The Answer is

(NOT always)


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Roses Are Red

And Violets are Blue



Can Make You

Dead, Through and Through.

Or make you wish you were.

Psalm 22:23

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!

John 17:22

The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,

Words of Grace For Today

When we are young (ish) and we search for a mate for life, some of us come up with some real doosies!

No names of course, for that would embarrass us all.

The man who marries a young woman and then, despite conversation and promises to be faithfully monogamous, insists that it is his right to have sex with other woman.

The woman who in her 60’s continues to hoard canned food. Already more than 100 lbs overweight she remains fearful that, impoverished as they are for his having served as a pastor, … that they will run out of food. Her hoard fills all their living space, living room, dining room, extra bedroom and even their own bedroom. It takes an extra moving van to move the cans.

The female synodical bishop who aspires to be the bishop of the national church and uses every means to run off or ruin any pastor or congregation who challenges her autocratic, unjust, and even illegal actions to secure her ‘power’.

The woman, to compensate for her insecurities, who cannot accept responsibility for anything she does wrong always blaming it on someone else (as ludicrous as her reasoning often is), who latches on to a fat man who is ‘going places’, and then ridicules him to his literal death, to avoid a divorce and the loss of half their accumulated wealth (more than a little of it legally gained.)

The senator’s wife (a senator who serves on the committee for space exploration) who all her money and tries to send his to a scam artist, who sends news every month of the ‘little green men’ in their midst and his negotiations with them to keep them from overthrowing the government.

The obscenely rich land developer whose wife never runs out of energy or appetites for other people, without their clothes, who has to be sent to one of their other homes to interrupt her appetites run amok.

For some people the blessing that we may be one as Jesus is one with the Father, is not such a blessing.

The words of wisdom certainly apply, no matter for what else you marry someone, marry someone kind.

At least then, no matter how crazy they (or you) turn out to be, at least they will not try to bring about your death.

Best to be humble before God, confident only in God’s grace, for in many awesome ways God demonstrates God’s saving grace for us, not only for the Hebrew slaves escaping across the Red Sea into the wilderness, but for all of us, from our slavery to whatever oppression or sin, into the wilderness where we can learn to serve others God’s own grace, instead of our confidence in things that will always fail us.


Rules and Rulers

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Purple Blossoms, Precious,



Run Amok?

Judges 8:23

Gideon said to them, ‘I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.’

Matthew 23:11

The greatest among you will be your servant.

Words of Grace For Today


Purple rules.

Purple rules over others.





Prime Ministers







Power gone amok!


Purple is precious

Purple is soft

Purple is comfort

Purple is a spectrum

Purple is God’s colour of grace

Purple is exquisite.

Purple is the colour of lord and servant turned right-side up by God’s Word calling those who would lead to be servants, not rulers.

What kind of servants of Christ will we be, will others experience us to be?

Will we live out the Holy Spirit’s gifts enabling us to be

a precious spectrum of comforting colours

for all around?


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.


Gloriously Plenty

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Gloriously Plenty …


Jeremiah 31:14

I will give the priests their fill of fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty, Says the Lord.

1 Peter 4:10

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.

Words of Grace For Today

On the walk to the lake the path is covered with pine cones fallen from the trees, and husks of pine cones eaten by squirrels. One steps on the path, after so many days of pine cones coalescing into a soft carpet, with comfort even for arthritic feet and hips. This just as the view of the lake’s waters opens between the branches of the trees.

This is repeated in a few places where more pines grow than the weed-like trees, the poplars.

And the population of squirrels need not forage for food at all. So they multiply, and multiply. And steal more and more insulation from my camp.

God also provides plenty for us. If you have ever seen a combine off-load it’s grain into a waiting trailer, filling and sometime overflowing, the cavernous grain haulers, which in turn off-load their fill into even larger trains of semi trailers, which in turn off-load their fill into grain bins, wider and taller and more in number every good harvest year, which in turn are loaded into mile long trains of grain cars …

If you have ever seen this process of grain hauling, grain flowing, grain filling larger and larger containers then

well then you have seen an example of how God provides gifts to each one of us, and multiplies them as we gather to share what we have.

God does not give gifts for us to hoard them. God’s gifts of wisdom, intelligence, physical strength, determination, communication, charisma, leadership, handiwork, trades skills, compassion, inspiration, faith, and (most of all) love really only shine and provide us the goodness of life when we share them with others,

as the pines share their pine cones to form a cushioning carpet, and to feed those darn squirrels.

So, yes, sometimes what we share with others does not produce blessings.

God knew this, and prepared for it,

and walks with us to bring us through the evil that others ‘share’ with us,

(and to help others through the evil we ‘share’ with them),

and renews life with forgiveness, redemption, healing, and a bounty of more gifts,

and always overflowing, steadfast love

like a cool, refreshing breeze

that cannot be held,

only enjoyed.

