Low Blow

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

We Need A Good Shepherd to Guide Us Through the Many Coming Storms.

Ezekiel 34:23

I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Matthew 9:36

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Words of Grace For Today

Shepherds, in Jesus day, lived rough, with the flock on the hills, leading them to green pastures and fresh water by day and guarding them from danger by night.

Being a shepherd was not a highly sought after or held in high esteem occupation. Quite the opposite. It was one of the lowest of the lowly ways to make a living.

Being compared to sheep, though, that is a real low insult, that hits out of bounds and lays one flat as fodder for the vultures.

Sheep were and still are very dumb animals. They need protection all the time from predators. They need to be led to food and water. And …

When we were young my brother demonstrated how they follow, absolutely stupidly.

As we were bringing the sheep into the barn he sat out of sight just inside the door. After the first ten sheep passed through the doorway he stuck a broomstick across the doorway about a foot and a half high. The next sheep jumped over it to follow those ahead, as did the next five. Then he pulled the broomstick out of the doorway, and …

the rest of the flock jumped over the none-existent broomstick to follow the sheep ahead into the barn.

Sheep are real stupid.

So being compared to sheep is a real low blow.

The problem is …

the comparison fits us just right.

We need a Good Shepherd to have compassion on us helpless people, following most stupidly the most stupid of stupid leaders.

Thank God, God sends us one in Jesus, who saves us,



again today, many times.


No Hope?

Do Not Lose Heart?

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

As In Every Photo,

In All Views Of The World,

Black Plays Freely.

First Chronicles 29:15

For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.

2 Corinthians 4:16

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

Words of Grace For Today


Black absorbs all light.

Black blocks out all light so none passes through.

Black is the colour of








There is life like a shadow that is so fleeting one cannot but watch it pass, or like a shadow that grows and grows, coming toward one until all everything is no more as if consumed by a black hole.

And there goes hope, out the door to the far end of the universe beyond imagination.



Black holds all light.

Black shades the burning heat of all light so none passes through.

Black is the colour of



hope amid the burning storm

relief to the eyes


waiting for rebirth

promise of life.

While we live our bodies deteriorate. Some say after the age of 24 our bodies start to die. Some say the warranty is up at age 30. Some say …

… well all the someones say everything that is said.

And if our minds

do not succumb to the wear and tear of life, dropping our awareness to minimum levels and below, so that we do not even know our own families, which is a horrible thing to anticipate,

then we may experience the full impact of our lives continuing on despite the deterioration of our bodies and physical abilities,

and find delight.


Black is the colour of all that was before creation, of God in the universe alone, together three in one, lonely … it would appear … for company even with us imperfect, sinful humans.

Black is a colour given by God, to us, and in all times, black or not, God revitalizes our spirits, calling us to live out God’s grace (exercised for us) for others.

So even when it appears there is no hope, God

God recreates hope for us.

This Again!

AND Again!

Really! @#$#%#%$!!

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Blues Musician Mississippi Fred McDowell in 1960

Psalm 77:3

I think of God, and I moan; I meditate, and my spirit faints. Selah

Matthew 26:38-39

Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.

Words of Grace For Today

Some days the weight of Shtako, of Evil playing so freely all around and in our lives, and even in our own hearts, leaves us wondering if God can ever reach us, helps us, save us.

It’s too damn often that we are left so damn alone!

Even the thought of God, our prayers, our meditations, our efforts to sleep leave us grieving and moaning at how cruel the world is and how cruel everything in our lives can be to us and those we love.

We may well sing along with Steve or the Proclaimers

“Just when every ray of hope was gone, I should’a known that you would come along. I can’t believe I ever doubted you, my old friend the blues.

“Another lonely night, a nameless town. If sleep don’t take me first, you’ll come around, ’cause I know I can always count on you, my old friend the blues.

“Lovers leave and friends’ll let you down, but you’re the only sure thing that I’ve found. No matter what I do I’ll never lose my old friend the blues….

“Just let me hide my weary heart in you, my old friend the blues”

My Old Friend The Blues by Steve Earle, covered by many!

