Broken and Contrite Hearts

Friday, April 1, 2022

God Starts With Contrite and Broken Hearts

And Teaches Us to See

Wonders upon Wonders.

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

1 John 1:3

We declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

It is a difficult row to hoe.

Offering God one’s broken spirit, one’s broken and contrite heart is an extremely difficult row to hoe.

After 12 years serving in the navy Lt.-Cmdr. Nicole Dugas has resigned. Lt.-Cmdr. Jennifer McGean has resigned in support of her friend. CBC reports: Cmdr. Ian Bye, sexually harassed her and abused his position of power as a senior officer in charge of base administration. He was charged with making a sexual comment in the mess on Oct. 22, 2020, given a written warning and fined $1,500. The navy released Bye in July 2021 as “unsuitable for further service” following an administrative review, according to a letter sent to Dugas. Three other senior, male officers involved in the handling of Dugas’s misconduct case were not held accountable, Dugas and McGean claim.

No one is surprised.

The military has long been an institution based on abuse. We not only expect it, we condone it and demand it. Basic training is designed to break the spirit of a young soldier to be, so that under fire in the field (and in all other aspects of military life) the young person will obey orders without hesitation and without questioning them. That has changed sort of maybe: soldiers are not to follow illegal orders, but then we expect them to anyway. We demand this, so that our soldiers can fight when told to, supposedly to protect our freedoms.

Anyone with a head on their shoulder knows, though, that soldiers are ordered to fight most often in order to guarantee the continued wealth and power and privilege of very few. Today that most often means huge corporations that are larger than most countries.

Since we know the military very rarely is put into action to protect our freedoms …

Since we know basic training is designed to break the spirit of soldiers so they will do the unthinkable for really bad reasons …

Since we know that the commanders of soldiers were all soldiers (even if never less than officers) who were broken in basic training …

Since we know that being broken in basic training really is to be abused and not to have a choice then or forever after to be free of it …

Since we know that those who are abused almost always become abusers given any chance of power over others …

Since we know that abusers rarely contain their abuse to one specific kind of abuse but rather spread abuse like a sawed off shotgun …

It therefore does not surprise us that abusive commanders also sexually abuse those under their command, that women are readily made targets of this abuse, and that those higher up in command have a difficult time dealing with abuse of any kind at all, since climbing the command structure seems to require one to be an abuser grown out of being abused.

It will not, or should not, surprise us, when we start to read how female commanders abuse those under their commands, and that their abuse is of all kinds including sexual abuse.

Given that, we ought to do everything we can to stop the abuse … but we’ve boxed ourselves in a pretty deep, cavernous, in nearly inescapable hole.

For generation upon generation humans approached God, hoping to control God’s power over them and their surroundings and their enemies, or at least to sway God to act a bit in their favour every once and a while. The standard approach was to bring God a sacrifice, always a sacrifice of some other animal’s life, or (horrors of horrors, as it is still done today on the altar of capitalism to the god of greed) … or the life of another human (or as is done today still, the lives of many, many other human lives.)

It did not take long for intelligent and insightful and inspired humans to recognize how dangerous and destructive this ‘sacrifice’ mentality was, as they knew that God was not to be controlled or swayed by the killing of others. What people will come up with, when the Devil takes control! Wise people knew that God asked for the spirit (built up by the Devil’s deceptions) of proud humans to be broken, so that they recognized their privileged place in creation as those loved by God. So the Psalmist writes even to us today: The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Most humans set on making their way up in the world view contrite and broken hearts as the debilitating destruction of their core and their way upwards.

God’s ways are not human ways, to be sure, for God starts with our contrite and broken hearts, forgives with unconditional love, and restores us to a fullness of life that cannot be achieved on our own, and cannot be taken from us.

For we live in fellowship with the saints of all time, with Jesus our Saviour, and with God the Creator, and with the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps some of us, in the right positions of command in the military, can start to overcome their own being abused, and the abuse that is all around them.

