You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.
Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Words of Grace For Today
Job showed great endurance, suffering greater losses and illness and pain than most of us care to imagine. Endurance is a gift from God, as it is fueled by faith, as Job’s demonstrated.
What are we to do when the earth and it’s fragile systems cannot endure the onslaught we have brought against her?
In Canada the law has sought to protect bodies of water and the fragile ecosystems on their shores by proscribing camping within 30 meters of a body of water and driving through any waterway.
Here the area used by many campers each summer is a random camping area, which used to be a municipal campground decades ago before it was handed back over to the province to ‘care for’ as Crown Land. Signs ask that people respect the land, not cut down trees for firewood (logs already on the ground can be used for firewood), stay no longer than 14 days, and take out with them everything they bring in.
Still many leave garbage, unbelievable garbage behind, stay months on end (it’s supposedly their right!) and they hack down living trees and worse scar trees so that in a few years they will die, and generally show great disrespect for the land, tearing it up with motorized deep tread tires among many other things. What no sign says is that camping is prohibited within 30 metres of the shoreline, and scores of campers dig up the sand to park within 10 meters of the shore everything from subcompact cars with tents to 50 foot 5th wheel campers.
This first long weekend, the start of the camping season for many, is certainly no exception. Only noteworthy is that there are ‘only’ ten vehicles parked within 20 meters of the shore, and only two larger camper units within 10 metres. That will change, for the worse … or for the better … as the summer progresses?
One can only hope.
And trust that as the Lord is compassionate and merciful so too will the enforcement officers first be clear with what is legal and what is not, and then be compassionate and merciful, but not afraid to ban people who cannot seem to learn to camp responsibly and respectfully.
Now excessive noise from partying and quads or side-by-sides that do not have sufficient mufflers are another problem, as is the public drinking, that is the drinking of alcoholic beverages anywhere other than in one’s own camping area, which begins to beg the question if there are ten units parked around one campfire, is all that drinking still at each person’s campsite? Stretch it far enough and anyone can drink anywhere in the whole random camping area. Or rather, that is how far it is stretched and tolerated by any enforcement persons I’ve ever witnessed out here. Some of the partiers are off-duty enforcement officers.
So we will endure, for the damage is not to us, but to the land … as long as God keeps the craziness of these ‘illegal’ campers at a great distance from us. After all, compassionate and merciful as God calls us also to be does not mean that we need to be ignorant, naive, or stupid about other’s stupidities, does it?
We pray the earth will endure, for generations and generations to come, so that they can enjoy the beauty of such a camping area.
This day will be marvellous, a wonder to behold, in spite of the disrespect so plentiful here.
As Long as We Continue to Ask With Cold, Hard Hearts
What Will Happen to Me If …?
Then Our World Remains Skewed
Far From Christ’ Way for Us
And We Do Not Follow Jesus.
Shepherd your people with your staff, the flock that belongs to you, which lives alone in a forest in the midst of a garden land; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days of old.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Words of Grace For Today
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US.
This snippet from
This past Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA. Hear a part of his last speech (the day before he died) as he spoke in support of 1300 sanitation workers who were striking for the right to form a Union. He introduces the parable of the Good Samaritan, and provides a number of explanations that have often been given for the Levite and priest’s passing by this man in need: that they are busy going to a church meeting, that the religious law forbade them to touch a human body 24 hours before leading a service, that they were going to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association to deal with the root cause of the danger on the road. Then King continues:
“But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. (That’s right)
… “I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.” It’s a winding, meandering road. (Yes) It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about … twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two hundred feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. (Yes)
… you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. (Go ahead) Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking (Yeah), and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to … lure them [over] there for quick and easy seizure. (Oh yeah) And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” (All right)
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” That’s the question before you tonight. (Yes) Not, “If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job?”… The question is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” That’s the question. (applause)
“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge, to make America [we add Canada, and the whole world] what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation [we add Canada a better nation, and the whole world better world for all people]. (Amen)”
It would be easier to keep asking ‘what will happen to us if …?’
When Jesus gathers us out of the safety of our ‘sheepfold’ and calls us to follow him, we know that all our own self interest is set aside, as Jesus set aside his, and we cannot ignore the important questions of what will happen to other people if we do not follow Jesus providing to others life, and life abundant.
