Children, Peace, and Swords

Friday, April 30, 2021

When We Think We Have Seen

And Understood All God’s Glory for Us

A Second Look Can Show Us How Much the World

Is Tilted Askew

and Polluted by Oil


And Yet God Remains Always Gracious with Us!

Isaiah 9:6

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Acts 10:36

You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.

Words of Grace For Today

Sometimes, unfortunately not always, when a child is born the parents and others hold such hope for the child. They wish the best, the greatest, the most for this child. They hope this child will become an amazing human.

Sometimes this hope for the child becomes something more. It can become something ugly, destructive, and evil. It can become that the parent or others take the life of the child and try to force the child to become what they hope the child will become.

It can also become something beautiful, life-giving, and blessed. It can become that the community sees the individual, respects her/him, and gives everything they have to allow the child to grow into a full human, a sinner and a saint.

Being a parent is a great and marvellous honour and responsibility. Sometimes that responsibility creates so much fear a parent does not parent. Sometimes a parent completely ignores the responsibilities and the child suffers immeasurably.

Sometimes that responsibility is met with new found maturity, and both the parent and the child grow to know God’s blessings. The first of those blessings is the daily (re-) discovery that one cannot do it on one’s own. One needs family, church and community to help out. Even that is not enough, not ever and one learns to trust that God will walk with us parents, guiding us, forgiving us, loving us, and renewing us, so that we can be that example for our children.

Then, every so often a child is born, and the weight of all the hopes and dreams of a community, a people, a planet rest on that infant’s shoulders even before the child is able to talk. There is no lack of need for saviours for the people and for the planet. Today is no exception! History records many times a saviour was needed, and almost as many times that the people saw a saviour come their way, a few times it was a child. Very seldom the saviour actually was able to save the people.

Jesus arrives, the Isaiah passage is repeated this time apply to Jesus, and all the hopes and dreams land on the infant in the manger. This child does grow to be a saviour, one for all people of all time, and for all creation!

What we’ve made of Jesus is always an interesting reflection on the us. In Acts Luke reflects that Jesus came to bring peace. Except Jesus says ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ (Matthew 10.34)

This leaves us with much to learn from Jesus’ story. We are never done learning from it. So we need to hear the familiar old, old story of Jesus and his love. When we think we are so familiar with the story, or parts of it, that is when we need to hear the story again and again, told simply, clearly, gracefully … so that we do not ‘self-correct’ the story we remember into something foreign to Jesus’ story.

Grace and Peace be with you!

Calves and Hubris

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Glory of Gold:

of God’s Creation


of Our Hubris

Exodus 32:11-12

Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.

1 John 2:1

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Words of Grace For Today

There is not one person who will not sin, turning from God even after God has made clear that by Grace (forgiveness and renewed life freely given by God) alone we live well.

Our human response to such great generosity given at such a great price, but taken and then squandered would be to wipe such a person from the face of the earth. We would so judge others, and hope that we would not also be judged. Or, for far too many people, we fear and ‘know’ that we will not be met with Grace again by God, so we go about blasting our way through life, destroying people left, right and centre, taking all we can from others and from life, sure that there is no God for us.

So Moses fears God will do to them, killing them in the mountains, and consuming them from the face of the earth. Answering God’s call Moses has led this rag tag band out of Egypt, but they have many times revolted in small ways against God and Moses demanding more and more. Then this hubristic band turns to worship their own smelted golden calf; it’s a full out revolt against God.

It is our story. It is the story that each of us can find in our own behaviour. We wish we would not sin, yet we still do. Too often in our hubris we turn in full revolt against God and worship our own gold-smelted-whatevers.

God could just as well kill us and consume us from the face of the earth. Yet God does not. God sends Jesus to save us yet again, and we live abundant lives by Grace alone, again … and again … and again. Jesus advocates for us. We learn how not to sin. We return to sin gravely. And Jesus saves us.

