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.

Smoke Dark Moon

Smoke Dark Moon

It’s been an interesting day, cutting wood in the relative warmth of -15

and being able to turn off the generator,

warm enough not to have to worry about warming it up to start it.

So I turned on the 3000W inverter to recharge the computer battery, and it started, then hiccuped and burbed and popped and smoked a bit.

I pulled the empty cords out, pulled the solar generator, cut power to the batteries for the camper, but I do not have a cut off for the battery to the inverter line.

It just fried itself.

Already done and stinky electric fire …

Under warranty, but it took a while to get the replacement.

Home, it was already dark, and cold at -28°C and getting colder faster than forecast so I expect -30° will be well met, since it’s already now -29° and forecast to drop four more degrees before morning, of course the low was expected to be -28° and it’s already -29°. So -33° maybe?

Here it just dropped to -30°. By morning here -34 or so?

As I was out to start the generator, the moon shone a sliver over the trees, and the smoke from the chimney gave a back stop to the darkness broken by the moon.

?What will come next

Slivers of delight, in small ways, the glory of the solitude, all quiet except the generator going to stay warm and circulate the warm air in here.

Smokey Moonlight

Sleep and dream of a world where truth is valued most.

falls the snow

2019.01Jan25

Gently Falls the Snow

.

going out to cut

the electricity off

for the night

to save

on gas

.

I stoke the fire the last time before bed,

Hoping to remain warm the night through

And wake to embers glowing in the firebox

Enough to rebuild the fire for another day

As

I step

Beyond the door

Into the dark of the night

The soft gentle snowflakes float silently

To the ground, providing cover over yesterday’s mess

And a new carpet for tomorrow’s work beyond that marvellous door

.

Today

Yesterday’s carpet

Was well worn by the bright afternoon

Light that bounded out in the clear for all of 15 minutes

Before hiding until

Perhaps tomorrow.

The Power of Light

Sermon Draft for Epiphany 2019

This is Life in the Darkness

It’s dark in remote northern SK especially in the winter, especially for first nations youth. Their suicide rate is more than 4 times greater than other youth.

In Pinehouse, like many places around God’s creation, youth in desperate straights, often survivors of multiple suicide attempts, are finding that learning and practising photography brings light into the darkness. Photography is all about light: seeing light, catching light to tell a story. It also requires of the photographer to see the world in a different light, in the light of God’s beauty. Photography done well communicates real wonders. It often remains unnoticed, until the technical capabilities of photographer with camera and equipment in hand bring God’s beauty to the photo.

As the youth actively bring God’s beauty to their photos, they bring life and hope and light into the darkness of their own lives.

God’s ways unfathomable

Tim recently added a safety margin to his existence; wood heat. It is not without it’s risks. Fire is powerful. The wood stove, well furnace really, refurbished, with the outside shield freshly painted after years of abuse can provide heat, and how. With care Tim fired it up more than once with a decidedly small test fire, to ensure the draft worked, the smoke went up, and the dampers actually worked. There are explosive possibilities Tim wanted to ensure would not happen. Smoke is routed around inside to ensure it burns as much as possible. Less pollution, and more heat. Fully fired the furnace still occasionally cures the paint on the shield, and the room becomes insufferably hot. With diligent care Tim now supplements an insufficient propane furnace (which lasted only a year before needing to be replaced) with an overly sufficient HOT wood stove. Left wide open and fully stoked the wood furnace could probably melt itself to the ground, yet alone it’s shelter and it’s occupant.

In the relative comfort of my condo, visiting over New Year’s, Tim let his guard down. A simple candle sat on the coffee table. He set a simple portion of the newspaper absently to the side. Only a good sense of smell alerted him that someone must have put out the candle.

But no, looking up he saw the newspaper 1/4 engulfed in flame, which in a minute would have burned the table to the ground and possibly the condo with it.

Grabbing newspaper aflame in hand he smothered the flames with what was left of the newspaper, leaving ashes everywhere. But the condo still stands, no fire damage. Just a scare.

Explosive fire from HOT HOT wood and smoke burning at 1000° degrees, all done safely. A small candle in the comfortably heated condo, with all the supports of a city all around. Why does God let a fire with the newspaper scare us so?

