wood stove, set up to provide heat in the severe -40°C winter worked
provided hot water for coffee in
and tea throughout
without it’s challenges as the stove pipe got so hot that it melted
the plastic tarps of
the shelter around the stove.
Week is our opportunity to remember and learn ever more from Jesus
story. Jesus’ story is a life full of communication from God to us,
in a way we can understand.
God tried to communicate to us with Word, creating a good creation. We messed it up, with trying to be smarter than we are and blaming others for the results. Kicked out of paradise we even became murderers, for a ‘good’ start.
God tried to communicate to us with the Law, we turned it into control of others.
tried to communicate to us with the prophets, and we thought they
were crazy, because they really were, trying to embody God’s Word
does that to humans.
rebuilt the damaged tarp sections, put in a heat shield and a remote
thermometer. Now gets as hot as 70°C without problems.
sent his Son, a full life story lived that we can learn. Jesus came
to live, teach, heal, and do remarkable things like calming the chaos
of the waters.
exists beyond time, matter, limits. Now Jesus has all the limits of a
human. Paul says it well: Jesus emptied himself of being other than
human, and became limited as a human.
real purpose of Jesus’ life was his death. That’s this week’s
one really listened at first, and those that did usually got it all
wrong. Listen to the parade as Jesus enters Jerusalem. They think
that Jesus is God’s way of giving them control again of Jerusalem,
maybe. That’s their hope.
harsh winter slowly gives way to cool spring temperatures, and the
2000° C inside the furnace became way too hot in the shelter. Always
the thermometer showed a max of 70°. It dawned finally on me that
the thermometer could read no hotter than 70°C but the actual
temperature could be much more!
the triumphant entry parade into Jerusalem, things go downhill fast
and hard. Jesus is betrayed, deserted, tried, denied, whipped,
condemned, mocked, tortured, abandoned, and murdered on a cross.
is no greater measure of suffering.
came to live and die exactly like this. Why?
came to make clear: God understands our suffering, even if our
measure seems to have an upper limit, God has no limits, God
understands us, our pain, our sin, our suffering, our death.
lived it to show us God’s intent for us.
Jesus dies, he forgives those that mock, torture and kill him.
is what God wants us to be to each other. Not sinners, destroyers,
scape-goaters, or mockers, torturers, murderers, or chaos makers, not
even people who cannot listen to others pain and suffering and not
know what to do.
know God knows our suffering.
our suffering we experience what others suffer. We know what we most
need when we suffer is forgiveness, love and not to be abandoned.
learn this so that we can give God’s gifts of forgiveness, love and
being present to others as they suffer.
came as Jesus to show us God’s goodness and love for us has no
limits. God’s forgiveness has no limits. We may not easily hear,
listen or understand, but we have Jesus story handed from generation
to generation. We can always learn more if we pay attention.
story is God’s new limitless thermometer by which we can measure
what really goes on in this world. There’s lots of heat. There’s
even more love, forgiveness, and compassion than we are ever capable
week, we remember, we listen as we can, we learn anew as we are able.
Jesus story we know and trust, no matter what we do, what we succeed
at or fail at, God understands our yearning, our chaos, our
always loves, forgives and is present with us …
Atwood’s quote, ” Men are afraid women will laugh at them.
Women are afraid men will kill them.” is too simplified to
honestly live on it’s own, unless it is just meant to honour women,
and disparage men.
the real deep problem of illuminating only part of reality, but that
is what we are at most capable of.
misadrism it’s not really helpful, it kills the human spirit.
honest is to say:
are afraid men will kill them, men they know, but especially men they
do not know. Their fear is real, and tragically accurate of a few
afraid women will drive them to kill themselves, especially women
they know, but generally all women. Their fear is real, and
tragically accurate of more than a few women.
fear is of real, literal death; but also of smaller deaths, even
figurative deaths, deaths that rob a man (or a woman) of life at the
killer is the fear. Living in fear limits the horizon to only well
guarded, defensive stances.
Atwood also wrote: “I hope that people will finally come to realize
that there is only one ‘race’ – the human race – and that we are all
members of it.”
