We All Throw Shadows In the Brilliance of Christ’s Light!
What Effect Does Our Shadow Have On Others?
One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Words of Grace For Today
The basic human attitude when we allow ourselves to become wholly unsure of ourselves or anxious is to become angry. Well not in one step without options. We can count to 10 or 90, breathe, and subvert the panic. We can learn to acknowledge hurt, even hurt when we know the source as another human, and then divert our impetus to anger in more constructive, less destructive (to others and ourselves) attitudes.
We can learn, guided by the Holy Spirit and the saints, to be peacemakers for ourselves, turning what could become anger and escalating internal and external conflict, into a peaceful manner of living with all the hurts, disappointments, attacks, and great losses that life and other people will throw at us.
As we learn this, and practice it, for no one is ever perfect in maintaining even one’s own peace, then we can reach out to others caught in anger, anxiety, pain, loss and others attacked by other people; we can, by God’s Grace alone, guide them to find peace with themselves and with all life offers, both good and bad.
The world needs peace, as desperately now as ever.
How will we hang on to truth and share peace this day, even with our enemies?
The command has been carried out that Jonadab son of Rechab gave to his descendants to drink no wine; and they drink none to this day, for they have obeyed their ancestor’s command. But I myself have spoken to you persistently, and you have not obeyed me.
But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!’
Words of Grace For Today
Some obey, others not.
Well, some try to obey, and everyone fails. That’s human nature.
From CBC Ideas: About 2,500 years ago, Thucydides travelled ancient Greece, gathering stories about a brutal war that plunged the ancient world into chaos. He set high standards for accuracy, objectivity and thoroughness in his reporting.
His observations, so different compared to the ‘histories’ told as legends and myths, biased towards the speaker-author’s loyalties, are worth hearing any time, and surely today as ‘fake news’ and ‘spin’ and destorying of so many people polarize the populous into camps deaf-to-the-heart to each other.
First would be the horror that he saw every human would descend to preemptively commit murder and destruction against an ‘enemy’, even if it were a previously good neighbour or child or parent. When law is laid waste by corruption from within or out right destruction leaving all sense of security spinning in the wind for every person, then every person is easily capable of the worst atrocities. For 27.5 years the Peloponnesian War pitted not only Sparta and Athens against each other, but they drew every city-state into the fray. 27.5 years of horror and in the end the result was the destruction of every city.
That’s the result of humans ‘not obeying’.
That’s the result of ‘fake news’ and polarized citizens.
That’s the result of little and big lies accepted and created by Courts as facts, for it corrupts all of society’s trust in the law to maintain order, especially the trust of those who benefit from the corruption of the law by the Courts.
That’s the result of every little lie told out of greed, avarice, covetousness, hatred, fear, and revenge.
Where are today’s Thucydides, tellers of accurate, objective, and thorough stories reporting real events, and us little people dedicated to truth at all costs?
What will we be today?
Truth seekers and tellers?
Spinners and corrupters of truth?
Blessed are those who God helps to find and to hold on to the truth, one day at a time.
Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.
He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Words of Grace For Today
Sotorus sat to copy his father’s (Peter’s) journal entry (which really was copied from his aunt’s, Galilea’s, journal, about his grandfather and grandmother (Sotorus’ great-grandparents, Doug and Dawn) from the old digital disk to his paper journal with great care.
First he wrote:
“20 June 2299: All the digital records are disappearing into thin air. Though no one knows why for sure everyone suspects it has something to do with those deadly latency rifles used to end the last war on earth. Loaded with specific human traits, the charge would sit for years, even decades, before going off when it’s target came within 10 metres. Now two decades later so many people had been killed, even after the war, and the accumulation of the residue from billions of charges seemed to spread and wipe out not only their targets, but all nearby digital storage in the bio-memory chips used in everything for the last 90 years. So copying what we have as records of the past onto paper is the only way to preserve them at all.
“Albert Einstein was correct in many ways when he said, ‘I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.’
“While explorers like my grandparents were off to Andromeda, those remaining on earth had reduced it to a thinly populated wasteland. No one had the energy or means to fight.”
What Sotorus could not know was the will to fight would return in 1450 years.
Sotorus’ journal entry continued with Peter’s entries from 3 October 2264:
“This from Isaac’s (my father’s) journal of 21 March 2246:
“This is about the day in November 2213 when my grandfather and grandmother, Doug and Dawn, made a quick and desperately simple decision that saved my life and the life of my sister, Galilea.
“This is what I knew about my grandparents decision to leave earth. Doug and Dawn had studied the beginnings of the universe all through university and wrote separate but related PhD dissertations on the doomed first expedition to Mars in 2029 compared to the more recent successful unmanned expedition to Andromeda’s closest star with planets in 2183. It was a no-brainer then when they were offered the opportunity to travel on the first peopled expedition to what people were calling the ‘Andromeda Earth’. In 2210 they packed their few possessions into storage and reported to train for intergalactic travel certificates. In 2113 they launched from earth to the moon, and two days later from there to Andromeda’s ‘3rd planet from the sun’.