Only faith

Only faith given to us

Only faith given to us and renewed in us by the Holy Spirit

can assure us that God is with us, along with our friend the blues.

This is the faith that the saints have shared with us, and we saints today share with all people, especially those so often left in the company of the blues.

Then when the dark, blue silences catch up with us and we sing along with Simon and Garfunkel:

“Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again because a vision softly creeping left its seeds while I was sleeping and the vision that was planted in my brain still remains within the sound of silence …”

We know the song does not end with us, and these dark, silenced times.

God sings along with us …

until we see we stand in the light of Christ again, the choir of saints singing with us


we can give God thanks, once again, and again.

Even today Blue is also the colour of hope, after all.

So Long!

So short

Monday 20 February 2023

Dark Days, Dark Decades!

Hope Forever?

Job 14:1-2

A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last.

Hebrews 13:14

For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Words of Grace For Today

Of all the projects she could have undertaken, Risha knew this would be her legacy. She’d earned her degrees in political science, biochemistry, philosophy, law, and her PhD in Oceanography.

She had designed the filter system and now led the corporation in charge of implementing the system in 100 locations around the ocean shores. While filtering and cleaning pollutants out of the ocean’s waters, effectively restoring water up to 500 miles around the filter, it would siphon off fresh water and provide irrigation and drinking water for areas that had gone dry and deserted over the last 30 years due to climate change.

The real ‘miracle’ of the filtering was that it could be set to consume carbon dioxide at huge rates. Turned and left on it would leave the air for 100 miles unbreathable, but if turned on and then off again, in cycles, the 100 filters could clear enough carbon dioxide from the air in 10 years to undo the carbon increase from the last 50 years, at least in their locations.

If she could just get 10,000 of the filters up and running within the next five years, they could reverse climate change completely, back to the re-industrial age.

That was her project!

Until the truth of Job was borne out again:

A mortal, born of woman … comes up like a flower and withers.

Risha, in the third year, well on her way to the 5000th filter location, came down with cancer. She had blossomed so brightly and so many people had seen and put their trust in her. And then within a month she was gone. Because so many people wanted to get rich from Risha’s project and were fighting with everyone for their own advantage, something she kept at bay while she was alive, the projects ground to a halt, and even the established filters had trouble staying in operation.

Five years later, the last filter shut down for lack of funding.

How had it come to that!?!

There was so much hope for this to save us all, and now our only hope would be in the New Jerusalem.

What a loss? What a typical self-destructive development from miracle and cure to fighting and decay and destruction that would continue as long as one could imagine surviving the onslaught of climate change that had already destroyed a tenth of all the coastal lands, cities and people. Living inland was not easier. Storms and precipitation or droughts had made another 30% of all the land masses uninhabitable, and everywhere else it was more or less a futile struggle to keep going.

God, will we humans ever learn?

Save us!


Only a Fool

Saturday 14 January 2023

Storms Threaten,

Evil People Even More So,

So What Are We To Do?

Psalms 139:16

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

Matthew 6:25

‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Words of Grace For Today

Only a fool does not prepare for the cold and blustery storms and long dark nights of winter by working hard when the temperatures are warmer, gathering, cutting, splitting, and stacking wood, repairing the wood stove and chimney, repairing and improving insulation, doors and windows, repairing and upgrading supply- and waste-water systems, and inspecting and repairing vehicles.

Only a fool does not prepare for the storms and winds of spring, summer and fall when the skies are clear by working hard to repair and upgrade roofs, wind breaks, window and door shutters, and tools.

All this so that when the storms come, one has less work to do to survive. Since the storms are getting more fierce, more destructive, and longer one has to prepare in ways that were not imagined necessary just a few years ago.

(You will have to translate these preparations to your own situation, of course. Pity the person who does not have such preparations to make, who has everything done for them by others. They will always have opportunity to find something trite, mundane, or meaningless to worry about.)

When scripture so often admonishes us to have no fear, we often hear that we just ought to relax and let time march on, the world take its toll, and suffer what may come our way. Because every sane person knows that is the fast track to not surviving, we think we can just ignore the words to not fear.

God saw all that before we were formed, before God created anything at all of the universe.

