Exercise Your Power!

Saturday, July 30, 2022


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Family_of_African_American_slaves_on_Smith%27s_Plantation_Beaufort_South_Carolina.jpg

What Would History Look Like

If Masters

Served Slaves?

Joshua 24:24

The people said to Joshua, ‘The Lord our God we will serve, and him we will obey.’

John 18:37

Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’

Words of Grace For Today

The people promise to serve God and obey him.

They break their promise over and over again.

Good thing the covenant God made with Abraham and with them is one sided: God makes it, God keeps it.

We just get to trust it, and return to trusting it when we decide (so often) not to trust God.

Pilate knows power. Jesus is to him an usurper, and a poor one at that, for he’s gotten himself caught by the ‘real’ power, and his life is in Pilate’s hands.

Well, not really!

Jesus is the real power, that holds the universe together since the beginning of time and before, even as the Webb Telescope gives us spectacular photos that reach back in time closer, closer to the beginning of time.

Jesus is the power, the king, the master of all people and of the universe, who bends down to serve us, to demonstrate how real power is exercised, that is with mercy and love.

What would history be like if all people exercised that kind of power?

What would our days be like if we exercised that kind of power?

Francis of Assissi, Clare, Abbess of San Damiano, Dominic, Florence Nightingale, Clara Maass, and a host of so many others show us what life can be like when we exercise that kind of power!

Live on today! Listen to the truth and to Jesus’ voice. Exercise your God given power … to serve others.

Purpose?

Friday, June 24, 2022

There’s lots of weeds in life to be caught by, and lots of opportunity to share the sunset, and everything else in life with those in need.

Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes.

Luke 3:10-11

The crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’

Words of Grace For Today

We are born with pretty much empty minds, which get filled with all we take in.

So we ask many people: how do we live well?

That is part of being human.

God does not leave us without any guidance. Sometimes that guidance is abused by others to steal life from us and many other people. Sometimes that guidance is misunderstood and following it gets us further from a good life than we were earlier. Mostly God’s precepts teach us how to live well, bring joy to our hearts, and clarity to our eyes and minds.

Still we must often ask: Lord what then must we do?

The beginning of enjoying a good life is to learn to share everything and whatever little one has, trusting that others will share with you when you are in need.

Life rarely works out that way, but being those who gladly, generously, and readily give to others in need starts by making one’s own life closer to what God intended, and it provides to others so that they can live. It’s hard to live well if you cannot even live.

And that’s the point. There’s always enough for everyone to live well, as long as those with more than enough are more than ready to share.

Which we humans rarely are.

So God keeps reminding us, that’s the purpose of life.

Today’s just another opportunity to learn how good it is to live in God’s purpose for life.

The Kids …

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Today,

the Light Shines Bright and Long

on All That Was Once

Hidden

in Darkness

Psalm 8:1-4

O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

Matthew 21:15-16

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, they became angry and said to him, ‘Do you hear what these are saying?’

Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read, “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself”?’

Words of Grace For Today

Thieves struck.

Simple deception taking things that can be fenced for money for drugs, and

I am left without essential tools and money that I am so short of: my life is not threatened, but bankruptcy moves closer and closer, which may lead to my death, if it is not brought on sooner by other dark powers.

More, I am betrayed yet again.

When Jesus does the amazing things of healing people of all kinds of illnesses, or bringing people together to share, trusting each other, the leaders know that Jesus is undermining the very reality that their power over the people thrives on and requires: fear. Fear of each other. Fear of those in power. Fear of those who speak the truth. Fear of anything and everything. Fear fuels greed. Greed makes people predictable and easily manipulated.

When Jesus does these amazing things, the children (and with this term is meant also the simple people in the temple) sing out his praise, honouring him as the descendant of David that he is. Jesus has calmed their fears so that they can see clearly the world they live in.

They see Jesus and know him to be the Son of David, the one promised and hoped for for generations.

They see the leaders in the temple, and know the corruption that guides their leading the people, not in the people’s best interest, but to the leaders’ advantages.

They see the poverty they are caught in, the forces that keep them down, and the promise that they will have life abundant even today. They have begun to realize the blessings of life are not given nor taken by possessing power, riches, and reputation.

