Because

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Why this photo?

Only because ,

Like Everything Good,

God made it possible.

Deuteronomy 6:5

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Words of Grace For Today

You shall … and no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot all the time do what God says we shall … even when it comes to love and especially not when it comes to loving God, yet alone loving God with all our heart, soul, and might.

Doch

because God loves us first, therefore we are able (by Grace alone) to love our neighbours as ourselves, our enemies, and always God.

Loving gives our otherwise meaningless lives purpose and joy … and always brings us pain and sorrow, too.

That’s the colour of love that God gives us, and enables us to live out in our lives, all our days on this wonderful, if lately kind of wild, planet. It’s a full rainbow of colours, even the empty colours of a void … that God gives us and fills with our living in God’s presence.

Blessing Us Dirt

Thursday, July 29, 2021

God’s Light and Blessing

Makes Even

Dirt

Golden

Ezekiel 36:9

See now, I am for you; I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown.

Acts 17:28

We too are God’s offspring.

Matthew 20:1

For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard

Words of Grace For Today

I always enjoy the biblical humour: the good news Ezekiel shares is that God is for the people, and they are compared to the dirt of the earth that is tilled and sown in order that something good will grow from it.

The people are, in this metaphor, nothing, just dirt to be trod upon … until God chooses to use them, to turn them over with the plow, to put something good into them that will grow, taking nutrients from their useless dirt, in order to produce food that will sustain others in life. And yet they, though useful to God’s project of providing food for others, and though God is with them, … they remain still dirt.

God turns to them, and they are tilled and sown.

So it is with us.

The dirt of the earth are we, and yet God uses us, tills us with the plow turning us over into something that lays bare the darkness of us, and then God puts good seeds in us, they grow, and food is produce for others, and we remain only dirt, the dirt of the earth. In this metaphor if we become or are and remain the salt of the earth, nothing will grow in us, and others will have no food. Best we are simply dirt, so that others may live.

This we are, the dirt of the earth. Still God claims us as offspring, as God’s own children. Is it really a jump to a completely different metaphor. Yes, but no not really.

God’s children are only something special and good for the rest of creation because God makes it so. God’s children are saints … only because God makes us saints. We remain stains on the face of creation, sinful stains, even as God makes us saints.

The real story is that out of such dirt and such stains God demonstrates everything about God’s love for us: God makes saints out of stains, out of sinners, out of dirty old dirt. That is God’s miraculous work, that God can make saints out of us.

It may seem humorous to be compared to dirt as Ezekiel pronounces God’s blessing of turning toward us, humorous for the unexpected impossible comparison … but then that is what God does all the time. God surprises us with the unexpected.

God blesses us and claims us as God’s own children … though we certainly do not deserve it.

Now what are we going to do with this unexpected blessing, this daily unexpected, life-giving, astounding blessing!? What else other than to share it with as many people, especially those the world would call unfit, unacceptable, incapable of being a blessing for anyone.

God calls for workers, to care for the vineyard, to bring in the harvest, and make the wine. That’s us, dirt, children, and workers.

The Strength of Our Rose

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Treasure of Our Lives

Is Christ’s Strength

Made from Our Weakness.

Psalm 82:3

Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.

1 John 3:18

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.

Words of Grace For Today

The life of Christ’s disciples, some would say, is to be of peace and quiet, reflection and quiet prayer, and solace and disengagement from the turmoil of life.

Jesus and the early disciples had something quite different to say about how Jesus’ followers can live and are called to live. There’s lots that we have read and heard how to make life so much better for ourselves and for our own.

The centre of Christ’s way for us is simple and clear: we live blessed by Christ, so that we can be the same blessings for others.

Christ calls us, among other things, to love, not only in word but in truth and action, to give justice to the weak and the orphan, to preserve the right of the lowly and the destitute.

It will take much from us, if we ever speak untruth or avoid good action, or we do not give justice to and to preserve the rights of the weak, the orphan, the lowly, and the destitute.

So Christ calls us to an integrity as servants of the one who lay down his life that we might live free from the bondage to evil. Christ calls us to give to those who are outcast, who are orphaned, who are the weakest, who are kept low, and who are destitute … or who are in need of what Christ offers, abundant life.

