Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 11

Monday, May 11, 2020

Tree of Life, Since Forever

From of Old

From of Now

From of Then

Psalms 44:2

We have heard with our ears, O God, our ancestors have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old.

Luke 10:39

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.

Words of Grace For Today

We have received great gifts from God … many through other faithful people.

We have received the ability:

To listen …

To learn …

To listen to Jesus …

To listen to our ancestors …

What would happen if we could listen to the generations yet to come?

God has performed many great deeds, that we remember, that we can listen to as others tell the stories handed down for generations.

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, … God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good….”

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there …. When the Egyptians treated us harshly … we cried to the Lord…. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey….”

“In the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and gave thanks …”

God has preformed many great deeds even in our time that we can share with each other and give time to listen to and learn from.

An elderly woman’s car would not start in the grocery store parking lot. Covid 19 limited the interactions others could have with her … still a man noticed her distress, walked over and offered to help. Diagnosing it as a battery too drained to start her car, he offered and then insisted that he would run home, grab some jumper cables and set it right. She suggested instead that she could call AMA. He said it was not necessary. Within minutes her car started and he advised her to take a drive to recharge the battery. It worked.

A long term care facility was, like all others, cut off from everyone except the workers coming and going. A staff person volunteered her iPhone to allow video calls to family and the staff started collecting contact numbers for each resident. Even though many suffer dementia they are afraid and lonely. Now they are connected again regularly with family.

With the increased danger of wild fires, a resident of a spread out rural community started noticing almost no one had ‘fire safe’ areas around their properties or homes. He organized a list of the elderly who needed the help first, a list of the properties that needed and wanted help fire-safe-ing, and a list of equipment available. Coordinating it all, with safe physical distances maintained, he organized equipment, people and locations to do the minimum fire-safe work. Almost done, he’s starting a list of more thorough fire-safe-ing and wide fire break paths to stop a wildfire from spreading over more than a quarter section. Of course that is getting organized as well. Everyone contributes. Everyone is safer. There is less risk that a wildfire will necessitate an evacuation, or if it does that any property will be damaged by anything other than smoke.

What stories of God’s great deeds can you share? What stories of God’s great deeds have you listened to and learned from?

What if we could also listen to those from future generations, looking back at our time, so that we could listen, learn, and live more responsibly.

Are we listening?

Are we learning?

2020.04Apr12 Easter – – – – Just Because

Sometimes a photo turns out just so unexpectedly more than I wanted it to, and the marvel of the light plays even deeper than my imagination,

So I want to see it, more often, and posting it to share seems a small bit of Grace.

Easter in isolation is something for us all, though I’ve been at it for a few years now.

And then, the light shines just right and plays off the moisture in the clouds and off the rolling snow.

Easter Good Byes

What have you had to leave behind?

What is wrenched so out of your life by the health orders in place, so that you are left living outside the normal routines and security of things being tomorrow like they were yesterday?

How are you re-ordering your life in a manner that makes good, wonderful, life-giving sense for you and those around you?

Know that many others could use a word of encouragement, of thanks and gratitude, and of their worth in the ever changing footing we find ourselves standing on these days.

We should be able to empathize more for those who lived during the time of the plagues, for example when the Black Death, which hit Europe in 1347, claimed an astonishing 75-200 million lives in just four years, or 30% to 60% of the population. And it came back 800 years later.

See https://www.mphonline.org/worst-pandemics-in-history/ for more details of pandemics in history.

The Light of Christ does not end, die with us, or need to return. It is always here, even in the darkest night, and through all our darkest times.

Be courageous. Find Beauty each day. Know Truth always. Be grateful, gracious and generous, with yourself and with the other sinners God put in your life. God forgives them, after-all. Why can you not also?

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 6

Monday, April 6, 2020

Look for the beauty no matter how small. Be guided by Beauty and Truth.

Hosea 8:12

Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing.

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

Sometimes we cannot see anything straight, so blinded by our greed, envy, guilt, and anxiety. Some political satirists refuse to use Trump for material anymore. His lies are no longer at all humorous. Asked on Jan 22 whether the US should be concerned about a pandemic, he responded: “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” Trump’s lies have deadly consequences. As I write this predictions give 100k and 240k deaths in the US, alone. But before we defend this man, or attack him further, Stop. Think. Confess.

We all do this out of anxiety, guilt, envy or greed. We lie, even to ourselves. God speaks, we regard God’s Word as a strange thing, in order that we can carry on in our sinful ways.

