Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 31

Friday, July 31, 2020

False Witness like Smoke Spreads

and cannot be undone

and can only be stopped

by putting out the fire

Exodus 23:1

You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with the wicked to act as a malicious witness.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

Words of Grace For Today

False witness.

Truth witness.

Martin Luther, the victim of a false conviction achieved by many false witnesses and corrupt judges, equated bearing false witness with murder.

Spreading rumours is essentially the same as bearing false witness. The audience is the open community instead of the confines of a court.

An old story recounts how a student asked his teacher what was so wrong with rumours. The teacher, on who effectively used illustrations and demonstrations as much as lectures, instruct the student to take two feather pillows, place them outside on his neighbours doorstep, and slit them open and return with the pillow cases. The student did this and returned to report to the teacher asking what this could possibly mean. The teacher instructed the student return the next day. That next day the teacher directed the student to take the pillow cases, collect the feathers, and sew up them closed to be used as pillows.

The student stood aghasted. It will be impossible to collect the feathers now. The wind has blown overnight. More than a handful of feathers will be impossible to find, yet alone collect.

The teacher said, so it is with rumours (and false witness). Once rumours are spoken the spread like wildfire in the community and beyond so that nothing can undo them, true or not. They destroy like invisible poison not only the person they are told about, but the people who spread them. In that way they are like Covid 19.

False witness, like rumours, once told are sins for which little restitution can be made to the person they are told about, and certainly not to all who hear them in the community or the courts. They are an indiscriminate poison that kills both body and spirit.

Thus we followers of Christ are not called to speak falsely of others.

We followers of Christ are not called to silence, rather we are called to speak truth. Always truth begins with what God has done for us, Jesus’ story, our salvation and daily renewed life, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Against rumours and false witness: we can do no other than to forgive as we can, to bind sins for God to judge, and to clearly speak the truth in the face of all false witness and rumours. We can expect that those caught in rumour and false witness will expend every effort to end the truth, and us with it; history will continue to repeat itself, and good people will be killed to protect the lies of corrupt and sick people.

Life following Christ is not safe, and never boring. It is life abundantly blessed, even when one is caught in life threatening poverty.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 30

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Coals and Flames

Hell Fires


and Ready?

Zephaniah 1:7

Be silent before the Lord God! For the day of the Lord is at hand; the Lord has prepared a sacrifice, he has consecrated his guests.

Mark 4:9

And he said, ‘Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’

Words of Grace For Today

Be silent! The day of the Lord is at hand!

Let anyone with ears to hear listen.


Silent Dread, no opportunity to protest.

If one has not believed then now one will, without a doubt.

For God is all powerful and all knowing.

It’s not like the threatening spam email I received that claimed my computer was locked! Well it’s not. But the email claimed that the writer could see through my camera, but it’s physically covered so even if someone activates it, it’s blank. And of course the email demanded bitcoin payment to a numbered account, untraceable, with the threat to share the video made of me with all my contacts.

This is a bad hoax, a spam email, a real idiot who wrote it, but a poor sucker who would fall for it and make payment.

One could treat God like a stupid spammer, wait and see that God is real, for real and one’s own judgment day is real.

There are things to take seriously by trusting them; God’s Word is the prime example.

There are things to not take seriously by acting as like the joke is on in the ‘threatening’ idiot: a good example is a spam email that demands money.

Place dread where it is accurate.

Place trust where it is warranted.

As one knows quite well that Jesus’ pure record stands in for one’s own very imperfect record there is nothing to fear of the Day of the Lord.

Rather it is something to await with great anticipation and joy.


Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 29

Wednesday, July 29, 2020






Job 1:21

He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

1 Timothy 6:7-8

For we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.

Words of Grace For Today

One cannot be sure to leave anything of material worth to one’s children, but give them an education and no one can take that away from them.

Or so one thinks.

And similarly people strive to achieve – for themselves and their children … and their friends and their own – something that will be a legacy.

Legacies are remarkable … usually in how inconsequential they are.

Two things seem significant: The first one is that we recognize that we are born with nothing, we die with nothing, and nothing we can do will ever change that, for us or for anyone else.

The second one is that everything we have is a gift from God for which we can give God thanks and praise. Even the drive to work hard to accomplish and accumulate something that may be a security for us … that drive is God’s gift, and the result may or may not provide security.