The rose of our lives lies in our weaknesses that Christ uses to bring life to others, so we always remain, warts and all, fully engaged in life and for others.

De-story-ing OR God’s Story

Saturday, July 24, 2021

The Blood Red Sun Sets

Through the Smoke

Telling Us, If We Listen

That There Is a Cost

As We Try to Breathe

For Ignoring Climate Change Warnings for Decades

Genesis 50:21

Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.

Ephesians 4:29

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

Words of Grace For Today

There is too much to fear these days:

The Covid19 delta variant and other more transmissible and deadly variants that will come out of unvaccinated populations where Covid still runs rampant threaten us all.

Climate change disasters like crop failures, disasters for the farmers and for the people who depend on that food (at a cost that can be afforded), floods that destroy homes, businesses, industries, and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt), fires that destroy homes, businesses and forestry industries and kill people (putting the future habitability of so much land in doubt, and drive even higher the cost of building lumber – so that it is out of reach for so many people), and wildfires that put so much smoke in every direction into the air that for thousands of miles people have trouble breathing.

Barbaric fabrication of reality (by spouses and children, police and pastors, lawyers and judges) in order to gain a fast diminishing advantage (money, power, and/or status) over good and honest people, falsifying science results or ignoring science’s best results (by politicians who lead us into destroying the very things that we need to live on earth, and by Covidiots and others who put every life at risk with their unsupported insistence that they can be right with their foolishness), and the accumulation of power by people who have driven fear into huge portions of our populations so that they are willing to surrender their freedoms in exchange for false promises that their fears will be dealt with. Instead more and more of their freedoms are taken and hate based decisions by despots destroy the lives of many good people. All which disconnects us from reality, the basic reality that God walks with us, and blesses us with many things in order that we can share them with all other people.

How are we to respond to these very real causes of fear in and among us?

First we listen as we have listened for years, for decades, and for generations to God’s promises.

Have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.

Second we learn how and practise daily to be the people who live past fear in the Grace that God provides, so that we can share that Grace with others.

We let no evil talk come out of our mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that our words may give grace to those who hear.

If that sounds simple, it is, and it is impossible for us. Doch with God all things are possible and God calls us to live exactly this way. Living beyond fear, filled with Grace and sharing Grace with others, with our words and our actions, is exactly how God created us to live in the world.

There is too much to fear these days, just as there always has been for every generation. We can get lost in that fear, destroying (and de-story-ing) ourselves and others in the process … OR

We can remember and live in the story that God has for us: God makes us saints who share the Light of Christ with the whole world and all the people in it.

We cannot help but to fear and destroy and de-story ourselves and others.

Doch by God’s Grace we are saved and can be part of God’s work of saving everyone of all time.

Not so small a deal, when we think about it and remember how much God has done for us through the generations.

Forgetful Us

Thursday, July 22, 2021

We remember the Joy

of the Light freeing us from winter’s grip.

Help us remember

God’s freeing us from evil’s grip

each day.

Deuteronomy 6:11-12

When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

1 John 3:17

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Words of Grace For Today

Today’s world is in upheaval again and for sure still: Covid 19 has taken it’s toll on the world economy and specific countries’ economies, including ours.

Prices for food are up markedly. Prices for fuel are up markedly. Lumber prices are doubled and doubled and tripled again. Prices for goods, if you can find them, are up markedly. Saved money (not able to be out spending it) is burning holes in people’s pockets (not mine) so that demand is up, supply has been cut and the result is shortages and leaps in prices. Thems with lots of money can get what they want while the rest of us get less of what we need.

We do not remember being slaves.

We are still slaves …

slaves to global economies that drive us to behave in markedly unwell ways, unwell for ourselves and to the great detriment of so many other people alive on earth …

so much so that we must ask along with the writer of 1 John, How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? For we have, collectively well forgotten the Lord who would bring us up out of the house of slavery.

The measure of our forgetfulness is easy to see: how many poor among us live without even the basics of life to survive, yet alone flourish?

How we have forgotten the Lord,

for among us

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without clean water

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without nourishing food

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without sufficient clothing

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without housing or shelter

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without meaningful labour

so many people survive or barely survive or don’t survive long without being able to love or be loved.

