Dead Proud

Friday 6 January 2023

Thick Fog Settles

and Departs,

Leaving Glorious Patterns of Crystals.

Our Pride Only Destroys All It Touches.

Second Chronicles 32:24-25

In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, and he answered him and gave him a sign. But Hezekiah did not respond according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem.

1 Peter 5:5

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. ’

Words of Grace For Today

There is a fast way to orchestrate one’s own demise: pride.

There is a wonderful, enriching way to live blessed and shared those blessings with others: humility.

Today we pray, may we be humble this day, and in every day to come.

Vacillations

Thursday 29 December 2022

Whether By Night

Or By Day,

The Beauty Is God’s,

The Pollution

From Making Power for Our Insatiable Striving to Control Our World

is Ours

Numbers 23:19

God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?

2 Corinthians 1:19

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’

Words of Grace For Today

God is not human, vacillating with first this Word and then later a contrary Word, always indecision reflected as the inability to know and control what is to come. Rather God is Omniscient and All Powerful so that God’s Words and Promises are sure, to be trusted, and thus

we are to live accordingly.

Or else!

Right?

Not really. Not really at all, at all.

For God did become human, in Jesus, and in him Paul says all things are always Yes – not vacillating between Yes and No. Paul asserts this when he was caught out by having told the Corinthians of his plans to return to Corinth and then his actually not returning by choice or due to things beyond his control. Paul wants to reestablish his trustworthiness to the Corinthians by pointing out that Paul is, like Jesus, always trustworthy, though not in this case! And, if we are honest, it is never the case for any human.

Though some people intentionally lie and are very predictable in that they will do you harm if it is to their advantage, there is not a person ever who can know the future and control it, try as many may.

So we are left vacillating between our yes’s and our no’s and seem to be untrustworthy and out of control. That chaos evil people take advantage of, manipulating others’ destruction and their advantage.

And that is just how it is,

Right?

Not at all, not at all.

For God’s Word is sure, and while we must not comply with God’s Word, and in fact are woefully incapable of doing so consistently,

By God’s grace and by God’s grace alone, we get to live according to God’s Word, not that it ‘works to our advantage’

but in order that we are examples of how God works with woeful sinners like us, like you, like us all.

What Awaits Us?

How Shall We Proceed?

Wednesday 28 December 2022

As Time Moves On, As Seasons Come to an End, As Canoeing Ended and the Snows Began, So On This Day What Comes to an End?

Psalms 42:12

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

2 Corinthians 3:12

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness,

Words of Grace For Today

Looking,

Looking where?

Looking back, forward, in depth, inward, to the stars?

In the in between time we look where it counts:

to God

for hope,

and love,

and life,

and purpose,

and direction, also for this day.

Though hope is based on nothing tangible, and while living based on nothing tangible is foolhardy,

nevertheless we proceed with boldness in everything we do,

for our hope is based on what is not tangible, but what is infallible, and the source of the only security available to any human in life: God’s Word.

So let the day bring what it will, we will hope

to respond with the same Grace God shows us each day.

And

that is a good ending to any year, day, moment, and even life, if that is what awaits us.

God Works Not With Perfect

but with us.

Monday 26 December 2022

We’d Like to Think We Are Perfect

And Others Make the Pollution For God to Deal With!

But If We Look Up Close and Are Honest

We Are Also So Broken,

and Only By Grace Do We Live,

But Oh How We Live

Blessed By God’s Grace.

First Kings 8:66

On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the king, and went to their tents, joyful and in good spirits because of all the goodness that the Lord had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel.

Luke 2:16-17

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;

Words of Grace For Today

God Speaks,

Things Happen,

Unexpected, Inexplicable, Wondrous Things.

God Acts,

which is the same as God speaking!

And we are astounded (if we care to notice at all) how God works in and among and for the poor, the outcasts, the lowest of the lowest, and the least remarkable people on earth to carry a message of Grace, Love, and Peace,

from God to us all.

Like shepherds, we get to go

to go out

to go out and tell the world

what great goodness, mercy, and blessings God has shown us

simple

poor

outcast

broken and sinful

folk.

And How’s That Possible?

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Dark …………………………………………….. and …………………………………………….. Light

Both Permeate Our Views,

Just As Evil and Goodness

Permeate Our Lives.

Only Grace

Gives Us A Chance

of Living Well

Covered By Them Both.

Isaiah 60:18

Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

2 Peter 3:13

But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Words of Grace For Today

You have heard it said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes. Well I’ll tell you that is that while true they are hardly significant, compared to the two things that are actually for sure in life: Evil and God’s Grace (which makes everything good possible.)