This we hope for, and pray for. Also that the abuse and bullying in the police and in the courts (for they are as horrendously swallowed by abuse coming from the top down to all people) will be overcome as well, by God’s immeasurable power of Grace and steadfast, unconditional love.

Not even a fool would pray for anything else, not even on April Fools’ Day.

The Power of the Sound of Sheer Silence

Monday, March 28, 2022

Where Do We Find God?

Nowhere!

God Is There

And by Faith Shows Us

God in Us,

God among Us, and

God Everywhere around Us

1 Kings 19:11-12

He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

John 3:7-8

Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’

Words of Grace For Today

People have tried, in vain, to locate and control God since the beginning of time.

We’d expect, given the traditions that swirl about, that God is present in demonstrations of power:

in mountain and rock smashing winds, or

in ground splitting earthquakes, or

in the fires after the earthquakes.

God simply is not to ‘be found’ anywhere, or in anything.

God instead continually surprises us, demonstrating God’s wondrous power and might in unconditional love, a love that reaches so far beyond our tit for tat reckoning among people and our evil efforts to stand high in comforts, status, ‘power’, and wealth, standing high on the backs and heads of those we’ve stomped on to force them below us!

So we are reborn.

How it that possible? …

Well …

It really isn’t, unless, like the wind that we cannot see except in the effect it has on trees, flags, water, and dirt (and sometimes objects like vehicles tossed off highways, or houses shredded into the skies), …

Being born again is not possible unless like the wind the Holy Spirit comes and works God’s Will in us and among us, and then we see how much power the unconditional love of God has … for our hearts, minds and hopes find their focus in being God’s unconditional love for others!

Now that is a miracle, as powerful as the sheer stillness in which God appears to Elijah at Mount Horeb and as the bush that burns without being consumed when God appeared to Moses on that same mountain generations earlier.

It is a miracle that God works every day in us, and among us, and whose effects cannot be ignored, though only faith will help us understand what plays out in us and among us, and around the world, from the beginning of time to the end of time.

Breathe!

Breathe and get ready

to see God! Everywhere!

Do You Realize, Angels Take Us …

Saturday, March 26, 2022

What Gift of the Angels

Have You to Notice Today?

Be Awestruck!

Genesis 24:7

The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, “To your offspring I will give this land”, he will send his angel before you; you shall take a wife for my son from there.

Acts 12:8-9

The angel said to him, ‘Fasten your belt and put on your sandals.’ He did so. Then he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ Peter went out and followed him; he did not realize that what was happening with the angel’s help was real; he thought he was seeing a vision.

Words of Grace For Today

To be uprooted up from one’s homeland, sent far into the unknown world sparsely populated by people though plentiful with wild animals, some wondrous and docile to human, others deadly ferocious (ever faced down a hyena or a wild boar?), and to be told one must find one’s spouse among the foreigners of that land, and settle there and make a new homeland for one’s offspring, for God has given this new land to them …

To be freed from one’s chains, guided past two prison guards, and taken out into freedom through a miraculously opened metal gate, all while one is barely awake and can only apprehend these events as if they were a dream, a vision of what is righteous …

To be stripped of one’s wealth and set deep in debt by false accusations, false reports, and unjust judges, and left to live homeless either in the city or in the wilds – and then to be guided by angels to find a meadow beside a small lake in the bush, to be loaned the tools and resources needed to establish a camp of a kind, and to build one’s safety from cold, heat, bugs, and thieves (and Covid it turns out, as well) with just enough to survive when one’s resources are less than $100/month …

One is given in these circumstances clear opportunity to recognize God’s angels at work. One finds it not difficult to follow whether that is an angel that guides one to find a spouse among foreign people in one’s new promised land, or an angel that guides one to freedom and life, or to precious solitude in the bush, or in many other circumstances as well, where one needs an angel in order to stay alive.

