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.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – December 2

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Pyramid Mountain Before Sunrise

God’s promise of a day of renewal

each day,

every day.

Psalm 11:1

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to me, ‘Flee like a bird to the mountains.’

John 14:27

Jesus spoke: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

Words of Grace For Today

When I am most drained, I head to the mountains. I do not flee. I head there to hike, to camp, to ski, to take photos, to write. The mountains are a place of renewal.

Mountains have long since also been a place where we humans have fled from danger to our lives, for in the mountains we are harder to find, though life there is much more challenging. The world can easily give us more than we can take, where even the renewal of the mountains or the refuge of the mountains is not enough.

I do not give to you as the world gives.

The world, filled with sinful people, gives in lots of horrendous ways.

The world gives Covid 19, generously, killing and maiming millions.

The world gives false security with power, fame, and money, but all of that can evaporate in an instant and become more of a burden than a security for the future or a freedom for one’s todays.

The world gives promises of equality, justice, and opportunity; and then oppresses the masses, knowingly judges and falsely convicts, incarcerates and ruins honest people based on falsehoods and cruelty … The world promises opportunity but offers only opportunity to be enslaved so others can exercise corrupt power.

The world provides the blessings God created it to contain: air, water, food and opportunity to produce and utilize clothing and shelter; but the people in the world ensure they have their own excessive ‘comforts’ and luxuries at the expense of others being robbed of clean air, clean water, nourishing food, adequate clothing and sufficient shelter.

The world invites the masses to work to make a living possible, and then enslaves the masses at a standard of living that is impossible to call humane.

The world comes at us when we speak out and encourage change, equity, and justice. The world comes at us, condemns us for threatening the powerful people’s privileges in order to bring justice to the masses. The world comes at us to kill us with lies and Gaslighting or drive us into exile.

This is nothing new. It’s been humanity’s inhumane manner of executing injustice from the beginning of time.

God gives in many and various ways, all of which are marvellous.

God created and creates a universe that provides enough to support each and every person’s needs to live, and to live abundantly.

God gives us free choice to love, along with the other option, to choose evil.

God frees us from our inevitable choices that are evil, forgiving us, redeeming us, and renewing us so that we can live free from the sins of our past, present and future.

God gives us abundant life, and inspires, equips and calls us to give life abundant to all those around us.

God promises to walk with us no matter what we encounter in life. God’s Word is absolutely trustworthy. God keeps promises, always.

God sends Jesus, God’s own son, to live as an example of how to live life fully, abundantly; sacrificing oneself to provide life to others, forgiving even our enemies, and fearing and loving God, loving oneself and all other people, especially one’s enemies.

Jesus gives us peace, a peace that no one and nothing can take from us.

Therefore we have no cause to be afraid and our hearts need not be troubled … by any of the chaos that churns the world around us.

We get to be the people at peace, sharing life and peace – graciously – with all.

What a life.

It is the life of living renewed, each day, as if we were in the mountains.

It is a life living as refugees, in God’s arms, protected from all the threats of this world.

What a life!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – October 8

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Driftwood, Tossed by Winds and Waves, As are We

Foggy Morning

Don’t Let a Little Fog

Keep You from Noticing and Participating in

The Beauty of Creation

Joshua 24:22

Then Joshua said to the people, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.’ And they said, ‘We are witnesses.’

Colossians 2:18

Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking.

Words of Grace For Today

You have chosen … and are witnesses against yourselves … to serve the Lord!

Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on practices of piety that are claimed to bring you a good relationship with God and salvation.

There are always challenges in life. Covid 19 is one serious one that everyone shares … and everyone suffers from everyone else’s stupidity in not being one who protects against it. It is the community maker or breaker kind of virus. We cannot as much protect ourselves as we can protect others. We must rely on others to protect us. One person cannot protect anyone or any group. The weakest, stupidest link in the chain causes the infection to spread. And many weak links allow the virus to spread like wildfire in a dry, tinder-laden forest.

Covid 19 protection demands of us practices, not unlike piety (for one has to be consistent, one might say ‘religious’, about keeping vigilant with these practices). These practices for other people’s protection must be engaged in to save us all.