Life for each and every one of us is intended to be lived looking to God’s horizon that is so far out-reaches any of ours that we can only be astounded as we glimpse the vistas available to us, each and all.
is measured in how we help each other see those vistas and the
creator of them.
forecast this morning. Instead we received snow, fluffy big heavy
flakes that made noise landing on the tarps shelter.
is the time of re-newed life. But first, as the snows of the winter
melt, we must face the dreck of the life through the winter, records
of the mess we’ve lived and made.
instead of rain that makes mud, to get snow that gives a fresh cover
again over the remains of past efforts to live, including many
vista reaches deep inside as the horizon is clouded away and the
light is dimmed.
Sounds like a winter baptism of the world and for the creatures.
Fear, of how the past will catch us, is no way to live. There are renewals that do not hide or cover up that past.
They are called forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope …
hope that allows one to laugh with instead of at another person.
land do we possess, where have we settled, that does God
continue to give to us, that continues to produce for us that we can
share with others?
The land that God gives us each minute has ripple effects on us, which catch the light of Christ, resplendent.
Theme for Lent: what is the acceptable fast?
6Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 8Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Deuteronomy’s reading for today the
promised land is possessed and settled. The
survival and security, the land
is yearly crops for food, for trade to provide for other needs, the
status and a place to call home … sort of.
the land is provided by God. It is not earned or deserved. God
one sided promises it. God continues to give it each day.
our history is key to living life abundantly. We know history, not
just to avoid repeating bad history, but to know the good of history,
to know God’s story, and our place in it. To remember how much God
has blessed us.
is it for each of us that God promises and gives us to posses and
settle, that provides us survival and security, that is a place to
call home, to share with our family. A place from which we are known
to be grounded and where we come from.
For a few of us it also includes land, literally, a piece of ground that we hold the title to. For most of us it is something else, a profession, a career, or a job that included a retirement plan of some kind that still produces some kind of an income for us. Or perhaps it is family before us or after us, who have provided or still provide for us, security, survival, a place to call home. Or perhaps it is our reputation, that brings us recognition, respect, and a sense of worth. Or perhaps it is our ability to make friends, or our ability to write, or produce art or music. Or it is our ability to listen, understand, and comfort others in duress.
This is the land that God is giving to us. The text makes the point that God’s giving us the promised land is ongoing, each day.
sends Isaiah to tell us what our response is to be: Each year at
harvest we give first fruits that this land has produced and
we recite God’s history with us, how God delivered us, we who were
in our past aliens, formerly hungry, once unclothed, used to be
captives, once upon a time … before we are what we are now, we used
to be those kind of people, if not in this generation then in our
ancestors’ time. Now God gives us the land
not because we are good, or pious, or righteous, but because
the land remains God’s and God chooses to give it to us.
Though we posses it and settle it the land is always God’s.
When we are done giving the first fruits then Isaiah reminds us that God wants us to celebrate that God’s land has produced again, and just as we once were outcasts, outsiders, or aliens, so also we celebrate with the outcasts, outsiders, and aliens in our midst. In Canada we call them immigrants or refugees, and others designated as outcasts, outsiders, personae non gratae.
In today’s Gospel Jesus faces the Devil, the great deceiver. The Devil wants Jesus, hungry from fasting, to feed himself, claim power for himself, and prove for himself that God will save him.
Devil tempts Jesus with everything for Jesus himself, just sacrifice
the teensie, weensie little thing of worshipping Satan. The things
the Devil offers are not bad in and of themselves. They become evil
when they are hoarded for oneself, instead of provided to everyone!
Devil tempts us with everything as though life were an if/then
reality: if you serve the devil then you will succeed in life.
assures us that life is not that way, not blessed life lived
abundantly. Life lived abundantly is always an because/therefore
God blesses us therefore we can bless others.
Jesus knows clearly that the Devil is the great deceiver who perverts everything into a private if/then proposition. Jesus knows that bread is good for life, but not just for himself, rather for all people. Instead Jesus gives his life that others may eat and never be hungry.
knows that power is important, that it can save and destroy
people. Jesus is not ready to take shortcuts to gain corrupt power,
power promised by the great deceiver, power which is really nothing.
Instead Jesus exercises God’s power by sacrificing himself so that
all people may live. That’s real power.
Jesus knows clearly that people of faith trust God because of what God has done for them and that God promises to protect them. But to test God is something entirely different from trusting God.