Jesus came into the world to testify to the truth. No matter who we are, or what we say, no matter what we believe or disbelieve, Jesus was born to demonstrate the truth to us at it’s core. God loves us, all of us, even when we lie to ourselves and others about real important things in life. God sent Jesus to save us from our own lies, so that we can listen once again to Jesus’ voice: Love one another as yourself, even your enemies.

Covid 19 — Invitation: Be Heard, Listen, Give Help. Be Creative.

But safely apart at home,

If you have one.

19:00 hours: One Minute to Be Silent, Then One Minute to Be Connected –
Separate yet Together

Covid-19 has separated us physically from one another, or rather
we have separated ourselves in order to protect ourselves from SARS-Cov2.

But we need not be socially or spiritually separated from one another.

Take a minute at 19:00 hours (7 pm) to say a prayer or keep silence or remember others.

None of us are in this alone. Most all of us can reach out to others. Do what you can, for yourselves and for others. Be careful, respectful, and courageously hopeful.

Take a minute at 19:01 hours (7:01 pm) to say, by making noise, creative and loud noise (so that others know), you are there and well.

If you are in a car, honk!

If you are at home, set up music to play very loudly!

Or set off your smoke alarm (test button only, not smoke- be smart!)

Or have the children join you in loud singing their favourite song, or hooping and hollering!

Be creative, coordinate your noise making with neighbours, so that there’s cooperation in the music or noise.

Then at 19:15 listen in quiet, unless …

At 19:15 (or later when the noise stops) if you need help now it’s your turn to make some noise.

If you need help urgently, if it is an emergency, make the three long noises, three short noises, and finally three more short noises for the Morse code for SOS.

Listen, and respond, with care to keep from passing contagions between people, households, or neighbours.

Be Respectful. Remember how everyone is challenged.

Be Heard. No one is alone, really.

Provide Help. We are in this together.

Also

Take a minute at 07:00 hours, or the beginning of your day, as at 19:00 hours, to say a prayer or keep silence or remember others.

Colour the beginning of each of your days with Courage, with Compassion, with Creativity, and with Hope.

Know that you are not alone as you do this.

Invite others to keep these minutes as well.

Let our paths virtually cross.

Covid 19 – Invitation to Be Together

But safely apart at home,

If you have one.

19:00 hours: One Minute to Be Silent, Then One Minute to Be Connected –
Separate yet Together

Covid-19 has separated us physically from one another, or rather
we have separated ourselves in order to protect ourselves from SARS-Cov2.

But we need not be socially or spiritually separated from one another.

Take a minute at 19:00 hours (7 pm) to say a prayer or keep silence or remember others.

None of us are in this alone. Most all of us can reach out to others. Do what you can, for yourselves and for others. Be careful, respectful, and courageously hopeful.

Take a minute at 19:01 hours (7:01 pm) to say, by making noise, creative and loud noise (so that others know), you are there and well.

If you are in a car, honk!

If you are at home, set up music to play loudly!

Or set off your smoke alarm (test button only, not smoke- be smart!)

Or have the children join you in loud singing their favourite song, or hooping and hollering!

Be creative, coordinate your noise making with neighbours, so that there’s cooperation in the music or noise.

Then at 19:15 listen in quiet, unless …

At 19:15 if you need help now it’s your turn to make some noise.

If you need help urgently, if it is an emergency, make the three long noises, three short noises, and finally three more short noises for the Morse code for SOS.

Listen, and respond, with care to keep from passing contagions between people, households, or neighbours.

Consider that every day we are inundated with Covid-19 news, most of it alarming. To keep this in perspective, perhaps limit one’s news gathering/listening to the news to shorter periods at most 2 to 3 times each day.

And

Take a minute at 07:00 hours, or the beginning of your day, as at 19:00 hours, to say a prayer or keep silence or remember others.

Colour the beginning of each of your days with Courage, with Compassion, with Creativity, and with Hope.

Know that you are not alone as you do this.

Invite others to keep these minutes as well.

Let our paths virtually cross.

End of Many Concerns

.

Ahh, Great Light, Great Night to Come, Easy Walk.

Nice Day on the Ice

End of

A good day fishing

Fishing season

Drinking on the lake

.

Lots of Tracks

Lots of Tracks

SarsCov2 in that fishing hut

Risk management with a wood stove

Warm days at the lake

‘Burning your playhouse down’

.

Looking for the Light

Looking for the Light

Sharing one’s feelings 

Hauling, Cutting, Hauling, Splitting, Hauling, Smoke, Ash

Hot Times on the Ice

.

The Butt End of it All

The Butt End of it All

.

..

….

Start of:

Living alone

Fishing in the cold air

More bad luck

.

