Us-Them, We(eds), or All Together.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Whether we see others as ‘weeds’ in our lawn of life

God sees us each as precious and

God shines Light on each of us,

the light of love and life.

Isaiah 56:7

These I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

Colossians 3:11

In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Words of Grace For Today

We humans keep building walls, us and them.

God keeps telling us and showing us that God is for all people, without any us or them.

Christ is all and in all … and for all peoples!

Christ is even for me, and for you, sinners though we be, God has claimed us a God’s children and made us saints, able to share God’s light with all people …

without any ‘us’ or ‘them’

or

walls

or

judgments

or

condemnations,

just

Grace for all.

It’s a wonderful dance of love, this life is (at least as God intends for us, and makes possible for us to live it.)

Ready or not here it comes, one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time … one decision at a time.

Set a place for Elijah, keep an eye for the poor at your gate, invite in the homeless …

This is God’s day, and out day to give everything back to God, one decision in one minute at a time.

Giving Thanks to God ….. not to godlets.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Life is A Maze

an Amazing Maze of Wonders,

Gifts from God.

God is All Amazing.

No need to make small godlets.

Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.

Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Words of Grace For Today

Giving God thanks surely involves using our voices and God’s name, though when we use God’s name constantly in our communication with other people it is a grand misuse of God’s name, grace, and steadfast love.

Truly, in word and deed, doing everything in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God is so much more than mere words of thanks, or constant mention of God’s name.

Giving God thanks is an attitude towards life that brings us to reflect God’s grace towards others.

It is to give of one’s self so that others will live, whether they accept and practice faith in Jesus Christ, or not, for all people are God’s creatures, God’s precious people, people God forgives.

Giving God thanks is to extend to all others the same grace that God first has given (and continually gives) to us.

More often than not it is to do it anonymously, so our names are not known or remembered, so that our God’s name is not known or remembered … rather that God’s grace towards us is experienced as God’s grace towards other people. We certainly are not to bring people to worship or adore us for our good deeds and gracious words. We certainly are not sent out into the world to bring people to worship a ‘small god’, a godlet of any kind even one they name Jesus.

There are enough people worshipping a godlet of some kind or another, and too often they call that godlet ‘Jesus’. It certainly is not.

The past president of Tanzania is one very visible example: Covid 19 hit and shut down country after country in Africa with restrictions and precautions. What did this ‘Lutheran Christian’ do? He prayed. Certainly good. Then he announced to the country that his ‘godlet’ ‘Jesus’ had cured all Tanzanians of Covid 19. There was to be no mention of any respiratory illness as Covid 19, though there were thousands of cases everywhere. His godlet Jesus caused the avoidable death and long term disability through Covid 19 (and long Covid 19) of thousands of Tanzanians. That kind of godlet, no matter what it is called, is certainly not the Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, healer of our every ill, the creator, redeemer and sanctifier of the universe and all people in it.

Small gods, godlets, are made up every day by so many people looking for a way through life’s challenges.

God walks with us, seeing all we do, and still God’s steadfast love endures for ever for us and all people.

Because God is gracious to us, therefore we can be gracious with all the deadly covidiots out there, and all the abusers, and all those with power who abuse it, and all those who thought (and those that still think) residential schools were acceptable, … and all the enemies of life abundant for all.

Treating the enemies of life abundant for all is how we give thanks to God, for God’s grace worked first for us.

Happy 90th Birthday Celebration Dort!

Very sorry we cannot cross the border to be there to celebrate with you.

Summer Cool, Always Salt

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

After the unbearable heat

the cool summer mornings

give life to our hearts, minds and spirits.

We are not out of the woods yet though,

more heat is on it’s way!

Jeremiah 29:7

Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

Words of Grace For Today

Jesus sends the disciples out into the world to share the Good News, that God has sent Jesus to demonstrate God’s love, forgiveness, grace, and favour bestowed on all peoples.

We are out in the world, now in a world that ‘does not need God’, has no room for God, and pretends that everything is fine (without God.) The Good News is needed more than ever before.

How is this sending by Jesus different than God ‘exiling’ the people of Israel to foreign cities, cut off from their homes? It is done by force, first of all, against the people’s will and established by the sword of a alien ruler, not of faith in God. When Jesus sends the disciples, they choose to follow Jesus and they choose to obey him as he sends them. The exiles are not able to travel ‘back home’. The are captives in the foreign city. The disciples go out and they return ‘home’ to follow Jesus as he goes about the Galilean countryside.