Do not let your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands?
Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking.
Words of Grace For Today
Monday work and remember the children.
Tuesday work and remember all the men who are abused by women.
Oh, you say, that is not how the world is. Men abuse women and kill them.
Yes, we’ve come a long way recognizing how some men, very few men, abuse women with violence that eventually and inevitably leads to the man violently killing the woman, or psychological demeaning until the woman feels so worthless that she kills herself. And we have recognized the signs, and coaxed and coached abuse women away from their abuser (which is very hard to do since the abuser’s abuse captures and makes the abused think she needs the abuser’s presence and approval), and provided safe places for abused women to recover their sense of self, their voice, and their assurance of their own worth … and a vision of life without the abuser.
And many women and men have gone beyond that to assume and punish all men for the abuse done by a few, which only turns the tables on the men. Now the women and men become ardent, unrelenting, unabashed misandrists, theirs is the destruction of innocent, good people (men), and the lies that are told about innocent men mushroom into a cloud over society from which no one can escape.
Meanwhile many men are caught in their abuser’s trap, just as women are also. They have lost their voice, their woman has robbed them of their sense of self, of all their friends, of all contact with reality as they are blamed for so many things each day, small at first, the huge things, that the man has had nothing to do with. And the end is the same as for women: some women abusers are violent and they eventually, inevitably kill the abused man who is so worthless she sees him as not even human. More women psychologically beat the voice, worth, and hope right out of the man until he withers into self-loathing and finds no way to go on, so he kills himself. Men with a even a small tendency for violence use a gun, those with none use other means like poison.
When the courts are involved, like the rest of society, there are precious few who even think it’s possible for a woman to abuse a man if the woman is not beating the living daylights out of the man, and even then they are more likely to charge and convict the man – even though it is the woman violently beating up the man, and the man only tries to save his life. When the abuse is psychologial the courts most likely convict the man of come kind of harassment or psychological abuse (even though it’s the woman who is the abuser, if they would only open their eyes to the possibility!)
The rest of society is not unlike the courts, blaming the man for being abused: ‘what kind of a man are you to let a woman treat you like that!’ ‘No real man could ever be abused by a woman. Look at her. She’s half a foot shorter, and 50 pounds lighter (though so much stronger physically, if they’d only look.)’ ‘You’re not a real human if you let her treat you like that. You must have it coming. You’ve done something terrible to her.’ ‘Hey, man, it’s your fault for staying with her. Anyone with sense would have left long ago.’ And so go the blaming of the man for the woman’s abuse.
In the end everyone loses, no one more than the children, who learn to lie to protect themselves, who learn that courts and cops and church people are all corrupt, who learn never to tell the real truth about who is doing what to whom, because they will be made to pay if they do.
So we remember Tuesdays all the men abused by women.
And we pray that we will not be led astray by our words or others’ words of deceit.
And we pray that we will not be caught up in the ‘human way of thinking’ so that we ignore men who are suffering, and whose suffering will always end in death … unless someone or some miracle intervenes.
Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.
Words of Grace For Today
It was 2 am, and every sensible person was asleep or working the graveyard shift. Not Porgy. An alcoholic for decades with more than enough DUI’s to prove it, was drinking with his friends and when they all left at midnight he kept up by himself on the way home. At home he grabbed the left over beer and shifted from his pickup truck to his jeep. He set out to ‘run the muck around’ on crown land, except it was a foot and a half deep with snow. The better the challenge and the more fun.
He had toured all through the regular routes and left the run out to the hermit’s place for last. At 2 am his headlights off he winds onto the high road, now no longer on crown land for a ways, and follows the tracks that wind around an old basement filled with garbage and 20 year old trees, past the blocked off road above the illegal campsite sitting just 10 feet from the water of the lake, a road that can still be walked and from which the best views of sunset and fishers are enjoyed and captured by the hermit photographer. As he rounds the old deserted and abandoned camper and add-a-shack for a wood stove he guns the engine to ensure he wakes up the sleeping hermit and 50 yards later drives right through a wire that the hermit setup to slow down quads stealing wood from him. Up in the hermit’s wood yard Porgy’s jeep suddenly dies. It just stops. There Porgy sits, tries to turn the key to start the jeep but everything is black, dead, quiet.