We have the means to provide for everyone in Canada, and for everyone in the whole world, but instead we have forgotten the Lord and we luxuriate in

an overabundance of clean water

good (and not so healthy but sweet and salty snack and luxury) food

huge multiple houses for only a few people (houses that could provide homes for ten times the people).

Our meaningless labours are left to others to sweat out their life long

and

love is made impossible by our demands on people, families, and even children who are not ‘our kind’.

We pray:

Lord help us to remember.

Lord help us to remember

the freedom you offer us each day, the slavery that encases us and makes us blind and deaf to other’s real needs, the gifts you have given us that we have not earned or deserved, our ability to and joy in sharing your gifts with those who need them most.

Free us from our blind prejudices and hate-based, made-up ‘faith’.

Free us from our gluttonous abuse of the earth’s resources that others’ need to survive.

Free us from our unfounded self-righteousness by which we condemn others.

Free us to live by giving life to others.

Lord help us to remember.

Lord help us to remember

You and Your works for us.

Lord help us to remember

Your bounty of gifts given to us as your provision for us as stewards, stewards charged with sharing them all with those most in need.

The Fullness of This Time

Monday, July 19, 2021

So Much Challenges Us

and Would Separate Us From the Light of Christ.

Christ is with Us Always,

Sending Us to Be Little-Christs for All Others.

Psalm 32:1

Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Colossians 1:14

He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Words of Grace For Today

We would like to think and say: happy are they who do not sin …

but there is no one who can not sin, and it would be a hopeless, despairing statement to try to maintain.

We all sin.

We all turn from God.

We all turn against God and all that is good for our own and everyone else’s lives.

The only hope for us is that our transgressions are forgiven and our sins covered.

This Jesus does for us.

We get to celebrate,

Give God thanks,

and

be Christ’s hands and voice to forgive and cover other people’s sins.

Life is full

everyday,

full of challenges

full of reasons to give thanks

full of good things to be and do for others.

Precious to Whom?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

In the Heat of (Climate Change Ever More Extreme) Summer

God Remembers Us

And the Many Paths Our Machines Have Made

In the Cool of Winter.

‘Chill’

God Recommends We

‘Chill.’

2 Samuel 7:22

Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Revelation 1:17-18

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive for ever and ever; and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.

Words of Grace For Today

In this rough and wild world of self-interested cheats and liars all, it is good to know one’s friends well and to have friends in high places, very high places.

No better friend than God, for there is no one like God, no god besides God, whether we’ve heard it or not!

The trouble with human friends is that when they get to be in high places, they cannot be trusted not to turn on you for their own interests of staying in high places, or demanding dirty little favours of you to help them stay in high places.

God does no such thing. We need not fear that God will turn on us, or turn us into petty criminals doing God’s dirty work so that God can remain God. God has no such concerns, for God has not stepped up higher than is God’s place (like some friends do, and all people in high places have done!)

God does no such thing. Instead God assures us we need not fear God’s Power and Might. God has turned that all powerful, all-mightyful reality toward resolving all that would destroy us.

God chose to be born as one of us, weak and vulnerable to corrupt powers that pretend to be more than they are, just as many of our judges and police and politicians do today. God suffered a terrible death at their hands, and defied their ‘power’ and the real power of death and evil itself! All so that we can live free of such fears, of petty powers and of real destructive powers of evil and even of death itself.

That’s what a real good friend in the very high places (and the low places and everywhere in between) does for us.

We must be some extraordinary precious!

Breathe in that reality!

We are precious to the Ultimate Most Powerful One!

What a life!

What are we going to do with it, that’s the question for each of us each day!

God and God’s People Always …

Friday, July 16, 2021

One May Expect Goodness to Simply Be There Tomorrow

But the Dark Clouds on the Horizon

Bear the Truth of Evil’s Power

It is Always at Work

God still Always

Wins

Psalm 142:6

Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low. Save me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me.

Luke 20:38

Now God is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.

