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 http://www.crossmarks.com/brian/matt14x13.htm

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.”

Sweet Jesus?

Or Christ Crucified!

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

You Can Call It What You Want.

It’s Still A Rabbit, and Always Will Be,

Until It’s a Meal.

Some Things Are Obvious,

When We Aren’t Playing Games On Ourselves.

Joel 2:17

Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, ‘Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, “Where is their God?” ’

Titus 2:14

Christ it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Words of Grace For Today

‘There’s enough sugar in that bowl to power a train from here to Toronto.’

That could be said of a lot of breakfast bowls.

It won’t make it true.

But it could be said, given how much sugar is packed into cereals these days.

It is as if the cereal companies and us eating them are trying to make our worlds a little sweeter … any way we can

even if it makes us foolish and fat, over-feeding our frenzy for sweetness.

These efforts of our may well be sublimated attempts on our part to make up for our inability to set ourselves right with God and God’s creation.

The only answer for that un-rightness is in God’s own work to reach us, so Jesus, the Christ, is born, teaches and reaches out to us hoi-poloi, heals us of every ill, equips us with unimaginable gifts, and sends us out to share those with other people, others of the masses of hurting humanity, so desperately trying to set themselves right with

well, many don’t even know what with.

The ‘priests can cry in between vestibules and the altars’ all they are won’t. Such are their efforts.

The people will none the less cry “Where is their God?”

For it is all too easy to let God’s works go unnoticed, if we are on the train to ‘making the world sweet’ for ourselves.

We do not need to share more ‘sweetness’ with others.

We can share God’s gifts that heal our every ill, give us renewed life, and set us on a mission like no other.

It’s not Mission Impossible, though sometimes it is a mission unimaginable, like reaching out with kindness to the very enemies who would do us in.

Eating cereal for breakfast with berries is simple. Cutting the grass may be needed. Sharing God’s gifts … well that’s out of this world and sometimes seems crazier than anything else we’ve seen or heard of

unless we read of the saints, who have done it all before.



Friday, June 30, 2023


Morning Fishing,

Until the Hell-Raising SkiDoos

Blow It To Bits

Jeremiah 20:11

But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble, and they will not prevail. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonour will never be forgotten.

Luke 17:5

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’

Words of Grace For Today

As a departing word a couple I’d just met wished me health and well-being. I thanked them wholeheartedly. They were kind people. There’s not enough of that kind of folk.

I know too many people who would rather be wished wealth and hell-being, and more and more of it, since they orient their lives towards all the wealth they can get, legally or illegally or blatantly criminally. They want the wealth so that they can continue to raise as much hell as possible, taking all the pleasure from every day that they can steal, usually from others, but also from their own health and well-being.

Being anywhere near those kind of people is dangerous. Even if they do not target you, you are going to fall victim for their greedy progress through life, leaving a ‘scorched earth’ behind them, all too often with lots of people getting burned. These kind of people are persecutors of so many people, many more unintended victims of the wide swatch of destruction they leave in their wake.

We can understand then when Jeremiah celebrates that God will put those who persecute him to shame, letting them stumble and fall into dishonour. Life would be so much better, we could easily think, if God would take all those hell-being-ers and give them a quick exit of shame out of this world.

Yet God doesn’t do this for us. Instead God calls us to forgive these destroyers of life. God wants to be able to rejoice at their repentance. Even when we cannot imagine they even see their sins yet alone consider repenting, God continues to give them breath and hopes. When God hopes, surprising things happen.

But for us to tolerate these hell-being-ers and suffer their destruction that seems to know no bounds?! How can we do this.

Once again we cry with the disciples: “LORD, INCREASE OUR FAITH!”


Into The Day

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Learning From the Sun,

Which Even On Smoky Days,

Skips Across the Evening Waters,

Our Days Begin With Celebrations: 1, 2, 3 …

Jeremiah 8:4

You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord: When people fall, do they not get up again? If they go astray, do they not turn back?

1 Timothy 1:12

I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service,

Words of Grace For Today

People fall.

People fall often, sometimes physically, more often psychologically and even more often spiritually.

Getting up again, well that is not always a simple matter.

We’d like to simply say, yes we all get back up. Well-being is restored to us and we walk tall and healthy, full of vigour and vitality.

But it just ain’t so.