We should not therefore cease to work to provide security for ourselves and our own, and our neighbours. ‘Winter’ is coming, and ‘wood needs be collected to ‘keep the fires going’.

We can therefore remember to enjoy each person along the journey, and to provide as we can for those less fortunate than us … as God has provided for us, freely and graciously.

No matter the challenges, disappointments, and ever-present stinking ‘rot’ in situations and people, we are not driven to despair.

We give God thanks in all things. We wake rested, we work like dervishes noticing all of life around us, and we end the day with gratitude and contentment, for we have done as we could to respond to God’s gift of breath in this day.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 28

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Seek the Light

It’s hot this end of July,

It’s cold that end of October,

No matter the challenge,

God is with us.

1 Samuel 7:12

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Jeshanah, and named it Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Thus far the Lord has helped us.’

2 Corinthians 4:8

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

Words of Grace For Today

In the midst of Covid 19 challenges, easing restrictions, and great losses already it is not hard to feel the pinch of everything else in life that goes wrong or is done against one just that much more intensely.

Rates of infection climb in the US. Riots and violent confrontation with police continue. Lies continue to have devastating effects on scapegoats. Children get hurt, invisibly and visibly, by parents who disregard them as humans. Despots use anything, Covid 19 as well, for cover for their unjust efforts to maintain control and carry out their destructive plans in countries around the world and even in churches in the local community. Business people make plans to ‘contribute’, which is hardly contributing but will net them an unfair profit.

Even amidst all this, God has equipped Jesus’ followers with wisdom to see not only the truth behind the attempts to deceive and destroy. God gives us the wisdom to see the Holy Spirit at work all around us. Real efforts in many long term care facilities net joy and contentment as unusual plans and policies allow families to reunite for visits. From declining resources families find ways to ‘visit’ with each other across thousands of miles and just across town. Neighbours pay attention and chip in to ensure everyone has enough food, supplies, and regular conversation. Churches, stuck in the mud of privilege and wealth for decades, actually start to care for the homeless in their own communities. Parents develop summer opportunities for children to encounter nature in ways not possible before, now that the ‘regular’ summer activities are not possible.

God has even given us plenty of rainwater, and a cool July … until now!

(Well the last is from my perspective where anything over 25⁰ creates real hardships. Not that I’ll melt like chocolate. I just run out of steam, and the mosquito bites seem to be tiny neutron bombs irradiating the life right out of me.)

Thus far the Lord has helped us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 27

Monday, July 27, 2020



See all that is,

God given.

Proverbs 2:6

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

James 1:5

If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.

Words of Grace For Today


Wisdom is that mix of knowledge, comprehension, insight and vision. It is to see the past clearly, the present starkly, and the future vaguely … and to know one’s limits as well as possibilities, probabilities, and outcomes.

And to have a good heart, one that accepts the sinful condition of each human, trusts God’s transforming grace for each great sinner, and hopes fervently for the Holy Spirit’s work in us and in the world around us.

There is no wisdom that does not come from God. There are all sorts of knock-offs, devil rooted, beguiling and destructive, and costly to acquire. True wisdom begins with the fear of God (Psalm 1). True wisdom begins with us fearing and loving God in all things (Martin Luther).

We each, every day, desperately need wisdom. The world needs us to think, speak and act with great wisdom. This is no dependent on intelligence, genes, upbringing or circumstances. It is gift, pure gift, wondrously pure and free gift from God.

Wisdom is available just for the asking. All we can do is surrender any idea that we can figure it out on our own, and this wisdom will guide us to an abundant life for ourselves and those around us.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 26

Sunday, July 26, 2020


We are all in this together.

We are all in this life on earth together.

Proverbs 14:31

Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who are kind to the needy honour him.

Matthew 25:40

And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

Words of Grace For Today

Yesterday was six months since the first Covid 19 case identified in Canada.

More than 15 million people have been infected world wide. More than 640k have died.

In the USA more than 4 million people have been infected. Less than 42 days ago that was only 2 million. It took more than 90 days to reach the first million. More than 140k have died.

Canada reports 113,206 people in Canada have been infected, and 8,881 have died, 80% in long term care homes.

Alberta reported 112 new cases on July 23.

This M.D. where I live, as of 23 July, had 1 active case, and no deaths from Covid 19.

These numbers are those that are reported. Reality may vary markedly.

This is a serious pandemic, not to be taken lightly nor passed over as if one could simply dismiss it and be done with it. A person may indeed get away with being so stupid, but more than likely their stupidity will cause others to get infected and some to die. This is serious stuff.

