Help! Help! Help! Finding our way in Covid times.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Path of Our Life,

When God Carries Us,

We Have So Much to be Thankful for

Psalm 119:37

Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.

Colossians 2:6-7

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Words of Grace For Today

Eldon worked hard, sought to save as many people as possible wasted money. Yet his life went off in all sorts of directions as he sought to find purpose, meaning, or some fulfillment in life. He chased things that some would call extras or luxuries, just to have something fill up his life. He avoid alcohol and drugs, yet his addiction to things of comfort, pleasure and status had him deep in it’s grasp.

Knowing little, but that his addiction was killing him, he sought any help he could. He even prayed, Lord save me from my addiction. Show me the way to life as you created us to live it. Show me what you have created me to be and do with this life, this life that is so empty.

Jane grew up in the church, was confirmed, participated in the youth group activities and studies. Bright as anyone she knew she went off the university, on to grad school, with full scholarships. She applied to study history for a Ph.D. at Yale and was given a fellowship. While she had always applied herself to study beyond each course, the course work being rather easy for her, she found the Ph.D. studies all encompassing and demanding, so that for the first time in her life she was afraid of failing. She worked long hours each day, through every weekend. Three years into the work she was grinding away at her thesis when it all came tumbling down on her.

She tried to study and could barely see letters on the page. She tried to remember what she’d just read and made notes about, and it would not come to her. She tried to sleep and she could barely sleep.

She went to the doctor, who did a full work up but everything tested fine. The doctor did confirm that Jane was unable to focus on anything. It was as if she’d become an idiot overnight, and it stuck. It was so frustrating. She went to a therapist, who was kind and knowledgeable, but there was no help to give Jane. Finally she took a two week trip back home. Walking her old home town high school paths, nothing seemed to bring her to be able to read and remember.

She went to see her pastor, who listened thoughtfully to everything Jane told her. Her pastor said she had no idea what was happening to Jane. She advised simple things, stop to breath, say morning prayers, sing her favourite hymns, go to confession, come and partake in the Eucharist.

Jane then confided in her pastor that she had stopped going to church when the work load for her doctorate because so demanding.

Her pastor pointed her to a verse from Colossians:

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Her pastor pointed out that no matter what else was going on with her, Jane still had so much to be thankful for. She suggested keeping a daily journal of everything that she had and could be thankful for.

Jane started a Gratitude Journal, making entries each morning. Weeks later after returning to the university and her teaching duties (part of her fellowship) Jane realized she was less stressed about her studies, and she could sit and read and remember.

She dove back into her thesis work.

It was decades later when Jane crossed paths with Eldon, who was still praying for relief from his addiction as life meant nothing if he had not acquired something new that day.

Eldon could see how Jane was kind, thoughtful, and assured of herself, even as she took on some of the toughest challenges at the university where she was a full professor, shortly to take over as head of the history department. He asked how she managed to appear so … so … maybe it was that she looked so content.

She said she always found ten things to be thankful for each morning to enter into her Gratitude Journal. After that no matter what happened, she reminded herself all day long, that God was good to her. The rest was relatively easy, even if it was nearly impossible.

Today, remaining alert and consistently doing what is required to minimize the spread of Covid 19 after nearly a full year of it, may seem almost impossible. It need not, if we remember to always be thankful for all we receive from God.

2nd Day of 12: Dealing Grace to All Creation

Saturday, December 26, 2020

See the Light!

Carry the Light to Heal All People

and Creation Itself!

Jeremiah 33:6

I am going to bring Jerusalem recovery and healing; I will heal its people and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.

Luke 2:15

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’

Words of Grace For Today

As Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon laid his siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem to over run it in 589 BCE, and Jeremiah had already prophesied that Jerusalem and Judah would fall to their enemies, King Zedekiah came to him and asked him why he prophesied their demise.

