Surprise!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

When the Holy Spirit Shows Up (Again),

All Expectations Are Dashed,

and Exceeded!

Psalms 89:15

Happy are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your countenance.

Colossians 3:12

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Words of Grace For Today

How are we to live in this world that feels so much like a hell hole so many days?

Well it’s like this man who walks down the street, trips and falls into an open hole and cannot get out because the sides are so steep. He calls out for help but no one seems to hear him.

Finally a very wealthy man comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. Hearing the trapped man’s plea the rich man throws down a fist full of money and walks on.

Eventually a doctor comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. Hearing the trapped man’s plea the doctor throws down a prescription and walks away.

That’s what so much of our days look like. Either we are in the hole, or we are trying to help people stuck in holes, but there really is little change from day to day.

We all just keep walking on.

  1. But there’s more. There is the rest of the Hole Story.

Remember that man in the hole unable to get out. His sage continues after the rich man tosses in money and the doctor a prescription. A lawyer tosses down a brief. A drug dealer spills in some smack. Finally a farmer hands down a bag of produce. Some of that helps a bit, some certainly not.

Hours later a friend of the trapped man comes by and stands at the edge of the hole. The trapped man says with some relief, “Thank God you’ve found me. Find a rope or a ladder and help me get out of here.” The friend instead jumps into the hole.

See that’s the surprise that God provides for us each day. God sends good friends to jump right in with us, if they are not in the hole already!

The first man exclaims: “How stupid! Now we’re both trapped.”

We are right there, how stupid can God be to walk with us or send others down here. We want out, not company in the ‘hell holes’ we’ve gotten ourselves into. Then comes the next surprise.

God, like the friend responds, “It’s okay. I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.” (story told on West Wing by Leo to Josh dealing with post trauma syndrome after he was shot. 2007 reworked and added rich man. Edited 2022)

So Christ calls us forgiven sinners made saints to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Then we will walk in God’s countenance and know the festal shout well, for each day will be a celebration of all that God can do in spite of us, for us, and through us for others. Each day is not like the last, except that God’s Grace abounds again and again, in surprising ways.

Remember Me?

Monday, September 5, 2022

Even When Others

See Only a Tiny Reflection

of Who

We Really Are,

God Does Not Forget Us.

Isaiah 49:15

Can a woman forget her nursing-child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Hebrews 13:6

So we can say with confidence,
‘The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?’

Words of Grace For Today

Will we be remembered, as we go through life, will anyone remember us when disaster strikes?! When we die, will anyone bother to remember us? When so many lies are repeated and spread like wildfire about us, creating a made-up monster that has our name, and otherwise has nothing to do with reality and our part in it, will anyone bother to remember who we really are?

When the worst comes at us, we can say with confidence that

‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?’

The day before us will have challenges, but we will not be forgotten for who we really are, for God does not forget anything. God knows us, gathers us in, forgives, renews, blesses, and sends us out to share God’s grace and blessings with all people.

God remembers us. Today is a good day to be remembered! (and forgiven.)

Staff or Ghost?

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Holy Ghost,

Or

a Guiding Light Through the Night?

Or Both!

Exodus 14:21

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.

Hebrews 11:29

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.

Words of Grace For Today

Sometimes, okay honestly, quite often, I wish that I had Moses staff to ‘part the troubled waters’ that block my escape from my tormentors and from the challenges that threaten to do me in.

Or, as the Hebrews passage states it, I wish I had the faith to part the ‘troubled waters’ that hem me in and hold me fast to the slavery that has been forced upon me.

But then, it’s like waiting for God to rescue you from a flood, and along the way refusing help from neighbours in a truck driving out through the low waters rising quickly, and the rescue boat that comes when the waters have filled the streets and roads, and the helicopter that will pluck you from the roof top. Instead St. Peter gets to point out that those offers for rescue were God at work.

So, it’s on with the day’s work, trusting that I will wisely choose what to do today of the many I can do or at least start doing today (and maybe even some that I think are impossible yet!)

The light shines, so it’s time to work. Now if the solar system were not burned out that would translate into power to use for some of the work. That’s one thing that I need to work on, since I’m low on gasoline for the generator!

