Where From the New Song?

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Snow Falls,

New Winter,

Like Every Spring,

Life Happens,

Neurodiverse People Give Us New Songs,

We Sing

Wonderfully Creative

Songs of

Thanks and Praise

Isaiah 42:10

Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth!
Let the sea roar and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

Colossians 1:21-23

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Words of Grace For Today

Colossians puts it right: God reconciles us to Godself, we who were once estranged and hostile in mind [and often physically against God’s people.]

Then the writer goes off the ‘Jesus rails’! The writer makes our being reconciled conditional on our continued life of faith, without shifting from the hope proclaimed to all creatures. No, no way. If our salvation (our being reconciled to God) is conditional on how we continue, then we are all hopelessly toasted! None of us can do our way forward on our own continually doing the right things as God would have us. We always remain sinners, very good sinners, too.

We are saved by grace alone!

Paul became a servant of the gospel of Jesus, as many of us even today.

Because God reconciles us, therefore we can sing a new song to God, each day.

CBC Ideas presents 29 April Part 1, and 4 May Part 2 [yet to be broadcast at this writing – available only for about a month], Myth of Normal reclaiming Autism, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Dyslexia as evolutionary advantages, exactly those that have helped humans flourish! “Neurodiversity” as the gifts that helped and help us adapt to rapid changes.

The restless gene, the nomadic gene, helps us regulate dopamine, reward and pleasure; those with less sensitivity to dopamine, the neurodiverse, need more endless and exciting stimuli to feel good, rewarded. Today it’s thought to be the source of ADHD.

The big bang of the human mind is recognized as that moment when persons started to have an inner voice, thought of self and reflection of one in the world around; and then human thought flourishes and develops.

So these are God’s gifts to us all, Autism, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Dyslexia: “Neurodiversity” of all kinds.

Without them we humans many not have survived at all, and with them we homo-sapiens flourished through the last 50,000 years.

We can all sing new songs. That’s quite easy, and doable, given God’s blessings.

Even us neurodiverse can sing a new song to God, in fact we are the ones who create those new songs!

Come sing, sing a new song.

What Time Is It?!

Sunday, April 10, 2022

What Time Is It?

Spring Snow Heavy Falling Time.

Waiting for Summer?

Or

Living in the Wonders of Spring?

Isaiah 8:17

I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.

Titus 2:13-14

… while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Words of Grace For Today

Enlyn Ott, Executive Director of Healthy Congregations, wrote early on in the Covid Pandemic (16 April 2020) in her invitation to her then upcoming workshop:

Constant change, new models and numbers are a way of life for us now. Regular patterns are upended. Relationships need to be maintained in new ways. Technology is used in places that never considered it a possibility before, raising issues of inadequacy as well as a sense of accomplishment. Death and illness are only a breath away.

I have decided to take a line from Winston Churchill for my workshop at the upcoming Navigating the Rapids conference. It is entitled “For Such a Time as This.” What time is this? And what kind of time is it calling us to?

Isaiah begins, I will wait

Titus continues a previous thought with while we wait …

This ongoing, perhaps never quite ending, Covid Pandemic, among so many other things has taught us again that we wait. We must wait. We must wait for the day when we can rush out with no thought of protecting ourselves and others. While we wait for ‘normal’ to return, we need to protect ourselves and other by physically maintaining distance, by wearing the best masks we can get, by improving ventilation and avoiding areas with poor ventilation, by constantly washing and sanitizing our hands, and ‘staying the blazes home!’ when we do not need to go out.

What is this ‘normal’ that we wait for?

Is it worth the wait!?

There is no advantage to anyone by disregarding reality, denying reality, and pretending that Covid is not here and here with a vengeance, and coming yet again with new and more contagious and deadly variants. The real problem we all have is that while we wait we have to know what we are waiting for! Otherwise we can go mad, and like so many, head out without waiting, without caution, without protection for ourselves and others … and with our denial of it’s reality we make the reality of the pandemic last and last and last … and kill and maim more and more people.

On this Psalm – Passion Sunday we remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem so celebrated by people, by people fervent with hope, but hoping for a saviour that was and is never to come, a political, a military, a worldly saviour to lead us into our own cruel and evil ways of living off the backs of others, instead of continuing as it is now when others live off our backs, while 2% of the 7 billion on earth live off the backs of the 70% who have next to nothing, and off the backs of the other 25% who believe they have lots, but have so little. The other 3% are God’s saints. Maybe the percentage is larger. One cannot know.

This Sunday we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, and we remember what followed.