“Eleven months after their three month long trip to A-Earth, as they called their destination planet, they and the other 45 mission specialists, had established the core of a settlement. The rich air and moderate gravity among the most interesting lush and vibrant plant and animal life forms seemed almost a paradise. They had hardly had time to consider more than their work studying the evolution of the plant and animal life that seemed to ‘teemed up’ from the planet each day. Yet in those years they had also had us two children.
“I had not kept a journal but Galilea had. Her journal is lost, but I remember it pretty clearly, because we sat and read it often in her last year, as she suffered dementia, common among the most brilliant minds in their later years.
“Isaac was a spunky athletic 6 year old and his sister, that’s me, Galilea (Peter added, that’s my aunt), well I was not yet 2 but I was up and running, reading and writing already.
“This morning, an hour before sunrise, in the dark and bitter cold, the alarm had sounded. Everyone was told they needed to report to the spaceship, refurbished, refuelled and resupplied, and waiting for such an emergency these last four years. The Aearth’s crust had buckled up into a new mountain range on the far side of the planet and we had maybe 6 hours before the air would be poisonous. ‘Bring no more than 200 lbs with you!’ Everyone knew the fuel was not as combustible as the fuel they had used to lift off from earth so weight was indeed a problem.
“Our dad, Doug, called us children, from our studies in the ‘backyard’ near the river, started packing a small backpack, while Mom and us children fretted and argued about which things we could bring: a photo of our house, a rock from the riverbed that glowed at night, our computers and studies and papers, a favourite game made of wood and rocks, and my teddy bear. Finally Doug put his foot down and said we had just enough time to get to the spaceship, or we’d be left behind. With no more thoughts we grabbed only what was packed and headed off.
“At the spacepad, we registered and weighed our bags. We could have tossed in another 20 lbs. The security guard looked at us, checked off Mom and Dad’s names, Doug and Dawn. Then he looked at us children, Isaac and Galilea. He asked our parents if they had weighed us? No! Did they have to? Of course! So back to the scale we went. Together Isaac and I weighed 209 lbs. We all tossed our bags aside and, with the guard telling us we were out of time- others were waiting and time was tight, we two children stripped off our clothes until the scale stood at 204.
“The next person in line (we didn’t even know her or find out her name later) saw the chaos and offered to give up 10 lbs if the guard would let us children take our clothes along. A nod from the guard, a quick ‘thank you! thank you!’ and off we went through the gate to the loading queue as the woman behind us started tossing out big books from her case.
“Later Galilea wrote in her journal:
“Today, I’m not sure of the date, it’s been so confusing, we left a whole crowd of explorers and their children on another planet in the Adromeda galaxy, at a planet everyone called ‘the third planet from the sun.’
Sotorus, grandson of Galilea, continued his paper journal below the above entry:
“Today is the last day of this millennium, 2299. It’s a day of freezing fog. We heard from many that those who lived at Aearth’s farthest bounds were awed by God’s wondrous signs all around them. They affirmed, and we can certainly affirm now as well, that God has shown to us all the mercy promised to our ancestors, to grant us that we, being rescued, might serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before God all our days.
“We can be thankful, that though the years have not been easy since the last big war, we (my two sisters, my three cousins, and I) are alive because Isaac and Galilea did not weigh more than 10 lbs too much, and an anonymous woman sacrificed her precious books for our grandpa’s and his sister’s lives.”
Sotorus could not know then, but his journal would be only one of a dozen that would survive the next 1500 years of ‘sticks and stones’. Without it no one would remember Doug and Dawn, Isaac and Galilea, Peter, or Sotorus. Nor would anyone remember that people had migrated to Andromeda and back, or that half the explorers had chosen to stay at another inhabitable planet in one of Adromeda’s star systems.
What will we weigh to take with us today?
What out of our past given to us by our ancestors?
What of our baggage and sins and horrible mistakes?
What of our joys and hope and dreams?
What of our lives?
From the Saints?
Of our spirits?
Of our love?
What we choose will give or take life to more people than we can imagine, in ways only God can show us!
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.”
Words of Grace For Today
The bones are dry, dead, gone.
God assembles them.
Breathes on life into them again.
And we live.
The cantankerous ram is lost, yet again.
He’s found by the dedicated shepherd caught in a thorn thicket, unable to free himself.
The shepherd suffers cuts and tears and blood and time … rescuing the ram from the thicket.
And then the walk home, the ram limping along, not able to fight or think of running off again.
And we celebrate.