The hermitage is holy ground. (Porgy has forgotten everything about ‘removing his sandals’ or giving God God’s due. God reminds Porgy by disabling his old jeep.)
Porgy has heard the ground is holy and not given it much credence. Now, completely dark, shut down silent, Porgy reconsiders. A light flashes down out of the sky. Porgy jumps out of his skin and prays earnestly for the first time since the last time he was drunk, “God save me!”
God has found a way to ‘speak’ to Porgy, even in his drunken haze.
It’s actually a military helicopter on an exercise, testing electronic surveillance, that God has put to use. Knowing all about Porgy’s DUI’s and alcoholism, the helicopter crew has been following his truck and then jeep for the last half hour, and having heard that the hermitage is holy ground they decide to play a bit with Porgy. They’ve remotely, temporarily shut off the jeep when they’ve known it would be safe. It was a good test of their equipment, logged and certified as effective at 500 metres.
As if in response to Porgy’s desperate prayer, the jeep lights up again. He starts it, and drives out as quietly as he can. Within days everyone hears a version of the story, Porgy’s version, how he went to visit the hermit in the evening and how God shut down his jeep as soon as he got on to the hermitage. He told everyone it must be holy ground.
Within days the military few know a different story, and they hear the story from Porgy. Only a faithful few realize that they played a part in it all, but God was at work. They realize that the hermitage really is holy ground. Humans (from his ex, the girls, the lay-pastor and bishop, the wealthiest people in town, the cops, lawyers, and more than 2 dozen judges) have sought to destroy a good, kind, and honest man, and they have only created a holy martyr, a hermit more safe from Covid than anyone of them, more blessed every day than any of them. Their practice surveillance of the area has long since established the hermit’s hard work to survive, his ingenuity, and his kindness to anyone who treads on that holy ground … and his efforts to save anyone from intruding in unholy ways on the holy ground. Their investigations of records they ‘practice’ accessing for ‘national security’ have given them enough of the completely unjustifiable effort of many different people to financially ruin him, to drive him deep into debt and poverty, and to even kill him … and the hermit’s blessed response of forgiveness to his mentally ill ex and the children and the binding of everyone else’s sins – putting their deeds over to God for judgment and offering them forgiveness if they would only but confess.
No one is holding their breath for that, since all the guilty people think no one will ever know who has done what or how.
But God knows, and a few intelligence people know, and a few honest people who listen carefully, and a whole lot of guilty people know.
That morning at 2 am, the hermit did wake up to the jeep’s engine noise, look out the window, and saw the jeep, and the light. He heard the near by helicopter and then saw Porgy start the jeep and drive away. When daylight came he went out and repaired the wire. All along, as for so many other things, the hermit gave God thanks, knowing that since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we can give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.
For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high.
1 Peter 5:5
In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. All of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’
Words of Grace For Today
It is true that God gives grace to the humble, and I am very sure and proud that I can say that God gives grace to the proud.
The Lord of hosts certainly has a day (or eternity one would hope!) against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up and high. Just so God has a day against every kind of sin, and no one lives without each hour committing a sin that God has a ‘day’ (an eternity) against.
There is order.
There is order that God created in the universe.
There is order that God created in the universe for us to discover, understand, and use … or rather to learn to live in harmony with. As much as we learn to live in harmony with the order God created life is healthier for us and those around us.
I am not so sure that accepting the authority of the elders is exactly the order that God created, for wisdom does not always come with age or authority assumed and exercised, nor does wisdom come with the freshness of youth. Wisdom is a gift that God sprinkles freely and randomly … and somehow some people seem to come up short, and not just short but kind of a vacuum of wisdom, no matter their age or intelligence.
Respecting each other, now that is a must for health.
Elders respecting youth, youth respecting elders. Men respecting women and women respecting men. Respect among and between all races, genders, faiths, and levels of wisdom even; this is how we live in harmony with the diverse universe God created. Respecting an idiot does not mean obeying an idiot. It is to respect that even the greatest, most powerful, most stupid idiot is still one of God’s creatures, and as long as these idiots breathe God is giving them time for the amendment of life, and we can learn to do so as well, and work to contain the effects of their idiocies on the rest of humanity.