Jesus exposes the Devil’s false use of scripture. Jesus trusts that
even as he faces the cross, the most horrific death known at the
time, God’s angels will be on watch with him, as he sets right the
chaos of the devil in all the universe for all people. Jesus
demonstrates so clearly God’s grace and acceptance for everyone, so
that we no longer have any real excuse to try to test God.
Paul’s writings to the Romans Paul makes this very clear: salvation
witnessed to by the confession of Jesus Christ on one’s lips and in
one’s heart is not reserved for just some people. Jesus’
salvation is offered for everyone. The Holy Spirit can create faith
in anyone. There is no closed club, or special skills required, or
properly formed faith practices that make only certain people God’s
children. God’s grace alone creates children of God. The Holy
Spirit creates saints of sinners. God never stops giving to us what
we need to be faithful. But the key is this: everything is dependent
on God, not on us, not even on our responses.
is in control. God continues to give land
get to respond, giving our first fruits and practising the fast that
brings justice, freedom, clothes, food, and homes for those without.
So we celebrate along with even the outsider, the outcast, and the
alien all that God has done for us, through history and in these last
I think that most of life is getting down to the nitty gritty, seeing where one’s predecessors have gone, and finding one’s own way.
Just because someone has made a difficult trek, does not mean it is right for you.
or that because it is difficult, that it is wrong for you.
It is whether it fulfills who you are.
Are you a snow mobile, or a human with boots?
And do you want to walk easy on the snowmobile track or is it your calling to be in the shade in a moment for just a moment, for that is where you will be you?
that’s a photo story, from the photo
but it’s not a sermon made from a photo.
Sermon’s are supposed to start with the Gospel,
So a return to the sermon:
if it were to come about today, would fix some of the worst problems
you face in your life?
you homeless so that a home would be a fulfilled dream? Are you
caught in poverty so that a secure income, and benefits for health
care, medications, dental, and eye care, along with water, food,
clothing, and shelter security would be a fulfilled dream? Are you in
captivity to a foreign power, or incarcerated for what you’ve not
done, or abused in a relationship you cannot leave, so that freedom
would be a palpable change? Are you suffering ill health which you
cannot afford to deal with, or for which there simply is no cure or
even treatment? Are you bored with life because there is no challenge
left to meet and hope that in meeting it anything will become better
or have you lost your vision of what could be if … if … but you
get stuck because so many dreams have been dashed and there is no
light at the end of the tunnel … so that if you were given new hope
and new vision to see God’s promises coming to pass your life would
if it were to come about today, would solve some of the worst
problems that we face as a congregation? As a community or city? As a
country? As the world?
the reversal of climate change, a new energy source that did not eat
out the world around us, a new attitude of all people that we could
provide clean air, water, food security, clothing and shelter,
meaningful labour and most importantly, the opportunity to love and
be loved … would these bring new life to us all and a bright future
for which we could engage in together?
do we hope for?
words voice the purpose for his life, and give the foundation of hope
for the world.
than once Jesus paraphrases Isaiah to put solid words to what Jesus’
purpose is, what he brings to the world:
Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent
me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of
sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
are words that people have heard and hoped in for millennia and
are not throw away words.
Theology looks to these words calling us to recognize that God has a
preferential option for the poor.
since Jesus’ have looked to these words for assurance that God is
with them. Today we read them and receive assurance that God is with
and for us, here and now. And there is even more!
Jesus astounding claim:
reads these words in worship, not just reading them, but then sits to
teach about them in his home town. He says ‘today these words are
fulfilled in your hearing.’
the remarkable difference that Jesus brings. It’s one thing to hope
for a home. It’s another to be told there is one there for you. Or
a secure income, or medical care, or food, or a new cure, or whatever
it is that will set the world right again,
is one thing to hope for these, and to be reassured that God promises
these to us, ‘next year in Jerusalem’; it is a whole other thing,
a fabulous and fearful thing to be told that these things are
fulfilled in our hearing them.
demands some response. How do we respond?
hard to really take them seriously, as if they are there for us this
day; when we look about, and we have no home, or we have no income,
or we have no food, or we have no security, or our health is failing
and we know the end will be death too soon, or that what our church,
community, city, country, or world desperately need simply is not
Unfulfilled in history
is even more difficult when we realize that these words of hope were
written by Isaiah as the people sat in exile, hoping to return home.
