C.C. voices from the past #112

In 1955 Albert Camus ( a French philosopher and winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957) wrote the following words,

“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”

I wonder what Albert Camus would think, were he alive today to witness the reality of his words being played out around the world but most spectacularly right here in the United States. COVID-19 has indeed provided and proved to be the perfect alibi for a small number of people to seize power over a previously free, self governing nation of people.

In COVID world there are no voices of dissent tolerated. If you disagree with any edicts dictating public behavior, openings/closings, comings and goings, who is essential and who is not, who may congregate and who may not, (still a mystery why some are allowed to gather and others are threatened with legal action if they dare to gather- isn’t the virus equally deadly no matter what the reason for the gathering of people together?) you are shamed into silence and accused of wishing harm to anyone and everyone.

After all, it is those in power, the tyrants, who have our best interests at heart. They know so much more than we could ever hope to know and so must protect us from ourselves and our own bad choices. We have to trust them, right? We dare not trust ourselves, the tyrants have made that clear.

And so we are at the mercy of the tyrants. The problem is, tyrants by definition are not merciful. They are anything but. They have no interest in justice, equality or freedom either. How ironic that they parade under the banner of these ideals even as everything they do works to extinguish our freedoms, the very freedoms which provide us the opportunity to continue pursuing justice and equality for all.

Who loves this country enough to speak out on her behalf? Why all the silence, which gives its unspoken consent and defense to all things previously indefensible? That rhetoric is not popular at the moment. Or is it the mandatory mask mandate that has muzzled us into an uneasy silence – masks being a constant reminder that there is personal danger from both disease and dissent? The question is, which will ultimately prove to be the more deadly?

In 1770 Edmund Burke wrote these telling words in a letter to Thomas Mercer. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (or to remain silent)

Another voice from the past, Otto Gritschneder, left us words of warning as well stating, “He who falls asleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship.”

Are we silent because we are sleeping, comfortable for the moment, unwilling to be disturbed or are we silent out of fear, unwilling to risk our current comforts to defend our constitution and the freedoms and protections it provides for us all?

It seems there are few who will come to the defense of this country, this country that has provided them shelter, protection and opportunity to pursue their dreams. Even the opportunity to protest is protected under our first amendment.

How ironic that those who riot in our streets are protesting and burning down the very country which protects their right to do so and protects their freedom to have any opinion they choose. Do they know what happens to people in China who dissent? When you have abolished our Constitution, who will protect you then? (certainly not the now defunct police whom you denigrated and then defunded) Yes, they were there to protect you, too. Well, unless you were committing crimes, that is. Then they were there to protect us from you.

There is this hopeful sign though. In my state, the early voting lines have been long and continue to be long day after day. People are standing in line for hours to cast their vote in person. And with 4-7 hour wait times at some locations, this is quite a sacrifice of their time, yet still the lines continue to be long and they continue to be peaceful.

When our streets are overrun with rioters assaulting police, burning, looting, vandalizing, tearing down and terrorizing – we feel helpless. We may be tempted to think that these rioters speak for everyone, that everyone hates our country and wants to destroy her. Our voices are not heard. In fact, they are even silenced. After all, Patriotism is a punishable offense.

Just look at what happened to Drew Brees. You are not allowed to say you love your country. How many apologies did he issue for simply saying something positive and sharing his feelings publicly? (at least five and counting) I thought free speech was still guaranteed by our constitution?

But these long voting lines tell a different story. One the media won’t tell, but a story nonetheless. No one is paying these voters to stand in line, unlike the professional, paid protesters showing up in every city with bags of bats, bricks and bombs (we saw a u-haul pull up at one site to deliver the mob their ammunition for another night of terror and destruction)

The individuals waiting in voting lines at the polls are quiet and peaceful. They are counting on their voice being heard at the ballot box where their vote will be counted. They are not tearing anything down, they are not attacking anyone physically or verbally but they are participating in the process that lets them choose those who end up in office.

The unprecedented numbers of people in these long lines reveal to us this untold story. There is a silent majority in our country who want peace and prosperity for everyone. (I confess – I am and have been a part of that silent majority, maybe for far too long) And for the past few weeks here in my state, they have been silently standing up and standing in long lines for the privilege of casting their vote. They are letting their voices be heard, not by burning something down, but by participating in the democratic process. And they are willing to pay the price of a long wait, in questionable weather, on their feet – it must be important to each person there or they would simply leave.

These are not the people who have filled our streets with hate speech and violence. These are people willing to sacrifice their time and comfort for something more important. Freedom comes at a cost. In our lifetime the cost hasn’t been very high, as it was paid by those who came before us, those who gave their lives to secure and protect our current freedoms.

It is a very vocal minority that has taken over our streets purporting to speak for all of us, when in reality they speak only for themselves and no one else. They do not speak for me.

I do not think reacting to an act of injustice with multiple acts of multiplied injustices over long periods of time benefits anyone. No one’s life is made better by hate, destruction, violence, vengeance, fear, intimidation, and a mob mentality rule. No one. The answer to injustice is not more injustice. We all suffer as our communities are torn down and terrorized by – by whom?

These people should not be able to hide behind anonymity. Of course that’s why they come out when the sun goes down. Those who do dark deeds love the cover of darkness. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

Voices from the past continue to speak into our lives today, if we listen to them and learn from them. Gandhi’s words are still with us and they were many. This observation of his is particularly pertinent,

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary, the evil it does is permanent.” Likewise Gandhi stated,

“Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.” Gandhi’s message was this,

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Maybe meaning positive change doesn’t come through violence? How does it come? These words of Gandhi answer that question,

“The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.”

