Blessing Us Dirt

Thursday, July 29, 2021

God’s Light and Blessing

Makes Even

Dirt

Golden

Ezekiel 36:9

See now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.

Acts 17:28

We too are God’s offspring.

Matthew 20:1

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard

Words of Grace For Today

I always enjoy the biblical humour: the good news Ezekiel shares is that God is for the people, and they are compared to the dirt of the earth that is tilled and sown in order that something good will grow from it.

The people are, in this metaphor, nothing, just dirt to be trod upon … until God chooses to use them, to turn them over with the plow, to put something good into them that will grow, taking nutrients from their useless dirt, in order to produce food that will sustain others in life. And yet they, though useful to God’s project of providing food for others, and though God is with them, … they remain still dirt.

God turns to them, and they are tilled and sown.

So it is with us.

The dirt of the earth are we, and yet God uses us, tills us with the plow turning us over into something that lays bare the darkness of us, and then God puts good seeds in us, they grow, and food is produce for others, and we remain only dirt, the dirt of the earth. In this metaphor if we become or are and remain the salt of the earth, nothing will grow in us, and others will have no food. Best we are simply dirt, so that others may live.

This we are, the dirt of the earth. Still God claims us as offspring, as God’s own children. Is it really a jump to a completely different metaphor. Yes, but no not really.

God’s children are only something special and good for the rest of creation because God makes it so. God’s children are saints … only because God makes us saints. We remain stains on the face of creation, sinful stains, even as God makes us saints.

The real story is that out of such dirt and such stains God demonstrates everything about God’s love for us: God makes saints out of stains, out of sinners, out of dirty old dirt. That is God’s miraculous work, that God can make saints out of us.

It may seem humorous to be compared to dirt as Ezekiel pronounces God’s blessing of turning toward us, humorous for the unexpected impossible comparison … but then that is what God does all the time. God surprises us with the unexpected.

God blesses us and claims us as God’s own children … though we certainly do not deserve it.

Now what are we going to do with this unexpected blessing, this daily unexpected, life-giving, astounding blessing!? What else other than to share it with as many people, especially those the world would call unfit, unacceptable, incapable of being a blessing for anyone.

God calls for workers, to care for the vineyard, to bring in the harvest, and make the wine. That’s us, dirt, children, and workers.

Forgetful Us

Thursday, July 22, 2021

We remember the Joy

of the Light freeing us from winter’s grip.

Help us remember

God’s freeing us from evil’s grip

each day.

Deuteronomy 6:11-12

When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

1 John 3:17

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Words of Grace For Today

Today’s world is in upheaval again and for sure still: Covid 19 has taken it’s toll on the world economy and specific countries’ economies, including ours.

Prices for food are up markedly. Prices for fuel are up markedly. Lumber prices are doubled and doubled and tripled again. Prices for goods, if you can find them, are up markedly. Saved money (not able to be out spending it) is burning holes in people’s pockets (not mine) so that demand is up, supply has been cut and the result is shortages and leaps in prices. Thems with lots of money can get what they want while the rest of us get less of what we need.

We do not remember being slaves.

We are still slaves …

slaves to global economies that drive us to behave in markedly unwell ways, unwell for ourselves and to the great detriment of so many other people alive on earth …

so much so that we must ask along with the writer of 1 John, How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? For we have, collectively well forgotten the Lord who would bring us up out of the house of slavery.

The measure of our forgetfulness is easy to see: how many poor among us live without even the basics of life to survive, yet alone flourish?

How we have forgotten the Lord,

for among us

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without clean water

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without nourishing food

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without sufficient clothing

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without housing or shelter

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without meaningful labour

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without being able to love or be loved.

We have the means to provide for everyone in Canada, and for everyone in the whole world, but instead we have forgotten the Lord and we luxuriate in

an overabundance of clean water

good (and not so healthy but sweet and salty snack and luxury) food

huge multiple houses for only a few people (houses that could provide homes for ten times the people).

Our meaningless labours are left to others to sweat out their life long

and

love is made impossible by our demands on people, families, and even children who are not ‘our kind’.

We pray:

Lord help us to remember.

Lord help us to remember

the freedom you offer us each day, the slavery that encases us and makes us blind and deaf to other’s real needs, the gifts you have given us that we have not earned or deserved, our ability to and joy in sharing your gifts with those who need them most.

