Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – April 30

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Perspective Made Clear:

God blesses,

Humans mess’s

Grace alone saves us.

Psalms 73:1

Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart.

1 John 3:21-22

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

Words of Grace For Today

Covid 19 puts many things into perspective.

When our boys were young they came asking if they could have coffee. They were intelligent and persistent. Being occupied and having uttered a few no’s! already I said to them that if they drank coffee they would die. Sort of true and it bought me some peace.

Not for long. They came back a few days later insisting that they be given coffee, it smelled so good! I said no, and repeated the half truth from before. If you drink coffee you will die. … Well, OK back then, a recent study had said that coffee was real bad for you, and worse for children; or so I rationalized it. But the boys did not fall away from but rather into some intelligence beyond their parents’.

They responded, yes, if we drink coffee we will die, but if we don’t drink coffee we will die, also.

So we want coffee.

God is truly good to the upright and pure in heart. And God is even better to the worst sinners, for whom God sent God’s own son, Jesus, to teach, heal and forgive … and then give his own life to redeem.

If we have boldness before God and obey his commands and do what pleases God, God will give us whatever we ask. And God gives whatever they ask for to even those who displease God, sinners that all humans are!

Not really. God answers everyone who calls on God. Most often God gives us what we need, not what we ask for. Most often the answer is simply NO, or wait, or maybe. Rarely God answers with a resounding YES! giving exactly what we ask for.

The temptation is to think that IF we behave rightly (and/or fill in whatever correct description you choose) THEN God will bless us with good things (and/or fill in whatever correct description of benefit from God you choose). This is the Devil’s way of getting us to think that we are little gods unto ourselves, that our behaviour controls God’s response to us.

When we start down that path, the Devil has us for life! Again. Until Jesus saves us again!

God’s reality is that BECAUSE God chooses (fill in whatever God chooses) THEREFORE we are blessed (and can think, say, or do whatever, or receive or fill in whatever blessing you want to include.

God’s reality is only God can choose to bless us. And we can only choose to refuse it. As we embrace God’s blessings it is only because the Holy Spirit moves us to do so.

The kind of religion that says we have to earn our way to God is as meaningless as counting backwards from ten. The best result is we end up unconscious. Anything else is painful to watch or experience.

God’s Grace though changes the whole world, from church being a social club with great language, coffee and tax deductions, to church being a calling to be more than we ever thought we could be, bringing abundant life to others in need.

After God acts, and we respond, then life lets loose, and our tasks vary according to our gifts and jobs and time. For now that will be a photo to share, occasionally. I get to create, you get to enjoy the result (or not.) Regardless whether we survive Covid 19 or not, we will all eventually die … for now the challenge is to be better than the best we imagined we could be. Pure of heart and obedient are just starters.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – April 29

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

God Lights the Path

So be diligent about moving on to the new reality

whatever that may be that the Holy Spirit has in store for us!

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Romans 12:11

Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Words of Grace For Today

Ecclesiastes is always so much fun to read, as long as you bring the humour!

The writer has a universe-size chip on his shoulder, which he called wisdom. Listen to the lack of Grace he exercises for others: ‘you are all going to Sheol’. In modern English … ‘to hell with you all. Work hard now, it’s all that counts.’

Sorry the idea is sort of right, but the reasons are outta this world, at least the one that God created. We do not need to work hard because this is our only chance; in hell there is no work!

That might at first glance make hell a place we’d like to live in … or at least visit to check it out. Plenty of people take the Devil up on his offer and create a hell for themselves here and now, and they are diligent about sharing it with others.

Truth is I have no idea if work, thought, knowledge and so called wisdom are part of hell. It would seem they are a lot of what people use to create hell on earth already. What I trust is that God created us capable of working hard, thinking diligently, knowing clearly, and possessing extraordinary wisdom. God also created us with plenty of zeal and ardent spirits.

