Rocking Chair

Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Fog Rolls In,

The Fog Rolls Out,

Always Fuel Is Needed for

the Fire of Life.

Psalms 89:9

You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.

Ephesians 1:17

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him.

Words of Grace For Today

Janet Rogner sat in her rocking chair wondering what had happened. Where had all the time gone? It seemed like yesterday that she and Ted met every day, sometimes on the lake, sometimes on the river, more often at school or on a date. Marriage, 2 kids, divorce, marriage and one more kid. That’s what they told her anyway. She did not remember any of it. They told her about the accident that killed her 2nd husband and 2 kids, and how it had left her in a coma for years.

She remembered Ted, but they told her he had died of a heart attack. They had reached out to his wife and two children. They came to visit, but she did not know them at all, even when the son reminded her of how Ted would twirl his finger in the air, like directing music. They said he went on to become a band director like his father, and more. He was an engineer of something called computer science.

She’d seen those things, computers. But they made no sense to her at all. They said they set her’s up to just listen and respond to her. So she swore at it nearly every hour. It still did nothing.

Now she looked in the mirror as the sun rose. Another day. Who was that old woman in the mirror anyway?

Then one day the storm gates broke open with memories that sent her scurrying for her bed, where she curled up to hide from them, from all the wonderful and beautiful memories, the challenges she and her husband and her friends had met with varying success, and then she remembered the old woman in the mirror and the accident and the deaths of her husband and her children.

It was days that she spent curled up, trying to hide from the pain. Until one day her son, Bill, walked in. She recognized him and he sat with her. He said he had come for years every week, but then he had to move for work and his wife’s job and his two children’s schooling, in computer science. And Janet remembered she had been good with computers, though she never had a degree, she knew more than most programmers and technicians.

They talked for hours, as Bill helped her remember things that were just on the edge of her awareness. He had to go but he came back then every day for a week and then once a week. The memories flooded in, like an angry sea in a hurricane at first, and then they started to organize, settle, smooth out. She started to dance in the morning. She swore at the computer, for the fun of it, before she sat down to type in her journal.

One day she saw a photo on line. It caught her, bounced her up out of her chair and tossed her back against the furthest wall. She didn’t know why. As the raging storm settled, she dared to look again. It was a photo of a lake, like the ones her family lived on through her High School years. Memories flooded in, of her mom walking with her and Bill. He was her first love. She’d never told her husband that is why she insisted they name their son Bill. Ted was earlier and Bill was everything to her, and then nothing but pain.

The love, the wonders, the fights, the break up and unequaled pain and chaos of life for months in her senior year in High School. She’d met her first husband, Greg, at a grad party and escaped into his life, but he turned out to be abusive and unfaithful. She stuck it out with him longer than she should have. He should have been in the car accident instead of her 2nd husband, Roger, and her kids should not have been there at all. But Greg would not bring the kids back after their visitation time with him, so Roger and Janet had gone to pick them up … and the drunk driver who rear ended them into the oncoming train brought them all to an end. Except Janet sort of survived in the storm of nothing remembered, loved or lost.

That weekend when her son came to visit, he brought his two grown children with him and their spouses and their little kids … and Bill said he had a surprise for her.

Her Bill from senior year in High School walked in and time stood still. He an old man. She an old woman in a rocker with her family all around. And she remembered before he spoke that she was the one who broke up with him because he would not marry her. She’d buried that for years through all that pain that it brought.

Her family talked. Bill talked. Janet sat stunned, quiet. Then Bill’s family, all ten of them came in. His wife had died decades ago. He walked with a limp, turns out from a surgery that was not quite successful. His grandchildren and great grandchildren danced and played and mingled with her children’s children.

Her son put some music on, one of her favourite waltzes. He danced with his wife. Then Bill asked Janet to dance. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, smiling for the first time in so long.

Today, may the wisdom of God be yours, that you may dance and smile and remember all that God has shared with you, the sorrows and the joys, as the water laps on the shore of the waters of memories.

Surprise!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

When the Holy Spirit Shows Up (Again),

All Expectations Are Dashed,

and Exceeded!

Psalms 89:15

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

Colossians 3:12

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

Words of Grace For Today

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

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

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

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

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

We all just keep walking on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear the Lion! Mercy Me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

We Fear the Waters That Will Flood and Drown Us,

And God Sends

the Mist Covered Waters of Life

to Revive Us!

Psalms 81:8

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you; O Israel, if you would but listen to me!