In the Gospel we hear of great things all at God’s hand: Wise men follow a star and bring gifts of wealth. Dreams warn them to return home safely and for Joseph to take Jesus to Egypt. But we know the rest. All those children in and around Bethlehem slaughtered by Herod. Why? Perhaps those Wise men were not so wise, going to Herod’s home town for directions?

God’s Way

We like to make our own ways, who we make friends with, who we care for, who we spend time with.

God surprises us:

In Isaiah, the prophet preaches to a group of returned Exiles. They find themselves in conflict with their relatives who never left. Those who stayed behind remember that they, and they alone, are God’s chosen people. The returnees want everyone included in God’s favour.

In Matthew the wise men come to honour Jesus, the king foretold by the star. They are not Jews. They are members of a completely different religion.

In Ephesians the central mystery of faith that the writer shares is that Christ is for all the Gentiles.

Mystery of Faith

We ask today, What about un-earnable unconditional Forgiveness. What about God’s Grace being a gift so that we are saved not because of what we do, say or think or even believe. It is just pure gift!

Of course we are included just as Jews may be. That’s old news. But in Paul’s time no one besides Jews were considered, until Paul. God chose him specifically to preach to the Gentiles. While the rest of the apostles stayed in Jerusalem, with Jews joining them, Paul travelled the Mediterranean, spreading the Gospel to everyone, especially Gentiles. It was dangerous to be a new Christian. They were targeted and killed. If Paul had not spread the Good News, the early church, contained only in Jerusalem, practised only by converted Jews, may easily have died off in the first few years.

After generations of God’s people claiming only they were chosen, and they held themselves apart as identifiably chosen, what is God up to letting in the Gentiles, us Gentiles?

When it comes to our God and our lives, we have a long wish list:

What we want

Even in today’s lessons we read how we want:

Just rulers.

Light in the darkness, a resolution of the all ails of the human condition

Prosperity in Light and Glory.

Access to God and Power: God’s servant with authority.

We want OUR family together, sons home, daughters cared for (sexism) so we really want our children in town or close by, our grandchildren nearby, and relative prosperity to accompany us all, always, to make our paths smooth.

God’s Light vs. Our Darkness

God’s way, as history should fully teach us is Not at all about our power, not our wishes, not making our paths smooth.

Darkness is us not acknowledging God as God, Love as our commission, Evil as the necessary result, our participation in it as inevitable and unavoidable sinners. Darkness is us damning others for the evil that we and others suffer.

Real danger in life is not knowing the real power of God, present in various ways. God’s power is so powerful it is like a fully stoked furnace, in the guise of a candle flame, but capable of burning down the whole universe.

Still we choose to remain in darkness. We choose to not know the destruction of fright at injustice. Fright freezes us, or causes us to flee, or to stand and fight; all are choices in the face of obvious malfeasance that will sink us like an overheated candle melts in the midst of a condo consumed by fire.

We choose to be ignorant of today’s injustice, malfeasance, and corruption. We’ve heard the stories of old, but they are very present today, perhaps worse than ever since they are so secreted under spin and even blatant lie.

Like the denial of the destructive power of CO emissions. Now we have Global Warming run rampant. Environment Canada, reporting on the top ten stories of the past year warns that now the extremes of the past are the new norms. Without greater resilience than ever before needed, we will not survive the new extremes. Perhaps the overly sufficient wood stove may become barely sufficient.

In our darkness with light pollution all around we may not be able to see the wonders of the stars, the marvel of wilderness worth preserving, nor the inherent beauty of even our city, our streets, even our own backyards.

In our darkness we may not acknowledge the futility of security sought in prosperity. Even though we live in boom and bust Alberta, we too often seek security in prosperity or wealth. We hoard wealth or we live lavishly. But prosperity and wealth can evaporate like water on an overheated wood furnace. It takes only a turn of a market, a corruption of an investor, a foreign or domestic attack, a new Storm, a bad health event for ourselves or a loved one. After all we are all dying after the age of 26 or so, our bodies literally falling apart. It’s normal for no one gets out of life alive.

The true Gospel, True Mystery, True Light, True Blessings

The true Gospel, for the Gentiles, given as a free gift, not earned by compliance to a set of rules or piety, is a true mystery. It brings the true light with true blessings to all who hear it.

We live not by prosperity but wholly by Grace. God commissions us to carry this same undeserved Grace to all others. We are only lowly servants. Our only power is Christ’s Power of self-sacrifice, truth, and of bringing life to others.