How is Jesus sending the disciples the same as God ‘exiling’ the people of Israel to foreign cities? The passage for today from Jeremiah provides the link: in both sendings God’s people are to seek the welfare of the places and cities where they go. The exiles are more permanent, perhaps life long, and even many generations long. Their well being is intricately tied to the well being of the cities to which they are exiled. The disciples bring nothing with them, so their welfare is tied to the welfare of the places they go as well. The difference for the disciples is that at some point they get to leave the welfare of the places the visit and reclaim the welfare of home as their own, perhaps … if the welfare at home is controlled by people who will welcome them home.

The passage from Matthew ties it together nicely: the quality of one’s life as a disciple of Jesus, as a person of God’s people is not determined by the prosperity of one’s surroundings. Rather one’s life is determined to be of the greatest quality because God has adopted us as children. No matter what comes our way we remain God’s children.

Like salt we do not change as the surroundings around us change. We remain salt.

The danger to our lives is not prosperity or poverty. Each we can deal with easily enough, poverty perhaps more easily than prosperity because in prosperity it is too easy to forget from where the goodness of life comes. We too easily attach goodness to the things of luxury and comfort, rather than to the essentials of life provided always by God’s goodness and grace. Soon we start to assume that we can make it well through life without God’s blessings, grace, forgiveness and guidance. In poverty we do struggle to remain alive, though there are few reasons to doubt that the goodness of life comes not from things, but from God, because so often without any goods or things to divert our attention from God’s blessings we immerse ourselves (in order for life to continue) in giving God thanks for all the goodness that pours over us each day.

We are God’s children. Simple and easy. Like salt it’s not complicated. Like salt too much stops life, but the right amount preserves sustenance through the sparsest of times.

When we lose our saltiness, our simple dependence on God for everything, and our ever present gratitude for everything, then we become useless. We lose grace and have no Good News to share. There is nothing left but to make up nonsense about life. We see so much of that, so much more than we could imagine civilization can endure and still survive.

To this saltiness-lost-world Jesus sends us with Good News.

To this saltiness-lost-world God exiles us to live out the Good News.

Wherever we are or go God walks with us, and guides us to share and hear anew the old, old story of Jesus and his love, for us and the whole of creation.

One step at a time today, again; not towards our goals, but towards God’s will for us.

Weary? You Bet!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Rest, at Sunset, In the Calm

That Christ Offers

Isaiah 12:3

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

Matthew 11:28

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

Words of Grace For Today

Like no other words these are so welcome …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus calls to us:

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

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

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

There are no better words that these:

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

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

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

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

Whatever the Challenges of Our Days …

Monday, May 31, 2021

God’s Deliverance

Awaits Us

Each Day

Isaiah 56:1

Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed.

2 Corinthians 6:2

For he says, ‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’ See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!

Words of Grace For Today

We’ve waited, waited, and waited …

and now is the day of salvation.

Except it is not that our enemies are eliminated,

It is that we are redeemed and set free from our sins.

We still will struggle to maintain justice, to do what is right, and to be gracious with people who are not just, who do wrong, and who are everything except gracious.

What is new, and is new each time we recognize that the Kingdom of God is at hand, is that we know that God has and continually delivers us.

That is the basis for living in grace, living out grace for others, and finding hope, joy, and peace in each moment whether it’s a challenge or not we are in the middle of.

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

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seeing the Whole World

In the Tiniest Drop

Of Creation

Ecclesiastes 3:14

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

Romans 11:29

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Words of Grace For Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks be to God.

Fear, Love, Wisdom, Trouble

Monday, May 10, 2021

Everything Grows

Until It Dies,

Except Wisdom.

It Is a Gift from God,

Starting with Fear and Love!

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Colossians 2:2-3

I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Words of Grace For Today

Here we find God’s truth. God is all powerful and to be feared more than anyone or anything else!

Without that fear there is no path to find knowledge, wisdom, truth. Without fear of God all our efforts will be bent, perverted, and misguided. Without fear of God our paths begin on a foundation that will shift and disappear out from underneath us.

Fear will not do it alone. The pseudo Paul who wrote Colossians (a disciple of Paul most likely) got this right. We need our hearts and minds encouraged and built up, united in love. With fear of God but without the love of God (bringing us to love God, all people, and all creation) we walk a dismal path where understanding is only partial, and that part is treacherous. Love brings us to understand life as God intends us to live it. Love enables us to move beyond understanding to contributing to God’s work in this world among us here and now.

The fear and love of God brings us to trust God with everything we are and have and can do. We begin to get glimpses of God’s mystery revealed in Jesus, the Christ.

We begin to live a life guided by true wisdom, a gift of the Holy Spirit for us at our baptisms.

That life is not a life of comfort. It is not a life of ease. It is not a life of capitulation to evil, or evil forces, or evil in others directed at us, or even to evil in ourselves.