2 Timothy 4:17

But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

Words of Grace For Today

God does not give up on us.

While we wander away and ignore all God would give to us as wisdom, putting ourselves first and leaving others to fend for themselves against hopeless odds, God still cries for us: Hear, O my people while I admonish you! If you would be listen to me!

When we tune our ears to hear God’s Word to us each morning, noon and night, it is full of surprises what we will hear. We thought we’d hear God condemning us and or others for all the dregs of sin we toss around, at each other and at the planet.

We thought we’d hear God demanding reparations.

We thought or rather fully hoped we’d hear God giving it to our enemies with lots of ‘smote keys’.

Doch, God is prodigious with love, forgiveness, and mercy, especially for the likes of us, great sinners that we are. Ready to deny it at moment’s notice.

And God is prodigious with love, forgiveness, and mercy for our enemies that we think are so much worse than we are.

Well, they may well be by some scale of measurement of terribleness, though that scale is useless or even hugely damaging in God’s world.

So God is merciful to us all, each as we require to hear that we are invited back to the table at the banquet. All of us ‘saved from the lion’s mouth’ as it were.

Feared Creator? Beloved Saviour!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Fog Melds With the Clouds,

Bringing Heaven to Earth

for Precious Moments

Isaiah 12:4

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

Revelation 14:6-7

Then I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’

Words of Grace For Today

It’s one of those nearly perfect mornings. After weeks of too much heat, it’s cooled off, and then this night brings quiet rains, fog lifting after sunrise, drips of the past rain everywhere off the camp and then leaves, and a quiet-stillness broken only by a few birds singing. A small sparrow hunts in the meadow grass, a robin listens and hops and listens and pecks out a worm and flies away to share the morning food.

A morning survey places in wait the pieces of a project that will be a huge step forward in security blocking possible CO out and capturing heat to warm the water hose so that water can run during the coldest days. A fire resistant, air tight membrane will arrive to move everything to the next steps. With tape measure in hand the next posts for a new wind-snow shield for preparing fire wood are measured out from the wood available. Plans move forward a step for work for today. Mouse traps are gathered readied to be baited and set out to ensure the mice of the meadow stay in the meadow and out of the camp.

Water is set to boil for coffee and washing, not in the camper where I will write and work today, which will help keep it cool through the day. The sun is already intense. The thermometer in the sun registers 24⁰ even though it’s a good 10⁰ cooler in the shade.

The wine (grape juice, since I cannot afford wine) and bread (crackers, since I can afford those, sort of) are set ready and the day begins:

With thanks for all that keeps me alive, the daily bread and the wonders of this place, and the amazing works of God walk with me each day.

With a petition for a young man suffering so much pain from small accumulative injuries from skate boarding that he can barely move.

With a petition for all the men who are abused, that God would make his presence obvious to them with kindness and love, giving them courage and protection, and a view to reality beyond their abusers.

With a petition of thanks that I am alive in spite of so many people’s unwarranted efforts to kill me.

The Eucharist celebrated, in Luther’s language, and the morning meal that sustains my body: creamy, smooth, sweet and bitter, cool and hot; all signs of the breadth of life that God intends for us each.

This is a morning to stand in awe at God’s wondrous works, evident in nature, in the wilderness, and in God’s sustaining life on planet earth despite our sustained attacks on it. We excuse ourselves saying it is progress, it is profit, it is energy, it is growth, it is a global economy. Still the attack is relentless and the planet becomes more angry, more wild, more extreme even beyond our own abilities to survive it’s wrath.

Are we to fear God?

Definitely, or we are patent fools!

In other words we would be airheads, birdbrains, blockheads, or dodos, dolts, donkeys, dopes, dorks, dumbbells, dummies, dunces, fatheads, ganders, goons, idiots, ignorami, imbeciles, know-nothings, knuckleheads, morons, numbskulls, pinheads, schlubs, schlumps, schnooks, stocks, featherbrains, scatterbrains, butts, dupes, laughingstocks, mockeries, monkeys, chumps, losers, schlemiels, crackbrains, crackpots, cranks, kooks, oddballs, screwballs, weirdos …

That should give at least an idea of who we would be.

If we only fear God, then we would be patent fools and … (same list.)

For God did not create all the wonders of the universe to create us who would fear our creator. God created the universe and holds it’s rhythm and rhyme together with divine love, so that we creatures could also participate in planting, growing, and producing love in every corner of this small planet earth.

To this end God created and gave to us such mornings as this!

