Cause and Effect

Wednesday 23 November 2022

Not Quite Roman Roads, but,

no matter how great or small our efforts are,

they are nothing compared to God’s work

for us.

Psalms 24:7

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

John 1:12

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.

Words of Grace For Today

Cause and Effect: people always want to be in control of the cause and the effect, especially of their own lives and things important to them,

like being accepted by God.

So the one verse from John reflects (in the English more than Greek) that first 1) we believe in Jesus’ name and receive him.

Then 2) God gives us the power.

And 3) we use that power to become children of God.

And that is all backwards and dangerously so.

If we have that power, then we have the power in the end to tell others that they did not receive Jesus, and therefore they are not the children of God, and if not the children of God, then they are not our equals, and … well eventually that leads to us against them, and the killing starts, if not literally then figuratively at first and always in the end, literally. And that is hell. That is not what Jesus came to live on earth as one of us in order to make possible.

It just ain’t so.

In fact taken with the verse before and after we see even in English some very different cause and effect.

John 1:11-13

He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

1) Jesus comes to his own, and 2) they do not accept him.

3) others receive him and believe in Jesus’ name,

4) Jesus gives these others the power to become the children of God,

5) but listen: that power is not worked out by us humans, because those children of God are born (not by blood or the will of humans) but by God.

The cause and effect is clear: God acts, we receive the blessings. We get to accept the blessings or reject them.

Regardless of how we respond, scripture shows again and again that God acts again and again, to move us to accept the blessings.

The Psalm can be misread as well.

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

One could say we must life up the gates of our hearts, our world, our cities, in order that the King of glory may come in.

But

we know God comes whether we act or not.

We pray that God will bring us to lift up the gates, and give witness to the coming of the King of glory. That’s the part we sinners get to play in God’s effort to reach out to so many people who think they are in control

of the cause and effect

in God’s creation.

God’s in control of all the causes and effects and we get to believe, cooperate, and participate, Or not.

God’s still in control of all the causes and effects.

Thank God, for when we think we are in control, that’s when we build ‘towers of Babel’ and start wars to ‘conquer or kill off the unfaithful’ who are in our way for exerting our control in ‘our world.’

Another day to pray we learn also again today to believe, cooperate, and participate in God’s Will.

Discovering Light is Dark …

Wednesday 16 November 2022

What would it be like to discover,

everything we thought was light

is actually dark?

If the Holy Spirit guided us,

we might see instead of darkness everywhere

the wonders of creation.

Job 28:28

Truly, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

Luke 11:35

Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness.

Words of Grace For Today

To know what is evil and depart from it and to know that what one has considered light is actually darkness … well these are two very difficult things to imagine any human is ever capable of pulling off.

Yes, departing from a little sin here and there is something most people pull off once in a while, maybe a few times a month or so, but …

It’s an entirely different thing to leave all evil behind, to depart from it as clearly as a train departs the station or an airplane the runway, or perhaps more accurately, as a spaceship headed towards Mars on a one way mission lifts off from the launchpad never to return again …. That kind of departing from evil is seldom seen, and even more seldom actually chosen by the person departing from the ‘dark side.’

Yes, knowing what is light, and finding one’s way using it, and knowing what is darkness and not trying to navigate one’s life in it, are understandable things, but …

Discovering that what one thought of as light is actually dark, now that takes a monumental amount of self-awareness and situational awareness in God’s creation that would be completely contrary to everything one used up to that point to navigate one’s way in life. That is, well, for all humans, just impossible, unless it’s a fairy tale or fiction or a lie.

The most we can do is pray out of fear and love for God (for just fearing God helps not much) that God would help us discern Good from Evil, Light from Darkness, and God’s Will from our own flawed wills.

The light of day arrives and turns into the dark of night, the weeks turn to months and years, and joy turns to sorrow, as easily as the seasons turn and rain turns to snow and snow melts back to water,

but God’s promises are forever, as much as truth is always truth and lies always lies.

On God’s promises we place our trust and all reason we have to find joy and hope each day. So onward it is …

It’s time to head on in to another day, secured in goodness only by God’s good grace towards us.

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 ….

Did You Hear That Call?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Though Our Way May Seem Dark,

Burdened With Our Pasts,

God’s Light Guides Us

Onward Each Day.

Isaiah 12:1

You will say on that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me.

Matthew 9:13

Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.

Words of Grace For Today

When the cell phone rings it plays a wonderful tune, reminding me of the person who is calling. Or if it is an unknown to me caller it plays the default, rather unpleasant ringtone.

I am fortunate that I do not get angry phone calls. I get enough angry visitors who have displaced their anger and focused at me. Hard to tell what they were legitimately angry at or about, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what they are angry about that involves me. Mind you I get other visitors, too, it’s just the angry and violent ones are more memorable in the danger they could be to me. So far nothing has come of any of their anger, usually drunken or drug enhanced anger.

Getting anger directed at one by God … well that’s a whole other level of anger and a real and present danger!

Fortunately I can say, and I would hope, we all can say: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me.

We trust in God’s Grace made clear to us by Jesus’ sacrifice and call for us to follow him. We were and still are sinners, and Jesus comes to call not the righteous but sinners.

So that certainly includes all of us.

Sinners.

Yet God-made-saints, by Grace alone.

That is enough for any day, and every day, including today.

Thanks we give to God for that,

when we hear that ring-tone (Amazing Grace) of Christ’ call.

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.