Choose Life, Give Freedom

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Philemon 1-21
Luke 14:25-33

In the Promised Land, Choose!

In the Fade, movie

Set in 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.

The 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.

The 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.

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The Dark Churn of Chaos Obstructs Our View of God’s Son

OT: As you enter the PL, Choose: life or death, blessings or curses

By 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.

God 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.

What Promised Land has God brought us to, long ago, or maybe just yesterday? What Blessings and Curses must we choose between?

Remember 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!)

A well-known prayer reads: “May my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” (World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce).

The 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 all people.

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When We Dwell Beside Living Water, God Fires Up Our Hearts

NT Philemon’s Real Story: Giving FREEDOM

In our 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.

Escaped 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.

Still 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 Cracking

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.

How 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.

The 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.

The 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.”

“Oh,” says the driver as it’s obvious the wheels are churning for her. Then the officer asks, “Is everyone alright? They all seem shell shocked.”

The 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.

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The Expanse of the Universe Outta Scare Us Silly, The Cost of Discipleship Even More-so

Luke: Know the Cost

In today’s Gospel Jesus admonishes the crowd to know and prepare for the cost of discipleship as they commit themselves to following him.

Hate is 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.

It is 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.

Likewise, 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!

Kidnapping Gramma!

William 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 Prairie, WI.

Heddie 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.

Although 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.

The 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)

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Life is Beautiful !!! As We Live In the Light of Christ

So we pray

Christ sets us free, so we pray: May our hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God.

May our joy be in choosing life, blessings, and freedom for all people.

Amen

Trees, Stars, and Passion for Beauty and Order

Trees: Aim Between

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


Lost in the Fog of Delusion


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.

Ecclesiastes


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.

The one 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 others’.

Since 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.

Look beyond the 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.


Relationships Trinity

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.


The wonders of Creation



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


I do not have much, but it is more than enough!

Nobodies, Only Bodies, and Somebodies.

Thoughts and Draft Sermon

Rough Notes on the Lessons:

OT Thoughts

There 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.

The 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 of enacting.

Except 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.

Abraham’s got chutzpah, maybe foolishness, to spare.

The argument is that the good should not perish with the evil.

And God responds to that, sort of, allowing that 10 good people in all of Sodom and Gomorrah will cause God to relent.

NO GRACE, it takes goodness to get God to relent!

And God 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.

So why did Abraham not negotiate down to 2?

Because God would have had to relent and allow the cities’ destruction of so many people in their consuming depravity to continue.

Yes: The evil is powerfully destructive, like a cancer, and God will stop it, giving the few healthy an option to walk away alive.

Destroying 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.

Well, 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.

Temptations to depravity can come in all guises, some that look remarkably respectable, acceptable, thoughtful.

Imagine that!

Gospel Thoughts

Pray, teach us to pray like John’s disciples.

God gives b/c of persistence if not for friendship.

So God is to be bartered and negotiated, and badgered until one receives what one’s friends need.

So I need countless hoards, or at least one person, to pray relentlessly to God for what I need: True Justice. Lies exposed. Shelter, food, work, security.

The smiting of the corrupt people (or at least the corruption of the people) that causes this for me and so many others.

Can I 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.)

Of useless mercy, of relentless prayers, of making justice happen.

Of helping one, two or three people survive the destruction the corruption causes.

Christ Alone is our Rock and Salvation

Draft Sermon

Real 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.

But the people in this world so often treat each other and themselves as if they were nobodies.

My 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 blessings.

Today’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.

Sodom 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.

God 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 those people.

Abraham 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.

The 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.

Just surviving such terrible things is rarely to live well. One does not live by bread, or mere survival.

A father 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.

I have 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.

We had 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.

I lived 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.

I lived 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.

Jesus’ 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 will receive.

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.

Jesus 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.

But God 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.

I live 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.

Her ex 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.

There’s a lot of bull in the world; comes from the sinners, in us each and all

The 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.

It may 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 NOBODIES.

We come to realize that the words to the Colossians are not to be taken for granted:

“… continue 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.

It is 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.”

The 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.

So we 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.

Amen

No Sermon, Sorry

Gaslit Again


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.

Birds Fly, even if I Cannot

To Gaslight


to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Gaslight


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.