As we are rulers we can be just rulers. Even as middle or low class citizens or guest, or even as homeless squatters, the Spirit uses us to be for others Christ’s voice, Christ’s heart of grace and unconditional love, and Christ’s hands.

We share what we have freely received without cost: we share Hope based on God’s promises. We share God’s forgiveness. We share God’s grace.

As any good photographer will tell you, light is everything, and it is the contrast to the darkness and the play of specular light, light that is diffused and then reflected, that creates beauty. We are reflections of God’s diffused light. We are specular, spectacular and beautiful. We have the whole power of Christ moving through us, just as a small candle has the same power to consume a home, as a fully stoked, left wide open, wood furnace.

Flame is flame. The Holy Spirit is the source of our light, our breath, our hope, and our warmth and passion for life as God created it for All people to enjoy: life as Christ’s servants is beautifully full of wonder.

Amen

Also possible

NASA celebrating when pictures come back from the other side of Pluto. Beyond expectations.

China: landed on the dark side of the moon, seeing images not seen before.

It’s about TIME

It’s about TIME

The way to defeat evil is to live a good life.

A trip to friends brought us to a familiar, wonderful view out over the mountains.

Though our visiting took priority over getting high on the mountains until the sun was well up in the sky. The sunrise was less rise than rain fall. So we enjoyed the clear air clean of the wildfire smoke from the many BC fires. The clear mountain air.

A breath of fresh air as good as good friends: priceless.

And after a jaunt up we went down by the riverside to enjoy the flow of wonder,

As water roiled serenely reaching for the sea across the rocks.

 

The last outing I had was a while ago, when ice still held the water under wraps

Just nice.

 

and the moon stuck itself hidden in clear view over the ice.

 

The greatest marvel though was definitely the golden

Wonder of the setting sun spread through the warp and weave of this universe.

My mind

Full

Ness

of what may come.

Grace is the only aspect of life that brings real rewards.

Breathe ….

Time is always on the side of truth.

Goodness shines bright. Think. Live. Be courageous,

The truth will win out.

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

The cold of this past week was unrelenting.

Yes it got to -35°C. Not just once for a few hours but twice, staying below -30°C for long, cold, dark hours. And during that time there was no furnace that would run, taken down by a what, or was it a who? With repairs two nights distant, two deep cold dark nights away.

Yes, there are more than a few people who know some of the truth of what has been done to me xxxx but that I am under threat if I speak the truth (the xxxx indicate phrases I needed to delete). Most people have believed the lies told about me: they think that I am some kind of monster that is portrayed nowadays in film and tv as the ultimate male gone amok  x x x x.

I am nothing of the sort.

I am a person who at great cost to myself has practiced unconditional love for those closest to me  x x x x 

I am a person practiced in bringing others to experience Grace, even in the midst of the brokenness of their lives, often after surviving the death of loved ones, even by suicide.

Yet I am told, repeatedly, that I have done what I have not done, that I am a person I am not and have never been nor would ever allow myself to become.

 X x x x

How is this even possible?

That impossibility become real is the deep dark cold that corrupts and consumes the goodness in life, not just for me and those close to me, but for everyone who encounters this dark cold.  X x x x  Our sense of truth is so assaulted and violated that it will be a miracle  x x x x  if anyone is left capable of receiving and then giving unconditional love.

Grace is such a miracle, and grace requires human hands and hearts to carry it and deliver it, to reflect it as light … to show by example that Grace does exist … unconditionally for us all.

 

Yet in spite of the unrelenting deep cold darkness

I stand, surviving the cold, by faith through grace alone.

Who will stand with me?

Or

Who will continue to stand against me?

There are so many people who know a piece or two of the truth which would make obvious the lies told about me. There are a few people who know so much truth about the lies being told about me. If only one or two people came forward with the truth they know, the lies could not continue to ruin lives all around; and the conglomerations of lies are not innocent; they have already brought people to their deaths; they will bring more people to their deaths by their own hands.

 

Who will you be, in the face of the deep, cold, darkness that invades your lives?

Will you be an agent of Grace, or one who impedes others knowing Grace is also for them?

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemoller from Wikipedia

“Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈniːmœlɐ]; 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor.[1][2] He is best known for a widely-paraphrased statement which he made in different versions, one of which is “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist. … Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.” [see above.]