Catching the Last Rays of the Day

Catching the Last Rays of the Day

Looking for SarsCov2 elsewhere

Being able to stand up straight without hitting ones head

.

It’s All She Wrote

Karma – (But, Karma, this was not on the list! Karma, what you doing!)

.

That’s it! Schluss! Fire’s Gone Cold.

That’s it! Schluß! Fire’s Gone Cold.

Being Somebody

Or walking and dancing 500 miles!

Being Somebody
Dorothea Sölle gave the usual list of the 5 basic requirements for life:

  1. clean air
  2. clean water
  3. nourishing food
  4. appropriate clothing (not fashion, but function: safe from the environment.)
  5. shelter
    to these she added two more:
  6. meaningful labour
  7. love – being loved and being able to love others.
    And to that I will add that one needs
  8. culture: art like music and photography.
    Tonight, after a day of church and work continuing to set up a campsite for the remainder of the allowed 14 days before breaking it all down and moving off for 72 hours, we decided to go for a walk.
    It was after supper, so with a few tools, we headed out on a trail rarely used, and apparently not at all for the last year or so. As we went we cleared it so that coming back would be easier, and others could use it. There is a great deal of good fire wood to collect, that will otherwise rot.
    The temperatures out are a comfortable 20⁰C dropping to 17⁰ before we got back just as the sun set orange out over the lake.

So I have much to give thanks for:

Air
the air is clean

Water
there is plenty of clean water to drink and to clean with.

Food
there is for this day nourishing food.

Clothing
I have good clothing for living in the woods and for this walk enough deet spray to cover my shoes, socks, jeans, and a special hat that has flaps down over the ears and the back of one’s neck. Sprayed with deet that hat keeps the bugs off the entire head. And gloves, oh so crucial, leather gloves to protect the hands from all the brush and mosquitoes!

Shelter

There is a very cozy camper to return to, in which no bugs survive for long, it is temperature controlled, with a place to write, sleep and wash up.

Meaningful Labour
This work of clearing off the path took just the right amount of work, soaked my shirt with sweat completely, and did not over tax any of my aging muscles. And the benefit of our labours will be enjoyed by countless people.

Love, given and received!
This I all got to enjoy with the love of my life, who loves me unconditionally, who I can safely love unconditionally. No, we are not perfect nor are our lives, but we are both kind, and kind to each other.
And we dance delightfully together, with our own kind of stepping marvellously in tune to the other, with the ability to start and stop and change the step to a great variety, so as to allow the aging bones and muscles a variety of movements to not freeze up from repetition, yet alone to leave one’s mind frozen in one count or hitch.

Culture
That is always a bit of culture, that remains a joy for both of us, and most all who witness us at graceful play.
So on return I got to enjoy:
a great option to clean up with hot water!
A great hot cup of spice tea, with just the right amount of milk added, which somehow reminds me of growing up with 5 brothers and 5 sisters, and taking an afternoon break with my dad, who always had a cup of tea, and easily allowed us one as well if we added milk.
Along with the tea just right I had some lemon yogurt, just the right mix of sour and sweet, the pucker power reminds me of my youngest son who loved lemons, just so. As we puckered up and said it was great vitamin C!

Music
The greatest part of the evening is to return with enough solar power collected to allow an hour of so of music, from my playlist.
Notably (which means these pieces evoke some of the deepest most thorough joy I have known):
Good Lovelies, especially and starting off with Lie Down Beside Me, to be reminded of the goodness of love and of it’s loss.
Rufus Wainwright singing Cohen’s Alleluia, a haunting reminder of God’s presence in the darkest times of my life.
Over the Rainbow by Israel k. Just goodness of life!
The Proclaimers’ I’m On My Way [to Happiness] which always gets the base turned up, the volume up too high and smiles, reminders of many a dance step of grace, enjoyed by us and the band that noticed us.
A great number from ABBA Take a Chance on Me, Fernando, of course Mama-Mia, and Cohen, not least of Take this Waltz, Anthem, and Closing Time.
I toss in a bit of Mozart French Horn, the beauty of brass, even though I played the Euphonium, I always envied the French Horn players.
And to top off the end of the music before too many volts are consumed:
The Proclaimers’ 500 miles, a simple and thorough statement of being a man who will live ‘in love’, which we know is a choice of health!

The Photo

Simple Sun Set … … Haunting Sun Set

But the photography that is always there is the desktop I’ve chosen recently of a photo I took this year on 19th July at 21:34.
It haunts me every time I see it, even though I am the photographer whose taught for years. This photo keeps me from getting right down to work each time, but the time is not wasted.
Right there the essence of culture meets my mind no matter the colour or gray of the day: There is light at play from all sides collecting on the birch logs and waves, but pulling attention to the clouds on the horizon spanning from tree to tree with the blue of the water countered with the orange of the setting sun!