Human hearts are hard to change, especially when they are hardened hearts. Fortunately, we don’t need to rely on a voice from the past to guide us in how to change our hearts. We have an ever present voice in the person of God’s Holy Spirit speaking God’s wisdom and truth into our hearts and minds and lives all day long. But we have to stop and we have to listen.

Jesus told His disciples concerning the Holy Spirit, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. . . . But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” (John 14:26 & John 16:13)

And truth is necessary for freedom. Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. . . . So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32 & 36)

Paul said in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

When the truth is known, freedom will follow. It is lies and deceits that keep us captive. (that’s why a free press was so important to our founding fathers) When speech is not free, the people are not free. When we cannot worship freely (or choose not to) we are no longer free.

Today voices from our past mingle with the voices of our present. Yet above them all is the still, small, steady voice of God’s Holy Spirit calling us to Him who can change our hearts and make us holy. Gandhi was onto something when he said the heart must change first, then world change will follow in its wake.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10) “Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.” (Living Bible translation)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. finding focus #111

I confess – a childhood song is singing to me in memory’s ear, faintly but still clear enough to call to mind long forgotten bits and pieces of my past. Turns out they were neither forgotten nor lost, just dormant – waiting for a reawakening. And today was the day. The day for forgotten melodies to play again in my head, though they had been stored up in my heart all these years.

The song? a pre-school song of sorts. “Oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down with love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.” It even had motions to go with the words, if I remember rightly.

I have been thinking about vision, more specifically, focus, perspective, viewpoint – they all have to do with how we see the world around us and the people in it. Worldview, some call it. Does where you look determine what you see? (I guess that seems kind of obvious now that I’ve said it)

So then, changing where I look will change what I see, which will change my perspective? Maybe that’s why Hebrews 12:2 tells me to,

“fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.” Why? Because where I look matters. On what or on whom I fix my gaze determines the direction of my steps which ultimately determines the destination of my soul. It all starts with a look.

Maybe that’s why God told Abraham (back when he was still Abram) to look up. You see, Abram was having his doubts and his conversation with God went something like this (well, exactly like this)

“Then the word of the Lord came to him: (Abram) ‘This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.’ He (God) took him (Abram) outside and said, ‘Look up at the heavens and count the stars – if indeed you can count them.’ The He (God) said to him (Abram), ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Abram believed the Lord, and He (the Lord) credited it to him (Abram) as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:4-6)

God asked Abram to look up. God invited Abram to gaze upon the expanse of the star-studded night sky and catch just a glimpse of who He is as Creator/Sustainer of the entire universe. God knew Abram needed to look up not down, outward not inward. Abram needed to look outward to something or someone greater than himself, rather than continuing to look inward to himself for the answers that he sought.

This shift in Abram’s focus determined the steps of his journey which led him to fulfill his destiny, becoming Abraham along the way. This would not be the only time looking up would be an important part of Abraham’s story. Remember when he took his son, Isaac, up the mountain to sacrifice him as God had instructed him to do? (it was a test of Abraham’s trust and obedience)

Here’s how that story ended. “Then he (Abraham) reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham! . . . Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from Me your son, your only son..’ ”

It is at this point in the story that Abraham shifts his focus from looking down at his son to – to what? well, see for yourself,

“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:10-13)

Abraham looked up, he shifted his gaze which changed his focus. He saw something he had not seen before – the ram caught in the thicket. He looked up and he saw God’s provision, he looked up and he saw God’s answer. Abraham saw God’s answer to the question Isaac had asked of him just hours earlier, as they journeyed together up the mountain. This was how their conversation went . . .

” ‘The fire and wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together.” (Genesis 22:7-8)

And indeed, when Abraham looked up he was able to see God’s provision there before his very eyes. This reminds me of a verse I have always loved, Psalm 3:3, which says –

“But You are a shield around me, O Lord; You bestow glory on me and lift up my head.” Some translations say “You are the lifter of my head.”

There are times when I am too weary or too discouraged to lift up my own head. I am downcast and I feel downtrodden. But these words remind me that when I am too weak, too defeated or too despairing to lift up my own head, it is my Heavenly Father who lifts it for me, as a tender parent might do for an inconsolable child, in order to wipe away their tears.

He does this for a reason, this lifting of my head. He does this to shift my vision, my gaze upward and outward, to shift my gaze onto Him. Psalm 121:1-2 says it so beautifully with these words,

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

When my head is lifted up, my line of vision will be lifted up along with it. I will be able to gaze upward and outward to hills, mountains, sunsets, sunrises, starry skies, lovely lakes, soaring birds – all proclaiming the glory of God.

Where I fix my eyes matters. Hebrews 12:2 has already told me to “fix my eyes on Jesus” and there is another similar suggestion in 2 Corinthians 4:18 telling me to –

“fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

There’s that word “fix” again. To gaze at steadfastly, no turning away – that sports metaphor of “don’t take your eye off the ball” or “keep your eye on the prize.” Because where I am looking matters. Just look at Lot’s wife, if that isn’t a cautionary tale?

Remember, she and her family were running for their lives to escape the coming destruction of their city. However, as it turns out, “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:26)

I guess where we look matters. Look what it says in Colossians 3:2 to us,

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

There’s that “setting” or “fixing” again. This time with the mind and my mind will follow where I set my sights or rest my eyes. So I guess I would do well to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.

