capacity to be cruel to others, and our methods really have not changed all that much since … well since the beginning of recorded history.

Still I pray knowing countless others have, do and pray the same with me:

Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires; so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

For then

Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgements will have been revealed.

That day is eagerly awaited, and until then we all trust that the Kingdom of God is near, God walks with us, even us homeless, gaslit, kind people who are so far surviving the sword of the powerful and corrupt which is wielded to maintain the status quo and all its inequities.

As member Jones said after one of many false arrests, Do you know why I do this? … Because I can.

But God will stop even this evil, in God’s time.

May We have Peace on Valentine’s Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

God Gives Us Light To Find Our Way Home,

To Accept and Give Forgiveness Always to Everyone

So That All May Know Peace!

Psalm 29:11

May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Ephesians 2:17

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

Words of Grace For Today

Peace is not the absence of conflict, nor the absence of violence even. Peace can coexist with both of these, though it works to pull us from violence to negotiation with each other, and from conflict with each other to harmony with (not each other) … with God’s Will for us.

CBC gave air time to a woman looking to organize mass fasting to call attention to domestic violence. She wanted those fasting to explain why they were hungry, and how terrible it is, now with Covid 19 restrictions, for women to be caught at home with their abusers. She wanted men to find a better model of what men can be. She wanted to call attention to the many, many women who are killed as a result of abuse.

All sort of good and well, as far as it goes. She seems to want, as many do, for us all to forget that ten times, got that, TEN TIMES! as many men die from violence as do women. Her project is a common one voiced today: women need to be protected from evil men. There are no good men, just evil men.

If similar things were said about women, their would be an uproar of denunciation of the misogyny. But no one even mentions that this woman’s statements devalue men, categorizing us all as abusers and as evil men who need to rethink who we are in order to become something better. No one voices the realization that this is misandry (the hatred of and devaluing of men.)

Make no mistake: some men kill women. AND some women kill men. Some use force, some use manipulation.

As if to make it sound like women are under greater threat, among other misandrist statements, it is said men are afraid a woman will laugh at him; women are afraid a man will kill her. The reality is when a woman laughs at a man, she devalues him, announces it for many to see, and taking his respect from him leaves him easy prey for both men and women bullies and abusers to kill him, if not directly with force then with psychological manipulation until there is nothing left of his life, not at all, not at all. The truth is men are as afraid of women killing him (often using men to accomplish the deed) as a women are afraid that men will kill them.

Abuse is abuse. Gender is not really a factor. Stereotypes are a serious problem because the mask the real issues with false issues.

That’s what is so terribly wrong with this woman’s campaign to get people to fast; it assumes all men kill women, and forgets that lots of women kill men, and regardless of who does the killing and how, many more men (ten times as many as women), our brothers, fathers, uncles, sons, and grandfathers, are dying, murdered by others.

Peace is not to point fingers and eradicate the falsely identified murder or the murderers. Peace is much more profound. Peace, real peace, requires that we acknowledge true reality. Real peace is to first realize that a part of each of us contributes to the conditions and circumstances we all live under in our society. Peace is second to forgive ourselves and accept others’ forgiveness of us, and to accept God’s forgiveness (actually that has to come first before other forgiveness is possible.) Third, peace is to forgive others so that there is no more finger pointing or calling out for others to change. The change has to be made within each of us first, and we have to point to the other as already forgiven … so that they may choose to change. Fourth, peace asks of each of us that we be profoundly thankful that forgiveness is possible, that God starts us off down that path, again and again each day.

If we are going to fast (and some like me cannot fast without putting ourselves at great physical risk of needing hospitalization to recover or we die) then it is to fast quietly, for this is what we need most: an inward healing of our relationship with God, God’s creation and God’s creatures, especially other people.

If we are going to put on a campaign to raise awareness of injustice, and in particular avoidable murder, then we cannot tie that message to misogyny or misandry. That only exacerbates the underlying lies we tell ourselves about the polarized genders, which drives us further and further from any possible reduction of avoidable murder. It in fact raises the conflict to higher levels, which in turn gives rise to more pain, which gives rise to more violence (physical and psychological) and that leads to more destruction of people, including physical and psychological deaths.

