God Blesses Us Despite What We Do!

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

A Beaver

Giving Warning.

Do We Heed God’s Warnings? NO!

Yet God Continues to Bless Us!

Psalm 91:14

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.

1 John 3:21-22

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

Words of Grace For Today

Julie and Greg sought refuge from the heat, well over 35⁰ each day from 8:00 to 20:00 or later making sleeping difficult, and at best restless. The packed up their little camper behind the truck and headed out to a lake more than an hour away, since all the campgrounds at other lake closer were overfilled. There was no proper campground, just crown land where random camping was allowed.

They were hardly the first to arrive, and most of the possible sites were filled and overfilled with others seeking relief from the heat and being cooped up for more than a year with the covid19 restrictions. With luck, or was it a pure blessing, they arrived just minutes after another family left one of the furthest campsites, one set among birch trees on a hill more than 50 feet above the lake. They settled in and carried their canoe down near the four log steps to the water.

For a week they ‘enjoyed’ temperatures that did not climb above 32⁰ and nights that cooled off after sunset at 21:30 to the high teens, making sleeping a wonderful and restful reprieve. The first few days they recovered and found wonder in the relative cool nights, and the canoe outings during the hottest part of the day into the cooler air above the water. They knew that God had delivered them.

Then they became accustom to the reprieve, and noticed the challenges of camping: the swarms of mosquitoes morning and evening made being outside less than comfortable, the flies that chewed small chunks right out of their arms, checks and even eyelids, and the bees and wasps whose stings they were allergic to. Then there were the late night parties from the other parts of the campground that seemed to never end until the sun rose; a downside of uncontrolled camping producing loud music and fireworks at all late hours! The quads, dirt bikes, and side by sides chewed up the dirt right before their camper, blowing exhaust into their camper at any hour. They became complainers instead of giving God thanks.

Saturday afternoon all that complaining ended with a real danger. The emergency broadcast service rang out from their cell phones: a tornado warning! A funnel was sighted moving fast NW just 30 miles away to the SW of their precious campsite. There was no basement or building to hide in against the SW wall. They did what they could. They pulled their hand-made cedar strip canoe high away from the lake and secured it among some strong trees and bush. The parked the truck on the lakeside of the camper, opened it’s windows and all the windows on the camper (to prevent the severe drop and rise in air pressure from blowing up either the truck or camper.) Taking a larger tarp they found where a tree’s roots had been ripped out leaving a depression, laid down the tarp, sat and laid in on it, and covered themselves with the tarp to protect themselves from the rain that pelted sideways at them in the high wind.

The last thing they saw before covering themselves was a funnel approach the other side of the lake, tossing trees out of it’s path like toothpicks, and throwing a great blinding spray of water that hid everything from sight as it came across the lake. The deafening sound grew until it went totally quiet, not from lack of sound but from the pressure built in their eardrums that made hearing anything impossible. In their bones they felt instead of heard the roar, the explosions and earth shaking thuds, and then the stillness ….

When they uncovered themselves all the trees for 100 yards in all directions were gone, in their place were shreds of logs piled in places like matchsticks poured out of their box by a child playing with danger.

They walked back to where they had laid their canoe. Miraculously the trees were gone, but the bush remained covering their untouched, precious canoe. In that same moment they recognized behind a jumble of logs their camper, and then their truck, both untouched by the destruction.

In the rest of the random campground 4 people were killed, 10 others injured, and many vehicles and camping units were damaged or totally destroyed. Some trees, though not many, remained standing as before. The shoreline was hidden beneath a mess of bush, logs, and the remains of boats that had been in the water or on shore. Julie and Greg used their truck to transport 8 people to the hospital and then a second trip with the other 2 less severely injured and 2 bodies they had found.

For weeks after both Julie and Greg, knowing that their sins were many and varied, knew that many days they had done nothing to please God, yet God had delivered them. They were alive. Their precious canoe, truck, and camper were undamaged. They were the only family camping that completely escaped damage or injury of some kind. They did not deserve this, so they gave God thanks, with words each morning and night, and with acts of kindness for others, helping others recover property, and cleaning up the camping area as they could. Somehow the heat that had returned, the mosquitoes, flies, bees and wasps that continued to swarm, and the parties that people somehow continued to hold each evening made little difference.

The goodness of life itself outshone all the challenges, obstacles, and ugliness around them.

