Whether We Are On or Off, God’s Love Is Always On!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The First Wondrous View Each Sunny Morning.

Wonders Never Cease

Whether We Notice God’s Miracles

Each Day Determines Much of Our Lives

Psalm 48:9

We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.

Ephesians 2:22

In Christ Jesus you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God.

Words of Grace For Today

God’s temple, that temple built by humans, is a great place to contemplate and ponder God’s great works.

God’s temple, that temple built by God – that is all of creation and especially the wildernesses untouched by human ‘domination’, development, and destruction – is the place to contemplate and ponder God’s great works visible and obvious before one’s eyes, if one will open them and notice what is there.

God’s temple, that temple, the body that God dwells in, in each of us provides no end of cause to pause, contemplate, and ponder all of God’s great works that give us breath and life, re-newed life, and hope.

God’s temple, that temple, the body of Christ made up of all the followers of Jesus the Christ, through all time and in all places, is the most remarkable opportunity to contemplate and ponder the great works of God, for in the gathering of Christ’s followers (not at all the greatest people ever) the evidence of God’s Grace is blatant to even the casual observer. Here, in those Christians alive now, great sinners we each and all are and by Grace God-made saints we each and all are, along with the sinner-saints of all times and place, give ample witness to God’s greatest work; that by Grace God claims us, walks with us (even when we sin, trying to ‘run from’ God), forgives us, renews us, and sets us free (sin-free, though we always choose otherwise) to live each day again. That marvellous Grace, for each of us, and that marvellous Grace among us, holds us alive, in body, mind, and spirit. That Grace does not cease when we try for the million-times-millionth time to ‘run from God.’ God’s Grace, miraculously accompanies us through all our lives and into eternity.

If the trees create remarkable shadows on the ‘dark side’ of the sun’s light, we humans cast a shadow far more obvious with our ‘trying to run from God’ efforts. The Grace of God, in the Light of Christ, does not fail to shine even on the cloudiest of days or the darkest moonless nights. Our sins make God’s Grace as blatantly obvious as the trees’ shadows on the dew lit grass of the early morning sun.

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love.

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love, also for you (no matter what you have done ‘running from God’, or how desperate your enemies are that attack you, or how lost in it all you may find yourself!)

This Grace is God’s love, God’s steadfast love, also for you, this day, this night, and your every tomorrow.

This is worth pondering, and being awestruck by once again.

Desires of Birds, Bees, Beasts, and Fish

Thursday, May 6, 2021

God’s Value

Is Everything.

God Values

Every Thing and Being

In Creation.

Psalm 145:15-16

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

Luke 12:22-24

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!’

Words of Grace For Today

I am not sure about this:

You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.

We humans have a way of ‘desiring’ so much more no matter how much we have.

Further the birds, bees, and beasts, and not to forget the fish, struggle under the effects of our ‘possessing the land’, ‘dominating it’, and destroying ecosystems that have taken millions of years to establish!

So?

The truth is God created the world quite capable of sustaining all the life created on it, satisfying the desire of every living thing. God promises to provide for the needs those desires are given to life of all kinds, in order that all life can continue on God’s good earth.

That includes our desires that God gave us so that we could continue to live among all the life on this planet.

How did we screw it up so badly!?!

Well, God loved us, wanted us to be able to love, which means we need to be able to choose to love or not, and …

Well so much of the time we humans have chosen, do choose, and forever will choose to do other than love! Youch, what a price!

We are destroying what provides us the ability to live on earth! It’ll take us maybe 100 or so, maybe only 25 or 5 years, to unmake the earth capable of sustaining life, something God created in 6 days, or millions of years measured in our time.

What power we have … to destroy!

And what power we have, as well, to love, when we so choose. Choosing to love is possible, for any one, for every one, of us … though only as God makes us able.

The beginning of God making us able is to promise that God values us greatly. Knowing that we can choose to act responsibly and responsively to that unconditional, life-giving and life-renewing love!

God willing and ‘the creek not rising’ (maybe it ought to be ‘the oceans not rising’) we may still live on planet earth in 1000 years and more!

God’s Word started this all. God’s Word sustains us all. Certainly God’s Word is able to bring us to that miracle of miracles.

So what are we going to do today, with God’s love?

Healing, Snow, Courage: All by Grace

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Hosea 11:3

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.

2 Peter 3:15

Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. … Our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him.

