Holy Ground! Come No Closer!

Monday, December 6, 2021

This Could Be

The Hermit’s Holy Ground,

If One is Faithful

And Ears to Hear and Eyes to See.

Exodus 3:5

Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’

Hebrews 12:28

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.

Living to Tell the Truth

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Cold Hard Truth Is:

Where We’ve Walked

Is the Past

That No Lie Can Change

Psalm 17:7

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.

1 Thessalonians 5:23

May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

The movie Blood Diamonds, the story of Solomon Vandy, ends with a simple lesson: let us applaud those who live to tell the truth … in a world where lies reign over so many hearts, where greed drives people to perversions that move them beyond love, hope and life.

There is, as histories told, and truth written in literature and scientific studies bears witness, no end to the people who would destroy others in a vain attempt to get ahead. Ahead of what is not important other than to those who sacrifice their lives to those insignificant markers of gain, which is gain that so easily disappears, which gain eats at the hearts of those seeking it until they have no heart to love, hope or live left. Then live, a shells of humans, that only destroy and accumulate … and do not die soon enough.

For those who live as we do to tell the truth, we pray Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour to those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand. For to live to tell the truth is to seek refuge in God’s hands.

The temptations are so great, to stoop to the level of those who use lies and destruction to accumulate their gain; gain that provides power, pseudo-security, comforts, and hedonistic excesses as it gulps down their hearts, minds, and strength. The temptations are great, for who would not want just a bit more control, security, comfort, and pleasure in life. Resistance is exactly like that to the Borg, it is said to be futile, until one calls on the one source of power that can save one from such temptations: God’s own blessings. Therefore …

Each day, each hour, we pray: May the God of peace himself sanctify us entirely; and may our spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We also pray that God would save our enemies, so that their perverse and relentless need to destroy us and the truth would cease, and so that they could learn to love, hope, and live again.

Hey, You! Ya, You!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

God Calls,

As Distinctly

As Venus in the Western Sky.

(Listen Up!)

1 Samuel 3:9

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” ’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Acts 16:14

A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.

Words of Grace For Today

God speaks.

Some of us are taught, moved, or inspired to listen … and we know the rest of those stories, right!

Samuel hears a voice calling and since he is Eli’s apprentice he assumes his master calls him and he obediently goes to the aide of his master. But Eli has not called him.

Now the word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread, as it is today where sacramental mystics are rare, very rare. So Samuel and even Eli do not catch on to what really happens; that God calls to Samuel. It takes three times that Samuel runs to Eli to answer the call. Then Eli understands that Samuel is not making it up, nor is Eli so forgetful he’s forgotten that he’s called Samuel, nor is someone playing tricks on the two of them, living as they are in the temple. Eli directs Samuel to answer the call, to know that it is God calling.

How many times does God call to us and we miss out because we simply fail to recognize that God calls to us. God works in many and various ways, so we’d do well to be prepared and alert or at least that someone we trust will be able to tell us how to listen to God’s voice.

One complaint that antivaxxers come up with is that they need to be faithful to God and not put their trust in ‘untrustworthy’ science by getting vaccinated – which studies show is a very effective way to reduce the likelihood one will get infected, and if one is infected that one will land in the hospital, and if one lands in the hospital that one will need an ICU bed, and if one needs an ICU bed one that one will die. Kind of a nice reduction by anyone’s standards (unless one does not want to live.) The other very significant reduction is that if one is vaccinated and then still becomes infected, one is much less likely to pass it on to other people (especially if one wears a good mask, properly well fit over one’s nose, not a bandana or neck tube or a mask that leaves one’s nose breathing out the virus!) This is significant because then getting vaccinated is not a matter of one’s own freewill and choice. It is about being responsible for the health of other people that one shares indoor space with (even hours after one is in the space others can breath in the virus that hangs on aerosols in the air like smoke or smells wafting from a kitchen!)

God calls for us all to be responsible for others, and unless our health does not allow us to get vaccinations, to get the Covid vaccination, soon if not already!

That’s where the message about Lydia comes in to the conversation. Lydia hears the Word of Christ from Paul and God moves her to respond: she becomes a major supporter of Paul’s ministry with the resources that her trade in purple cloth has netted her.

So also, God has moved many people with many resources, and people need to encourage more people of resources, to advocate for all people to listen to God’s Word: a simple Word that is spoken through the science (after all science had it’s birth in the church and remains possible only because people believe there is an order in creation that can be studied, discovered, organized, and utilized to heal people and make tremendous differences in our lives -for good and unfortunately often also for bad!)

The Word of God is rarely heard in these days, there are seldom if ever visions of God, and yet sacramental mystics among many others can tell you God speaks all the time in so many marvellous and unexpected ways.

We need to learn or be inspired to answer: Here we are, God.