Julie and Greg knew that God blessed them not because of what they had done, or not done, but simply because God so chose to bless them. They learned, slowly as the blessed shock of surviving unscathed, how to reflect God’s blessings in their daily lives, how to maintain their gratitude for each breathe and moment of life, and how to shine undeserved grace to other people.

Even scripture, given to humans to write, can be wrong when it somehow conveys that God blesses us because we obey his commandments and do what pleases God.

First God blesses us. Then like Julie and Greg we slowly learn to obey and do what pleases God. And we inevitably revert to our old ways of complaining about life and doing all things only for ourselves, until God surprises us with an undeserved blessing, so that we slowly learn again to obey and do what please God…. Until we inevitably revert to our old ways … and God surprises us again and again with undeserved blessings.

Giving Thanks to God ….. not to godlets.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Life is A Maze

an Amazing Maze of Wonders,

Gifts from God.

God is All Amazing.

No need to make small godlets.

Psalm 106:1

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures for ever.

Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Words of Grace For Today

Giving God thanks surely involves using our voices and God’s name, though when we use God’s name constantly in our communication with other people it is a grand misuse of God’s name, grace, and steadfast love.

Truly, in word and deed, doing everything in the name of our Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God is so much more than mere words of thanks, or constant mention of God’s name.

Giving God thanks is an attitude towards life that brings us to reflect God’s grace towards others.

It is to give of one’s self so that others will live, whether they accept and practice faith in Jesus Christ, or not, for all people are God’s creatures, God’s precious people, people God forgives.

Giving God thanks is to extend to all others the same grace that God first has given (and continually gives) to us.

More often than not it is to do it anonymously, so our names are not known or remembered, so that our God’s name is not known or remembered … rather that God’s grace towards us is experienced as God’s grace towards other people. We certainly are not to bring people to worship or adore us for our good deeds and gracious words. We certainly are not sent out into the world to bring people to worship a ‘small god’, a godlet of any kind even one they name Jesus.

There are enough people worshipping a godlet of some kind or another, and too often they call that godlet ‘Jesus’. It certainly is not.

The past president of Tanzania is one very visible example: Covid 19 hit and shut down country after country in Africa with restrictions and precautions. What did this ‘Lutheran Christian’ do? He prayed. Certainly good. Then he announced to the country that his ‘godlet’ ‘Jesus’ had cured all Tanzanians of Covid 19. There was to be no mention of any respiratory illness as Covid 19, though there were thousands of cases everywhere. His godlet Jesus caused the avoidable death and long term disability through Covid 19 (and long Covid 19) of thousands of Tanzanians. That kind of godlet, no matter what it is called, is certainly not the Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, healer of our every ill, the creator, redeemer and sanctifier of the universe and all people in it.

Small gods, godlets, are made up every day by so many people looking for a way through life’s challenges.

God walks with us, seeing all we do, and still God’s steadfast love endures for ever for us and all people.

Because God is gracious to us, therefore we can be gracious with all the deadly covidiots out there, and all the abusers, and all those with power who abuse it, and all those who thought (and those that still think) residential schools were acceptable, … and all the enemies of life abundant for all.

Treating the enemies of life abundant for all is how we give thanks to God, for God’s grace worked first for us.

Happy 90th Birthday Celebration Dort!

Very sorry we cannot cross the border to be there to celebrate with you.

Heat, Spirit, and Cooler Days!

Thursday, July 1, 2021

No Matter the Heat,

No Matter the Evil We Face ,

Or the Doubt We Know,

God’s Promises Are As Sure

As The Coming of Winter

and the Return of Cooler Days.

Hosea 13:4

Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no saviour.

1 John 4:13-14

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world.

Words of Grace For Today

If only all in the world would only know our God as generously gracious, loving and merciful, and always walking with us, all of us.

If only we could know our God so, and remember that … every day, no matter what.

We can know that God is with us, for even in our darkest hour, the story of Jesus saving the world and us in it can always convince us anew that God is with us and for us, just as God worked to save God’s people from slavery in Egypt, from the wilderness, and from all the temptations of the Evil One.

Spirit and spirit, God meets us as we are and as God is: always fully spirited, always able to follow in Jesus’ way, giving good words and God’s good promises to all.

Whose Story Do Our Lives Tell?

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

It’s hot!

It’s so hot that I put out six eggs, cheese, and spices

by the outside propane stove.

