Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 14

Monday, September 14, 2020

Rocks

Rock on With the Wonders of Light

The Light of Christ

Isaiah 41: 14-16

Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. 15 Now, I will make of you a threshing-sledge, sharp, new, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. Then you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

Romans 5:11

More than that [i.e. having been reconciled, we will be saved by Christ’s life] we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Words of Grace For Today

Worm Jacob and Insect Israel, judging the mountains!

Jesus reconciling wretched sinners, so that we can boast of the mighty sacrificial love of God.

When we know our place, there is no joy in threshing, crushing, and scattering the mountains and our enemies.

There is only boasting in what God has done for us through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Who can give us life?

There is no life in judging others, especially not for what you have done yourself in order to make yourself appear better than you are. Worms and insects abound and do not make good judges.

Doch, to receive reconciliation, that is to receive as a gift that everything between us and God is made right, not by our own feeble and futile efforts, but by God’s own miraculous work through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Now that is a gift that keeps on giving every minute right into eternity.

Now every day, the simplest visions of light, colour and hope spread God’s glory before us to be seen, acknowledged and celebrated.

We may be mere worms and insects, doch through God’s own will and work we are made to be saints, bearers of God’s blessings of light and grace for all the world.

Shine Jesus shine, in us and through us.

Let Jesus wonders be scattered throughout the universe.

Let us remember the marvellous light of Christ, even on cloudy days when it rains, even when Covid 19 still runs rampant, aided by fools and deniers and ‘I’m done’rs’.

Because God has made everything right between us and God, the our lives are made right in every way. Challenges become opportunities to share God’s grace, in our mundane tasks and among our enemies that work to kill us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 15

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

All Hail God’s Will, not our plans.

July 3

Mid-summer Night’s

Surprise

Proverbs 19:21

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

1 Peter 4:7-8

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Words of Grace For Today

We make all sorts of plans, but God’s will will be done.

We plan a vacation sailing. God gives us life, but a storm puts us in a life raft, lost at sea, surrounded by water, with tools to save ourselves long enough that a rescue is possible. (foreshadow of tomorrow’s words.)

We plan all that we may, like a young unqualified pastor to lead us to rebuild the glory of yesteryear. But Christ’s Church is not tied to yesteryear’s model of the church, nor of our models we may contrive and build today.

In the movie, About Time, Tim’s wedding is a joyous bust, rain and wind driving the reception from under the rented tent canopies to crowd inside his parent’s home. The best man’s toast is repeatedly a disaster going from bad to worse, each time Tim uses his special gift (of all the men in his family) to go back and replay/change portions of his life. He chooses various friends to be best man and each new best man stoops to new lows in the speech.

Finally Tim asks his father to be his best man.

The first time through his father’s speech is great. But his father has second thoughts, wants to include a comment about how he loves his son. Tim says it was a great speech the way it was, but the father replays it and proclaims his love for three men in his life, not his own father, but including his son, Tim. He is proud of him.

Still, the most profound words were not those written about the father’s love for his son. They were the advice Tim’s father provides to all who would consider getting married: find someone to marry who is kind! Everything else can be worked through or around, if one’s spouse is kind.

1 Peter said it as well: maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

When we confess how much we require God’s love each day just to breathe, and live, and hope, then we can practice for others that same Gracious Love which save us and gives us life.

Love is not as complicated as we seem to make it. It is simply humbly recognizing God’s gifts, and out of endless thanks to extend that same attitude towards others.

Sin and Evil may seem powerful and omnipresent, destructive and unavoidable. It may seem we need to join in and get out of life what we can by taking from others what is for the taking.

Love is a far better way to live.

Love is the purpose of the Lord that will be established.

It is indeed good, right, and blessed that we do join in and get out of life all that God freely gives to us, so that we can share it generously with others.

Covid 19 challenges us and reveals whether we trust God’s love for us and all other people, and whether we comprehend that Jesus calls us, especially now, to be the people who are generous with all people.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 8

Monday, June 8, 2020

Hardly Without Repercussions

Sin Consumes One’s Soul

and All Creation Around

Isaiah 40:2

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

Romans 8:21

Also the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Words of Grace For Today

With Climate change, the population density, encroachment on wild habitat, close proximity with other animals, and our ability to move around the globe … we humans have put a huge stress on the earth … and

there are few people who could not well imagine that today creation itself needs to be set free from its bondage to decay, the rate of which we’ve increased.

More than wallow in dismay, we count our blessings:

With Covid 19 the earth has received a reprieve. Now if we can just continue to provide a reprieve as we re-launch back to …

well whatever it is that we will get to, I’m not so sure it is ‘back to’ what it used to be, not anymore. Therein lies a small window for something to change for the better.

