the sun just up, I trust, since the clouds are thick and low, but it
is not dark as night anymore, when the waning crescent moon supplied
a bit of light to step by to dump the ashes from the night’s fire
as the early morning fire is stoked and left to burn hot,
the sun just up, the logs have been hauled for fuel to heat with, and
the Eucharist celebrated with thankful prayers for family, all.
breakfast, a required meal of fibre and fruit to keep my body from
rejecting most foods with spasms and great pain, is prepared, cereal
in the bowl, coffee measured into a small glass, the french press
ready, and then pre-heated and filled with water boiled on the wood
burning in the fire in the stove … and
then the milk cold from the natural fridge is poured on the cool berries from nature’s fridge, the liquid milk freezes into crystals on the cold, cold berries decorating them with the snow white of frozen milk.
Add the hot coffee to milk, Kafe au lait, and the breakfast is balanced into good measures of blessing
open this portion of the morning, with the routine well accomplished
and work well planned.
task of everyday, exercise, then Eucharist, then breakfast and
under Berries under Frosty Milk, before Coffee Golden
Berries Under Milk, Quiet
only the fire sparks and moans as logs become heat and clear smoke
burned so hot!
well. Tell the truth only. Trust God’s protection and blessing.
everything with Grace, Forgive all who can be, work diligently for
justice for all, and hope for things unseen and for which there is no
evidence it will be provided. For this is life, as God created us to
live it, filled with Love, pure and simple, even for one’s enemies.
the cool days of fall darken earlier and earlier, and the dark of
night stays with us longer and longer …
Dark comes early, closer to South
wood pile is just high enough,
food sufficient for the coming days,
water enough and replenish-able,
the air is fresh,
clothing rather well prepared for the coming months,
shelter from the weather to come is mostly prepared,
labour is directed, consumedly so, towards writing what must be
love grows and wanes, I am loved well and always.
God holds me safe.
more can one ask for from life, from God, from all that might be?
that might be.
many humans have had so much less, so much less, so much less.
beauty of the world is at my fingertips, literally, as a cell phone
camera captures what can be seen and hoped for?
Cell camera photos: harvest moon, over three harvesters
what more would anyone wish from life?
than the time each morning to celebrate that Christ is with us, in
body and blood?
than the ability to see beauty and share it with others?
than the ability to know truth, without doubt, or hesitation?
than to live well?
mitkommen! – from the movie Remembrance, Tomasc calls out to Hannah
to come with him, he dressed as a German soldier initiating their
escape, as he carries a canister of photos of the Nazi concentration
to the cold the colours left when photosynthesis cannot any more
shed summer and fall pushing the liquids of life back into the ground
expansion of freezing that would tear out their hearts.
still air as the light of warmth reaches through the tops to the
yellow carpet below
the trees cry ice drops,
melting from the freezing night’s moisture collected on leaves not yet having succumbed like their fallen comrades
to the wretched destruction of passing time,
to the blessed transition from green biting-bug-and pollen-filled hot days transitioning to the cool respite of fall.
drop, drip … it is time
celebrate what was
prepare for what will come
time to haul wood, trees murdered for a bit of white bark or taken as the victim’s of drug-hyped-senslessness and bravado that a madman with an axe can fell living trees just for the show of it, for the false exuberance of finally being able to master something, since he could not master himself.
trees have joined the low bushes in nodding to the coming time, fall
will be here in a few days, and the leaves need to protect the forest
floor from the nice ice that will carpet the bugs in their beds and
mice in their burrows. May the freeze be deep and hard enough to
clear out the ferocious biting pine beetles. I thought they were but
a nuisance, not knowing what this ugly bug was, until someone told me
their name, and then one had the audacity to land on my face and bite
my hand when I brushed it off. Not just one, but a mini chainsaw
cooler nights have meant for better sleeping and clear air waking.
The most dangerous animals are less frequent in these parts, though a
few do venture out to wade as their dogs swim in the lake’s frigid
waters, not quite so in the shallows of the sandy shorelines.
noisy absence leaves more peace for the four-legged animals to
venture near, and deer, bear and squirrels, owls, loons and geese
abound. Not that I have the equipment to catch photos of any.
gives way for quiet solitude in the evenings as the last bit of light
fades through dusk to dark, leave the last fade a line of western
slivered light reflected in the lake’s undulating surface between
The sliver of solitude so difficult to find, more so to fully enjoy.
Germany In the Fade is a movie about people choosing the
destruction of life. A German mother drops her young son off with her
husband at work so that she can make a visit. Leaving his office the
mother admonishes a young woman to lock up her new bike she’s just
left with a case on its rear carrier. When the mother returns the
police inform her that her husband, a German of Turkish descent, and
their young German-born son were killed by a fertilizer nail bomb.
The bike’s case held the bomb made by the perpetrator’s husband.
outcome of the trial seems obvious, but their lawyer creates
reasonable doubt; the bombers are acquitted. Captive to revenge the
grieving mother tracks the guilty-acquitted couple to a beach on the
ocean. There she kills them with a fertilizer nail bomb, and she
loses her life in the process.
movie denounces the rise of neo-Nazi killings. The first bomb was set
to kill as many non-native Germans as possible. More clearly it
demonstrates that, without the freedom of faith that calls us to
forgive, people choose to become captives to revenge. Revenge is a
two-edge sword that cuts everyone.