All of creation, in fact, is looking to its Creator. Why should I do any different?

“The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

I started with a song in my head and now I’m ending with a different tune playing quietly in memories’ ears, it’s been keeping me company as I’ve written these words today, dear readers, so I will share this song with you in closing . . .

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace”

lift your head and look at Him . . .

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. strike one #110

Yes, it is true I struck out yesterday in my intended endeavor. But I made some new friends and spent some time outdoors on a beautiful fall afternoon so it wasn’t a total waste of time. But I did not succeed in my original goal of casting my vote in the 2020 election. I confess – with about two hours already invested but a projected possible three to four hours (or more) stretching ahead of me in a long, winding line of humanity, and with the sun going down along with the temperature – I bailed. I admitted defeat – temporarily, vowing to try again another day.

And so I shall. You see, I discovered something yesterday. I think waiting in line to vote could just be the new tailgating! ok, so it’s tailgating except with strangers and no sporting event and no food grilling. Still, there hasn’t been much football this fall and even with the limited college and NFL games there is no tailgating allowed. Enter long election lines to fill the void!

And actually, shortly before I bailed, a large food truck did pull into the parking lot where we were all waiting in line, a captive crowd of hungry potential customers, adding to the tailgate-like atmosphere. (all that was missing was the marching band and an actual football game) It wasn’t enough to convince me to stay however, although the smells coming from that direction were really good.

At some point, we attempted to conduct our own exit poll of sorts, if we could flag people down. However, our question was not “who did you vote for?” it was the much more relevant and pressing question of “how long have you been here?” We wanted to get an idea of how much longer was the wait that awaited us. The news was not encouraging.

And yet people stayed. And I discovered an important truth. If you have to be in a long line for a long time, you are indeed fortunate if you find yourself in line with an optimist. I did. It was my good fortune to find myself next to Mona, my new friend, the optimist. She would have made the remaining hours more than barely bearable, had I chosen to stay. She was great company!

You know, dear readers, for a fast paced, fast food, drive through, no waiting kind of a culture that we are, what I saw yesterday defied all the odds. Hundreds of people, waiting long, giving up their Saturday for the opportunity, the privilege of casting their vote in person. No grumbling, no complaining, just a peaceful passing of the time in a long and winding line, which wove its way back and forth, back and forth across and around a parking lot before it ever came close to the building.

There was a kind of a quiet camaraderie which developed among us all, we, these total strangers thrown together for this brief time (which turned out to be not so brief) But we all shared a common goal. We wanted to cast our vote, to participate in our democracy. We wanted our voice to be heard and we wanted our concerns to be counted. And so we stayed. (well, they stayed)

That parking lot was a picture of the America I know and love. We were all kinds of people by any measure of description – gender, age, occupation, educational background, skin color, religious affiliation, political persuasions and on and on. But all of us shared a common purpose yesterday because we all share something in common – we share this country, our country – this country we all call home. We all value our freedom of life, liberty and our pursuit of happiness. We all want to live in peace and safety.

And so we were all partakers in a common purpose yesterday, that purpose of participating in our own governance. No one that I saw was wearing anything that would give away their voting preference. And that was not a topic of discussion within my earshot anyway. We were just thankful to be free to cast our vote. The fact that so many were willing to wait for so long told the story. We, as Americans, still value our country and the freedoms she continues to provide us.

Standing in line for the two hours that I did, left me filled with hope for our country. Not everybody hates her. Not everybody hates each other. I guess the media was wrong. Maybe a small, vocal minority does not speak for the rest of us? They certainly do not speak for me. I do not hate my fellow Americans, no matter what their skin color nor what their beliefs. That is what freedom is. Freedom to choose one’s way in life, freedom to practice faith or not, freedom from fear of mob rule and oppression.

Maybe America is still the land of opportunity for those willing to accept the challenge she offers of self determination? Let us hope so. And let us do something else, too. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 tells us this,

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

So I have the privilege of praying for my leaders even if they are not the ones I voted for. Kind of like the “pray for your enemies” command found in scripture. But I can rest secure in this knowledge after I have done my duty to vote – it is what Romans 13:1 tells me,

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Furthermore Daniel 2:21 reveals this,

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them.”

” . . . so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

here’s hoping your voting experience is as uplifting as mine, only with a better outcome in that you actually stay the course and cast your vote! meanwhile, I am still at bat – I will most definitely swing at the next opportunity . . .

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. who is He? #109

Who is He? We all ask that question at some time or another in our lives – or most of us do, if we are even remotely curious. The disciples of Jesus asked this question among themselves after experiencing a particularly dramatic incident. This harrowing event started out as an unremarkable boat ride undertaken by Jesus and His disciples. But “Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.”

Now Jesus was sleeping but the disciples, fearing they were all going to drown, woke Him saying, “Lord, save us!” So Jesus “rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The disciples just sat there, awed! ‘Who is this,’ they asked themselves, ‘that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ ” (Matthew 8:23-27)

Who is He? Who is this God in three persons, my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit? Just as the disciples asked this question so many years ago, people continue to ask today, who is He? who is God? Infinite in being, there are infinite answers to this age old question. I confess – I could not presume to fully answer such a question, but perhaps the question “who is He to me?” yields a personal if not complete answer.

God is the lifter of my head, the Savior of my soul, the forgiver and forgetter of all my sins. He is the light in my darkness. He is the numberer of the hairs on my head as well as the numberer of my days. He is the counter of the stars, the caller of sinners to repentance and the collector of all my tears. He is the Good Shepherd. He is my Good Shepherd. He is my protector and my provider. He is the maker of my manna and the bestower of mercies new every morning.