We also have been into the wildernesses, the National Parks and remote areas where few if any other humans have tread, and we have drunk in the splendour and wonders God provides in creation.

Our sins … They may well say that our sins are catching up with us and that we will serve a sentence many times what our sins deserve.

I’ve never believed terrible things happened to us to punish us for our sins. There is plenty of pain and misery that we bring on ourselves directly caused by us doing evil things. God, though, does not met out punishment. If that were the case then God would not be judging with equity and with righteousness, for some terribly evil people, who have done more evil than millions of people put together, seem to reap rewards instead of punishment for their sins.

So Israel was in exile, and one common way to explain that was to say that God was punishing her for her sins.

And what can we say we suffer today because of our sins? Shall we say Covid 19 is punishment for our sins? The people dying, the people paying the greatest cost, are not the ones benefiting most from the things that destroy the earth and other people in order to make life more comfortable for the few.

Rather it is the other way around. The rich feel the pinch of Covid 19 restrictions the least, while the poor are pushed to and over the brink of death.

That said: sin and there are costly consequences, whether it shows or not in this lifetime. Sin eats at one’s soul until one is forgiven, and one embarks on a renewed life guided by the Holy Spirit.

As Covid 19 restrictions are eased in many places, as here, we may well sing softly (humming is allowed) of the greatness of God’s blessings, and cry at the release from what may have seemed to be prisons of isolation. Indeed we look forward to the possibility that God may bless us in the days ahead, that we may be a blessing to other people.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – May 6

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Moon fog

Caught in Darkness?

water drops

The Light will Shine

And be reflected by all water and life in Creation

Isaiah 42:16

I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground.

Luke 1:78-79

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Words of Grace For Today

Darkness. Total, deep, profound darkness of the soul. No light at the end of the tunnel.

When we find ourselves there, to put it into cosmic terms, in a black hole that pulls everything around it into nothingness …

When we find ourselves there it seems that everything is lost, not only things that build a sense of continuity and security (like jobs, homes, family, church, and even the tool that enables one to create – a camera, a pencil, a computer, a canvas), not just life and all good life at that for us and for creation, but meaning, history, presence and future ….

When time and hope are lost into the void and emptiness that is left to us, then only memory of, or re-spoken promises made in the past, or that little light at the end of the vortex can save us from going totally bonkers.

Covid 19’s threat (the lock-down, our isolations, our ‘staying the blazes home’, our financial concerns, the risk to our and our loved ones’ health and lives), for most of us does not approach the vortex of a black hole where no light exists. For some of us it does.

Whether its a total black out, or a brown out, or we have already gone a bit bonkers so that it all looks like dark colours everywhere …

However this affects us,

We yearn for Light, if yearning is still possible.

God promises to turn darkness into light, rough places into level ground. The dawn from on high breaks in on us in darkness, in the shadow of death, and guides us in the way of peace.

That’s the promise that we can remember … if we can remember.

That’s the promise that we can re-speak for others … when they cannot remember, we can, and we can still speak.

That’s the promise that we need to re-speak, to proclaim with all the vivid colours of the rainbow splashing about …

because even if we do not notice them, there is someone onto whom those colours (carrying Light) will splash.

And they will be saved from the vortex of absolute darkness, by our generous, reckless, prodigal re-speaking a promise that created, redeemed, and guides this whole universe of creation to be able to seek peace.

Peace is not something we attain and hold on to.

Peace is a manner of being in this universe, when participated in brings us to reflect God’s intent for us, but which is lost as quickly as a candle is snuffed out by even a gentle breeze.

Peace be with you, also this day, whatever this day is for you.

Splash and be splashed by the Light and Colours of the rainbow, God’s rainbow of promise, faith, hope, love, grace, and life – abundant life.

kiltered sunset tree

We may be off kilter a bit

Doch God’s Light Shines

in full colour for even us!

Yearning

Yearning for Everythings to be put Right

In darkness of our own making
we are yearning for the light,
for the moon to shine,
for the end of night.

We are yearning for things to be put right.

Christ alone can put us

in the light,

safe,

and right.

.

.

.

skewed

Sometimes everything is off kilter

.

.

.

tilted wrong

The expected tilts so wrong, undermined.

.

.

.

at least give us moonlight

We want some light, even reflected light, to find our way

.

.

.

As in Heaven, so on Earth

We want earth to reflect the rightness of heaven

.

.

.

Catch the Light in Colour, before Dark returns

We want the Light, Right?

Based on the Truth!

.

.

.

Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, the Life.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 16

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Look All Ways for Light

God Gives Us Great Gifts.