We all know that such proclamations in time of war are dangerous. They can be self-fulfilling by undermining the morale of the people. Jeremiah prophesied as he did, because God called him to; the people had turned from God, become perverse, and it was only a matter of time before their own corruption brought enemies to their walls to conquer them, weak as they had become from within. Few if any heeded Jeremiah’s warnings … and Jerusalem (in 587/6 BCE) and later Judah fell to their enemies … and then other enemies … and more enemies … so that they remained ruled by foreigners when Jesus was born (despite the Maccabean 167-160 BCE and other revolts seeking their independence).

Before Jesus’ birth, more than 500 years since Israel was independent, the people had many stories to remember and to be disappointed in and place their faint hopes in. One such story was of a Messiah who would be born in Bethlehem.

The Shepherds may have known this story, or not. Still, when an angel and then a chorus of angels visit them to give them the news that a saviour is born in the city, they are not fools. They up and head into the city to see the Saviour born and laid in the hay of a cow’s manger.

Why Shepherds? One might surmise that, as ones who lived very rough in the hills as they tended and guarded their sheep, they would not be put off by the poverty into which the Saviour was born.

Yesterday, the Day of Christmas, is the first of twelve days of Christmas. These twelve days give us opportunity to seek out the saviour of the universe – no longer an infant in a cow barn. On our own we will see nothing other than the mundane world, perversions of truth spread to create chaos from hysteria and fear so that evil people can rise to power, … and we will see our only own failures, fears, and dashed dreams.

Guided by the Holy Spirit though we will encounter not only the wonder of God become human, born as an infant Saviour. We will encounter the Saviour, with God’s Grace, healing all people and creation itself, redeeming and renewing them (and indeed us), so that we broken people can be the vessels that carry God’s healing Grace to all in need.

God knows, during this pandemic, there are so many people who need healing, healing from Covid 19 (acute sufferers and long-haulers) from the detrimental effects of physical distancing and isolation, but even more-so from the sickness of the soul that has eaten at the hearts of so many people – long before this pandemic started a year ago. Now the vacuum in the souls of the world is made more obvious.

Pray we encounter the Saviour anew, and that God will make us worthy saints, those who carry the Light of Life to those in need around the earth. May we be those saints who are blessed to bring the Saviour’s healing to all whom we encounter.

Twelve days, a whole hurting creation, and billions who need healing: our work is cut out for us! Thank God it’s God who works through us, healing us as we go!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – December 18

Friday, December 18, 2020

Repent?

Is this the Way? Is this God’s Way for Us?

Is this the Way of Christ:

to the Cross to Give All Life Abundant?

Hosea 4:1

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land.

Matthew 3:2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’

Words of Grace For Today

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

Repent is to turn around, to proceed in the other direction, in the other manner, to proceed with the Grace of God instead of pounding one’s head against the wall of the Devil’s empty promises in vain trying to make something of life, something that cannot be made … it can only be received …

And God offers it freely.

Beethoven would be 250 years old this year. Overcoming all temptations to decay into decomposition humour, he still connects people with their own powerful and profound emotions and with through these emotions to other people. His 5th and 9th symphonies pound down in all the force of life in bar after bar of melody circling to a full climactic ending, that is both a relief to reach and leaves one wanting more. His pastorale melodies encircle the fog of the early morning’s kiss on the lake and bespeak the yearning that connects us all in the hope of being loved and being able to love purely, simply, profoundly. ZDF provides a tour of the world to places and people touched to the core by Beethoven’s music; Bonn, Osaka, Medellín, Ruhrgebiet, Brisbane, Rsumeb (Namibia), Queensland, Chennai (India.)

Music like Beethoven’s reaches deep into us, moves us, heals us, connects us to other people, creates empathy in us for others, and miraculously sets the world right … if for only a short moment.

This is one way in which the Kingdom of God has come near. It is one way in which God reaches into our hearts and calls us to repent, and moves us to proceed in a manner more fitting the wonders that God created us to be and to know in this tragic and beautiful existence we all know.

