Hear the Word

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Even In Our Darkest Darkness God’s Light Guides Us, If We But Hear …

God Help Us Hear!

Jeremiah 31:10

Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.’

John 17:20-21

I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Words of Grace For Today

Humans always have a difficult time hearing God.

Maybe it is primarily because we want to hear something that God does not say.

Or

Because we do not want to hear what God does say.

Or

Because we are so afraid of what we do hear!

Or

Because we’ve let the Devil fill our ears with temptations and promises that actually suck the life right out of us!

God provides lots of guidance, even what we see as punishments (like being exiled from our home lands as Israel has been many times), in order to ‘get through’ our thick skins, stiff necks, and thicker heads what God intends for us, God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and blessed renewed purposeful life.

God does not merely work to get us to see, hear and trust God. God works so that the whole world will know how God deals with us and all the people of God’s good creation.

God wants us to be as one, without division, without conflict between ourselves, blatant witnesses to God’s good and generous grace, which overcomes all challenges to a blessed life.

Living in community, trying to be guided by the Spirit, is no simple feat, and success is never achieved. It is at best approximated, striven for, and hoped for, as a guiding light in our darkness.

This darkness God works to get through to us, that God walks with us through all of life’s challenges, and that our conflict with one another does nothing for us, that our forgiveness of one another is the key to living well in this God’s good creation.

As we forgive, we stand like bright lights for the world to see: this is how God deals with us, so that likewise, we can deal with others.

Now for this day … what will come our way?

Wait? Courage? Humour?

God will let us go with it.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

There’s Trees,

There’s Forest,

There’s Light.

Wait With Courage!

Meanwhile,

Learn To Enjoy

the Humour!

Psalm 27:14

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

2 Corinthians 1:7

Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation.

Words of Grace For Today

We all want justice now! Justice that does not first sacrifice truth in order to proceed with lies, bias, corruption, and blatant replacing light with darkness, sweet with bitter, life with death, and justice with cruelty.

God walks with us. Not that in the moment that really helps, we still want justice now! Even so, and even though, we already know that we must wait for the Lord. We must be strong and let our hearts take courage and wait … wait … wait for the Lord.

Sometimes the little things get blown out of proportion because the big things are so unjust. And then … well then there are hours and hours of darkness like the following:

Wait for it.

The Bad News: It’s been so cold, -40⁰ or so for nights now. I’ve been burning through wood. I’m running out of wood. It’s a lot of work to haul and split enough and I’m getting behind.

The Good News: I wake the other morning and after working so long to haul and split enough wood the previous day, despite being exhausted and sleep deprived (stoking the fire every 2 hours night after night will do that) the wood lasted easily through the cold night!

But Wait for it.

Bad News: the wood lasted because there was no fire from 21:00 to 1:00 and the shelter that houses the wood stove got down to zero! It usually needs to stay at 50⁰ to keep the water tank from freezing, especially in this cold! (But I was so tired I fell asleep at 18:30 and woke at 22:00 ish to a phone call.)

Good News: when I saw the fire was out I brushed away the ashes and looked closely at the fire bricks. Yep!

Bad News: under the chimney the brick had a hole, if left it would burn through the stove wall itself.

Good News: I’d seen a crack in the brick two days ago and bought stove cement and fire bricks with points (I’m out of money and need to save for food) earlier yesterday.

Bad News: the bricks were sort of held in place by a retaining bar held by bolts, which are unreachable without taking the whole furnace apart. That’s possible but it’s a 10 hour job and it’s NOT possible when it’s cold, especially not this cold.

Good News: the brick were all so broken I could pry them out with a screw driver.

Bad News: new bricks had to be fit in past the retainer bar.

Good News: the bar was burned away at the chimney and the rest could be bent with a pliers far enough to slide all the bricks in under what was left of the bar.

Bad News: the bricks were too tall by 3/16 of an inch.

Good News: they can be cut with a cutting blade on a hand grinder and fortunately I’ve been loaned a grinder with plenty of cutting disks.

Bad News: the grinder runs on 110volts and my camp has no utilities: no electricity, no water, no sewer, no nothing but Grace.

Good News: I’ve been loaned 2 small 2200watt generators that only weigh 65 lbs to provide electricity when I need it.

Bad News: I need gasoline to run them.

Good News: There’s still some gas left in both generators.

Bad News: they are not supposed to be run at anything colder than -5⁰C and it’s below -20⁰, which is 10⁰ colder than I’ve ever gotten one to start.

Good News: one’s inside.

Bad News: I’m too tired to haul the generator from inside to outside where it can be run. I can’t risk pushing my bad back and spasming leg muscles too much, especially when I’m so exhausted and fatigued and sleep deprived!