Many lessons are evident for the learning. If care in long term care homes is sub-human, there will be a cost. It’s only a matter of time. If those caught in poverty and those without housing are not provided care commensurate with basic human dignity, there will be a cost. It’s only a matter of time.

It is less expensive to provide a basic level of humane care for all people (homes, health care, clean water and sufficient food) than it is to pay the costs stemming from not doing so. The costs in an pandemic include death of many people, not just the poor and homeless.

Since the beginning of time, and as a mainstream in Judeo-Christian tradition, the wisdom and rewards of caring for the disadvantaged has been recognized, or at least paid lip service to.

Jesus’ parables repeatedly refer to how blessed it is to provide care for the needy and vulnerable, the sick and the poor, the poor and the outcasts.

So we are blessed to be the ones who bring Jesus’ care and compassion to all in need.

So we are called to be the ones who bring Jesus’ care and hope to all in need.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 25

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Inevitable Grace; Like the Setting Sun, Always (even if we do not see it.)


Human Fatality Rate

God’s Grace Coverage

Percent of People to whom God Offers Grace

Proverbs 11:19

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but whoever pursues evil will die.

Matthew 5:6

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Words of Grace For Today

Both these verses taken literally cannot be true.

For the first verse from Proverbs:

The mortality rate for all humans is 100%, also for people who live in righteousness.

Further, no one can live in righteousness, of their own doing. We all sin and cannot help but sin.

For the second from Matthew:

Any reasonable and sane appropriation of the history of humans will recognize that the people who hunger and thirst for righteousness continue, all through history, up to and including every today that comes our way, to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Righteousness from themselves is not possible, for we all sin, inevitably, and righteousness is not marked on a curve, it is an absolute. One sin and righteousness disappears from us.

Righteousness from others for those who thirst for righteousness is the same. Everyone else sins as well and righteousness disappears quicker than the rise of the sun at the summer solstice.

Righteousness as in justice based on truth is the same. Someone has to act with righteousness in order for justice based on truth to be possible, yet no one does 100% of the time, nor can anyone.

So what can these verses mean?

To begin we need remember the old, old story of Jesus and his love. We are reckoned to be righteous, not of our own doing, but because God replaces our pathetic sinful records with Jesus’ and God then reckons us to be righteous, again and again each day.


To be righteous is to live reflecting that gift of righteousness as we can.

It is clear: righteousness is to be alive, as God created us to be. And to sin is to die, bit by bit (sometimes large bits) until, though we walk and talk, we are dead inside.


As we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we cannot earn righteousness or accomplish it on our own, yet as we humbly confess our sin and trust God’s forgiveness we receive our fill of blessings. Actually God pours so many blessings on us that our cups run over, spilling blessings in our wake as we make our way in the world.

There we go: hungry and thirsty, and simultaneously filled over the brim with blessings.

There we go: living as God forgives us and blesses us, yet simultaneously dying as we inevitably sin.

How to live? Blessed, we live at peace with ourselves before God, yet agitated and active in the world, working to bring justice to more and more people, and continually humbly confessing our sins and our total dependence on God’s Grace.

Therefore we recognize others’ sins as encompassed by God’s Grace and we deal with them with compassion and clarity and forgiveness … and hope.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 24

Friday, July 24, 2020

Lawn of weeds, grass and rot.


is what God

uses for abundant life for all.


Isaiah 63:19

We have long been like those whom you do not rule, like those not called by your name.

Matthew 6:13

And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

Words of Grace For Today

Like the meadow outside filled with more weeds than grass, and years of dead weeds and grasses rotting underfoot, we were once and still are filled with the dregs of sin, the work of evil in and through us, rotting at our core, infecting like a super-virus, all that we think, say and do.

Though the weeds and grass can be mowed short to inhibit the proliferation of mosquitoes, to which I am allergic after so many bites in the past months, it is not anything like a well groomed lawn. There are many visions of beautiful blue-grass image of smooth green mostly for viewing and showing off to one’s neighbours, which can be used for picnics and croquet or soccer and bocce ball. The work it takes to create and maintain such an unnatural thing is huge: mowing, fertilizing, watering, more mowing and thatching.