Confrontation

Celebration

Betrayal

False Charges

False Conviction

Capital Torture the Sentence

Cruel Taunting

Death

What kind of a saviour suffers these things, and willingly?

The Saviour of the world

Our Saviour

Our Saviour who redeems us from all iniquity and purifies for himself a people of his own.

The ‘normal’ we wait for is certainly not the return of what was ‘normal’ prior to the Covid pandemic and all it’s changes to our lives.

What we wait for is life,

blessed life, as one of Christ’s own, redeemed and purified, still sinners and always saints.

Constant change …. What time is this? And what kind of time is it calling us to?

This is, as always, God’s time, God’s blessed time for us. Our blessed time in God’s time, in God’s blessed creation.

This time, like all time for all generations, calls us to return to Christ, to confess the reality of our lives, the inevitable brokenness of our lives, and to give thanks for the blessings that flow over us so abundantly, waiting

waiting for us to share them with all other peoples.

Out of Bounds?! Brought Home, Again!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Go This Far

Not Past The Treeline!

Or Do You Live Outside the Boundaries?

2 Samuel 12:13

David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’

Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.’

Colossians 2:13

When you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses.

Words of Grace For Today

Going out of bounds.

Growing up in Tanzania before the land was so densely populated so that our backyard went on for miles and miles of bush once we crossed the dry creek bed (which flowed strong and dangerously in the wet season) and on two different farms in ‘northern’ Minnesota both of which were surrounded by open land for miles, and in the Twin Cities where our back yard bordered on an old farm yard surrounded by acres and acres of undeveloped land which continued across the road into a huge impenetrable swamp, when we played we had free reign for miles. In each place there were boundaries as to how far we would venture, sometimes how far we were allowed to venture, sometimes how far we had agreed with each other to venture when we played. There had to be boundaries so that the games we played would work.

We did venture outside the boundaries, of course. We were after all children.

We did venture outside the invisible boundaries, like the time my older brothers killed a bird, started a fire, roasted it, and we each had a small bite. So exciting, in part because killing was ‘out of bounds’, starting a fire was ‘out of bounds’, and eating a wild bird was ‘out of bounds’. Thinking about it today the fire was reasonably dangerous, but eating a wild bird was ridiculously dangerous. Today, with all the ‘new’ diseases around it would be even more so.

Then there was the time that I just absently minded, not yet 5 years old, ventured beyond where my three older brothers were playing in that dry creek bed behind our house in Kiomboi. I was making what-I-cannot-remember in the sand and gravel. Darkness approached. My brothers probably yelled for me to come with them. They took off for the safety of the house. I continued to play, unawares of what was falling fast all around me. It was a short hike back home. Twilight lasted a mere 24 minutes at best. Once it was into dusk …

At night in the dark, as we were tucked into bed, each in our own bed, four beds, four older boys, in one large room with windows on one long side and one shorter side of the oblong room, the shrill piercing vicious cries and growls, the gaping mouths filled with big teeth, the yellow eyes and long noses of the hyenas more than often enough would jar us back awake and keep us awake for hours. Not that the hyenas wasted that much time at the windows, but our hearts would make up all sorts of terrible scenarios of them breaking in through the glass and/or the screens if the windows were open to cool the room for the ‘quiet’ of the night.

There I was, out of bounds playing in the sand and gravel of the creek bed, darkness falling fast as I was unawares. And then it fell. I jumped up in terror-alarm, and sped as fast as my panic fuelled short legs would carry me along the path between the bushes. The growls began behind me, the shrill cries pierced my little mind and my legs just would not pump any faster.

When I reached the closest door, the door to the kitchen, I grabbed it with what strength I had and …

Susanne, our house helper, pulled me in, closed the door behind me, and soothed my fears, before she stepped out the door for her walk home.

I was safe, and that welcome from Susanne told my little heart and mind that, though I had strayed outside the boundaries of safety, I was welcomed home, even if that welcome cost her her own safety as she made the trek to her own home of safety somewhere out there past the dark boundaries for us little boys, though well within her boundaries.

David steps many times outside the boundaries God has set for the ruler-warrior of the Israelite nation from its infancy to its heyday. The time he must pay with his life is when he has not only taken Bathsheba for his own, but he has ensured that her husband, his good general on the battlefield, will not return. David arranges for ‘friendly fire’ to kill Uriah, so that he can keep her, and cover up that she is pregnant with his child.

Nathan steps up to give David a lesson, a lesson that proud, powerful David needs, in order that David can confess once again how far out of bounds David has ventured, this time worse than many other times. The punishment must be David’s own life in exchange for Uriah’s.