words are a bit different, but they reverberate with the same sense
of profound need and hope:
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
the Lord has anointed me;
has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
bind up the broken-hearted,
proclaim liberty to the captives,
release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
the day of vengeance of our God;
comfort all who mourn;
same words were read when the exiles had returned home as in
Nehemiah’s and Ezra’s time. The people still carried these hopes
because returning from exile did not provide what they needed, for it
was not anything like it had been, not by a far cry.
for these hopes to be fulfilled, what did the people do?
we read in today’s OT lesson from the book of Nehemiah:
worship. And they worship not unlike we do still today: with
standing, seeing and bowing as the book is opened and read from, and
sitting to hear the interpretation given to us, and weeping with both
sadness and joy at what we hear and understand from God’s word, we
often hear that we have great cause to celebrate, to rejoice and be
thankful for all that we have, for God has not abandoned us.
today we worship, with good order, together revering God’s words,
listening to the words of music and liturgy, scripture and preaching,
eating and drinking together as God’s people in this time and this
still we hear these words:
Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent
me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of
sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
that they are fulfilled in our hearing, how can that be when we still
hope for their fulfillment just as the people of Isaiah’s,
Nehemiah’s and Ezra’s time did?
the states they honoured Martin Luther King Jr. last weekend.
the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963 King
called for civil and economic rights, and an end to racism in the US:
have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former
slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood.”
have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but
by the content of their character.”
have a dream that today… that one day every valley shall be
exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low … and the glory
of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.
This is our hope.”
freedom ring… When we allow freedom to ring … from every city and
hamlet … we will be able to speed up the day when all of God’s
children … will be able to join hands and sing … “Free at last,
Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.” copyright
1963 Martin Luther King Jr.
have a dream. God has a dream for us, too.
as we hear God’s dream, and hearing it make it our own, and we give
our hearts, minds and strength to making it so for others, then it is
fulfilled already today in our midst.
are not alone. The possibilities are not limited to what we are
familiar with or what we have done in past, or what we ourselves can
are members of one body, the body of Christ. This body has many
members with different gifts, different visions, and different
are only limited by our own unwillingness to welcome those members
with other visions than what we have.
future is unlimited as God’s people in this time and place as we
gather to worship, much as we have for millennia, to honour God, to
praise, pray, sing and feast together. We gather to give thanks and
to fulfill God’s word also in our midst:
poor hear good news, the captives are released, the blind see, the
oppressed go free, and here it is always the year of the Lord’s
promises are simple and life changing.
simply pray that they may be fulfilled today in our hearing as well.
secret is simple and widely known but seldom recognized.
what has gone before you.
everything that you can from it all.
the remnants of water alive,
just the tracks
sled that made perfect X-country tracks all the way across the lake
way across the lake like never before
wonderful and needed exercise, until a few hours later, heart
pumping, breathing easier, sweating lightly,
arrive back on this shore and tuck into work with an inspired heart
and mind, if a bit tired on my legs.
snow of yesterday collecting light, waiting for the sun to shine
gloriously on the sparkles hidden in the snow.
for the promise of tomorrow,
promise that what is plain and climbing nowhere toward nothing
ascend to beauty and truth, hope and freedom, love and trust.
always watch the light when it
shines, see it,
just a glance but see what it does to the simple landscape,
those hiding in the darkness of lies and deceit, of profound sin …
all which are left for God to judge, for consequences that begin now
even as they choose to abandon their hearts and minds and rebuild a
simulation which changes as quickly as their whim)
animals that move,
marvel at how much those things that cannot move are transformed
walkers and creators of shadow
that accents the light and points to the source
when it is not seen.
matter the view you’ve taken
forget to notice the large picture,
grand scheme of things,
view of our little troubles, darkness, and the forest of challenges
that lean in to overwhelm us.
our darkness points us to the source of light for us all.
such destructiveness is undeservedly foisted into one’s life
the only thing to do is to live well.
it is winter, even then live so well.