Not that we always exercise hard work, diligent thinking, clear knowledge, extraordinary wisdom, zeal or our ardent spirits. Another temptation the Devil places before us is to be none of that, rather he tempts us to be lazy.

Yet this is exactly what God equips us to do, calls us to do … not the lazy part rather being zealously engaged in working, thinking, knowing and being wise.

All so that others may enjoy God’s blessings through us, God makes and redeems us so that we can work hard, very hard, physically and otherwise. We can pursue diligent discipline thinking about ourselves, God and others in this creation. We can possess clear and truthful knowledge, and above all we can have the wisdom how to exercise all of that: not for ourselves, but for others.

That is serving God

Instead of serving ourselves, manna, or the false promises of the Devil.

Choose as you may, as for me (since I have no house, nor household) I choose to love: hard work, diligent thinking, clear knowledge and maybe I can enjoy some wisdom.

So may we all work hard at not touching anyone else, or any surface someone else may have touched. Think clearly about how the virus could be on our hands. Don’t pause though to rub our eye as we ponder the new reality. Know what is true about the virus, and sort out stuff like Trump’s suggestion to ingest disinfectant, sarcastically or not! Finally be wise beyond our years: know that as we get older, this virus is harder on us; so enjoy everything we can, carefully, at home, or on walks with no one around.

Solitude, Beauty, and Hope. God provides these in abundance now.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – April 28

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Goal of life is not to see who can get to the sunrise first,

nor to the sunset of life with the most power or possessions

but to see if you can bring to Grace all the people God places in your path.

1 Chronicles 22:19

Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. Go and build the sanctuary of the Lord God so that the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God may be brought into a house built for the name of the Lord.’

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it.

Words of Grace For Today

Goals, competitions, setting one’s mind … these all are very human endeavours, good endeavours, too.

They cannot net us real security, real love, real faith, real hope, or real life, no matter how hard we try.

These are gifts from God, already at our baptisms. Seeking them is to first deny that God has given them to us. We get to rest assured that these are already ours. We need not set our minds and hearts on seeking and finding the Lord our God. God has found us. That game never was one we could succeed at anyway.

So why all the images in these scripture passages?

Is there something about goals, competitions, setting one’ heart and mind to doing something that is part of our life as God-made saints?

Naturally. All humans have some degree of drive. God designed us so. Exercising this drive is a large part of a full life, life lived as God created and redeemed us to live.

These drives cannot win God’s favour. We already have it, along with salvation, joy, and the fullness of life that goes along with being claimed by God.

These drives cannot win us joy. God has completed our joy with Christ’s resurrection.

These drives cannot win us security, faith, or hope, nor love. All these God has already lavishly poured over us, so that we can share them with others.

These drives move us there, to share all that God has given us with others.

There most certainly is a race, and it is good for the heart to participate in it every day. The race is to see who can give away the greatest percentage to the benefit of the most people. The best we can do is come in tied for second place, along with all the other God-made saints. Jesus has first place wrapped up.

So, if you can at all, get in on that race, at least take a daily walk in that direction. It is very counter intuitive to what the Devil plants in our hearts and minds as the way to success. It fits with the best of creation made by God.

Be the best you can. There are lots of people needing what we have to share during this pandemic, and it’s not the virus!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – April 27

Monday, April 27, 2020

Even if we pretend or do not look

God’s Light Reflects

Into Every nook and cranny of creation (and our lives.)

Genesis 3:8

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Romans 8:15

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’

Words of Grace For Today

Fear and anxiety are our greatest enemies, the factors in our lives that most thoroughly bring us to our destruction, to do inane things, and to fight for the worst causes.

Anxiety not only destroys the person it controls, devouring our souls from the inside out, it’s effects destroy people around the anxious one. Anxiety breeds anxiety. It is more contagious than the fastest spreading virus.

Anxiety does not require anything in reality to be compromised or threatened, but it’s effects compromise and threaten all reality.