Free us from our blind prejudices and hate-based, made-up ‘faith’.

Free us from our gluttonous abuse of the earth’s resources that others’ need to survive.

Free us from our unfounded self-righteousness by which we condemn others.

Free us to live by giving life to others.

Lord help us to remember.

Lord help us to remember

You and Your works for us.

Lord help us to remember

Your bounty of gifts given to us as your provision for us as stewards, stewards charged with sharing them all with those most in need.

Broken hearts, minds, and hopes … ?

Saturday, July 17, 2021

No Matter What Dark Barriers Block Our Way Towards Grace

God Removes Them

And Sends Us To Remove the Barriers from Others’ Ways Towards Grace.

Psalm 147:3

He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.

Mark 16:2-4

Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.

Words of Grace For Today

There are always obstacles,

waiting for us each day,

stopping us in our tracks if we let them,

obstacles that are so big they defy any expectation that we can deal with them.

We can only continue on if God deals with them,

by sending someone to remove the obstacles from our way forward.

Physical obstacles are one thing.

Obstacles on our hearts and minds, obstacles of our faith or lack thereof, are the kind of obstacles that most severely trap us in places where we cannot live, thinking ways that rob us of life, fearing life and our enemies (most of all our unseen and unknown enemies) with each breath.

God heals our broken hearts and minds.

God heals our broken hopes and dreams.

God rises from the dead, laid in a tomb, and is nowhere to be found when we go to move the processes of death one day forward.

God overcomes death, overcomes our brokenness and our sinfulness and our everything that gets in the way of living abundantly for God.

God gives us life, again and again even as we turn from God.

Thanks be to God!

Now it’s our turn to be God’s healers for others’ broken hearts, minds, dreams and hopes.

What will that look like for us today?

The Words of Life

Friday, June 25, 2021

Fly Baby, Fly!

Psalm 91:4

He said, ‘If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’

Words of Grace For Today

Finding favour in God’s sight, and continuing in Jesus’ word; there is nothing better in life, for though we are a stiff necked people, God has pardoned our sins, and given us the promise that we are God’s children, inheritors of all that God has to give.

While the world goes nuts with fake news, deception, and gaslighting of whoever can be had, Jesus gives us the truth and makes us free, free from the all our sins, and free from the losses from others’ sins, and most of all free from all the sheer craziness of life formed from lies, from the foundation on up to the latest addition of the day.

For that we can rest at night and dream of things unreal at night, because during the day all is tied clearly to reality.

So we ask:

Can

A

Canoe

Sit in the dark

And stand against the wind

Alone?

Or does it need company,

Security cameras,

Or chains

To hold it down.

‘Fly baby fly’

Might not

Be the mantra?

Rather the words

that give one heart

are ‘Come, let us see the loons,’

by which we mean the birds on the lake

not the two legged nutters

that waste life from sunrise to sunset.

‘Rest, baby rest,’

in Jesus’ hands

all is well, all is well, all manner of things are well.

Blessings in All Things!

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Blessing of Winter is there are no Mosquitoes

The Blessing of Summer is …

You can say what you will about summer.

I’d say, it is that

winter will come again

so there will be no heat (except in the furnace)

and no mosquitoes!

Psalm 103:15-16-17

As for mortals, their days are like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.

Romans 5:2

Our Lord Jesus Christ is through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Words of Grace For Today

We always like to think we are more than we are.

It’s almost built into our DNA.

We strive to achieve more, to become our own godlets, to no avail.

We are but like grass, here one day for a short season, and blown down, mowed to nothing, overtaken by weeds, eaten up by even vegetarians, and the gone, just gone with only a few people who perhaps remember us to live on after us.

Short and brutish … that’s how life is described by poets and philosophers and even wise theologians and priests … though the last along with other wise people do not stop there.

They also go on to give God thanks for the greatness of creation we are privileged to participate in, and especially God’s Grace which gives us more than meets the eye, or rather just as can meet the eye of a faithful mystic, one who looks and sees God at work in the most common things of every day life.

Jesus brings us the story that tells us this Grace is ours to live in, to enjoy, to trust … and to share.