The photo haunts even me the photographer.


Why is it so haunting?
Clue a panorama so that the light and wave patterns are just normal enough and yet out of place to be intriguing, if you do not discount it as a panorama.


There is nothing quite like it: spice with milk, lemon with sweet, the fresh air, clean hot water, the mosquitoes kept at bay, the cozy camper a home not quite a home, a path nearly cleared, all this shared with a kind person who loves me without guile or selfish demands, and spiced milk, sweet lemon, and the best music selection short but good enough to change one’s heart from set and hard to lively and inspired.
Life is great!


It is a miracle to be somebody,
somebody who knows how to enjoy life fully, with so little, but with everything that makes for a full life.


How’s your days measuring up? Are the daisy’s still down? Can you still dance with grace through all the challenges that come your way each day? Do you know God’s love is so assured that it need not even be mentioned as part of the essentials of life?
Do you have music that inspires you to love all of life completely, to a 4/4 two step, or a 3/4 waltz?
What are you missing? Ask and you shall receive, for God gives us all that we need, just not everything we ask for!


Be Somebody:
share the essentials of good life everyday with someone new. Everyone needs them!
And smile, God created you, and us all, to be able to enjoy the deep based line of nature’s best music.


The owl may hoot every night, but I am not the one tagged for death, I am the one tagged for extraordinarily important things to happen around and because of:
It is enough to see one’s love dancing to the Proclaimers’ “I am going to be the man who will grow old with you. I will walk 500 miles and I would walk another 500 miles just to be the man who walked one thousand miles to fall down at your door.”


Being Somebody?

Be Somebody!

2019.07Jul07

Names in the Sky

Rough Draft:

lots of repetitions and sections needing tightening, deleting, or rewording, the essence is there though.

Still looking though the woods and trees to see the light.

Our Names are Written in Heaven

Skywriting:

Jane came out to the airport as she often did to watch Matt take off for his day’s work, crop dusting. This time Matt seemed to avoid getting off the ground, working around Steve’s plane instead. Then as Steve rolled out on to the grass runway Matt came over to Jane and asked her if she’d like a cup of coffee. He then stood with her, each with a cup of coffee in hand as Steve took off and began to spell out in the sky: S … U … lots of loops and crossing back and for forth for each letter E … M … A … … R … R … As Steve began the Y … Jane turned to Matt, knocking both their cups and spilling coffee freely, and hugged him, with a loud YES, and as Steve finished the … M … and the final E with the added touch of a ?, Matt came up for air from the long kiss he had planted on Jane to see the all 18 employees of the three businesses at the airport come outside to see, first Jane and Matt, then the trailing away letters Steve had written, and then to gather around Matt and Jane clapping. As Steve landed and ran over to join the crowd Matt and Jane were still shaking the hands of the people in line, taking their congratulations and well wishes, and answering they didn’t have solid plans yet but Jane was quick to say the wedding was going to be in their church, and long before it started to snow. Matt agreed, but the honeymoon would have to wait until winter.

With one marvelous flight, after years of joy, tears, and struggles Matt and Jane each knew that this day was wondrous, a dream come true. Everything about their lives was changed that day and again as they said their vows before the altar Jane’s great grandfather had built, covered with paraments made by her great grandmother. Over the previous 4 years, since they had started dating as teenagers, their lives had changed. No longer alone, everything took on a new perspective, the perspective of love.

Through their struggles they had learned that loving each other was wondrous, but also a lot of work, took a lot of patience, required a lot of forgiveness. The coming years would test the limits of their forbearance, their commitment to love and be gracious, and their ability to empathize for each other and other people for things they did not understand.

The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela

18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

Nelson Mandela stands tall at 80 years old, the first black president of South Africa, not a Black South Africa and not a white country gripped and choked by apartheid, but a country started on the difficult journey to reconciliation. He had spent 27 years in jail, been finally set free, and reunited with his wife Winnie. Time apart and Winnie’s other love drove them to separate and then divorce. Madiba was leader of a nation while still in prison, and then he’d been a leader not elected but negotiated with, and then the elected president tasked with bringing together a country of people separated by hatred and terrible atrocities against each other.

A man filled with love of many kinds he was NOW the most lonely person on planet.

Loss of love is as devastating as love is equipping and empowering to take on all demons

Then Nelson Mandela falls in love again with, Graça Machel, the widow of Mozambican President Samora Machel. He marries her on his 80th birthday! She is a leader in her own right already at 57.