Now, given that God sends Jesus to save us, not once or twice or 77 times 7, but as many times we turn from God to sin, how are we going to respond to others who sin, again and again?

We can judge them, ‘killing’ them, and working to consume them from the face of the earth


We can exercise God’s Grace for them … as Jesus calls us to. As God called Moses to lead the people out of slavery.

It’s a no-brainer …

because it’s not rational or reasoned or effective or productive or pious or righteous.

It requires pure faith,

which is by Grace alone possible.

Healing, Snow, Courage: All by Grace

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Hosea 11:3

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.

2 Peter 3:15

Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. … Our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him.

Words of Grace For Today

In time everything changes. This morning it’s a thing, quite  a thing, to go to bed with grass showing

grazed on by deer

and then

to wake at 3:00

to see the flakes flying in the flashlight

and to wake

before breakfast

to see the whole of everything and beyond covered

well by snow still falling.

But then that is life

and weather in Alberta by the lake.

Change is not always so survivable, especially not when it is evil, aimed at eroding or emptying our souls of unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope.

Then we come to know that we need God every day, whether we see and know God or not, to heal us and to fill us with wisdom of living as those who have received salvation as a gift from God.

Only by grace are we able to live having received and sharing unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, courage and hope … with all people no matter what comes our way,

whether it is snow or Covid 19.

Chosen ‘Few’ OR Chosen ‘All’?

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

No Matter the Road Ahead of Us

God Chose Us

To Go and Bless All People

As God Has Blessed Us.

Isaiah 41:9

I took you from the ends of the earth and called you from its farthest corners, saying to you, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off.’

Romans 11:1

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.

Words of Grace For Today

The history is that God chose the Israelites, only the Israelites. Everyone else was unchosen and unclean. This we humans do to make ourselves special: we claim that we are chosen and all others are not. This does not make us special. It makes us typically self-centric, arrogant, and judgmental.

When Paul was converted after Saul went blind on the road to Damascus, he studied for years, held himself in retreat from activity. He underwent a profound change, from an effective, eager, persistent pursuer and persecutor of Christians, to a leading proponent of Jesus’ Way of living, i.e. by Grace.

Paul did not restrict sharing the Good News, which he encountered as Jesus’ Way of being God’s people, with just the traditionally ‘chosen’, the Israelites. Paul went out to share the Good News with anyone and everyone who would listen and wanted to be baptized in this Way of living.

That brought the obvious question: were the Jews wrong to claim God had chosen them, or had God changed God’s mind and rejected those God had earlier ‘chosen’?

Paul’s answer is simple: No. God’ choosing people is expanded, not ended. The Jews are still chosen, as are all other people who Christ calls to follow his Way.

History repeats itself. Many times God’s people have declared that only they are God’s chosen. As many times God’s message comes to bear on the mess this exclusive claim creates: God’s chosen are chosen, DOCH God does not choose only some people. God chooses all people.

Our human way of living does not make sense of this very well, if at all.

It does not need to. God still chooses all people and offers them abundant life. Not life in abundance (of wealth, things, etc.), but life filled to overflowing with blessings and the ability to share those blessings with others, all others.

God gathers us from the ends of the earth, from all corners of creation, claims us as God’s servants, does not cast us off, and sends us out to share the Good News. (Like Paul.)

What a life!

… No Darkness At All

Monday, April 26, 2021

The Dark, The Cold, The Wind

We Will Survive.

The Absolute Darkness of Evil

We Cannot

on Our Own.

Zechariah 14:7

There shall be continuous day (it is known to the Lord), not day and not night, for at evening time there shall be light.

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.

Words of Grace For Today

North and South of the 60th parallels the continuous day is well known in the summer, though it is matched by continuous night in the winter.

As fierce as the winter cold, wind, and dark can be, this is not the darkness that we need to take heed of and can well fear.

That darkness is the darkness that envelops our souls, convincing us that we are nothing, nothing at all and that we need to make our own way in the world, that we need to make something of ourselves, that we are alone, and that life must be gained at other’s expense.