This is not unlike the visions the devil fills our hearts and minds with, that our hearts, minds, and strengths could be so perfectly groomed into artificial perfection by our great efforts of attending to our souls. The creating of such perfection is beyond us, though we do have the fertilizing part down pat. Falling so short of an unattainable perfection, the devil then plants in us innumerable rationalizations that we can still attain the unattainable, using all sorts of excuses as we try to attain perfection in vain, running roughshod over other people and creation without pause.

These temptations, to try to attain our own perfection and use that as an excuse to ruin creatures and creation, are not our first request of God. We start this petition with AND do not bring us to the time of trial … Yet we pray this fervently each day.

We know we are hopelessly outmatched by the Devil. Only God can save us.

Jesus’ story assures us, God does save us. We cannot and do not need to strive to be perfect. We can strive to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us.

We can recognize that all that crap in our lives can serve as fertilizer for the Word of God to grow in us. We can attend to mowing, trust God to bring the water, sunshine and warmth needed for life, and be at peace with what God makes us.

We are not perfect meadows or lawns. We are a mix of good grass and noxious weeds and thistles. There is plenty of old weeds rotting within us. We need not be concerned, for God accepts us as we are, replaces our records with Jesus’ record making us pure in each moment, and then the Holy Spirit sends us out to share this same story of salvation for all with all people.

Croquet on an imperfect lawn is more fun than on a perfect lawn, for the play of the mallet on the ball is not what brings success. Success is measured in the pure joy one shares with the time one spends with the other players and those who watch.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 23

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Grass, Trees, Lake and Light

All Creation

Hungry to Hear

Isaiah 43:10

You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Mark 16:15

And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.

Words of Grace For Today

Good God, is this it?

Awake again, dripping rain, cool, no mosquitoes.

I see the grass, the trees, and the lake.

God is here. I have seen him again and again in the most mundane and and the most spectacular.

Yet I know I am missing something. I missed so many clues along the way.


Each morning I remember that Jesus faced his betrayal, willingly suffering everything…

God knows exactly what this is like.

Jesus tried to show us it is not necessary that anyone else be scapegoated or sacrificed or Gaslit in order that we make our way through life.

We imitate Christ to make our way through life, striving to forgive the unforgivable.


Hoping that truth will be known.

Trusting God stands with us.

Leaning on the Holy Spirit.

Even as bit by bit our lives slip away into the hungry past as it gobbles up the present and our tomorrows.

Can we trust breath, ferocious wind, gentle silent breeze, spirit intangible

to guide our beating hearts, frantic minds, spasming muscles, and weary arthritic bones?

Truth, confessed, welcomes life and radiates it to others.

Let us strive for truth.


And sleep enough? Maybe?

Even as the dark of night retreats as light wriggles across the land and water

calling us to rise to a new day


But our minds slowly slip from us into the empty spaces between thoughts and visions

until in the bright baked light we scramble to catch up

with the obligations of life stacked up decades high

and search for


something out of the dim past … what is it … so fleeting. It is gone.

Oh, yes hope. It was hope.


Gone is hope?


Not at all!

The story that God gives us in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, so that we may know and believe God and understand that God is God, gives us all the purpose, love and hope we need.


Given that purpose, love and hope, we can go into all the world and proclaim the good news of Jesus’ story with our thoughts, words, and actions.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – July 22

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Old and New

God makes it all grow!

Job 9:2b-10

How can a mortal be just before God? … He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength. Who has resisted him, and succeeded? He who removes mountains, and they do not know it, when he overturns them in his anger … who does great things beyond understanding, and marvellous things without number.

Mark 4:26-28

He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

Words of Grace For Today

God is marvellous, all powerful, and all-knowing. God is irresistible. Creator of the earth that produces of itself.

We can sow God’s Word (as best we can). We cannot know how the seeds germinate, grow, and produce their fruit even though science, a product of Christian faith, has helped us understand much about seeds and plant growth. Yet when we come to growth in the Kingdom of God we are completely out of our depth. We can submit to being the dirt in which the Word of God is planted. We can allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to plant the seeds of the Kingdom of God in others.

Understanding completely is not within our grasp.

Being just before God is not within our grasp.

Thanks be to God, Jesus is God’s story for us so that we can grasp all we need to understand about the Kingdom of God growing in us.

Thanks be to God, Jesus’ sacrifice provides for us a pure record before God, so though we cannot be just, we need no more than Jesus’ Cross.

Now we can get on with being good dirt for God’s Word … and imitating Jesus loving all the other ‘dirt.’