For My Brothers

Good Evening

I have been a lot of things in my life, one of which, many years ago was an infantry soldier. Tonight I am taking some time to think about my brothers from so long ago. Most of them have passed on, these young men who stood beside me, who supported me and with I shared so much are gone now only a very few of us remain. It seemed so very important tonight to take this moment just to honour the memories that they game me, the things they taught me, and the brotherhood that we shared.

Rest well, you did your duty

You are still my brothers in arms

Take Care and God Bless

Good Enough

Brothers in Arms

Mark Knopfler

This mist covered mountains
Are home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be

Some day you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve witnessed your suffering
As the battle raged higher

And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the suns gone to hell
And the moon is riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die

But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We’er fools to make war
On our Brothers in arms

 

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Show Me a Sign

Luke 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 

The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 

The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!”

I am struck by the phrase Jesus uses in today’s Gospel, “an evil generation,” not indifferent, clueless, or mistaken, but evil. The converted people of Nineveh will arise and condemn the people of Israel and each of us who hear the Gospel with hardness of heart, for the Ninevites were convinced by the authenticity of Jonah’s presence and message. They asked for no sign. Was it Jonah’s words that converted them? Or was it his appearance—bedraggled from his days in the whale’s belly and on fire for the Lord? I wonder.

Sometimes we look so long and hard for signs that the search blinds us to an authentic witness. Or perhaps because we have lost our ability to recognize authentic witnesses when we encounter them, we look for and ask for signs. We cannot see the truth. We cannot hear it. We have blunted our receptors for taking in the truth. Asking for a sign is a convenient shortcut to walking the road with Jesus. Isn’t this the point Jesus makes when he tells us, “no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah”? Jesus is the “sign of Jonah”: he lived, died, and rose from the dead, his three days of entombment echoing Jonah’s time in the belly of the whale.

There is indeed something greater than Jonah here. The Lord used the reluctant prophet with the amazing story to convert an entire pagan city, but the plan for our redemption came by way of God’s own cross and Resurrection—greater stakes and greater suffering with much greater results. This is no fish tale. We must accept the “sign of Jonah.” We, too, must follow Christ through death to Resurrection

Who are We With

Mark 9:38-40

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”

But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon after ward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.”

Good Evening Gentle Readers


This passage is nestled between two exchanges where children feature in Jesus’ remarks to his disciples. What might children have to do with this rogue exorcist that concerns John?

In the passage just prior, Jesus rebukes his disciples for thinking about status and honour. He places before them a child and teaches them that the lowly should be their focus. Because children had no status in that culture, Jesus uses them as an example of the outcast, the poor, the marginalized. Then, in the passage just after this one, Jesus speaks of how important it is to protect children and vulnerable people, to raise them up and not let them fall to harm.

What is Jesus up to here? He is trying to get his disciples to stop thinking about themselves and to realize they should be about service to others, especially the poor.

But, as usual, the disciples don’t get it—in this passage, they’re still thinking about who is in and who is out. They are stuck in the old categories: Who is with us? Who is against us? These are questions about status and belonging, and they reveal the disciples’ jealousy and intolerance.

Jesus blows apart their thinking: God’s circle is much wider than theirs, so they should not worry about who is in and out. Anyone who does anything to assist their mission of bringing forth the kingdom is welcome—no matter if they were in or outside the group of “followers.” And his bigger point stands: stop navel-gazing and look around at all the good work there is to do in service to others. Stop thinking about our group and who belongs and who doesn’t belong and what honours we might receive.

Is status and belonging an important concern where you live or work or learn or worship? What is Jesus saying to these situations?

A good antidote, in my experience, is service—it helps me move beyond established borders and boundaries. Helping to serve meals at a soup kitchen puts me in touch with people I’d normally not speak with, and there is a richness to those encounters because we’re meeting each other on the common ground of our human dignity, rather than letting false social constructs of status separate us. I often experience the Lord in those moments.

 

I would say, go out, and let people know who you are with…..

 

Take Care and God Bless

Good Enough

A Visit

May 19 2018

Good Evening Gentle Readers

I had planned a fun family day with my wife Cindy Lou and my two year old son, the Big Man. It was supposed to be all about fun, all about us as a family. Now to put his in perspective a bit I normally work Saturday mornings from eight am to twelve noon, I am still sort of the new guy at my job and the extra money does help out so normally its work, groceries, running around, then home a movie or so and bed on Saturday, but today I did not have to work because of the long weekend. So we wake up and it’s a day off.

Cindy Lou had gone out on Thursday and picked up socks, sixty pairs of them, to drop off at a local shelter. I think she had planned to drop them off next week so when I volunteered to do it this morning it became a family thing. We drove downtown and got to the shelter. I have worked in a number of shelters over the years and one of the bad parts of them is that in the morning, rain or shine you are out the door so there was a good crowd of folks just milling about trying to stay out of the rain.