He is the One who knows my words before I speak them. He is the One who sees me when no one else does and listens to me when I pray. He knows the way that I take. He is the One who pulls me from the pit and sets my feet on solid ground. He is the One who made clothes for Adam and Eve and He is the One who clothes me now with His righteousness. He is the payer of my price, the One who bought me with His own blood. He is the One who trains my feet for the high places and enables me to soar on wings like eagles.

He is the preparer of a place for me and the sealer of my salvation. He is the healer of all my infirmities. He is the bearer of my burdens and the straightener of my paths. He is the mover of my mountains. He is the Maker of my heart, the changer of my heart, the cleanser of my heart, the remover of my stony heart and the One who replaces it with a heart of flesh.

He is the One who counsels me with His wisdom and consoles me with His lovingkindness. He teaches me His ways and writes His laws on my heart. He convicts me of sin and disciplines me as His beloved child. He is the One who strengthens me when I am weak, who is my hope when I despair, who reminds me not to be afraid because He is with me.

He is the Creator of life, the Giver of life, the Sustainer of life, the Bread of life, the One who gave His own life that I might live. He is the author and perfecter of my faith. He is my shade, my shield, my strong tower of protection. He is my constant companion who sticks closer than a brother.

He is the One who has my name engraved on the palms of His hands, the One who covers me with His feathers and the One who rejoices over me with singing. He is the One who leads me beside still waters and into green pastures. He is the One who feeds me even when my enemies surround me.

He is the One who hems me in, behind and before. He is the One who knit me together in my mother’s womb, the One who orders my steps, directs my paths and numbers my days. He is the One who never leaves me nor forsakes me, even when others do.

He is my anchor in uncertain times, He is my advocate in heaven. He pleads my case and prepares my way. He is my rock, He is my firm foundation that stands the test of time and trouble. He is my shelter in the storm, my comfort in pain and sorrow. He is my everpresent friend in the furnace, the Living Water in my desert, the Provider of the lamb for my necessary sacrifice.

He is the One who rescues me from danger, redeems my life for His own, restores me and renews me daily. He is the Vine that sustains my life and supplies all my needs. In His presence are peace, hope, joy, comfort, eternal pleasures indescribable in nature. He is the Creator of the universe and He is my Abba Father. He dwells in unapproachable light and also with me, the contrite and lowly. I say along with the Psalmist,

“Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.” (Psalm 73:25)

Who is God to me? Colossians 1:16-17 sums it up with these words,

“For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Who is God to me? Acts 17:28 says it best,

“For in Him we (I) live and move and have our (my) being.”

God is all these things and infinitely more. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the One “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. autumn reverie #108

I confess to you here that there is nothing like the blue of an October sky on a cloudless day. It is a blue so vibrant, so clear, that it defies description by mere words alone. It is a blue you simply have to experience for yourself. And as you stand gazing at this October sky, you will find yourself asking, how can this be the same sky I looked up to in July? so different from a July sky is the sight (although a July sky is completely, perfectly wonderful in its own right). Or you may wonder, how can it bear no resemblance to an April sky? (after all it is the same sky, right?)

Albert Camus said this about fall. “Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.” I couldn’t agree with him more! I think perhaps he loves fall as much as I always have. The smell of wet leaves underfoot is the smell of autumn and it is the smell of home to me. (we had lots of trees and there were always lots of unraked leaves covering the ground)

Funny how a smell brings back so many memories. On my walks this time of year I am home in memory only, as I can no longer return to my childhood home except in memory. But autumn walks provide adequate time to spend in reverie. and for pondering such things as . . .

why an October sky is not the blue of any other sky? Perhaps because a suitable backdrop is needed against which to display the fall colors glowing from every tree (save evergreens). We look up to view such a spectacular sight, leaves of reds and golds and oranges, distinct against the bright, blue brilliance of an October sky.

The flowers of fall, as Camus said, flowers we look upward to view, not downward – these flowers are not planted in the ground. But to the ground they will eventually find their way, fall showers being the colorful cascading of the brightly colored leaves on their annual journey from tree to ground – they fill the air with their weightless wonder – we a captive audience to their last dance before they join countless others on the ground of a forest floor or a city sidewalk, a sidewalk now for a time disguised as a colorful carpet in a magical land – the very leaves that stood vibrant against the backdrop of an autumn sky, now pave the path I walk – an ordinary path transformed – now a multi-colored patchwork of most intricate design.

Who will clothe all these trees left bereft of all their former splendor? Will not their Creator care for them? Matthew 6:28-30 gives an answer saying,

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Sometimes it is a delicate, sparkling frost that clings to every bare branch as a rising sun reveals the beauty of new clothes to a waking world. At other times, dazzling ice may coat each branch, transparent yet reflecting every beam of light, giving glory to every tree in her naked state. Still other days these same trees may find themselves fully clothed in soft flakes of snow, covering them with lacy elegance unmatched in all the world. Everyone pauses at this picture of the formerly barren, now adorned with such pure white beauty that the world hushes in response.

Yes, the world hushes as it waits patiently for spring, a time when a new wardrobe will be provided for every tree and bush and flower that has persevered through winter fully clothed in what God gives for every season.