God has a day against …
God has a day against all idiocies and sins, against all lies and false witnesses, and against all corrupt judgments and delusions of power. We need not make that day come sooner, nor stop praying that God’s day will come very soon.
Those with any wisdom want God’s day against their own sin to come soon, very soon, for their day before God is determined already as Jesus’ record will be used in place of our own … we will continue to be God’s saints, free then of sin, free to exercise God’s Grace that is so abundantly poured over us, like a fresh white blanket of snow pours over the darkness of the night.
no matter how much you may wish to say it isn’t so
they remain trees,
until they die
and cease to be even dead trees.
Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies.
In [Christ Jesus our Lord] we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
Words of Grace For Today
We do not bring supplications to God on the grounds of our own righteousness, which is barely enough to notice, but on the ground of God’s own great mercies …
for by God’s mercies, by Grace, we have come to believe in Jesus our Lord and Saviour, and by that faith alone we are bold and confident that God hears us when we cry.
With Covid 19 in it’s fourth wave here, overfilling our hospitals and ICU capacity so that surgeries of all kinds are cancelled for lack of staff and space to support the surgeries and the patients, we do cry to God for help.
With Covidiots and Antivaxxers leading ‘the charge’ into the ICU beds for an average of 6 weeks each and then too often the morgues we are left dumbstruck by the Querdenken (the Skewed Thinking) that brings Covidiots and Antivaxxers to exist at all, we do cry to God for help.
Friday evening of Thanksgiving weekend I took a walk on to crown land into the random camping area, which has emptied after a summer of campers staying for months, parties of hundreds, and multiple households regularly sharing space and buffet style meals (all against the laws concerning random camping on crown land and health regulations in effect at the time – as if breaking the law were the purpose of coming out to this crown land). I met two boater pulling their boat out of the lake and securing the motor before driving away, and then a single camper (actually a drinker.) He started on a rant about Covid after I declined his invitation to come and sit beside him on his truck tailgate.
I think his logic can be summarized like this:
At work for an oil company they are testing everyone everyday [after huge infection rates that caused work disruptions, not to mention hospitalizations, ICU overloads and deaths] he is not vaccinated. Others he works for are vaccinated. They tested positive and he tested negative. Therefore the vaccines do not work and they are a hoax.
The scientists who tell us about vaccines are saying whatever it takes to get research grants, but they do not do anything real. It’s all fake. If it were real then there would be a cure for cancer [meaning a singular disease for all the things that are covered by the term cancer] but there is no cure.
The scientists say whatever they need to say in order to get more research grants in order to have a Mercedes in the driveway.
As he downed a beer, and tossed the can on a pile of more than 2 dozen empties, as he sat on the tailgate of that old, old pickup truck with mix matched cab and bed, ‘warming’ himself by the smoke of a fire stacked with huge logs enough to produce a 12’ high flame which were fortunately not burning because they were fresh cut green trees, beneath which was one birch dried piece of wood that was burning. It is illegal to drink alcohol on this piece of crown land, unless one has a campsite (which requires at least a tent) and one remains in that campsite.
My response to his ‘logic’:
If one wants to dismiss scientific research as real and disconnect oneself from reality (vaccinations never were purported to stop infections, but to stop the large majority of – not all – hospitalizations and deaths) then ANYTHING can be accepted as reality … and one is vulnerable to all fear-mongers and fear-based-power-takers, including the ruling party of this province.
So we cry to God, save us from this kind of ‘logic’ that endangers us all, as many, many people now wait for life-saving and life-restoring operations, which are displaced by the need for extra ICU beds to deal with people shot through with this kind of ‘logic’ and fear based hiding from reality.
We are so bold to cry to God, for it is not on our own merits that we are so bold, but by God’s own Grace exercised for us through Jesus Christ and made clear to us by Jesus’ story.
Lord save us from those who claim their freedom includes putting everyone else’s lives at risk.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
With the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.
Words of Grace For Today
Amid the pandemic that threatens our livelihoods and our very lives, we pray that God will cure us of the blindness that allows us to live unaware of God’s presence in, with, and among us.
Through all generations God has lifted up people who have been able to provide witness to God’s presence in, with, and among us , for the many people who remain blind to God’s presence. These are the saints in light, the Light of Christ.