OT: As you enter the PL, Choose:
life or death, blessings or curses
comparison, living in God’s promise is a multi-sided blessing. As
God delivers God’s promise to Abraham and ushers the people across
the Jordan into the Promised Land, Moses admonishes them to choose
God each day. Moses knows they will need to or they will fall under
the curses of other gods, including gods that people still choose
today. Living in the Promised Land does not mean that life will be
easy, obvious, or without dire peril. Nor does it mean that all
people are free. Today people are regularly enslaved as labourers
around the world and on the high seas as well as those forced into
the sex trade.
delivers us into the Promise. God will not take us out of the
Promised Land. As God’s children God frees us so that we always
have a real choice between Life and Death, between blessings and
curses, even when we do not see the choices clearly.
Promised Land has God brought us to, long ago, or maybe just
yesterday? What Blessings and Curses must we choose between?
first that God’s Promise delivered at our baptism is that we are
always God’s children, made righteous by Jesus’ sacrifice and
Grace. God gives us a choice, but it is not about receiving or
earning God’s Grace and our salvation. Our choice is how we live in
that Grace. Do we, guided and inspired by God’s Spirit, choose
blessings and life, or do we choose our own ways that lead to curses
and death for us and for others?
Break my Heart, (Set me on fire!)
well-known prayer … reads: “May my heart be broken by the
things that break the heart of God.” (World
Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce).
risk of praying this prayer is that God might just answer it with a
Holy Fire that sets our hearts on fire to bring blessings to every
human of the 7.7 plus billion whom we can possibly effect, starting
today, with those beside us, those we meet each step through each
day, and those we go out of our way to encounter, until everything in
our lives changes as we become the hands, voice and blessings of
Christ. We join the great cloud of witnesses to Christ’s love for
NT Philemon’s Real Story: Giving FREEDOM
second lesson for today we read part of the letter Paul wrote to
Philemon and his congregation. It is about an escaped slave,
Onesimus, the man who carries the letter to Philemon. Paul sends him
back to his master, Philemon, and lights a Holy Fire under Philemon.
slaves were crucified, a dire warning to any other slaves who tried
to escape. Anyone, through a terrible turn of fortune or war, could
become a slave. Becoming a freed slave was very, very rare.
Paul admonishes Philemon, with the congregation listening, to do the
rare but right thing, the good thing, the personally costly thing.
C.S. Lewis: Paint and Eggs, Stain and Get
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity called this the difference between paint, which merely covers the surface, and stain which soaks in deep to protect to the centre. Paul trusts that the Gospel daily seeps down into Philemon’s heart and strength. As with all Paul’s new converts in congregations spread so far, Paul nurtures the seeds of faith, like a mother hen sitting on her eggs. It is fine to be a fertilized egg, waiting to become something, but now it’s time to get cracking. It’s time for Philemon to show his colours and give Onesimus his freedom.
does God place before us
this day the choice of blessings gained by
sacrificing our rights
and privileges in
order that another human can live in freedom? What egg needs
to hatch in our lives bringing us into a new reality?
What choices does God give us today?
Route 44, Not Getting it Right
We may not get it right. We may be more like the 88 year old driver of the car the cop pulls over because it was going 44 kph on the highway where the speed limit is 110. When he approaches the car he notices that the four elderly passengers appear to be shocked into a daze, the air taken out of them.
officer warns the driver that it is dangerous to drive so far below
the speed limit. She responds that she was going exactly the speed
limit of 44 kph just like the sign said.
officer starts to answer sternly until the light bulb goes off for
him and he says: “No ma’am, the speed limit is 110 here. Though
this is highway 44.”
says the driver as it’s obvious the wheels are churning for her.
Then the officer asks, “Is everyone alright? They all seem shell
driver answers as it falls into place for her, “No, officer. Thank
you. Yes, they will be alright in a minute or two. You see, a few
miles back we turned off highway 169.”
Taking care of ourselves, our faith, and the promised land we live in is hardly simple. Sometimes it’s the most difficult thing in our lives to get right. When we make mistakes with the freedom Christ gives us, we often add a huge dose to the challenges the Devil tries to suck us into. The results can often scare the living daylights out of us, at least they should.
Luke: Know the Cost
today’s Gospel Jesus admonishes the crowd to know and prepare for
the cost of discipleship as they commit themselves to following him.
not Jesus’ way, but it is an example of the extreme commitment that
following Jesus will place on us. Nothing else can be more important
to us than following Jesus, nothing, not even love for family. Jesus
tells us to count the cost before we jump in, for the cost will be
more than any love or even all of our possessions. Better to count
the cost first and be prepared, than to run into a wall too high, or
a battle too big, and collapse in shame.
not unlike marriage. If we really knew what we were getting into
there are precious few of us who would be able to make such a
commitment. Fortunately, endorphins and hope help us commit to each
other in marriage. Its challenges are God’s way of bringing us to
understand God’s love for us.
fortunately, most of us are baptized as infants, a choice made for us
by our parents and sponsors, otherwise the high cost could stop many
of us. Yet the cost of discipleship is required for us to participate
in life overflowing with God’s blessings for which we are created!
