Love Cannot be Forced

Love Requires Free Choice

We believe that God created the world, and all of us,
in order that we can
love our neighbours as our selves, and especially our enemies,
and that we can love God with all our hearts, minds and souls.

Love
requires that the person who loves,
freely chooses to love.

Love cannot be forced from another, it must come freely from the person who loves.

And that also requires that we can choose to not love,
that we can choose to hate, to seek vengeance, that we can break ourselves and our relationships, even our relationship with God,

the consequences for which, since we all make this choice again and again,
are suffered by not only by the person who chooses not to love
but by all of us.

There is so much sinning and suffering, only God can make it right.

So he gave his son
(more on that another day)
to pay the final and complete price for our failed choices, our choices

not

to

love.

God not only pays the price, but stays with us, even as we suffer the consequences of our own and other’s sins.

God again and again re-creates in us the ability, willingness, and possibility
to choose to love.

And we choose to love, even those who make themselves our enemies.

Dance.

Dance and choose to love.

Dance and love and choose to give thanks.

Dance and love and give thanks and choose to hope.

Be hope-filled, thankful, loving and full of the dance,

so that you can know against all odds and evidence and experience to the contrary that

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

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.

How is it … ?

How is it that we always think that –

the hero of a movie cannot die,
that disaster cannot overtake us to our end,
that evil will not prevail over us.
When all the signs are …
all the evidence is ….
and all our experience would tell us
that it has already overcome all the goodness that was once given us,
and left us in ruins?
This is hope.
Perhaps out of hope will come a resurrection of life that is goodness …
as all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
This is not a happy ending to every life …
This is not a happy ending to every challenge …
This is not a happy ending to every story, or movie … though Hollywood would like us to believe otherwise.
After all, who wants to pay for entertainment that does not provide what one wants to, at least temporarily, imagine that life will be: that life, if not gentle with us along the way, will at least be generous to us in the near future, without too much lost time and suffering thrown at us first.
Hollywood endings are warm and fuzzy, and give us optimism.
The real challenges of life are not met by optimism.
The really devastating challenges require hope.
And
divine
assurance
that all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
How is it that we always think that –
God is gracious and generous,
That Love is the meaning of life,
That Hope is everything?
Only by Grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit,
can we, in the face of the brutal reality of evil,
say with our whole heart, mind and soul,
that
all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

Who Is My Enemy – In the Canoe

Who Is My Enemy – In the Canoe?
An ode by a man under attack by so many lies, and so many liars and those who acquiesce to evil; an ode in the form of a prayer to God, with you listening in.

Beauty
There is great beauty in nature, in photography done well, in the soul of so many people when they are met with Grace. There is beauty in my life.
Is there beauty in your life?

‘My’ Canoe
I am able whenever the weather allows, to jump in a canoe and paddle a lake, to breath clear air and watch the sun rise and set, to watch loons dive away and beaver swim by, to watch the ducklings grow, to see the geese migrate south in their noisy, majestic “V’s”.

Everyone has something of a canoe, even if it must be only in your imagination. And it is precious. So

Don’t Fiddle,
Don’t Faddle,
Don’t Piddle
Just Paddle

Paddle in your canoe.

Who is my enemy when I can be in a canoe?
No one can be, for I am free.
Being free does not stop the attacks on me, nor does it fix the ruin I have been brought to by lies at all levels.
Being free does not put Evil to rest, but it gives me and many others life, life abundant.

Am I hurt as my sunset may be forced early upon me?
Yes, beyond anything I could imagine!
Am I going to let myself become angry?
Beyond what I cannot control, of course not. I do not allow myself to be that kind of a person.
Why would I allow this, this worst of treatment, so unjust, unethical, and downright mean … why would I allow this or anything else to change me into something like the people who do this to me?
Would I want to become a bully? Would I want to become indiscriminately mean and even cruel like the many people who have together taken every thing from me except a sleeping bag, a tent, a bicycle, and my clothes?
Would I choose to allow them to take my soul too?
Would I want to choose that the Gaslighting that my own family started and carried on without pause, and is now regularly repeated in so many ways by so many people … would I want the Gaslighting to have the intended effect on me?
Would I want to forget which are the truths, which the lies, about me?

Who am I,
that I can be in a canoe?