We need models for real peace. God sent us Jesus to live that model for us. There are a great number of saints who have provided models as well. We need to remember the old, old story of Jesus and his love, and of the saints that teach us faith and real peace, giving us real hope. Remember the good examples (they were human so they were not perfect) of Martin Luther King Jr., Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Bonhoeffer, and many others. Above all begin each day remembering Jesus and his love, and all God does for us. From gratitude for all God’s blessing we can find our way to peace, even amidst conflict and violence and injustices all around us.

God is Faithful … Waiting

Sunday, February 7, 2021

What is Your Dream wish
for these polar-deep-freeze days

for it to be summer
when a tent is sufficient
for surviving a night camping?

Isaiah 65:1

I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am’, to a nation that did not call on my name.

Luke 14:23

Then the master said to the slave, “Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled.”

Words of Grace For Today

There is a name … a name which can free any person from every ill and misfortune, from one’s own real guilt and shame, and from the power of Evil. This name some people seek, for they know the universe needs deliverance and us all with it.

Others, actually most of us, try to deceive ourselves into thinking that life is just fine, that we can get by as things are, that we can meet the challenges of life on our own.

Truth is we simply cannot, and history is full of examples of people trying and failing spectacularly. Most people’s stories remain untold, though they would provide the same spectacle. Truth is we need a miracle to save us.

In the deep polar cold of these days the miracle would be …

Well, what would it be for you?

For me it would be for the truth to be known of these past fifteen years, for my reputation to be restored, and for the real culprits who knowingly created false police reports, false charges and false convictions to be exposed; for good order to be restored.

It is a bit too much to hope for, yet still is not real true hope is for those things that are too much to hope for?

Forgiveness does not have a different hope, neither does scripture allow that God does either. God does not wish good order to be restored by eliminating people who perpetrate such evils. God, rather, wishes that those people be transformed from agents of the Devil to God-made-saints even as they simultaneously remain sinners each day.

This is the feast that people on the roads and in the lanes are compelled to come and enjoy. That’s quite the paradox: God must compel us to come to a feast that we will more fully enjoy than we can imagine. At God’s feast we receive not just food and drink for our bodies, nor just for our minds, nor just for our souls. We receive food and drink for all that and all that for our neighbours, including even our enemies; for God wishes for them to feast along with us at God’s table of Grace.

All through history, all through each of our lives, God calls to us: Here I am, here I am! God calls to us even when we have not listened, do not listen and may choose forever not to listen. God is faithful especially when we are not. That’s the feast of Grace God puts on each day for us and for all people.

In the cold, God does not merely want known the truth of these last fifteen years. God wants known by all people the truth of all the years since the beginning of time to the end of time: God created and holds the universe together, each string, wave and particle, and each life with Grace. God wants us all to know that is the miracle, also today in the deep-freeze of -40⁰C or F.

To all those from the past fifteen years, from all the years since forever and until forever, who have create lies, deception, injustice and chaos, God continues to call: if you do not share the blessings I poured over you this day, when will you?

Each evening time is one day shorter for each of us, then each morning we are blessed with a new day. Each day as it passes is again one day less for us and each day again is another new day to know God’s Grace and to respond to God’s calling our names: Here I am. Send me. Use me to bring true justice, Grace and real hope to all people.

If not today, when?

Chains and Freedom

Friday, February 5, 2021

Light and Dark

God’s Light overwhelms our Sins

Every time

Psalm 56:13

For you have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of life.

Acts 12:7

Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his wrists.

Words of Grace For Today

If we think … or rather, when we think that we are not doomed, doomed to die for our sins … When we think that we are not doomed to die in chains for crimes we did not commit, as a result of other’s sins … When we think we can somehow escape from the terrible injustice that sin throughout the world causes, our sin and others’ sins …

… Then …

Then there is really no hope for us, not at all.

When we recognize, first, that we get what we deserve, total annihilation; and second, if that does not get us, then we get what others deserve but choose that we suffer for them which destroys us, just perhaps more slowly and unjustly … then we know that we NEED to be delivered … and only God can save us.

In either case when God rescues us from our sins and from others’ sins of destroying us, then …

Well … then it really is like an angel tapping us on the shoulder and telling us to get up, our chains fall free, and we can walk out into the world.

Then we can sing with the Psalmist: We praise you Lord God, Creator, Redeemer, Advocate for you have delivered our souls from death, and our feet from falling, so that we may walk before God in the light of life.