It is this steadfast love of God that gives us breath even when we should not be still alive at all. It is God’s steadfast love that promises that everyday common and usual events and things are much, much more … and we can see them as works of God’s steadfast love.

As we fear and love God, God is able to show us that we live in, work from, and can prodigiously share God’s steadfast love with all people.

Hot long daylight days, short ferocious loud and destructive storms, and cool calm after the heat of the day … all are blessings from God.

I’m not sure about the mosquitoes that just devoured me while I was outside for a few minutes … okay even they are blessings from God. I was driven back in to write and give God thanks.

This is God’s blessing – that we know how, can, and do give God thanks for all things … so much so that we pray for our enemies unceasing, that they may be a part of a double victory for Christ.

Let the storms come, let the heat come … even let the mosquitoes come in droves. There is calm after the storm, there is cool after the heat … and there is ammonia based glass cleaner to dry out the itchy poison the mosquitoes inject to get blood to flow to their bite. Itch, itch, itch. Itch to distraction, endless itch .. until the ammonia works it wonder and the bites settle finally to a comparatively marvellous calm. Thankfully there is no malaria here!

And the night settles in, the day is done. The only thing to do is give thanks, wash up, and sleep deeply in God’s embrace. Tomorrow promises to be another marvellous day, all in all.

Weary? You Bet!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Rest, at Sunset, In the Calm

That Christ Offers

Isaiah 12:3

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Words of Grace For Today

Like no other words these are so welcome …

now after 15 months plus of Covid 19 restrictions and unknowns,

when my enemies pile on more lies and destruction, take more money I will never have piling debt on debt, and when it seems there are too few people who know who I a really am. Because I certainly am not the person reported to and by the RCMP, or testified about in the courts, or convicted and labelled a vexatious litigant by judges who care not for the actual truth,

when illness and disabling arthritis and injury combine to keep me from doing what I had planned to do to keep healthy, busy, and keep the mosquitoes at bay: mow, mow, and again mow,

when the death of a loved one rips the foundation of life out from underneath us,

when the darkness of the Evil One convinces us that the world is always going to be dark, even when the sun shines longer today than any other day in a year, and that evil will always win the day,

What we thirst for at those times, and now, is a place to rest in safety and

Jesus calls to us:

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Once again God works to convince us, to reassure us with hope beyond hope, that

With joy we will today draw water from the wells of salvation.

There are no better words that these:

Come you who are weary and I will give you rest, so that with joy you will draw living water from the wells of salvation!

When we have rested, and washed ourselves and souls once again clean, when we have drunk our fill, then Christ calls us to share these words, these opportunities to rest and be renewed, and this living water. Christ calls us because there are so many people weary, carrying heavy burdens, who lose themselves as if they were separated from the love of God.

These words, these offers, this living water is all we have, it’s all we need to be able to share, it is all that anyone needs from life.

What joy comes when God calls us out of our weariness, and we share it all with others!

Working Against the Evil One?

Friday, June 18, 2021

It’s A Long Haul

in the Darkness.

How Can We Stay Afloat?

Or Will We All Go Loony?

Psalm 60:13

With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

The Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

Covid 19 (and the restrictions placed on us in order that fewer people get sick and suffer the resulting long term disabling consequences or even death) have shown us once again that we must work diligently as God’s people to protect not only ourselves but all people from all evil.

Much of that work seems impossible. How does one protect those who live around a covidiot who when she/he lies dying of Covid 19, barely able to breathe, still insists that Covid 19 is a conspiracy to take away people’s freedoms? How does one protect the hundreds of covidiot-young adults who gather at a bush party where hundreds of people mill about in packs, drinking, smoking, and doing drugs, with no thought to physical distancing or masks or safety? How does one protect people from leaders who refuse to recognize that restrictions are needed and must be followed or thousands more people will die and even more will suffer long-haul Covid disabling complications?

How does one protect oneself? The best science shows that hand washing or sanitizing and physical distancing are only very superficial protections against becoming infected, that masks (that we have available to us) do little to protect us and only somewhat help protect others around us, and that even vaccines (as good as they may be) are never a 100% protection against becoming infected with or even dying from Covid 19!

The best science shows that hand washing or sanitizing, physical distancing, masks, and vaccines are all together great deterrents to the spread of Covid 19 in all its variants. Common sense is that this is what we can do, and therefore must do.