White tells the story of Heddie Braun, a woman who lived the first
four years of her life in Norway and then emigrated to Little
was a powerful presence at the age of 88 with all of her 80 lbs. hung
on a 5’ 2” frame. On a cold fall evening Heddie was kidnapped
from her single-story home where she lived with Eddie, her blind
husband. The kidnapper cut power and telephone wires to the house,
entered through the backdoor, picked up Heddie and put her in the
trunk of his car. He drove her to his home, put chains on her legs
and hid her in a tiny trailer out back. For days Heddie was always
cold, she didn’t have her heart medicine, and she lost track of
time. A confusing ransom call was made on a disposable phone to her
grandson. It was a total failure.
time melted into a well-stirred soup, Heddie was not confused about
who she was and to whom she belonged. Held captive she knew Christ
made her free.
police identified the kidnapper. He had worked for the family, but
was now unemployed and desperate. At one time he had been a friend.
Heddie almost lost her foot to frostbite but she was tough and her foot was saved. Asked later how she stayed so strong, Heddie replied. “I’m Norwegian. The whole time I was in the trailer I remembered that my kidnapper was just a person like me. No matter what the cost I was going to choose life. It was so hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done, but I forgave him.” She turned to her grandson, “You have to forgive him, too.” (In Over Our Heads, pp. 14ff, Augsburg 2007, re-told TL and KAS)
So we pray
sets us free, so we pray: May our hearts be broken by the things that
break the heart of God.
joy be in choosing life, blessings, and freedom for all people.
When skiing in the mountains on a slope with
trees on it
I’ve taught more than a few people how to ski. Invariably we arrive on top of a slope where there are trees at least dotting the slope. The student looks with apprehension. I say respect the trees, but do not fear them. Do not look at them or you will head straight into one of them. Look at the snowy hillside between the trees where you want to ski.
Three Lessons full of Trees
OT: The self deluded Teacher Fool
We heard the Teacher in today’s first Lesson say:
Vanity of vanities! … All is vanity.
Our labour produces great results but our results are left to others, who may be wise or foolish.
It is tempting to think he may be right: that God has created, humans have worked, and nothing is worth anything. But the Teacher’s wisdom is a big forest of trees of hopelessness. Here God’s truth disappears like the misty fog evaporating with the rising sun. Then any lie can be presented as if true. Despair takes on all sorts of guises. Instead of being thankful, one demands more and more of things that cannot fill the empty void that should be one’s heart. This kind of life is at war with itself and the ensuing conflict and chaos allow one to hide from accountability, hope, love and even Jesus.
NT: The Different Life of Lists
In contrast the writer of Colossians reminds us that Christ raises us differently, into life free from what destroys us. The writer then presents us with lists of things to leave behind: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry), anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language. Do not lie to one another. These are more trees to avoid.
exception would be passion, though as all God’s gifts, passion can
be abused and used as a destructive force in one’s own life and in
the early Christians, including the Colossians, expected Jesus to
return in their own lifetimes, their sense of urgency valued the
freedom of celibacy and devalued the ties of passion. But God created
passion as an important and healthy motivation for much of life
including marriage, parenting, care of the earth and the building of
a just society.
Gospel: Using Jesus for Greed
Today’s Gospel is a great parable within a parable: A man comes to use Jesus to get an inheritance from his brother, against the tradition of the time. Through the ages we human beings have more than perfected the use of Jesus or Religion to pound others down and try to feed our own greed. Greed is related to gluttony.
“A glutton is (a person) who raids the icebox for a cure for spiritual malnutrition.”
(Wishful Thinking, F Buechner)
Gluttony and Greed kill us as we try to eat or possess more than we can stand. To teach us this, Jesus tells a parable of the pathetic wealthy man who after a great harvest, builds new barns to hold it and anticipates the remainder of his life as an easy retirement. But his possessions are the end of him. It’s all for naught!
Lots of Trees to Avoid
That gives us lots of trees to avoid. There is precious little of what we should aim for. It’s like skiing down a mountain and all we see are trees.
Where is Grace
So where is the Good News?
NT: Look above
The writer of Colossians points us to set our minds on things that are above. So looking up ever since we lived in caves we see the stars, the moon and the sun. Aided by the passionate drive of George Ellery Hale, and so many others, to see and learn more by building bigger and better telescopes in the last 100 years, what we see is astoundingly mind boggling. (E.g. see the documentary Journey to Palomar) Before, we knew the earth, one of nine planets, revolved around the sun. Now, we’ve seen numerous planetoids, one being Pluto, so there are only eight planets. We know our sun has a magnetic field, with flares that cause the northern lights and disrupt satellite communications. We know about galaxies, that most of the matter in the universe is invisible, that the universe is expanding and the universe is so, so much larger than we ever imagined! We have not found alien life, but in the immense expanse of the universe it is probable, if not guaranteed. We have seen God’s handiwork in the awesome expanse and workings of the universe and begun to understand their impact on our daily lives. Are these ‘the things above’ that we are to aim for? Maybe not, one would quickly say. But then perhaps we ought not be too quick to decide.
Rest of Scripture
With so many trees in our lessons, we look to the rest of Scripture and the Christian Church’s history, to guide us to the joy of life ‘skiing’, as it were, without hitting the trees.
We believe that God is Trinitarian. God is three in one. In part that means that the basic reality of God is that God is in relationship. We are created in God’s image, so we know we are created to be in relationship.