To live a life without hunger, lack of shelter or transportation, and always with clean water and air, and plenty of meaningful labour and people to love and be loved by …

Well that is to be given the greatest challenge, for one has little reason to notice God’s angels for one seems to ‘take care of one’s self’.

There is no limit of evil perpetrated against people by people. There is no limit to the work of the angels to guide all people to follow Christ. There is only our chosen inability to notice angels’ work in our midst.

Were we to notice more often, we would be awestruck day in and day out, and it would leave us little room or time in our lives for greed, avarice, and all other sorts of ‘luxury sins’. We would be astounded into giving God praise and thanks. We would find ourselves surrendering our lives to be workers along with the angels, bringing God’s generosity, Grace, love and hope to as many people as we possible could in our short life-times.

Take a peek.

See the angels at work.

Be awestruck this day and start to pitch in.

There’s a wondrous life to be lived where the angels have brought you thus far.

Where Angels Lead Us,

Is Sometimes a Frozen Wasteland.

Be Awestruck!

‘Reframability’ & Possibility

Monday, March 21, 2022

Shadows Point to The Light

Each Morning, Noon, and Night

Psalm 143:8

Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

1 Timothy 6:6-7

Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it.

Words of Grace For Today

While many strive to gain comforts, privileges, and securities (of many kinds, all futile), we seek the only gain that is sure: that God provides us love and faith (by Grace, ie as free gifts) and contentment in our lives, for while we come into life with nothing and we can take nothing with us, we do leave behind our own story.

What will that story be?

Will others gain faith from our stories? Or will they only learn to chase after what cannot offer them life?

It is not insignificant what story others have from us (as opposed to the stories that are untrue that many tell about us – those untrue stories work against the liars who create them and tell and retell them). It is not insignificant what story others have from us because each day, we humans are privileged to be able to ‘reframe’ our new day with how we think about life past, present and future.

That is: we are not written in stone from one day to the next. Some take this as opportunity to lie about their past and to scheme to ‘improve’ their future with more lies. Oh, what a waste that brings misery and despair to so many people, those liars and so many impacted by their lies.

God provides this opportunity to us each day (actually every minute), so that we can repent, that is so that we can turn our lives around, reframe them according to God’s Grace, Love and Hope for us (demonstrated in Jesus’ story), and proceed to be more of who God created us to be!

So we pray with the Psalmist: Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

It is not that we have never heard of God’s steadfast love, or that we do not know God’s way for us, or that our lives are in ruin and need to be rescued from the hand of the Devil, the Great Deceiver (though too often that is the case). It is simply that since we get to reframe our lives, we also must reframe our lives. If we do not turn to God to receive the Word that will reframe our lives according to God’s steadfast love for us, the Devil will certainly provide all sorts of words, lies always, that will draw us in, slowly turn us away from God, and consume us, until we are nothing like the creatures of steadfast love that God created us to be.

So what do we want to be today?

What word will reframe your day, this morning?

May God save us from the Deceiver’s tempting words that suck us in to the downward spiral away from life itself.

May God provide wondrous words to communicate God’s steadfast love, grace, and hope for us.

In a Word, we pray (it is not too much to ask, and it is everything so we beg):

May we see Jesus each morning!

Boldly Going Where …?

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Head for the Light?!?

It’s Not the Light at the End of the Tunnel (a train coming at us!)

It’s a Full Moon Setting at Dawn.

Jonah 2:7

As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

2 Timothy 2:19

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.’

Words of Grace For Today

Of course, it is a common story: A person has had no place for God in their life …

until …

until everything goes wrong …

health-wise …

and …

death comes knocking.

Suddenly everything is about ‘God’ …

And ‘God blessing and saving the person who has ignored God lifelong!’

The old thought always comes back: the way one lives lifelong has to mean something in the end, right. So there really is not last minute salvation. There really is no last hour baptism to guarantee one’s salvation. We are judged by God by our full record!

That’s right, isn’t it? It has to be! Otherwise why did I try so hard to do the right things all my life, giving up all the opportunities that would have benefited me greatly though they would have compromised my soul!?