Most of us walk wounded, stooped over or even crawling from day to day. And all of us will some day not ever again get up, and we hope that someone will honour us enough to lay us in a grave.

While we breathe, wounded or stooped over, we know that God walks with us and gives us strength for this day, and each new day we breathe. We do not deserve such grace. We count on such grace.

With Timothy we give God thanks, for all the strength we need God provides, and when we need added support, God carries us through the hellish days we find ourselves in, until we come out the other side into the light of love, hope, and grace.

As we can then, we take time to skip into a waltz or two step, celebrating all that God does for us, thanking God for such undeserved gifts.


All God Has Promised, Really?

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Colours Of Peace Vary.

God’s Promises

Do Not Vary At All.

Thank God!

Jeremiah 14:21

Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonour your glorious throne; remember and do not break your covenant with us.

1 Corinthians 1:9

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Words of Grace For Today

I woke to take this photo of a peaceful morning after a few days or rather weeks of lots of not so much peace.

In order to get my photos off the cell phone I have to email them and often I write something short and maybe pithy since empty emails don’t do so well. Sometimes pithy ends up to be not so short, as this photo elicited a longer train of thought:


after smoke

after dry

after rain

after thunder & lightning

after strong winds

after obnoxious loud music from the neighbours

after it all


peaceful blue skies & green grass & trees & bright sun.

I’ll take it.

after an allergy pill 😐

Almost as good as a bright winter day with no bugs.”

Reality seen wonderful can too often be tempered by a bit more of reality.

The reality that God promises us is founded only on God’s good Grace and Love for us.

There is nothing that tempers that reality, for God’s Grace and Love already take into consideration all our sins, all evil, all trials and temptations, all storms and challenges of life … everything bad!

As well as everything Good!

What could we do were God to revoke God’s promises?!

What could we do were God to abandon God’s one-sided covenant with us, to be loving and gracious always?!

There is no ‘allergy pill’ to deal with the realities that God’s Grace and Love consider and deal with for us. On our own it would be a disaster, exactly what many people take life to be because they do not accept God’s promises.

What wonder it is, though, to live in the fellowship of Jesus Christ, a fellowship of imperfect and broken and ‘loud, obnoxious music’ people who are almost as bad as us 😐 !

What a wonder to wake each morning, whether it is a calm and peaceful weathered day or a stormy, raged, and ‘filled with sins that break everything in sight’ day, and to know that God is faithful and true, loving and gracious with us, healing us from all our broken hearts, minds, spirits and bodies, forgiving us all our destorying sins.

What a wonder to know that God remains God, loving and merciful.

What a wonder!


At Thinking? And Doing Right?

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

How Long Will It Be Before

No Eggs Will Hatch?

Psalm 102:17

God will regard the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.

Philippians 4:6

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Words of Grace For Today

The not unusual question came over the phone from a telephone support person, “Are there any other questions you have?”

I gave him a list:

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. How can we deal with world overpopulation?
  3. How can we solve Climate Change this year?
  4. How do we solve the pervasive problem of racism and injustice against the poor?
  5. How can we solve the huge inequality problem throughout the world that is the root cause of so many other problems?
  6. How will I ever get out of debt?
  7. What is God doing while we systematically, methodically wipe out the environment that supports life on earth?
  8. How can we finally get truth to be valued and upheld in all aspects of life, especially in our courts?
  9. Are we going to poison ourselves to death like the Romans did with lead; though we are using the likes of PFAS and so many other toxins in daily life, like gasoline?

I ended with, “Those are just a few question I have.”

The reply was, “I’m not philosophical, so I don’t have the answers.”

I chuckled as the help person did as well.

But these questions are not laughing matters.

And the truth is, whether one is philosophical or not one needs to ask them and have at least a rough outline of possible answers. That’s a basic responsibility for anyone renting air on earth these days.

In the end, whether we solve any of these or none, we all need most of to



Before Whose Altar

Friday, June 16, 2023

ZDF Gottesdienst 11 Juni 2023

Pfarrer Dr. Robert Nandkisore aus Oestrich-Winkel

Segnet Uns Alle

(Blesses Us All)

Joshua 22:29

Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt-offering, grain-offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!’

Hebrews 10:25

… not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Words of Grace For Today

Where and Whom or What do we worship each day?