Work of Love

Love is not free: it must be worked at each and every day.

If you work at being the person who behaves ‘in love’ with your spouse, you will love your spouse, as delightfully, marvelously, as colorfully as the first day you fell in love. Not being in love with the person you are married to, or being in married to someone who is unkind, or refuses to work at love is often a living hell. Being alone, for most people, is a great challenge.

When you both work at being in love with each other, Look Out! Being in love with the person to whom you are married makes life simply awesome! The hurts roll off your back. The challenges are met as best they can be. The responsibilities are met as if they were freedoms. And the joys multiply all by themselves through the years. This is how God intended us to experience life!

Extending that love to each other, and then to all the people who your lives touch: that is what the Kingdom of God is about!

What does that mean for us?

Now that the Kingdom of God has come near, what does this mean for us?

Quote from Mother Theresa

Mother Teresa said, “Our work is constant. The problems of the poor continue, so our work continues. Yet everyone can do something beautiful for God by reaching out to the poor. I see only people filled with God’s love, wanting to do works of love. This is the future—this is God’s wish for us—to serve through love in action, and to be inspired by the Holy Spirit to act when called.” Mother Teresa, The Book of Peace: Finding the Spirit in a Busy World (London: Rider, 2002), 74.

The poor bring us past all pretensions and lay bare the necessities of life and the awesome source of life’s great goodness, Grace, Love and Hope. These are the reality of the Kingdom of God.

What does that mean for us? What are we going to do in response?

Now that the Kingdom of God has come near, what does this mean for us?

And what are we going to do in response?

The Gospel for today is clear: share the Good News, Prepare the Way

Our responses are our lives, every minute, every choice, every action or inaction. Today’s Gospel clearly turns us, as Jesus did the 70, to go out into all of creation, to all people, to prepare the way for our Lord, healing and sharing the Good News of God’s Grace for all people.

Responses of bringing the Good News

Some will accept and grow from the nurture of God, like the nurture of a prosperous city, the city of Jerusalem.

Some will reject us and the peace and love of God that we bring. Still the message is the same: the Kingdom of God has come near!

Other lessons, what Good News will we share?:

OT: Always God is there for us:

From our other lessons we hear what Good News we have to bring.

As the people to whom Isaiah writes, as they return from Exile, we can share God’s promise of nurture, comfort, delight, and peace. We can share the comforting image of God as a Mother nursing us, carrying us, dandling us on her knees!

The Jerusalem of the/to day

Isaiah writes to people who had lost the Jerusalem they had known. They have returned, but what they find is not the Jerusalem they knew. It is gone. They mourn it’s loss. What they find is not yet the New Jerusalem that God promises them; it is still to come, a promise of God for the end of time.

Result for us:

Yet even in the Jerusalem of the present, and for us we may say, even in the the city, country, or Land we live in now: Here and now God will make prosperity flow like a river, full and flooding it’s banks distributing silt and soil for all in it’s vicinity.

Our hearts can rejoice. Our bodies shall flourish.

God there for ALL of us, as the past is gone, the promise of tomorrow not yet

How do we respond to God’s gifts now and the promises for the future? We rejoice, even as we mourn the loss of the old Jerusalem, the way it was in the past. Even as we mourn that our churches are not like they were in the past, brimming Sunday Schoools, bustling with children, abuzz with activities for all ages, providing learning, and sometimes real Gospel and real Grace of God, and real love of God.

Even as we mourn the losses of time passing we look with hope to the new creation!

There are lots of ways to try to create false hope, a false return to the past that is gone, to deny the reality of God’s grace in the present. Sarah and Abraham repeatedly tried to force their claim on God’s promise, and what suffering has arisen from the split of the family between their son Isaac and and Abraham and Hagaar’s son, Ishmael; between Jews or Christians and Muslims.

There is little more foolish, obviously ridiculous than a 70 year old male (think Trump and others), a man of power and corruption, divorcing his wife of his youth, and claiming again and again a yet younger woman, in an effort to remain youthful. This stereotypical man vainly tries to deny his age, tries to mourn what is lost by denying it is GONE, DONE, PASSED. Instead he tries to buy, with wealth gained by corruption, an image of being younger than the actual OLD of his age.

Of course there is the woman, just as foolish who does the same. Or the woman who reaches for wealth and prestige by marrying a man old enough to be her father or grandfather. These self deceptions are equally foolish and destructive to all sorts of people.

More destructive perhaps are all the faithful but untrusting people who look to the past of the church (denying the change of culture around us away from church participation) and expend great energy trying to recapture what is lost, past, or dying; instead of working to be what God makes us able to be today.