Small challenge of power. At least it is not someone else fight to take my power from me. For that I am always thankful.

On with the day. What will it bring, and what can be done. That will be seen and given thanks for as the sunsets and I lay down to rest.

And for you? What will the day bring? More wishes for Moses’ staff, or focusing on what is possible … even if it looks impossible to start with?!

Shine, Baby Shine!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages#tab1-2

Light Of Lights, Beyond All Imaginations.

Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, is best known for being prominently featured in the holiday classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Today, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephan’s Quintet in a new light.

Isaiah 60:1

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.

Words of Grace For Today

It is in the darkness that we face our deepest fears.

It is also in the deepest darkness of our lives that God makes most clear for us God’s awesome power of love and grace.

Imagine you are far up north, on a clear, dark night.

Look up and around, and drink in the view of the sky, full of stars. These stars that have inspired so many humans to turn history to what it is for us today. Yet …

For all we do to ‘turn history’ to our liking, Forest Gump’s mom said it for us all

‘Life is like a box of Chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get!’

While the darkness may drive fear through our hearts more deadly than any spear or bullet, and while the light may show our failings in all too disastrous a view for all to see, in the end, what we get in life is not as important as what we give in life.

Whether we find ourselves in the brilliant, unforgiving light of day, or in the darkest moments of our lives, Christ’s light shines into our lives, our minds, hearts, and souls, and while that may illuminate our failings all too well, that light also shines grace and forgiveness over all our lives … and it brings us peace.

Look up and around, and drink in the view of the sky, this time though with so few stars. For this night the sky dances with waves of green and blue and purple.

How can we be anything but awestruck! And inspired.

God, once again (as whenever we need to be so inspired) dances the universe for us to see and believe, so that we might live in wonder and awe, willing to serve, guided by what we cannot see, but know only by faith.

Northern lights blazing over lake Thingvellir national park in Iceland

https://guidetoiceland.imgix.net/538317/x/0/the-northern-lights-reflecting-in-the-water

It’s Just A Bit of The Northern View,

God’s Word (Visibly)

for Us All.

Would You Hand Me A Light!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Bears May Hibernate in the Dark

Coming Out In The Spring,

But We Humans Live Through It

And Hope To See The Spring.

Isaiah 60:19

The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Words of Grace For Today

It sounds like an apocalyptic movie: the sun shall no longer be your light by day, and the moon will not give you light by night. Polar darkness, for ever.

Then comes our salvation: the Lord will be our everlasting light, and our God will be our glory.

John puts the words there that seal the deal for us: God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Thank God, because it was beginning to look like the darkness had taken a firm grip our our world leaving us just a short time before we would plunge into eternal darkness.

January 10, 2022 I wake to a rustle followed by a huge bang. Then more rustling of tarps and more bangs, loud, crisp, close and … the ground shakes. I reach for the light to switch it on, and nothing. The batteries are dead as a 100 year old mummy, and as cold as if the mummy were uncovered from melting polar ice. That’s not right, I remember thinking. The fire should still be quite warm. I try to see what the thermometer reads but cannot see. I zip open the door and wind blows in my face crisp and instantly freezing cold. That’s not right, there was a fire in the fire box sheltered from the wind by a frame hung with insulated tarps. I cannot see anything. I feel for something, anything. But there is nothing. I stumble around pulling on a parka, pants, boots, gloves. I step out to where there had been a wood stove when I went to bed just a few hours ago. I thought I’d stoke it, but it’s not there.

I walk a few steps and the piercing cold bites deep into me, so much so that as I turn I lose my bearings, I flounder around a bit. Trying to work this out, I take one step and feel in a circle. I take a step back and then one more back and feel in a circle. Then I step in each side direction. Nothing. So I repeat the search this time taking two steps. This time my hand brushes against something. I take one more step towards it, trying to ensure I know the direction I’ve come from. It’s the zipper door flapping in the wind. I crawl back into the tent.

A loud to no one I say in a prayer: Would You Hand Me a Light!

As I reach to climb into bed my hand brushes something hard, a flashlight.

