Reality Worth Living In

Saturday 26 November 2022

The Sun Rises through the scrub beneath the trees, beginning a new day.

God never ‘sets’,

but walks with us,

always.

Psalms 116:9

I walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

Luke 20:38

Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.

Words of Grace For Today

There are so many times in life when I have been surprised that others do not experience reality clearly.

The confirmation class where others seem to have not the slightest clue what the pastor was talking about most of the time, most often when I would engage him in a serious question.

The step-daughter who always accused me of doing things I had never done, so I wrote up an exchange we had where she had blown up at me. She agreed that what I had written was not wrong, but it was not right because it did not include what she felt. Her accusations were that I was responsible for what she was feeling, even though I had next to nothing to do with what her emotional state was. Her birth father had favoured her among the children and then killed himself, leaving her confused and angry. That anger got directed at me, her step-father. The result was the reality she lived was often quite disconnected from what actually took place.

People in so many different congregations and synods who played power games, participated in church, prayed for forgiveness and reconciliation with those people they saw as enemies (who certainly were not of the view that they,themselves, -those people – were ‘enemies’ of anyone,) and then they would return to their games of false accusations, scheming and disruption of congregational life.

The many people who come to the lake to drink and get high, seemingly unaware of the holy ground they tread upon.

The closest analogy I’ve found comes from being a professional photographer. I see photos all day long, especially at sunrise and sunset, or in storms, or any time the light is spectacularly specular. I’ve spoken with people who can point a camera (well a cell phone, so now everyone has a pretty good camera!) at the world to capture at best a snapshot of trees, lake, and blah, and not even notice that 2⁰ to the left there is a splendid photo waiting maybe only two minutes to be taken before it disappears.

Do people, likewise, go through their days, not seeing God among the living, thinking that God is only for us after we die, and God walks among the dead of all time?

Luke puts it straight:

God is not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.

Let us walk this day, knowing that God walks with us.

Or is that something that others cannot experience? Scripture gives plenty of witness that many people have lived, knowing God walked with them.

So this is reality, and reality worth living for.

A Fire-Storm a’Coming

Friday 25 November 2022

The Dawn Fire-Storm Breaks Into Another Day.

Jeremiah 31:35

Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day. and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name.

1 Corinthians 8:6

Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Words of Grace For Today

Yet for us …

Which make it clear enough that for others it is not so.

We see the world defined by scientific research results and theories developed of millennia.

A universe expanding from an initial big bang, our planet one of 9 or so planets along with numerous asteroids, moons and space dust (so not quite void) revolving around a sun, and our sun one star in many that make up one galaxy among many that make up what we ‘see’ with telescopes and exploratory space venturing probes that speed out of earth’s atmosphere to bring us images and information of the ‘great beyond’ and all it’s wonders like black holes that defy our ability to see beyond their thresholds as they consume anything and everything that gets ‘too close’, being millions of miles and more.

Our ancestors saw the universe differently: the land flat, a firmament hold up the stars (planets only known as starts) and sun on it, with the precreation chaos breaking in from the bottom in the oceans and from above in storms as water of the void beyond the land and firmament poured in chaos and destruction on creation.

There are many other views of the universe, as well, among all humans of all time.

Even now we theorize there may be other universes not in and of this one we know.

Yet … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

And this God gives the sun for light by day. and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar.

Even this day, as we are told to anticipate rain and possibly freezing rain, we see God’s greatness in the blessing poured out on us like unending living waters of stream of life, and light that comes in the morning to give all creatures and plants life potentials.

In this worldview, this universe ‘seen’ and known, we see God and rest assured in God’s promise to walk with us, whatever storms come our way.

For there will be many, no doubt,

yet … yet for us there is one God ….

Looking or Already Seeing?

Thursday 24 November 2022

Looking afar

we may search for

the ‘colour of life’ elsewhere,

Doch God has put all blessings

among us.

Isaiah 49:8

Thus says the Lord:
In a time of favour I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you;
I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages.

Luke 17:21

Nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.