By the looks of society around us (in western Canada) people worship their ability to burn gasoline and diesel in their trucks and toys (boats, snowmobiles, quads, side by sides, and sea-does). The rationale is though climate change occurs (hard to deny that now that storms, wildfire, and smoke interfere with daily life) it has always happened. (Forgetting just a little that the speed of the change is like never before in all time. What used to take more than a million years of evolution we’ve ‘accomplished’ burning carbon – among many others like mining, technology and creation and use of new, permanent chemicals – in less than one hundred!)

And people worship the comforts of modern living, hot and cold water, vehicles for transportation, roadways, air travel around the globe, secure and temperature controlled housing, bounties of food sources and varieties, and a steady income to enjoy all those things. Not that everyone has the ability to have or enjoy all that, but nearly everyone wishes they had and enjoyed all that, so they work endless hours to achieve that (even as they earn less real income each year and costs go up each month.)

Many still gather to worship God. And their worship is oriented towards making themselves good enough for God. All that they do supposedly makes them ‘better’ than they were, and certainly ‘better’ than all the people who do not join them in ‘being better’ and ‘good’ or at least ‘good enough for God.’

Where can one worship with others, begging God for mercy, receiving forgiveness, and humbly acknowledging that Jesus came for sinners, the worst of whom is not anyone else but for each person, themselves. Receiving forgiveness and by grace, renewed life, then each and all go out to extend that same grace and renewed life to all they encounter, as many as possible, in as many ways as possible.

There are not many opportunities for such worship. They are rare indeed. Those of who seek such worship are the best of all God’s children, right!?

oppps, slipped into the pervasive sin-rut of making myself and us better than everyone else.

So, when one even fails to remain humble and fully dependent on God, where can one find an opportunity to gather and humbly worship God, begging for mercy? And how can one go out to share God’s grace with others when one does not depend on that grace each day, all day?

By Grace alone, God provides.

Such was the blessing from a Catholic priest. At the end of the televised worship service, focused on God’s mercy shown to addicts gathered as the congregation Cenacolo, founded by the Elvira nuns, in northern Italy and everywhere (Jesus comes to the sick, and calls the worst of all sinners to follow him, like the tax collector Matthew) Pfarrer Dr. Robert Nandkisore just before he exited the church, turned to look at the camera. Various people do this through the service, usually with a bit of embarrassment of being televised or to complete their part of the service. But the service is done. So what is the priest up to? He looked directly in the lens (at each of us watching) and with an intensity through his glasses, strong to corrected nearsightedness, blessed us all and each of us.

May we find opportunity to be such a blessing to others, even this day.

What else did you have in mind?

Useless worship of things, comforts, and vain efforts?


Or Arthritis, Or …

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Like Nighttime Snow

Freezing The Pine’s ‘Green’,

Arthritis Grips One’s Thumbs

(and other parts)

Without Warning

Psalm 34:3

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.

Philippians 4:4-5

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

Words of Grace For Today

A low pressure area (weather) approaches and the barometer drops like lead balloons or truth entering a courtroom.

Lifting a 22’ post to vertical to be packed tight in a hole yesterday leaves me cautious with my back.

But why are my thumbs complaining so loudly. Ah, yes. The lifts, only a few inches at a time, were many over hours … and I used a small but still heavy and very sturdy tree top with many side branches to lift the post and then to support the post between lifts. The best grip (well the only workable grip) put my left thumb in a vise below one of those side branches. So today, screaming out with pain, it wants heat and it’s cool in here since I’ve cooled it down to 13⁰ with the night air to prepare for the coming heat of the day (over 30⁰).

Lots of things, aggressive things, could be done, like turbo pain relievers. But how is one gentle with pain.

Well, one is gentle with arthritis if one has any good experiences with it. Aggressive hardly ever works and is more likely to make it worse. So the coffee press is filled from the hot water pan with a cup. That task done the cup automatically gets held just a few minutes longer in that hand and then is run around the outside of the thumb to warm it. Still the pain.

So after breakfast, the coffee press always has about 3/4 cup of coffee in the bottom with the grounds that does not pour out without extreme measures and then always with grounds in it anyway, so it’s hot after the last cup is poured and it gently, carefully (it’s almost too hot to touch) serves as a heat pad, and finally the the pain subsides enough so that I can write (well type.)