I have a light. I turn it on and realize in my restless sleep I’ve turned myself all around so that I have gone out the ‘back’ door of the tent. I look through the zipper of the front door and there is the shelter and fire, dwindling to almost no heat.

I get dressed again and go out to stoke it, lay myself back down to sleep again, and thank God

… for being the Light of my Life.

Or I could have panicked and never found my way back in the tent.

In the morning I see evidence that a bear has taken on a tree not 5 feet from my tent, and the tree lost. It was left banging against the tree next to it. My night of banging waking me turned around. Thankfully God got me straightened around.

God leads us and lights our ways in so many and various ways, but always God lights our ways, even on this day to come.

Striking Fear Into Our Hearts

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Middle of the ‘Night’

and

The Sun Never Sets,

Our Evil Deeds

Are Never Hidden

From the Light of God

1 Samuel 12:20-21

Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save.’

John 12:26

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

Words of Grace For Today

You have done all this evil!

That is usually preceded by a long list of horrendous things we have done, some are well known and many we have hidden so others would not find out about them, but then someone did. Everything eventually sees the light of day!

You have done all this evil!

That is usually followed by a stiff condemnation and a listing of the ways we will be punished, which hardly ever is exactly proportional to the horrendous things we have done. We would like to say that crime and evil do not pay, but they do. We would like to believe that innocent people are not punished for things they did not do, but there is more evil done punishing innocent people than the evil that innocent people are punished for. It’s just how we ‘get it out of our system’. We humans are always up for a good scapegoating to relieve the pent up pressure on our own guilty consciences. Girard had that right!

You have done all this evil!

Then Samuel plays out for the people God’s grace. There is no punishment list.

There is in the prior verses much more: Samuel, old in age, has come before ‘all of Israel’ and asked them to judge him if he is guilty of any offence, and they have declared that he is not guilty of anything.

Samuel goes on to recount their history, from their cries in Egypt that God answers by sending Moses and Aaron to bring them to the Promised Land, to their wayward worship of and serving other gods, Baal and Astartes, God’s punishments as foreign powers conquered them, and then their request for a king to lead them against their enemies. This is counted by all as a sin, one terrible sin on top of all the others.

Still Samuel tells them that all can be well: if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well.

It’s not a simple day of reckoning for Samuel. The people are still called to account, so Samuel demonstrates God’s power: Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain; and you shall know and see that the wickedness that you have done in the sight of the Lord is great in demanding a king for yourselves.’ So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

The people, rightly notice God’s power and wrath against them and pray for their lives, not to God, but they ask Samuel to pray for them: All the people said to Samuel, ‘Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of demanding a king for ourselves.’

This is where the verse above fits. Samuel begins by telling them not to be afraid. He just struck the fear of God into their hearts and now he tells them not to be afraid. They should serve their God alone, and all will be well, if they and their king serve God alone. Samuel tells them God has an interest in them, so God will not too quickly kill off the sinful people for all their sins, the last being asking for a king to lead them against their enemies.

For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.

To their request that Samuel pray for them, Samuel puts it simply:

Moreover as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.

And what is that instruction, as if the passages have not been spilling it out in abundance: Only fear the Lord, and serve him faithfully with all your heart; for consider what great things he has done for you.

And it they do not, well then there will be, as they feared, the punishment that they already deserve: But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.

So is God merciful?

Is Samuel right to strike the fear of God into their hearts with rain and thunder on their wheat crops?

The whole scenario plays out that we can avoid God’s wrath by serving God alone. Yet like the Israelis we turn from God in so many ways each day.

God does honour those who serve him.

Thankfully God is merciful to all people who ever lived and will ever live, for we have all at some time in some way turned from serving God alone. Scapegoating innocent people to relieve the conflict in our lives we have created is just one of the ongoing, horrendous sins that is our turning from our God, who has sent us the Spirit of truth, to guide us in all truth.

Ah, but we choose to hide our evil deeds, and our hearts from the truth, for we think we cannot bear the punishment that will follow.

Thankfully God is merciful to all.

Now for today: how can we choose to serve God alone! Well then … on with it!

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.