Words of Grace For Today

While the world teaches us to find our way,

our way in the world to success, to happiness, to comfort, to privilege, to contentment, to blessings, to prosperity, to [fill in what we all chase], and to find our way to God,

Jesus turns that all around, inside out, upside down (well, right side up, as it turns out) and shows us

we need not ‘find’ our way,

because God walks with us, and God is among us, and the Holy Spirit leads us, comforts us, provides us happiness, contentment, unending blessings, and all that is good for us, and

because God has claimed us and established among us God’s reign.

This is less for our benefit, than for those who see us

so that they may know

In a time of favour God has answered us, on a day of salvation God has helped us,

so that what is right;
I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people,
to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages.

so that what is right will also be established for all people and the land.

so that what has been laid to waste will be renewed,

so that what is lost from our pasts, will be redeemed and renewed.

For this is God’s good Will towards all of us who live on this fragile planet earth.

And that is what God gives us to teach the world

about Grace.

Bold We Are, Come What May

Sunday 13 November 2022

Moon Morning,

Cold,

Clear,

and Only Early November

Judges 6:17

Then he said to him, ‘If now I have found favour with you, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me….’

1 John 5:14

And 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

God hears us.

God hears us every day.

God hears us every minute of every day.

God hears us every minute of every day when we think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope.

Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it, in spades.

Or so the saying goes.

Yet we are bold to think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope … and to do so in response to God’s Grace that gives us life, and even to do so out of the evil that resides in us, from which we cannot get free.

For we have been saved, and are being saved every minute of every day,not because we deserve it, but because God so chooses especially since we do not deserve it, in order to demonstrate to all how merciful and gracious God is towards us and all creation, no matter how wretchedly evil we are.

God hears.

God responds.

God responds with Grace.

God responds with Grace giving us all we need for life.

So we are so bold as to knowingly think, pray, wish, desire, dream, speak, write, act, and hope all that is in our minds, hearts and hands, knowing God walks with us and saves us and God from all harm that can be avoided.

A clear February -24⁰ day in November already. Clears the head, tests the systems, prepares us for climate changes new extremes that will come again this year.

We pray we may survive and flourish, come what may.

Promises, Promises

Saturday 12 November 2022

The Reason to Hope:

Shadows Always Point to the Light!

OR Grace!

I’ll take both, thank you.

Isaiah 51:11

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Revelation 21:4

God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.

Words of Grace For Today

To return home singing with everlasting joy and gladness through every fibre of our being, and that sorrow and sighing at the evils that can be done to innocent people shall flee away to never be seen again! Oh, what a dream! What a promise.

Likewise that God will wipe away EVERY tear, that death will be no more (though is that a good thing for creation?) so that there is no mourning or crying or pain anymore. Are these the first things?

I always thought that death was the last step in life, and grieving a loved one’s death was the last thing anyone wanted to endure again, or for the first time if one is observant of what it costs others.

Of course these are not the first things that the Revelation’s passage speaks of. The first things are all that make up this universe: God’s first things for us, beloved creatures, which also includes evil, since love requires a priori a choice to love, and then also to not love, which is a choice of evil.

That is to say this promise has a prerequisite, namely that the universe we know is no more.

I’ll hope to wait on that, meanwhile there still is death, for creation would be overrun with humans if we did not die, as if it is not already, along with all life forms that would no longer die. So death is here to stay for a while.

But already today or any day soon, I’ll take the coming home, singing with joy and happiness that will not end, putting sorrow and sighing scurrying for the far reaches of the universe far, far away in a time that is not. I suppose all displaced peoples of all times would take that, too. Those with homes they’ve never lost nor had no home for years may not quite fathom the joy this would bring us all.

It seems an impossibility for me, as for most displaced peoples, most refugees. The promise we hope for with real expectations is that we would once again be able to have a home to come home to, a secure, safe, warm/cool, and dry home, one where we have the ability to supply us and ours the essentials of life.

One might think that starts with air, water, food, clothing, shelter, meaningful work and love (giving and receiving.) Yet it actually starts with what God’s Grace supplies: faith, hope, and love. For without these a home is nothing, as many people have endured, knowingly so or completely unawares.