Looking at the world around them, they see the wonders that God has created and rightly ask how it is that God cares a wit at all about humans, so small we are in the universe. They see clearly that though humans are so small in the universe, though they are so small in their own world, God cares most about them, and showers blessings on them each day, blessings that others toss aside as if they were mere trifles.

Today, the summer solstice, a 50th birthday, a day of light, and the shortest night of the year … even today the children (the simple, honest people blessed by God even if poverty holds them the rest of their lives,myself among them) are able to sing God’s praise with clarity. It is that clarity and truth that threatens corrupt powers, falsely gained riches, and those who parade themselves as leaders. The Light of Christ always shines. Today it shines intensely on the darkness of those who steal by deception, who take from others to feed their addictions and amass their wealth, who claim to lead the people from positions of honour.

Today all glory is God’s as Christ’s Light shines revealing all the dark of human hearts and deeds and the brightness of God’s blessings.

Plans and Preparing

Monday, May 2, 2022

Old and Ugly, But It Was Still Sort of a Home.

God Planned

We Live and Pray

and Work Diligently

To Survive

Isaiah 25:1

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.

Ephesians 1:4-5

… just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will ….

Words of Grace For Today

Oh Ephesians, Ephesians! The end of one thought ending a sentence and the beginning of another in the next sentence, and both thoughts could stand separate from their sentences, to be placed together as they are here, in one sentence, and since there was no punctuation in the original Greek maybe we can get away with it, and maybe not. Though I’d think so, for now.

By contrast the thoughts in the Isaiah reading are repeated often enough in scripture: God created long ago, marvellously created the entire universe and it was good; and it is all created as God planned and we are a part of that.

So the Ephesians writer (psuedo-Paul) is on track: God created us. More than just create our species and let it run its course in time, God planned for each of us in the particular, knowing we would sin, and answering that with a plan for salvation for us all. In that salvation plan, demonstrated to us in Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection, we are not merely grabbed and dragged along for the remainder of our lives. We are given a history (Jesus’ record) of being holy, pure and blameless, filled with God’s love for all of creation and all people, and then sent out free.

More than free we are adopted, and destined to be adopted long before time began, – adopted we are as God’s own children. Just because God so chose this for us. And as God’s own we get to be God’s grace for all other people!

Covid Blues, and anything else that may come our way, you are nothing compared to the life, pure and blameless that God adopts us into. Come what may, God has prepared us for all that, and for being God’s adopted for other people.

A 5th wheel 40 foot camper unit was moved in last fall before the snows fell. The owner said he was there, homeless with no where else to go, but there only for two weeks, the legal limit. Two months later his truck still came and went until …

nothing.

No tracks.

No guy.

Spring melt came, traffic came.

Still no truck.

Still no guy.

Still the 5th wheeler sat unattended back off the road, yet so visible along the entrance road to the random camping area.

Fishing season is done.

Very little traffic comes and goes.

The two huge dips in the entrance road fill with ice-water-slush.

For weeks it takes an off road, raised 4×4 to get in or out.

Then two guys, one tall and lean the other shorter and stocky, show up in a red diesel truck on a Sunday afternoon, ‘just back from working up north’ and they wanted some peace from their women, or they say.

The next day with no sign of any other traffic in and out the locks on the 5th wheeler are broken, the door left swinging in the wind, and things have disappeared out of and from around the camper.

The next day a crossover stalls after getting through those water-ice-slush filled dips in the road into the random camping area. Lucky for the couple within a small infant, with an hour a truck comes along, and pulls that poor wheel-locked crossover back through one of those dips (the deepest one) and out of the way. But the crossover sits there for two days, unmoved before the couple returns to retrieve it.

The 5th Wheeler, though, still sits there abandoned as it has all winter long, though now it’s door swings in the breeze.

For this, the owner of that old camper, homeless as he may have been, certainly was not prepared.

Maybe no one can be prepared for losing nearly everything and then having the little bit that is left vandalized and open to wild animals (especially the real wild and dangerous kind on two legs).

Even if that were to happen to us, we are adopted, and given new life, pure and blameless, as God’s own.

God save us!