Only God

Knows Why?

Sunday, July 30, 2023

God Creates Beauty,

Not With Perfection,

But Imperfection.

Psalm 119:26

When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes.

1 John 5:15

And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

Words of Grace For Today

Tell a child what not to do, over and over again, and the child will inevitably try out what is prohibited.

It’s not that much different for adults.

Hearing and doing God’s commandments are two very separate things. What stands between them like an insurmountable wall is our freewill and curiosity; just like a child we will choose to do what we are told not to do.

Hearing God’s commandments is one simple thing. It requires the patience and humility to give focus and take time to listen.

Doing them, well that requires something beyond our ability.

So we pray:

help us.

And knowing that God hears us,

and God forgives us,

we are then inspired (Spirit working in us) to sometimes even be able to follow God’s commandments.

So how do we respond to others who breech even a semblance of God’s commandments? What do I do with the party-ers ‘next door’ who make such a racket yelling and screaming with loud music to boot until after 2:00?

I ought to be able to forgive and understand.

But forgiving is as far as I get, with a strong hand on my wish to interfere and complain to them of their behaviour. Understanding is beyond me. First the urge to party. Is that something that covers up the stupidity of life they choose or are left with? I’ve not a clue. Then the need to party into the early morning hours. Again, not a clue. And to do so where many other people are left to suffer from the noise and ruckus? This becomes a stretch of imagination that I cannot make, why anyone would be so blatantly insensitive, inconsiderate, and destructive to others with such a choice of actions, time, and place.

Forgiveness will have to be enough, and the minimum is to not try to interfere, which would probably put my life on the line.

So as people have since the beginning of time, I pray and know God hears and know all is well: Dear God, there are some people that need your attention. Please give it to them … in spades!

It’s a bit better than asking Karma to include a few more people missing from the list.

Ok, not much, but a little? Maybe not even a little, you say?

Thus each day has it’s beginnings, never perfect, always requiring God to forgive me (us) so that we can move through the day not trying to figure out what we are not supposed to do, but giving our all to do the things we know God would have us do.

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.

Who Is

On Call?

Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Weeds Produce Beauty, Without Our Intervention or Work.

God’s Greatest Miracles Require Lots of Our Work!

Genesis 31:42

If the God of my father, the God of Abraham and the Fear of Isaac, had not been on my side, surely now you would have sent me away empty-handed. God saw my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked you last night.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.

Words of Grace For Today

Work, in vain or not, there is always plenty of it for us sinner-saints, working in the church (the hospital for sinners) and without (the hospital for everyone.)

The Missionary Picnics

When I was young we went to the Lutheran missionary picnic each summer in Como Lake Park in St. Paul, Minnesota. We went because my father had heard a presentation when he was a teenager about how the Lutheran Church needed medical missionaries. So he went to medical school, did his residency and applied. They took a year to figure out what to do with him. By the time they figured out to send him to Tanganyika I was born and then one younger sister. Four years late we returned, my father deathly ill or we would have stayed. So each summer our family packed up for the picnic.

Attending were just us 11 kids, 2 parents, and between 20 to 30 other smaller families. Everyone brought their own plates, cups, silverware, food to share in pots, water melon to cut, and drinks. For our family the drink was always 2 or 3 A&W root beer in 1 gallon glass jugs, which we poured into cups held in one hand, by holding the jug with your index finger on the other hand in the round handle just big enough for one finger, flipping the jug around to support the body of the jug in the crook of your elbow.

There were prayers and singing, and always lots of stories to share of the missionaries still in the field, and from missionaries on furlough, and families like ours having returned years ago. And then finally a knife would slice the watermelon and we kids would have spitting contests to see who could spit a seed the furthest.

Afterwards we collected all the garbage (there wasn’t that much since there were no disposable dishes or silverware or cups), and all us kids were sent with small bags around the whole area to pick up garbage, leaving it cleaner than when we arrived. We didn’t bother with the watermelon seeds and I never saw watermelon growing there the following years.

This in Como Park, along the lake, with the picnic tables under tin roofs, plenty of garbage cans for clean up, washrooms sufficient, the golf course across road, and the fair grounds and the zoo a bit further away through the tree covered residential areas.

On August 6 we will read from Matthew 14 how Jesus and the disciples go into the wilderness. To be alone. No picnic tables. No facilities. No golf course. No houses nearby. No zoo, no fairgrounds.

But 5000 men and more women and children arrive. Jesus went to be alone to grieve John’s death at the hands of Herod. Yet Jesus has compassion on the huge crowd. Jesus heals their illnesses. (In Mark Jesus teaches them. In Luke Jesus does both!)

Then the disciples note that the people are hungry. Their solution is to have Jesus send them to the nearest towns. Let the imperial economy deal with them.