Words of Grace For Today

In time everything changes. This morning it’s a thing, quite  a thing, to go to bed with grass showing

grazed on by deer

and then

to wake at 3:00

to see the flakes flying in the flashlight

and to wake

before breakfast

to see the whole of everything and beyond covered

well by snow still falling.

But then that is life

and weather in Alberta by the lake.

Change is not always so survivable, especially not when it is evil, aimed at eroding or emptying our souls of unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope.

Then we come to know that we need God every day, whether we see and know God or not, to heal us and to fill us with wisdom of living as those who have received salvation as a gift from God.

Only by grace are we able to live having received and sharing unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope … with all people no matter what comes our way,

whether it is snow or Covid 19.

7th Day of …

Thursday, December 31, 2020

In the darkness of the woods,

the sun still shines.

In the darkness of our suffering at our enemies’ hands,

Christ’s Light still shines.

We get to be Christ’s Light

even for our enemies.

Psalm 6:10

All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror; they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

John 16:24

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

Words of Grace For Today

Enemies shamed, our joy complete.

It sounds like schadenfreude, our joy at others’ misery. Is this part of our Christmas tradition, too?!

It sounds like God’s justice is actually our revenge, or that God’s justice is like Karma: ‘what goes around comes around’.

It sounds like we can ask for anything and it will be done for us … and our joy is completed in having our wishes and whims fulfilled.

When it sounds like that, it is the devil messing around with the Good News, bringing us to suffer perdition even as we live our days on earth.

What a shame to suffer, to be so skewed as to think that the devil’s ways are God’s ways. That is the real shame, for that mix up is the root of all sin. Often instead of knowing they are the devil’s ways we think that they are the good ways we have chosen to pursue for our own good. Hah! How foolish we humans can be, and what a shame we suffer for being such fools.

The Good News is simple: God loves us, all of our fore-bearers descendants, and all of our descendants … and all our enemies! Of course we wish to be freed from suffering at our enemies’ hands. But, though our instincts are to pursue revenge, to cause our enemies suffering, God does not delight in their suffering, nor in their deaths. Instead God wishes that they be converted from our enemies to our friends, from followers of the devil to followers of Jesus.

In this is God’s joy complete.

In this double victory we are freed from suffering at our enemies hands, and we gain new friends and new siblings as children of God.

And in that our joy is complete, as we wish what God wishes: that our enemies be saved as we are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice of unconditional love.

We have waited to celebrate Christ’s birth, because in waiting we can see what otherwise we could not: the patience God has with us and with our enemies. This tradition of Advent waiting is not one many keep anymore. Yet it is a tradition that is more valuable than many others.

It is a tradition that Covid 19 cannot interrupt, rather it disrupts our jumping on the early Christmas bandwagon so easily. It helps us remember Advent is … significantly … for waiting.

In that tradition we may encounter the mystery of God, and be overwhelmed yet again by God’s grace and love for us all, even for our enemies! As the mysteries of God surround us, carry us, and astound us, with our humble praise we give God thanks in all things.

What a life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – November 26

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Sometimes it’s the imperfections

that make life worth giving thanks for,

for therein we notice God’s Grace

1 Chronicles 29:13

Now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name.

Ephesians 5:18-20

Be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

Now.

Whenever now is, where ever now is, it is always the time to give God thanks for everything in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Amidst the second wave gone bezerk in Alberta with new cases doubling in a week, contact tracing broken down, parties continuing, hospitals overwhelmed with Covid 19 cases shutting out other health care needs, and Covidiots running loose everywhere in town …

It is time to give God thanks for everything:

For every thing one has, or has at one’s disposal.

For every gift, skill, and talent one has.

For every minute of life one has.

For the air, water, food, clothing, shelter, meaningful labour, and love one has (maybe such as it is, or even some of the requirements of life may be missing).

For every challenge one faces, making the day’s efforts worthwhile.

For every thing of beauty one can see in creation, for this is God’s hand writ large for all to see.

And most of all, for forgiveness, adoption, redemption, and being transformed into saints even as we remain sinners, for this is life the way God created us to live it!

For every opportunity we have to extend God’s Grace to others with forgiveness and inspiration.

Now.

If not now, when?

For one cannot know how many more years, days, minutes one has of this life built on Grace.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 17

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Path to ?

Think you’ve seen this Path before,

Maybe, Still God Requires of Us

That We Bring Sojourn Through Life

Sharing the Fullness of Life with All People

Starting with Kindness, Truth, Justice, and Hope!