Then I went inside to get the iron skillet for making scrambled eggs

and they were hard boiled before I could crack them

and the cheese was burned to charcoal.

The spices were still good.

We are to be like the hot spices for life!

2 Samuel 14:14

We must all die; we are like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up. But God will not take away a life; he will devise plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever from his presence.

Luke 5:30-31

The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and sinners?’ Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick [do]!

Words of Grace For Today

The secret to life really is to recognize how screwed up everyone is, how far from God’s good books we all behave and remove ourselves. We like to cast others out, out of God’s house, out of civilized company, out of our lives. In fact the ones who do the casting out are usually the ones most deserving of being cast out. They not only are so screwed up and so far from behaving justly, lovingly, and with gratitude for God’s gifts; they also deny they are anything but perfect or maybe just slightly flawed.

GUFFAW

The other part of the secret to life is to recognize that nothing can help us, especially not ourselves, and not even chocolate or coffee or scotch (or any variation on those themes.) Nothing can help us except God. Knowing God, fearing and loving God, frees us to recognize that God WANTS us! God works all kinds of miracles to convince us that God actually forgives us! God freely and generously gives us forgiven, redeemed, and renewed life, again and again and again and … without end.

God wants us to know God walks with us always.

God does not banish us. Other people pretend they can, but God remains by our side. When we get tossed onto the garbage heap of life and even tossed out into the darkness of hell itself, God walks with us, and keeps us walking right out of that darkness back into life abundant.

Jesus came not to care for those who thought they were healthy. Jesus came to show us that we were all sick, and that Jesus was ever ready to heal us of our every illness.

Death will come to us all. That will end the injustice done by many. Still God does not abandon us, nor give us our enemies’ deaths as the only hope for a better life. Already today God gathers us into Paradise with all the saints in light, if we will only see and recognize all that God does for us! At our deaths God keeps walking by our sides and gathers us still into Paradise with all the saints in light, who have accompanied us on our sojourn each day, hoping for us, hoping that we will also be the saints who share Jesus’ wonderful healing presence and promise with those the world casts out, and those who cast others out.

God continually devises plans so as not to keep an outcast banished for ever; God sends Jesus the physician of the universe to all who are sick; God sends us to heal the sick in heart, spirit, and body with Jesus’ Word and Jesus’ story.

Hot Party! or Keep Your Cool!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

No Matter What Fogs Up Our View of the World

God Will Bring Blessings Each Day

and the Cool Blessed Days Will Return

Isaiah 12:6

Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Luke 19:37-38

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’

Words of Grace For Today

July 1, 2021 approaches and the end of all (almost all) health orders providing restrictions because of Covid 19 will come with it, in Alberta. Unless or until the Delta or some other variant changes everything, again.

Still people are hungry for release, for freedom, for the lack of order that can be filled with their chaos, for ‘life like it used to be’ but really never was – which is always a stupid person’s excuse to want things so simple that dictators can easily take over. There will be a party of all parties, with instances duplicated all over the province, in kitchens, around dining room tables, in halls and in door conference spaces, in tourist destinations and next to the lakes, and in the bush … well that party has already started here, down the way, with fireworks and drinking, smoking and loud music and screaming into all hours of the night. Why not!?! It’s freedom, Right!?

Everyone loves a good excuse to have a party, well almost everyone, or truth be told everyone does except for the introverts (which is estimated to be somewhere between 15% and 50% of everyone).

Jesus enters Jerusalem. He is known to speak with authority and that the authorities are threatened by him. He is the common people’s hope for change. Even though he rides on a foal of a donkey, people shout and throw palms and lay down their garments for his path into the city. Which is a great excuse for a party … and for the authorities it is a great excuse to be rid of him once and for all.

God enters our days, usually quite quietly, walking with us, inspiring us to be the saints forgiven by God that God has made us to be. We make no fanfare.

Jesus is heralded as King with great fanfare, noise, and pomp. Yet he is not the people’s king to free them from foreign dictators. He is King of the universe, and King of our hearts, minds and breath … and of out lives if we continually accept that we need forgiveness, Christ forgives us, and we can live free from sin and the free from the power of the Evil One.

Each morning we have more reason to celebrate, to shout for joy, to bring on a party, than even when Jesus enters Jerusalem.