The words of Isaiah are a promise or a call to make something good happen. And I have to say, just because you don’t hear about it does not mean that it is not there, and just because you name something nice does not make it good.

Churches give themselves names that speak the exact opposite of their true nature: a break away congregation after heated conflict that destroys so many people calls itself Peace Lutheran. A church steeped in demanding of each other obedience, pietistic practices, and righteousness (and the covering up of anything that is different) calls itself Grace Lutheran.

The American dollar is printed with ‘In God We Trust’ while those dollars are used to do anything but display a trust in God!

Fanatics call themselves all sorts of things, including faithful, and they are anything but. They become just terrorists.

Presidents like Trump and Premiers like Smith get democratically elected (well sort of), pledge to uphold a constitution and then do everything to set themselves up as sovereigns, dictators without any accountability to anyone but themselves (and their moneyed supporters.)

But God calls us children, and sends us out to be disciples of Jesus the Christ. We need to live acknowledging the full power of Evil, around us and in us, and we need to live embodying the humble and powerful Grace that God provides as a triumphant reply to Evil.

That’s a dance that we cannot find the steps to on our own. Only the Holy Spirit can guide us in that dance, and that guidance comes to us not because we earn it, but because God so chooses to give us broken, sinful humans opportunity after opportunity to hear God’s melody and dance God’s dance of Grace.

May it be, also today, so for us.

Learning, Life-long Learning

Monday 5 December 2022

Coyote Chases Crows Away From A Carcass;

Do animals survive only as they continue

to learn all their lives long?

Is that what did the beaver (carcass) in?

Psalms 143:10

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.

Galatians 5:22-23

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Words of Grace For Today

Climbing hills, descending to valleys, climbing again … all this is good exercise and good exercise builds strong muscles and a healthy circulating system. Why would we want God’s Spirit to lead us on level paths?

Well, that is something that one learns again and again through life, if one is attentive to learning, learning, and learning.

The hills and valleys the Spirit helps us avoid are the hills and valleys that the Devil puts in our way to impede our progress towards completing God’s work assigned to us. These hills and valleys will kill us, if not physically, the nspiritually, which is worse than a physical death. All which one would learn through life … if one were attentive to learning.

While we cannot earn God’s saving grace and favour (that’s all gift) we certainly can descend from receiving God’s grace and favour back into the ways the Devil would have us pursue, straight to hell in a hand basket for us and for those around us, if the Devil has it’s way. (‘It’s’ because the Devil is often referred to as him, but I’ve met a few women who serve the Devil so well, I’ve learned to respect that the Devil is both male and female, incarnate in too many people who the only thing they learn life long is how to destroy more and more people in order to ‘get ahead.’)

Thus we can discern and choose to behave in certain ways other than in ways that serve the Devil. Paul describes some of these as “ love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

Life-long learning will teach us again and again that we can strive for these, but only the Spirit can help us achieve them, if temporarily, until we face the next challenging decision.

If one stops learning, then one is as good as dead, or worse, a very good agent of the Devil.

May today provide us with more opportunities to learn …

again …

of God’s grace that sustains us.

Quench & Despise not; Test & Hold Fast!

Friday 2 December 2022

Life,

as in taking to the horizon,

requires of us:

Action

and Letting Go

(Trusting God’s Promises!)

Numbers 11:29

But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!’

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good …

Words of Grace For Today

In baptism the Holy Spirit pours great gifts on and into us:

the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

So, then what.

Life is still as complicated and simple, demanding and peaceful, evil and blessedly wonderful as it was before. What difference do these gifts really make.

None, if we work everyday to quench and stifle the Spirit working in us.

None, if we despise the prophets words and Jesus’ Word.

None, if we do not test all the words that come to us, testing to discern if they are truly the Word of God, the prophets and of the saints, or if they are fake words, set there to create chaos, under the cover of which the Devil works so freely to rob us of life.

None, if we do not actively hold fast to the gifts given to us by the Spirit. Just remember, we cannot earn or actually hold on to God’s Spirit. It is that we hold fast to the promise that God will continue to hold us, no matter what, and we do not need to try so hard to make it all happen, to make it all good. God redeems and creates anew each day, in us, and in all creation around us and to the ends of the universe.

So we work hard, and rest completely in God’s good hands. This is how we continue to live as the saints have who have gone before us.