The rest of our lives will be filled with stories that have been and will be told through the generations, stories of God-made saints living out of and being God’s love, nurture, and grace for other people.

Return to your day. Be ready the next time you hear the voice calling and answer: Here I am, God.

And then hang on to your hat!

Dream, Dream Away

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Dream, Dream

While the Northern Lights Dance

in the Darkness.

God’s Promise for Our Future

Is So Much Greater a Dance

Spectacular!

Isaiah 45:15

Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Words of Grace For Today

Be careful what you pray for, and what you wish for;

God has ways of accomplishing more than we can imagine

and calling us to lives that we never imagined possible

working with, for, or because of people we never thought God would make us suffer.

People are full of shtako.

People are full of blessings.

Which will you be today?

Which do you wish or pray for today?

Remember God may fill your wish and a prayer with something more challenging than you can imagine possible!

So are we to simply stop wishing, praying, dreaming, and hoping!?!

Not really, eh!

Just get ready for the ride: living as God’s saints, deliverers and agents of Grace is the wildest ride possible!

Hang on tight to the only thing that is actually secure enough to stand the stresses coming our way: God’s promises, grace, and love.

‘Caught’ch’ya dreaming!’

Fresh Wisdom

Friday, November 12, 2021

A blanket pours down in the Darkness

Lit by the Light of Christ.

Isaiah 2:12

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.

Reality, as History and God’s Word Teach Us

Friday, November 5, 2021

Dark Is Dark

Always Dark

Always Filled with the Light of Christ

even as Aurora Borealis

Isaiah 5:20, 23

Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! … Ah, you … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!

1 Peter 2:21-22

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’

Words of Grace For Today

How is it that given all the literature about the corrupt nature of humans, their deceit, greed, scheming, and wilful destruction of other people … how is it that I lived so many years thinking that we had evolved beyond this and that people were basically honest, kind and good?

There are people who are so and I lived as one of them, assuming that all people live so, or those who did not were a minor exception deviating just for the moment under some temptation or variance of life that dragged them down to a darkness that cannot be survived except were one to be rescued.

How is it that I lived so long assuming that other pastors, bishops, church leaders and people friendly to me were basically good, and not basically corrupt at the core, taking advantage of anyone and any situation possible to advance their own greed, lusts, covetousness, and to fill the void in their pathetic souls?

But I did. Thanks be to God?

A more complete extract from Isaiah tells of the consequences to the corruption so rampant: Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! … Ah, you … who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!

Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will become rotten, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the instruction … and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

There it is: it is so often a story lived out and told, retold and preserved that we can learn from it … and yet we simply do not! The corrupt continue their corruption and those naive like me continue to live naive until some corrupt, mentally ill, pathological liars use me yet again and scoff at me as if I were the one, and not they, who were so corrupt (as not to supposedly recognize the reality they make up where light is dark, dark light, bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter – which is a definition of hell).

How are we to live then?

The answer is simple and impossible:

We are to live as Jesus the Christ lived: follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ … For to this we have been called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example … of how to live!

Pure and blameless, no sin, no deceit at all. Perhaps those of us so wired as not to be able to be deceitful can approach having no deceit (which is seen as some kind of abnormality! by the world.) DOCH there is not one of us who can be pure and sinless!

So what are we to do!?!

We can only rely on the Grace of God to use Jesus’ record in place of ours when we are judged. Knowing that God exercises exactly this Grace for us, not just at the end judgment but every day, we are free to choose …

And we are then freed to be able to choose … not to deceive others, not to turn reality inside out, not to destroy others, and even not to sin!

We are able to do these not on our own, but only as the Holy Spirit enables us to choose and to do these. We get no credit for living this way. We can only give God thanks and …

We GET to choose to exercise this same Grace for others.

We GET to be the agents of God’s Grace for others.

We GET to be the ones who set others free from their past sins and to live by Grace.

We GET to leave the judging to God, in God’s time, in God’s way.

And We GET to rejoice that God has given us eyes to see evil in and all around us, and to respond with the only response that can change the world back to light being light, dark being dark, bitter being bitter, and sweet being sweet.

We GET to live in God’s reality, in God’s kingdom, by Grace alone.

Odor or Audor

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Moonlight.

Even in the Dark

God Provides Light for Us

Genesis 8:21

When the Lord smelt the pleasing odour, the Lord said in his heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.

Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly.

Words of Grace For Today

The inclination of our hearts is evil from our youth.

What happens next is … well … our history of destroying one another in the most creative and repetitive ways.

Kind of a mess.

So God decides to fix it all and start over. Come waters all and flood the evil people to death. God plans to start over … so Noah, the righteous man and his family, along with two of every kind of animal on earth are loaded into an ark, that will float out the flood. Noah and company find dry land when the waters recede and they give a wonderful aroma wafting offering as thanks to God.