So today I will spend time in my reverie of wet leaves and home and fires in the fireplace and hot cider and more color than can be contained and yet – there it is on display, free to anyone who would look with open eyes.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for surrounding me with such beauty in every season in which I find myself. Your Presence is revealed everywhere I look. Reminders of Your care and provision for all You have created surround me and fill the earth.

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:13-16)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. words or deeds? #107

I came across this story in Matthew today which reminded me of the age old battle between words and deeds which continues to this very day. Maybe discrepancy is a more accurate description than the word battle is. Nevertheless, there is often a lack of congruency shall we say, between what we say and what we do. The two don’t always match up.

It is at this point I should confess – this is too often true in my own life as well. My words sound so good but my actions too often don’t live up to what I say, or they actually contradict what I say. Yes, my deeds may conflict with what I say I believe or with what I say I will do. So this story really resonated with me today.

It’s a story of a father and his two sons. To each son the father said, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard.” The first son answered, ” ‘I will not’ . . . but later he changed his mind and went.”

The other son answered, ” ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.” Then Jesus, who was telling this story, asked His disciples, ” ‘Which of the two did what his father wanted?’ ‘The first,’ they answered.” (Matthew 21:28-31)

Neither son’s words matched his deeds. That is clear. Ironically, the one who refused his father’s request with his words actually honored his father’s wishes with his actions when he went to work in the vineyard.

Many of the expressions we use today such as “actions speak louder than words” or “talk is cheap” or “don’t tell me, show me!” or even “all bark and no bite,” (all talk and no action) reflect the underlying truth revealed in this parable of Jesus.

I’ve had many interesting conversations lately related to the upcoming election and all the issues which surround it. One theme is abundantly, consistently, clear and all prevailing with most individuals, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, economic group, age, religion etc. – they do not like President Trump’s tweets. They find them offensive and objectionable across the board. In other words, they don’t like the President’s words – they do not like what he says.

I would weigh in, but I’m not on any social media, including Facebook and Twitter, so I don’t see them. I do know that when something on my TV screen or on my car radio offends me – I change the channel or turn it off! I am free to choose what I do and do not spend my time watching, listening to or reading.

I also know that the President’s tweets do not impact my life for better or for worse. My personal situation is not improved nor made more difficult by what he says. However, the things he does in his role as President do impact my daily life. Lower taxes impact me for the better as a wage earner. Eliminating U.S. dependence on foreign oil impacts me everyday at the gas pump.

The Criminal Justice reform act impacted many personally for the better, including Alice Johnson, who recently shared her inspiring story. Bringing jobs home from overseas, puts many Americans back to work and secures our supply chain in uncertain times. It was John F. Kennedy who said, “A rising tide raises all boats.” We all benefit from a secure and stable economy.

Rebuilding our military and pulling our troops out of unnecessary conflicts around the globe, saves lives and money that can now be spent building up rather than fighting wars where no one wins but many lives are lost. Taking care of our veterans, those that have protected us and our freedoms at great cost to themselves and their families is something else the President has done and continues to do.

Many U.S. presidents in the past talked about moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem but did not do so. (remember the son who said to his father, “I will, sir” but did not go?) President Trump made this move a reality, keeping his word. Now there are two peace deals done in the Middle East as well.

I am grateful that the President closed our borders to travel from China and then later to travel from Europe even though he was labeled a “fear-monger” and a “xenophobe” at the time by those who opposed his actions. I am grateful for renegotiated trade deals with China and NAFTA and for the deregulation that has allowed more timely development of medicines and potential vaccines for the treatment of COVID.

I celebrated along with many Americans when President Trump negotiated with Turkey and secured the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was being held prisoner in Turkey. I was encouraged when I heard Tim Scott, a U.S. senator, speak of the Opportunity Zones he and the President had worked to create in urban areas across our country. It reminded me that unemployment had been at an all time low, for all groups of people, in mid-March when COVID concerns forced the closing of much of the economy.

I have appreciated President Trump’s public support of all our law enforcement officers across the country during this time when standing up for them and the job they do everyday is not a popular position. Police officers put their lives on the line everyday as they serve and protect us, but now they are under attack from the very people and communities they have been protecting all this time. The fact that the President has the courage to take a stand that is not popular, rather than just remain silent on the issue speaks volumes to me. (well, the action does the speaking)

President Trump’s working to preserve and protect our religious freedoms as well as His efforts to protect the lives of the unborn, make a tangible difference in my life now and will make a definitive difference far into the future of this country.

I don’t know what’s in all those tweets that’s got everyone so unhappy? I do know those tweets don’t affect the circumstances or the realities of my daily life but actions do have an impact that is much more real.

It’s like with dating and boyfriends and all. They can tell me they love me all they want. And it’s nice to hear and it makes me feel good for awhile until I realize I haven’t seen any actions to go along with the words. And maybe I’ve even experienced actions that directly contradict their words, such as spending time with other women or physically hurting me or taking money from me or demeaning me . . .

Words promise so much – but it is deeds that deliver and it is actions that make a real difference in my life and in the world. Maybe that’s why it says in James 2:14-26,

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? . . . In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. . . . Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. . . . As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”

So when I go to vote, I am going to have to ask myself, which is more important to me, the offense of the President’s tweets or the benefits of his actions? In other words, (pun intended) his words or his deeds? What he says doesn’t impact my daily life but what he does will impact my ability to earn a living and to live my life in a safe and peaceful society.  

Words may take the form of a promise or a threat. They either hold out hope or fill me with fear. What someone says can affect my thoughts and my feelings for awhile. But ultimately, without accompanying actions the words become just empty promises or idle threats. Apart from deeds, words eventually lose their power, becoming empty, hollow, meaningless sounds. Words have no impact apart from any accompanying actions.