Ah, were it so simple, so that we could judge who is God’s and who is not God’s; who has been good enough, and who has not been good enough.

Or rather, thank God it is not so simple, so that humans can actually judge each other … because, well, humans have a really bad track record of getting everything wrong and really messing things up, royally!

What we can trust fully is that God knows! God knows who are God’s and who are not.

By Grace God gives those who are not, another breath, and another, and another ad nauseam, all so that they have another and another, and another ad nauseam opportunity to repent and convert, and to learn what we who are God’s have learned and relearn again and again, namely that

We are saved only by God’s Grace (God’s choice) through faith (given to us as a free gift, though we do not deserve it at all.)

So we go into each new day, boldly going where all humans have gone before, into the fray of returning lies with truth, hate with love, despair with hope … as God makes us able.

The Same Moon Casting (Faint) Shadows

Ich Wunsche Dir Zeit

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Zeit (Time)

As the Sun Sets Spreading Colours Across the Sky and Land

How Much More Will God Gift To Our Enemies?

How Much To Us?

Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.

Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Words of Grace For Today

To experience that time when we find rest for our souls … rest for our souls, what a promise,

and a blessing so familiar

and so impossible to achieve for ourselves.

Time.

Time is precious.

Ich wunsche dir Zeit … (I wish you the time …)

and God provides us the time …

All kinds of time.

Time in the wilderness, so that God can humble us,

time filled with wonder, so that we can know God’s presence,

time filled with love, so that we fulfill God’s purpose for us.

So much of our time we walk with a different yoke taking our efforts and making something other than God’s will to be.

Patient, kind, and loving still, always Jesus calls us to take his yoke of being God’s unconditional love for others, for this is Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, guiding us to live

exactly as God created us to live,

with time,

all kinds of time,

time to remember,

time to celebrate,

and time to hope for those who are beyond hope.

From Siegfried Feitz aus dem Stephansdom in Wien

Ich wünsche dir Zeit

Elli Michler

Ich wünsche dir nicht alle möglichen Gaben.
Ich wünsche dir nur, was die meisten nicht haben:
Ich wünsche dir Zeit, dich zu freun und zu lachen,
und wenn du sie nützt, kannst du etwas draus machen.

Ich wünsche dir Zeit für dein Tun und dein Denken,
nicht nur für dich selbst, sondern auch zum Verschenken.
Ich wünsche dir Zeit – nicht zum Hasten und Rennen,
sondern die Zeit zum Zufriedenseinkönnen.

Ich wünsche dir Zeit – nicht nur so zum Vertreiben.
Ich wünsche, sie möge dir übrig bleiben
als Zeit für das Staunen und Zeit für Vertraun,
anstatt nach der Zeit auf der Uhr nur zu schaun.

Ich wünsche dir Zeit, nach den Sternen zu greifen,
und Zeit, um zu wachsen, das heißt, um zu reifen.
Ich wünsche dir Zeit, neu zu hoffen, zu lieben.
Es hat keinen Sinn, diese Zeit zu verschieben.

Ich wünsche dir Zeit, zu dir selber zu finden,
jeden Tag, jede Stunde als Glück zu empfinden.
Ich wünsche dir Zeit, auch um Schuld zu vergeben.
Ich wünsche dir: Zeit zu haben zum Leben!

Aus: Elli Michler – Dir zugedacht -Don Bosco Verlag, München, © DonBosco Medien

I Wish You The Time

I don’t wish you all kinds of gifts.
I only wish you what most don’t have:
I wish you time to be happy and to laugh,
and if you use it, you can make something of it.

I wish you time for your actions and your thoughts,
not only for yourself, but also as a gift.
I wish you time – not to rush and run,
but the time to be content.

I wish you time – not just to drive away.
I wish it may be left to you
as a time for wonder and a time for trust,
instead of just checking the time on the clock.