Good News: Small miracle! After 40 pulls on the starter cord my shoulder has not given out on me and I get the other one – the one out in the cold – to fire up and run.

Bad News: it takes until past midnight to individually cut each brick to custom fit, clean the ash and crud out from where they need to slide in, and get them fitting in place. And then 2 brick are still flopping loose where there is no retainer bar left to hold them!

Good News: the stove cement maybe, perhaps, might just hold them until summer when I might be able to rebuild the whole stove again for the third time. So I glue the two bricks with furnace cement and start a fire that will light and burn fast. Heat at last.

Bad News: there’s hardly any heat for a half hour and I’m so so tired, so tired, so tired … and then I have to stoke the fire yet again.

Good News: I’m finally in bed after 1:00 ish.

Bad News: I’m wired and can’t sleep.

Good News: I’ve got no meetings in the morning so I can sleep in. (I never have meetings, ever, really. No one really cares to meet with a person who is homeless. It kind of shames them that they don’t fix the systemic problems that cause homelessness!)

Bad News: I wake at 4:45 to almost no heat, 17⁰ in the shelter (and the water tank is at 0⁰!), and a chilly 12⁰ at the bed.

Good News: I get a fire going.

Bad News: it takes 50 minutes.

Good News: the bed is still there.

Bad News: morning is there too.

Good News: I don’t care. I’m punch drunk tired, laughing out loud at it all, thankful the stove will last, maybe, another year.

Three nights later I finally get enough sleep to start breaking out of sleep deprivation.

We wait, and with courage wait, and wait, and wait, for the Lord, who works at God’s own pace in God’s own time and in God’s own way.

We have courage to wait because ‘Our hope for God is unshaken; for we know that as God shares in our sufferings, so also God shares in our consolation.’

Think about it. God dies. God suffers with us. God finally got enough sleep to start shaking off sleep deprivation.

Makes one wonder …

Who was in charge of creation while God is sleep deprived,

or unconscious for suffering,

or dead?

The other persons of the Trinity? That’s a (weird) argument for a Trinitarian God, eh!

Good News: God will let us go with it. There are far greater humorous things to laugh along with as well! Learn to laugh at them all. It builds courage as we wait!

Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen

Sheltered Wonderfully by God’s Loving Powers

Monday, February 7, 2022

In Every Darkness

Surrounded silently by faithful powers of goodness

Psalm 91:4

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

Philippians 4:7

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Words of Grace For Today

There are days when one must wonder about the dark present God has brought one to, and what the future may hold. Many people have such days. Many more people have had such days.

Then one is reminded of words by a man imprisoned and likely soon to be killed (as he was in fact, to our great loss), words that friends shared so many years ago in East Germany, words that carry God’s blessings and hope into every dark corner (under his wings you will find refuge):

Von guten Mächten treu und still umgeben,
behütet und getröstet wunderbar,
so will ich diese Tage mit euch leben
und mit euch gehen in ein neues Jahr.

(Surrounded silently by faithful loving powers
protected and comforted wonderfully
thus I would live these days with you all
and go with you into a new year.)

[Kehrvers:]

Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen,
erwarten wir getrost, was kommen mag.
Gott ist bei uns am Abend und am Morgen
und ganz gewiß an jedem neuen Tag.

 (Sheltered wonderfully by God’s loving powers
We are looking forward confidently to what may come
God is with us in the evening and in the morning
and surely on every new day.)

Noch will das alte unsre Herzen quälen,
noch drückt uns böser Tage schwere Last.
Ach Herr, gib unsern aufgeschreckten Seelen
das Heil, für das du uns geschaffen hast.

(Still the past would torment our hearts
Still the heavy load of evil days weighs on us.
Oh Lord, for our angst-struck souls
prepare the health for which you have made us.)

[Kehrvers]

Und reichst du uns den schweren Kelch, den bittern
des Leids, gefüllt bis an den höchsten Rand,
so nehmen wir ihn dankbar ohne Zittern
aus deiner guten und geliebten Hand.

(And if you offer the heavy cup, the bitterness
of grief, filled to the very rim,
we´ll take it thankfully without trembling
from your good and beloved hand.)

[Kehrvers]

Doch willst du uns noch einmal Freude schenken
an dieser Welt und ihrer Sonne Glanz,
dann wolln wir des Vergangenen gedenken,
und dann gehört dir unser Leben ganz.

(But if you choose to give us your joy once more
for this world and the splendour of its sun
then we will choose to remember all this past
and that our whole lives belong to you.)

[Kehrvers]

Laß warm und hell die Kerzen heute flammen,
die du in unsre Dunkelheit gebracht,
führ, wenn es sein kann, wieder uns zusammen.
Wir wissen es, dein Licht scheint in der Nacht.