To this end God created and gave to us such mornings as this, that in loving creation and creatures we might at least momentarily be the progenitors of wisdom, a counterpoint to our usual foolishness. As we fear and love God, God gifts us with the ability to be seers, mentors, and teachers who spread God’s steadfast love in kindness, listening, and healing.

From all these good works of God in us springs up in and among us the one thing that gives us breath: faith, hope and love.

[I know we usually count those three things, though here they constitute one. It’s math like Luther’s and the Trinity.]

What happened to your morning and the wonders that hold the universe together? Did you see God again? Right there … to be feared and loved?

Innocents Project Here?

Friday, January 14, 2022

Like Fog Rising From the Cold Frozen Lake Ice,

Made All That More Visible by the Wonderful Light,

So May the Light of Christ Make Obvious

the Fog of Evil and False Convictions

That Abound, Also Here!

Psalm 126:3

The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Words of Grace For Today

Every day the only way to survive, after the evil that has been focused on me to bring about my undeserved destruction, is to remember that the Lord has done great things for me, and I rejoice!

Fridays, we remember all those people who are falsely accused, harassed by the police soliciting false reports about them, fabricating evidence, and falsely convicted by judges who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) We especially pray for men who are falsely accused by their spouse or partner, for there seems to be no end to the false charges and convictions based on obvious lies by women about good, honest men.

We pray that the Light of Christ will come to bear on each false conviction and those that brought it to be, that God’s justice will come to be for the falsely convicted and come down on all those that contributed to the false conviction and the destruction of their lives.

We pray, that as it is for me it will be for all those falsely convicted: that God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And that those heavenly places will be where we are now on this planet earth.

Judgment Day’s A’coming!

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fog Starts to Roll In

As God’s Mercy

Continues to Fill Our Days

With Thanks, Love and Hope

Isaiah 26:8

In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the soul’s desire.

2 Corinthians 5:10

For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

Words of Grace For Today

The morning wakening after long hours of sleep, enough to repair and rejuvenate the body, blossom into pure joy, simple joy. The fire is still warm, stoked to last again for hours. The door opens to frosty grass (suppressing the last of any bugs or wasps which would have been ready to buzz about), and fog has settled over the lake, making for great photos (or so, anyway). The smoke from the beast well-fed, meanders over the meadow into the trees. The fresh pressed coffee wafts clean inside with plenty of blueberries to top the morning cereal. Prayers include thanks for precious people, a large number of my families, now and of origin.

Then as breakfast satisfies the hunger and thirst of the night (cutting back to lose weight for better health outcomes) the fog descends over the meadow encasing it in a white glow that ends visibility just at the tree lines.

All this on a day that promises progress to prepare for winter. Old logs are ready to cut up and stack for firewood. A few new pieces of lumber wait a bit of construction before the tarp goes up to provide shelter from the rains and snow, and a few simple sewing jobs will improve the comfort on cold nights.

What more could a person want?

Well, I have a long list. Anyone who dreams of making life better has a list of things that would help the small and large improvements to one’s life, to the lives of others close and even for strangers.

So what are we to make of this life? Is it just the daily grind, the daily joys, the obtuse strangers and the warmth of friendships, the lies of enemies and the powerful trying to protect their privileges, and the small kindnesses one shares and receives with so many people?

God walks with us.

That is a double edge sword, cutting for us against all evil and fabrications by enemies … and it is the edge that cuts the sin and evil of us as well. It is promise to save and promise to put to an end: good is saved and evil is sent back to primordial void, right?!

Yes! Justice will prevail, and our enemies will be exposed, our sin will be cut from us, and we will be left pure and unmolested by our enemies baseless attacks …

except …

except read Jesus’ story! There one discovers anew that God’s judgment is not bent on destroying us but on saving us, forgiving us, setting Jesus’ record in place of our own at our judgment day, renewing life in us (a spirited, passionate life of commitment to being God’s unconditional love for others), and sending us out to live a life abundantly full of and spreading God’s Grace everywhere.

Like the fog that settles in, God’s mercy and wholehearted love for us and all people, covers us. Then God’s forgiveness provides our ‘daily bread’ like heat, breakfast, and opportunity to give God thanks for our family (some who love us good and always, and some who find hate and lies and fabricating blame for others as their way through life). Before the day is too far spent, God then blesses us with the golden sunlight dancing on the fog, dispersing it into the trees and beyond, as God’s promises give us hope … hope that today all will be well, and tomorrow all will be even better!