This darkness is the Devil’s darkness.

This is the darkness that robs it’s victims and their victims of life abundant.

This is the darkness that convinces us that reality is not God’s creation, but some twist, some perversion, some Godless experience that we can make up as we wish or as we feel we must.

This is the darkness that teaches that there is no Truth, only relative experiences which give us at best subjective truths.

This darkness is like the wind that swept through my camp, shifting supports and tarps. The light of day shows that it is a wonder that it all did not come tumbling down in a pile of tarp and supports, rolled together like child’s playdo, taking me with it.

The light of day allows me to make repairs, and to be thankful that in the light of days past I put things together with extra support, and a 2nd layer of extra support, and a 3rd, not unlike the Trinity: One God, yet three persons, together working wonders for us, in us, and for all others.

In the light we can see and anticipate what might come upon us like thieves or wind in the dark of night, and we can prepare.

We can prepare our hearts, inviting God to dwell in us, resigning ourselves to our constant need for God’s Grace and Forgiveness, and practising God’s Grace and Forgiveness for all others.

Then we live each day, trusting that God walks with us no matter what comes our way, for we know, as Kathleen Thomerson wrote for us: We want to walk as children of the Light. We want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of our lives is Jesus.

In him there is no darkness at all.

The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in our hearts, Lord Jesus.

In him there is no darkness at all.

A Guide, A Sure Guide

Sunday, April 25, 2021

How Can We Find Our Way

Across Thin Ice

To Where God Wishes Us To Be

Psalm 48:154

This is God, our God for ever and ever. He will be our guide for ever.

Philippians 1:6

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

There is work for us to accomplish each day. We can sometimes easily ignore it, or pretend that life does not demand that we accomplish anything …

… as long as someone else is providing our lunch and lodging.

The real challenge is to keep moving towards getting something good accomplished, and first to know what is the good thing to do.

If we try to calculate that on our own, we will inevitably fail.

Only God can guide us to know what is truly good, and what we can accomplish this day that will be truly good.

God starts with us, and no matter how much we try to run and go it on our own, we need God to guide us toward the good we can accomplish, that God would have us accomplish this day.

Thankfully, God will be our guide for ever.

We are not in this alone.

The one who began a good work among us will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.

Take Heart …

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Even in the Darkest Darkness

God Sends Us with Light

For All People

To Heal Them and Set Them Free

Isaiah 42:6-7

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Mark 10:49

Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’

Words of Grace For Today

Take heart; get up, Jesus is calling you.

It is one thing to be blind, blind to truth, blind to reality, blind to the consequences of one’s actions.

It is a whole other level of illness to be willingly, stubbornly, adamantly blind.

When we desire to be blind no longer, Jesus calls us – or rather: has already called us to come, to be healed, to become part of the Kingdom of God that is here, spreading the news of God’s Grace for all people, healing for all people, and abundant life for all people.

Called, healed, and given sight to see the wonders of God’s Grace, God gives us to the world as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.

We get to be the ones who give our lives so that those held captive by darkness can see the Light of the World, and live.

Take heart; get up, Jesus is calling you.

Now get ready for the ride of your life, for there is nothing like serving God, bringing light to the blind, and freeing those captive by darkness!

Always in God’s Hands

Friday, April 23, 2021

In Darkness or Death

In God’s Time

the Sun Will Shine Again.

Isaiah 7:4

Say to him, ‘Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah.’

1 Corinthians 16:13

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

Words of Grace For Today

There are great words to be spoken at the right time, to inspire people to courage in the face of threats to one’s well-being and even to one’s life.

Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint


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

They may be effective words, though seldom are they in the face of the most powerful or the most devious of threats. For these real and great and present threats one needs to know, not that one can rely on oneself, one’s own abilities to be strong, firm, quiet, alert and courageous. Rather one needs to hear, be convinced again, and resign oneself to trust that one’s strength is in God’s unconditional and unending love and grace.