While we each can and must do things to protect ourselves, they are not enough by themselves. We each require many other people to engage in the protection practices to keep us safe. We never know who it may be that we need to be consistent and diligent for us to be safe.

We are not in control of our own safety, our own ability to survive this pandemic. It is in other peoples’ hands.

We are less in control of our relationship with God. Anyone who claims we control our own salvation with our choices is an utter fool, trying to entice us down a path of human effort to become godlets for ourselves. Only God can save us from our sin. At most we can strive to respond, and hope that occasionally the Holy Spirit will pull from us the miracle of us actually doing something for God in this world!

We can choose to serve God. We can be witnesses against and for ourselves. It is good to so respond and choose and strive to serve God. As far as our relationship with God and our salvation go, it counts for next to nothing, because we never can be consistent in serving God alone! We continually break away from and work against God. We are, all our lives long, captive to sin. Only God can save us.

That said, God does save us, through the sacrifice of Jesus, the Christ. And by the power of the Holy Spirit God promises to pull out of us miracles, miracles that we, pitiful us, can actually do God’s will on this earth, at least occasionally.

Strive we must. Striving has it’s own rewards, not unlike hard exercise to provide the basics of life for ourselves, our loved ones, and for others, especially our enemies and the needy, the stranger, and the homeless.

It’s another day. Another night. Every day has its opportunities and beauty. Every night its beauty and rest for recovery. Hard work is before us. May the Holy Spirit use it to accomplish God’s will also among us!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 13

Saturday, June 13, 2020

In the Fog

Our Darkness

Christ’s Light

Zechariah 12:10

I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Words of Grace For Today

Compassion and supplication,

to look and mourn, to mourn as for an only child.

What profound grief … to mourn the loss of a loved one,

a child no less, and

an only child.

.

..

When we are caught in deep emotion, especially deep sadness, despair or grief, we do not function well.

And it is good to hear again and again that at these times

Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be there with us, interceding for us, helping us to ask for what we really need.

Even the Holy Spirit is caught by our sadness, despair and grief. The Spirit sighs so deeply words cannot express the Spirit’s empathy for us.

No matter what, there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God. When we do not remember this, the Holy Spirit carries us until we can remember.

Thanks be to God, for into the darkest days of our lives the Light of Christ shines.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – June 1

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Rock

The Rock

Jesus, the only Rock of Salvation

Isaiah 44:8

Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.

Matthew 10:27

What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.

Words of Grace For Today

Whistle blowers are not generally well received or liked by others. People simply do not like to have their nefarious activities exposed to the light of the public’s scrutiny … and possibly to face criminal charges for crimes committed.

Investigative reporters put everything on the line to search out sources, for stories that people of power may not want to have published, and which usually some people of ordinary living desperately need to have published, so that things can be set right for them, at least somewhat.

We do not need to work investigating to get the story we live to tell. Jesus story is an old, old story. We can hear it in many different voices and settings.

The story has been told since the days of old.

Jesus tells us to tell the story again. And again.

And again!

We are God’s witnesses to other people that God sent Jesus to save us from our sins, to give us new life, and to show us we no longer need to scapegoat or gaslight others in order to gain peace for ourselves.

The Holy Spirit brings us peace. We reside in it, abide in it, and when we sojourn, it stays with us. It is as permanent with us as the cross on our foreheads at baptism that never goes away. Claimed as God’s children we need not fear anything.

Not a virus, not anything.

Which does not mean that we are stupid about protecting ourselves and others from the virus as so many people are, walking as close to others as is convenient, breathing on others without further thought, and loudly telling everyone that there is no virus here!

When we are not afraid, then we can be wise about protecting ourselves and those we live with from the virus. The recommended precautions are just a beginning. We are ever vigilant … and always we pray, God protect us, for you alone are God, the rock of our living, the rock of our salvation.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Devotions – May 22

Friday, May 22, 2020

Grass is Green -er

Trees and Grass are Green

Fog is grey.

People come in Genders.

Colour or Gender

do not

Determine Sinfulness

nor

Criminality.

Goodness is Fully Dependent on God’s Grace!

Jeremiah 31:20

Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he the child I delight in? As often as I speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore I am deeply moved for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the Lord.