Where there is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land (which is everywhere in every generation) let music probe deep into our hearts, minds, and lives so that we may repent and proceed in a new (ancient) direction of walking humbly with our God, sharing the Good News (the old, old story of Jesus and God’s love), and always working for justice for all people.

For this Christ came. This we prepare to celebrate, quietly, at our core, with the midnight darkness of our lives sparkling as our candles of remembering, thanks, celebration, and hope, held by people of all sizes, colours, creeds, and experiences pierce through the darkness.

Light one, two, three, [four] candles to wait for Messiah, let the light banish darkness ….

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – December 15

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

God’s Creation is Filled with Beauty

even the drippings of creosote from a chimney

from burning junk wood

1 Kings 8:24

The covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand.

Luke 1:68-69

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David.

Words of Grace For Today

A mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David

So often we wish for power and might, with God’s backing, that we can direct at our enemies in order to make our lives better. God promises a saviour.

David, King David, ruled Israel by most historical accounts successfully, conquering the neighbouring enemies, solidifying power in his hands, securing a place for his people among the many.

As generations passed, and Israel was weakened by corruption and their neighbours grew powerful, Israel’s independence was crushed again and again. Sometimes it’s civilization, culture, and religion were left in shambles. Sometimes they were all subsumed into a foreign rule, to various degrees benevolent or cruel as opportunity and whim arose for that power and it’s agents.

Israel, as we humans are wont, equated their world power or lack thereof with God’s blessings. God promised a saviour. So the people hope for a powerful ruler of Israel, God’s appointed and anointed, to conquer the foreign powers, to run them out, to rule over them in their lands, to expand Israel’s territory to ensure their domination of the future. This was the image they carried of King David, so a saviour from David’s house was this kind of a saviour.

God’s blessings are, fortunately for the majority of humans who are alive and who have ever lived, not equated with world power, wealth, or privilege. God sends Jesus to demonstrate this very clearly: God’s power is that of sacrificial love, of forgiveness and grace, and of justice and mercy. More clearly stated God’s justice is always based on truth and on God’s steadfast mercy. Thankfully, or we’d all be doomed to eternal damnation.

Jesus comes to teach, heal, forgive, save, renew, and equip us to be God’s grace for others.

God has promised with God’s own mouth and have this day fulfilled with God’s own hand. The Lord God of Israel has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.

This Advent we prepare again to give witness, among all the things that detract us from God’s Word in Jesus, the Saviour, to God’s power, the power of sacrificial love.

The trappings of Christmas are not all available to us, so what will we use to give the world this clear witness during the coming 12 days of Christmas?

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – December 10

Thursday, December 10, 2020

The Light Shines in the Darkness,

The Word becomes Flesh

All Grace and Truth Lives in Human Form

And we get to celebrate like never before!

Isaiah 40:5

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

Words of Grace For Today

The Word became flesh and lived among us.

It is quite the image. God creates with a word: Let there be ….

That Word is a reality that creates out of void reality, out of chaos order, out of nothing breath and life.

Then that Word becomes flesh, becomes a human, born as any other with no shortcuts like becoming a fully formed human ready to preach hell fire and brimstone, or heal all that ails creation in an instant, or overthrow corrupt and cruel rulers and religious leaders, replacing them with righteous people.

No, the Word becomes flesh, grows in Mary’s womb like every other baby, and is born into poverty in an animal barn, like most of humanity (except maybe the animal barn. Perhaps more humans have been born in a dwelling of some sort than in an animal barn. Though generations ago we were all born in less comfortable circumstances than an animal barn.) Then this infant must be nursed, protected (on the run for this life as a refugee into Egypt), and study and learn about life as a human. There is no knowledge dump into the Word-become-flesh’s brain or consciousness.

The one difference that sets this human, Jesus, from the rest of humanity (besides that he is the Word, God, who created the universe) is that he is without sin. The accurate description is full of grace and truth. God’s identifiable qualities in this human are primarily grace and truth.

It would be easier in life if more people could be even somewhat full of grace and truth. I suppose it would be easier if the first person for each of us were the one with whom that started to be so!