We met Kyle, a really nice fellow who had stayed overnight at the shelter, he not only helped us drop off the socks but when we struck up a conversation with him he ran back inside to get the big man a Popsicle, which was a story in itself. Kyle is a roofer by trade and working, just not making enough to find an apartment in the city so the shelter is the only choice for now. He was so personable and friendly I wished I could have spent longer talking to him. He was also taken with the Big Man who had no qualms about giving a high five and his great smile to this stranger. We shared a moment, a time and when it was done we went on our way. I am sure that we brightened the day for a few of the folks at the shelter.

Cindy Lou and I met at an outreach so for both of us it was really a walk back to where it began, and yes for both of us it was a visit home.

So its off to the local farmer’s market, Cindy Lou and I never get to go because of my work schedule so this is a real treat. The Big man gets a huge sugar cookie from the “Cookie Queen” and he is thrilled and as we go through the various stalls of home grown vegetables and hand made sausages I notice how nice everyone is. Even with the gray skies and crowd, everyone has a smile and a nice word or two for myself and my family. Our last stop is a favourite of mine, a United Church that on market day sells home made apple dumplings in hot caramel sauce. They are made and served by the church ladies who also sell home made pies, which just by the way, are just the best. So I find a table and we sit down while I go to get my apple dumplings and all of a sudden in this church basement I see what I like to call community church. The ladies in the kitchen are laughing and joking with each other, there are families sitting together talking and greeting people as they come in, children playing and everyone is being treated as if they are all just old friends in someones kitchen. It’s a bit strange for me, but familiar as well, I just haven’t seen it in a long while.

As they day continues I take a bit of time to thank God for my family, I thank God for showing me that I still have the heart to work with the poor, and I thank God for all he has given me……

Tomorrow I have a trip to the park planned…..

I will watch my Big man play…

I will watch my Cindy Lou smile….

And again I will thank God for all he has given me….

Take Care and God Bless

Good Enough

Just Asking

This one is from Saturday

A bit late but Saturday turned into quite a day

John 16:23B-28

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; now, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.”

Good Morning Gentle Readers

As I sit here getting ready for work, it’s my half day Saturday, I am forced to think about all of the times I have went to the Lord with really bad requests, asking for things that I did not need or things that in the end might have done me harm.

God is not an ATM, you know, insert prayer and get a response, that’s not how it works. But God does listen, and every time God does respond, sometimes in ways that we just don’t get.

This passage touches me in two almost opposing ways. On the one hand, it reminds me of my “greedy” side. When I pray, it’s often to ask the Lord for something, some favour if you will. And oftentimes, I feel the Lord has listened. My prayers were answered just as I hoped, prayed, and in the way I imagined. Then, on the other hand, the truer side, are times when the Lord did not answer my prayer, or so I thought. I often lamented and didn’t understand how the Lord could’ve “failed” me. Didn’t God know what I needed? Didn’t I pray hard enough, long enough, loud enough? Its these time that I have to stop and think, if my two year old asked for a sharp knife would I give it to him? We don’t know the whole story and God does, its sort of better to leave it in his hands.

There have been times when God has answered my prayers and I have not seen the answer. I missed that yes, God came through, just not the way I thought he would, or better than I could have ever imagined.

That reminds me of the old joke, If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan….

“Amen, amen, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. “

Jesus tells us ask and you will receive, and yes, this is true, he also says that we have to work for the Kingdom of God, build it here so there are two parts to this. God gives us the tools, we just need to do the work sometimes. The “In my Father’s name.” also tells us what to ask for, is it God’s kingdom we are building, or our own.

As you go about your day today and ask God for help, ask yourself who’s kingdom you are building

Take Care and God Bless

Good Enough

Time May Change Me

May 11 2018

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples, “Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy.

“When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.

“So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”

Good Morning Gentle Readers

I really dislike the winter, the cold. The snow, clearing frost off my car, all of it, and yet I live in Southern Ontario Canada, and to be honest it is where I want to live. Every year I watch the seasons change and I do love the spring, the summer and the fall and yes that first snow fall, the crisp air, and of course Christmas makes the winter for me.

Life is sort of like the changing seasons, we have good times and bad, dry spells and times when everything flows and goes our way. I have lived in times of darkness and despair, and I have lived in times of joy and love, and always in the good and the bad, God has been there with me, always helping, always weeping with my sorrow and rejoicing in my joy.

The changing seasons call us to appreciate the rhythms of life. Jesus beckons his disciples to lean into that same cadence in this passage: “You will grieve,” he says, “You will weep and mourn.” He speaks of the phases of grief and joy a mother experiences in child birth, and explains that she experiences pain “because her hour has come.”

This passage offers us permission to sit with the seasons, even those of grief or pain that come our way. Jesus anchors us in the reality that God is constantly at work in this dynamic world that ebbs and flows, gives and takes. No matter how much change or even suffering we experience, we know that in Jesus Christ, the victory has already been won—unexpected or even unfavourable environments do not have to separate us from God.

“So you have pain now,” Jesus tells us, “but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Today as you go through the joys of the day or the heart break remember that God is with you on the journey, always right here beside you in all you do….

Take Care and God Bless

Good Enough