The boyfriend who tells me how much he loves me all day long but never does a kind or caring thing will soon lose his credibility with me.

Fine speech and fancy rhetoric are very persuasive, engaging my feelings and emotions. Still I remember what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:15-20, when He said,

“Watch out for false prophets. . . . By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. . . . Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

I guess I should be paying attention to the fruit (deeds) as I struggle with what or who will best preserve our God given right to life, liberty, and the opportunity to pursue our dreams. Words or deeds? That is the question.

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. ghosts of Halloweens past #106

I am feeling a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge lately. Remember him? Being visited by ghosts as he was and all? Of course those were Christmas ghosts. Not my ghosts. My ghosts are holiday appropriate ghosts, as ghosts more correctly belong to the Halloween holiday. And my ghosts are most assuredly Halloween ghosts.

Now I confess – my alleged ghosts are in truth, memories of Halloweens past. Memories that have been keeping me company today – this beautiful fall day, a day full of vibrant color against the blue of an October sky. I look at the pumpkin sitting on my kitchen table and memories fill the house.

They come unsolicited, these flashbacks, but they are welcome here, nonetheless. These ghosts are little ghosts. They are memories of power rangers and of princesses engaged in a quest for candy – oh the candy! Plastic pumpkins full of glorious candy!

Costumed figures ringing doorbells, running purposefully from house to house, slipping silently through the fall night air, stifled laughter breaking out, revealing the whereabouts of superheroes and cartoon characters running freely, collecting candy in the allotted hours till the Halloween moon should retire for the night and little trick or treaters should cease from the labors of their candy quest, again becoming ordinary girls and boys.

These ghosts of sweet memory keep me company on these fresh fall days, that I might not grieve the absence of my costumed candy seekers, now conventionally dressed vegetarians, seeking treasures other than candy from this world.

Memories, fleeting ghost-like, of three jack-o-lanterns, fully flaming candles inside, light up the front porch, beacons of welcome to all the would-be candy collectors that run rampant through the night – float through my mind. Too soon departed, I wonder where they’ve gone to and when they will return.

For now, three tiny pumpkins on my kitchen windowsill stand watch with me as I entertain ghosts of Halloweens past, memories the years outlast.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells me, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”

that could include a time to remember and a time to forget . . .

today I will spend some time with memories held close and dear . . .

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. the very first question #105

What was the very first question posed to mankind? I think it was the one the serpent posed to Eve in the garden when he asked her, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ ” (Genesis 3:1) That question planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind, which took root and produced her eventual action of disobedience to God’s instruction not to eat the fruit of one tree in the middle of the garden.

A decision based on doubt with dire consequences for all of mankind. It started with a question, the answer to which would determine a course of action whose consequences we still deal with today. Ultimately, I have to answer the same question the serpent put to Eve for myself, “Did God really say . . .?”

In that moment Eve doubted God’s judgement, she doubted His wisdom, she doubted His love for her, she doubted His goodness. In that moment Eve no longer believed that God had her best interests at heart. Eve thought God was holding out on her. She now believed God was withholding something good and beneficial from her. This caused Eve to doubt God’s goodness, to doubt God’s intentions towards her. Eve no longer trusted God completely and so she disobeyed His instruction to her and she ate the forbidden fruit.

Today, each one of us is still wrestling with this very first question. I confess – I am. I have to decide daily, do I trust God or not? Because if I don’t trust Him, there is no reason for me to obey Him. Eve was in a perfect world, no pain, no lack of anything, she had all she could want and still she doubted God – the very God who had created the beautiful, perfect, peaceful, abundant garden in which she and Adam lived. God had given them this garden as their home. One of His many good gifts.

My view of the world today is vastly different from Eve’s view of the world seen from the safety of her garden all those years ago. I am not living in a perfect world. I am living in a world of danger and of pain and loss and heartache and struggle and violence and injustice and illness and oppression and uncertainty and on and on. Why would I trust God? What has He ever done for me?

Isaiah 53 tells me a lot about what God has done for me. I read these words in verses 4-12, “Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, . . . He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. . . . the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. . . . He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

That’s more than I can take in, right there in those words. Someone poured out his life for me? Someone has born my sin and makes intercession to God for me? Someone is offering me peace with God, reconciliation and healing? Yes! The “He” Isaiah is talking about is Jesus. And all that Isaiah spoke of has now been accomplished. Actually accomplished two-thousand twenty years ago to be exact.

So it is a promise that has already been fulfilled. I don’t have to wonder if God will make good on His word. He already has. Yet still I doubt and wonder just what exactly has my Creator ever done for me? Philippians 2:6-8 gives me a clue what God did in sending Jesus to us, explaining it in this way,

“Chris Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

So that’s what God has done for me. Jesus left His position, gave up His power, His comfort, His glory, His ease and painfree existence to come here to earth. Jesus chose to submit His limitless form to our earthly form with all its limits. He subjected himself to gravity, pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, time, sadness, loss (He cried when Lazarus died) – the complete human experience. All for my sake? Yes, all for my sake.

Infinite in Being, Jesus took on finite form. Timeless in existence, Jesus entered into our earthly history, taking on our time frame – our hours and our days, our sleepless nights and special moments. He endured our ordinary hours of seemingly identical days, knowing and showing us that these days are full of encounters with eternity tucked among the mundane moments and minutes of each and every day.