Though there is more than work
survive the cold
the basics of life,
easily can pay attention
meet the challenges well:
heat, portable, and lots of left over insulated tarps, even some that
have something in them, and recycling everything one can, until
a night when the propane furnace does not work, because the propane
generator will not start, because the oil is thick to sledgy, or just
propane heater will not work without warming up the propane in the
when it starts it is too hot so that it’ll melt a hole in the
insulated tarp around the generator,
but a 6
foot 2×6, construction junk, serves well enough to keep the tarp
raised high enough from the heater,
the generator to finally pop, and then fire and run.
then to have to scramble, arms flailing against the tarp draped all
about, out from under the tarp fast filling with CO! And plug in
means the fans can blow the wood heat into the living quarters,
block heater can be plugged in
the battery charger set to charge,
one has hot coffee from the wood stove boiled water through a french
press, with milk and cereal with blueberries,
then when starting, to 55 amp start mode,
vehicle, against it’s better computer programming jumps to life the
warm up as everything is packed away and padlocked safe,
off to meet the day’s requirements.
between necessary appointments, errands and refueling, take the time
to write what must be written and filed soon: more truth in the face
of biased error based on obvious lies, but the truth is too
inconvenient to allow.
to hide that the earth revolves around the sun by a simple sentence
are made of powerful people at every turn; the emperor may seem, but
is not, dressed.
many scurry to try to lay the tracks of deceit deeper yet,
pretending, pretending, pretending, when it is God, from whom nothing
is hidden, who judges and rules without deceit or corruption, but
with promise and yesterdays that give grounded hope and trust.
this rampart run mobile through one’s 3rd act, there is
great humour, and opportunity to look, down, up, noticing the light,
and seeing the big picture; as Jupiter resounds and reverberates off
the windows, before the Athem and then it’s closing time. Ring the
bells, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything;
that’s how the light gets in.
it’s once for the Devil and once for Christ, as all hell breaks
a distant universe
close by the folds of time-space in light.
one’s heart, mind and strength,
thankfulness for great kindness,
forgiving the darkness and all it’s dark horses
come charging still through the light touch of chilly, hope-giving
and grace-filled dancing
only by the power of lies.
and let deceit melt with the ice on the wood turning into heat, as we
the chilly light, if that is all there is, it still points to
something that otherwise one would miss,
work as if nothing else will save you from the bitter cold, and the
bitterness foisted on your path, but know that Christ walks in the
bitter cold, and crosses every path with redemption and grace …
until one arrives home.
be closing time, but the light and dance of peace and joy, and the
promise of hope-giving tomorrows
also for eternity,
breathe in warmly, and visit the
cold that claws momentarily
one returns to the result of deep hard work, deep in the forest, yet
marvels at the heat of red
living well in the bitter cold:
prepared in heart, mind, and body;
to forget to dance a glorious step for those who cannot or will not.
As always I recommend reading the notes first, in the order they were posted for a Sunday.
The Answer is: God created us, Christ freed us, and the Holy Spirit empowers us … all so that we will be saints. On our own though we can do nothing good; we are always slaves to sin. Yet by the Holy Spirit working in us, we can be Christ’s hands, heart and presence in this world. Generally God does not disrupt the order of creation with obvious miracles; instead God uses the order of creation to bring us to be God’s miracles when and where and to whom God chooses.
That answer is to the real life exam question of this time of Advent: What must, can, and will we do? Like all the questions placed before us by the Gospel, God always gives us the answers first, then puts the questions to us. So I thought I best preach it that way, too.
The second answer that is needed even before the first is to the question ‘Who are we?’ We are God’s people, the people of the Covenant that God unilaterally made with us.
The citizens of the medieval-turned-modern city Coventry England can be truly proud of the 12th century Saint Michael’s Cathedral.
14 November 1940, Germany targeted Coventry’s factories, largely producing armaments and munitions, with a massive aerial bombardment. It was a clear and moonlit evening when the first of 400 bombers dropped its load. That night for 11 hours, 500 tons of bombs landed on Coventry. Collateral damage was extensive since the factories were close to the city center: Dead 554 people, Wounded 865, Four fifths of the city burned or destroyed. Of the gothic cathedral only a shell remained.
The next morning people gathered in the smoldering ruins of the Cathedral. Provost Howard, of the Cathedral, said: “It will be rebuilt to the glory of God.”
Jock Forbes, a stonemason, tied together two of the partially burned oak beams from the roof into the form of a cross, turning the smoking ruble into a Calvary. The Reverend A. P. Wale, a local priest, took three of the many medieval nails, which lay among the ruins, and bound them together into the form of another cross. These crosses are two of the most famous in modern Christendom.