The enemies are strong and attack from afar.
The powerful and rich are greedy and corrupt and rot the nation from within.
Many people suffer lives of agony without the necessities, yet with joy that God is with them. They are the winners, even as the corrupt bask in their wealth and power, for
God comes to rescue the lost, the ones suffering, the ones denied life, and the fat, corrupt, unjust, and cruel powerful and rich are brought to their knees and left destitute on this earth and still devoid of a soul.
These we know as surely as the fog of the night is captured in beauty in the morning light on all the tree limbs and brush of the wilderness.
So our hearts, though suffering oppression and abuse, are filled with the free beauty of God’s creation and the cold of the night,
While God warms our hearts, minds, and spirits by the fire.
How shall we enter this day if not with unending thanks to God, and clarity of our mission to share life abundant with all people.
God humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
Words of Grace For Today
Brent and Nellie felt like that rag tag band of freed slaves stuck in the wilderness without water or food, though they had plenty of water, just not clean and safe water. Like those freed slaves they complained and then worked together to get a fire going, and keep it going, boiling water and drying out some essential clothing. Later they used it to cook fish for food. It was primitive, without a lot of variety in their diet, though they did find a few berries. Yet they were thankful each day that they were warm, dry, ate a bit, and, actually, survived.
Two weeks Brent and Nellie camped on that rock, fishing for food, and planning together how to be rescued. As unexpected and simply stunning to their rescuers their solution made use of their knowledge of chemistry and a lot of cooperative inspiration and ingenuity. They used fish guts, a hole bored into the hollowed out centre of a tree near shore, the dried out propellant from all but one flare, the remaining flare wedged into that bored out hole with fish guts as wadding and sealant, and a huge campfire to light that whole tree on fire.
The green tree resisted the fire, and then smoked like a Cuban cigar on a mission. The satellites overhead caught and dismissed all that smoke like any other fire. Then the burning tree finally lit all the flares propellant and launched the one burning red flare up 400 feet into the air. That was not dismissed by the satellite software. A rescue plane came to investigate. Brent and Nellie’s honeymoon ended with a helicopter ride to the hospital in Duluth, hot showers and freedom after a night of observation.
The rock had saved their lives, even as it had eaten their canoe bottom leaving them stranded. A friend brought them back to the island to make a video of them talking about their two week ‘camp out’ honeymoon. The challenges of surviving, and their cooperative efforts, mutual inspiration, and ingenuity leading to their rescue made an excellent video. The rescue people requested it to post online as a training video. It went viral. Most commented on were Brent and Nellie’s first and last comments in the video, that God was their Rock and salvation, more wondrous than the rock God had used to save them. They finished the video thanking each other, and repeating their ‘demonstration kiss’ of earlier that year.
That prompted their chem prof to ask permission to post their A+ demonstration of fission and fusion online. What only a handful of their friends knew is that Nellie’s autism and her highly muted emotions allowed her to initiate that A+ kiss. For her it was just part of the project. And then it was Brent’s highly emotional way of taking everything in (completely caught off guard by Nellie’s ‘demonstration kiss’ as he was) that prompted him to respond so surprised and then so ‘all-in’ that made that kiss so clearly a demonstration of fusion and love unbridled all at once.
What even fewer people knew at first, and more and more people slowly came to realize, is that God, the Rock and Salvation of all people, worked exactly that way, with everything available, to rescue us – always with mercy and love unconditional. Brent and Nellie knew well what Peter had said was true for us all, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
Where will we go this day, with our dreams, our thoughts, our words, and our actions? Will we go grounded on God our Rock and Salvation, sharing God’s mercy and unconditional love with all?
Or will we go elsewhere?
And where could that possibly be?
Has God not humbled us enough to recognize that we do not survive on ‘bread’ alone, but we require love,
And that love God alone provides to us, and from us for everyone else!
O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’
Words of Grace For Today
Brent and Nellie’s A+ kiss rocked their worlds, providing balm for so many hurts. It was only a matter of months before their wedding and then their dream honeymoon.
The second day in the canoe started out to be just as awesome as the first, with a stronger wind pushing them on towards their next reserved campsite.
Late in the afternoon, after their last portage and only 4 miles to go, the wind kicked up ferociously. Brent and Nellie worked so well together they made it to their campsite, but just barely. For a long mile there they had given every ounce of strength and skill to avoid being pushed into the steep and treacherous rock covered point they had to pass before the last large bay of the lake, on far side of which their campsite waited tucked on a small island facing away from the large lake they would cross to their third campsite the next day. Tent setup, supper cooked and in their bedrolls Brent and Nellie’s worst night started out like any other night camping.