Adam and Eve walk in the Garden of Eden. God created Paradise for them, and gave them freedom to choose to obey, to not touch the tree in the centre of the garden and live full of joy from base to peak, or to disobey and be exiled out of the garden to face death in the dark valleys of despair.

Ah, arch-typically, Adam and Eve succumb to curiosity and the desire to know more than God and to be ‘gods’ themselves. As we all would, and do, again and again in our lives.

After we have turned from God, then fear sets in. That’s real and appropriate. The huge problem arises when they/we try to deny we’ve done against God. That’s when anxiety sets in and controls us. We begin to believe that if we lie even more and more, somehow God will not notice. If we can fool ourselves into believing we have not turned away from obeying God, and somehow if we believe it then it becomes true and God will be fooled as well. Not at all.

God has mercy.

God’s mercy is ours to claim, imbibe, and live out of. OR we can choose to ignore all God does for us, redeeming us, claiming us as God’s own children. We can continue in our anxiousness to choose to fool ourselves. Doch God is not fooled and

God still has mercy.

God redeems us at a great cost, to frees us from slavery to sin.

Yet we can still anxiously choose to live in that slavery, to try to fool ourselves and hope to fool God, though we know there is no fooling God, not ever.

So we cry Abba, save us. This cry is ours constantly to cry out with all desperation. For we need God’s mercy and protection, or we end up living anxiously as if we were separated from God.

God is merciful, God is trustworthy. God claims us and never lets go. God is with us

even now, in our anxiety wrapped in Covid 19.

Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 26

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Beneath the Canadian Winter Waves

Buried Beneath the Ice
Not Nice.

Jonah 2:3

You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.

Mark 5:22-24

Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.

Words of Grace For Today

God rarely delivers us from our trials. Most often God delivers us in our trials.

Jonah tried to hide from God, to no avail. Neither can we hide from God. Jonah was tested severely, as we are, too. In the deep, the heart of the seas, the flood over our heads, God’s waves pass over us.

When we face our own demise we see life more clearly for what it is. When we face the demise of our children, we ought to see life more clearly for what it is. Sometimes though anxiety makes us act as if we were just plain stupid. Anxiety explains a lot of inexplicable behaviour, even during normal times.

Jairus, a leader at the synagogue, faces the death of his daughter. He comes and pleads for Jesus to have mercy and come and heal his daughter, so that she may live.

That should be an account that tears at every parent’s heart. My child is being ripped from life here with me … and what can I do? Jairus has heard of Jesus and goes to beg, to humble himself before Jesus, to beg for his daughter’s life from a man he knows can save her.

That’s faith.

That’s faith that can only be given by God!

That’s faith that brings life to those who have it and those near them.

Jairus’ faith brings Jesus to save his daughter’s life, and she does live.

Beneath the waves of Covid isolation, loneliness, shortages, fear of illness and death (our own and our loved ones’ … and even our enemies’) we gasp for breath,

We gasp … and humbly pray that God will deliver us and our loved ones, heal us all, and bring us all, even our enemies, back to live full lives, filled with gratitude and complete joy!

Still we gasp for air. Where are we caught so dark and deep, that we find little air?


So we pray, free us from all fear, and make us into the people that can heal others with a word.

Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 25

Complete Joy

God’s Great Creation Teaches Us to Prosper and Know
Complete Joy

Deuteronomy 30:9

The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors.

John 15:10-11

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Words of Grace For Today

To prosper. That is what is not happening for so many people the world over. The economies of most nations is at a near standstill, as essentials only are made, distributed, for sale and purchased.

So much that the world thrived on was not necessities, but the benefits of a very advanced global economy. Yet I have not met nor heard of a person who has truly prospered, who did so without doing on the backs of many other people who could not prosper.

To prosper seems to be equivalent to being able to get away with terrible crimes and sins against other humans, all in order to get ahead.

This is not at all what God would have us do or be in this marvellous creation.