I am:
Kind
Gracious
Unconditionally loving
Forgiving
Slow to anger
Healthy focusing the energy of anger towards healthy changes
Honest
Clear about reality
Clear about what I have done and what I have not done
Tremendous with children, at a momentary meeting, as an acquaintance, as friend, as parent.
Sexually healthy, respectful, faithful,
Loyal
Respectful of all genders, colours, faiths
Healthy:
Mentally resilient and creative and as always uniquely equipped to help others, and remaining very healthy despite continuing efforts to Gaslight me.
Physically proactively providing for my health care needs and remaining very healthy despite all efforts to deny me my health.
I am a pacifist, a practical pacifist.
I am a sacramental mystic.
I am simultaneously a saint and a sinner.
I am a child of God, a saint in the eternal light of Christ.

This is who I am not:
I am not mean,
I am not crass, profane,
I am not hateful or begrudging
I am not vengeful
I am not quick to anger
I am not reckless with my health and my health care
I am not dishonest, I do not lie,
I am not confused about reality, projecting falsehoods on to others
I have not forgotten what I have done and what I have not done or confused what others falsely say with what actually happened, what I said, what I did, what I thought, what I strove for
I am not abusive to anyone, especially not children, I certainly am not perverse with children
I am not a sexual deviant, nor promiscuous, nor a misogynist nor a misandrist.
I am not disloyal, I do not betray anyone or any trust.
I am not ill, though this sustained attack on my person has landed me in emergency surgery.
I am not mentally ill, nor psychopathic nor psychologically disordered in any way.
To all and any who accuse me of being suicidal I say very clearly that I am immune.

To my enemies:
I ask the plethora of my enemies, is this, the person I am not, really who you want me to change to become, as if that would relieve you of your responsibilities for bullying, cruelty and lies?
Would you like that I succumb to the constant Gaslighting and become mentally ill, psychotic, disordered, or not resilient?
Would you like that I respond to accusations that I am going to kill myself that I say instead, “Ok, when and where and how?” [Now wouldn’t that be perverse, and wholly unnatural!]
I am not reckless with my physical health, nor passive about it, nor uninformed, nor un-engaged.

I am certainly not passive about anything that I can change for the better:
Rather I take to heart the prayer:
My I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I am not violent nor unrealistic about my part and place in life.
Instead I choose not to become vindictive, or even angry, because I would not want to be that kind of a person. I’ve sacrificed much in life to remain a pacifist, one who forgives instead of being vindictive.
Would you prefer or recommend that I become vindictive and destructive, violent and scheming?
I am not disconnected from my Creator and this Creation, in all aspects and dimensions I am able to participate in Creation I do.
Would you want that I become a one dimensional idiot?
I claim no goodness on my own merit, but all good I am is a gift from God. I accept full responsibility for all bad that I am, think, do and allow by inaction to happen. I can do this because I fully trust God’s forgiveness and blessings.
I am not a child of the Devil, Evil, or Decay.



Who do my enemies think they want me to become, when I can be in a canoe?

How is it that you wanted me to change?
You said you want to provide services to me, for me to choose to become more stable. You suggested that I move in with my wife from whom I am separated. I have told you and told you again, that my ex would then attack the few assets my wife holds onto by a threadbare string, and two more people would be out on the street, homeless like I am. And you thought that would be an improvement? You said yes that I should choose this!?!

What kind of an upside down world do my enemies think they can force on me?

How can I respond to the lies and terrible things done to me by so many people?
How can one respond to such cruelty, such destructive cruelty, against me and the children, against so many other men and children?

Cruelty comes in many forms. One is this Gaslighting, this telling me that somehow I am responsible for and able to change the fact that lies by so many at all levels in the Justice system have made me homeless, and that these lies have put the children at great risk.

Cruelty comes not only as commissions, but also as omissions.
It comes from people who stand by and do nothing to know the cruelty done.
It comes from people who close their eyes, ears, and mouths in the face of evil.
It comes from people who know full well what is done, especially people with authority, and they do nothing because it is risky to do anything in the face of evil.
“The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” Albert Einstein

What am I to do?
I tell you, I bind sins, and continue to live with Grace.
I choose, as an ordained person, to continue as the gracious person I am, but to name these acts against me (and similar acts against so many other men and children) for what they are: they are evil.
I choose to ‘bind these sins’, those of commission and omission. God will judge those responsible. The judgment will be in the afterlife, but as God is not bound by time, the effects of that judgement begin already now.