So why does even Jesus tells us do not worry about your life? Is that all nonsense coming from Jesus, or from the writers about Jesus, and maybe Jesus never said such a thing?!

An aside: the shelter is warm next to the wood stove at 53⁰ and it’s only 16⁰ at my feet as I write, so I open the door to warm it up here, knowing my head will bake in 30⁰, but at least my legs and feet will warm up to about 19⁰. So should I worry about what I’m wearing. No, not at all. I prepared as best I can, by raising this area higher than the shelter so the heat rises into it, made sure there was a door to keep the blistering heat out or let it in as I needed, and spent lots of hours of hard work preparing wood … and I bought and wear long johns even inside so that my legs can withstand a bit of cold as I get older.

Which is exactly why I need not worry. What I can do, I’ve done, so that my situation is as good as it can be with the time, resources, and energy I have left in this old body-mind-life of mine.

Worry, or fear, is not a help when one’s situation is as good as it can be or even when one faces terrible circumstances like extreme storms like never before imagined possible in this part of the world.

So one does what one can each day, preparing as best as one can, and then in the thick of it when the storms hit one does what one can. Worry and fear are time-energy-life wasters in all circumstances … as long as one sees the world clearly around oneself and knows enough of what one faces.

The passage from Matthew goes one step further: one ought not worry about one’s food, clothing, etc, because life is more than all that.

And that is precisely it: life is determined considerably by the external things like air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. But even more of life is determined by one’s mind-spirit-body interpreting-dealing with-and responding to the externals.

If we always turn every circumstance into a panic, life will be ugly for us, and probably pretty short. But

even in the worst of circumstances, even ones that threaten one with death, life can be a wonderful miracle to experience.

So much of one’s circumstances are beyond one’s control, so living free from fear and worry (and all that entails, and steals from us) after one has done what one can do to survive the storms (and attacks by other people!) provides already the blessings for us that God saw were ours to enjoy, and so God created the universe for us to live and love and

try not to worry or fear the unknown so much that we lose life itself, even if we keep breathing.

There are always more than enough people who would do us in, given the opportunity. Fearing them gives them a win and us a lose even before that opportunity arises, and helps that opportunity come sooner. Still there is caution to be exercised concerning people of evil intent.

But God saw that before we were anything more than possibilities as time began. So we need not worry about that.

Only a fool would worry and fear things so that life is beyond this day’s possibilities. (And God saw that we would be fools many times over and God still created us. That’s the miracle!)

When There’s No Morning Light?

Monday 12 December 2022

Morning comes so late and

then in a snowstorm,

barely at all.

Still God’s Light is with us,

more than the oil processing plant’s light

breaks the northern horizon’s


Psalms 31:17

Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord, for I call on you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.

Ephesians 5:8

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light…

Words of Grace For Today

‘Let the wicked be put to shame and let them go to hell!’

Which is all fine and good, except that, when we are honest we have to recognize that on our own we are the wicked.

Ahhh, yes, what goes around comes around, so to speak!

We were once the darkness of the world, but now we are light. Once we were the wicked, but now we are the righteous, though we are only light and righteous because God so makes us by removing our own records from us and applying Jesus’ pure record to us in relationship to God and all creation.

So we get to live as the Light, as the Righteous, even though it is not us, but rather the Holy Spirit working in us.

And what are we to do with others who practice wicked ways still? Forgive them, so that they can repent and join the Light and the Righteous. And when they refuse to even recognize their wicked ways, and do horrendous damage to so many people, well …

well then God must deal with them.

We can work on forgiving them, or we can bind their sins, and let them know they are bound so that they know God will judge them according to truth.

As for this day, there is plenty to do to survive the cold of winter, and prepare our hearts, minds and lives for the Christ-child-come-celebration ahead.

Now is time of reflection, sombre introspection, and thanksgiving for all God does for us each day.

So we take time, time to rest and think and pray and sing and …

let God speak to us again,

and to recognize that God walks with us each day, no matter what comes our way.

Strength and Home …

Tuesday 29 November 2022

The sun may set,

in blood red,

forecasting the inevitable storms;

still God provides all we need each day.