I have a long list of people I wish that were true, starting with judges, RCMP, church people, and supposedly ‘honourable’ people. I suppose we all have such lists or so.

Hanging on to them is impossible, if one really wants to live. That is where GRACE comes in to play, with each of us in the first person. Grace is not only smooth and marvellous movement, like in a dance. It is the dance we do that carries us through each day as we encounter sin and evil, some of it so destructive that it is hard to contemplate. Best not to, but to continue to bless everyone, and those that are out to destroy us, with the blessing of the czar: may God bless the czar, and from us keep him very far!

Grace and Truth.

These are what we celebrate is born in poverty in an animal barn; now creation can see God’s Grace and Truth in the life of a human.

God’s works are full of mystery and wonder. This Christmas, with Covid 19, we can take Advent to prepare our hearts as we must rethink what Christmas really is all about, since lots of the trappings we’ve leaned on in the past are not possible.

What is essential for Christmas? That we wait, alert, preparing to meet again the Word, the Word that created the universe, the Word that lived among us, the Word the so loved the world that God came as one of us to save us all.

Christ is come – generations ago,

Christ is here – through every generation as the Holy Spirit, God walking with us,

Christ will come again – for every generation, to bring the perfection of ‘heaven’ to earth.

How are you going to celebrate the mass of Christ? The Christmas, which took over the pagan rights of light in the darkness, a yule log lit, of evergreen trees decorated with symbols of life and lit with candles, and the tradition of St. Nicholas, the Saint of Giving?

May it be more blessed this year. Thanks to Covid 19 challenging us to re-evaluate our lives and return to the roots of our celebrations.

This year more than ever we need a purposeful Advent to prepare … for something different and hopefully better.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – November 23

Monday, November 23, 2020

God, High and Mighty, Creator of All

Comes to Be With Us

And Teaches Us Many Things

Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

Mark 6:34

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Words of Grace For Today

The world values people that are high and mighty.

God values the contrite and humble. Jesus comes to redeem the world: as a physician comes to heal not the healthy, but those who are ill, Jesus comes to be with sinners, those the world does not value.

Some describe God’s attitude towards people, and towards us, as a preferential option for the poor.

However we describe God’s attitude to us, it is clear that while we favour power, might, wealth, and fame; God favours the outcasts, the marginalized, and the poor.

God works through the power of love, not the power of might, through the power of self sacrifice, not the power of sacrificing others. Instead of asking us to do what needs to be done, God rescues us from what binds us to sin, and enables us to do God’s work in this world for Christ.

The maker of the universe finds us so valuable, that God comes to be with us.

The rest is the old, old story, of Jesus and his love, already present at the beginning of the universe.

What a life God gives us, which through steps and missteps we find filled with love and renewal.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – November 19

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Given this Beauty,

To be Fearless in All Things or to Fear and Love God at All Times,

For which do you think God created the universe?

Psalm 34:9

O fear the Lord, you his holy ones, for those who fear him have no want.

Luke 14:17

At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come; for everything is ready now.”

Words of Grace For Today

To Fear God; this is the ancient, constant beginning of awareness of God. We lived on the plains, lived in caves, hunted for food, were hunted as food. Fear kept us alive. We could not understand many things of the world around us. We came to know that God created us, that God who created us was an awesome power, more fearful than the animals that hunted us for food. It took generations for us to begin to understand that God loved us, and that fear alone was inadequate a response to God’s love. We needed to fear and love God.

To fear and love God; this is the beginning and the end of all our lives and our purpose in creation.

While food does not come our way freely so that we must work constantly in order to have food to survive, God provides the food of life that nourishes us beyond the basic physical needs. For God created us hungry for truth, order, understanding, community, and love.

God sets the table for us again and again, to come and eat so that we can know truth, see and maintain order and gain a fuller understanding of the universe and our places in it. God feeds us so that we can dance our way through the challenges of community, and so that we can love as God loves us, freely and unconditionally.