Except I have forgiven my family, those I was asked to and did promise to love unconditionally, those who I have at great cost forgiven, and whom I continue to forgive. Because I know where their sins begin, and I trust that it is not in maliciousness, but in mental illness. But even if it is maliciousness, how can I not forgive and continue to forgive people who were so close and so powerfully loving and so life changing for me (both good change at first and then so terribly destructive against me, without reason from me)?

Having left this cruelty against me and others in God’s hands, I am free.
Free to respond with grace to the doers and those that acquiesce. It is not as if I have forgiven them (other than my family), but their evil will not define me, nor will it change me but for the better. I will work to stop this cruelty to men and children, as much as God makes me able.

Most of all, I will not forget Beauty, in all its aspects, in this world; the beauty of nature, of light reflected in photography, the beauty of hard work and physical health providing for oneself and for others, the beauty of words that inspire, and the beauty of love.

All of this is possible because God provides story upon story for us, through which we can know something of God as

God who loves unconditionally all people, God who wishes us all life, and life abundant.

Who can be my enemy when I am in the canoe, steeped in the beauty of God’s creation?
Only Evil is my enemy, and God has defeated Evil, it just does not know it. But I can live that it is defeated.

[Last minute addition:]

The RCMP will not though, just minutes ago they evicted me, so that homeless, with a borrowed trailer on Crown land, I now have no place to live except on the run from this borrowed patch to the next with my tent. In this random camping location I was there no more than 14 days at a time. I now have really no where to go that is even a bit safe. This sin is bound as well, for while I move out every 14 days and stay out for 72 hours, as per the requirements, there are frequently others who do not, who stay for months … and not the RCMP, nor any other authority, do anything to them, even though they are clearly living there setting up for the winter, clearly set up having spent months there. I abide by the regulations, and am evicted. Others who clearly do not abide by the rules are not evicted.

If this bothers you let them know.

This is how we deal with homeless people. We make it impossible for them.

God save us. God save me. God show me the beauty available now, still with my canoe, which now is no canoe at all. It is another nothing, taken from me. And yet I will find a way to live determined not by my enemies, but in Grace.

 

 

What about you?
Who is your enemy when you are in your canoe (wherever and whatever it means for you to be in your canoe)?
Where is beauty and grace for you?

Rainbows of No Colours

Rainbows of No Colours but Grace Alone

After a full day
The sun sets whether the passengers get home
Or not
Flying
Leaving a crystal trail
Across the sky.

How will they know we were here?
And will there be a home ever again?

Is there hope?
Yes, just no evidence that provides a basis for it.
It is raw hope based solely on faith that though people fail
God will not fail us, will not fail to bring justice and mercy to bear on all
All of us.

Thoughts in shorthand from the Lessons for today:
Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

Notes to Readings
Flood Promise: hope despite disaster of proportions inexplicable.
Colours: signs of hope, beauty as sign of promise of life not condemned.
Colours are a sign for God to remember!
Remember me oh God, amidst being forgotten by the world, made a non person.
Steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
So it is to be a religion of achievement, not grace! So to speak: Let us work to please God for God then will be the one to reward and save us! Quatsch!
God is God, God is gracious, God is merciful. And to all.
But there are consequences not known easily in this world’s course and flow, and there will be consequences for those and for all who make life for others hell.
Christ, the righteous, suffered for all, the unrighteous, not as removal of dirt, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience
What is this “conscience” to the writer of 1 Peter? A plea to God to provide a good conscience for us, through Jesus Christ! Yes, if Grace abounds, even sin forgiven is heavy, and brings us to behave poorly, but knowing the grace and forgiveness of God, bought and paid for by Jesus, and told to us as model of how to live, no more scapegoats, brings us to ask how can we live given that we are forgiven and made clean, a clean conscience and existentially clean as well! More than dirt removed, a soul, a life, cleansed in order to change the universe (i.e. system changed by one change).
First: when one realizes that God is gracious and forgives and gives life and breath freely despite none of us deserving any of it, then one is suddenly freed, freed to be marvellously and amazingly able to forgive, to be God’s grace to others, and even to oneself.
Second: when one changes/is changed by grace then since one exists within multiple systems, each member of the system dependent on the others, one’s changing changes the place and existence of the others in the system: that is when grace changes one person, it changes the system … it changes the system towards grace for all.
Third: that changed system towards grace rebounds back on the one first changed and changes that one even again and freshly so.
Forth: who are you? Are you fighting the system changes of grace along with so many other billions upon billions? Or are you freed and gracious and forgiving at all costs.