Light and the Road. They have Chosen.

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.

In the Purple Light of an Early Morning Before the Storm That follows that Day.


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.

And the Light at Night

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.

And the Birds Still Fly


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.

God took seven days,

and said it was Good.


I live well in that Goodness.

Trinity: 42, Chocolate or Love

What do we dream of

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.

Yearn for the Light, but move away from it?

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

This 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: relationship

God is 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.

What we know and affirm is that God and all of creation is at it’s core about relationship.

The lessons speak about Trinity and about life.

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.

Proverbs 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.

Even in 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.

The 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.

The 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 inequality.

The one 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.

Our 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.

And here 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.

God’s love begins with the Holy Spirit pouring love into us and it grows through suffering that begets endurance that begets character that begets hope.

And hope is an essential portion of love, which the Holy Spirit pours into us!

Relationships

Through 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.

As we 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.

Though 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 of

Work success,

wealth

reputation

security

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.

A relationship of love.

It can be a life partner, a spouse.

Or a companion, or a person with whom one can share one’s life’s work.

There is a reason that movies, books, poems, yearnings, and our hopes so often land on falling in love.

We fill life with all kinds of other strivings and measures of success.

But our life is made up of what we are: we are made in God’s image. We are made for relationship.

Our lives are made to make sense only when we love.

It is not that we need to be ‘in love’ which is indeed a life changing matter. We are made to love other people.

Not just the people we like.

But the 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.

On our 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.

Not in Work success, wealth reputation, security, enjoyment of life’s opportunities and options, nor anything else.

On our 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 have received.

Adaline Looses the Essential of Life: to Love and be Loved

Adaline’s 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.

The 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?

Reflect the Light that Created You

Jesus’ Command: Be as God Created us to be

This 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.

Amen

Readings and Psalm

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm 8

Romans 5:1-5

John 16:12-15

A Name for Ourselves: God’s Gift

Who are we? Do we need to make a name for ourselves? Will we ever be satisfied with God’s Word present among us?

Good Potential

God created the universe. On the seventh day God rested and declared it was all good. God created us with such potential: the potential to reach for the stars, the potential to love one another, ourselves and even our enemies. Our power of imagination to see what is not and strive to accomplish things new and wonderful carries us from one generation to the next. We can share the breath of beauty, the wind of hope, and the fire of the future with one another.

Evil Potential

God also gave us freedom, so that we have the potential to reject the gifts God gives us. The goodness of life is fragile. There are so many ways for life to go wrong. We can choose to dive into the depths of darkness, to hide our false pride and our self-centered arrogance, to wallow in the despair that consumes generation after generation. We can succumb to addictions and armed conflict, to abuse and terror that causes PTSD in its victims, to Gaslighting, bearing false witness, and even murder. We have the potential to destroy all of life on earth, but the real destruction are all the avenues we create for life to implode on itself.

Jane

Jane sat at the table in her favourite restaurant, enjoying the familiar smells that reminded her of the news she had received here. Years ago, on this very spot she’d opened her letter of acceptance into university, the first one in her family, ever. That shaped everything about her life, now a Doctor of History, a professor emeritus, a famous author. Later that same day years ago she’d received the other news that formed her life and was bringing it to an indecent early end. She had MS. She had lived with it for so long, many years in a wheelchair, but now her systems were slowly giving out. Her name given to her at her baptism is Jane.

The White Purity of Birch, The Bleach of Life is not so pleasant a white.

Babel Blessing

In the lesson from Genesis we read how the people came together to build a marvelous city and a tower that would reach the heavens, in order to make a name for themselves. They also distrusted God’s rainbow, and wanted security from any future flood. God comes to bless the people with confused speech, with different languages, so that their prideful project will halt. Divided the people disperse far and wide to inhabit the earth. Ever since, we create divisions and conflict more easily than we build healthy communities. We have built more than a tower of Babel as our fossil fuel consumption produces more pollution than the earth can tolerate, resulting in violent climate change. Our civilization is built on time bombs that destroy people.

George and Emily

George and Emily walked the beach, they’d grieved the addiction of their daughter for an eternity, grieving the birth of grandchildren, each lost to foster care. Now they’d received the phone call they’d feared. Jenny had overdosed on drugs yet again. This time she had not recovered. Their names are George and Emily and they gave Jenny her name at her baptism.

