Turning Away, Turning Towards …

Monday 14 November 2022

All the pointing in the world may not help,

when we think that

the abyss lies ahead.

Ezekiel 14:6

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God, namely what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Words of Grace For Today

Calls to repent and turn away from idols and abominations have been around as long as humans were able to fathom God exists.

The trouble is not in turning around and away from what we know is evil, it’s in what we turn towards that we think is the answer to life.

Sven and Ole found this out the hard way, as we always do.

They are Hittites, long since extinct, so no racism can be read into the story. Add to that my heritage as Swedish (the Sven’s are many), Norwegian (the Ole’s are plentiful, and German (I ought to keep better order and therefore know better, some would say) and I take free license to retell the story and alter it as I wish.

So Sven turns to Ole as they are pulling back to the truck the big moose they shot, “This is too hard. I need a break.”

After he’s caught his breath Ole walks up to the moose to feel the hide. He turns to Sven, “I know the answer. It’ll be easier if we pull it with the hair instead of against it!”

Sven, seeing the logic in it, sets about getting ready to heave the heavy carcass homeward.

After a two hours and a few breaks later, Sven yells, “Break.”

Ole pipes up after a bit, “Well, whaddaya think, Sven? It’s easier, eh?” (The two immigrated to Canada decades ago.)

Sven waits a long while before answering, “Yes, it is much easier. The problem is Ole, when we stopped for our first break after pulling it against the hair, we were only a half mile from the truck, now we are two miles away.”

Turning around, away from idols and abominations may be the easiest thing we can do. Turning towards God, now that takes more than a few smarts. That takes the Holy Spirit guiding us every step of the way. Thus we pray: God send your Holy Spirit to guide us so that we are not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is your will, knowingwhat is good and acceptable and perfect.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit sends us simple instructions, other times good friends to guide us. Whatever we need we pray God will provide it also today.

Before Sven and Ole could even think of taking another break they came across a dirt road. There stood their friend Hans, “I knew you two would need help, so I put a tracker in Sven’s pocket. Let’s get that moose into my truck and you two back to your trucks. But tell me, why did you turn around when you were so close to your trucks?”

Great Grey

Friday, October 21, 2022

Another Grey Day At The Shore,

Waiting For Justice.

Isaiah 61:1-3

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.

Luke 15:21-22

Then the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet….”

Words of Grace For Today

Now if you want to display your greatness … well there are all sorts of things humans do, most of them on the spectrum from silly to outrageously stupid and futile.

We do plenty of things on that spectrum for all sorts of other reasons as well. Sin abounds from us and among us.

Now if you were God (which you are not I’ll remind you in case you might momentarily forget!) and wanted to display your greatness there is no limit to what you can do and do do. The greatest of these is make good people out of us sinners.

So the Spirit of the Lord reaches out to the down-troddened and those dealt with unjustly to lift them up to the fullness of life.

So Jesus comes to show us God’s unending grace and choice to forgive us wretched sinners (actually we are pretty darn good sinners, really) and to celebrate who we are with a feast like no other.

Come all you who are thirsty for truth, and justice, and grace, and blessings. God has poured out enough to fill every thirst and hunger.

This is God’s display of greatness.

And we saints? We remain really good sinners, yet again to be saved by God’s display of greatness in mercy and grace.

Another grey northern autumn day in the solitude of the bush. The kind photographers shake their heads at and return to the darkroom to work and wait for another day. Just the kind of day that God uses to show us how beautiful life is.