Jesus never missed a one. I don’t want to either. Jesus showed us what a gift life is. In fact He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus took it all upon Himself – the physical limitations and losses and the spiritual as well. He was separated from the Father (why He prayed often). Jesus experienced loss, loneliness, being misunderstood, being treated unjustly, being lied about, blasphemed and betrayed by those He trusted. There is nothing I have experienced or will experience that Jesus did not experience during His days here on earth.

Perhaps that is why He is my greatest advocate. Jesus gets me. This concept of Jesus understanding me was addressed in Hebrews 4:15 which tells me, “we (I) do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our (my) weaknesses, but we (I) have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are (I am) – yet was without sin.”

Those words let me know that Jesus has walked a mile in my shoes so to speak. Only difference, Jesus being fully God and fully man was able to do what I am not capable of, which is to live a sinless life. Jesus knows I am not able to do that, which is why He is at the right hand of the Father making intercession for me twenty-four/seven.

“Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us (me).” (Romans 8:34)

“but because Jesus lives forever, He has a permanent priesthood. Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them (me).” (Hebrews 7:24-25)

So Jesus is praying for me. He is pleading my case before God. I have an advocate in the heavenly court!

What has God done for me through Jesus? His actions towards me are both past and present. as they are ongoing in my present circumstances. He has rescued me and He continues to rescue me daily. He has redeemed me and He continues to redeem my life on a daily basis. He has restored me and He is still in the process of that restoration. He has forgiven me and He continues to forgive me as often as I ask it of Him.

What has Jesus done for me? Actually He is still actively accomplishing these things in my life today. He feeds me, (that daily manna, new every morning) He leads me, He provides for me, protects me and comforts me. The twenty-third Psalm expresses it this way,

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. (there’s that ongoing restoration) He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (His Presence is comfort, provision, protection and peace).

My God’s good gifts are too numerous to enumerate in their entirety but I will mention just a few more. He clothes me, He carries what weighs me down and He saves me from death. Consider the words of Isaiah 61:10 and of Psalm 68:19,

“my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,”

“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”

What has Jesus done for me? He took my place on that cross so long ago. He died in my stead. He paid my debt to God with His own life. He purchased my forgiveness with His own blood.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Jesus did that for me. He did that for each one of you, too, dear readers. That act of love and self-sacrifice should leave no doubt about His goodness and His intentions towards me. (and towards you)

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. admissions of an ambushee #104

Today I had an unexpected encounter on my morning walk and I confess now to you, dear readers, I was not prepared for this particular encounter. I was enjoying the still life beauty of this fall morning when I came across the fallen frame of one of my adversaries, lying there at the side of the road. The sight of my fallen, furry foe was a gruesome one and took me by surprise.

Now by fallen fury foe I do indeed mean what you may already be suspecting that I am referring to – which is, yes, the body of a dead squirrel. Now furthermore, you may be thinking, given my status as an active target of the squirrel population’s bad acorn hurling behavior this autumn, that this discovery today would have brought me some measure of joy or glee or perhaps satisfaction.

You would be wrong. I was surprised to find, myself, that I felt only pity and a sadness at seeing this startling sight so up close and personal. No escaping or unseeing the lifeless form of my former foe. Of course, I don’t mean to say that this particular squirrel participated in any of the acorn attacks, ambushes or avalanches that I have experienced in recent days. (see post “C.C. an acorn ambush #94” & “C.C. true confessions fyi #98”, for further explanation) I simply don’t know and can’t know for sure.

Was this deceased squirrel one of the ringleaders in this fury forest creature practice of trying to take out unsuspecting pedestrians and innocent cyclists? Or maybe he/she was just a compliant pawn in carrying out the governing squirrels’ vendetta against humans? Was he/she one of the inciters or instigators in these squirrel ambushes? or maybe an instructor, training squirrels in the latest acorn hurling techniques? or maybe he/she was just following orders?

whatever the truth is, I feel no elation at my enemy’s demise. That defies explanation except for these words of Jesus in Luke 6:27-29 which instruct me to,

“Love your (my) enemies, do good to those who hate you (me), bless those who curse you (me), pray for those who mistreat you (me). If someone strikes you (me) on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your (my) cloak, do not stop him from taking your (my) tunic.”

I find that putting the personal pronouns in there of “me” and “my” forces me to take Jesus’s instructions more personally, not allowing me to pretend they are words meant for someone else to follow. I am to follow what Jesus tells me to do. Jesus even asked in Luke 6:46,

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

my answer? probably because it is hard, it goes against my naturally sinful nature and it requires that I learn humility, obedience and trust. These are not easy attributes to come by. A high price is paid for the acquiring of these three which begin with an attitude but ultimately manifest in an action. (actually in a lifetime of many actions)

The actions of humility, obedience and trust are the proof that any person does indeed possess these costly attributes. Still the instructions don’t make sense. Why would I do good to those who hate me? These squirrels have been targeting me, tormenting me, taking away my sense of safety and peace on my daily walks and bike rides.

Still I don’t return fire, throwing their acorns right back at them. And I don’t demand that all the trees be cut down. Then they would have no place to live and to play and would have no source of food. I think the squirrels and I could co-exist in peace, if they would just stop their surprise acorn attacks.

I don’t wish squirrels ill or want them dead. I just wish squirrels would find a new hobby or a new sport to replace their current game of acorn ambush or how many humans can you hit? I’m thinking a good replacement game would be hide and seek with all those acorns. Isn’t that something squirrels do naturally anyway, hide nuts and then try to find them again? So it would be a win/win situation for all of us!