(Let the candles that you brought into our darkness
burn warm and bright today.
If possible bring us back together again.
We know this, your light shines in the night.)

[Kehrvers]

Wenn sich die Stille nun tief um uns breitet,
so laß uns hören jenen vollen Klang
der Welt, die unsichtbar sich um uns weitet,
all deiner Kinder hohen Lobgesang.

(As the silence now spreads thick around us
let us hear those full sounds of the world
which permeate invisibly all around us,
all your children raising hymns of praise.)

[Kehrvers]

These were, of course, Dietrich Bonhöffer’s words, and now they are one of God’s many gifts for us … to share.

May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The music for the beloved hymn was written by Siegfried Fietz. He sings the first few verse here.

The translation started with that at https://lyricstranslate.com but I worked further on it.

Conditional or Unconditional Love?

Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Short Section of the Shovelled Portions

After the Daylight is Spent

as Well as My Capacity,

Energy, and

Back

are

Done.

Psalm 103:17-18

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Words of Grace For Today

The drive in here, into the meadow in the woods by the lake, from the gravel road that is maintained by the MD is nearly a kilometre long.

Most years the snow and rain make it challenging though not impossible to make the trek when needed to get supplies, food, and water.

Today that seems to have changed and to find out whether that has changed is to risk getting stuck in hard, cold, soft and freezing and hard frozen ice and snow smothered with rain over the last few hours.

Whether I can make transit that fist kilometre or not is entirely up to what I do in preparation. It is at least a two week task to try to shovel the worst parts free and clear down to the hard packed snow-ice that has developed over the last months from November on. There is no need to wish I had shovelled it regularly as the snows fell. First I had lots of other work to do to survive the winter so far, with it’s plentiful snow and it’s deep hard cold for days below -35⁰ and weeks below -25⁰. Second, the task of shovelling that kilometre once would take about a week of constant work, pushing my old body to it’s limits each day. By then the next snow would have fallen and I’d have had to start all over again … meaning I would have been shovelling snow constantly for months now and doing little else … when there is lots that has to be done to survive without a home in the woods next to a lake, even if that is all a huge blessing from God. So no regrets that I drove that kilometre as I could, dragged two logs behind to bounce a bit of the snow to the side and pack the remaining in a hardened roadway that I could drive over.

With the warming to above zero and the accompanying thaw, with the rain that has drenched the snow and with the freeze coming again that will turn it all into slippery ice, that kilometre will not be ‘miraculously’ ‘fahrbar’ (drive-able). The drive-ability of that kilometre depends now almost entirely on how much I shovel, where I shovel, how far down I shovel and if I survive (no heart attack or stroke or back spasms laying me flat in the snow for days while I freeze to death, or any other of a host of ways that shovelling could put me down.)

That’s a reality that is conditional, conditional on what I do.

God’s grace, forgiveness, claim on us, and mission that we are sent back into the world to work at is not conditional at all. God’s blessings and favour are not conditional on anything we do. That God blesses us and favours us is entirely unconditional! It depends only on God’s steadfast, never changing, never failing love and grace.

We humans do not like to be so dependent on any one or thing other than ourselves. So we, along with great words of God’s grace and steadfast love, have repeatedly perverted God’s promises into being conditional on our responses to God’s grace and steadfast love. Thus Psalm that teaches (wrongly) that God’s blessings and favour for us and our children and their children and all people is conditional on us keeping his covenant and remembering to do his commandments.

That condition sets us up to strive to be and do what we cannot be or do: perfect. And it gives control of our lives over to others who interpret our being and doing as sufficiently good enough or not.

God’s grace and steadfast love are not conditional.

God sends us out to be and do that same unconditional grace and love for all people.

Are we up to the mission? It does take every bit of life we have in us, and often more.

It is Fitting …

Monday, January 17, 2022

Moonset,

Waiting for Sunrise,

Trusting God’s Gifts,

Singing God’s Praise

As It Is Fitting!

Psalm 147:1

Praise the Lord! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.

Ephesians 5:19

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

Cell phones across the world produce pictures and videos at an astounding rate each day.

From Statista: “In 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion….” https://www.statista.com/statistics/245501/multiple-mobile-device-ownership-worldwide/

This means that we have an overwhelming plethora of images of our world, manipulated to look better than reality by software written and rewritten by programmers … so much so that our imagination of what the world is has been bent, skewed, and perverted to such an extent that experiencing the real world has become extra-ordinary. Some find it marvellous to experience the real world. Others (those so disconnected from reality through their reliance on digital ‘connections’) find it outright daunting and even frightening.