Deuteronomy 10:12

So now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? Only to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

James 1:22

Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.

Words of Grace For Today

God requires of us?

We must be doers of the word?

Luther described James as a straw Gospel. Like a straw house that the wind blows away with ease and fire burns quickly away. All chaff, no substance.

Before God requires anything of us, Before we ‘get’ to be doers of the Word, God acts.

God acts by creating us, making us able to love, which requires free choice, which means we sin and are bound to choose to sin, so God acts to forgive us, redeem us, and set us free to love, choose, sin, and God walks with us to forgive us, redeems us and set us free again and again to love ….

Always God acts first. Then we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to do what is ‘required’ of us:

to fear God, to walk in God’s ways, to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength!

Make no mistake: it is everyone’s obligation to fear and love God, to walk in God’s ways, and to serve God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength: to be DOERS of God’s Word. We do not get a pass to sit on the sidelines of life and allow EVIL to have it’s way with us and others. We are to WORK against EVIL, in all it’s forms of injustice, violence, and degradation of life.

We do not get to sit on the sidelines like those in Hottelstedt who watched train load after train load of people in cattle cars and box cars pass through their town and not work to stop the obvious extermination of masses of people, genocide to provide for a ‘pure’ Aryan nation. After the war was lost, they excused themselves that they had no idea what was happening just a few kilometres away.

Our duty includes being curious about the work of evil around us, to speak up, to speak out, and to work to stop it. We use Grace and forgiveness, giving God opportunity to rejoice at the redemption of yet more sinners.

It’s not so easy as following rules. It requires everything of us! Thank God life, all of life, has an honourable and glorious purpose! To serve God and be the ones who bring God’s will to actuality here and now … by being the bearers of forgiveness, redemption, and freedom.

What a life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 4

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Standing on level ground

as God’s mysteries pour in

Psalm 26:12

My foot stands on level ground; in the great congregation I will bless the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:26

What should be done then, my friends? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

Words of Grace For Today

Standing on level ground: building up the gathering of followers.

Out hiking in the mountains, more so as the years accumulate on one’s frame, one needs to take breaks from the steady walking forward, upward in order to catch one’s breath, to regroup one’s commitment and to let one’s body catch up on the energy output so slight for each step, yet so great for hours and hours of steps forward and upward.

A cool drink of water, or juice, and a handful of trailmix or cheese or pemmican helps the body and the spirit rejuvenate.

While one rests it is the first obvious thing, one seeks out a level spot, perhaps with a log or rock on which one may sit to rest. Experience will teach one that sitting is best kept brief, and that standing or walking easily about, catching any great view available, is the best way to rejuvenate one’s spirit for the arduous labour of one step times thousands per hour.

So also it is best to find one’s place in the congregation standing on level ground, orienting oneself to the view, toward God in our midst, and toward the people gathered, and toward all the people who are not present but are out there. So oriented one can assess the circumstances and discern God’s work, and with all that one brings to the congregation one can ensure it will build up the congregation, each person and all of us together.

What does not build up has no place in the congregation.

Paul had an earful of what the people in the congregation at Corinth were capable of, which did not build up, but rather divided the congregation.

Paul did not give up on the congregation, nor anyone person in it. He writes with clarity about the divisions and actions of the congregation that tear the congregation apart, that tear it down. And he points to ways the congregation can work to build each other up, to provide for each person, and not to continue hubris practices that divide and destroy the congregation.

For generations now those words, and unfortunately those circumstances, resonate as people stand against each other, against faith with integrity, and for their own limited vision of what the church is. We still pray: God save us from division. God grant us unity.

and then we whisper: my kind of unity, thank you God.

We really need to take a break, on level ground, give God thanks, and celebrate what the Holy Spirit has made of each person.

Together we can pray: God save us from temptation and deliver us from Evil.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 13

Saturday, June 13, 2020

In the Fog

Our Darkness

Christ’s Light

Zechariah 12:10

I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Words of Grace For Today

Compassion and supplication,

to look and mourn, to mourn as for an only child.

What profound grief … to mourn the loss of a loved one,

a child no less, and

an only child.

.

..

When we are caught in deep emotion, especially deep sadness, despair or grief, we do not function well.

And it is good to hear again and again that at these times

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be there with us, interceding for us, helping us to ask for what we really need.