For now I am, as many are, graciously given faith, hope and love, so that where we land for the night and sometimes through the day is already so blessed, a home without them would be nothing to desire.

Singing and endless joy is ours already. A home would be a bonus, a good bonus, a longed for bonus, and for that we hear God’s promises and hope that one day ….

The Cloud

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Great Cloud of Saints,

Coloured by Their Blood,

Surrounding Us

with

Indefatigable Hope.

Second Chronicles 20:12

O our God, will you not execute judgement upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Words of Grace For Today

It is one thing to be overwhelmed by a mass of people coming against you. It is another thing to have the state, in the form of the Police and the Courts, come against you.

What can one do against such odds: the whole power of the state fuelled by lies created at every level, against one who speaks the truth, which no one wants to hear?

There are enough words from prophets and disciples who lived and died under the same circumstances.

It is in that great cloud of witnesses to the truth that one can take refuge, for these are God-made, and God-sent saints, who have ‘fought the good fight’ and run the race set before them, the race of putting God’s Grace, Love, and Hope before all else, giving witness to God’s great powers, powers so much greater than all the powers of all the states ever to have stood for a time on earth.

Come what may, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, we can lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and live each day to it’s fullest, celebrating God’s great goodness for us and those who come up against us.

Another day on planet earth when millions will unnecessarily die, and millions will be born into a hope that does not disappoint.

Take Heart

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Despite The Darkness Of Our Blindness,

The Bright Light Of Christ Shines

Everywhere.

Psalms 38:21-22

Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.

Mark 10:48-49

Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 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

Niklaus von Flüe, Bruder Klaus ist bekannt in der ganzen Schweiz. Als Ratsherr war er im 15. Jahrhundert sehr geschätzt. Später wurde er Einsiedler und Mystiker.

Niklaus von Flüe, brother Klaus is known throughout Switzerland. As a councilman, he was highly valued in the 15th century. Later he became a hermit and mystic.

That’s the short introduction ZDF provided to the worship service broadcast this past Sunday from St. Peter’s in Zurich.

St Bruder Klaus began his prayer, Mein Herr und Mein Gott, My Lord and My God. It has been used as the theme for a hymn popular in Switzerland.

As Pastor Cornelia Camichel Bomeis recounted in her sermon she visited with a faithful woman who said she refused to sing that hymn. The 90 year old explained that it was a dishonourable thing that Bruder Klaus did when he upped and left his wife and their 10 children, the youngest not yet a year old. He may have been named a saint, but it should have been his wife, who raised the ten children on her own. Mind you she was not destitute since Klaus was wealthy man.

Born into a wealthy family Klaus was a farmer, military leader, member of the assembly, councillor, judge and mystic-hermit.

Pastor Bomeis explained that she could only celebrate Bruder Klaus after she heard a note about Klaus’ circumstances that explained his departure from his wife and their ten children. Serving as a soldier he came home injured as we know today in an invisible way that manifest itself later. He suffered PTSD.

From this injury God brought forth a man of visions and wisdom who was sought out (in his hermitage) by people and leaders from around Europe.

We can say as Klaus did: Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me; make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation.

No matter our circumstance we can take heart because Christ is calling us, each morning, noon, and night; calling us to leave behind our blindness, injuries, and scars and follow Christ’s voice. There is a wonderful world to see, even more wonderful if one is so gifted to see God each day in all that is.

Whaddaya See?

Friday, October 14, 2022

Evening Firestorm?

Or

Earth

Moving At Warp

Through Space-Time-Light

Pushing Fiery Light

Into It’s Wake?

Isaiah 37:16

O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth.

Ephesians 3:14-16

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit.

Words of Grace For Today

At 3:00 I was up.

It was dark.

I walked outside for air.

And

Looked

Up.

Aurora Borealis painted the sky,

Dancing as it does,

From the western horizon, across the lake and trees –

over the meadow in a circle,

pointing to this blessed place,

and back down and around out to the East

and to the North

in wisps, feathery light

and unseen by most people

safely asleep through the northern night.

Then jets roared overhead

from the east

bound to the northwest.