Isaiah 40:30-31

Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

2 Timothy 2:1

You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…

Words of Grace For Today

The storms of life pound the shores of our hearts and minds, eroding more and more from our courage, hope, and love.

In Advent, with so many commands to remain attentive!, remain awake! be alert!, keep watch! we may well feel we must renew our strength, our faith, our courage, our hope, and our love.

Whether years have taught us our not, we simply cannot on our own. The storms have stolen too much for us to rebuild our ‘little home of courage, hope and love’ where there is no more a shore at all as the ocean of chaos has overrun our lives.

So we cry to God without words and with many words, and also in the words of Martin Buchholz’s hymn Bleib bei uns:

1) Du siehst die Wege, die wir gehen.
Was uns bewegt, hast du erkannt.
Auch wenn wir selbst uns nicht verstehen,
hältst du uns fest in deiner Hand.

Ref.: Bleib bei uns! Bleib bei uns
bei Tag und Nacht.
Bleib bei uns! Bleib bei uns,
hab auf uns Acht!

2) Du siehst, was wir nicht mehr durchschauen.
Auch wenn der Sturm sich noch nicht legt,
bist du die Kraft, der wir vertrauen,
bist du die Liebe, die uns trägt.

3) Du bist der Geist, der uns beflügelt.
Das Feuer, das uns neu entfacht.
Du liebst das Leben ungezügelt.
Und wir vertraun auf deine Macht.

Text und Melodie: Martin Buchholz (2018) CCLI-Nr.: 7128836

Google translate refined by TL

Stay With Us

1) You see the paths we take. You already recognize what moves us.
Even when we do not understand ourselves, you hold us firmly in your hand.

Ref.: Stay with us! Stay with us day and night.
Stay with us! Stay with us, take care of us!

2) You see what we fail to understand.
Even when the storms continue on,
in your power we trust, for your love sustains us.

3) You are the spirit that inspires us.
The fire that rekindles us. You love life unbridled. For we trust alone your power.

Listen Here


Here in the last half the service

On our own we would fall, we would fail, we would never have a home at all.

For already now, in Christ, our home is secured for us, no matter the ‘house’ we have,



Sentinels On The Walls … of Our Hearts

Monday 28 November 2022

No matter the storms that press down on our hearts,

we know from Jesus’ Word that the light will come again,

just as the morning star will shine

even before the bright sun rises.

Even more, we know Jesus’ Light shines always,

even in our deepest darkest storms.

Isaiah 62:6

Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent.

2 Peter 1:19

So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Words of Grace For Today

until …

until the day dawns …

until the day dawns and the morning star rises …

until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.

Be attentive until …

Be attentive until … the morning star rises in our hearts.

Advent is already under way and

while many will rush about to parties, baking and shopping and wrapping all in preparation for …

for a Christmas celebration that for most has little to do with Christ’s birth, God come to earth, for the poor, the outcasts, the downtrodden, and more to do with our own traditions and attempts to bring blessings upon ourselves.

What will we do?

How is our being attentive until the morning star rises in our hearts a guide for our days?

What is it that we are attentive to … until …?

The prophetic Word of God! And what is that Word?

What is that Word other than the whole, holy story of Jesus, beginning in creation and continuing through this day until the end of all life and light and energy and existence in this universe?

And how are we then to do well to be attentive to this Word?

Many will hope … hope that one day God will be with them.

Even in our worship we often say: God be with you, as in May God be with you! As a wish, a desire, for that blessing.

Then yesterday the priest (https://www.zdf.de/gesellschaft/gottesdienste/katholischer-gottesdienst-474.html) changed that small word to be so much more:

God is with you!

Our attentiveness brings us each day, not down some specific path or type of thinking, words, or acts. Rather this attentiveness, itself a gift from God (not our own doing), brings us to encounter each moment of each day with open eyes and open hearts, as if our being alive brings Christ’s reflected light to each moment so that we see, hear, and encounter God in every bit of creation, every slice of time.

That morning star resides, as a gift from God, already in our hearts, yet still not completely, so we remain attentive as the days of Advent come to us,

for God is with us.

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 stars) 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 ….

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.


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.