Languages A Gift

Today we recognize the power of languages. They keep us apart and distinct. Yet when we live in a second language, we experience not just different grammar and words. We experience more of the world that God created good. Different languages carry different pieces of the marvels of this creation which we can barely fathom in a full lifetime.

First Pentecost

That first Pentecost the disciples proclaimed in their own language the wonders of God’s work for everyone. God inspired the listeners to hear the disciples in each listener’s own language. As at Babel God confused the language of the people to save them from their pride, so at the first Pentecost God overcame the language barrier in order that people could hear and understand each other and the Good News of what God had done in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Language is powerful.

Greta

Greta was born in Jena, in East Germany. A Christian, at great cost she had dedicated her life to serving Christ. Working with youth she excelled, until jealous gossip was started about her. Under intense pressure and unearned shame Greta slowly lost her confidence, then her sense of self, and finally her sense of reality. She succumbed to a half living state of senseless babble that sometimes erupted into excruciatingly painful clarity about what had been done to her, and how helpless she was. Her name, given to her at her baptism, is Greta. She remained Greta even as she lost her mind to the horrendous cruelty of gossip that pretends to know reality beyond God’s goodness.

Clarity in Miracles

Like the disciples we always want God to be more clear. The words are plain enough. Yet God rarely leaves it to just the words. The signs, the miracles, that accompany the Good News are remarkable. We may not recognize what God is doing, but we always hope that in the end all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well, for God created the universe and said it was good.

That first Pentecost so that people could not miss the miracle of the Holy Spirit given to God’s children, God marked the disciples with tongues of fire.

Small Miracles, double sun, leaves growing.

Fire

One of the distinct gifts God gave humans is Fire. It is powerful, both for good and for evil. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, guided the people through the wilderness with a pillar of flame, and will cleanse us at our judgment with God’s purifying fire.

As we have breathed these past weeks, the result of climate change brings more wildfires, and more smoke that covers vast areas, inhibiting life in so many ways. Humans are not the only ones affected by wildfires. The smoke reduced the available solar power, a nuisance at least for those whose electricity is produced by solar power. The greater loss was to the plants whose basis of life depends on photosynthesis.

In the face of life so challenged, God finds ways to bless us, with hope.

Sam and Allicia

Sam and Allicia both lost their childhoods to wars of terror and genocide. In their teens they each survived the squalor and hunger of refugee camps, their families having all been killed. Sponsored as immigrants in their late teens by a Lutheran congregation in Edmonton, they met, shared the struggles of finding their way, fell in love, were married and are expecting their first child this summer. With different mother tongues they communicate in Canadian English. Their names given to them at their baptisms are Sam and Allicia. They have chosen names for their first child at its baptism, in memory of their families lost.

Our Name

Though we reach for the stars, to make a name for ourselves, to succeed at what we attempt, even to make life more than it is, there is no name that we can make for ourselves greater than what God has already given us. With tongues of fire God has marked us, anointed us, and called us.

Three Confirmed, we stand with them

As these three, Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah, were marked with the cross in their baptisms, and now they stand as young people, maturing, beginning to accept responsibility for their own being, so we each were marked. At the right time we also stood on our own to respond to the gifts that God gives us, promising to receive, abide in, act out of, and grow into the people God calls us to be. Today we still stand, not on our own as if our faith were merely personal or private. Rather we stand as one faith community united by the fire of the Holy Spirit. As we stand with one another in love, so we stand with these three young people. Their names, given to them in their baptisms, are Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah.

Our name: potential as love

Again today we share with them the name God has given us all. There is no greater name. It is not a name we could make for ourselves. It is the name that God gave us in our baptisms and shares with us each day. God names us God’s children.

The language of our name is not limited to one of the diverse languages that God gave us to propel us across the earth, to inhabit it and do well by it. The language of our name is love, in all its rainbow colours.

In our love for one another we best reflect the One who abides with and in us, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. It is in our love for our enemies that we dance with the miraculous power of life which the Spirit pours down on us in the form of flames of fire.