Like Susanne at the kitchen door, once David has confessed his terrible sin, Nathan pronounces God’s forgiveness and welcoming of David, back ‘into bounds’, back into the safety of living in God’s house, in God’s creation, within God’s boundaries, boundaries that keep us safe from ourselves and from the evil ‘hyenas’ out there ready to tear us apart without hesitation.

So it is as always that God’s unconditional and steadfast love restores us to life. We can trust that even when we stray ‘out of bounds’, as we confess God promises us that we shall not die. Indeed God makes us alive together with Christ, forgiving us all our trespasses.

Stay safe today, and always. Know that even when we stray, God welcomes us home to safety with open arms, and the honest love of friends like Nathan, and soothing comfort of people like Suzanne.

Images of Blessings and Dangers to Life Itself

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Spring Snow Falls Heavy on Rust Leaves That Forgot To Let Go Last Fall

Are We Also Out of Sync with Creation

Or

Has God Blessed Us Beyond All Imagination or Image of Blessing?

Genesis 49:22-26

Joseph is a fruitful bough,

a fruitful bough by a spring;

his branches run over the wall.

The archers fiercely attacked him;
they shot at him and pressed him hard.

Yet his bow remained taut,
and his arms were made agile

by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,
by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,

by the God of your father, who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,

blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

The blessings of your father
are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains,

the bounties of the everlasting hills;
may they be on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.

by the God of your father, who will help you, by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.

1 John 3:18-20

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Words of Grace For Today

Images of God’s blessings reflect the world of the writer.

These passages from Genesis use the image of the bow held taut, arrows shot at one by one’s enemies who press hard against one (seeking one’s death), in counterpoint to God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

The bow and arrow are no longer common in the arsenal used to kill us by our enemies. Mighty warships with great guns, fighter jets with smart missiles, drones for surveillance and armed with missiles and guns, automatic rifles, RPGs, tanks and artillery, fighter helicopters, nuclear submarines, silent submarines, radar, sonar, anti tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, and propaganda. Closer to home the weapons are hunting rifles, shotguns, poisons, deadly-wrongly-provided health care, webs of lies and deceptions, and corrupt police, lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The deadliest, the least detected or spoken of, are always the psychological assaults, most destructively spun by one’s who have pursued, won, and spoken of love, though love is so far from their capability. Their self-interests are everything to them, and the lies told never end until one is dead and gone and hopefully forgotten … for if and when the truth is known the false-love persons are most detested and shamed … for they attack under the guise of what all know (even if they pretend not to accept): namely that love is the one precious piece of life that God gives us so that we can overcome all other challenges to life, and with love press on to live honest, honourable, and holy lives.

So we say with the writer of 1 John: Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

In love we see God’s attitude toward us and all creation, and by love we are emboldened to live and live abundantly, blessed with all blessings ever imagined, including God’s blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb, blessings that are stronger than the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills.

Humble Hubris

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Falling

Snow

Should Take Our Pride With It

to the Ground.

Isaiah 40:13

Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

Romans 11:33

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Words of Grace For Today

I have often prayed for what I needed, or at least what I thought I needed. I have often prayed for more than I needed, for what I wanted, and I still do and will as long as I live. Sometimes I know the difference. I am sure sometimes I certainly do not.

It probably is that way for most people, to varying degrees. The variation in the degree of knowing the difference seems to astound me. Maybe people are astounded by what I do not know as well.

The bottom line is this: none of us know everything that we should, could, and would if only … if only we knew what we’ve been taught and what our ancestors have experienced and should have taught us. But that is how it is with us, we just do not learn all that we could by being alive in God’s creation.

The most challenging piece of wisdom to grasp, and nearly impossible to hang on to for very long, is how humble we really ought to be.

Listen to our prayers.

Listen to our wishes.

Listen to the words we write.

Listen to the words we speak in private and in public.

From the sum total of all that we humans have thought, prayed, said quietly and cried out loudly for all to hear … from this sum total (if we could grasp it all, so even a small slice of it will have to do as an illustration here) we would deduce that we humans thought we controlled the universe down to the last detail, or at least some of us do, and the rest are alive to suffer what the others determine for us.

God

did

not

create

us

so.

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are God’s judgments and how inscrutable God’s ways!

Mostly, we humans seem to have the smallest of clues at best of what God chooses and executes for us and for all creation!

Yet we think we can control God. Fully name and explicate God. Roll down on others God’s commands and judgments!

But Who has directed the spirit of the Lord, or as his counsellor has instructed him?

None, not a one.