Jesus comes to show us an exactly mutually exclusive way of being in creation; self sacrifice so that others may live well. Prospering at others expense is out of the question. The only kind of prospering is when one moves forward through ones days choosing goals and actions so that others may live and live well.

This is a quite foreign concept for many caught in the ‘logic’ of global capitalism, built as it is solidly on greed and making gains at others expense, accumulating power in wealth and using it to continually succeed in getting more money from others getting less money, endlessly.

Jesus had not yet seen global capitalism, but the previous generations had certainly seen themselves either among the conquering Romans or those the Romans conquered and ruled, to the Romans’ advantage. In spite of many wishes that Jesus conquer the Roman occupiers, Jesus instead offers to us that our joy be as his joy is in doing God’s will, and that our joy be complete.

To prosper, and to have our joy complete, all coming to us as we abide in Jesus’ love, so that God’s love will abide in us.

All this is gift; God chooses and acts. We receive and benefit. We live in God’s love. God is in love with us. And we in turn are in love with all creation and all God’s creatures.

Since time immemorial, God has called faithful people to retreat from the demands of normal life, and ask why and how one lives as one does.

This is now the time for us all.

Cancel that world tour vacation. Cancel that entertainment holiday. Cancel that weekend of expensive travel, motor sports, or casual sports. (OK, we’ve been required to do so anyway.)

God calls us to take this time and ask: how does God want us to abide in God’s love and have our joy complete? How does God want us to prosper … now during Covid 19, and after isolation is not needed for everyone’s health.

This is how we prosper: we love and give sacrificially of ourselves to others, as Christ did for us … on his cross.

Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 24

Friday, April 24, 2020

God, as simple as a Rock,

Demonstrates Glory by Healing our Souls.

Jeremiah 14:21

Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonour your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Words of Grace For Today

Jeremiah pleads with God not to break the covenant God made with their ancestor, Abraham. God alone made the covenant. It was not a bi-lateral agreement. It was not tit-for-tat. It was not a contract with the members agreeing on the exchange of things of value.

God made the covenant, simply because God choose to make the covenant. Thereafter, God returns numerous times to restate the promises. In addition to Abraham and his family and descendants being made, by God’s act alone, into the people of God, God makes promises: God will give the wandering Arameans land flowing with milk and honey. God will give Abraham and Sarah descendants as numerous as the stars.

God makes good on God’s promises. God makes good on more than that.

God comes in the human life of Jesus of Nazareth, God’s own son on earth, to live, heal, teach, suffer, and die … to pay for what you and I and all our ancestors and their descendants (i.e. all people) have done against God and the goodness of creation.

The story continues. Death does not win out, because God raises Jesus back to life.

God does this not because we deserve it, but because God so chooses.

God also chooses you and me to join in the fellowship of Jesus, the body of Christ on earth.

We may turn from God.

We may suffer as a result of sins.

We may face challenges we may not know we can even survive, like Covid 19.

God remains trustworthy. God remains a Rock for us to rely on. God remains with us!

This is the ongoing story of God. God remains with us, even when we no longer deserve the great blessings God has given us.

All good is to God’s glory. God’s glory is not our brokenness, doch God’s will to heal us.

May we be healed of all the ills that we face because of isolation, because of loss of loved ones, because of the illness we face, which may indeed bring us to death’s door.

On this and the far side of that door, God stands with us. God is worthy of our trust.

Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 23

Thursday, April 23, 2020

With Confidence We Go Into the Breach

Knowing All Will Be Well …

Isaiah 44:21

Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you, you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me.

Hebrews 10:35

Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward.

Words of Grace For Today


Wikipedia defines it as: Confidence is a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a latin word fidere’ which means “to trust”; therefore, having a self-confidence is having trust in one’s self.

Oh, to be able to have a confidence that is not bound by one’s own self, or about one’s self. Trust in one’s self is as fleeting as the beauty of the butterfly, the wisp of smoke rising into a clear sky, or of the moment of forgetting one’s own sins.

