Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 31

Monday, August 31, 2020



and child Trees

God created this all

and us in this world.

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord is God. It is God who made us, and we are God’s; we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.

Acts 17:26-28

From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and God allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for God and find Godthough indeed God is not far from each one of us. For “In God we live and move and have our being”; as even some of your own poets have said.

Words of Grace For Today

Who are we?

Whose are we?

Why for are we here?

What is this life all about anyway?

These questions and many more have given humans something to wrestle with in our minds and souls.

It is troubling to not know anything of who we are. Literature is made up of all sorts of examples of people who do not remember who they are. Amnesia comes into play.

The worse cases are when people live through what should be a full life and have not taken time and effort to discover who they are. The un-examined life. Not knowing thy self. Bourgeoisie living. We have lots of names for it.

Worst are the cases where humans make every effort to establish for themselves that they are the king of their universes. The results are always pathetic.

Striving to find (and control) God is common, and futile. God is already, always with us. Trying to control God is the original sin, common to all, and always ends poorly.

We can celebrate: God is with us. God created us, and all the universe. God gave us a thirst and hunger to know God. God claims us and makes us God’s own children.

That should put any pride to rest in us; we remain children always! Not that it does … pride flourishes, a great favourite of the Devil to separate us from God’s unconditional love. A futile effort on the Devil’s part, but the devil is great at convincing us we are separate from God.

As poets have written of since words were first etched and scratched to express the wonder of life being larger than what is only obvious.

That’s where life really is, in surprise and miraculous wonders.

Like God loving us. I can accept me, but you … God is really something! (As truth is for us all, we are more astonished that God has time for us, ourselves, than for other people. We know deep inside how imperfect we are.

Yet, God is here with us. God claims us as God’s own children.

Life is good for God’s children. For us it is no exception, no matter how terrible our circumstances, life with God is good. It is what life is to be.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 30

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Cold Blown Grasses

Cold Winter Winds Will Blow

Cold Hearts Will Set

The Holy Spirit Will Keep Our Hearts Thawing

Trust God’s Promises

Isaiah 32:17

The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.

Romans 14:17

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Words of Grace For Today

Of what is life?

Food and drink?


Peace, quietness and trust, righteousness and joy?

The basic requirements for minimum and full human life are:

  1. clean air to breath
  2. clean water to drink
  3. nourishing food to eat
  4. adequate clothing to wear
  5. adequate shelter to protect one from the elements
  6. meaningful labour so that one contributes and receives sufficient reward for one’s labour
  7. love: most significantly that one is loved unconditionally, and that one can love others unconditionally.

Food and Drink are requirements, as we all know. One can last 3 or so days without water, and up to a few weeks without food. Not well, and not many times over. One should have water and food multiple times each day to stay healthy.

Yet we can too easily get our priorities all wrong.

We can loose balance, perspective, focus, and gratitude. There are many ways to say this, and it happens to us in as many ways. When we live with food and drink as the focus of our lives, to the detriment of labour and love, then we live off balance, out of kilter, or, as it’s said in so many ways, ‘messed up.’

It is exceedingly difficult to achieve peace, quietness and trust, righteousness or joy. Truthfully one cannot achieve them at all. We receive them as gifts from God.

It is hard to imagine that we would over focus, live out of kilter, living for peace, quietness and trust, righteousness and/or joy. Yet this also is possible. We humans have great ingenuity when it comes to ‘messing up’ life.

These gifts from God are not for us to achieve. Rather they are for us to share, and in sharing God fills us to overflowing with them.

While Covid-19 restrictions, and even the lifting of restrictions and a return to more ‘normal’ can tax us, at times beyond our limits, the stress of these times do not change who we are. The stress just makes very clear to ourselves and to others what kind of people we really are.

We are children of God and wretched sinners, simultaneously. We need to be loved, unconditionally. And to love unconditionally. Yet we ‘mess it all up’ terribly.

Thank God, we are forgiven, and given re-newed life each day, each hour, as the Holy Spirit works in and through us, despite our wretchedness.

It is beginning to feel much like fall as I write this. Cool air blows, tree tops sway, leaves rustle and fly, rain spits and drips. Everything inside is set to retain warmth and let in what light there is. In this day whatever it is like where you are may God’s blessings be obvious and not forgotten by our living off balance.

May we be caught tipped by the weight of blessing raining down on us, refreshing us, giving us the most precious things to experience and share.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 29

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Cold Light

No matter how cold life seems

God is with us, laying down tracks with us

shining on us day and night by sun, moon, and Holy Spirit

Thank God!