We miss out on the opportunities to work in the real world, from the real stories of each other’s lives. Like ostriches, we bury our heads in sand, unable to see the GOODness of creation. And we suffocate there, hiding from reality. God cannot nurture us there: no comforting, no nursing, no dandling on God’s knees.

In spite of us, God, through the prosperity of the City of God, the City of Peace, nurtures, comforts, and provides for us.

For us who have returned home from exile,

For us who have deserted home for better efforts elsewhere

For us who, like the older son of the prodigal father, have remained, worked diligently at home, and are envious of the returnees given free grace, we receive grace even though we have come to rely on ourselves, our works, our merits … though they may be something, they are nothing before God,

We all NEED God’s Grace.

God, through the prosperity of the City of God, the city of peace, nurtures, comforts, provides for ALL of us, just like a Mother provides for all her children.

This is love: God’s Love for us and our delight in God. Responding to God’s love we sing for joy, with praise and adoration, even as we mourn the losses of the past.

The truth of love

The truth of God’s love for us is that it is unconditional. In love with us, each of us, even you, God writes our/your name/s in heaven.

With that God fulfills our dream of all dreams and our hope of all hopes. God makes everything right for us and for God!

God claims, names, and commissions us, sends us into the plentiful harvest.

What does that mean for us? What are we going to do in response?

Confused Paul in Galatians:

In Galatians Paul, as is too often the case provides, in poor koininia Greek, confused words. He writes: bear each other’s burdens, and then all must carry their own loads. If we read carefully we can decipher that he likely meant, as we each sin, the rest of us carry that person with gentleness. Afterall we each will sin, we each will have our turn of needing to be carried by the others.

But as we work in our vocation and as we work to share the Good News with everyone we each should carry our own load, to provide necessities of life, for ourselves and for others.

God comforts, nourishes, and promises us that all will be well. But we still get to work like the dickens to make life good for ourselves and our community, and those in need.

God’s care does not supplant our own labours, but rather God enables us so that our labours can be productive.

There is joy in diligent, hard, directed, purposeful labour. A necessity of life: air, water, food, clothing, shelter, purposeful labour, and love (giving and receiving). As others bring us the Good News we should provide for them so that they can share the Good News without concern for their survival.

As we work: remember God’s promise: most important

As we work we remember God’s promise that our names are written in heaven. This promise is more important than our ability in Christ’s name to heal, to feed, to care for, to love others, to forgive, to be gentle with each other.

Like Jane reading her own name in the sky God has acted, named us, written our names in heaven!

Wondrous miracles to see in this creation. But the greatest miracle is God’s Grace which names us as God’s, claims, names, blesses, and equips us. God nourishes us, comforts us and carries us; and most of all God Loves us as we are and for who we really are!

That our names are written in heaven is not because of a fluke, not because of our work, not because of our correct faith, not because of our hanging on to or our letting go of our histories.

Our names are written in heaven simply because God wants it so, out of love for us.

Seeing the Colours set for our Names to be revealed.

Creator, Creation, Chaos, New-Creation

Transfiguration

Outline

Creator Reality creates blessed reality

Former vice-President Biden praises current Vice-President Pence as a decent guy.

Biden is reminded that Pence is the most anti-GLBTQ elected leader in the US.

So Biden walks back his praise for Pence.

Today’s Gospel reminds us of a reality we have known about since our first conscious thoughts, which we often think we have forgotten about, but which we cannot escape.

While Biden is reminded about the sin of another human, and how it has terrible consequences in our world, today’s Gospel reminds of God’s fantastic goodness and glory, which also has consequences in our daily lives. Those consequences are awe-fully frightening and wonderful. And we are sent to bring those consequences to bear on those who need them the most, the poor, the disenfranchised, the reviled and rejected, and the hungry; and most of all today the Gospel reminds us that Jesus sends us to bring the consequence of whole health to those caught by the demons of our time, not only but also people captive to even the worst mental illnesses.

The Luke account:

8 days,

Mountain,

Three speak,

God from Cloud

Healing

Followed by exorcism, or demonic healing

The natural, or willful, consequences of transfiguration are Healing, whole life healing

Consequences

      We are different

      Sinners also saints

      Assured children of God, we enter challenges differently, confidently as bring God’s blessings, even to the worse experiences, the worst human behavior.

We behave so as to bring blessings, healing, health to all whom we encounter, even the most unfigured, chaotic, chaos creating people.