Still we pray fervently to be spared this further indignity and threat to our very life … and we work diligently to prepare that nothing is left unattended, un-watched, secured as best anything can be. It cannot be God’s plan, that homeless people are victims of thievery, losing the last bit of everything they have to keep them alive. So we pray, God save us. And we work to be ready for all the tomorrows that we may yet live to enjoy.

Always,

Always,

Always,

Especially in the face of dangerous wild animals,

We trust God,

and since God has chosen us as children, long before the beginning of time, so that in this time all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Flee From, Flee To!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Flee From the Darkness,

Come Home into the Light,

The Kingdom of Christ.

Isaiah 48:20

Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!’

Colossians 1:13

He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

Words of Grace For Today

Usually the cry to ‘get out!’ is made in order to move people away from danger. Isaiah provides it to the people in exile in order to move the people toward their homeland, again. This is the cry that is part of the beginning of the return of Israel. It is still going on today, not just with people returning to Israel, but people left homeless for all sorts of reasons and even more during the Covid pandemic.

Today for many would be the cry “Flee the tent gatherings, the river valley tent cities, the shelters, the wilderness camps, the friends couches, the families basements, the temporary housing places, the foreign cities, and from the refugee escaping lines and the refugee camps! Go out from these places, and come home!”

Home!

That conjures up so many memories, and imaginations for those who’ve never had their own homeland or even a home to call their own. Home is … where family is, where one’s heart is, where one’s heritage is, where one’s culture is, where one’s language is spoken and listened to and understood. Home is where one can love others and be loved by others, safely, without risking one’s reputation and life. Home is where God calls us to be … sometimes that is not a home at all, but a time and place where we can provide for others, a place where we can give our everything to secure health, well-being, and joy for others.

Home!

Come home!

Please, come home!

There is no end to the power of darkness that drives so many of us out of our homes, separating us from our loved ones, our children, spouses, parents, and our being. Of course some homes are not safe at all, filled with that darkness itself, of abuse, lies, false blaming, and treachery. God calls us from those ‘homes’ as well back to, or forward to what we may have never known: a place where we are safe from violence and abuse and belittling and isolation from the rest of our family and friends. It’s not just men that do this to women, its also a lot of women doing it to a lot of men. Abuse by whomever always ends in the death of the abused at the hands (directly or indirectly) of the abuser. So God calls us out of these places of destruction of life, to places where our value is known and named regularly, where our contributions are received with gratitude, where our weaknesses are compensated for, where our faults are forgiven. Home is where we grow, together we grow, and we grow together, through the challenges of life.

There is no end to how the powers of darkness consume us and leave us ragged, spent, depleted and at most half alive. So God calls us and rescues us from the power of darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

There we live saved by Grace, and filled with gratitude, equipped and empowered to provide safety, value, and love to those with us, those outside our home, and even our enemies (who are so hungry for love and know not how to find it or live it for others.)

From God to all those in all the corners of the earth: Come Home.

Home.

That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it.

God’s Compassion

Sunday, February 6, 2022

To Whom Among the ‘lords’

God Will Extend Compassion

Is Not For Us to Say or Know.

Ours is, amid the darkness, to bask in

The Golden Light of Christ.

Micah 5:3

Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labour has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.

Matthew 9:36

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Words of Grace For Today

The great masses of humanity have always lived subjected to those with power and the ability to lord it over them. There’s never been a shortage of those lining up to take on the place of power and privilege and comfort … and lording it over others to have all that.

Jesus, God’s story of God’s amazing unconditional love for all people -especially the poor and the outcasts – sees the crowds gathered to hear the Good News that he preaches, the healing that he administers and he knows their plight.

God has walked with God’s people in poverty and oppression and persecution and exile without homes. God knows everything. God knows the plight of the great majority of humans who have ever lived. God knows the corruption of those who lord it over them. God has, seemingly, abandoned God’s people at many and various times to the clutches of those oppressing, persecuting, and driving masses into poverty. God has always walked, into those times of apparent abandonment, with God’s people. And God has walked God’s people out of those times as well.

God sends the Law, the Prophets, and the Good Shepherd to guide the people out of those times that are like hell. Today God continues to send God-made saints to walk with people in all circumstances, to help them reconnect with the promises of God and to live (even in poverty and oppression and persecution and exile without homes) abundantly. So it is when we live aware that God walks with us.

