Walk it off?

Not a chance.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

John Hopkins: Fungi Nightmare in the Making

Lamentations 3:58

You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life.

1 Peter 2:21-23

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.

Words of Grace For Today

CBC health newsletter reported how a man came home for a long weekend, walking up his drive he vomited blood on his driveway, ended up needed a new liver (cause of cirrhosis unknown), four years later went in for a liver transplant, and spent more than a month on IVs with multiple superbug infections (infections resistant to antibiotics).

And this is more and more common. Surgery is getting to be dangerous, because of the killer infections that come with it. Covid should have woken us up to the huge risk we are at, across the world, to unstoppable infections. Instead people want Covid to be over so they say it is over and behave as if it’s over, but it’s not. We will suffer greater death and losses of health because of it. People don’t want that to happen, so they live as if it is not already happening. Wanting it to be, does not make is so.

A walk up one’s drive, after a long, hard work week is supposed to be the beginning of a kind of rest and recuperation. The walk is the beginning of ‘walking it all off’, so that one is ready to be with one’s family, and then ready to return to a productive work-week.

Sin is worse. We cannot just ‘walk it off.’ We can pretend it does not exist, which only deepens the sin’s ravaging in our lives, like superbugs denied and thus let loose to run havoc more freely in our midst.

Only God’s forgiveness can save us from sin.

Also from the sin of denying Covid, and the dangers of super bugs: bacteria, viruses, fungi.

Without God’s forgiveness, redemption, and renewal of us, we cannot engage to help one another survive come what may.

So we celebrate each morning, noon, and night (and also this day) with the writer of Lamentations: ‘You have taken up my cause, O Lord, you have redeemed my life.’ And we pray that we may be delivered from diseases that cannot be cured, again today.



Tuesday, September 12, 2023

A newly discovered cache of internal documents reveals that the sugar industry downplayed the risks of sugar in the 1960s. https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/09/13/sugar_wide-c334d683622a1f40a8f97f8acc8199a44f233e68-s1200.jp

Mounds of Sugar,

Taste Great?



Exodus 19:4

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

Hebrews 10:35

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

Words of Grace For Today


Confidence brings rewards.

Yes, confidence brings rewards, but

are those

good rewards

or the rewards

of the foolhardy.

As far as having seen what God did to the Egyptians and how God bore us up on eagles’ wings,

that is a piece of history now, one we have not seen ourselves, and the record shows that the people were not so easily convinced that being brought out into the wilderness with no water or food was such a great thing.

In fact they were abundantly confident that Moses had made a huge mistake, bringing them out in to the wilderness to die of thirst or starvation, and then of boredom with no meat to eat and then always the same old same old to eat, morning, noon, and night. God did not provide them with Kellogg’s, General Mills, Malt-O-Meal, Nestlé, Quaker Oats and Post Foods to produce a great variety of breakfast cereals that will eventually kill anyone from sugar poisoning. But at least the sugar addicts do not complain as they eat themselves to death!

So how are we to be confident,

yet not too confident,

and confident in the correct things that make for life,

instead of in things, like sugar, that provide for our slow deaths after miserable lives?

I think best is to be quiet humble, not so confident at all, but fully dependent on God’s good grace.

Or one can fall in love, which seems to ‘fix’ life quite well.

And then one wants more and more of that sweetness, which may or may not ‘fix’ life at all. The potential is there for great blessings and great curses, just like all else that is sweet as sugar.

More on that …

if we survive the night.


Fruit in the land of misfortunes

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Ephraim By Francesco Hayez (1843)

Genesis 41:52

The second he named Ephraim, ‘For God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes.’

Romans 5:3-4

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

Words of Grace For Today

Just because suffering can be identified as bringing good effect (eventually) in our lives, there is no justification for foisting suffering on others, or seeking it out ourselves.

Suffering is, as Joseph knew quite well, not the choice one made for oneself, nor the thing to be celebrated. Rather one celebrates that one survives suffering and moves on. The end of suffering that is replaced by much more than the lack of suffering is what is celebrated.

Thus Joseph names his second son Ephraim. Ephraim, of two word-roots: depleted and fruitful, lingers not on depletion nor jumps merely on fruitful, but in the combination of fruitfulness from depletion.