God Loves, We love
Luther taught that the core of the Gospel could be summed up in one short passage “ God so loved the world that God sent his only Son so that everyone believes in Jesus may have eternal life.” God loves – us … and the whole universe God created! In relationships we are to love one another and all of creation. The Teacher’s wisdom is folly because he ignores other people as God’s good creatures. Work is not to be hated, rather it is to be joyful and rewarding precisely because it provides for others, just as God has provided for us! The pathetic farmer in Jesus’ parable is consumed by his possessions because he has no sense that his bounty is a gift from God entrusted to him to be shared with others.
God’s Grace and Work
We know God’s Grace for us. We know that God comes to us, forgives us, makes us righteous before God, by Grace (in other words, as a gift that we do not earn!) We know that God does this first, then we can get down to living and working as God’s own children in this marvelous creation.
Riches with God
In today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus points us ‘to build up riches with God’. It is easy to understand that our ‘riches with God’ are what God gives us, namely God’s Grace and all that flows from it.
Our work: Response, because … therefore
We know then our work is NOT to make ourselves good enough for God. Everything we do is to be a response to God’s Grace for us. Because God makes us Good, perfect before God, therefore we can fully engage in creation. We can be passionate about life and the goodness of creation, so that we can share the necessities of life and the wonders of the universe with ALL other people, in the present and for all generations to come. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes had no room for any passion for sharing the beauty of life with others. He had no passion to know that God’s love moved God to speak a word “Let there be Light,” and after 7 days to say, “it is good!” In the resulting blessed creation of order and beauty, we can be passionately engaged in the wonders of the universe. We can share this life with another person with the passion of a marriage. We can invest in friendships that carry us, our friends, and people around the world through the trials of life. Sharing God’s riches brings us to be so passionate about life that we can expend all of our lives striving to see and share our place in God’s awesome universe. For some of us that may mean building bigger and better telescopes. For all of us it means respecting but leaving behind the ‘trees’ of judgment, condemnation and lists, sharing instead God’s Grace with all people. We can choose to make justice a reality for each person.
Sharing God’s riches is possible for everyone. We could choose not to share God’s riches. But why would we?
Story: We Ain’t Poor by Florence Ferrier
In the story We Ain’t Poor! the Sheldons, a large family in the Appalachians, live in severe financial distress after a series of misfortunes. They receive inadequate assistance, yet they manage their meager income with ingenuity — and without complaint. One fall day the social worker “visits the Sheldons in the ramshackle rented house they lived in at the edge of the woods. Despite a painful physical handicap, Mr. Sheldon had shot and butchered a bear, which strayed into their yard once too often. They canned it so that there would be meat even during the worst of the winter when their fuel costs were high. The social worker reported: “Mr. Sheldon offered me a jar of bear meat. I hesitated to accept it, but he said kindly and firmly. ‘Now you just have to take this. We don’t have much, that’s a fact; but we ain’t poor!’“[In astonished disbelief, the social work asked, ‘How can you say that?’] His answer proved unforgettable. “’When you can give something away, even when you don’t have much, then you ain’t poor. When you don’t feel easy giving something away even if you got more’n you need, then you’re poor, whether you know it or not.’”
(Gospel Notes 2001, Brian Stoffregen, reworked TL)
Look at the World all around you! … God has made us Rich and given us the ability to see more and more of the universe as God’s amazing creation … Can we say ‘We ain’t poor!’? Amen
was an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah, the veracity of which God
could not establish without going there, yet men go to investigate,
while God remains to allow Abraham to speak with him,
bartering/negotiating/futilely bantering with God about the count of
righteous people needed to have God spare the cities.
conversation is presumptuous on Ab’s part. He acknowledges it. It’s
like talking to an angry King when bad news has just been delivered,
the King wants vengeance, and anyone interfering may likely get
caught in the unstoppable destruction that the King is in the middle
it’s not a King, its the all-knowing God, putting on a play of not
knowing? And an all-powerful God who can not only destroy in this
world and the next but condemn one to a torturous eternity.
got chutzpah, maybe foolishness, to spare.
argument is that the good should not perish with the evil.
responds to that, sort of, allowing that 10 good people in all of
Sodom and Gomorrah will cause God to relent.
GRACE, it takes goodness to get God to relent!
knows there is only one man, Lot, his wife (maybe) and his 2
daughters, so 3 maybe 4 good people in the cities, though the son in
laws are invited to leave as well and think that Lot is jesting. So
maybe 6, but really only 3.
did Abraham not negotiate down to 2?
God would have had to relent and allow the cities’ destruction of
so many people in their consuming depravity to continue.
evil is powerfully destructive, like a cancer, and God will stop it,
giving the few healthy an option to walk away alive.
the cities God saves generations who would have been sucked into the
cities’ evil vortex.
But it is not ‘Sin City’ where this kind of living continues through the generations until it is acceptable everywhere, as bush parties out of control, and in control continue to give witness to locally here. And parties, raves, and you name it in the cities continue worse than Sodom. Bonnyville and CL (put in your own cities) not excepted either! Depravity required people to participate for it to exist, and then evil flourishes. Evil is only tempered by the distinct efforts of a few good people to have life otherwise.