Fear drives us. Love draws us. Together they help us sustain life for ourselves and those with us, and hopefully for all people.

How will you live this day, and all the days you have on earth?

Will you be fearless in the face of all challenges, diving headfirst into Evil’s temptations to be your own godlet?

Or will you fear and love God, the God who created the universe, and loves you and all people, and all creation, unconditionally?

If we fear and love God we can do no other than commit ourselves to living out the gifts God gives us, by promising:
to live among God’s faithful people,
to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
to serve all people, following the example of Jesus,
and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – November 6

Friday, November 6, 2020

Bow to the Creator!

All Creation bends to honour Christ,

The Light of the World.

It’s there for the seeing!

Isaiah 45:6-7

So that they may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe; I the Lord do all these things.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

The constant question that a thinking, self-aware, honest, and inquisitive mind asks is what are miracles?

Are they the power of God above all else, to form light and create darkness, or make weal and create woe, making God’s ultimate absolute power over reality known from the rising of the sun and from the west?

Or are miracles the power of God to transform hearts and minds so that we people actually do some good in our small lives?

The question is then also, do miracles happen, or are they just things of the past? Does God exist? or is God dead? or a figment of our imaginations? and are we creatures or mistakes or happenstance in an ever changing universe?

The answer depends much on what one wants in and from life. If one wants to play godlet over others, then God cannot exist or God is just an imagination used to control other people. This manner of living provides great rewards, if one can stomach the dissonance in one’s heart and mind and conscience.

If one wants to be what everyone says what they want; peace, love, happiness and true prosperity, or at least giving lip service to the idea, then one cannot greedily work to secure life and privilege and comfort for oneself. One needs be comfort, compassion, and breath for the most downtrodden, outcasts that the rest of the world would ignore.

One’s experience in life is determined by how we choose to live … at least until we notice God knocking at the door to our hearts, minds and strength … from the inside, asking us, begging us, to open up to the whole of creation.

That’s where true joy is hidden in plain site.

So where do you want to go today, tonight, tomorrow and each day and night thereafter? Into your own self created hell, or into God’s city and into the wilderness of miracles in every little mundane thing and event?

Wherever you choose, God walks with you, waiting for you to ask what you can do for God, carrying you when you cannot even walk, and reminding you of God’s love and Christ’s steadfastness.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 28

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Our Sun

The Light

The Light of Christ

The Light of Christ that is the Life of the Universe

God’s Son, Much Greater Than Our Sun

Psalm 18:32

God who girded me with strength, … made my way safe.

1 Corinthians 3:11

No one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

Building a house is a tremendous experience. If one did not have to have the extremely fraught financial limits and stresses it would be more than tremendous, and that already while building, not first decades later – when the stress and pains and angst have subsided in one’s memory and the finished result, so well built, remains still to this day.

The challenge for one who has never built a house before is that from the first few steps to the last piece of trim nailed into place, every step builds on the previous one’s.

I brought the power into the middle of the building. The thing was I did not know that I could not do that above ground, in the building itself! So after the foundation was poured I had to dig the trench for the power cable from the pole, to the foundation – through the weeping tile rocks that I had to dig in after the foundation was poured, since I did not know about them either! All that was done with a backhoe.

Inside the foundation, whereas before the foundation was poured the trench could have been dug with the backhoe, now I got to dig in the hardpan clay a 20 foot 18″ deep trench by hand. When the cable was laid, on top crushed rock I put in by hand having hauled them in with a wheel barrow, along with the water line and a spare water line just in case, and an empty 4″ pipe in case I had forgot or had to redo something, then I got to fill in the trench by hand as well, first with crushed rock and then with clay, tamping it down so the eventual insulation under the cement floor with heating pipes in it would not heave if the ground there got wet or (God forbid) the ground there froze!

Then I got to redo the weeping tile and rocks above the trench outside.

