Unsure Ending?

Monday 21 November 2022

We may wonder how our trek past that point may turn out,

but we already know how each day and each life will end:

as blessed as it began.

Jeremiah 3:14

Return, O faithless children, says the Lord, for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.

Luke 15:20

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.

Words of Grace For Today

In the movie, About Time, the main character Tim learns the secret of living well from his father (since the men in the family can travel back in time to relive parts of their lives, changing the outcomes, like a mulligan): namely, that he lives each day through from beginning to end and then goes back to relive it, free from all the concern of how it may turn out, enjoying every possible event and person he encounters.

The key to the secret is to remove all trepidation at doing things right and well. When we know the outcome will be good, it’s not so hard to be humble, admit our mistakes, make amends as we are able, and move on with gratitude. The great bind in life comes when we fear what will happen if we actually admit to others we have made a mistake, small or large as it may be.

So Jeremiah calls with God’s Word to the people to return to God, and to do so knowing that God will welcome them and bring them to Zion, the city of hope and peace and prosperity and blessings.

So Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son, and the Prodigal Father. The son wastes away his inheritance and life until he has nothing left and not enough food to survive. He is humbled. He need not become humble. His circumstances leave him no other option. So he returns, asking only to work as a servant and receive as payment a place to live, and food to eat.

The father surprises him with compassion, a huge welcome, and a full return to his place as a son, even celebrating his return with a huge banquet.

Now, if we only knew how all our needed confessions and repenting would go with other people, life might be a lot easier. Trouble is people are not always compassionate, welcoming, and willing to celebrate our confessing our failures and sins done to them. Usually we get the ‘whip.’

How do we choose to live, though: full of fear at being honest, humble and repentant, or both ready to confess our sins, and then, when others confess theirs and repent, to be the ones compassionate, welcoming and celebrating others’ repentance?

From day to day, it would be easier to simply know how things would turn out and then take everything in stride, even with delight at how things proceed, showing compassion and care for all the people we encounter.

Since God provides us the promise that we will be welcomed like the prodigal son, and God promises to take us in to Zion, we can live knowing how it will all turn out in the end.

In the movie towards the end Tim takes the secret his father gives him one step further and simply lives every day the first time and only time through, enjoying every possible event and person he encounters.

We get to do that, not simply because, but rather because God promises us a good ending … to each day, to each year, to each life.

Simply blessed.

Blues, Darks, and Hope

Friday 11 November 2022

Dark,

Dark,

Covered Dark With Snow

Job 1:21

He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’

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

The colour of fall is gone, drained away and then killed off by the freezing nights, leaving it so vulnerable to the wind that carpeted paths and grass and woods with yellow turning brown.

Now the subtle whites, greys, darks, and blues are all that remain as the lake has frozen over, and loons, ducks, and beaver no longer swim to and fro, but have either flown away or now walk on top the ice.

A foot of snow covers the troubles of the past summer and fall, pristine white, marking the path of all who walk about with tracks for all to see. Even now it is not as short a daylight, not as dark a day, as will come by the winter solstice, though the darkness of cloudy, snowy days presses down and settles souls in the dark blues until they are lifted free.

For we may assume we are due something glorious, something more uplifting than the dark blues of winter, and yet … well, we are wrong more than occasionally about what we are due.

Remembering where we’ve come from is a good start to taking our place in the universe without complaint or false presumption: We are born naked into this world and we will die and decompose back to the elements of dirt and food for other life forms.

All we are and have in life is a gift from God, so if, well no, when we suffer, it does us no good to think it ought to be otherwise. Evil will prevail through other people and circumstances, and even through us. Remembering God’s graciousness towards us allows us to see beyond the suffering to the benefits God brings to us through our suffering: endurance, character, and hope. This hope carries us through whatever may come our way. This in no way exonerates or excuses those who participate in the evil that we and others suffer needlessly; they-we will still answer to God. We get to respond to God’s grace for us by celebrating the abundance of life given to us, even in our suffering.

For this we give God thanks.

For Even in the Blues, It’s Not All Blues

Different and Precious

Sunday, October 9, 2022

No Need To Be Stuck In The Rut.

God Calls For A Different Way of Living.

Deuteronomy 18:18

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command.

1 Thessalonians 2:4

Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

To hear God’s Word is precious, awesome, dreadful, life-giving, and demanding.

No one said is was a comfortable ride through life seeing God everywhere, hearing God always, listening to God all day and all night, and following God’s Word with thankful hearts.

Far to many people have interpreted and reported that God demands obedience to [fill in the blank with the current religious leaders’ wishes for controlling people] in order that we will live well and blessed. With this view to God’s Word, to which apparently neither the religious leaders nor their followers have bothered to listen – that is God’s actual Word, it is either an easy thing or an impossible thing to listen and follow.

So many paths have been taken. So many paths have been foisted on others. And so many of these paths lead to life wasted.

God’s precious Word demands not obedience, but a response of gratitude, service, dedication, and sacrifice for others.

God’s precious Word gives life by forgiving sins and making saints out of tremendous (that is wretched) and worthless sinners.

God’s precious Word is dreadful because it sees through all attempts we make to hide or obscure or minimize our sinfulness.

God’s precious Word is awesome because it outshines, out-sings, out-dances everything else in the universe.

Today, see, listen, serve and smile with gratitude, for this is how God created us to live.

It’s another day, more opportunities to serve, more opportunities to share God’s actual precious Word, and more opportunities to live life as God created us to live it.