God is pleased, and promises never to flood away the evil inclinations of all the human hearts, ever again. (Thank God for that, and for Noah for reminding God that we might be worth the bother.)

Bother is what God does, and God sends Jesus to demonstrate clearly the inclination of God’s heart is to be gracious and provide salvation to us all.

A huge bother, costing Jesus his life, though it does actually provide the greatest salvation for us that we could ever imagine.

Worldly passions and all kinds of all impiety do not hold a candle in comparison to God’s gracious gift of salvation for us.

A little gratitude can fill our lives and spill over to many people around us. It’s not the trickle down theory, leaving those under the trickle with less than those on top. It is the overfull blessing that is equally generous to all.

God provides everything we need: promises we can count on, and generosity we can share with everyone.

The Lord Has Anointed Us …

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Sent into the Darkness

To Reflect

Christ’ Light

(as a star-planet reflects the sun)

Isaiah 61:1-2

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; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.

Luke 1:30

The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God.’

Words of Grace For Today

To be sent.

To be sent to bring good news.

To be sent to proclaim liberty and release, and the year of the Lord’s favour.

[To be sent to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God. Set this one aside for now.]

To be sent to bind up, and comfort.

The first part seems easy enough, just go out and speak loudly. Today that is easy enough with all the social media available to anyone who wishes to pontificate.

There may be some blow back, but that’s social media for you.

The tough part starts to be clear when it’s not just words, it’s actions. Actions that take every ounce of life we have to give to them, actions like binding up the broken-hearted, comforting those who mourn.

If you’ve ever endeavoured to bind up the broken-hearted, you will know it is an impossible task, and one only makes headway through day after day persistently being with the broken-hearted with all sorts of grace, unconditional love, forgiveness and hope.

If you’ve ever endeavoured to comfort those who mourn, you will know it is an impossible task and one never makes headway. At best one can be with the person mourning, and sometimes leaving the mourning person alone to grieve in their own way. Grief is what we experience when the foundation of our lives are ripped out from underneath us so that our lives make no sense at all anymore. There is no foundation, no connection with the present since the past is ripped from us, and the future is a hopeless jumble of chaos that threatens to consume us and all we are, or so some say. Grief is actually not definable nor curable. At best one can exercise all sorts of grace, unconditional love, forgiveness and hope as a model for how life can be organized into something of meaning for the past, for today, and for the future.

This is what the Saviour is called and sent to do … for the whole universe, and as Christ’s disciples (followers) we are called and sent to do this today for all people, and for creation itself!

Mary is called and sent to bear the Saviour of the universe as her own son. This is more than most get sent to be and do. There is only one way for her not be consumed by fear. There is only one way for us who are sent to be the instruments of Christ in today’s world. This one way is to know and trust that God has chosen us, called us, and sent us as God’s favoured ones. Only protected by God’s favour can we think of doing, yet alone actually do, what God calls and sends us out to do with our lives.

Then there is that last thing: to proclaim the day of vengeance of our God.

If we somehow let ourselves be blind to the blow back that will be and is aimed at us, (which is so more than words on social media, it is words and actions meant to destroy us and all we stand for, since what we proclaim and do certainly upsets the status quo of power, privilege, and control exercised in today’s world), then this proclamation ought to make it clear: we stand to proclaim that God will act against also those of power, privilege, and control made possible by the Great Deceiver’s lies.

We bring good news …

Doch the good news will disassemble the status quo of injustice and evil, of everything based on lies and deceptions (which is a huge portion of what humans do to each other!)

The good news is good for the blessed things of God, and terribly bad for the evil things that stand against God.

And that is how we will be dealt with, as the full force of lies and destruction will be aimed at us (as they have been aimed at us) to disrupt the Good News. Only the foolish or stupid would brave such evil at the hands of so many people … or those who know they are sent by God as God’s favoured ones.

So we are called and sent … to be ‘little Christs’ to all people.

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.

Take Heart …

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Even in the Darkest Darkness

God Sends Us with Light

For All People

To Heal Them and Set Them Free

Isaiah 42:6-7

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Mark 10:49

Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’

Words of Grace For Today

Take heart; get up, Jesus is calling you.

It is one thing to be blind, blind to truth, blind to reality, blind to the consequences of one’s actions.

It is a whole other level of illness to be willingly, stubbornly, adamantly blind.

When we desire to be blind no longer, Jesus calls us – or rather: has already called us to come, to be healed, to become part of the Kingdom of God that is here, spreading the news of God’s Grace for all people, healing for all people, and abundant life for all people.

Called, healed, and given sight to see the wonders of God’s Grace, God gives us to the world as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

We get to be the ones who give our lives so that those held captive by darkness can see the Light of the World, and live.

Take heart; get up, Jesus is calling you.

Now get ready for the ride of your life, for there is nothing like serving God, bringing light to the blind, and freeing those captive by darkness!