This life is a difficult, seemingly chaotic (though by the Spirit very ordered), seemingly risky path that winds hither and yon. This is a life that gets us in to trouble, good trouble, trouble for Christ, trouble for the children, for the outcasts, for the poor, and for the condemned.

This is life, wisely lived life, life abundant, life blessed, and the life that God intends for us.

What are you waiting for?

The Son of God to come and give you directions, to die for you, and to be risen back to life thus conquering death and all evil for us?

What ARE you waiting for?

Today the Kingdom of God is here!

Limits Are Nothing Compared to God’s Delight

Monday, May 3, 2021

Dark Above

Dark Below

Danger on the Horizon

...

Yet God Is My Stay,

Each Day.

2 Samuel 22:19-20

They came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

Words of Grace For Today

The life I live is limited by many restrictions. While so many others feel the restrictions to protect us all from Covid 19 (or sort of at least), years before Covid 19 the reality of abject poverty, a ruined reputation, and injustice profound kept my horizons down to surviving one day, one week, one month, one season interrupted by desperate, life threatening needs.

As at no other time in my life, though some have come nearly as close, I have known that God walks with me,

and

that I am blessed with a life abundant.

I, with so many other humans through history, know well these words as my/our own:

They came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Perhaps you do, too?

This I have known as well, that God has called me, perhaps not like Jesus calling Matthew away from a life as a hated tax collector, but to be one who shares God’s Grace with as many people as I am able.

As I have followed Jesus, knowing that God delights in me, I have given my all each day as I was able. I have delighted in God’s claim on me, and the promise that God will walk with me no matter what, and that there is nothing that can separate me from the Love of God. For God has claimed me, a sinner of my own making, and made me a saint of God’s own making. In that everyone has hope. If God can save me, attacked as I am by foes yet each day, surely God can save anyone.

God created this earth, and us in it … and when it was done God said, “It is Good!”

So we can be good this day, too. Why not! If not now, when?!

Calves and Hubris

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Glory of Gold:

of God’s Creation

Or

of Our Hubris

Exodus 32:11-12

Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.

1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Words of Grace For Today

There is not one person who will not sin, turning from God even after God has made clear that by Grace (forgiveness and renewed life freely given by God) alone we live well.

Our human response to such great generosity given at such a great price, but taken and then squandered would be to wipe such a person from the face of the earth. We would so judge others, and hope that we would not also be judged. Or, for far too many people, we fear and ‘know’ that we will not be met with Grace again by God, so we go about blasting our way through life, destroying people left, right and centre, taking all we can from others and from life, sure that there is no God for us.

So Moses fears God will do to them, killing them in the mountains, and consuming them from the face of the earth. Answering God’s call Moses has led this rag tag band out of Egypt, but they have many times revolted in small ways against God and Moses demanding more and more. Then this hubristic band turns to worship their own smelted golden calf; it’s a full out revolt against God.

It is our story. It is the story that each of us can find in our own behaviour. We wish we would not sin, yet we still do. Too often in our hubris we turn in full revolt against God and worship our own gold-smelted-whatevers.

God could just as well kill us and consume us from the face of the earth. Yet God does not. God sends Jesus to save us yet again, and we live abundant lives by Grace alone, again … and again … and again. Jesus advocates for us. We learn how not to sin. We return to sin gravely. And Jesus saves us.

Now, given that God sends Jesus to save us, not once or twice or 77 times 7, but as many times we turn from God to sin, how are we going to respond to others who sin, again and again?

We can judge them, ‘killing’ them, and working to consume them from the face of the earth

OR

We can exercise God’s Grace for them … as Jesus calls us to. As God called Moses to lead the people out of slavery.

It’s a no-brainer …

because it’s not rational or reasoned or effective or productive or pious or righteous.

It requires pure faith,

which is by Grace alone possible.

Grating or Grateful?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

God’s Royal Colours

Show Every Day

To Address Our Very Not-Royal Realities.

Psalm 34:6

This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Words of Grace For Today

There are lots of complaints floating about, people tired of Covid19 restrictions, and generally people stressed out about life’s little challenges.

Those of us who know who we are (God’s people saved even though we are miserable sinners) know that our cries are heard by God and that God saves us – and there is in all things great cause to trust God’s promises, to remain firm in hope (and resilience), to not be overwhelmed by suffering, and to persevere in prayer.

It is a life of gratitude no matter what comes our way.

It’s so much better than a life of bitching, complaining and draining goodwill from the people around us.

So why do we continually chose to complain about other people and their stupidities?

God helps us remember that we too can be the ones doing stupid things, and are each new day.

Which keeps God active saving us from ourselves,

For which we can, instead of complaining, be ultimately grateful.

What a life, filled with opportunities to be saved and to be grateful!