Only by Grace do we know anything at all about God, and through Jesus, the Christ, we know that God’s primary attitude to us in one of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love.

Our place is not to understand God, or God’s ways. Our place is to exercise God’s primary attitude of unconditional, forgiving, and restoring love in all we do and say, so that others will know the little bit we understand of God.

Where are you this morning? Where is God this day?

It’s rained all night. The cold water streaming steadily on to the 3 feet of heavy snow covering the ground and the deep ice still on the lake. The smoke from the fire wafts this way and that, steamy in the damp morning light. Not another scent can penetrate the air. The green bows of the spruce trees, the tuffs of green grass showing in the few spots where the sun has burned away the snow pack lowered by shovelling my way through the winter, not even the Moose droppings next to the large spruce where it spent a frigid night alone.

It is as if the world is reduced to sights and sounds: geese arriving and staking out territories, the fighter jets smashing air aside as they return to base, wheels and flaps down, throttle set at half for full noise below the sound barrier, the drip of the water falling from the leaves and tarps around my camp, the steady stream of snow flakes dropping, dropping, dropping on to the rain-sodden snow pack, the music floating in my mind, haunting oboe, intricate turns of words of comfort amid ordinary and extraordinary disasters. Thankfully the fire continues to burn, contained and directed to provide a duration of heat, for warmth, for heating water to wash with, and for cooking.

In this morning, so ordinary, so extraordinary, how can one see and know God? How can one not?! For my enemies have long since sought my death, seldom directly, constantly indirectly. And if not my death then my exile to some far distant location from which I could not be heard to speak the truth. In this morning of rain and snow, quiet and solitude, beauty and wonder, that I breathe is a miracle provided by God.

Likewise, I think, it is for all of us, should we be able to notice all God does to bring us breathing into a new day.

For God is everywhere! And we are here in God’s creation … likely not as humble as we ought to be, but wondrously comforted by God with us and thus emboldened for all we can do this day.

Among the Lions

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Deeper Than the Extreme Snows of Winter

(which will be next year’s normal)

God’s Blessings Pour Down Over

Us God-Made Saints

and even over God’s and our enemies alike.

God’s Gift to Us is That We Notice

and Share Blessings with All.

Psalm 57:4

I lie down among lions that greedily devour human prey; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords.

Acts 14:17

God has not left Godself without a witness in doing good—giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling you with food and your hearts with joy.

Words of Grace For Today

There are signs everywhere, signs of God’s good blessings pouring over us,

if we only open our eyes and

ears and

hearts

to see, hear and know.

Even as our enemies drive us into the wilderness where we must sleep among all that is there and we must lie down among lions that greedily devour human prey; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords …

even then the goodness of God surrounds us, for there are many witnesses of God’s people, accompanied by God, who have been fed to the lions, and

the lions became docile, uninterested in devouring God along with God’s people.

Such works of God’s great works are not just the stories of our ancestors,

these stories are our stories, for

again and again God has delivered us from our enemies so

that we have lived yet another day, and

another week, and

another year,

while God’s blessings pour down over us.

Thanks be to God.

Who Can Endure? Who Will Feast?

Sunday, February 13, 2022

See

and

Hear

Folded Hands in Prayer of Thanks.

Malachi 3:2

But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.

Revelation 3:20

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

Words of Grace For Today

Each day, each moment of decision, we can respond to all that challenges or threatens us with our wits and strength, ready to fight for ourselves,

or we meet all challenges and threats first resigning to God’s Will.

In our resignation we can either expect the almighty God’s wrath to wipe us off our feet with a mighty cleansing fire, leaving little left of us,

OR we can resign and expect to celebrate and feast with Christ.

The choice seems simple: struggle and death or feasting and celebrating with God!

Yet we cannot on our own make the choice other than to engage our wits and strength. That requires trusting God, whom we think we cannot see, whom we know will let us suffer defeat and death for we have seen so much defeat and so many friends meeting their death.

So how is it that we can hear Jesus knocking and actually open the door? That is the question of life … or death!

It is only possible for us to hear and answer if God has given us faith to hear, faith to trust, faith to know how to resign ourselves to God’s way of unconditional love and forgiveness and blessing and gratitude and generosity and living abundantly … no matter our circumstances, no matter the challenges we face, no matter the threats made against us.

Thank God daily for the faith given to us, for we hear and see the door opened … by faith. And we feast with Christ each day.

Hearts and Words

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Our Words

Reflect

the Curve of Our Hearts,

Bold and Generous,

Or Selfishly Destructive.

The Light of Christ Shows Us What Is in the Curves.