Yet it is quiet. The sun shines bright and hot on the cool of the morning, so warm already even the song birds are done until evening. The shadows are long from the northeast, the shade provides a momentary cool. God has been here even before it became light and we are quiet, the meadows and woods and lake are quiet. The partiers from last night are now quieted.

There is no need to make loud noises, for this is common, everyday, every place: God is long since been with us.

We pray that God will be with us on 1 July and for months beyond, for Covid 19 is here to stay with us so we pray that the vaccines will stay effective, that the whole world will be vaccination soon, and that we will learn to be the opposite of covidiots – covid-smarts, and all-life-smarts, knowing and trusting God’s Grace as our sole breath and life.

God Creates, We Make It Up, Doch Truth is Still Truth

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Seeing the Whole World

In the Tiniest Drop

Of Creation

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.

Romans 11:29

The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Words of Grace For Today

There are plenty of awesome things that exist and events that happen in the universe that give us more than enough cause to pause and stand awestruck, observing what God has done. The moon eclipse this morning is just one small such event. That the planets and moons, sun and stars continue in movement around each other, in galaxies, and more: that super novas bring some of those stars and planets to their end, that black holes absorb even light, that tadpoles in such great swarms survive and grow to become frogs, minnows fish, and puppies full size dogs. The world is full of things marvellous and wonderful, standing for generations as the mountains, canyons, and lakes do, or living a generation as short as a day, or as long as ‘4 score and 20’ or hundreds of years as turtles do.

Our eyes and ears are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can experience the wonder.

Our brains are given to us, made in such a manner, that we can choose … well we can choose so many things, including whether or not to notice and protect as sustainable the things that have stood for generations and the living things that have but a generation on earth, however long that is for each.

The real miracle of God’s creating comes directly at us, us humans who have bodies and minds, and live with more, a spirit. This is something we can only tangentially observe. Though poets, artists, philosophers, theologians, mystics, and scientists of the ‘soft’ sciences make great efforts to give us evidence of what our spirit is, what our spirits are, we are at a loss to fully comprehend and be able to describe what a ‘spirit’ is, what our ‘spirits’ are, or even to definitively establish that ‘spirits’ exist.

Yet by faith we live, adopting well established patterns of thoughts about one person’s spirit, our collective spirits, so that we can proceed through our days with some kind of claimed purpose, order and meaning.

Faith as a living out one’s life as a member of a religion is also such claimed purpose, order and meaning. It is foolish hubris of so many ‘faithful’ people to claim that their religion, their brand of their religion, their particular expression of their religion or their individually tailored, customized, made up faith or spirituality is somehow THE ONE God gave to humans to live by. That foolishness and hubris has fuelled much religious fervour, many wars, and countless lives – and long before death it has cost people their spirit.

The healthy, faithful people know full well their religion is a human construct in response to God’s work and will, that it is fallible, sometimes seriously unhealthy, and always in need of reform yet as a religion that has stood the challenges of time it contains many kernels of life-giving beliefs, beliefs that encourage practices, which in the doing they bring holistic health to the doer and those around, that respect the Creation and Creator, and the many people of the same and of different faiths, whether healthy in their faith or not, yet they are still creatures of God.

In our faith we recognize that God calls every person to their own vocation, their way and manner of participating in the precious life that is given to us all. God does not set us out on into the ‘wilderness’ of the unknown without first well equipping us for the sojourn; God provides us each many of a variety of ‘gifts’, insights, abilities, skills and compassions so that we will find also in the ‘wildernesses’ of our journey’s the great variety of God’s Work, everywhere in the universe from the grandest scale to the tiniest of scale, and more so than in any other way, in the ‘spirit’ of each person.

God’s greatest miracles are always those that transform a human spirit from unhealthy, foolish, hubristic, to life-giving and sharing, wise, and humble … and faithful.

The order that we live with recognizes not all fiction is based on reality, that reality is a definite thing, and lies are lies as truths are truths; we are not lost or snaffle-baffled by corruption’s claims that reality is other than it is. Gone are the Trumpite fantasies, the Covidiocies, false testimony and convictions, and the denials of real science, like the denials of climate change and Covid19’s existence, deadly existence.

Always present are gratitude, generosity, truth, grace and real hope, from the tiniest view of the universe to the grandest view of God’s marvellous creation.

Thanks be to God.

Lord, Teach Us

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Even in the Wilderness

God’s Spirit Moves

Moving Us to Love and Trust God

and

to Love God’s People,

Even the Idiots.