As we do what it takes to love one another, though the world roils with conflict, abuse, and destruction, we rest in the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. We have no cause to be troubled. Nor do we suffer the greatest enemy: the denial of evil’s potential. Nor do we need to fear flood nor fire nor anything, for God is at work to keep evil in its place and God in God’s place … and to keep us on earth with and for each other.

Our name given to us in our baptisms is children of God. We are the inheritors of the miracle that brings life to be with a word, with a breath, with a breeze, with a fire.

Amen

Pentecost: Thoughts Toward a Sermon or more

Genesis 11:1-9


Thoughts


One language,


One language, one gathering,
making a name
making a name for themselves:


God helps


God helps them avoid disaster: nothing will stop them! Not even them destroying the planet or at least life on it.
God saves us by ending it, prayer answered: NO!
God comes to see the city, the tower, and God is alarmed? Displeased? Not said: just God ends it: confuses languages and scatters them.


Divisions vs community


Divisions over conflict is EASY, building community despite differences is the challenge, the miracle that shows God is at work with us!


Confuses Gramma [r]s


God confuses their language, into different words, sounds, gramma(r)s, they leave off the tower building.

God Blesses us, even in our conflicts, with the healing power of the earth


Acts 2:1-21


Thoughts


Language


HS with ability to hear and understand, unites people from every language into the church,
All hear in their own language: not glossolalia! But clear speech beyond language barriers!


Fire:


All that it is: God’s presence, God’s guide in wilderness, mark of humans, gathered at campfire safe from animals who fear fire, fire that purifies by consuming dross, as judgment purifies us of sin, by consuming it with fire.
Fires burn, destroys: revenge of the earth to climate change by burning fossil fuels beyond our share. We’ve built more than than the tower of babel. We’ve setup the earth to turn on all the life on it, us included.
Fires: prevented fought down, now the fuel available is generation’s worth, burns all at once and the sun is blotted out.
Solar power: winter 1.2 to 3 maybe 4 amps. Now in mid day 15 easy.
But with fire’s smoke, down to 3 or 1 or less.
Solar power, the basis of photosynthesis; the growth of plants, upon which the chain of food is built, from smallest life forms, to plants, to small bugs, to small animals to larger animals to largest to the most dangerous: humans.


Prophesy of Joel:


All will prophesy, sons and daughters, slaves men and women; old men will dream dreams (usually stop because there is no hope that the dreams can be fulfilled or seen through, a surrender of the world to the younger generation) but here: old men dream and set to being the fulfillment of dreams, God’s dreams.


Portents:


blood, fire, smoky mist, moon to blood,
Lord’s Day
before the Lord’s glorious day!


Be saved


Call upon him and all will be saved!

John 14:8-17 [25-27]


Thoughts


Satisfied


We will never be satisfied, but we continually hope.
Even when what we ask for is right in front of us, we ask for more.


Miracles


DO help us believe that Jesus is God is the Holy Spirit is Jesus … is working in our midst
Ask, I will give. But so much asked for and not ever yet given.
Be careful what you ask for, sometimes Jesus gives us what we ask for: we ask for foolish things, impossible things, things that will hurt others, and Jesus answers NO. Other times Jesus gives us what we ask for and we do not recognize it.


Love and Obey


Love is to obey Jesus’ commands: to love your neighbour as yourself and your enemy!


Lawyer in court – Advocate – Of New


God gives advocate (lawyer in God’s Court for us), who will be with us forever, though Jesus goes away.
We see HS, the advocate, the Spirit of Truth! Able because God is in us, HS in us
World cannot receive him, does not see him,
New, always present
Jesus tells us, so we will know, but the Advocate will be with us, reveal new things, make us see new things, remind us of Jesus!


No worries Mate


Do not be troubled, do not be afraid (Fear is the greatest enemy), anxiety gets people to behave in bad ways.


1. Thoughts Towards an Outline


Fire:


the season, the ban, the power, the saving power – distinctively human
the destroying power, wildfires, smoke, solar blocked, photosynthesis, stopped, dross, judgment where sins are burned away like dross, leaving us pure, ready for the New Jerusalem.
Spirit
Ruah, breath, spirit into inert forms →life, inspiration, spirit means vivified, and for God’s good purposes.