A sortie to defend Canada’s north from predators,

of the human being kind.

This on spaceship earth, caught last evening, probing it’s way through the sunlight

into the dark.

Where are you headed today? Have you your eyes open to see the creation and it’s Creator, at work, at play, suffering, and in joy?

Jason, and God Again

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Walking

Toward the Light,

At the Hermitage.

Lamentations 5:21

Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old.

Titus 3:4-5

But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Words of Grace For Today

Jason sat a huge bit bewildered as he remembered the last seven days. How could life change so fast in so many ways? How was he going to go forward and towards what? It all started with the fire that burned his house down.

But that can only be explained, he realized, if you start before that. His life had progressed pretty much according to plan, with a few unforeseen changes that only improved on things for him. Stacey was one of those changes. Then to understand how that change was so good, he remembered how Robin had played him and broke up with him and disappeared just a week before their planned wedding. That was hard to take at the time, though it was for the best he realized within a few weeks. His career as an engineer had just taken off. Robin had taken so much of his time, high-maintenance as she was, and she really loved the prospect of his money more than she loved him.

After those few terrible weeks he buckled down at work and within a year had established himself as one of just a few experts in the world in the then emerging field of solar power. A number of companies sought him out for his advice on how to produce their products so that he and no more than a handful of others pretty much determined how fast their design of products came to dominate the field. It was exciting, rewarding, and challenging. With all that the rewards were tremendous, not only financially but the respect others showed him and the awards given to him. His most treasured were the two doctorates he received after he wrote the textbook on solar power design. That was as much a doctoral theses as any could be. The doctorates were honorary, but he’d earned them, one in electrical engineering and one in computer sciences.

He’d travelled the world more weeks of the year than not for his work back then. On one trip he’d met Stacey, working for an NGO in Tanzania. They’d fallen in love and gotten married three months later after he’d returned to Tanzania ten times, supposedly to follow up on work projects, but it was actually to spend time with Stacey. He’d moved to Dar es Salaam, where she was based for a year. Then they moved back to Athabasca, north of Edmonton in Canada, where Stacey was from. They’d built a home, had four children, all as bright as their parents. Jason cut back on his travelling to one trip each month at most, then to one every two to three months. The field of solar power had developed fast. Now the challenge was to find the resources to build the panels, and to design hardware and software up to the increasing demands for electricity from them.

Their oldest child had been 7, the youngest 2. The fire had taken them and left Stacey in a coma with brain damage so bad that when she woke up she was hardly there, unable to talk or move on her own. The doctors recommended taking her off life-support. Jason finally agreed and Stacey died the rest of the way within minutes.

Now, seven days later, he was empty. He had money enough to not ever work again. So he quit. He moped about, lost. A friend, Fred, came by to see him about his own solar panel project for his camper. It was something so small Jason had never even thought about that kind of a project. When he had nothing to offer Fred asked him if he would take a day trip with him. Fred could always get Jason to agree to anything, but this time he said no. Fred just ignored that and told him he’d pick him up at 7 the next morning. Dress to be outside in the cold, he’d said.

Jason made the mistake of asking where they were going. Fred just said it was to look at a solar panel project at a hermitage, but mostly to see the hermit. He was a mystic.

So hours later Jason sat there and wondered like he had not had occasion to for decades at how one could be a mystic, and how others would not understand it at all. Fred could not have known that Jason’s confirmation pastor all those years ago had told him he was a mystic, that he saw God more clearly present than anyone else around.

Jason wholeheartedly thought: Restore me to yourself, O Lord, that I may be restored; renew my days as of old.

But he also knew he had done nothing to deserve to be saved. He’d ignored God for so many years. He certainly was ready to be saved now. Being this empty and lost was not to be alive.

That changed when Jason walked the last half mile into the hermitage. The expectation of it being holy, the peace all around, and even Fred’s sudden loss for words, impacted Jason like nothing had since he’d fallen in love with Stacey. The visit with the hermit was anticlimactic. Jason, as they left, asked if he could come back a few times in the next few months. God had started the transformation of a lost soul into a saint, a renewed mystic, and a servant of people desperate for life abundant.