2nd Lesson Thoughts
Note: as today in Paul’s day and for generations afterwards, ‘philosophy’ did not indicate the thoughtful, logical, deep and profound thinking about life’s most pressing issues. Like today’s ‘spin’, ‘news’, self-help gurus gone amok, ‘walking back’ what actually was said into something else, and justice based on blatant lies, ‘philosophy’ meant rhetoric and sophistry completely disconnected from any ethic or moral restraint to uphold the truth, i.e. anything from a destructive cult to a full-out scam to way of approaching life which helped only the privileged few and ruined everyone else.
the urge to resist tempting heresies: philosophies, self-abasement,
worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a
human thought, ANYTHING that does not hold fast to Christ Jesus as
the head! From whom we all (the church) grow and are held together.
to depravity can come in all guises, some that look remarkably
respectable, acceptable, thoughtful.
teach us to pray like John’s disciples.
gives b/c of persistence if not for friendship.
is to be bartered and negotiated, and badgered until one receives
what one’s friends need.
need countless hoards, or at least one person, to pray relentlessly
to God for what I need: True Justice. Lies exposed. Shelter, food,
smiting of the corrupt people (or at least the corruption of the
people) that causes this for me and so many others.
pray ceaselessly, relentlessly that the Holy Spirit will invoke the
grime reaper (if not of people than of the corruption at the root of
this disaster for so many men, children and even women?!)
Or do I
only get the Holy Spirit to inspire me to forgive the unforgivable!?
This could be a Sunday of law and revenge. (Let’s make sure it is not.)
useless mercy, of relentless prayers, of making justice happen.
helping one, two or three people survive the destruction the
Christ Alone is our Rock and Salvation
Life turns out to be nothing like the image that I developed from my
experience. In my experience we were all somebodies, to each other,
and especially to God.
people in this world so often treat each other and themselves as if
they were nobodies.
experience: Mom and Dad who loved us all, children who lived and grew
reasonably, a home, at least rented, jobs and a good or at least
reasonable salary, or at least a paycheck every once in a while.
Inside the homes, sometimes, a bit of craziness, but nothing that
threatens life, health or happiness. And always one knew God’s
first lesson is all about that the world is full of things that are
quite different than my experience. It is not that people are held
captive to poverty and can barely survive. It is that they have
enough, and do not know the gift life is, nor what to do with it.
and Gomorrah are not healthy, and the hedonism the people pursue does
not provide happiness, just short term satisfaction bought at the
price of real happiness and health. And all their messing about
threatens any guest who enters their gates.
knows no way to heal the sickness of these two so depraved cities.
Abraham tries to barter with God. God allows Abraham’s foolish
petulance, even as God endures every foolish petition from us, even
our angry fist shaking if that’s what we need to do. God knows
everything. God knows that Sodom and Gomorrah need to be erased from
the face of the earth in order to stop their destruction, not of only
the people caught in them now, but into the future the generations
that would be caught in them, and all the sojourners and those who
think they might want to give the cities a try. God wants to save all
can bring everything and anything to God. So he barters, also because
Lot and his family live in those cities. For that they are offered a
chance to leave and be saved. Lot and his daughters make it out
alive, but the cost of the cities’ depravity has cost them dearly,
it sticks to them, and their future generations are only the result
of incest brought on by the daughters.
world is full of things that are quite different: these are very ugly
cities leaving very ugly scars on the three people who survive them.
surviving such terrible things is rarely to live well. One does not
live by bread, or mere survival.
in the Jewish Ghetto, with food severely rationed, lights a candle
every evening for prayers. When he has used up all their supply of
candles he takes a string, molds a bit of their meager ration of
butter around it, and lights it for prayers. His son challenges him,
why should their food be so consumed for a mere light. The father
responds, “Without food we can live a week. Without our faith we
could not live for even an hour.”
If you live a faithful life, you know you are a somebody, to others and to God. It’s when you live faithless that you treat yourself and others as nobodies, or as in Sodom and Gomorrah, as only bodies.
lived in many different places, in a variety of manners. I lived in a
missionary family in Africa. My father was a doctor, my mother a
nurse raising 5 children when we arrived and 7 when we left, my
father so sick they thought he had months to live if that.
plenty to survive on, but our toys were sticks. There were no extras,
and the flour always came with flies in it. Our faith brought us
there, and the faith of the people who were born there carried us
through many a challenging dark night.
in a city as a child, one of 9, with enough to live on, but no
extras, and we scraped for enough food and enough hand me down
clothes. I lived on a farm, where we had enough, including music
though the garden was an essential contribution to all 13 of us.
I lived as a student, with enough to survive on, though I ‘wasted’ precious money on a good stereo for music, because I’d seen how music could cure what could not otherwise be cured. I’ve lived out of a tent on route to a university where I could not understand the language. I’ve lived with a multimillionaire without knowing how great was his wealth.
happily in each place. But it was most difficult with the
millionaire, because he cheated and lied about everything, derided
and slandered others at each step, and hated the people poorer than
he was, especially the aboriginal peoples. They reminded him that he
came from a place where he was considered a nobody. So now he doesn’t
know how to treat other people other than as if they were nobodies.
disciples come to him and ask him to teach them to pray as John has
his disciples. They want to pray as if they are somebodies. Jesus
gives them what we’ve come to call the Lord’s Prayer. Then he
goes on to assure us that if we seek, we will find. If we ask, we
God is the one to yell at, be angry at, blame, and thrash. People are the ones who we need to treat with respect and care. There is a well grounded reason that the ten commandments include the prohibition to bear false witness against our neighbour. Our words can hurt people. Our lies are as effective as murder. God, on the other hand, can take anything we may want to throw his or her way.
does not say that if we ask for something, we will receive that
thing. Or if we seek some thing, God will give us that thing.
will always provide. God will always answer. God will always listen,
and respond. To most of our foolish prayers God answers with a simple
no. Sometimes we get a more spectacular NO. Every once in a while God
gives us a real kick in the pants, or a knock so hard we wonder where
it came from as we pick ourselves up off the ground. And a few times
God actually says yes to our good petitions.
without a home and I could tell you my sad story, pitifully played
out by so many people bearing false witness against me. But
astounding is the story of another person living without a home, who
I met weeks ago.