Words of Grace For Today

When I think of those who have persecuted and falsely prosecuted me, I think of what Martin Luther King Jr. called God’s double victory. Both that our persecutors and evil prosecutors will stop doing the evil they do against us, that God’s justice will be done; and that our persecutors and evil prosecutors will be won over to serve God and live abundantly. Which leads me to think that if God has not ended them yet, and they still continue the evil the do so easily, often and effectively, then it is because God still believes in them. God still believes that they could be converted from enemies of God into children of God.

That’s quite a transformation for my enemies, who are too strong for me! It is almost beyond imagination that those who delighted so in planning their persecution of me (who are recorded in their glee speaking to each other) and told me that they did it just because they could, and who so easily lied and twisted reality into a Kafkaesque nightmare, a twilight zone of their own making … it is hard to imagine that these people could confess, repent (turn about towards doing good), and serve God alone.

Yet this is God’s promise for us all: that God is abounding in steadfast love, slow to anger, and that all people (no matter when or what we or they have done) are still alive!

It is comfort to know that God protects us, no matter how low we are brought by evil, no matter if we think there is no lower we can be forced. God certainly does not protect us from the effects of our enemies sins, nor protect us so that we remain alive on this earth even. God protects us, walks with us, and promises us that we will never be dead to God!

If God is for us so much so that to God we will always be alive, there is nothing that can destroy us or make us fear the power of evil more than we trust the promises of God.

Yet we pray Give heed to our cries, for we are brought very low. Save us from our persecutors, for they are too strong for us.

God sends help in the most extraordinary and unexpected ways, through the most surprising people. Watch it all with eyes wide, hearts open, and minds a-boggling; yet there is God at work!

Now it’s our turn to be the surprise of God’s good works giving life abundant to others, overcoming the work of evil that destroys.

Why Lord, Why?!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Lord, Why When the Light is Right in Front of Us

Do We Still Seek the Darkness?

Isaiah 61:1

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Words of Grace For Today

God, why …?

God why is it so hot!

Sweat pours down my back and arms and all over dripping all my work in stinky wet.

My jeans stick to my legs as I try to move. My shirt tugs back at all my efforts to move. It’s hard to get anything done, and when I do I feel like someone has wrung me out like a sopping wet towel and left me still soaking and stinking.

Ok, God, I can get used to the heat, it’s not easy but I’m adapting to it, but

God why are there so many miserable mosquitoes ready to bite me at all hours and at dawn and dusk they swarm so thick it’s hard not to inhale more than a few just walking a few feet from the door. When they bite it hurts, and then goes away, just to come back with a terrible itch that simply will not go away and will not be ignored! What’s that about anyway. If I try to ignore them and merely wash the itch away with ammonia in the glass cleaner, that sort of works until I get itchy all over inside my eyes, my nose, my throat and my ears and I start to have a severe allergic reaction that starts to take my breath away. Really, does it have to be so bad all summer long!? I have to wear long jeans and long sleeves, thick socks and a hat with flaps down my neck and over my ears soaked in DEET to keep them away. Then every night I have to wash all that DEET exposure away before I sleep which takes water which is expensive to haul here to have to wash with. Fortunately I have friends who have loaned me the things needed to shower each night and haul water often enough from town that I can shower on the hot days before sleeping.

So God I guess I can get used to the mosquitoes, but God, I mean really: does there have to be so many black gnats that dive bomb into my face, my eyes and ears and take little chunks away as prizes for their kamikaze efforts, which because they are so many they usually survive better than I. I end up breathing them into my lungs at least once a day. I have to constantly wave my hand in front of my face to keep them away, which sort of works and they only seem to be out in certain places while I am mowing grass. So it’s not all the time, thankfully.

So God I guess I have figured out how to survive even the kamikaze gnats.

But God why are there so many wasps, not just ready to bite me when I try to work on the tarps that shelter me from the cold in winter. They did sting me, hard sending shock waves through my body and brain freezing out all other thoughts or impulses except to run. Not just once, but twice, and they hurt unbearably for hours, then itched and ached for days. The memory returned fresh each time I stepped outside and the sound of a wasp buzz reached my ears. I live in fear everyday of being smashed into panic again. I cannot have that. I cannot work. I have to huddle in fear inside.