Today is another full day, of not quenching, not despising, but testing and hold fast …

and resting fully in God’s hands that hold us …

on the wild, awesome, wondrous ride that is the life of the saints.

To Where !?

Thursday 1 December 2022

To Where Will God Call Us,

Again Where We Cannot See The Destination

Today?

Genesis 35:3

… then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.

Ephesians 5:20

… giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Words of Grace For Today

The verses for today are consequences of or endings to previous events.

The first is Jacob’s call to his people to go up to Bethel to build an altar to God, to give God thanks for answering him in his distress and for accompanying him wherever he has gone.

The second is the writer of Ephesians calling to the 2nd century Christians to be constantly giving God thanks in Jesus name for everything.

This past Monday CBC Ideas ran a segment by Neil Sandell about Ernest Gann’s memoir, Fate is the Hunter. Sandell highlighted the two threads in Gann’s book: the deadly risks of early aviation (that are still present in bush flying in the north and in many parts of the world), and the capriciousness of fate as some pilots survive inevitable accidents and seemingly certain death while others, even more skilled pilots, die in similar accidents.

An Adventure in Reality.

This Advent we have the A cycle of lessons, mostly from Matthew, and on the 2nd Sunday of Advent (this upcoming Sunday) we have Matthew’s version of John the Baptist calling people to a baptism of repentance in the Jordan. Wild John the Baptist got many people’s attention, and many came, even religious leaders, scoping out John, hedging their bets for God’s favour.

We are so used to Advent, well some of us are, and it’s calls to be alert, stay awake, cleanse our hearts, minds, and whole lives with repentance … each year pretty much the same. We usually blithely hear, celebrate the coming Christmas season with parties, gift buying and wrapping, and baking and cooking for huge meals.

Each Advent, and in fact each day, God works in so many ways to get our attention. I’m not sure that God goes to the length of the wife who seized the opportunity of the crew clearing away the elk found dead on her front lawn. She convinced them instead of hauling it away to deposit in her upstairs tub. Asked why, she said that her husband always asked her how her day was and then when she told him he was so bored he really never listened or cared. At least this would get his attention! God uses so many events and opportunities that are so much more crazy. Elk in the tub by comparison are not much.

John came wearing just camel hair and a leather belt, eating locusts and wild honey (try getting that from a busy bee-hive!), and calling people to repent, be baptized, and … then he points to Jesus.

In his book (full disclosure: I’m still waiting to get the one copy from the library system, so I’m working just from the Ideas program) Gann’s language captures one’s attention. It’s beautiful, with full descriptions of each person, even minor characters. And it’s brutally honest.

So much about aviation tells the story that people want to hear, stories modified so that the risks, real deaths, and survivors all in control of the outcomes. After all who wants to hear that a safe return from their next flight, or their loved one’s next flight, is wholly beyond the control of the pilots?

Gann tells it like it is. He survived near death events so many times. He tells them like they were, fully capturing our attention as he exposes that time period’s ‘adventure’ that flying was, a dangerous adventure at best!

He then recounts from the archives of the accident reports in which 400 pilots died from similar or even less dangerous circumstances. He names the pilots.

Throughout he asks, why did I survive when so many even better pilots did not? Not a practising Christian he did believe that ‘something bigger’ was out there ‘in the skies’ beyond where he flew. He could not deny it, yet he sees the outcomes as capricious fate.

When God grabs our attention, and who knows what that will take, then we know the outcome of our survival is not capricious. God saves us. The question we cannot answer is why God does not save us all?

But the consequence of being saved, of surviving again, is simple. We give God thanks, with everything left in our lives. What that entails is different for each of us, but it’s nothing less than jettisoning what we do not need, and taking the basic necessities with us through life. That life is always like John the Baptist’s: we live and work for God to get people’s attention, we call them to repentance and baptism, and we point to Jesus as the source of life.

Following Jesus we avoid hate and anger, and cultivate grief and joy, and always we celebrate with thanks all that God gives us.

No matter how long we have been at this, our journey is not completed, nor is God done trying to get our attention. There is always the ‘next flight’ to take. It’s more than an adventure, and more than a ‘dangerous adventure’. It is life serving God, following Jesus, trusting and exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

At about 18:00 the evening of 29 Nov 2022, laying reading, the bed roll under me shook for about a minute, not wind, but ground movement! And last night an earthquake was reported near Peace River. Was this an aftershock? It’s the one good explanation I’ve got. So maybe?

Or was it God trying to get our attention, yet again!?

To what is God calling us today, this Advent, this coming year?

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

or

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,

or

none.

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.