They carried the clear message of forgiveness as the people chose not to hate and despise their enemy for the terrible destruction. Hatred and bitterness destroy life. They eat away at one’s soul. Instead the people ensured that their choice to forgive was understood by all.
Two months later Jock Forbes built a stone altar in the Sanctuary. His charred cross stood behind it, and the Cross of Nails sat on the altar. The words “Father Forgive” are inscribed on the wall behind the Altar.
The Allied forces similarly bombed Dresden in Germany. Coventry and Dresden chose each other to become sister cities after the war. (SERMONSHOP, Elizabeth Kugel Pastor, FUMC, reworked TL) They were Covenant people, together.
If ever there is a time for which the question is ‘What can and must we do?’ it is Advent. Of course the pressure to get ready for Christmas gifts, meals, travel, visits, parties, and holidays in general is great. But all that only displaces the real pressures of Advent. The lessons for today call us to prepare the way of the Lord and to behave so that we are pure and blameless on the Day of Christ’s return!
This is the ultimate to-do list. There are many tasks in life that are purely optional, like watching sports or playing cards or knitting sweaters. Yes, I am winking at all us die hard sports fans or card players. I just threw in the knitting, because it may not be optional at all.
Other tasks may seem optional but they really may not be so optional after all; like spending time with family and friends, or knitting.
Yet other tasks top out the important and urgent categories of life, like breathing, eating and exercising, and loving; maybe knitting if you need to stay warm through the winter. And praying, not just when our lives are threatened by the over-bold bus driver’s driving.
How then do we categorize Living as a Christian? Who gets to decide what it is anyway? Is it optional? After all we do get to choose, right! But is it even something we can do?
We are simultaneously saints and sinners. We can do nothing good or righteous on our own; we are always slaves to sin. But by Holy Spirit we can be Christ’s hands, heart, and presence. We can be Christ’s presence because God alone made a covenant with us. Our God is a God who gives the answers to the exams, then gives the exam, though it may not be as easy as it sounds.
When the Gospel cries out to us: Repent! Prepare! It requires a response from us. Then we can do the hard work of changing our hearts, minds and souls, again and again, from sinner behaviour to saint actions.
Being Christ’s hands, heart and presence requires of us everything we are, have, can muster, and more. It requires from us Courage, Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness, Grace, and more just like Christ. We can only meet the challenges if we allow ourselves to be God’s miracles.
There once was a man who was wicked but he wanted to be good. So he went to a costume maker. The costume maker said, “Here, wear this.” It was a halo costume. The man thought it was foolish but put it on. The man saw a beggar and was about to turn away, but remembered he had a halo on, so he gave the beggar some money. Next he ran into his wife whom he usually abused, but he caught sight of himself in a mirror, and so he treated her well. So the man’s day continued. After he returned the costume that night, as he walked home the man glanced in window and saw that he still reflected a halo.
This may seem like Fake it until you make it. It’s also called Cognitive Counseling. For God it’s the other way around. God makes us saints. Then God calls us to be and do what we already are and can do, WeARE God’s miracles and blessings for others.
What kind of miracles can we be, besides being the people who choose to forgive instead of hate? We can hold a lonely, dying person. We can provide a meal that saves a life. We can provide shelter and homes to those who cannot afford or find or manage a home on their own. We can welcome the strangers, the sinners we find abhorrent, and give them a place to be heard, to worship, to be honoured as real people, sinners though they are, just like us. We can reach out across the city and across the world to share the necessities of life, which we have in abundance, with those who need desperately. We can work to bring governments to provide as we cannot: even in Canada we have not provided clean water to people in many communities, not just for years, but for decades!
We can be like Paul for each other; reaching out with holy words to guide, support and inspire each other to be the saints that God makes us to be.
As I read this list of examples, I know this is not only what we can do, it is what we, collectively, are doing; Because God makes us Covenant people the miracles that God’s people need.
The Real Life Exam Question for today, from the Gospel, is What are we to do this Advent?
The answer is God alone is righteous, gracious and forgiving. We are God’s children, and Covenant People. We are God’s miracles, God’s saints who are Christ’s hands, heart and presence of forgiveness, acceptance, and inspiration for all who need Christ this Advent season.
What are we to do? We do what God makes us to be.
Exam time is over, now comes the real test: Advent, week 2.