2 Chronicles 32:24-25

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not respond according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

Luke 17:15-16

Then one of the lepers, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. The leper was a Samaritan.

Words of Grace For Today

False pride and arrogance or humility and gratitude, two apparently mutually exclusive manners of responding to all God has done for us.

In 2 Chronicles the writer interprets the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem as God’s response to Hezekiah’s proud and hard heart. In Luke the writer interprets Jesus’ healing the lepers as done in response simply to the lepers asking.

That one returns to thank Jesus, against Jesus’ directions that they fulfill the Jewish Law and show themselves to the priests (to be recorded as cured and therefore free to return to their families and position in Jewish society.) The one who returns gains nothing by visiting the priests. He is an outsider and gains no ‘return’. Leper or not, he is not accepted into Jewish society. He returns then to Jesus, acknowledging that Jesus has more authority than any priests.

Luke’s message is that those who are burdened with their own religious authorities and practices may well fulfill their obligations to them, Jesus still comes and heals those people. People with no locally recognized religious authorities and practices to fulfill (the Samaritan perhaps had some, just not recognized by the Jews), are free to recognize Jesus’ greater authority and to respond with appropriate gratitude.

Who are we?

We wish we were like the Samaritan, free to recognize Jesus’ authority and power with thanks and gratitude.

If we are honest, we are like the other 9 Jewish lepers, bound to duty to other authorities, and easily able to miss the wonders Jesus provides and therefore easily able to miss out on thanking Jesus and living with wondrous gratitude. That gratitude is a more powerful force in life than ‘falling in love’, about which much is written, spoken and known – how it transforms life for the better (or worse.) Gratitude transforms life always for the better, and it does not wear off after a short few months.

If we are honest, we are also often like Hezekiah, proud and hard hearted, completely capable of pleading to God for help when life catches us in disaster or deadly illness or total loss. But when it comes to giving God thanks for all God has given us, our breath and very lives … Well then we are back to fulfilling our ‘obligations’ to other authorities and demands (like careers, money, status, reputation among those driven by greed and avarice, and false images of ourselves as above or without God).

Luther described all of these as happening simultaneously in our lives as responses to the same events. To which he prayed as we well can: God save us!

And save us, Luther knew as we can know, Jesus already has.

We can choose to live lives transformed by thanks and gratitude. Bit by bit each day.

Why not?

Where else are we going to turn for the living water? the bread of life? the Words of eternal life? the hope that does not disappoint? the promises that fill us so that we have more than enough to share with all who need life?

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 28

Friday, August 28, 2020

Leaves fall all

Leaves Strewn on the Path

God’s Glory is as obvious as these golden leaves

Jesus’ voice is as prevalent as the wind in the trees.

Psalm 63:2

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.

John 7:37

On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.’

Words of Grace For Today

Everyday life is filled with many mundane things. We can busy ourselves seemingly endlessly in things that have little significance in God’s Kingdom, and we know nothing other than we keep ourselves busy, so busy.

Then when we are not paying attention, we see God in all God’s glory. When we are so busy celebrating, even giving God thanks, we hear Jesus offer us thirsty people a refuge, the living water that is the only water that will quench our thirst.

Our thirst is what drives us to keep so busy, trying to fill ourselves with things that really mean nothing. The challenge is that we get rewarded so apparently well for busying ourselves as we do. What is really meaningless appears by the heavy rewards we gain to be actually full of significance for life.

Wealth, power, and status come our way as if rewarding us with everything we could dream of, just for such devotion to our pursuits.

How can anything take us away from these pursuits?

Then we see God’s glory right in front of us. Then we hear Jesus call to all who thirst.

Are we ready to see? Are we ready to hear?

The Holy Spirit enables us to see and hear, and then we can respond. Will we respond as we can?

When we see, hear, and respond, then we have something to celebrate. Then we have everything to celebrate.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 27

Thursday, August 27, 2020

(Irene Moore Davis/Twitter)

History of Slavery

currency of slavery

Work for Freedom, also in oneself

Joshua 24:17

It is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Words of Grace For Today

We have ‘our orders’. Given to us by the one who brought us up out of slavery in Egypt.

It is all really simple. It is all really complicated.

God sends Moses to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt. Remember the people went there as famine refugees, welcomed by Joseph, Pharaoh’s second in command. They were welcomed and well provided for during the famine and the early years following.

Times change. Joseph’s people multiplied, Joseph is long dead and his Pharaoh. The powerful Egyptians resent the outsiders thriving, so they enslave them and force them into hard labour.