Even the Holy Spirit is caught by our sadness, despair and grief. The Spirit sighs so deeply words cannot express the Spirit’s empathy for us.

No matter what, there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. When we do not remember this, the Holy Spirit carries us until we can remember.

Thanks be to God, for into the darkest days of our lives the Light of Christ shines.

Prayer: For Trinity Sunday & Everyday

Our Breastplate Prayer for Today

tip of the hat to St. Patrick and his Breastplate Prayer (see below)

Mist and Mysteries

Caught in the Mists

of Mystery, Doubt, and Threats,

We Invoke

The Trinity, 3in1

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

As the saints before me faced these same battles, help me persevere giving God the Glory, even under threat of death.

Help me remember all that God has given us:
the Goodness of Creation, the Law, the Prophets,
the Psalms, the Gospels, the Epistles, and more
to revive my weary spirit and sagging strength.

Jesus came to tell God’s story most plainly: God is always for us, claiming us, forgiving us at great cost, sending us out to share the story of Jesus’ Grace, God’s Love and the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing together people of all kinds.

Seeing the wonders of creation that the last centuries of progress have laid to waste, I still affirm: God wants this all to be GOOD again, including all that I do.

Yet, the Devil would have me filled with fear.

Name the fears of this day:

Fear of a virus called Covid 19.

Fear of being alone and forgotten.

Fear of deadly and destructive riots hijacked from peaceful protests against police abuses (as if God does not treasure young black and young First Nations’ men as much as us!)

Fear of police power and martial law abused.

Doch!

God, you have promised again and again I do not need to be afraid!

Christ sent the Holy Spirit, the mysterious, powerful fire of God, to envelop, motivate, and protect me:

up, down,

to the left, to the right,

in front of me, and behind me

(making sure I am not lazy in the calling Christ sends me to!)

As I arise from the healing mists of rest, to face the mountains, mysteries and doubts in the morning light and the Devil’s wiles, I pray:

by the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit,

Lord, protect me from all dangers that would be my undoing.

Now as I raise my hands from the bed, make them work for Christ.

As I put my feet to the floor, make them move for Christ.

As I warm up my voice to speak, use my voice to proclaim the power of the Trinity: Creator, Redeemer, Holy Maker and Guide.

Amen

..

.

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer Information

These words came to us as part of a collection, published in 1903, of hymns found in two old manuscripts. With this hymn/prayer were these words: Saint Patrick sang this when an ambush was laid against his coming by Loegaire, that he might not go to Tara to sow the faith. And then it appeared before those lying in ambush that [Saint Patrick and his monks] were wild deer with a fawn following them. [‘Wild deer’ can also mean they were hidden in a thick mist, something well-known in Ireland.] see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Breastplate

St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.

Through the belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of Christ’s birth with his baptism.

Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,

Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of the love Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of archangels,

In hope of resurrection met with reward,

In prayers of patriarchs,

In predictions of prophets,

In preaching of apostles,

In faith of confessors,

In innocence of holy virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

.

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptations of vices,

From everyone who shall wish me ill,

Afar and anear,

Alone and in multitude.

.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,

Against incantations of false prophets,

Against black laws of pagandom

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

Christ to shield me today

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

.

Christ with me,

Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

.

I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the threeness,

Through confession of the oneness,

Of the Creator of Creation.

Amen!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 28

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Water, Water, Everywhere

No one to bring me to the water

and it’s all frozen hard.

Help.

Help us all through the ice of sin and shame.

Psalms 25:16

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

John 5:7-8

The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’

Words of Grace For Today

If ever there were a time when loneliness and afflictions were shared by so many people, even those who are not caught alone by the Covid 19 restrictions!

So we pray: God turn to us/to me, be gracious to us/to me. We’ve waited years for someone to carry us to the living water and immerse us in it so that our body, mind, and soul could be healed. Now we know, we only need Jesus to speak a Word, and we will be made whole again.

We are, since our baptisms, the hands, feet, and voice of Christ, anointed to bring the living Word to those in need.

Stand up, be counted among the saints, and speak.

Today speak with the holy healing whispers of the wind as the Spirit inspires you.

So many people thirst for the water that will make them whole.

Today speak of the water that overflows our cups giving all more than enough to drink.

So many people hunger to hear the word that will make them whole.

Today speak simple words of Jesus’ love renewed yet again in us, for all people.

Today, be God’s grace for others. ‘Pay the rent on the air you breathe’ today by doing Grace.