This is certainly what God wants for us as His image bearers – to live in peace with each other. But I have to take the first step. I can’t wait for the squirrels or the other person to make the first move. In fact in Romans 12:16-21 I read these clear commands regarding my part in bringing about peace –

“Live in harmony with one another. . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Furthermore 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells me something about love (remember I am told to “love my enemies”) and this is what that looks like when put into action,

“Love is . . . not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (I wonder if the squirrels have been keeping score – I confess, I have) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

That is why I can take no delight in a fallen foe, fury or otherwise. Even if my fallen, fury frienemy was the organizer of the ongoing acorn assaults that targeted me personally after my posts came out that exposed their bad behavior and their heretofore hidden agenda, even if it were that very squirrel – there is no cause for celebration.

No the celebration comes when, as I read in Luke 15:7 & 10,

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. . . . In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

I guess that’s why I am told to “pray for those who mistreat me” and to “overcome evil with good.” If I engage in the actions of love from 1 Corinthians 13, always protecting, trusting, hoping, persevering – perhaps foes will be turned into friends and there will be celebrating in heaven over each one.

sincerely, Grace Day

C.C. Jesus and cancel culture #103

Cancel culture may be a relatively recent term when it comes to our daily discourse, public or private, but the concept cancel culture calls out has been with us for centuries. How do I know this? I read about cancel culture all the time in the Bible. Jesus dealt with it during His time here on earth. And since human nature hasn’t changed, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a cancel culture mindset is still something we are all struggling with and attempting to survive today.

Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, asked Jesus a question one day which revealed that Peter was struggling with this desire to “cancel” those who offended or wronged him. This would be a good time for me to confess – I too, have asked this question on more than one occasion. Here’s how the conversation between Peter and Jesus unfolded –

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’ ” (or seventy times seven) (Matthew 18:21-22)

Now, fyi dear readers, seventy times seven or seventy-seven times, both are symbolic of infinity. In other words, Jesus was telling Peter there was no limit on the number of times he should forgive an offense against him. Not exactly what Peter wanted to hear. He probably thought there should be a reasonable limit to what one should have to put up with and after that, one had no more obligation to overlook an offense.

Peter was definitely virtue signaling when he suggested seven times as a possible answer to the question he was asking of Jesus, probably thinking seven times was quite generous in nature. But we see by Jesus’s answer, (seventy times seven) to Peter’s question, that Jesus had an entirely different perspective on the matter. We read in Colossians 3:13 these words,

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

So I am to forgive because I, myself, have been forgiven. God has not given up on me. I should not give up on other people. Fortunately for me, my Heavenly Father has never cancelled me, never defriended me, nor refused to hear my desperate prayers. This, in spite of all my continued offenses against Him.

Peter would experience this unmerited, miraculous acceptance and forgiveness of Jesus. And it would come after Peter’s most grievous offense yet against Jesus. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus – not once but three separate times. Peter committed these acts of betrayal at a time when Jesus most needed him, at a time when everyone else had deserted Jesus, at the time, at the hour when Jesus was on trial for His very life! Peter bailed on Jesus in Jesus’s hour of need. And yet . . .

The story does not end there. Peter was not cancelled. He was not de-friended nor de-discipled. Peter was forgiven, restored and reinstated by Jesus. We see this play out after Jesus’s resurrection, when He joined His disciples one morning on the beach after they had spent the night fishing. Jesus charges Peter with the responsibility to “Feed My Lambs”, to “Take care of My sheep.”

People are not disposable to Jesus. We are redeemable and remarkable because He made us and He made us in His image. Remember what Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18, before Peter’s huge failure of denouncement and defection when times got tough? Jesus told Peter,

“I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Peter was still used by God, despite his mistakes. God’s forgiveness is much greater than all our offenses. I love what Micah 7:18-19 says about this,

“Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Yes, Jesus lived in a cancel culture not so different from the one we find ourselves in today. The Pharisees were the self appointed thought police of Jesus’s day. However, their method of cancelling you would be to see you stoned or crucified if possible. Remember the woman caught in adultery? They were going to have her stoned until Jesus intervened on her behalf. Jesus thought she was worth saving in spite of her questionable behavior at the time.

I guess losing a few friends or followers kind of pales in comparison to being stoned to death? Still our current cancel culture can feel kind of dangerous. One misstep, one misspoken word and you are history, you are toast, you are thrown away as irredeemable. And I thought baseball was brutal with its three strikes and you are out! Those three strikes are looking pretty magnanimous right about now.

I know I long for second chances times infinity. Don’t we all? Don’t we all want another opportunity to succeed, to right the wrong, to repair the damage, to do better, to do different? to pick ourselves up and try again? Our country’s history has been one of people doing just those things for years. Learning from our failures and doing better. We are a country that gives second chances to anyone who wants one. (at least we did in the past) We were founded on a belief in a Creator God who gives second chances to anyone who asks Him, without partiality.

Cancel culture is robbing us all of the opportunities we all counted on to continually learn and grow without being sentenced to a life of silence and irrelevance, irrevocably by who? Who determines who gets cancelled? Perhaps we should start by not being so quick to cancel each other. Psalm 130:3-4 says,

“If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.”

Heavenly Father, I’m so glad you don’t keep a record of my wrongdoing and hold it against me. Help me to follow Your example, and not hold others’ offenses against them. My load will certainly be lighter the less I hold onto grudges and gripes.

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)

sincerely, Grace Day