Death brings an end to suffering. This we do not celebrate. The dead do not celebrate, right?

What we look for is life that has delights in each day, comforts to our ills, and reasons to see our children’s children and their children live well.

The challenge to a comfortable life is that until we know we may lose those comforts and indeed life itself, and not just a theoretical exercise but knowing it from our own experience, we really do not know how to live well with comforts. We take them for granted and surrender even our own thinking minds to have comforts — and then some fascist ruler takes not only our minds but our lives and that of our children’s children and their children.

So we pray, may our suffering (which is inevitable for all humans) be of a kind and duration that we may survive and therein learn the value of truth, compassion, and shear joy in the simple things of life — and most of all that we will learn from our suffering the true value in life is less our comforts but in our helping others survive their suffering to be able to enjoy life with us. Thus we set off a cascade of events that will bring many in the coming generations to know the true value of life, and how to find delight in the small things, and compassion for others.

We can but hope

for that for us

and for our children

and their children

and many generations to come.



Monday, August 21, 2023

Rain Brings Green Growth


Jeremiah 24:7

I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.

Colossians 4:3

At the same time pray for us as well that God will open to us a door for the word, that we may declare the mystery of Christ, for which I am in prison

Words of Grace For Today


Green growth.

Green growth of life

Green Spring rains

Green Spring rains cleansing

Green Spring flowers, grasses, trees, …

Green Spring sprung rains renewing what was once dying.

Green Spring sprung rains renewing .dying .. hope for life to continue well


Green growth of envy and moulds.

Envy and moulds that cover and choke spreading spores that can destroy us from the inside.


Will we grow green to renew hope in us and around us?


Who Are We?

Who The [Hell] Are We Anyway!

Monday, August 14, 2023

They ask about us:

are we palatable, like tasty berries?

Or are we more like poisonous berries,

bright and deadly?

Proverbs 16:7

When the ways of people please the Lord, he causes even their enemies to be at peace with them.

Matthew 5:44-45

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

Words of Grace For Today

In the tumult of today’s world,

when even mother nature seems to be angry with us, challenging our ability to adapt and survive even more extreme weather and destructive storms,

when wars erupt unjustly (as always) leaving people caught between death, destruction, and displacement,

when there are so few honest people who provide truth as a measure of who one is to them,

in the tumult of this world

how are we to know who we are?

how are we to find peace, with ourselves, our world, and with others who wish to do us harm?

Today we measure mostly who we are looking within our selves, an inside view, established by ourselves. This leads to a detachment from others and from community, and more and more people are ‘lost’ to themselves and others. This in turn allows people of power to use, abuse, and denigrate others. In the extreme assembling one’s identity mostly from within leads to narcissism.

In Jesus time people mostly measured who they were by looking outside themselves to what others thought of them. It allowed for distinctions made by powerful people to denigrate the masses as less than significant except to serve the powerful. In the extreme this leads to co-dependency, as we would call it, for those who assemble their identity nearly all from others.

Through history we humans have swung this way and that, between codependency and narcissism, finding our identity mostly with difficulty.

Always, no matter how we assemble our identity, there are ample paths to tear apart anything like peace for ourselves and those around us. Narcissists and codependents wreak havoc for themselves and people around them. Wars are begun by them, easily and often. Sometimes the wars are global, sometimes against a community, sometimes within a family, often within one person. Disruption and destruction reign.

Where is peace to be found?

How can it be that even our enemies will find peace in our presence?

This is only possible when we allow the Spirit to build our identity based on who God says we are: simultaneously pitiful sinners and, miraculously, saints.

God’s peace flows around this kind of people, known by their love for others, even for their enemies. Peace flows with their love like water from the rock in the wilderness as Moses led the people out of slavery into the wilderness, their offspring lead by Joshua into the Promised Land; our ancestors.

Today who will we say we are?

Who will our actions say we are?

How will people know us?

Will they encounter God’s Grace and Peace through us?

Pray the Spirit inspires us to be a bit of a miraculous saint even this day.