Then we moved on to build the foam blocks to hole the rebar and concrete for the walls up to the rafters, and to pour the upper floor concrete to hold the in floor heating pipes. Solid, a great mass that a geothermal furnace kept warm in the coldest of times that stayed cool in the all but the longest hot days of summer. It all sat on the foundation we poured, that with only a 6 foot level was at most an inch out of absolute level, which was less than the foam blocks settled when the weight of the concrete was poured into them. The rafters were no more than a half inch out – but that was luck with the walls settling … and the skill of the one man who helped pour and finish the top of the upper wall.

Practical and easy to describe and see: everything in building needs be done in the right order. The foundation (not without disastrous cost) cannot be redone. Everything depends on what is done before, and everything depends on a solid foundation.

Christ as the foundation is as rock solid as God, and cannot be replaced.

On Christ the whole of creation, the entire universe (or multi-verse if that’s how we see it now) is built on Christ.

Why? How is that?

God designed us humans to run on self sacrifice and love, while we have the choice to be selfish, cruel and destructive to each other as well.

Christ, the embodiment of self-sacrificial, unconditional love, sits at the heart of everything in the universe. Try to rip that out and replace it with anything else and the whole universe would crumble.

It would be no different than the concrete walls of our home that would have cracked and crumbled if one tried to remove the foundation to lay in a new one!

I did not build with only my skill or knowledge. I had a friend, a wheel chair bound 83 year old builder and designer, who helped with the engineering and who made the construction plans for the house from my rough designs.

We live our lives, one day at a time, building a collection which is us.

Christ, unconditional, self-sacrificing love, is how we are designed to live.

But oh how we choose other, to our own pain, cost, and destruction … and we almost always take down a whole lot of other people with us.

And then Christ steps in, to forgive, redeem, and renew us for yet another day of living in God’s Grace!

A living, forgiving, life infusing foundation … God built well!

No freezing cold of hate, nor searing heat of evil and hell can disrupt God’s well designed and laid foundation.

Covid 19, nor the idiocies the pandemic exposes, nor corruption at the highest levels can disrupt God’s creation build on Christ the foundation of life.

Breathe easy, just not someone else’s contaminated air droplets or aerosol.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 17

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Path to ?

Think you’ve seen this Path before,

Maybe, Still God Requires of Us

That We Bring Sojourn Through Life

Sharing the Fullness of Life with All People

Starting with Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Hope!

Deuteronomy 10:12

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

James 1:22

Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

Words of Grace For Today

God requires of us?

We must be doers of the word?

Luther described James as a straw Gospel. Like a straw house that the wind blows away with ease and fire burns quickly away. All chaff, no substance.

Before God requires anything of us, Before we ‘get’ to be doers of the Word, God acts.

God acts by creating us, making us able to love, which requires free choice, which means we sin and are bound to choose to sin, so God acts to forgive us, redeem us, and set us free to love, choose, sin, and God walks with us to forgive us, redeems us and set us free again and again to love ….

Always God acts first. Then we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to do what is ‘required’ of us:

to fear God, to walk in God’s ways, to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength!

Make no mistake: it is everyone’s obligation to fear and love God, to walk in God’s ways, and to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength: to be DOERS of God’s Word. We do not get a pass to sit on the sidelines of life and allow EVIL to have it’s way with us and others. We are to WORK against EVIL, in all it’s forms of injustice, violence, and degradation of life.

We do not get to sit on the sidelines like those in Hottelstedt who watched train load after train load of people in cattle cars and box cars pass through their town and not work to stop the obvious extermination of masses of people, genocide to provide for a ‘pure’ Aryan nation. After the war was lost, they excused themselves that they had no idea what was happening just a few kilometres away.

Our duty includes being curious about the work of evil around us, to speak up, to speak out, and to work to stop it. We use Grace and forgiveness, giving God opportunity to rejoice at the redemption of yet more sinners.

It’s not so easy as following rules. It requires everything of us! Thank God life, all of life, has an honourable and glorious purpose! To serve God and be the ones who bring God’s will to actuality here and now … by being the bearers of forgiveness, redemption, and freedom.

What a life!