The Light of Christ, the reality of God’s creation as blessed, shines through the saints, so that even the blind may know what they could see if they allowed God to heal them of their blindness.
This light shines as clear as the morning sun on a clear, blue-sky day. This light shines in all the dark corners where people would hide their sins and evil deeds.
This light shines clearly on the Covidiots, the Antivaxers, and those who intentionally spread false science. They spread the lies to create fear, for out of fear they are able to promise false solutions, and with false hopes they lead people into dark places from which they are able to be lead, giving their leaders power, dark power, power that would destroy faster than it heals or gives life.
Christ’s Light shines even today, especially today. For there is no shortage of saints, God-made-saints who see God in creation and give clear witness to God’s presence, and God’s guidance that would lead us all to life, and life abundant. For when we live, knowing that God is with us, we receive a hope that is beyond compare. This hope shines for us like a brilliant light through all the darkness of evil and sin in this world. This hope shines for us pulling us through the darkness of these days to a better future, a future that is blessed by God, where we can breathe clear, clean, uninfected air … even as we stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers on earth.
This hope shines brightly for us each day so that we are able to pray (even mid the pandemic that threatens our livelihoods and our very lives) that God will cure us all of the blindness that allows us to live unaware of God’s presence in, with, and among us.
Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, and do not provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.
The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
Words of Grace For Today
A pre-peer review study about the rate of inflammation of the heart following Covid-19 vaccination published a huge error in that rate, having begun with a hugely smaller number of vaccinations considered (25,000 instead of the correct 800,000). The inflammation is treatable without hospitalizations, and the correct rate is significantly smaller than the rate of the inflammation as a result of being infected by Covid-19.
The error was quickly caught by peer reviewers and immediately accepted by the authors, with apologies, and the study was withdrawn.
There are people who do not respect the order that God created, and the ability God gives us humans to explore, discover, and organize our knowledge of God’s order. Remember that science was possible only because of the religious faith that accepted God created an order that could and should be explored and better understood! So much for the simply stupid old antagonism between ‘science’ and ‘faith’. Both, pursued correctly, must depend substantially on the other!
In the midst of a pandemic (no it’s not over and able to be dealt with as an endemic, Premier Kenney, no matter what your supporters wish were so) science done correctly will always produce errors that need to be corrected. This study into the rate of inflammation of the heart after vaccination is one such. The process to correct the errors was pursued well by all involved.
So what’s the problem?
There are many, disingenuous people, who promote false ‘science’ in order to sustain a powerful and large enough antivax portion of the population. This error in this study has been spread like wildfire around the internet. There the correction has not been made. The error, honestly corrected by the authors, is intentionally left as if it were truth. This false science is spread as if it were true and people who have disconnected themselves from reality (wishing it were something it is not and will not ever be) are stupidly convinced to refuse to be vaccinated. The problem is that enough people refuse to be vaccinated so that the pandemic continues.
The same people who claim the pandemic is not real, that vaccines do not work, keep the vaccines from being used in enough people … and they make the pandemic continue. The poor, stupid people who wish there were no pandemic and who behave as if there were no pandemic, by refusing to be vaccinated, are exactly the people that allow Covid-19 to continue as a pandemic.
And the people who intentionally spread false science to promote these stupid opinions and actions know full well that they are a significant factor in continuing the pandemic. What kind of evil runs rampant in them?
These people have certainly gone after other gods to serve and worship them, and brought God’s anger down on themselves … and unfortunately on all of us, as the health care system is at a breaking point, running out of ICU beds, converting other beds (and the real and needed health care they would provide to ill people) to Covid-19 care beds.
At this time, when reality becomes worse because some people want it to be worse, and others refuse to accept that it is as bad as it is already, we need to remember that God is not contained in our shrines (of ‘small religion’ or false realities) doch, God gives to all mortals life and breath and all things.
God walks with us, even in these days when our very lives and livelihoods are threatened by Covid-19 and other more common diseases (from heart disease, strokes, cancer, and even the out of season cold and flu). God created us and all of creation with order which (because we are created in God’s image) we can discover with fertile, inquisitive minds working in reality within the capacity to organize our knowledge. God does not abandon us in this marvellous universe. God accompanies us, and gives us a history full of stories of how God has been present with people through all time. Jesus’ story is the most clear, as God became human, lived among us and healed our illnesses.