Luke 15:20

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.

Words of Grace For Today

Ephraim is in trouble often with God, for God speaks often against him.

The selfish son is in trouble, deeply with his father, for he’s taken his inheritance before his father is even close to the end of his life. Then he’s squandered the entire inheritance.

That sounds like it’s not far from our own stories, each of ours. We take what we can claim as ours and run, and get into trouble, with our fathers, with God, – with our mothers, siblings, extended families, the community we live in, the church … and with God all over again. There are a great number of variations to the story, and every single one of us can be described by one variation or another.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is – well first a few thoughts about God as father. The image of God as father in itself is a very healthy image, one to embrace with profound joy. There’s nothing quite like the goodness of a father directed at us, loving, forgiving, accepting and inspiring us to live even better than we thought we could.

The damage done by the image of God as father is not in the image itself. It is in the abuse of positions of power occupied by men for centuries. Every good thing can be perverted. This is no exception.

The problem comes when we toss the baby out with the dirty bath water.

The abuse needs to be identified, clearly named and condemned … and ended.

The problem comes when we stupidly think that the abuse of the image of God as father is somehow made better when we replace it with abuse of the image of God as mother.

The problems multiply astronomically when we think that naming men as the problem, while ignoring the same kind of abuse, perversions, and destruction is perpetrated by women. The flavours, smells, and theme of the abuse and perversions can sometimes be collated to the gender of the abuser, but it’s just superficial.

Point blank: men abuse women. AND women abuse men. AND men abuse men. AND women abuse women. AND … God knows this all. So should everyone of us.

AND all of it is evil, and needs to be stopped. ALL abuse when it runs without restraint ends up killing it’s victims (and often the perpetrators, too.) A person is just as dead if they are murdered by physical violence as when they are driven to despair with no escape except suicide.

ME-TOO is all wrong, in that it only deals with one flavour of abuse, and ignores the rest. It is perhaps more destructive in that it sets so many people up to think that abuse is dealt with … so that the rest of it can continue unabated, the victims abandoned, the deaths unnoticed and uncounted.

The bishop last year said that we (this synod) are just starting to recognize and work on the issues of women being treated equally.

I spoke up, as I was able: some of us have been working on that for more than three decades, with everything we are, as men making sure the women in our lives get every opportunity possible and a fair deal (as much as possible.) It’s taken great sacrifice, and we’ve been sidelined often as irrelevant, our contributions raising children with great skill, grace and success belittled, and our words of giving attention to all issues of abuse ridiculed.

The challenge now is to acknowledge all kinds of abuse, by men and women, of men and women. To look at the root of it all: the need to scapegoat others as a means to advancing ourselves in life.

Back to the passages that speak profoundly of God’s unconditional acceptance of sinful sons. The translation to God’s unconditional acceptance of daughters needs be imagined, added to these stories. The stories though are powerful.

Who is your God? Not the God you say you believe in, but the God that your thoughts, words and actions belie you trust and believe in! Who is the God you live your life in response to?

Is your life a reflection of God, the universally, unconditionally accepting and forgiving father who, of a wayward son, says “I will surely have mercy on him!”

Does your life reflect the God who is portrayed in Jesus’ story as the prodigal father, who seeing his self-destructive, wasteful, wanton son approach, “filled with compassion runs and put his arms around him and kisses him?”

How marvellous it is to read these passages and know that God welcomes us, even when we have rebelled and wasted our lives and those around us!

The challenge is now:

Are we ready to be that welcoming father for all those people who have walked away from Grace and Goodness, and now desperately need a morsel of what we have in order to survive? Can we imagine being that overjoyed in welcoming back our wayward sons, daughters, parents, extended family, community members, church members, others known and strangers, even refugees and immigrants … and even those of other faiths or of no faith at all?

As we are able to do that, en-mass, then abuse, perversions and destruction of people will finally be dealt with in a manner so that they can be ended.

And all of us will be able to joyously embrace images of God as father, as mother, as Jesus the man, and as the Holy Spirit, wind, breath, and fire – lighting one under us to get on with the work of God’s Kingdom here and now.

Ah, what makes that all possible is that our God is a God of compassion and mercy, who rushes to greet us when we return to him!