Thanks

Thanksgiving Monday, October 11, 2021

What Will You Give Thanks For Again This Year?

For This Shore,

The Fog,

Or the Glorious Future

Provided by Hope?

Jeremiah 31:33

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Luke 21:33

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Words of Grace For Today

What will you do, or have you done, for Thanksgiving this year?

Will your celebrations reach all in your family?

Will your celebrations reach anyone beyond your family?

Will you pause, reflect and consider why you celebrate as you do?

Will giving thanks be the centre of your celebrations, or just a small piece, or even an aside to all the other activities?

As we celebrate Thanksgiving year after year, it loses it’s meaning for many of us. Instead it takes on as its purpose, the immediate experience of our Thanksgiving foods, football games, and family gatherings. We learn to identify Thanksgiving with the warmth of these traditions, with the results of our own efforts. Giving God thanks has become an obligatory part of our weekend.

Doch, the true warmth of Thanksgiving remains the spirit on fire God gives us humble saints, so that, by our labours, we can share that warmth with those struggling to survive the coming cold, and all evil. (KAS sermon for Thanksgiving 2021)

(‘Doch’ is that wonderful word from German that means ‘but rather’, a word that encapsulates God’s response to our sinful ways.)

God’s Word will endure forever. God’s Covenant with us will survive forever even if heaven and earth come to an end. God will always be our God, and we will be God’s people.

Since God does this for us though we certainly deserve nothing, each day gives us opportunity to give God thanks in thought, word, and deed.

Real as Creation: Faith and Hope

Monday, October 4, 2021

This is Shore

Real and Unperverted

God’s Creation

Jeremiah 2:27

They say to a tree, ‘You are my father’, and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their backs to me, and not their faces. But in the time of their trouble they say, ‘Come and save us!’

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Words of Grace For Today

Trees as fathers, and stones as mothers. That surely is a mixed up version of perverting reality that I have not run into … often.

There are plenty of other versions of perverting reality that I hear of, read of, and encounter in daily life all too often. It starts with some terrible perversion of reality driven by hubris, thinking oneself is so much more than one really is. After a person allows that to happen, there is no telling what will come next. When one thinks one is no longer a creature of God, no longer anything less than a godlet, the mess one creates is pure … pure evil.

That’s how we get a US president like Trump.

That’s how we get so many Covidiots that secure the continuation of the pandemic in stronger and more destructive ‘waves’.

That’s how we get so much fake news, so much that so many people can believe vaccines are dangerous, that climate change is not real, or that truth is only subjective and can be anything we want it to be.

There is nothing more destructive to all life, in us, around us, and through-out the universe.

Even those of us who have resisted the fake news perversion and return of chaos into our lives are caught up by this evil. There is simply no escape.

When we allow this to consume us, then …

Then … we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves or anyone else.

Faith.

Faith is all we have left.

Faith is what gives us hope.

Hope gives us, with no cause at all other than faith, to cry to God for help.

We cry and pray that God will save us.

As God promises in many and various ways, that by Grace salvation is ours, so God forgives us our sin, claims us as God’s own children, and sends us out to be the people who carry God’s Grace to others.

From ‘Trees’ and ‘Stones’ and all kinds of perversions of reality we pray ‘God save us.’

Law, Fog, Grace

Thursday, September 30, 2021

God’s Law Is Not Compromised By Our Fog

(our wish to hide in the fog of sin)

Nor is God’s Grace For Us Compromised by Our Fog!

Psalm 130:3

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?

2 Corinthians 5:19

In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Words of Grace For Today

God’s Law is not bendable, not amendable, not sort of obeyable. It is strict, more strict than we imagine … and it is impossible to obey it perfectly. Anything less and we condemn ourselves out of God’s approval, out of heaven on earth, and out of eternal life with Christ.

Our failure to uphold God’s commands does not belong to just some of ‘them’ or ‘to us in the past’. It belongs to each and every one of us each day of our lives, without exception.

So who can stand before God on our own merits? None of us.

And that is the definition of a life of hell each and every day.

Thank God, God works to forgive us, not because we deserve it, but because God wishes to be Gracious to us.

It is God’s choice, God’s will, God’s answer and solution to our inescapable bondage to sin.

As God exercises Grace for us, we get to respond, with the Holy Spirit working in us, to share that same grace with others.

Quite the life we get to live, as God’s adopted children, relying on God’s Grace alone, and enabled to be that Grace for others. Quite the life, indeed, word and in thought.

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.