We pray, may God cure us of Covidiocies that prolong the pandemic and put us all at risk. May God protect us from the fools who hold Covid parties, sharing air and food with people with Covid in order to contract the disease intentionally, falsely hoping that they will have some immunity thereby – when what they do is fill up ICU beds and add to the death toll … and overburden the health care system with long-Covid symptoms for decades to come.
Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.
Words of Grace For Today
There is too much to fear these days:
The Covid19 delta variant and other more transmissible and deadly variants that will come out of unvaccinated populations where Covid still runs rampant threaten us all.
Climate change disasters like crop failures, disasters for the farmers and for the people who depend on that food (at a cost that can be afforded), floods that destroy homes, businesses, industries, and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt), fires that destroy homes, businesses and forestry industries and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt, and drive even higher the cost of building lumber – so that it is out of reach for so many people), and wildfires that put so much smoke in every direction into the air that for thousands of miles people have trouble breathing.
Barbaric fabrication of reality (by spouses and children, police and pastors, lawyers and judges) in order to gain a fast diminishing advantage (money, power, and/or status) over good and honest people, falsifying science results or ignoring science’s best results (by politicians who lead us into destroying the very things that we need to live on earth, and by Covidiots and others who put every life at risk with their unsupported insistence that they can be right with their foolishness), and the accumulation of power by people who have driven fear into huge portions of our populations so that they are willing to surrender their freedoms in exchange for false promises that their fears will be dealt with. Instead more and more of their freedoms are taken and hate based decisions by despots destroy the lives of many good people. All which disconnects us from reality, the basic reality that God walks with us, and blesses us with many things in order that we can share them with all other people.
How are we to respond to these very real causes of fear in and among us?
First we listen as we have listened for years, for decades, and for generations to God’s promises.
Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.
Second we learn how and practise daily to be the people who live past fear in the Grace that God provides, so that we can share that Grace with others.
We let no evil talk come out of our mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that our words may give grace to those who hear.
If that sounds simple, it is, and it is impossible for us. Doch with God all things are possible and God calls us to live exactly this way. Living beyond fear, filled with Grace and sharing Grace with others, with our words and our actions, is exactly how God created us to live in the world.
There is too much to fear these days, just as there always has been for every generation. We can get lost in that fear, destroying (and de-story-ing) ourselves and others in the process … OR
We can remember and live in the story that God has for us: God makes us saints who share the Light of Christ with the whole world and all the people in it.
We cannot help but to fear and destroy and de-story ourselves and others.
Doch by God’s Grace we are saved and can be part of God’s work of saving everyone of all time.
Not so small a deal, when we think about it and remember how much God has done for us through the generations.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Words of Grace For Today
God, why …?
God why is it so hot!
Sweat pours down my back and arms and all over dripping all my work in stinky wet.
My jeans stick to my legs as I try to move. My shirt tugs back at all my efforts to move. It’s hard to get anything done, and when I do I feel like someone has wrung me out like a sopping wet towel and left me still soaking and stinking.
Ok, God, I can get used to the heat, it’s not easy but I’m adapting to it, but
God why are there so many miserable mosquitoes ready to bite me at all hours and at dawn and dusk they swarm so thick it’s hard not to inhale more than a few just walking a few feet from the door. When they bite it hurts, and then goes away, just to come back with a terrible itch that simply will not go away and will not be ignored! What’s that about anyway. If I try to ignore them and merely wash the itch away with ammonia in the glass cleaner, that sort of works until I get itchy all over inside my eyes, my nose, my throat and my ears and I start to have a severe allergic reaction that starts to take my breath away. Really, does it have to be so bad all summer long!? I have to wear long jeans and long sleeves, thick socks and a hat with flaps down my neck and over my ears soaked in DEET to keep them away. Then every night I have to wash all that DEET exposure away before I sleep which takes water which is expensive to haul here to have to wash with. Fortunately I have friends who have loaned me the things needed to shower each night and haul water often enough from town that I can shower on the hot days before sleeping.