Then the winds pushed the water over the shore of their usually protected island, flooding their campsite. Sleeping was out of the question as their tent filled with water, first a few inches and then 6 inches. They pulled their canoe in the water next to the tent and packed everything back into it, and pulled it through the ankle deep water to the leeward side of the flat, sandy island they camped on. In the dark they could not see more than a few feet out on to the huge lake that waited for their morning trek. That held for about an hour before the water started to churn over their knees.
In unison they yelled to the other over the wind, “Into the canoe. The island is getting washed away.” They rode the wind out onto the lake. At first they thought they were headed towards their third campsite, not a bad destination, all things considered. If they could keep from capsizing in the 4’, then 5’, and sometimes 7’ waves. Then, unbeknownst to the two in the canoe in the dark, the strong wind slowly changed direction. Hours later a huge wave tossed them up on a rocky shore. They jumped out and pulled the canoe with great effort another 10 feet higher up on the rocks.
In the morning the storm passed. They surveyed their situation. The canoe bottom was ripped through in three places by the rocks. Their equipment was soaked, but all of it was intact, except their cell phones were soaked and dead. Even their emergency flares were soaked through. Rescue would not come soon, maybe not soon enough.
When they realized their hopeless situation, Brent almost broke everything out into an all out fight with complaints and blaming and … well everything in the arsenal of frustration and love come up short.
Thankfully Nellie, autistic as she was, just did not play along, though she knew how to make a fight blow up faster than anyone. She knew, if she followed that path, they could die more surely than the sun rising in the morning.
If they did not trust their love for each other, –
and more importantly
If they did not trust that God was their Creator and Jesus their Light, and the Holy Spirit their guide through whatever came their way, –
there would be no hope for them.
And hope was the only thing that could possibly save them, so …
She took it all from Brent until he was too tired to fight anymore and then said simply,
“We need fire for light, for boiling water, cooking food, drying everything out, and staying warm. Ready to work on that with me, now? It really cannot wait!”
Sometimes emergencies teach us what is actually important and vital for living, if we but listen, accept our failings, and learn … and trust the Light of the World to lead us.
There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
1 Peter 1:15
Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;
Words of Grace For Today
It was just a four day outing into the Boundary Water Canoe Area. The first day the sun shone bright and warm, the winds were light and mostly at their backs. Camp that first night was everything they’d dreamed of for their honeymoon. What neither could know was that it would all dramatically change soon enough.
Brent and Nellie had this planned since they were seniors in High School. During University they’d continued to date, except for those few months when they’d fought and broken up and tried to imagine life without each other.
It was the last thing each had wanted, but in their chemistry class the professor had assigned them to work together on a lab and demonstration to teach the complex events of nuclear fission compared to nuclear fusion. It had nearly cost them their sanity as they tried to work on the project without being anywhere near each other. It was that fusion part that had, ironically, brought them together to film their presentation to a class of High School students and their parents.
After they got over their awkwardness and moved into the presentation everything started to flow, like it had for them before. Then the slide presentation simply quit. The computer died. So without missing a beat they started to really click and work together, one talking while the other drew on the presentation paper they had for ready to record questions on, then switching roles as each led with their strengths. That paper and their voices were their only presentation medium. Like a dance couple they had pulled it off with grace, and in fact their impromptu final demonstration of fusion, a completely unplanned kiss, drew applause … and their chem prof used the video of their presentation as a demonstration for their class and for years afterwards of what an A+ presentation looked like!
That kiss rocked their worlds, providing balm for so many hurts.
Within days they both knew from their own experience so much more about God, their Rock and Salvation, than ever before … most of it was about mercy and forgiveness.
That’s God’s holiness in motion, even for us today.
O Lord, do your eyes not look for truth? You have struck them, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to turn back.
Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.
Words of Grace For Today
If only we could get it right with just a little bit, like being faithful … and not just faithful to some confused idea of what’s important, but the one thing to be faithful to that makes all the difference in the universe, God.
Of course, we cannot, not for long. We are good at getting it all wrong, no matter how long we hang on to getting a few things right. Eventually we just let the Devil have her way with us.
It’s great that God knows the truth, even the truth about us: that we play with the Devil eventually … every day. Because God, knowing the truth, still planned for that, and responded with grace and love.
Imagine, for all the one’s who work for the Devil, God consumed them, but they refused to take correction.
God consumed them! Yet they live on??! What’s that about? How does God consume them without them dying? That’s grace, big time!
And still, like all of us die-hard sinners, it does not matter that God’s grace is so powerful for us, we have made our faces harder than rock; we have refused to turn back.
So what does God do???
and more Grace,
and yet more Grace!
God works wonders by transferring Jesus’ record of faithfulness to our record … just as if we were actually faithful in just a little and in a great big deal.
So what are we going to do with this?
What are we going to do today?
No matter what we try to do, God will work through us, and the results are going to be wonderful and miraculous,