I wish you time to reach for the stars
and time to grow, that is, to mature.
I wish you time to hope again, to love.
There is no point in delaying this time.

I wish you time to find yourself
feel every day, every hour as happiness.
I wish you time to forgive guilt.
I wish you: to have time to live!

Coming in First

Sunday, March 13, 2022

We spend so much energy trying to find the light of life.

Doch God gives it to us, freely and generously.

Psalm 33:16

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

Mark 10:31

But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Words of Grace For Today

When Solomon raced, he gave it his all. He was naturally fast. It was in his jeans. On the soccer pitch he had that full awareness and predictive vision which allowed him to know where everyone else was, was going, and when they would get there. He was also unnaturally competitive and disciplined, able to push his thin body to produce results that were amazing, on the oval track running, through the woods on cross-country races, and on the soccer pitch.

It was marvellous to watch him run. Everyone threw accolades at him for his winning.

Life, at first, appears to so many to be exactly this kind of event, a competition where the most gifted, wealthy, powerful, and famous people pit their wits against others in order to gain even more. The one with the most wins. Unfortunately, so many people live and die believing this, whether they are the ‘winners’ or the ‘losers’ in this frantic take on life.

God intends something entirely different for us. Ever since creation right through to the morning sunrise today, bright and brilliant that gave way to clouds and snow (again …) God intends for us a completely different measure of who wins and who loses, what it takes to win, and precisely what the ‘game’ or ‘competition’ actually is.

Not only are the first (according to the human ‘game’) actually last, and the last first, the ‘game’ is not to see who can get, have, and keep the most. God’s intention for us is to see how many people can actually live, live well, and living well be God’s instruments for bringing life, life abundant, to other people.

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

We, each and every one of us, is saved only by God’s grace, by God’s free gifts that forgive us, renew us, and send us out equipped to be God’s grace for others … not through ‘winning’ but actually through ‘losing’, through self-sacrifice, always pointing to truth, love, and hope.

I, too, was proud of Solomon, but not as much for winning as for competing as he did, knowing how much he gave of himself to run as fast as he did, how hard he worked and pushed himself, and how little he received where it really counted for him.

The discipline of competing that we learn from life God uses (when we surrender to God’s Will) as a self-discipline to not be deterred, no matter the costs, from speaking the truth, loving the undeserving, and hoping for the hopeless.

In Him There Is No Darkness At All

Monday, February 28, 2022

Awesome In Splendour

Everyday

Exodus 15:11

Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendour, doing wonders?

1 John 1:2

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Words of Grace For Today

To see what God reveals as the Light of the World, to look into God’s eyes to see all creation reflected with beauty, to touch God’s hand and feel the power of self-sacrificial love overwhelming the universe, to hear God speaking and understand the Word of Life …

to know that there is no other god, except God, Three in One, Parent, Son, Holy Spirit, all and each Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier …

to be re-created, redeemed, and sanctified … and sent out into the world to share all we have received …

This is to have our joy complete,

and to know

in him there is no darkness at all.

So we sing the words Kathleen Thomerson wrote for us:

I want to walk as a child of the light
I want to follow Jesus
God sent the stars to give light to the world
The star of my life is Jesus

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus

I want to see the brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear sun of righteousness, shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus

I’m looking for the coming of Christ
I want to be with Jesus
When we have run with patience the race
We shall know the joy of Jesus

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The Lamb is the light of the city of God
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus

Who Else could possibly move us to know you, God, so well?

Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in splendour, doing wonders?

…. To sing along Concordia College Choir, Moorhead MN

Of Whom Shall We Be Afraid?

Saturday, February 26, 2022

We Live

In The Light Of Christ

And Need

Fear

Nothing

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

John 8:12

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’

Words of Grace For Today

There is the Ukraine, following Georgia and Crimea; just one place on earth where military force is used to invade neighbouring countries to control them.

These kinds of invasions rightfully create fear in us all.

Africa’s conflicts never end.

These kinds of invasions rightfully create fear in us all.