 


We think the world is pathways that we choose to take the high road or low road, the left fork or the right fork, the path of goodness or that of evil; but God works to bring our diverse paths together. God is well pleased with all of us. The light makes everything known, good and evil. And all of us will meet at Christ’s feet, the light of the world.

Baptism: beloved Son with you I am well pleased.
Temptation: 40 days tempted
Ministry started as John is arrested. Repent and believe the good news.
What is this: to be claimed, to be named, to be tempted, to proclaim/share the good news?
What is this if it is not to be the grace of God in this world so that others will experience it real!

This is life, the goodness of life.
The rainbow and the colours and the beauty, and the simple joys of life and the big joys of life are all given to us so that we can be (even as God is) reminded that God’s way is not to wipe out the world, good and evil; God’s way is to transform, to redeem, to give new free breath to every person and every atom in this world.
Breathe!
Be Graced, Be Grace.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness
There are really terrible things that people do to other people.

In life these terrible things sometimes stick out above everything else.

There are really terrible things that have been done to me, lies that have been told, and the effects have been devastating.
There are much worse things that are done to others, that have been done to others through history.
As for me: I used to have assets of $350k before, and $250k after.
It was not much of a retirement since I was always a stay at home dad, but it was something, and I freely gave that $100k, or so I thought, because I trusted what I was told: that I brought joy, life and health to others.

Now, directly because of the lies told about me, I have growing debt and no assets, except a bicycle, my clothes, a tent, a sleeping bag. My reputation is in tatters. No one will hire me. Everything that sustains my physical living in the harsh environment of winter is borrowed. Everything that allows me to drink and eat and move and comply with sentences against me is borrowed. Everything and every minute is given to me as gift. So I am still standing. I am still breathing. I am still able to see, record and share the light and the infinite breaking in on our finite existence. But every day everything is borrowed. Or maybe it always has been, and we just make up that we possess things, instead of being loaned them by those around us.

What I did ought to be lauded. I ought not to be judged or condemned or sacrificed or sentenced.
I forgave.
I forgave because I could not allow myself to hate.

I forgive because I will not allow myself to hate.
“Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with lots of very sharp teeth and it will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. We are lucky that God understands this. He is the one that will hand out the punishment so that we do not have to carry all this terrible hate inside of us, if we do not want to, if we are willing to forgive.” From the movie Amish Grace.

We Lutherans proclaim a very powerful Gospel, a Gospel that God loves us unconditionally, that God extends free Grace and Forgiveness to us, no matter what we do, good or evil, so that we can live freely.
We are not free to be whatever we wish to be, but free to respond to such amazing Grace given to us by offering grace and forgiveness to others, no matter what they do, good or evil.

Forgiveness
does not
and cannot
come easily
or
cheaply.

It is costly.

Forgiveness is so costly, sometimes more costly than we could imagine.

My forgiving has cost me …
everything.

An acquaintance wrote me: “You are a love-worthy person and I am glad I met you.”

Everyone is a love-worthy person.
And this is why and how God graciously forgives us, so that we can see each other as worthy of love.

What do you see today?
Who do you see today?
How do you see today?

Do you see with a heart consumed by hate?
Or
Do you see with a heart graciously forgiven and made capable of forgiving and loving in spite of what evil is done to you?

See the light

by following the darkness of the shadows.

 

Celebrate the light.
by seeing the light in all that is every-day.

Share the light

by showing the big picture to others, by showing how the light has lit up your path.


All our light comes from the holy infinite God all gracious loving one who gives us life, and breath.

So breathe.

Be gracious
and forgiving
especially of your enemies,

as well as yourself.

Everything is borrowed, given to us for a short time.

“Wir sind alle Bettler.”

MLuther

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

The cold of this past week was unrelenting.

Yes it got to -35°C. Not just once for a few hours but twice, staying below -30°C for long, cold, dark hours. And during that time there was no furnace that would run, taken down by a what, or was it a who? With repairs two nights distant, two deep cold dark nights away.

Yes, there are more than a few people who know some of the truth of what has been done to me xxxx but that I am under threat if I speak the truth (the xxxx indicate phrases I needed to delete). Most people have believed the lies told about me: they think that I am some kind of monster that is portrayed nowadays in film and tv as the ultimate male gone amok  x x x x.

I am nothing of the sort.