That just cannot be. So I’ve made a suit to protect me from head to toe, even a piece of screen left over from repairs to guard my face, all duct taped together with no gaps at all. I’ve read on the internet that dish soap will suffocate wasps. I cannot find any prepared wasp control/killer spray, so I’ve filled a spray bottle with a water soap mix and I’ve destroyed the nest on the tarps, and three in the woods so close they wasps swarm around the camper each day.

So God I guess I’ve figured out how to deal with the fear created by being stung by wasps, and in the fall they will all dies off. Next spring I know what to do to keep them from creating nest here again. It’s simple if I am ready.

But God I really don’t know what to do with the people that gaslight me, that scapegoat me, that bear false witness against me, and the judges that lie about the evidence before them in order to convict me and deny me true justice. How can a society survive such barbarism anyway. It’s like the truth does not count for anything and whatever someone makes up for the courts and whatever the courts want to make up for themselves will be taken in the worse possible way for me, and I’ll pay and pay and pay until I have nothing left and still I’ll be driven into debt, further and further and further, and made to give up even the most common decent truths about myself. I have had to celebrate the Eucharist each day to remember that you too were betrayed and scapegoated and convicted and … well you were crucified. I have not been killed. I have found your blessings in each day in the most profound and simple things, like having enough to eat, and a good cup of coffee with fresh milk in it in the morning, and having medications I need, and having reason and opportunity to work hard to survive, and write and dream and use photography to speak about the wonders of your creation.

So God, I guess I have gotten used to evil all around in the most trusted, honoured places in society in this adopted country of mine. I have to remember how much you forgive me, so that I can remember that you may forgive these people as well, though now I cannot say their sins are forgiven, for they have not admitted they did and still do this same thing to others, and it is horrendous for the children. So I have bound their sins so that they might fear that they will answer to you, though with you I hope for a double victory, now that they provide justice based on truth, and that they join your people in celebrating all your gifts, encouraging others to do the same.

But Lord, it’s so hot, there’s so many mosquitoes and gnats and wasps and so many enemies of goodness, kindness, truth, and love. How can I deal with all of them all the time.

So I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep

and if I die before I wake, least I won’t wonder how much is still at stake

for the dance of life is more than a dance, gracefully, graciously partaken in.

It is also a feast and celebration with you, God, with all your people, in thanks for all you’ve suffered to do good things for us all.

So I guess I can wait for the cold, when the sweat will not run freely, the mosquitoes will be done for another year, the gnats will disappear and I can breathe easy, and the evil people are kept at bay by the cold and snow.

But God why does it have to be so cold and stormy, and why does there have to be so much snow.

I mean I like to have my peace and be able to ski ….

So Lord I pray, give me your peace, in the sleep of the righteous and pure, graciously so made a saint of your light by your own choice and by grace through faith alone.

Another simple normal summer day.

When does autumn start to arrive?

But Lord, why do the bears start to come around in the fall …..?

Lord, whatever it is that holds me captive, free me. Whatever it is that blinds me, give me sight. Whatever it is that robs me of joy while serving you and sharing the good news of your Grace with others, take this from me so that

because you give me life

I can be one of the saints who bring good news to the oppressed, who bind up the broken-hearted, who proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.

Help me live in the freedom you have so preciously bought for me; help me not return to the slavery that I know so well and feels so comfortable … until it binds me so close to evil that life starts to shrivel right out of me leaving me alone with my fears.

Selah, Words of Thanks For It is Needed

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

We see the light so clearly

in the world around us that is so dark.

Psalm 3:3-4

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and God answers me from God’s holy hill. Selah

Luke 1:49

The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.

Words of Grace For Today

God is our shield, our glory, the one who lifts up our heads. We cry aloud to the Lord and God answers us.

God, the Mighty One, has done great things for us.

God’s great work for us give us great hope and sustenance each day.

This is good, for the assurance that God does good things for us begins with a simple word ‘but’, which indicates that it is not so with others.

Others do other with us so that we need God as a shield around us!

Don’t we all know it … if we are paying attention.

Because God hears us, cares for us, shields us, walks with us, and forgives, redeems, and renews us … because God gives us all we need for life …

Therefore we receive all that God has for us, share it with all we can, pursue a life of kindness, and sing thanks with Selah!