It is no small thing to walk in the light of life before God. First to walk … that is no small feat when one remembers how close we just were to death. Second to walk before God … for it is in submission that we bow, kneel, and remain still before such as God the creator of the universe. Only very few people have ever seen God’s face and not been annihilated, have survived to walk anywhere. So to walk before God, that is a wonder and great miracle. Third to walk before God in the light of life, for that is to live, and not just survive or get by or put in our time or endure … this is to live in God’s light of life! This is to live so abundantly that God’s light shines everywhere around us, into us, and through us to the world around.

We, who were so close to death, now live to the fullest extent possible for a human. This is an extraordinary blessing from God that we certainly cannot claim to deserve.

This gives us reason to hope again hope, no matter the challenges that face us and threaten to undo us, no matter how destructive Covid 19 is or any other virus or disease or violence or injustice or anything at all, at all … no matter what comes our way, we still trust God walks with us and in God’s time all justice and truth will prevail, all joy shall return to the earth and all it’s inhabitants, and blessings will flow freely through us to all people. That will be the Day of the Lord, and for this day we patiently wait, providing to all we can everything we can so that God’s blessings may flow through us saints already in these days.

What a life!

Limits are a Real Good Part of Life … Freedom in the Keep

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The path forward may be dark,

Doch God’s Light Guides Us

to Find Our Way Past the Wrecks of the Past.

Psalm 121:5-6

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

John 17:15

I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

If God made a mistake, creating us to live on this earth, all of us so capable of evil that is so horrific we can barely imagine it’s destructive power, then the solution and our salvation would be for us to be able to leave all this behind. Many stories have been written and and genocidal attempts made, instead of removing us, to remove the evil from earth. It cannot go well for anyone, because sin and the agents of evil are each of us. It is not some identifiable or vague ‘them’. It is all of us who are the agents of sin and evil.

Many stories have been written and ill-fated attempts made to remove us from the bounds of sin on earth, from these flesh encased lives we have to live. None are good or successful. All need a huge dose of delusion.

Delusion runs rampant today, from Trump, Trump supporters, to similar flavours of government that ignore science, and instead implement restrictions for their own political ends instead of as protection for the people. Under the cover of Covid 19 great evil is perpetrated against millions of people the world over.

Did God make a mistake creating these people who use a pandemic as cover for evil, or for that matter for creating all of us, the perpetrators and victims alike?

Doch, God made no mistake creating us to live in these flesh encased lives here on this earth with all these other creatures. All humans, capable of evil, are also capable of great good. For this good God created us.

What we cannot do on our own is take on Evil and win. In fact the easiest route for the Devil to own us is when we try to concoct our lives as good on our own. That opens a freeway into our hearts, minds and strength for the Devil to work his/her wiles, wiles of deception and delusion, and even covering the tracks of evil in our core existence, so that we can fool ourselves about how the Devil possesses us!

In this marvellous life we are each given, God alone is our keeper, our safeguard against evil. God does not remove us from the wonders of creation and our awesome yet limited manner by which we participate in creation: See. Hear. Smell. Taste. Touch. Organize. Assemble what can seem as chaos into good order, good understanding. Marvel. Sing for Joy. Give God Thanks!

Still we will be overrun by evil. It is powerful, so much more powerful than we, ourselves.

Do you think you are so good that you are beyond the reach of evil tapping you at your core to perpetrate evil? Ha, for fools are exactly in this way played out by the Devil to commit the worst evil of all, passive aggressive, smiling to our faces and stabbing us in the back, pretending and parading around as if they were so good, yet at the same time plotting and scheming people’s destruction … completely owned (unawares) by the Devil.

Our only defence is God’s mercy, the story of Jesus’ sacrifice to rescue us and redeem us, the gifts of the Holy Spirit to renew us and guide us to …

… to humble admiration of God’s love for us

… to humble gratitude for God’s mercy

… to humble kindness toward all people, especially our ‘enemies’

… to humble dedication to work for justice for all people, justice based on truth and God’s mercy

… to humble joy no matter what we face, because we know God alone is our keeper and this world is where God intends us to live, and to live abundantly, helping others live abundantly as well.

In Epiphany, What Do We Do?

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Light,

The Colour,

Or

The Cold, Snowy Woods?

Which do we see as we progress through life today?