She lives with plenty of equipment to protect her from the environment, and to provide for her well-being beyond her safety. Neither drugs, alcohol, addictions, nor prayer brought her to live in the woods without a home.
took advantage, did not care if she was close to death. She got out,
barely and still has not healed. He still pursues her and bears false
witness against her and gets support from the justice system. She
functions, but has little faith left, though she knows that the
wilderness heals her most. He behaves as a nobody, treats her as a
nobody, and invites others to treat both of them as nobodies. One day
the light of Christ will shine the truth so clearly everyone will be
compelled to know it, to their shame for not admitting it sooner.
They will be somebodies, but some bodies, souls, and minds who God
deals with justly.
a lot of bull in the world; comes from the sinners, in us each and
world is full of things that are quite different than I have ever
imagined could be called living, some of it so ugly one wonders that
it can exist at all, that anyone can survive it. Yet out of the worst
ghettos God brings leaders and people who inspire others to waste
nothing that life offers, and to bring everything possible to as many
people as possible, so that all people can live well.
seem easy, or obvious, that we live out our faith. At least we go
through the motions. But there are challenges in every life, even the
ones that look so safe and healthy, so provided for in a solid home.
Even people who appear in the world’s terms to be SOMEBODIES, can
behave behind closed doors as if they and those close to them are
We come to realize that the words to the Colossians are not to be taken for granted:
to live your lives in [Christ], rooted and built up in him and
established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in
thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through
philosophy and empty deceit”
Philosophy mentioned then is quite different than most philosophy named today. Back then philosophy was more rhetoric and sophistry. Today’s equivalents abound as self-help gurus, or spinning events for the news, news that is no longer required to present a fair view of all sides of an issue, and the spin applied to events like seen in the US. No truth survives. That’s the warning given in Colossians.
too easy to give up on life in disgust for what stands as truth for
some people, for some causes (usually their own wealth or hedonistic
pleasures), or for some churches. Works Righteousness is always a
favourite, though it can be coloured with heavy condemnation of other
people making it drip with destruction. A friend joked in parody of
this attitude: “I have learned to accept my imperfections. It’s
other people’s imperfections that I find intolerable.”
View of God With Us
What Paul proclaimed, Jesus taught by example, and generations have managed to remind us of is that Grace alone saves us. We are somebodies only because God chooses to make us so.
We can work like mad to make the world better, but we cannot work to make ourselves better in God’s eyes. We are already made righteous by Christ. Thereafter we do the work of the righteous, often with no reward or even notice. Sometimes, as if we were nobodies, we get punished and are left to die as thanks for doing the right and good thing.
pray that God will turn this world around. We work like it depends on
us, and we relax knowing God intends for us to enjoy this creation
with God at our side. For with God at our side we are all somebodies.
No sermon this past week. Sorry. A few photos though still brighten the horizon even as bleak as it could be.
It was a difficult week again. A judge made an order, full of …. You cannot safely say the truth about judges; though it would be nice if judges would base their work on truth.
This past week has been draining.
Gaslighting is a powerfully terrible thing to experience.
These snippets from a google search highlight just what this is, just how terrible it is, and just how terrible it is that the justice system participates in this. All apologies if any are really needed for just grabbing this information without keeping records to give credit. It’s the kind of thing that after one suffers it, again and again, at one’s spouse’s hand, and then repeatedly at one’s pastor’s, (she was ordained today, just for a sample of God’s justice waiting, and God’s Grace filling undeserving lives), other pastors who have great sins to hide in their false accusations about me, and then almost without ceasing by various RCMP officers, even VSU when I called them, a great number of people working in the justice system, and then again and again at the hand of judges …. It’s the kind of thing that when you have to deal with it again things do not always get done with the correct process. So my apologies.
to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Gaslighting is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity. Gaslighting intentionally makes someone doubt their memories or perception of reality. Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim’s an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. … The emotional damage of Gaslighting is huge on the narcissistic victim. Gaslighting can also be part of an authoritarian personality. A person with an authoritarian personality tends to think in absolutes: Things are 100 percent right or 100 percent wrong. When a gaslighter thinks that they are not the problem and everyone else is, this is called having an ego-syntonic personality.
Signs of being Gaslit
• no longer feeling like the person you used to be. • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be. • often wondering if you’re being too sensitive. • feeling like everything you do is wrong. • always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong. • apologizing often.
The following from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/are-gaslighters-aware-what-they-do
… Gaslighting is a pattern of manipulation tactics used by abusers, narcissists, dictators, and cult leaders to gain control over a person or people. The goal is to make the victim or victims question their own reality and depend on the gaslighter. So, do gaslighters know they’re doing it? It depends on the gaslighter.
Living Well, Surviving Gaslighting
There is only one way to survive Gaslighting:
to live well, as well as one can, given the circumstances. I live well, even if the challenges are great.
My work is rough. Outdoors, building, tearing down, moving, rebuilding. It’s a dream for a young man who loves to build things with his hands. It’s tough and rough work for an older man like me, even if I like working with my hand. My hands, precious instruments of my creativity.