Isaiah 5:21

Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!

1 Corinthians 2:12

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many who think they are powerful, wealthy, wise, and/or famous.

God puts them down as nothing more than mere wisps of grass that fade in the heat and the cold. God instead raises up those who appear weak, poverty stricken, foolish and/or infamous, by the power of the Spirit, to share the gifts God provides to us, and through us to the all people.

Psalm 1 teaches us clearly, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Self important people (even those not so remarkably daft as one president proves over and over, assume great wisdom) are as dangerous as the power they wield. Without the foundation of wisdom that is humility before God, there is no real wisdom.

Who are we, these days of Easter, as we celebrate each day the miracle of Christ risen, death defeated, God victorious through sacrificial love, instead of through force or wealth or power that controls others?

More so, what do we rely on, when push comes to shove, when ‘the rock’ squeezes us against ‘the hard place’, when the walls start to close in on us as cabin fever strikes is many and various ways?

Do we rely on the gifts of the Spirit, or the things of this world? Do we rely on God’s Word made palpable in the Body of Christ, and its various sinner-saint members? Do we allow the Spirit to guide us how to be those sinner-saints who bring real help and hope to those in need?

Let the gifts of life flow, from God, through us, to others. We will survive only as we trust God in all things.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 11

Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dark. Just Dark? Hang on to the Word! Our Stories are not Finished!

Jeremiah 14:7

Although our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; our apostasies indeed are many, and we have sinned against you.

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

Words of Grace For Today

Of all the days of the year this Saturday following Good Friday has always been the day most filled with nothing, or rather void of everything. Jesus lays dead in the tomb. To repeat a buzz word repeated in history at many times: God is dead.

What can we do, except wait for God to prove by wondrous acts that God is not dead! And that God is and always has been, and always will be standing right beside us, no matter how blinding bright or deep dark our days are?

This day always is a day to remember our sins, from our blatant and intentional turnings from God, to the subtle ways we deny Christ’s work to free us as we try to play ‘god’ in our own lives and in others’ lives. When all is lost, this is the day to remember …

in anticipation that God is not done,

not with Jesus’ story! It does not end with Jesus decaying in the tomb of the dead.

We can remember with anticipation that God is not done,

not with our stories! Ours do not end in weeping, grieving, suffering, loss, or death.

God has much more in mind for us.

God is not done with us yet.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Mar 29

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Consolation in the Dark

Consolation in the Dark

Psalms 142:4

Look on my right hand and see there is no one who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for me.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.

Words of Grace For Today

This wisdom is now frequently shared since more and more of us will be effected by isolation: God created us to be in connection with other people. Different people at different times need more contact. Isolation does have a negative impact on our physical health, making us sick in and of itself. We may well cry out: no refuge remains for us! Doch. God consoles us in all our afflictions, also those we face today. Reach out to console others with this gentle, gracious, and caring consolation that we have already received from God.

Wolf or Potato

Wolf Moon 2020 January

It’s not there yet or here yet,

but it’s really nearly here,

.

Light Night

Light of Night

Moon full of light,

Blazing Cold, Square Cold, Deep Cold

so a bit chilly, one might saw.

.

No Potato

No Potato

No Potato, But a Bit of Light on Snow, and Walla!

Or if one tries to peel a potato outside it might be the last potato or

anything else that might be peeled by one,

such as a bell.

Bells ring, for joy, for alarm.

What’s alarming in your life?

That many people regularly bully others in order to get their way with them.

A crime, it is, most, that no one cares for the most part about bullying by adults of adults.

Just when bullying is done to children … or vulnerable women.

What would one want? Justice.

Justice of course, laced with compassion. God’s way of being God.

Good Friday Success

What was once alive, once green, once bright, is now in these days dead, withered and dark.

There is only a faint hint of days long distant in the most recent of times.

What is it to succeed

and leave a legacy?

To overrun others, destroying them with lies, in order to have more, in order to cover up one’s sins?

Or to suffer rumours and lies that destroy one’s reputation and finances leaving one homeless?

This day, Jesus answered God’s call to submit himself to death, a torturous death, and to die.

Did Jesus succeed? Did Jesus destroy others, or did he allow others to try to destroy him, and respond with grace and forgiveness?

If more of the world knew Grace and lived it well, more people would succeed …

in bringing the basics of life to others with their sacrifices.

The world may seem dark, especially in these days when we remember that God died, and remained so, for three days.

There is only the reflection in our memories of the light that has guided our paths. But there will be a great light, that will shine in every darkness, and bring justice, restitution, and new life to those who are destroyed by others lies.

And for those who have destroyed with lies … may God have mercy on them.