Jesus, instead, puts the 12 disciples to work. Handing out meagre rations that … turn out to be more than plenty! Afterwards on call again, this time for clean up, the disciples collect up 12 baskets of leftovers, one for each disciple. Lots of work handing out food to 5000 men and more women and children!

Imagine that for us today! If we can?

The other feast

Herod, in Matthew just before Jesus miraculous feeding of more than 5000, holds a feast to celebrate his own birthday. What a difference!

Herod fears the crowd (v. 5) and what his guests might think of him if he goes back on his word (v. 9). Jesus has compassion and cares for the crowd (v. 14), even though they had interrupted his desire to be alone, probably to grieve the death of John (13a).

Herod is tricked into putting John to death (v. 10). Jesus provides life by curing the sick (v. 14) and feeding the hungry (v. 19).

Boring (Matthew, New Interpreters Bible) states that these two stories are a “contrast between the two kingdoms” [p. 323]. Carter (Matthew and the Margins) goes further and states:

Jesus’ act attacks the injustice of the sinful imperial system which ensures that the urban elite are well fed at the expense of the poor (Aristides, Roman Oration 11; Tacitus, Ann 2.33; 3.53-54). Jesus enacts an alternative system marked by compassion, sufficiency and shared resources.” [p. 305]

Lots of the ideas are from Stoffregen Matthew 14.13-21 Proper 13 – Year A at

What does God have for us today? Receiving the benefits of a few miracles? Or have we already received those and God will call on us to be on duty, to feed the hungry and clean up afterwards?

The bottom line is truth: “Divine miracles can require a lot of human work.”


That Rot, Trying to Earn God’s Good Graces

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Among the Weeds, See the Beauty?

Around the Beauty, See the Weeds and Thorns?

Amid All That is Life, See God’s

Generous Gifts!

Proverbs 10:7

The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.

Hebrews 6:12

… so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Words of Grace For Today

In the Kingdom of God there must be rewards.

There is so much written and spoken about how we are rewarded for our good works and our good work for others.

Ahh, there is the rub.

It’s all an illusion.

We are nor rewarded by how we live or do or think or believe.

The causation direction is all messed when we talk about how we earn our reward from God.

God rewards us first – when we certainly do not deserve it- and then we get to respond.

We inherit, not as reward, but because God is generous with steadfast, unconditional love.

So how are we going to go into this day?

Fretting how we will get ahead?

Working hard to earn God’s good graces?


Thankful for all we are given that we have not and cannot earn, and sharing those same gifts with others?


In All Creation

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

God Makes Even Weeds to Reflect God’s Beauty.

Isaiah 49:26

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, and they shall be drunk with their own blood as with wine. Then all flesh shall know that I am the Lord your Saviour, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Words of Grace For Today

Gruesome. That’s what the Isaiah passage starts out with. Just Gruesome images of revenge on the oppressors.

Gruesome use of power, and that power is God’s power, imagined as revenge and destruction of evil people.

Jesus says that power and all authority to use it is his. He though is not about to do the gruesome revenge thing. Instead he uses the power of self-sacrificial love, unconditional love, especially for the sick oppressors. With that power he not only makes such gruesome punishment unnecessary, he wins the hearts and minds of all people.

And indeed all people will know the power of God, but not as gruesome to be feared, but loving and kind, merciful and gracious, to be feared by evil (especially the evil in us that would be gruesome) and loved by all.

If we want to take power into our hands to force things to be, then God is not for us, but walks with us to entice us down another way of life.

Living as Jesus’ disciples though is as challenging as ever, for we cannot hide in ourselves, among ourselves, safe in our small worlds. Jesus sends us out into the world.

And that is where we make a difference, not gruesomely so, but lovingly and kindly so.


Holy, Holy

And Gracious

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

God’s Grace Blossoms Full Today,


God Promises Grace

For Each New Day.

Numbers 14:17

And now, therefore, let the power of the Lord be great in the way that you promised when you spoke, saying, ….

Luke 1:49

… for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Words of Grace For Today

There is always more that has gone before, and more after.

Not just in words of God’s promise, but in our lives. God has worked wonders in our past and promises many more in our futures.

So it is that each day, we give God praise, and hallow God’s name with our worship of songs, prayers, and deeds that extend God’s great works of grace to other people.

Charged and convicted of a crime that never happened, stripped of more than three times the money I had for retirement so that I can never hope to be out of debt, and left unable to even rent an apartment to live in, I have been blessed to live in a self-made camp as a mystic, a hermit, beside a lake, in the midst of nature, able to see the wonders of God each day.

God’s grace abounds. For while many would say I have lost nearly everything, precisely in having next to nothing or any prospects of ever having enough to live in a house again, I have gained full awareness of God’s grace and presence with me, through all that has been unjustly done to me, through all the challenges that the cold, heat, bugs, wild animals (worst are the two legged ones), storms, and equipment and body failures have thrown at me.

God’s grace abounds.

There is nothing

more so crucial

in all of life.