He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[3] but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis’ Aryan Paragraph,[4] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[5] For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.[6][7] He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis.[4] He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.[4] From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters’ International from 1966 to 1972.[8] He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.[9]

Wikipedia about Martin Niemöller

Who are they coming for today, for whom you do not speak out?

 

What do you see around you?

The COLD and the DARK settling in again?

 

 

OR

 

GRACE and BEAUTY of light, the light that brings truth even in the darkness?

 

 

Can you find the path to the light?
The light that rises indomitably even in the deep dark cold.

 

The path is never straight, and often meanders at many crossroads on its way to the light.

 

We can be no more than ones who reflect the light of Grace. And sometimes when we have so little life left in us we can at most point in the deep, dark, cold to where the light is reflected, to others who reflect the light.

 

 

Then, by the reflected light, we can show others the path …
The path that winds its way toward home,
home where the infinite meets our finite lives,
turning everything upside down, inside out
and
warm with the goodness of life,
the indomitable life
given to us all by Grace.

 

And we are left able in the cold to walk on water,

 

for there is no other choice.

 

 

Most every path we tread is covered
with water,
frozen water,
snow and ice.

Miracles of indomitable life often only occur in the face of the deepest, darkest, coldest ….

 X x x x

Full Life – Full Moon

Full Life – Full Moon

The way to full life is not any simple procedure or simple idea.
One cannot simply wait 28 days and it will appear.
The process of participating in life to the fullest is just as complex as life always is –
After one comprehends enough of the complexity of life one finds the kernel that inspires and fills life as never before,
Full life waxes and wanes as real life carries one forward through whatever will come.
One can simply wait 28 days for anther full moon, and complain how people are owl-ly those nights. Yet if you are out in the wilderness the full moon is real and advantageous, or not.
In the dark of night the moon shines this night full against cold, snow and dark.


Always the light comes at long last to reveal the way forward.

Out in the trees the moon shine is so bright that the shadows lay distinct lines, black on the white fallen from heaven.

 

This track gives evidence of life fully lived, of skiing in the romantic light of the night.

Before it gets so dark, at sunset the snow shines
Drifts and rolls of white hang on the shore under a sky getting darker by the minute.

Simple blues, and drifts and rolls of snow.

There is blue and gold and snow and dark ….

And this is a moment of the fullness of life, when one sees the light.
How do you measure the fullness of your life?
Find beauty this side of life, the daisies will soon enough hold themselves against the sky.

Dark Lake Ice

Dark Lake Ice

The wonder of the world is simple
Not something silly simply, simplistic
But that simple beyond the complexities that confuse and confound
Simple and profound
Simple and true
Simple with integrity.
The wonder of the world is that one can find another simply loving, worth devotion and desirable as one’s companion.
The wonder of the world is to hope when all evidence is to the contrary that anything good can come of what is happened, what lies are told, what deceptions are played, what truth is shredded by greed and fear of discovery, fear of being alone.
The wonder of the world is faith that is not stupid or ignorant, not thoughtless nor doubtless, but a faith that God’s grace and love will prevail, even in the face of continuous evidence that evil will win and destroy fathers and children and even mothers who lie in the midst of dreadful fear of source unknown but focused now on destroying so much, also me. A faith that encounters the infinite in the finite, the immortal in the mortal, the universe divine in the mundane of the world, the light even when it is only dark.

Here the ice is in solid enough to fish through, but at night it is dark, very dark but for the light reflected to the clouds by oil processing plants. The ice is dark, the light just enough not to get lost, the ice just cold enough to hold one walking on water. And who said miracles are not possible everyday in the winter?

or any other season for that matter?

The light will come as sure as sunrise, brilliant, bedazzling, searing through every darkness in its path. All will be known.