The sun will go down, our abilities will wane, fade, and disappear. God’s presence continues through the darkest night of the soul, even when the shadow of death covers everything around us.

That is the one and only sufficient source of courage that can meet the most dangerous threats, the one’s that would steal away our spirit and identities as God’s own people.

The moon may reflect the sun’s light through the dark night, or not.

Storms may whip about.

Even death may visit us.

Yet no matter what, God’s strength is with us. This gives us courage and strength so that we can stand firm in our faith that we have received from generation to generation. We need not be faint of heart, no matter the assailant, no matter their destructive powers to our trust, God’s truth, or the Holy Spirit’s hope given to us.

No matter what we are not alone. The sun will rise. The day will come when the storms subside and we can work again to share God’s blessings with all people. Until then God shelters us and carries us, even if we cannot walk or stand, in God’s own hands.

In God’s own hands.

This is home for us.

In God’s own hands.

Grating or Grateful?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

God’s Royal Colours

Show Every Day

To Address Our Very Not-Royal Realities.

Psalm 34:6

This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord, and was saved from every trouble.

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Words of Grace For Today

There are lots of complaints floating about, people tired of Covid19 restrictions, and generally people stressed out about life’s little challenges.

Those of us who know who we are (God’s people saved even though we are miserable sinners) know that our cries are heard by God and that God saves us – and there is in all things great cause to trust God’s promises, to remain firm in hope (and resilience), to not be overwhelmed by suffering, and to persevere in prayer.

It is a life of gratitude no matter what comes our way.

It’s so much better than a life of bitching, complaining and draining goodwill from the people around us.

So why do we continually chose to complain about other people and their stupidities?

God helps us remember that we too can be the ones doing stupid things, and are each new day.

Which keeps God active saving us from ourselves,

For which we can, instead of complaining, be ultimately grateful.

What a life, filled with opportunities to be saved and to be grateful!

Adversity and True Strength

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Life is a series of reflections

on us.

What have we,

What will we,


for others to enjoy an abundant life?

Isaiah 48:10

See, I have refined you, but not like silver; I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.

Luke 6:22-23

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Words of Grace For Today

This life may be terrible and even horrendous, but it will be all right in heaven, so this is all right, too, right?

What doesn’t kill you, makes you strong, right?

Too often these rather stupid simplifications of valid ideas are used as excuses to allow psychological or physical violence and abuse to continue. The truth is there are scars from many things that do not make one stronger.

Perhaps the worse use of these is to justify that some people can enjoy great wealth, privilege, and comfort, while others struggle to stay alive, and others die very ignoble deaths, all in order to make the ‘chosen’ few able to be wealthy, privileged, and comfortable.

God did not make creation for us to live in a while and then escape from it’s injustices to heaven. God made all of creation, saw the accomplished work of creating, and said, “It is Good!”

Life for all people is designed to be GOOD!

GOOD does not mean without pain or suffering evil, for then there is also no possibility to love and experience joy. Pain and suffering – and – love and joy are part and parcel of the kind of life God created us for.

We live and love and experience joy. Some day the people we love will suffer and die. We will then also suffer and experience pain.

And it is all Good.

It is true that those who enjoy wealth, privilege, and comforts now at the expense of others being able to live abundant lives will, for eternity, suffer their choices to be blind and deaf to what they do to others.

It is also true that those who suffer and know only pain, will for eternity be released from that horrible kind of experience and they will know joy forever.

Our lives here and now are not to simply accept all suffering and pain as necessary. It is to work as hard as we can to mitigate and minimize all pain and suffering, to provide an abundant life for everyone!

That’s a life full and long of hard, dedicated work of love, not the sentimental kind of love, the real kind of love that puts one into action and pulls one to sacrifice so that others can live well.

What makes us strong, truly strong, is to know that even as we suffer and are in pain God walks with us, still creating, still seeing all that God does through us, and God says, “It is Good.”

Therefore we know that already today all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.