The music of the spheres, as it was named centuries ago, plays through the universe, from the deepest points in space to the tiniest piece of creation on earth …

and

we are privileged to be able to sing along

with

wondrous praise

for the Creator of this magnificent creation

in which we were created to live, flourish, love, hope, and find connection with each other and with creation.

A great photo (in comparison to a snapshot or picture or video) uses all the tools at hand (in the camera and available to the photographer) and

imagines

the wonders that can be produced from a particular perspective of creation,

in order to create (as God made us able to be creative, not mere tools manipulated by software)

an image that speaks volumes

(of praise)

about

the Creator, us creatures, and this amazing planet we live on (and some of us are so privileged to have shelter to call home on.)

So we sing songs of praise that are fitting to the gifts God gives us, and we sing and make melody to the Lord in our hearts.

What will we do this day with all God’s gifts?

Will we selfishly destroy and destory other people’s connection to reality in order that we can ‘get ahead’ or

will we sing God’s praises?

What will you do this day with all God’s gifts?

Will you selfishly destroy and destory other people’s connection to reality in order that you can ‘get ahead’ or

will you sing God’s praises?

Choose as you will, but as for me and mine, we will serve the Lord, and sing and sing and sing God’s praises in our hearts and in all we do each day, as God makes us saints able.

Life, Love, & Hope

Sunday, January 16, 2022

In the Darkest Times

The Light of Christ

Brings Us Breath,

Love,

and

Hope!

Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.

Luke 11:10

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Words of Grace For Today

There are many ways to celebrate God’s presence in our lives on the holy day of rest, and none more appropriate than to spend the day seeking the Lord,

as it is so appropriate on all good days,

and all bad days.

The promise is clear, better than anything else in all of life.

For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

On our good days the promise that we will receive, find, and have doors opened for us, when we ask, search, and knock, this promise is wonderful!

On our bad days these promises are essential to life. They give us breath, life, and hope … enough so that we live another day to …

fear, love, and serve the Lord.

It doesn’t get better than that.

The Year Past, The Year to Come …

Friday, December 31, 2021

As the Days Come to a Close in Darkness

So the Year May, too,

Yet by Faith Through Grace

We Know

God is With Us

Always,

All Ways.

Numbers 21:7

The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.

Jude 1:22

Have mercy on those who doubt.

Words of Grace For Today

The last day of the year

leaves us to ask (as so many media do for us in various ways):

Where has this year taken us?

Where will this next year bring us?

Will we have any choices that will make a difference, a real difference, for ourselves and all living on the earth, and for the course of human history?

We, if we were here at the beginning of the year and if we are here at the end of the year, have survived.

What have we survived besides merely to live on? Our enemies have sought and continue to seek to kill us by whatever means they can use (trying not to get caught of course or pay any price for their efforts.) We have survived all the attacks of our enemies. Our enemies have built up a collection of lies about us, which has next to nothing to do with us (except … well read on) and which clearly defines who they are, what kind of people they are … and as humans have been wont since the beginning of time their lies reflect rather clearly exactly what they have done. They have lied that instead of them being the ones doing terrible things, they have names us as the perpetrators of their great evil. Which we have survived, though … the consequences of their lies are that more and more people believe their lies, and more and more people join their efforts to kill us, slowly or more quickly. And still we have survived.

We have survived not because we are so strong, no, we are old and weak. We have survived not because we are so rich and influential, no, we are caught deep in the grips of poverty from which we likely will never emerge and most of our friends we used to have, have deserted us, afraid of being associated with one who is attacked so ferociously. They do not want to become collateral damage. We have survived only by the Grace of God, and by many and various miracles that God has worked to keep us alive.

We have survived, though it has appeared at many times that we would not, could not, simply because even in those darkest moments of doubt, God has made us able to remain grateful of all God does for us and for our enemies, offering us forgiveness and renewed life. With grateful hearts more and more miracles have sprinkled our path, been noticed, convinced us that God walks with us making us saints and this has given us hope … and hope has carried us through the darkness to the light of day, to the Light of Christ.

We are thus quite able to trust that this coming year will be more of the same: God walking with us, miracles in abundance, hope carrying us always into the Light.

Our choices? Well our choices will be as always, the best we can make at the time, and even then always imperfect, yet made perfect by the Grace of God alone.

And that same Grace, as only God’s Grace can, will make a difference, a real difference, for ourselves and all living on the earth, and for the course of human history.

So Moses prayed for the sinful people, and God continued to write God’s story with the lives of God’s people, bringing us to each new day, as a miracle-gift, for each of us.

No New Year resolution will carry us to a better life. Only God’s resolution, covenant, promise will carry us, as it has, into the best life ever, the life of God’s own children, God-made saints, given breath and time … to be God’s Grace for others, especially our cruel enemies.

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!