Still, like so much we have to deal with in life, this is not enough to provide a guarantee that we will survive and live well.

It is all too easy to throw caution to the wind, toss off the masks, and join the crowds of covidiots (pretending that life continues ‘normally’ as before) eating and drinking and making merry. Life is short no matter what. Everyone will die. Why not live it up while one can?!

Instead, God remains faithful and trustworthy. The Lord is faithful; God will strengthen us and guard us from the evil one. God promises to walk with us, and to face every challenge with us, even Covid 19, even if we or those we love become sick, suffer long-Covid, or lose our breath and life to it. No matter what happens God remains faithful and trustworthy.

We are not in this alone, even when being alone is the safest precaution we can take against Covid 19, though the riskiest to our ability to maintain resilience, to maintain good mental health, to stay healthy on so many other fronts. The truth is we often spend far too little time alone, with ourselves, facing the reality of our own lives and sins, and being ever so thankful for God’s Grace that gives us renewed life each day.

Even as we face Covid 19, the grief of lost loved ones, the loss of resilience with the rise of languishing … and our inability to do anything about all that, with God we shall do valiantly; it is God who will tread down our foes.

With God we shall do valiantly; it is God who will tread down our foes.

God Creates, We Make It Up, Doch Truth is Still Truth

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seeing the Whole World

In the Tiniest Drop

Of Creation

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

Romans 11:29

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Words of Grace For Today

There are plenty of awesome things that exist and events that happen in the universe that give us more than enough cause to pause and stand awestruck, observing what God has done. The moon eclipse this morning is just one small such event. That the planets and moons, sun and stars continue in movement around each other, in galaxies, and more: that super novas bring some of those stars and planets to their end, that black holes absorb even light, that tadpoles in such great swarms survive and grow to become frogs, minnows fish, and puppies full size dogs. The world is full of things marvellous and wonderful, standing for generations as the mountains, canyons, and lakes do, or living a generation as short as a day, or as long as ‘4 score and 20’ or hundreds of years as turtles do.

Our eyes and ears are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can experience the wonder.

Our brains are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can choose … well we can choose so many things, including whether or not to notice and protect as sustainable the things that have stood for generations and the living things that have but a generation on earth, however long that is for each.

The real miracle of God’s creating comes directly at us, us humans who have bodies and minds, and live with more, a spirit. This is something we can only tangentially observe. Though poets, artists, philosophers, theologians, mystics, and scientists of the ‘soft’ sciences make great efforts to give us evidence of what our spirit is, what our spirits are, we are at a loss to fully comprehend and be able to describe what a ‘spirit’ is, what our ‘spirits’ are, or even to definitively establish that ‘spirits’ exist.

Yet by faith we live, adopting well established patterns of thoughts about one person’s spirit, our collective spirits, so that we can proceed through our days with some kind of claimed purpose, order and meaning.

Faith as a living out one’s life as a member of a religion is also such claimed purpose, order and meaning. It is foolish hubris of so many ‘faithful’ people to claim that their religion, their brand of their religion, their particular expression of their religion or their individually tailored, customized, made up faith or spirituality is somehow THE ONE God gave to humans to live by. That foolishness and hubris has fuelled much religious fervour, many wars, and countless lives – and long before death it has cost people their spirit.

The healthy, faithful people know full well their religion is a human construct in response to God’s work and will, that it is fallible, sometimes seriously unhealthy, and always in need of reform yet as a religion that has stood the challenges of time it contains many kernels of life-giving beliefs, beliefs that encourage practices, which in the doing they bring holistic health to the doer and those around, that respect the Creation and Creator, and the many people of the same and of different faiths, whether healthy in their faith or not, yet they are still creatures of God.

In our faith we recognize that God calls every person to their own vocation, their way and manner of participating in the precious life that is given to us all. God does not set us out on into the ‘wilderness’ of the unknown without first well equipping us for the sojourn; God provides us each many of a variety of ‘gifts’, insights, abilities, skills and compassions so that we will find also in the ‘wildernesses’ of our journey’s the great variety of God’s Work, everywhere in the universe from the grandest scale to the tiniest of scale, and more so than in any other way, in the ‘spirit’ of each person.

God’s greatest miracles are always those that transform a human spirit from unhealthy, foolish, hubristic, to life-giving and sharing, wise, and humble … and faithful.