I live well.
The sun sets over the lake outside the window. A canoe rests near the water available to take a camera out to create beauty from what can be ordinary. People respond well to my company, my words, and simple joy of life. I receive grace given to me in abundance. I share grace with everyone I meet, and it makes a visible difference, a positive difference.
I help guide a new truck driver from being stuck to safely position her vacuum truck to be able to do her work and be able to drive out. It just took some well placed shovel work, and some good driving, well planned driving.
I cleaned up 5 garbage bags of drunken, drugged, and orgy leftovers out of this random camping area.
I’ve pulled two dead-falls down this past week, one down by a fool with an axe, the other by a strong wind. Who knows what may have happened, but no one will get hurt from them.
The fireworks after 23:00 are loud, but the view is okay. There are no complaints.
The light is wonderful, when one sees it with the truth that God created it to reflect.
Gas – Lighting
It’s the kind of lighting that only God can put right. I can forgive the family stuff, the gaslighting in the family as horrendous as it was. But the professionals: they should know better: their sins are bound. God will deal with their sins, not forgiven but bound. That, because it is my responsibility to forgive all that can be, and to bind what cannot be. I place it behind me so that I can continue to deal with these people of horrendous deeds with grace. I place it behind me and before them for the rest of their lives. God’s truth has no diminished clarity, no possibility of being lied about, nothing to be spun or hidden.
God’s forgiveness, which I have given, remains as clear as God’s light of truth. Photos show reality, the clarity of God’s light shining on God’s wonderful creation.
What, if it were to take place for you this week, would fill your eyes and heart with tears … tears that could hardly stop, tears for all things lost, and tears of unbounded joy.
Age of Adeline
In the movie Age of Adeline a woman stops aging as a result of a car accident at the age of 29. This starts out to be the fulfillment of a dream that many of us may have: to live without the effects of aging. The movie follows her life as those around her age and she does not, as she is able to accumulate wealth that others simply cannot, for she has time and through the years an abundance of wisdom. She remains a young and beautiful woman inside and out as she accumulates decades of life with no end in sight.
Ah, to have it so. No arthritis, no forgetfulness, no impending death, no illness, no drain of one’s energy, no need to be impatient with life, but to be able to travel, to enjoy, to work, to read, to write, to create; all without the pressure of knowing it will not be so someday, for one will eventually lose the ability to do all of these wonderful things, yet one will live on.
Today we celebrate the Holy Trinity
Sunday is the only Sunday of the entire church year that we celebrate
a doctrine of the Christian Church. The doctrine of the Trinity is
the core doctrine of the Church. The doctrine that defines more than
anything else what is Christian and what is not.
The spectacular Doctrine:
Three Persons in one Godhead. So God is one God, but God is three.
Three yet one. That’s a paradox. What usually cannot be is: Three
describes one and one describes three.
Martin Luther spoke of the two sacraments, and then he would name Baptism and Holy Communion, and Marriage and Confession, and on he would go until he had named most of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church that he tried to reform, had booted him out, named him a nonperson who could be killed by anyone who wished, and it would not be murder, and who Martin Luther demonstrated it’s corruption as he corrected it and established churches similar but improved, sort of. Still filled with sinners, even if everyone is a God made saint.
That kind of numbering of the Trinity, Three in One, is not what Martin Luther was all about in naming the Sacraments. This is us being as clear as we can be about God who really is beyond any clear explanation.
know and affirm is that God and all of creation is at it’s core
The lessons speak about Trinity and
In our lesson from Proverbs Wisdom calls out to all who live, to know her. (As the original Hebrew ascribes gender to her): She is God’s first act of creation. She witnessed all God’s acts of creation and she was God’s delight as she delighted in God’s inhabited world and in the human race.
was written long before Jesus walked the earth, before the triadic
expressions of God in the NT writings, and before the doctrine of the
Trinity was formalized starting with the Nicene Creed of 325, revised
in 381, and settled under the leadership of the three Cappadocian
Fathers in its current form by the end of the fourth century. In
Proverbs we have a similar relationship between God and wisdom as
Arianism understood the relationship between God and Jesus; that God
created Wisdom and Jesus. This understanding was not accepted by the
wider church. It was supplanted first by the understanding that Jesus
is fully God, present always as one of the three persons of the one
God. The last piece of the doctrine to be settled was that the Holy
Spirit, often understood to include the OT traditions of Wisdom, was
also not a creation of God, but existed with God always, the third
person of One God, the Trinity.
Proverbs we see how significant it is that God delights in Wisdom and
how Wisdom delights in the human race. Creation is all about God’s
delight and God’s glory, all portions of what love is.
Psalm celebrates God’s glory, and presents that same glory in
lesser portion given to humans. It is stated that God has put all
things under the humans’ feet. Today we would understand that this
is not just dominion over, but responsibility to preserve, nurture,
and ensure the survival of. We would no longer embrace any idea that
we are to exploit creation for our selfish benefit to the detriment
of future generations or the future of creation. Which is also a good
portion of what love is all about, love for future generations and
for all of creation.