God provides this basis for confidence. God formed us! We are God’s servants! God will not forget us!

God. Now there is a Rock from which confidence can rise to hold us no matter what assails us!

No matter what we face, life or death, riches or poverty (and riches are so much more a threat to us than poverty every could be!), and kindness of truth or the cruelty of lies … no matter what we face God is our Rock. God made us who we are, claimed us, redeemed us, and equipped us as saints in this broken world.

This is confidence that cannot be broken. It is con– (with) fidere (trust) that prevails, even in the face of death, even death on the cross of Good Friday which is defeated in Christ rising in the early light of Easter morning.

Let us remember, and pray that God will hold us mindful of, the price paid for our holiness, the miracle that frees us from sin, and the reward that God gives us every day. We live in God’s blessings, no matter what.

We can say out of the confidence of faith along with Julian of Norwich who wrote and said (as the devastation of the Black Plague raged on the other side of her hermit-cell’s window – 30% to 60% of Europe died within 4 years):

All will be well.

All will be well.

All manner of things will be well!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 22

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Even When We Are Cut Down,

God’s Love Colours our World

Ezekiel 16:8

I passed by you again and looked on you; you were at the age for love. I spread the edge of my cloak over you, and covered your nakedness: I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you, says the Lord God, and you became mine.

Galatians 3:26

For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Words of Grace For Today

Everywhere one hears the words of love, of romantic love that turns one’s world right-side-up, that sets the fears of the night to rest, that provides balm to one’s ills, and brightens the future with brilliant light.

God uses these experiences and images to speak through the prophet to describe how God claims us. When we were at the age of love! When we were but infants we were already at the age of love poured out on us by God, so God claims us. We were robed in white, marked with the cross, and blessed for each day and each challenge …

including the many challenges we face these days!

By faith God claims us through Jesus Christ. The faith that brings an infant to the baptismal font is not the infant’s faith. The faith that brings us as infants to be claimed by God is our parents’ faith … and our godparent’s faith … and the person ordained to baptize us’ faith … and the people who gather’s faith. All this faith is in each instance not earned or acquired. It is given by God.

There is no challenge that can defeat the faith that God creates in us.

Play the music of your faith, the music that rings through all of creation, the music that inspires the soul and heals the body and mind.

In this music experience the love that captures us and sets us free in a world made right with us in it!

Be courageous, calm and kind. We are in this together. Share the love that makes life precious!

God is with us, even when we think we are alone, and if God is with us, then the saints of all the generations walk with us as well. Their love surrounds us no matter what we face.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Apr 21

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Created in the Image of God!

Our lives are to mirror God’s, in our thought, words, and actions.

Daniel 6:24

The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

Words of Grace For Today

The king gives a command, which decimates Daniel’s enemies who were bent on killing him. They and all their families face the death they had set Daniel to suffer.

I saw this sign in a furniture store, among the kitsch hanging about:

Karma, I have a list of people you seem to have missed.

No matter our enemies, our faith given to us inspires us to love even our enemies. Revenge or Karma’s actions, or what goes around comes around are not what we wish for those who would destroy us, even when they do their best from or through seats of the highest powers, the richest businesses, the most influential families, and not even from or through the force of armed police. We forgive, except when these actions go unrestrained, unnamed, unnoticed (except by their innocent victims). Then, ordained as a select few of us are, we must name those sins as bound, and leave them to God’s judgment. We trust that the Light of Christ will shine on their evil deeds. We treat them as those outside God’s people, with empathy and care, even when they deserve none of it.

This is no easy task.

It is also no easy task to forgive those who blatantly breach the health orders. Their foolishness puts themselves and so many of us, at terrible risk of coming down with Covid 19, which will lead to the death of those most vulnerable. The fools will likely live on to continue to threaten others again.

Still we pray: God helps us Keep alert, stand firm in our faith, be courageous, and be strong.

Help us to forgive the unforgivable.

This, too, shall pass.