Psalm 86:5

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.

Luke 11:1

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’

Words of Grace For Today

Lord, teach us to pray.

Our enemies continue to deny their evil deeds, blaming us for the destruction they have wrought, using their corrupted power to assert lies as if they ever could be reality.

Covidiots continue to threaten so many lives as once again they crowd the various campsites with multiple vehicles and units. On site within ten feet of the water draws 1 camper, 7 tents and 9 vehicles, normally this site holds at most two campers. There is no visible sewage facilities, other than perhaps one shared toilet in the one camper. Young adults, most vulnerable now to dying of Covid, play a mere foot from each other around something.

Another site hosts 3 tents and 3 units, normally it hold 1 or 2 units. Another site hosts 3 large units, normally it holds 1 unit. Another has 6 units fit in where 2 units usually occupy the space. Yet another that usually holds 1 unit, has three tents and a biffy tent, the only one among all the sites.

At each site a small to large crowd gathers around a fire, a buffet is set out on a table for all to visit as often as they wish. There are no masks or observances that Covid will kill them with a bare day’s notice, and/or us, and/or many, many other people.

The seasons change, and this year’s normals are last year’s extremes, and we wonder if living in the woods will be survivable for the few years we have left!

So we ask again this morning, this noon, and this night, Lord, teach us to pray, again.

Teach us so that we know our real concerns may be left in your hands, so that evil doers with power, idiots of all kinds who threaten many lives, and the climate changes that will come our way may all be left in your hands as our twilight years approach and we wonder how many years or months or days we have left in this life of wonder.

Teach us to pray.

Lord, teach us.

Abba in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come! Your will be done! (soon please!) on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from all evil! For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen’

Lord, teach us to pray so that we can live trusting your Grace and Love for us and for all people.

A House Does Not Make A Home

Saturday, May 22, 2021

No Matter the Storm or the Placid Calm

In the Wilderness of Homelessness,

A House Does Not Make A Home

Not Even for God!

2 Samuel 7:28

O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant.

Hebrews 4:12

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Words of Grace For Today

King David, ruler of Israel, conqueror of all their enemies beginning with Goliath and the Philistines, and guided by Nathan to be wise and contrite when power had corrupted David … this powerful king, this young shepherd boy grown into a most powerful king, promises God that he will build God a house, a proper house made of cedar.

Through Nathan God provides David an unusual response: David shall not build God a house, for God has accompanied God’s people through the Reed Sea, the Wilderness, through battle and conflict, through the years and through the generations and never has God asked to be made to rest, unable to move with God’s people. Rather God will establish David’s house with a son, a lineage. God will establish Israel with a homeland, a place to gather without threat from their neighbours and enemies. David’s son will be loved and guided and disciplined by God. That son will build God a house most proper, [for then God’s people will be well established in the Promised Land].

Like David, we yearn to place God, to hold God, to worship God on our terms. God allows us our fantasies, doch we cannot control God in the least. Rather the Word of God lives and moves among and in us. We cannot control God or God’s Word in the least. Neither does God seek to control us. Rather God creates us, sustains us, walks with us, and always leaves us free to love, (which also means we are free not to love, rather to sin.)

As God creates us, sustains us, walks with us, and always leaves us free to love God’s Word remains in and among us, knowing everything about us more than we are able ourselves to know.

God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow.

God knows when we choose to sin, in every exact detail. We may try to fool ourselves that we have not sinned, doch God knows and judges even the thoughts and intentions of our hearts.

How are we to live knowing God knows our every evil thought and intention and judges them and us with them?

Only by Grace can we live. And by Grace, trusting God’s forgiveness, God enables us to live free and abundant.

Those whose sins are bound, are warned that they have repeatedly and horribly continued to sin against God and God’s ‘little ones’. They have given over their freedom to a bondage to sin that destroys so many people whom they effect. The warning gives them time for the amendment of life. And the binding of their sins gives their many victims (those whom they destroy and yet destroyed they still live abundantly) the assurance that God will deal with these destructive, unrepentant sinners. With this assurance, they are able to live in God’s Grace, trusting that God’s judgment and mercy will be brought to bear on those who seek to bring them to ruin and to their deaths. They can wait with God for the unrepentant sinners to be won over by God’s Grace, so that they may join in God’s double victory: the victory that their destruction is stopped, and the victory that they join God’s people as Grace-saved-repentant-sinners who live life abundantly. With this victory, instead of destroying people trying to make their way upwards through life, they are freed to sacrifice all they are to exercise Grace for others, so that more and more people may live life abundantly.