Jail Time

Di-Lithium Time

Monday, August 7, 2023

Jail-Time Allows Only Dreams

of Moonlit Nights,

and Much More

Genesis 39:20-21

And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favour in the sight of the chief jailer.

Acts of the Apostles 16:25

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Words of Grace For Today

After a long, hard time in the roiling heat of the di-lithium chamber of climate change there’s nothing quite like waking up to a cool breeze blowing in off the lake. The fresh clean air, after days of smoke. The slight chill against one’s face. The comfort in the long sleeve shirt and durable jeans, a head and neck covering hat, and rubber boots, all so that one can make the morning hike to the lake shore and up the hill (for aerobic exercise) to the reclaimed oil lease, and back to …

back to what is left

after losing


to lies,

jail-time and

a criminal record for crimes that never happened.

After a long, hard time in the roiling heat of the di-lithium chambers of jail there’s nothing quite like waking up to a free, cool breeze blowing in off the lake.

Seeing the results of one’s own labours to survive one day at a time, and then one season at a time, and then one year at a time, and after 5 years to be able to prepare for the next year’s hard winter, and the next year’s hellishly hot summer. Setting one’s sleep schedule to fit one’s own life instead of a jailer’s schedule. Resting in a bed one has made. Working at a desk that one has made. Knowing that one’s small abode will not get tossed without notice, and without recourse. Eating food that one prepares oneself, food that one’s body tolerates and is nourishing for it. Taking medications that one keeps oneself, at the hour one needs to take them, and always properly in relation to food intake, keeping throat cancer at bay, and not risking the medication ripping a hole in one’s gut. Being able to live a (hopefully safe) distance from actual criminals and unpredictable, violent addicts. Exercising when one chooses, canoeing on the lake when one is able, working and resting as one chooses, reading what and when one chooses, writing and learning as one chooses, exploring the universe (via the Internet).

After a long, hard time in the roiling heat of the di-lithium chambers of hell there’s nothing quite like waking up to the blessed, free, cool breeze blowing in off the lake.

For having learned the hard way (for there is no easy way to learn this) that God is gracious and walks with one,

into and out of every kind of di-lithium chamber the universe can capture one in,

one knows and trusts that every breath, no matter in or out of a di-lithium chamber of any kind, is the most precious gift, a reminder that God gives blessed life

and nothing is more precious,

nor is anything more required

than breath,

and sharing breath with others,

for life to be blessed,


and complete.

Prayers or Charms

Watch What You Ask For

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Magic Mushroom,


God’s Spores of Poison

Cleaning the Ground?

Psalm 5:2-3

Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

Mark 11:24

So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Words of Grace For Today

Prayer works kind of like a charm.

If you think the charm works you will see it working (kind of making it up to see it) and if you think your prayers are heard you will see and hear God answering (though, not really making it up to see and hear God.)

The charm thing is our brains reaching for rationalizations to affirm our crazy need to have some control over our lives (or at least explain how someone or something else has made things better for us, assuming the charm is good. I guess the same thing would apply to a curse?)

The prayer things is our brains and spirit being pulled into God’s reality that is everything, though many times we think to separate ‘our world’ from God’s reality.

Like the old saying goes, though, be careful what you wish for, because

Because if you look for charms and curses, you will find them plenty enough to build an undying fear in your bones – fear of what curses lie ahead and fear of what charms you will miss out on!

Because once you allow yourself to see and hear God nothing remains the same!

What you thought was your own life, your own possessions, your own rights and obligations disappear like the last smoke from a snuffed candle. You may ‘smell’ the smoke of all that was yours for a long time, but it just is not there. Everything you thought was yours is clarified to be God’s on loan to you for you to be a good steward of, and to share in the best possible way with those most in need in God’s good creation.

Then every morning, noon, and night you will find yourself in conversation with God your creator, asking and pleading, and complaining and grouching, thanking and praising. The life that God loans to each of us is never easy, and it can only be tolerated if we finds our own value and worth in God: created by God, measured by God, redeemed by God (at the highest price possible, God’s Son’s life), purposed by God, and accompanied by God.

As we see and hear God walking with us, then what may look to others, and even to our old sinful selves, to be intolerable or undesirable, in truth is the best life has to offer.