The light will make us all see and know the truth. And the truth like a double edge sword will not only give light to our footsteps through the cold snow with biting ice wind and through the heat teaming with mosquitoes and black flies, the light will make the evil present visible and known for what it is and as searing laser it will cut it out of us, cleansing us of all the evil.
And those born and raised without unconditional love will know they have been unconditionally loved and forgiven and loved as only an evil enemy can be.
Are you ready for the light?
Are you gracious enough to welcome the light and its freedom as gift freely given or
Do you hide in the darkness because you cannot face the evil in light within, because you have never seen the light bring not only Evil to light, but freedom to be enslaved to forgiving others, always, without end.
Grace like light is both particle and wave, sword and embrace, freedom and slavery, gift and free and opportunity to take on obligations otherwise scorned.
Hold the light high, it will shine and make us all free. Hold the light high for you are the light,
The sinner made saint yet simultaneously always yet the sinner, freed to be servant.
Money will not make you free. It will enslave you to life that is dead.
Power will not make you free. It sill enslave you to die while you still walk and breathe.
Winning at all costs will not set you free; it will only rob your soul and mind from you as you continue to lose even when others tell you you win.

Come light of the world, light up my days, your days, and set us free.
Brace us for the sword’s work in us.
Brace yourself for the light that knocks you silly and wakes you smiling for real.
Smile, it is the beginning of Peace.

We walk on water, and there are all sorts of other miracles we forget to see each day.

Breathe.

Smile.

Be the source of Peace.

Simple Light Going Places

Simple Light Going Places
As I watch the crescent moon through the screen door, coyotes howl and moose call (bulls in rut), and the ever haunting loon cries allowing the beginning of the night to commence with a sense of fullness even in the solitude and loneliness of a quiet lake.
Geese in formation fly overhead, already the norm now for more than two weeks, and that much earlier than normal. Will it be a short fall? Or a long fall and pleasant winter?

The view to the lake is familiar and simple.
With only the zoom that changes perspective:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quickly disappearing spectacle of light overhead demanded attention, the greatest pseudo urgency for hours of quiet:

 

So moving that the jet trails spanned from the southern to the northern horizons almost too fast to capture both.

But there it is, someone moving out of the light into the light.
Spreading a trail of light, a beacon lit by the golden light of the setting sun reflecting off the shiny aluminum skin.

Where are you going tonight?
Parents: do you know where your children are?
Children: do you know where your parents are?
And parents do you know where your children are going?
And going to be tomorrow?

The Dance of Grace

The Dance of Grace

My Beloved,

Dance in the morning as you come to wake and see light again, bright or fuzzy, broken or brilliant, light is not light, but the music that you have in you by Grace provides the rhythm to see far into the present.

Dance in the morning as you begin your day, for the tasks can be overwhelming, the burdens impossible to lift even on ones shoulders, and the debt owed so many can with just one straw of fiction removed come crashing down all around, but the music of Grace plays within you even so and even if so faintly, but it guides your heart at every beat, to remember the steps from birth through to today and beyond as the shadows and darkness of sin (your own and others’) were want to prevail and still your heart beat and beats now still by Grace alone, and the music sustained and sustains you, and the rhythm continually invited and invites you still to dance.

Dance in the mid-day as the bright light burns hot or the skies pound the ground with vicious water or the fog drips from up high, always burning or drowning out the expectation of what might be somehow finally this day … but now simply cannot be, and as hope fades into Jerusalem’s lament, listen to the soft persistent music of Grace which is the element that holds all elements together, the particle that holds all particles together at the fundamental basis of realities’ waves constructed into this universe, listen and if in the din of the day you cannot hear, then simply remember, remember the gentle music of the bearers from generations upon generations of Grace, hear or remember, and hum softly along and silently almost imperceptivity move your feet and fingers, your chin and your knees, your belly button and your hips into the dance, the dance of Grace. For here is life, here alone is life, here alone is all manner of life.

Dance in the evening as the energy of the day gives up and the work is left to another day to be engaged, and the darkness begins to slowly invade the skies pushing the light to the far north’s horizon distant and beckoning, and as you lay yourself down to know none of this at all any more, as the darkness invades your mind and the horrors of past, present and future play free upon unprotected anxieties; Dream, dream and dream all that darkness freely for the beat of the music continues on even then, and dream also the victory of Grace against all that unbridled darkness and evil begat of sin, and dance … dance away … dance with your toes and your synapses freed, for here in this play of the universe of your mind, there also the music continues, continues on, continues on and away, the music of Grace, which frees one from the pervasive power of evil and horrors, and there in that freedom of Grace all powerful even over Evil so freely played, dance … dance on … dance away, a way to embody Grace.

For the sun will rise again, fresh and unsoiled, fully embodied in you … by Grace so that you may dance.

Know by your dance of Grace that you are loved, by God perfectly and so imperfectly by me.