Solomon built God’s temple. Doch God is not tied to a place or just one people. God moves among, walks with, and by God’s Word of Grace (the old, old story of Jesus and his love) God frees all people so that we are all able to love.

Thanks be to God.

Snow – Sing, Baby, Sing

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Green and Snow

You Never Know What God Has for Us

Next!

Nehemiah 9:5

Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, ‘Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.’

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

Singing seems to be in the passages for now, and on our lips. Why not?

Two days ago the green of spring had sprung . The grass was growing wildly, trees were budding fully, and the wild rose and raspberry so abundant in this area had started to throw their leaves outward.

Then the usual of spring in Alberta fell from the sky: snow, heavy, wet and grand covered the ground and green with inches of white on top that grass and all those buds.

The return of snow and cold puts the increase of pollen and the beastly bugs on a hold and/or delay for a few days or, if we are lucky, a week or two. There’s always an up side. Even when things are so terrible they cannot get worse: the only way to go is up!

When we recognize for the million-times-millionth time how gracious God is to us, though we certainly do not deserve any of it, we have all the reasons we need to sing. We can sing almost any song, the old songs, the new songs, and even all the off-the-wall songs we can find or make up, just as long as they help us tell once again the old, old story of Jesus and his love.

The melody of telling Jesus’ story resonates with the harmonies of the universe

for God created it so.

So let us sing

even as the snow falls on the greening of spring, let us sing

for God created us so.

So … sing, baby, sing.

Destroy, … or … Jesus’ Story De-story’d

Sunday, May 9, 2021

How Often We Try to Change

God’s Story for Us

Into Something More to Our Liking

And We Destroy (de-storying) Ourselves!

Deuteronomy 33:27

He subdues the ancient gods, shatters the forces of old; he drove out the enemy before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’

Luke 1:50

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

Words of Grace For Today

Lord have mercy on us!

The people, led by Joshua, move across the Jordan into the Promised Land. They are going to take it, occupy it, and claim it as their God given right. They have something of a claim to some of the land, for this is where Abraham and Sarah raised first Ishmael and then Isaac, and their grandchildren, Jacob and Esau, and after them the great grandchildren including Joseph. The 2nd generation of those who ran from Pharaoh’s slavery to be delivered into the Wilderness are all there is left, for those that were delivered from Pharaoh’s chariots and army through the Red Sea, turned against God at Sinai, made a godlet, an idol of their own gold in the form of a calf, and worshipped it.

Now, the story is told that God has subdued the ancient gods, shattered the forces of old, driven out the enemy before them and called on them to ‘Destroy.’

For the Love of God, how can we mess up God’s story for us so badly.

And then Luke continues in the same vein, for it is not a seldom embraced idea that somehow ‘we’ are good or at least ‘chosen’ and ‘blessed by God’ and they (or all others) are bad and not chosen and not blessed, and here as it reads are destroyed.

First off we ought to notice with open minds that the ancient gods are not subdued. They and their supports in force have risen up in the form of ‘new age’ religions.

Second off we ought to notice that God has not driven off the enemy before us. The enemy is still here, doing great damage to so many people. Further, the greatest enemy is not those that work against us; it is ourselves working against God who give power to evil from others and from within ourselves. We end up worshipping that ‘golden calf’ of our own making from our own ‘gold’. We turn from God as fast and thoroughly as any of God’s people ever have!

Third off we ought to notice that humans have used God as an excuse to ‘destroy’ since the beginning of time. The story of Jesus, the old, old story of Jesus and God’s love does not include destroying our enemies. It teaches us that we, like God does for us and all people, are called to love, forgive, and hope that God can save our enemies, as God has saved us.

Lastly we ought to notice that God’s mercy, in so much of Jesus’ story this is made blatantly obvious, extends not to just a chosen few, not to just those who fear and trust God, but to all people, even our worst enemies! God’s mercy extends to all people, from generation to generation.

Those who God has saved, as we are, received abundant life. That is not a life of comfort and abundance. It is life lived, no matter our circumstances, blessed with God’s truth, with God’s Promise, and with the call to extend Grace and life abundant to as many people as we possibly can in our ‘3 score, ten’ that we breathe.

Lord have mercy on us, all!