Malachi 1:6

A son honours his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honour due to me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due to me? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. You say, ‘How have we despised your name?’

Matthew 21:28-31

What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’

Words of Grace For Today

Everyday there are so many things and people that demand our attention and demand our subservience. The governmental orders that restrict our freedoms in order to protect us all from the deadly and maiming Covid 19 are high on the list of those we are constantly aware of.

Where does God fit on our list? How would we know? How would others know? Does it really matter where or if God is on our list of those we give our attention to and whom we give subservience to?

Malachi thought it does, as did Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Miriam, all the prophets and prophetesses, the woman who provided for Jesus and his disciples, and surely Jesus does!

Matthew points out how we humans too often recognize that we must give attention and obedience to God, but we can’t really be bothered when the rubber hits the road; we’ve got other things that keep us busy.

Wayne said he would honour God. But then in his honourable profession the temptations of greed and avarice, the pressures to perform the impossible, and the corruption of absolute power overwhelmed him. He had promised to honour God, but he honoured no one but his own reputation. Sitting in a position of power he destroyed people, and dealt with honest honourable people as cruelly as he could. He identified their greatest vulnerabilities and exploited them until they had no resistance or hope left. He loved watching people crumble behind him as he moved on to the next victim.

God cried, for his son, Wayne, who had started life with such great brilliance and promise, such extraordinary gifts and opportunities, such hope and kindness, had given up on himself, on the goodness of life, and on God.

Tina grew up with church all around, and saw the hypocrisy of her parent’s faith, the pastors’ greed and blatant sinfulness, and the church leaders corruption and dishonesty. She stood at her confirmation, as she thought she must for appearances and to avoid the guaranteed battles with her parents if she did not. She stood and professed her faith, but under her breath she cursed the whole process and her hypocrisy. Afterwords she stood by herself in the woods behind the church and cursed the church, it’s people and it’s God. She vowed she would never, ever do more than the absolute minimum to make people accept her and leave her alone. Later as an adult she would avoid the church at all costs! This she promised herself, and God if there was one.

With a budding career after scholarships and fellowships and the best education available in the world, Tina had it all. She was even considering getting married. She’d found a kind man, an honest man, a man of integrity who stood up for what was right and worked to bring justice to those to whom it was denied.

Then in a blink of an eye, he was dead, killed by an addict in a frenzied high on meth looking for money for more drugs. The addict had been a normal mother of two who needed knee surgery. Prescribed opiates for her pain even before the surgery, which was postponed twice, she became hooked. Her doctor did nothing except cut her off. She turned to prescription drugs on the street, and when she ran through all her family’s money losing them along the way, she turned to cheaper street opiates.

Tina tried to make sense of it all. It was impossible. Nothing made sense. Not her own life. Not the sad story of the addict’s life and her children without a mother. Not her fiance’s death. One day she found herself walking in a wood, praying that God would help her. She remembered that promise she’d made herself in the woods after her confirmation. Still she prayed. When she walked out of the woods, she went looking how she could make a good difference in the world. She found, trained, and volunteered at a safe injection site for addicts. She listened to the addicts who wanted to talk. Many came to trust her. She wasn’t fooled by their lies, or taken in. She listened. She learned what resources were available. If they asked for help, she was ready to guide them, sometimes even walking with them to the place where help was offered, where they could be given a safe apartment, where people would help them get stability, and help dealing with their addiction. She attended lots of AA and NA meetings, sitting in the back with an addict who’d asked her to come to support them.

Who are you today? Like Wayne or Tina? Full of words and short on action? Or full of action humbling submitting to God’s Word to love God, neighbour and self with all our heart, mind and strength, even our enemies?

Whoever each of us are this day, pray that none of us are like the priests who are so far lost we can say: ‘How have we despised God’s name?’

Let us honour God with our prayers, praise, and humble work to bring justice to all people, grace to all people, and hope to all people … starting with ourselves.

Facing Covid and All Our Enemies – With Grace!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Christ’s Dazzling Light

Always Shines For the Blessed

Through All the Darkness

Jeremiah 12:1

You will be in the right, O Lord, when I lay charges against you; but let me put my case to you. Why does the way of the guilty prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

Matthew 20:10-12

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”

Words of Grace For Today

Why does the way of the guilty prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?