So God I guess I can get used to the mosquitoes, but God, I mean really: does there have to be so many black gnats that dive bomb into my face, my eyes and ears and take little chunks away as prizes for their kamikaze efforts, which because they are so many they usually survive better than I. I end up breathing them into my lungs at least once a day. I have to constantly wave my hand in front of my face to keep them away, which sort of works and they only seem to be out in certain places while I am mowing grass. So it’s not all the time, thankfully.
So God I guess I have figured out how to survive even the kamikaze gnats.
But God why are there so many wasps, not just ready to bite me when I try to work on the tarps that shelter me from the cold in winter. They did sting me, hard sending shock waves through my body and brain freezing out all other thoughts or impulses except to run. Not just once, but twice, and they hurt unbearably for hours, then itched and ached for days. The memory returned fresh each time I stepped outside and the sound of a wasp buzz reached my ears. I live in fear everyday of being smashed into panic again. I cannot have that. I cannot work. I have to huddle in fear inside.
That just cannot be. So I’ve made a suit to protect me from head to toe, even a piece of screen left over from repairs to guard my face, all duct taped together with no gaps at all. I’ve read on the internet that dish soap will suffocate wasps. I cannot find any prepared wasp control/killer spray, so I’ve filled a spray bottle with a water soap mix and I’ve destroyed the nest on the tarps, and three in the woods so close they wasps swarm around the camper each day.
So God I guess I’ve figured out how to deal with the fear created by being stung by wasps, and in the fall they will all dies off. Next spring I know what to do to keep them from creating nest here again. It’s simple if I am ready.
But God I really don’t know what to do with the people that gaslight me, that scapegoat me, that bear false witness against me, and the judges that lie about the evidence before them in order to convict me and deny me true justice. How can a society survive such barbarism anyway. It’s like the truth does not count for anything and whatever someone makes up for the courts and whatever the courts want to make up for themselves will be taken in the worse possible way for me, and I’ll pay and pay and pay until I have nothing left and still I’ll be driven into debt, further and further and further, and made to give up even the most common decent truths about myself. I have had to celebrate the Eucharist each day to remember that you too were betrayed and scapegoated and convicted and … well you were crucified. I have not been killed. I have found your blessings in each day in the most profound and simple things, like having enough to eat, and a good cup of coffee with fresh milk in it in the morning, and having medications I need, and having reason and opportunity to work hard to survive, and write and dream and use photography to speak about the wonders of your creation.
So God, I guess I have gotten used to evil all around in the most trusted, honoured places in society in this adopted country of mine. I have to remember how much you forgive me, so that I can remember that you may forgive these people as well, though now I cannot say their sins are forgiven, for they have not admitted they did and still do this same thing to others, and it is horrendous for the children. So I have bound their sins so that they might fear that they will answer to you, though with you I hope for a double victory, now that they provide justice based on truth, and that they join your people in celebrating all your gifts, encouraging others to do the same.
But Lord, it’s so hot, there’s so many mosquitoes and gnats and wasps and so many enemies of goodness, kindness, truth, and love. How can I deal with all of them all the time.
So I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep
and if I die before I wake, least I won’t wonder how much is still at stake
for the dance of life is more than a dance, gracefully, graciously partaken in.
It is also a feast and celebration with you, God, with all your people, in thanks for all you’ve suffered to do good things for us all.
So I guess I can wait for the cold, when the sweat will not run freely, the mosquitoes will be done for another year, the gnats will disappear and I can breathe easy, and the evil people are kept at bay by the cold and snow.
But God why does it have to be so cold and stormy, and why does there have to be so much snow.
I mean I like to have my peace and be able to ski ….
So Lord I pray, give me your peace, in the sleep of the righteous and pure, graciously so made a saint of your light by your own choice and by grace through faith alone.
Another simple normal summer day.
When does autumn start to arrive?
But Lord, why do the bears start to come around in the fall …..?
Lord, whatever it is that holds me captive, free me. Whatever it is that blinds me, give me sight. Whatever it is that robs me of joy while serving you and sharing the good news of your Grace with others, take this from me so that
because you give me life
I can be one of the saints who bring good news to the oppressed, who bind up the broken-hearted, who proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.
Help me live in the freedom you have so preciously bought for me; help me not return to the slavery that I know so well and feels so comfortable … until it binds me so close to evil that life starts to shrivel right out of me leaving me alone with my fears.