There is nothing in life that is more blessed, more secure, and more rich than God’s presence and God’s promises that we, too, shall once again walk among God’s people, no longer shunned and falsely accused, but exonerated and honoured.

And those who lord it over others, driving them to poverty, into oppression, into persecution and out into exile homeless … those who lord it over others and live in comfort will face God’s judgment. Whether they too will receive God’s Grace is not for us to say. It is God’s will, which will be done. For now the ‘lords’ breathe only as a gift from God, giving them time for the amendment of life.

For the rest of us, God has compassion and demonstrates it day after day, in the simplest and most profound ways.

Thanks be to God.

Mercy Lord! Mercy Me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Golden Butter

Spread Generously

Before the Bitter

Bites Hungry and Deep

Proverbs 17:5

Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

Matthew 5:7

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Words of Grace For Today

The forecast is for -30⁰ tonight, dropping there by sunrise or an hour after.

Now, at 17:30, after the golden sun spread its butter across the trees, snow, and ice, as the sun has set only an hour ago, the thermometer sits squarely pointing at -30⁰, meaning it will get significantly colder before the ‘warming’ (or shall we say more accurately ‘the freeking-cold-mitigating’) rays of the sun start the thermometer’s climb to levels where humans can survive and machines run and breath does not freeze before it’s in one’s lungs or constantly in one’s own face.

Cold, and the challenges it presses on those living in these climes, is nothing to mock or to celebrate when others suffer it .. but you, of course, you are so privileged because you do not have to (or get to) suffer the cold.

Those who are poor, (and I fit rather securely in that category not to emerge before my death, other than by some inexplicable miracle – thank you liars all and corrupt officials too many to count), know the cold better than those who can afford to find comfort even at the extreme ends of the climate … expanding lower and higher and more extreme in so many ways as those extremes are now with climate change. To us poor the cold is not a simple thing or a nuisance. It is life threatening, directly. Is there enough wood ready and available to keep the fire going hot enough to avoid freezing as I try to get at least some sleep? Is the grate from the street sewer warm enough to keep my sleep tonight to be not just fitful, but also not the last sleep I get as I comfortably freeze and shake off this mortal coil? Are my blankets warm enough for another night of nightmares and cold sweats and nausea? Will I wake? And if I do will my body be as whole as it is now, or will a limb or extremity be frozen solid or frostbit beyond salvation?

These considerations may be the focus of many people’s mockery: what did you poor thing do to earn poverty, for surely you deserve it, yes? Are you not smart enough to do better? If you had only worked harder when you were younger and able OR if you would have played along with the corrupt leaders, thugs and bullies, corrupt bishops and lay leaders included! Oh, you fool, for succumbing to addictions that will kill you sooner or later, so why should we be concerned if your death is a comfortable one today, costing us nothing in health care … rather than your death at a later date after huge costs to us all as you die from your addictions. It matters not, of course, that I and many other poor people have no addictions or perversions. Instead what informs the corrupt on lookers are the rumours and false stories about us, which are told to protect the hugely guilty people who have cheated us of finances and years of good life. Then of course, many others are driven to addictions to escape the cruelty of people in their lives, or to mental instability, or to plain outright madness, by the inexplicable cruelty of bullies, weak bullies, destructive bullies, pitiful bullies.

To us poor people be God’s mercy shown, should we be so blessed. As for me and so many others baptized as saints, we have discovered God’s mercy for us and all others. Therefore we trust that God, if no others, will deal with us … and indeed does deal with us … each day of our lives with mercy, love, forgiveness, and favour.

What’s your night look like, for the coming night of cold? Is it your heart that is cold? Or just the climate outside? Have you learned to respond to others, especially us poor, with mercy, and love, and

Grace?

Mercy! Mercy Me!

Cleansing and Enough

Thursday, January 6, 2022

If it is enough,

Fly Baby Fly!

Jeremiah 33:8

I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.

1 John 2:2

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Words of Grace For Today

To have enough,

Not too much,

and

not to litle,

and

to know one has enough,

and though one could use more and dream of that perhaps, to still know

that for today, this is enough:

That is the gift God gives the saints.

One may think that has to do with things, food, property, profitable work, toys, power, reputation … or a host of other things.