The order that we live with recognizes not all fiction is based on reality, that reality is a definite thing, and lies are lies as truths are truths; we are not lost or snaffle-baffled by corruption’s claims that reality is other than it is. Gone are the Trumpite fantasies, the Covidiocies, false testimony and convictions, and the denials of real science, like the denials of climate change and Covid19’s existence, deadly existence.

Always present are gratitude, generosity, truth, grace and real hope, from the tiniest view of the universe to the grandest view of God’s marvellous creation.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Light of the Son

Shines Always to Renew

All Life

Through Us

Psalm 90:10

The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Words of Grace For Today

Though we strive for to secure our lives as we imagine they should be, these struggles matter very little in the end. We have 70 years or perhaps 80 or more, and only sometimes we are strong. The least desired, least by me, is to remain alive, though not healthy of body, unable to move and provide care for the world around me, or worse to be alive in body but to suffer some disease of the brain, so that my ability to think (a treasure my whole life) is gone.

What far are all these concerns, these fears, and all the struggle to avoid what will come regardless of what I or you or anyone else do. We all die, and dying is seldom comfortable or as we wish it would be. Death comes our way, the time, day and year we cannot know.

All our toils and troubles are for not.

What for then is life given to us?

Re-orient our thinking, our approach to life and death, to our doing. We are not given life to secure a good life for ourselves, though that may well be something that drives us onward day after day. We are given life to provide what has been provided to us, God’s Grace and Love.

That then may well include great and difficult work to ensure we have the basics of life, in order that we are alive to share the basics of life with others … and in that sharing to provide also what we have received, God’s blessing.

As the seasons turn, from frozen to greening, and life in suspension, hibernation, or in new seeds and eggs starts to inhabit the woods, the grasses, the air and the waters, we recognize that (in spite of the restrictions of Covid 19 and the 3rd wave’s illnesses, death and lockdowns – and irresponsibly dangerous protests) we also turn each morning to our God, pleading for mercy, renewal, love, and hope.

So as also God renews this season our hearts, minds and strength we pray: May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort our and your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

We have no time to languish. God has work for us, and for you! There are so many people who need from us to experience God’s mercy, renewal, love, and hope. On this foundation of Grace we live, allowing our hearts, minds, and souls to bask in the renewing light of the Son.

Chosen ‘Few’ OR Chosen ‘All’?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

No Matter the Road Ahead of Us

God Chose Us

To Go and Bless All People

As God Has Blessed Us.

Isaiah 41:9

I took you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off.’

Romans 11:1

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

Words of Grace For Today

The history is that God chose the Israelites, only the Israelites. Everyone else was unchosen and unclean. This we humans do to make ourselves special: we claim that we are chosen and all others are not. This does not make us special. It makes us typically self-centric, arrogant, and judgmental.

When Paul was converted after Saul went blind on the road to Damascus, he studied for years, held himself in retreat from activity. He underwent a profound change, from an effective, eager, persistent pursuer and persecutor of Christians, to a leading proponent of Jesus’ Way of living, i.e. by Grace.

Paul did not restrict sharing the Good News, which he encountered as Jesus’ Way of being God’s people, with just the traditionally ‘chosen’, the Israelites. Paul went out to share the Good News with anyone and everyone who would listen and wanted to be baptized in this Way of living.

That brought the obvious question: were the Jews wrong to claim God had chosen them, or had God changed God’s mind and rejected those God had earlier ‘chosen’?

Paul’s answer is simple: No. God’ choosing people is expanded, not ended. The Jews are still chosen, as are all other people who Christ calls to follow his Way.

History repeats itself. Many times God’s people have declared that only they are God’s chosen. As many times God’s message comes to bear on the mess this exclusive claim creates: God’s chosen are chosen, DOCH God does not choose only some people. God chooses all people.

Our human way of living does not make sense of this very well, if at all.

It does not need to. God still chooses all people and offers them abundant life. Not life in abundance (of wealth, things, etc.), but life filled to overflowing with blessings and the ability to share those blessings with others, all others.

God gathers us from the ends of the earth, from all corners of creation, claims us as God’s servants, does not cast us off, and sends us out to share the Good News. (Like Paul.)

What a life!