The extraordinary Transfiguration

Figuration- Three are present, Jesus, Moses, Elijah

      One from the present, two from the past,

God’s will is known by two who come from being in God’s presence, God’s will is given a figure or concrete vision for disciples to see.

Disfiguration

Jesus, the one of this world, our daily reality, encountering E and M is disfigured, changed to dazzling white. Bedazzling might be the better description.

Unfiguration – Peter coming to full alertness/consciousness from dozing, tries to give meaning to what he sees, simple booths, temples, shelters, from the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles, housing of God’s presence in this world.

Peter misses, so simple it is not, and the figures with Jesus dissolve into the cloud.

Transfiguration

Jesus shines bedazzlingly so and God’s voice speaks directly, to whom this is: this is God’s son in whom God is pleased.

And the transfiguration changes all present:

They are different.

2016 Working Preacher: Cláudio Carvalhaes, Associate Profesor of Worship, Union Theological Seminary NY, NY

Consequences in mundane world

Invictus

Mandela, against abuse of white guards, of white racism in apartheid, of degradation in prison for 25 years: not revenge, not anti-apartheid;

Mutual respect, reconciliation processes

Chaos, Creation, Corruption-Chaos, Recreation as Blessed

Consequences for Jesus

Heals the boy, drives out the demons

Consequences for Peter

Still denies Jesus,

But eventually comes to be leader of the church of Jesus’ Way.

For us

We go out to encounter all we can, to bring blessing and healing and order/creation – and awareness of God,

Imagination of literature

Speaks reality, makes part of reality available to us not previously available before

Like Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Augustine, Luther, Star Wars, Star Trek, Invictus, West Wing,

we bring the gift of imagination of reality which reflects God as creator, Jesus as his son, the Holy Spirit as our guide, comforter and empowerer;

Our imaginations recognize God’s real blessings in us, in our lives, in our being,

Imagination of literature (fiction) helps us know reality

Star Wars:

force be with you: HS, dark side: evil

Like Girard

We learn to see mimetic truths

That message of Jesus was more so: no more scapegoating, sacrificing others, Only forgiveness

Mysteries of faith

We proclaim that Christ is present in the Bread and Wine, n our hearts, in our lives,

Curing illnesses

Healing People

Creating blessed life

Creating saints out of sinners who remain always sinners.

West Wing,

for example, one of the most awarded TV programs ever, presented a reality that ought to have been, a caring, vulnerable, brilliant and wise president, not without limits, so real

But really capable of leading and being the leader of the free world, addressing illnesses, and making possible the rising to succeed him, a Latino president. Not presented in any widely consumed media, the brilliant wisdom and the example of a Latino president, paved the path for the first actual non-white president to be elected: Barak Obama.

What does this mean for us?

Us sinners made Saints only by God’s grace?

Everyday God present,

Whether we feel it, know it, recognize it

We can trust it

We can dare to bring healing to most chaotic situations and people

Even love our enemies

Yet, We are not in control

Not Jedi controlling the Force

Not wizards with wands controlling the elements of magical world

Not writers of reality, like a screen writer, controlling other people

Not God, nor gods, not controllers of god’s will

We are reflectors, conduits, instruments of Christ’s light, Christ’s healing presence, the Holy Spirit’s empowering sinners to be saints.

We are not in control; we surrender control to God’s will

We are not people who impose our wills on others, or each other

We are listeners, we are earthen vessels of wisdom, a wisdom that we cannot control or fully contain, restrain, or realize.

We are beggars, waiting, praying, hoping, acting out blessings, sharing what is entrusted to us.

We are those who watch for, notice and point others to see the power of God transfiguring us, all of us,

We are transfigured to be what God intended us to be, that sin has stolen from us, bound us away from, blinded us to seeing and being,

This process is unending; we never arrive or are done.

We always learn more, anew, how God intends us to be blessings for each other, for the poor, hungry, enslaved, the ridiculed … especially our enemies.

To see the figure of God, to watch it be disfigured, and then un-figured, and then transfigured is a frightening experience,

A daily experience if we do not shut ourselves out of Gods’ creation.

And Christ comes and calls us, do not be frightened.

Instead surrender to the new creation that Christ brings, be bold, even bold enough to sin in our incomplete efforts to be blessings to others.

Here is Christ’s body. Here is Christ’s blood.

Eat and Drink, for we are the body of Christ, we bring his life force, his blood, to the world, to heal it of all its ills and ailments.

Progress ?

Progress    ?

 

What is progress?

 

I do not mean just what is the definition of progress

But what is it to actually make some progress towards what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life?

 

So the question begs first the other question: what is the ultimate goal or purpose of life, and then what can one do to move towards that goal or purpose?