Why, working for God, do they, who arrive at the latest hour, receive the wages of those who showed up to work at sunrise?

We think that the world is so that we can understand how it works? For example when we ski off a cliff we should plan that we are going to land down below where we took off from. Gravity is a thing that we can understand.

So is it with many things in our world. Things we do have consequences, consequences that we can prepare for, consequences that anyone with a clear working mind and heart understands very well.

But when it comes to how God works with us and with other people, it easily seems everything we know makes no difference.

God’s ways are opaque for us.

Until we start to comprehend Grace.

Grace is the upside down stuff of our normal lives. Grace is how God works in the world.

If we try to understand, then it seems the guilty prosper and the treacherous thrive, and it seems that our work for God ought to be paid according to our efforts and time invested.

Yet, it is not so in God’s creation.

Grace alone brings us to life, life as we were created to live.

According to Grace, God’s purpose for each and every person is not to reward us according to our efforts. God’s purpose is to bring each and every one of us, freely, to live abundantly.

Cars run on gasoline or diesel. Bodies run on nourishing food and good drink.

God’s creation runs on Grace, the best of everything is free. Everything is free, but like manna given to nourish the people in the wilderness, manna that was good only for a day, and could not be stored, all that God gives us freely cannot be hoarded for ourselves. The goodness that God gives us is only good when we give it freely to others, just as we have received it.

So …

What appears to be unexpected and up-side-down, is God’s Grace working for us … and we can be ready to share all God gives us with all those we meet. Though we give, give, and give, God’s blessings will never run out; they will always flow, pouring over us and to all around us.

Ahh, to understand God’s ways is beyond us, but blessings flow; for them we can be filled with gratitude … and that makes everything wonderfully different, even when our tit-for-tat mindset is surprised or frustrated that our wicked enemies seem to win forcing us into an early grave.

(‘Joke’ is on them. We get to live abundantly, thankfully, sharing blessings freely, loving and dancing with grace through life. Then as they continue to live on earth, futilely pursuing more and more worthlessness, we enter the heavenly home prepared for us, for eternity. – If they could only see the end of their gaslighting and corruption.)

10th Day of …

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Who are you this day,

on the path of life

that is given to you?

Who are any one of us,

If not God’s blessed saints?

Isaiah 58:10

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.

Luke 6:36

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Words of Grace For Today

In history there were many of these people, and today we remember two, one of each:

There was a wealthy person, who had inherited great riches, position, and power. Working hard to manage all that was at her command, she increased her wealth through every means and method available to her. If her choices caused a great number of people misery, despair, or death, she took no notice.

It was her birthright, she claimed. She was going to increase her position for that is what she was born to do, just as her ancestors had done. She did not learn her history, though, and paid little attention to literature of any kind. She was interested in ways and means to increase her wealth, and only that. When something could serve her she researched, brought in expert advisers, and used everything to her own advantage. If something or someone did not serve her advantage she quickly got rid of it or them.

Those who knew of her prayed for her … to stay far away from them.

There was another wealthy person, who had inherited great riches, position, and power. Working hard to manage all that was at his command, he increased his wealth wisely.

Aware that his ancestors had worked hard to earn the wealth, position and power that was handed on to him, he learned their history, and as much of history as he could. He accepted that poverty, misery, illness and death would always be part and parcel of life, though he did not ignore the responsibility that was handed on to him, the responsibility to make a difference in many, many people’s lives; a good difference. He understood from his ancestors that all he had was a blessing from God, a blessing that remained a blessing only as long as he ensured it was handed on to others as blessings.

He did not stand in the limelight. Only a handful of people prayed in thanks for him by name. Very few people actually knew that what they received in time of great turmoil, illness or death came through various paths from him. Yet when people received assistance, opportunity or protection, they were also given a word: pay it forward. Because of his work many people prayed prayers of thanks.

With this wisdom this man of great riches, position, and power not only helped people, but what emanated from him was an ever growing web of gratitude and a sense of responsibility to share what one had, so that everyone in need received the help, exactly the kind of help, they needed in order to live thankful lives.

In this year 2021, which person would you wish to have living in your community, province, or country?

God has given us each great blessings so choose to be that person in your community!

Carry on and spread the tradition of immense gratitude for God’s blessings. First among God’s blessings is that Jesus saves us from sin and gives us abundant lives.