Language


Language, the basis of communication, but more, the basis of thought! New language, new thoughts, new history new manners:
2nd language: a world opens up when one lives in it.
Computer languages: a whole new world opens up, but it is not filled with people, but imaginations made statically moving, reading conjures up the creative imaginative mind. TV rests the mind and slowly atrophies thoughts and creativity; computer interactions with games, deepens the narrowing of the thought, away from others, to chips. Everyone knows chips are not healthy, not potato chips, not chocolate chips, though tastey; neither computer chips alone.
But as a tool, as an avenue to other people, to expand imagination in writing and conceiving uses, ways to be used, ways to be helpful to others: first text to talk: allow blind woman to continue significant work in the community (PR),


Reaching to the Heavens

All that we dream of is seen in our dream of reaching the stars


Reaching to the Heavens, the dream of humans since we peered at the stars outside the safety of the cave.
Space travel.


Conflict and Differences


Conflict and Differences : Blessed by God, caused by God to save us from our own selves.
Limits on name for ourselves: God’s blessing


Working out the bugs

Misquotes in even the smoky photos: upper left, that’s no helicopter.

There are some bugs to work out, of course, these are just rough thoughts scratched together.

Happy Birthday

Today is my x’s xth birthday, since the photos are too large to email, I’ve posted the greeting and photos here, for x and for all to enjoy.

Photos made especially to celebrate a good birthday, when I cannot be there in person to celebrate with everyone.

Life

is full of

opportunities and pathways.

Some of the best moments are available to us when we take time to notice the small, less traveled side roads.

Whether you find those moments or not the golden blessing of Christ’s light will always be there for you, long after the sun has set on any times of your life.

The water of life is yours, in great quantities.

and also sprinkled drop by drop where beauty transforms life from mundane to precious.

When one does not notice those moments there are still the telltale signs of blessings left behind.



Life will bring many great things your way, some will grow and die; always there will be something new beginning, promising great things for your future.

Enjoy all the blessings of each day, especially this day as you are celebrated.

Home, of Sorts

This Spring …

This is the neighbourhood of Home

All views taken one at a time

giving an accurate account

of beauty in a nutshell,

a life well lived,

of wonderful solitude

which has broken on the May long weekend

with a rather full camping area,

with only a few that do not show

fellow campers and the land the respect due.

Today it is so dry there is a province wide fire ban in place

Though this is the first

as yesteryear’s extreme’s become

today’s normal, and

today’s new extremes become

tomorrow’s normal.

Hang on!

It’s going to be a rough ride for the next 50 years!

First Break in Nice (Thick) Ice

Back when the ice was just breaking up, the reflection of light and cloud make the water and shore jump.

Birch White Goldenized

The Birch Show Their Colours Well

Mud Mirrors

Even the huge puddles of spring mud and snow melt pick up the the light of the sky behind the trees’ reflections.

Spring Moon Rises at Sunset

The moon ascends into the evening sky, brilliant white against the gold and blue of sunset.

Predawn Moon Going Down

Just days later the moon settles in the west as the dawn touches the east.

Sunrise Moon Setting

And settles closer to the water as the early morning breaks.

Open Cold Water

Waves and White Water return as the wind churns up the lake touched still with small patches of snow and ice.

Surviving Rodents

The few brush left with partial birch trunks, long since food for the beaver who keep the lake level high, stand out in the gold light at sunset.

Sol Plays with Aqua

The water and the setting sun play with each other in familiar yet newly wonderful manners almost each night.

Ugly becomes Gorgeous

Even the junk, abandoned, and starting to be trashed camper cannot help but shine with the immense wonders of the setting sun.

My favourite of late

The reaching thirsty trees along the shore silhouette wonderfully against the blues and oranges of the sun set reflecting remnants of light on the water.

The Rising Dawn: The Hyenas, The Waltz

The darkness has succumbed to the rising dawn, until the sol of creation begins anew to give purpose and hope for the hours to come.

Light catches even the spider’s string


So …


I can close my eyes having kept the watch,
For the Christ’s Light now keeps the darkness and danger at bay.

The hyenas of home are driven back into hiding, until in darkness they will run freely again.


Let the waltz begin.
Let the celebrations begin.