Yet, none of that is all that important: one may consider air, water, food, clothing, shelter, meaningful labour, and love more important than the others.

What we need enough of is God’s love,

and forgiveness,

and promise of renewed life.

Enough is not that we have God’s gifts and promises, but enough is to know that God provides these essentials for life for all people.

That is enough.

That is enough for this day.

That is enough for any day for any person.

Thanks be to God for giving us enough.

Supper and Breakfast Together.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

As Each Day Begins

It Begins as God’s Gift

In the Eucharist,

Christ’s Sacrifice For Us All.

Exodus 33:19-20

And [the Lord] said [to Moses], ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, “The Lord”;and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But’, he said, ‘you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.’

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Words of Grace For Today

God saves Moses by covering Moses’ face as the Lord, in all the Lord’s goodness, passes by Moses.

For all of us God’s great goodness becomes visible in Jesus, a living human being. The greatness and goodness of God is not as we might have expected, such greatness that it over powers all evil. Instead God’s goodness becomes visible for us all in that Jesus gives up all claim to greatness, is born into poverty, lives in poverty, dies in poverty … so that we might come to know God’s greatness lies in self-sacrificial love, everything given up so that we might live, forgiven and renewed, and filled with hope … hope that all will be well, for us and for all people.

In this gift of hope God shows us all mercy, mercy that we certainly do not deserve, but without which we could not live.

So we live … and love … and hope.

The Blessed, Beautiful, Fiery Monster

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

God’s Promises Are Sure!

After the coming winter, I will see another Spring

with all it’s sunsets

God’s Promises Are Sure!

After the coming winter, I will see another Spring

as surely as the sun rises!

Psalm 34:4

I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

2 Corinthians 1:20

For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

At 3:32 I wake and go out to stoke the fire. As the smoke clears from the shelter, I walk outside in the moonlight and the stars bright. A wondrous nightscape, an early morning, blows across this vision to the universe though there is nary a breeze or rustle as silent smoke paints a dark swath across the grass and tarp covering the stacked wood, all piled in order by diameter, scraggly pieces piled high by the door to be burned before hard cold gripes the meadow, tosses it out of the land of living things, and buries it from sight under frozen white water. For now in these mild autumn days and nights the deer feast on the lush grass growing from the old barnyard waste broken down by natures’ recycler into nutrients galore, and I smile and labour away gathering, cutting, stacking, and splitting wood, or rest my back strained and spasming in the chill.

All that in one moment’s view into the night’s semidarkness, before I return to the fiery monster devouring wood and belching smoke into the night air high and away, closing the ash door that once opened livens the monster, the shelter door that has let in fresh air, and the smoke vent that has expelled smoke to rise with the chimney pointed at the stars.

This will be my twice nightly routine for the next 4 to 6 months, rising to stoke the monster in order that the warmth it creates will save me from freezing. I give God thanks whether or not there is a spectacular view to the universe outside as I wait for the smoke to clear, the inevitable smoke that spews out of the monster into the shelter when the door is opened to feed it more wood, for this monster and the routine of feeding it is easier to deal with than bugs and mosquitoes and wasps, and the cold keeps the dangerous animals away, especially the most dangerous, unpredictable two-legged kind.

For I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

And I know that I am delivered into the freedom of living as a God-made saint not on my own merit but by Grace, most generously and freely poured out on us all. In this I know, as all the saints know, that in Christ Jesus every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God.

This ‘Amen’ is as Martin Luther taught us, our saying to God and each other, ‘this is most certainly true!’

What visions of majesty and goodness God gives to us, so that we may know the promises given to us through Jesus the Christ are already true: God blesses me, God blesses all the saints, with beauty and the presence of God.

Even in the dark of night that could bring fears to be monsters that eat at one’s soul.

Even in the solitude that could be loneliness which opens the door to the Devil’s temptations.

Even in the poverty that is the result of others’ lies, that could lead to starvation.

Even in the homelessness, a result of other’s lies leading to poverty, that could lead to my freezing to death.

For God has provided all I need so that my enemies cannot kill me; God has provided even a fiery monster that consumes wood, so that I am not cold, even in the coldest night of winter.

Justly so, I say with all the saints: thanks and glory be to God!

What about you? What are you doing this winter in the middle of the spectacular nights?