Psalm 71:8

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.

Matthew 12:34

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Words of Grace For Today

What fills our hearts erupts inevitably from our mouths.

I know, the stomach empties its contents normally down the digestive track, but in rebellion it disgorges its contents up and out the mouth.

But when it comes to words, weeeell, our words inevitably (even for practised liars) reflect what is in our hearts, whether our hearts are consumed by greed, self-interests, destruction of others, and all sorts of evil OR our hearts bask regularly in God’s Word and as blessed saints become the embodiment of God’s Grace, unconditional love, and promises for all people.

Our words say it all. They speak less what we try to accomplish, and more what slavery we have bartered ourselves into with the Devil, or freedom we are gifted by God.

So we pray, Lord save us from the Devil and all the Devil’s wiles. Help us so that we can honestly and with gratitude say: My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long.

For then, all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well … and indeed all manner of things is already well, with us and with God’s creation.

Root … Taking Root

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Taking the Route

to the Root

of Life

and

Putting Down Roots

(Even in Winter)

Brings Us to the Light of the World,

Christ.

2 Kings 19:30

The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards.

Romans 11:16

If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy.

Words of Grace For Today

Taking root.

That’s the event that connects us to whom God created us to be.

Taking root.

That’s the event that revives us, renews us.

Taking root.

That’s the event that requires forgiveness,

offered to those who would destroy us, and

accepted for all the sin that we ourselves have actually done.

Taking root.

That’s the event in which God shows us again that we are holy because we are connected to all that is holy in God’s good creation.

Taking root.

That’s the event that leads to us bearing fruit, good fruit.

Conditional or Unconditional Love?

Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Short Section of the Shovelled Portions

After the Daylight is Spent

as Well as My Capacity,

Energy, and

Back

are

Done.

Psalm 103:17-18

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

Words of Grace For Today

The drive in here, into the meadow in the woods by the lake, from the gravel road that is maintained by the MD is nearly a kilometre long.

Most years the snow and rain make it challenging though not impossible to make the trek when needed to get supplies, food, and water.

Today that seems to have changed and to find out whether that has changed is to risk getting stuck in hard, cold, soft and freezing and hard frozen ice and snow smothered with rain over the last few hours.

Whether I can make transit that fist kilometre or not is entirely up to what I do in preparation. It is at least a two week task to try to shovel the worst parts free and clear down to the hard packed snow-ice that has developed over the last months from November on. There is no need to wish I had shovelled it regularly as the snows fell. First I had lots of other work to do to survive the winter so far, with it’s plentiful snow and it’s deep hard cold for days below -35⁰ and weeks below -25⁰. Second, the task of shovelling that kilometre once would take about a week of constant work, pushing my old body to it’s limits each day. By then the next snow would have fallen and I’d have had to start all over again … meaning I would have been shovelling snow constantly for months now and doing little else … when there is lots that has to be done to survive without a home in the woods next to a lake, even if that is all a huge blessing from God. So no regrets that I drove that kilometre as I could, dragged two logs behind to bounce a bit of the snow to the side and pack the remaining in a hardened roadway that I could drive over.

With the warming to above zero and the accompanying thaw, with the rain that has drenched the snow and with the freeze coming again that will turn it all into slippery ice, that kilometre will not be ‘miraculously’ ‘fahrbar’ (drive-able). The drive-ability of that kilometre depends now almost entirely on how much I shovel, where I shovel, how far down I shovel and if I survive (no heart attack or stroke or back spasms laying me flat in the snow for days while I freeze to death, or any other of a host of ways that shovelling could put me down.)

That’s a reality that is conditional, conditional on what I do.

God’s grace, forgiveness, claim on us, and mission that we are sent back into the world to work at is not conditional at all. God’s blessings and favour are not conditional on anything we do. That God blesses us and favours us is entirely unconditional! It depends only on God’s steadfast, never changing, never failing love and grace.

We humans do not like to be so dependent on any one or thing other than ourselves. So we, along with great words of God’s grace and steadfast love, have repeatedly perverted God’s promises into being conditional on our responses to God’s grace and steadfast love. Thus Psalm that teaches (wrongly) that God’s blessings and favour for us and our children and their children and all people is conditional on us keeping his covenant and remembering to do his commandments.

That condition sets us up to strive to be and do what we cannot be or do: perfect. And it gives control of our lives over to others who interpret our being and doing as sufficiently good enough or not.

God’s grace and steadfast love are not conditional.

God sends us out to be and do that same unconditional grace and love for all people.

Are we up to the mission? It does take every bit of life we have in us, and often more.