Gospel of John is chosen because in Jesus’ Farewell words, given
after the Last Supper and before his arrest, he gives words to the
trinitarian God; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Today we might better express that as God the Parent recognizing
first the equality of all genders, second our innate limits when it
comes to knowing anything about gender for God, and third the
powerful impact our providing God a gender has towards gender
powerful and crucial point that John’s Gospel makes is that it is
God the Holy Spirit who continues to reveal to us more of the truth,
as we are able to bear it. There is a kindness in God’s approach,
revealing to us what we can bear; and we would expand that to say,
revealing to us what we can grasp, understand, and make use of. It is
always helpful to remember that God is not ever done teaching us
about the truth.
At no time do we posses the truth of God in its entirety. At best we have a good start. That is a powerful reminder that humility is always a good starting point and ending point for us. Which is also a good portion of what love is all about.
lesson from Romans is one of the enduring passages of wisdom, hope
and love that Paul provided to the Church. First that we are
justified before God not by what we do, but by the faith given to us
by the Holy Spirit. Second that what we value and can boast about is
not us, but God, and not our accomplishments, but God’s, and not in
our glories, but we boast about our sufferings.
we encounter what appears to be the upside down, and inside out logic
of God’s relationship to us and our relationship to our own
experiences. Who ever heard of boasting not about our successes, but
about what others have made us suffer! The Word of God though is
right side up, outside out, inside in. It is our thinking that is
topsy turvy. It is our taking over God’s place by thinking that our
successes are what constitutes real glory. No Paul makes it clear, we
followers of Christ know that our suffering is what we can boast
about, because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint
us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the
Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
love begins with the Holy Spirit pouring love into us and it grows
through suffering that begets endurance that begets character that
is an essential portion of love, which the Holy Spirit pours into us!
all the generations of Christians, we have utilized the doctrine of
the Trinity to clarify that though we cannot know many things
absolutely about God, as the Holy Spirit continues to reveal to us
more and more as we can bear more truth, we can affirm
whole-heartedly that the basis of God’s own being is not as an
independent God. God exists in relationship with God’s self, with
all three persons together.
are created in God’s image, God intends for us to exist in
relationship as well, in relationship with God, in relationship to
each other, and in relationship to all of creation.
they involve suffering, endurance, character and hope supported by
love, our relationships with God, each other and all creation are to
be fundamentally relationships of delight; which is perhaps the best
portion of love.
All the things that we could dream
enjoyment of life’s opportunities and options.
(You can fill in examples or stories about each of these.)
The one thing that the doctrine of the Trinity affirms is THE EVENT of our dreams.
relationship of love.
be a life partner, a spouse.
companion, or a person with whom one can share one’s life’s work.
a reason that movies, books, poems, yearnings, and our hopes so often
land on falling in love.
life with all kinds of other strivings and measures of success.
life is made up of what we are: we are made in God’s image. We are
made for relationship.
lives are made to make sense only when we love.
not that we need to be ‘in love’ which is indeed a life changing
matter. We are made to love other people.
the people we like.
people, all the people around us. Even our enemies.
The meaning of life, not 42, or
chocolate: but love
What really is the meaning of life??! The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy presents it as the completely random and meaningless number 42. Some people say with taste buds delighted and a bit of energy renewed from the caffeine and sugar that it is chocolate.
death beds, almost everyone, who has opportunity to tells us,
reports, we will find no solace in the many things that we have
striven for and achieve or not.
Work success, wealth reputation, security, enjoyment of life’s
opportunities and options, nor anything else.
death beds only one part of life will gives us solace, comfort and a
sense of union with God’s universe. Only one thing will afford us a
sense that all is well, all is well, indeed all manner of things are
well. The one thing that will give us a sense of what God has had for
us all along is the love we have given to others, and the love we
Adaline Looses the Essential of
Life: to Love and be Loved
ideal life, where the ravages of age do not touch her, does not
progress so ideally. Because she does not age she suffers profound
losses. She loses the ability to keep her own name. She loses the
ability to develop life-long friends, not even pets. But most of all
she loses the ability to love and be loved; and most precious of all,
to face suffering and one’s impending death with someone she loves,
with someone who loves her. She has great opportunities to delight in
all of creation, but her tears that continue to increase in intensity
are of losing the meaning of her life; she is unable to love.
cinematic highlight of the movie arrives when she must decide,
whether to risk choosing to love, as she is able, even though she
will never grow old with the one she loves; even though if she is
found out, she will be treated as a specimen to be studied, probed
and experimented on. Can she, will she dare risk that suffering, in
order to finally be able to love someone?
Jesus’ Command: Be as God Created
us to be
Trinity Sunday we celebrate that God is a God of three persons in one
godhead. Which sounds paradoxical, but that is how it is with
relationships of love. We are people meant to love one another.
Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and even our enemies, is not a command that we need to follow … or else!
It is a command that we should follow if we want to not just to be happy, but because it is who God created us to be! As we love others we will be right with God’s universe and with God’s Will for us.
The words sincerely said: “I love you” do not just give us life, but withholding love from another robs them of God’s intent for them. So wherever you are in your life, know this: God the Parent, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, all three, in one voice that shakes the greatest molecule at the beginning and ends of the universe … God says most sincerely to each of us, “I love you.”
Now it’s okay to cry with tears that cannot stop, for both the suffering and pain of all that has been lost, for the pain of all that never was which should have or could have been, and with all the joy of all the love that has been, is and always will be. It’s always okay to cry those tears of loss and overwhelming joy. This is what being at Peace with God looks like!
For this God created us, to be delighted with one another, with all creation, and with God, three in one.