I am a person who at great cost to myself has practiced unconditional love for those closest to me  x x x x 

I am a person practiced in bringing others to experience Grace, even in the midst of the brokenness of their lives, often after surviving the death of loved ones, even by suicide.

Yet I am told, repeatedly, that I have done what I have not done, that I am a person I am not and have never been nor would ever allow myself to become.

 X x x x

How is this even possible?

That impossibility become real is the deep dark cold that corrupts and consumes the goodness in life, not just for me and those close to me, but for everyone who encounters this dark cold.  X x x x  Our sense of truth is so assaulted and violated that it will be a miracle  x x x x  if anyone is left capable of receiving and then giving unconditional love.

Grace is such a miracle, and grace requires human hands and hearts to carry it and deliver it, to reflect it as light … to show by example that Grace does exist … unconditionally for us all.

 

Yet in spite of the unrelenting deep cold darkness

I stand, surviving the cold, by faith through grace alone.

Who will stand with me?

Or

Who will continue to stand against me?

There are so many people who know a piece or two of the truth which would make obvious the lies told about me. There are a few people who know so much truth about the lies being told about me. If only one or two people came forward with the truth they know, the lies could not continue to ruin lives all around; and the conglomerations of lies are not innocent; they have already brought people to their deaths; they will bring more people to their deaths by their own hands.

 

Who will you be, in the face of the deep, cold, darkness that invades your lives?

Will you be an agent of Grace, or one who impedes others knowing Grace is also for them?

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemoller from Wikipedia

“Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈniːmœlɐ]; 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor.[1][2] He is best known for a widely-paraphrased statement which he made in different versions, one of which is “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist. … Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.” [see above.]

He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[3] but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis’ Aryan Paragraph,[4] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[5] For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.[6][7] He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis.[4] He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.[4] From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters’ International from 1966 to 1972.[8] He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.[9]

Wikipedia about Martin Niemöller

Who are they coming for today, for whom you do not speak out?

 

What do you see around you?

The COLD and the DARK settling in again?

 

 

OR

 

GRACE and BEAUTY of light, the light that brings truth even in the darkness?

 

 

Can you find the path to the light?
The light that rises indomitably even in the deep dark cold.

 

The path is never straight, and often meanders at many crossroads on its way to the light.

 

We can be no more than ones who reflect the light of Grace. And sometimes when we have so little life left in us we can at most point in the deep, dark, cold to where the light is reflected, to others who reflect the light.

 

 

Then, by the reflected light, we can show others the path …
The path that winds its way toward home,
home where the infinite meets our finite lives,
turning everything upside down, inside out
and
warm with the goodness of life,
the indomitable life
given to us all by Grace.

 

And we are left able in the cold to walk on water,

 

for there is no other choice.

 

 

Most every path we tread is covered
with water,
frozen water,
snow and ice.

Miracles of indomitable life often only occur in the face of the deepest, darkest, coldest ….

 X x x x

Once I saw the moon before it faded away: little just, BEST life

The Moon fades but I remember it even so,

Little Just; Best Life

The promise that God provides is not that people will behave well or even that they will act justly towards others.

The promise that God provides is that God will sustain those dealt with unjustly, and that the light will shine on all that is unjust, making it clear for what it is.

 

Sometimes the light fades along the horizon, too far to light one’s path forward for many more minutes.

 

Sometimes the light is so bright but setting that one cannot see any more than a minute in front of the present. But it is fleetingly wonderful.

 

Other times the light is everywhere and only those things that catch it show us the wonder that creation is.

 

I am one who believes, along with a host of faithful through the generations, that heaven and salvation are not merely elements of what happens after one dies on this creation earth. Rather we believe that, just as we are sinners already made simultaneously saints, so also God brings heaven to bear in this lifetime.

And thus believing I trust that the light will shine bright also already in this life. There is something to fear in that for those who cannot trust God, who refuse to know the sinfulness they perpetrate on others. There is solace in that light for those who trust that God’s grace is not only for others but also for oneself, and therefore one can and should provide that same grace to others.

Thus seeing the brilliant beauty that exposes every shadow. Even they can be a part of the beautiful mosaic of creation. Where else do we know and see God’s brilliant grace and our darkness portrayed for even us to see and know?

We do our best when

We find beauty in the light and the dark.

We see beauty in each other despite the dark.

We help build a safe place for each other, despite our past failings.