Slavery is a matter of getting significant attention today, as established families in Canada are recognized with street named after them, and now their participation in slavery is exposed. Who we honour and why says much of who we are today, and the powerful of Canada are as much blind to the suffering of those on whose backs they make and maintain their wealth as ever in the bleak history of human oppression and slavery. There is push back. There ought to be always.

God pushed back through Moses and led the people out of slavery into the wilderness for 40 years. It took a generation to cleanse the effects of slavery, to build the people into those who could occupy their own land.

Generations later the people expect and hope that the Christ will lead them to throw off the oppression of the Roman empire. Today many people expect and hope that the Christ will lead them to through off the oppression of so many different governments and multi-national corporations. There is push back to the oppression and slavery. There ought to be always.

Jesus does not come to create yet another new revolution, after which yet another new group of powerful people can oppress others, sometimes those who earlier oppressed them. Jesus comes instead to end all oppression and slavery. Jesus works to transform individuals and families and communities and towns and cities and countries, so that from the inside the attitudes of slavery and oppression are wiped out of each heart, until in the Kingdom of God all slavery and oppression is obliterated. The wonder is that as one’s heart is transformed in baptism through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, slavery and oppression’s effects on ones heart, mind and strength are removed. It is as if through baptism we enter 40 years in the wilderness, so that the effects of slavery and oppression are removed from us entirely.

We work to remove slavery and all kinds of oppression as free people, as blessed people, as peaceful people. We go out into the world as the people who invite people from all other nations to join us, as the people who bring Jesus’ commands: to love one another as ourselves, and our enemies, and as the people with whom Jesus abides even to the end of time.

We are not alone in the wilderness, no matter the challenges, not even Covid 19 and everything that comes with it, irritating precautions and the suffering when precautions are not kept or are not enough.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 26

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Left Behind

Left Behind by Accident or as Sacrifice?

Christ reconciles us to God, no sacrifice required!

We have a blemish free record, no matter how many ‘gloves’ we’ve lost.

Isaiah 43:24-25

You have not bought me sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins; you have wearied me with your iniquities. I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Colossians 1:21-22

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.

Words of Grace For Today

The sacrifices made to God have changed through the centuries and generations. Once we offered birds, animals, and before that other people, even children. We knew that, having done something wrong, having sinned, we owed God payment for our sins.

When we know we have sinned our minds recognize how estranged we’ve made ourselves from God. Knowing what we’ve done we become hostile to God as well.

We ‘dig our own grave’. Yet God does not leave us there.

No sacrifice by us is sufficient to pay for what we have done, and continue to do, and will do. God knew this, knows this. God sent Jesus, his Son, to sacrifice himself, the one last sacrifice needed to set things right between us and God, between all humans and God.

Nothing is needed on our part.

Now since God sets us right with God, holy and blameless … well the possibilities are astronomical, and wondrous.

Jesus calls us and the Holy Spirit equips us to be the voice, hands, and feet of Christ on earth, extending unconditional love to others, providing justice based on truth combined with mercy and wisdom, and blessing all people with more than just the basics of life. As the Holy Spirit equips us we can offer others abundant life. That may require sacrifice on our part, yet all we have is given to us, so it is not really ours to give up, it is ours to share with everyone.

Makes for a wondrous life for us, and for all people.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 25

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

As Trees in a Forest

We are in this together

1 Samuel 2:1

Hannah prayed and said, ‘My heart exults in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in my victory.

Luke 1:46-48

Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.

Words of Grace For Today

It would be more comfortable for us, if Hannah’s prayer ended before she says her mouth derides her enemies. Not that we do not understand her prayer. We just wish it would not be ours, or recorded as prayed often by the saints in light.

But that is sin, and we cannot deny it.

For exactly this moment Jesus came to command us to love our enemies, so that we would recognize the sin in Hannah’s prayer, and in our prayers. It is sinful to wish that we ‘win’ at the cost of others, enemies or not.

It is a sad fact of human existence that too often in order to survive we must be victorious over our enemies. Even then Jesus’ example is that our victory is no victory if we are not gracious with our enemies, as God is gracious with us. We need must remember our place. We are desperate sinful wretches, no better than slave traders and mass murderers, for our thoughts would have disastrous results for so many people, were they to become reality just in the wishing.

In the middle of a prayer/wish like Hannah’s we recall Mary’s Magnificat: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.

We pause in our sinful prayer/wish we remember our own lowly position, and with humble gratitude we recall how much favour God has poured over us!