Charms and curses befuddle us.

Prayer connects us to God’s reality for us. And then


As our lives constantly change

to be as God intended us to live, when God created us.

Today is another day, running in fear from reality or seeing and hearing God (and seeing and hearing God changing us).


It Couldn’t Get Worse,

And Then It Did (and Still Does)

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

It Seems Impossible: Getting Our Bearings,

When The Wheels Come Off Of Life,

And Then Our ‘Frame’ Breaks.

Psalm 73:28

But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.

Acts of the Apostles 3:8

Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Words of Grace For Today

So often in the last 30 years I have said that it just could not get worse … and then it did. It seems two steps forward in one way were matched with ten steps plunging backwards down some deep hole in another way.

Now I am not sure what life will bring. It is still 2 steps forward and a slide backward. Instead of despairing (honestly, in addition to despairing) I have found ways to see the great wonders God has wrought through all the backslides, deep holes, and despairing moments-causes.

More than one pastor has written how their ministry is cut short by health issues, by unloving actions by congregations or colleges or bishops, and/or by small ‘mistakes’ (that really were not mistakes at all but they were contrary to some rule that should protect people and simply do not; they make victims out of good people.) Pastors usually do not write about the catastrophic end to their ministry until they have found a way forward.

Then, maybe, like the lame man, they are leaping with joy and sharing their boundless joy with all who will hear. Most often their ‘leaping with joy’ is figurative, for there will be no more actually leaping in the rest of their lives.

The theme they share, when and if they write about it, is not that life as finally turned out how they had hoped and dreamed it would. Rather the theme they share, and one I have found winds it’s way through the last 30 difficult years … actually it’s been more like 40 since I graduated with an M.Div. and really every year of my life is that (as these pastors say about their experience in one way or another) I have seen, heard, smelled, felt, known, and trusted that God walks with me.

We may not have been able to say that in every minute, but God’s presence becomes abundantly obvious often, and often enough, so that we can say with the Psalmist: But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, to tell of all your works.

And we know that it has nothing to do with us making God near to us. God has made it so, in spite of all we do to push God away, to have our freedom, to fix our lives for the better in our own way.

Thankfully God pushes, pulls, and spirits us along through all the backslides and holes, certainly not towards what we thought life would be for us, but towards …

well heaven on earth, walking God with us,

knowing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and seeing that this is life blessed, life abundant,


life worth sharing with all those who are despairing

in whatever way.


Sometimes God!

Sometimes God Simply Astounds Us.

Friday, July 21, 2023

The World’s Wonders Are Visible In Just A Drop

Of Love.

Second Chronicles 5:13-14

it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever’, the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

Revelation 21:2-23

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Words of Grace For Today

The dull-drums of ho-hum life are never more persistent then when problems overwhelm us and we see no progress towards improvement. We have no hope, so we struggle to make ourselves get out of bed. We struggle to get on with any task at all. Getting to work is necessary but we barely make it. Getting home is an insurmountable chore, day after day. Especially if we have no home! Finding a reason to sleep is beyond us.

Not every life is this way. Not every day is this way for most of us.

And then God

Then God shows up in awesome splendour!

Then God shows up in awesome splendour and astounds us!

The trumpets and cymbals may play, but God out plays them all, with stars dancing, winds singing, and creatures humming along.

And the light show prickles our skins and pierces our hearts with colours we’d forgotten if ever we’d seen them.

Just a bit

of God


for us

to break the dull-drums

off of us

and get us back to thankful living.

Just A Bit

Probably Not More

To Start

Monday, July 17, 2023

It Will Never Be Big,

But It Will Be a Tiny, Red, Beautiful, and Tasty Strawberry.

What Will We Be?

Hosea 8:12

Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing.

Matthew 7:24

Jesus said: Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

Words of Grace For Today

If only one had the words

the words to make it right

the words to make what is broken heal

the words to bring life back where it is no more.

Without these words

one is lost.

Then Jesus speaks

and we find our way home

at last

as the colour returns to earth

and light shines in our darkness

for our home is built on the rock

of our salvation


just a bit

we smile at the universe.