 

Better stated: how does one live, so that life is good?

Or

To use Julian of Norwich’s words:

How does one live, so that

All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,

even when there is no evidence that anything is well at all?

 

There are so many considerations for all of that, which today I am not even going to try to approach yet alone address, or, maybe not.

But I saw

Progress

Right before my eyes.

 

First,

the natural progress,

comprssd over just a few days,

 

 

 

from snow free on the first,

with water free to canoe across

 

 

 

To lightly dusted

showing only on the cleared areas and pathways

 

 

 

To fully snow covered

ready for skiing

and open water waving nicely at the wind.

 

 

 

To obscured by the condensation on the window in the early hours

 

 

 

To a clear view of ice

Hanging on the reeds

 

 

 

To the ice covering the lake

The ice formed all across the rest of the lake all at once.

Two hours before this photo taken at 12:26 noon

The lake was still waving to the wind.

I thought it was hello but it was a good bye!

 

So far, besides the sudden full lake freeze

This is just the progress of a fall in Canada.

 

 

 

 

Until sunset, when the forces of expansion,

Ever present as water gives way to ice,

Break the one piece surface.

The cracks show the lake’s breaking points

In vivid tracks.

 

 

Now comes the challenge,

a bit of photography,

A bit of philosophy

A bit of Grace

And a lot of Hope:

How to capture the scene in front of me that sings so wonderfully

Across my eyes and through my fingers to my brain?

 

Because, just trying to capture that teasingly intriguing ‘S’ of a crack

The natural tendency, especially framed by the bushes on either side of

this narrow canoe landing,

oops

this ski entrance on to the lake, –

the natural tendency is to put the ‘S’ in the middle of the frame

 

And as marvelous as it was in-person here the above photo kind of dies

A quick death as the eye stops with the ‘S’ and moves no further.

 

 

So it takes some moving and trying, and seeing:

 

S Right

So the photos above and below are an effort to move the ‘S’ off the center

to invite one’s eye to dance around the photo.

 

 

 

 

S Left

Somehow they just still sit under the wonder, somehow flat.

 

 

So the idea is to look around in a different direction to see something more.

 

 

And with that effort  still missing the wonder of the view

I tried getting more,

literally more of what was in front of me:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The panorama of the whole view out the canoe, opps, ski access point.

It’s all there and still that wondrously difficult and intriguing ‘S’ falls dead compared to the reality in front of me.

 

So …

 

 

 

 

 

I tried for a little less of everything

Which becomes intriguing

with the clear focus on the near, iced shore,

a view of the ‘S’

heading off to the sunset

leaving us at the far shore

catching a ride back to the near shore,

broken by – well it’s

still not quite right with the small branch breaking in on the left,

A ‘merge’ that distracts the eye out of the essentials to the big ooppps.

 

But it is -20° C

That’s minus 20° Celsius

I’m using voice activation to start the photos,

Which does not work for panoramas

so off come the gloves to shoot.

And my bared fingers are crying SOS

(which always gives way to them splitting more painful cracks at the tips in protest, which take days to heal),

So I did not get that even normally simple merge corrected,

a small step of progress towards good,

That I normally would not pass up on.

 

 

Still the sun rises again the next morning, gorgeously red and promising …

 

Promising of more snow

Which comes in spades

Or inches

Or millimeters.

But it fills the skies after 10:00 until dark and beyond,

The land gets a new cover, perfect for skiing.

 

The furnace has developed a hole in the combustion chamber, pumping C0 into the cabin,

And I have to turn it off through the nights, and only when I can get by without it’s heat does my head clear enough to deal with all the challenges which a furnace-less camper presents.

 

I move from flowing water, even heated water,

to ‘running’ water:

I run,

to get water,

then I have running water.

 

 

 

 

Progress.

Do

You

See

What is progress?

 

The progress that is inevitable

And the progress which is the result of

the labour of hope and photography

Which catches and communicates the wonders of creation

To demonstrate

Pure

Beauty.

 

God’s beautiful world.

 

What progress have you made lately?

Not just getting through each inevitable day,

But moving each day a step sideways and deeper

Toward those things that

Are worth living

For

And

From?

 

 

Well,

Will

all be well,

Not just in words,

But in the soul of your life?

In the soul of this creation?

In the face of challenges and temptations that open the door

To evil and sin allowing them to prevail?

 

Or are you a Saint, by grace, giving witness to God’s presence everywhere, always.

 

Do you love your neighbours as your self, and your enemies,

and the LORD your God, with all your soul and your might?

 

Only by Grace,

is real progress possible.