The Middle East is one conflict and war and invasion after another.

These kinds of invasions rightfully create fear in us all.

Police apply force unjustly against so many minorities, and also against now men falsely accused by vengeful or deranged women. For some women are blood thirsty as some are to destroy any man possible in order to avenge violence against women, which even though dramatic and terrible, today’s violence against women is still only a fraction of that conducted against men, some of it also by women against men, with the same deadly results. It’s all the same thing: violence aimed at innocent people, and the first victim is truth, and those impacted the worst are the children.

These kinds of invasions rightfully create fear in us all.

More subtle kinds of invasions happen all the time as truth is sacrificed in our own courts, and many, supposedly just, courts around the world.

These kinds of invasions rightfully create fear in us all.

There are so many more real reasons to be fearful of all the evil that is perpetrated indiscriminately and directed exactly against us.

What are we to do?

We have no other choice or option: we get to trust God’s promises: that Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life and

that the Lord is our light and our salvation, and therefore we have no reason to fear anything, nothing at all.

Nothing at all.

So we, no matter the reasons that are so many to fear, … we have no reason to fear … for no matter what evil happens or is done to us or other people,

God is with us, the Light of the World is with us, there is no darkness for us …

nor is there reason to fear anything, anything at all.

We live in the Light.

Of whom shall we be afraid?

Harsh & Costly Interruptions of Grace

Monday, February 21, 2022

See the Light,

Hear the Word,

Rejoice With Our Hearts:

God IS With Us

OR

Keep Running From God

and the Truth

Isaiah 53:11

Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.

Colossians 2:10

You have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.

Words of Grace For Today

Headstrong as we all are, we need some rigorous interruption to our daily routine, to the expected, to the unrighteousness of our lives that we’ve come to rely on in order to make our way forward.

That’s what the suffering servant, and many who have followed who have sacrificed themselves to give others life, and what God in the life of Jesus has done for all: they have interrupted the usual and expected flow of selfishness with their own sacrifice that gives others life. Their sacrifice is simple to describe. They put themselves in the way of corrupt people and powers who seek a scapegoat for their own corruption, lies, and destruction of others … and all manner of sins that clog up the flow of life with their own shtako. These corrupt people easily lie about an innocent person in order to gain some catharsis for the strain the overflow and damming (and damning) their own sins spew across their own lives.

Then as the innocent person is destroyed, the strain of the shtako in their own lives seems to be relieved. Yet it is not at all, not at all. In fact it deepens the clogged up piles that impede life, honest life, blessed life as God created us to live it. … until another innocent scapegoat is slammed into jail or poverty or derision and eventually death.

This seems to be the regular rhythm and rhyme of life … over and over again … and no one seems to care or notice that the innocent are some of the best people alive … until they are no longer.

When God sacrificed life in the death of God-Jesus, God sent a clear message: NO FURTHER SCAPEGOATS ARE REQUIRED for life to flow onward, for the goodness of life to be lived, for the overwhelming, clogging and damning sins of so many to be forgiven.

God dies.

God dies to interrupt our usual.

God dies to interrupt our usual scapegoating to save us from our sins, and to save all those we would scapegoat.

And yet so many people simply cannot bear the thought that God knows their sins, so they keep scapegoating innocent people, and innocent people are jailed, slammed into poverty and derision, and eventually killed … all for nothing more than a temporary cathartic relief of actual, overwhelming, damning and destructive guilt.

Woe to those who continue to scapegoat the innocent!

But for those who have ears, for those who have eyes, for those who have hearts …

ears to hear God’s Word,

eyes to see Christ’s Light,

hearts to receive and live out God’s unconditional love for us all …

For those who the Holy Spirit has given ears, eyes and hearts to receive God, God blesses us with God’s presence each day, each moment … no matter the false convictions, poverty, derisions, or death wishes aimed at us …

and we live lives as God intended us to live them: honest, grateful, generous, forgiving, and steadfast … and as required, self-sacrificial.