And the day is good.

When it’s not one’s own body that’s screaming in pain, but another person cursing in anger, the same kind of approach works best, if one knows what is good for oneself and others. Find what soothes the pain that is behind the anger, since all anger at it’s beginning and core is pain, is being hurt.

And that hurt allowed to grow into anger. And that anger left to fester by someone who does not know what hurts them grows to nearly fill or actually overfill, the person’s every hour. And that overfill of past pain become anger gets set off with a small spark of pain way too often. And the frequent fire of anger (without any obvious cause) grows until the person is in full out rage … every hour of every day, until ….

So when you encounter an angry person it’s almost impossible to deal to any good effect with the anger that grows out of the present situation, … because, well, that isn’t the pain the person is ‘venting’ with anger or rage.

And the only way to calm the current situation is …

you got it,

with gentleness

that soothes not only the current pain but all that pain built up under the surface.

Gentleness goes a long way, everyday,

with everyone.

Even me.

Even you.

How could God not advise us to let everyone know our gentleness?

How can we exercise gentleness even today?

Or is everything a nail since we are always hammers!? (Hurts my thumb just to think that!)

Cursed Days?

Doch, Blessed.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Threatened By Smoke,

Yet My Days Are Wondrously and Remarkably

(and inexplicably)



Deuteronomy 23:5

Yet the Lord your God refused to heed Balaam; the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you.

2 Peter 3:15

and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him,

Words of Grace For Today

Now it is not great when one’s enemies join together to give voice to and worse to effect a curse against one continuing to live in peace and even to continue to breathe at all.

God does not work magic to save us. Sometimes it may indeed seem that God barely works at all. Yet God does work and work grace and blessings for us.

Because God walks with us, we trust that any curse spoken or attempted against us will be turned into a blessing, just as God turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing. Thus living and breathing will continue to be wondrous for us.

Today also, each challenge is not our undoing, but cause for us to give thanks, for as many challenges as we face, God gives us the ability to overcome them.

So we live, content, giving God thanks for everything that provides life for us, most of all, God’s presence each day.


Even When One Is

A Burden?

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Refugees Can Come At Anytime,

By Land, Sea, or Air,

in Cold, Heat, or Storm.

Will We Welcome Them?

Deuteronomy 5:32

You must therefore be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn to the right or to the left.

Matthew 22:37-39

He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” ’

Words of Grace For Today

The runners who alerted the neighbouring communities of the coming floods and fires trickled back to Julius’ community, bursting at the seams of their expanded hunting camp. All but the one who went to the furthest community. She did not return for months. They found out she had stayed to help that community prepare as best they could for the water and flames that could wipe out the community. Her advice and their efforts are a whole story in and of themselves.

The surprise, a bit unwelcomed, was that the closest community saw little hope of saving their homes and fields, so they followed the young man who had alerted them, all the way back to the hunting community. Already bursting at the seams in their camp, having spent days expanding it to accommodate all of them instead of just a small hunting party, they people starting to complain and cry in uproar that it was not fair to be take such advantage of by these people. The New-Iblers, as they called themselves, were a sixth the number of Julius’ community. As they waited patiently just outside the hunting camp Julius met with a pair of their leaders.

The request was that the New-Iblers be able to make a separate camp not far away and share protection, resources, and work with Julius’ community. Just as Julius was about to respond, welcoming them, a trio of his community members arrived, protesting to the New-Iblers that they would bring such trouble and burden to them. There simply was not room, nor resources, to accommodate the visitors. Even a new camp would make this hunting camp nearly useless in the future for hunting, marking the human presence so wide that wildlife would avoid the area.

Julius listened. When the intruders were done complaining, he reminded one how the community had come together to help his family when their house caught on fire, building him a new home. Another Julius reminded how when her family’s garden had failed, everyone in the community had donated generously to them so that they had more than enough produce for the coming year until the next harvest. Someone had even investigated why the garden had failed while others had not. And then helped the family rescue their garden from the worms that had multiplied so fast there, so that it continued to produce even to this day. They others he reminded of how the community had helped each of them. They he reminded them how they had all helped others in the community.

Remember the ancient wisdom from the old texts: “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ ”

No one could tell what those bringing the complaints of the community were thinking. They waited. Sometimes it takes time to take in wisdom that is not easily welcomed.