God helps us remember Mary, the saint, who for generations we have called blessed, for though being Jesus’ mother put her life often in danger more often in pain … and she watched him unjustly suffer crucifixion at the hands of the priests and the soldiers.

Enemies. They are our collective misunderstanding of God’s Grace and purpose for us all.

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 24

Monday, August 24, 2020


Gold on Gold

God’s Gold Abounds Without End

For Us All to Bask in

Psalm 23:5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Mark 14:3-6

While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, ‘Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.’ And they scolded her. But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.

Words of Grace For Today


When one has too much, wasting things is easy, and commonplace. Oil companies flowed with money as oil sold for over $90 a barrel, and office chairs with one broken, easily replaced, caster were thrown out and a new $450 chair replaced the not-broken-but-needing-simple-repair chair.

God blesses us with God’s abundance. God has plenty. We sit with our enemies at God’s table prepared for us where God’s oil marks us as holy and God’s Grace flows over us. Our elegant or plain glass, or any vessel or receptacle we could bring cannot contain God’s generosity. God ‘wastes’ Grace on us, on all of us, even on our enemies! There is so much, so much that one need not worry about what spills over. What we still hold in our vessels Jesus shows us by example is not to be hoarded or held tight. We can empty everything we have and are; and God will always fill us back up full and overflowing with Grace.

An the unnamed woman comes to anoint Jesus with her expensive ointment, though the disciples would have the money instead of the wondrous aroma giving Jesus the honour of being cleansed with such gloriously expensive suave. So they scold the woman and try to shame her for her generosity.

Jesus knows all about God’s unending generosity, and our ability to live without limit to our generosity. Jesus calls his disciples to stop their derision of the woman and to accept that he is so honoured.

How often we claim God’s generous Grace all for ourselves and use it as a club against others! Still God comes and remains faithful and generous and gracious with us.

God hopes we just might catch on. Life is not a zero sum game. It is, when we sacrifice for one another, unlimited in it’s blessings for all.

What a life God calls us to recognize is ours, all of ours!

Gold upon Gold

for all!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Aug 23

Sunday, August 23, 2020

God’s Glory in Light

To Think One Controls This is Delusion

Psalm 62:9

Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.

1 John 5:14

This is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Words of Grace For Today

The thin veneer of civilization provides some, the privileged few, the illusion that they deserve and have earned a better life than the majority of other humans.

This is a delusion. A very powerfully destructive and persistent delusion.

Most humans alive today, and most who have ever lived, have lived in conditions we in Canada would define as abject poverty. In them God has invested the breath, the wind, the fire of the Holy Spirit. This holy Ruach gives each of us life. Without it we remain dust.

Those of us who have not, through delusions and veneer, forgotten who God is and who we are in God’s creation, can live with a boldness, extending ourselves every hour even beyond our apparent limits to empathize with, love unconditionally, and care for all other humans around us.

We can also boldly face all the uncertainties of each hour and every future day, knowing that we can ask for what we need from Jesus, who gave his life that we might be rescued from our sins. We can boldly trust that Jesus listens to our pleas, and provides all we need to continue to empathize with, love unconditionally, and care for all other humans around this whole earth.

What a life God has breathed into us!

Facing Covid 19: Daily Words of Grace – Sept 4

Friday, September 4, 2020

Purple Majesty


Even from Weeds Blossoms

Is possible to see

in God’s Kingdom

Numbers 6:24

The Lord bless you and keep you.

John 1:16

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

Words of Grace For Today






God has blessed us immensely, if we can do this.

God has blessed you immensely, if you can do these.

A person does not have to think they have committed any terrible sin to know they need God’s Grace just to make it through the day.

Everyone, in many ways, turns from God each day.

To breathe the Holy Spirit, to drink the living water, to eat the bread of life, to work in the Kingdom of God, and to be able to love unconditionally, first one needs be forgiven and redeemed, ransomed and rescued, blessed and kept safe from all Evil.

It is truth that many people live, constantly fighting their way free from God’s Grace, to insist, though their sins are many and destructive, that they need no Grace. These people are to be pitied, prayed for, and kept at a great distance as much as one can. When one needs must deal with them, then Grace upon Grace is required, for destruction follows in their wake, yet God’s Grace overflows from ours. To keep their destruction from overwhelming us, we needs must be the conduit of God’s Grace spilling over them.

It’s immensely difficult to face the corrupt destructive intent of an evil possessed person and not want that God would eradicate them from all existence. Yet ours is to be the conduit of God’s Grace. God brings God’s wrath in God’s own time.

Since from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace we pray for one another, the Lord bless you and keep you, safe from all Evil.