Sometimes our attempts are realistic: we need shelter and there is more than enough crap to take care of, and then a big old tree wipes out our shelter.

Shelter comes in many forms. For some it is just that: protection from the deadly elements of Canada’s cold northern winters and flying bug-biter or bomber summers.

For others it is to build a bank account that seems inassailable.

For others it is a collection of pseudo friends to help us ignore the cold dark inside ourselves, that part that lies as if that were to create one’s own protection when in fact if brings about one’s own downfall.

 

God promises and provides friends, true friends who judge little and exercise grace lots. True friends who mean it when they ask how one is. True friends who answer one’s calls when one is desperate and when one is overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement at the great goodness of God that people are able to reflect in their lives.

True friends are those who tell only the truth, and hold one to account to tell only the whole truth … so that grace’s need is undeniable and grace’s effect is in clear focus.

The light pushes ahead of it true friends, if not so much in our direction then as a wave of grace in front of us towards others.

 

And that is the best of life … even if there is little justice …

The best, to be a great, unconditionally loving friend.

Have you been one lately?

More than We can Imagine

More than We can Imagine


Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine. Alan Turing

On the deep side of the ice forming with wind shaking the water just as it freezes into patches and cracks, there stands a person never seen nor geachtet.
The morning is barely underway, with light sending the darkness back, but the bright light of day not yet having taken away the reach of darkness. The shadows not yet formed. The moon still perched in the west above the clouds. The beaver pond creek still flowing fast enough to keep the water from freezing hard.
There is more to this than we can imagine.

Where just a bit of light can be confusing, leaving one to wonder if night would persist or if light would arrive after all to make things more than clear.
Is there more to this than we can imagine?

Across the pond the trees stand tall, the bush not relenting, and the pussy willows the only colour amid the black and the white. Let there be more light so that colour can be better known, the withers and whethers, the downs and ups, the dreams and the realities made more obviously clear.
Can we imagine more?

There were white giants once standing, now broken and stripped clean. The wisps of fluff, standing stout, bending yet firmly staunch against the outrageous rages of whether or not.
What is it that we can imagine that we do not know.

One short and angled against the bronze reeds above the silver white snow of age still vibrant.
Imagine that.

It is the silent light disguised by the flowing water so close to freezing that will set the fires of recognition and revelation ablaze, warming the hearts that will choose either Grace or Retribution and DESTRUCTION.
Can anyone really not imagine such choices of life and death so close to the everyday, to the simplest ways, and for which so many things are perverted and converted through deception as if reality never were a thing at all?
Sometimes it is the people who seem to think they can know they can get away with everything who cannot imagine, who cannot imagine that other people do not play the zero sum game.
Every day there are choices that we each and all make,
To be the means of Grace
Or
To be the instruments of retribution.

Light will shine and make the darkness visible and clear to all.
How will you,
How will we,
How will they,
Find the light?
By surprise or predictably knowing:
Caught or Free.
Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of
who do the things that no one can imagine.

Who are we?

Who are we?
Who are we if we have not learned with all those who have gone before us?
Our lives are not fully lived if we are not willing to die for those we love and for what we believe.
Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma AL.

Can we find our way home?

Who are we if we are not willing to die for our children?

Who are we if we are not willing to protest, non-violently, against injustice?

Who are we if we turn a blind eye to the injustice that separates those of one color or heritage from another?

Who are we if we ignore our sisters and brothers and those who identify with neither of those gender designations, as there is only one certainty, and that certainty is that justice will not be available equally to all?

Who are we if we ignore who ends up on the streets? Who cannot find work? Who fills the jails?

And who gets to travel? Who frets about what can be taken away from them? Who has nothing to fret about, except where food and shelter from the cold will come from this winter?

Can you see in the darkness?

Can you see beauty even when there is no future to see?

Who are we?

And who are you?

Who am I?

Can we see the water for the weeds? The ice for the snow?

Will we find the safe path through what is before us?

Are you, are we, am I able to love your/our/my enemy as your/our/my neighbor as your/our/myself?

If you/we/I are/am unable to love unconditionally, even the enemy, then who are/am you/we/I anyway?

As for me and my household, since I am only one, I will serve the Lord,
and if that means I will die, then I will die for those I love and what I believe.

There is little sunshine among the treacherous cold rough waters ahead.

But I believe justice needs to be equal for all.

I believe by grace alone we all still stand

as long as we can still stand.