Tag Archives: Exodus

Carrying the Presence

A Sermon for 5 November 2017 – All Saints’ Sunday

A reading from Joshua 3:7-17.  We’re returning this Sunday to the story of the Israelites in the wilderness.  Well, just as they are leaving the wilderness.  Listen for God’s word to us.

“The LORD said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so that they may know that I will be with you as I was with Moses.  You are the one who shall command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’”  Joshua then said to the Israelites, “Draw near and hear the words of the LORD your God.”  10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that among you is the living God who without fail will drive out from before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites:  11 the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth is going to pass before you into the Jordan.  12 So now select twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.  13 When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan flowing from above shall be cut off; they shall stand in a single heap.”  14 When the people set out from their tents to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people.  15 Now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest.  So when those who bore the ark had come to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the water, 16 the waters flowing from above stood still, rising up in a single heap far off at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, while those flowing toward the sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea, were wholly cut off.  Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho.  17 While all Israel were crossing over on dry ground, the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finished crossing over the Jordan.”

This is the word of God for the people of God.  Thanks to be God!

 

If random people on the street were approached, what do you think they would say when asked:  What are you carrying with you?  . . .  Most all Americans over the age of 13 would answer:  my cell phone.  Many adults who have a home and a car would say:  my keys.  And my credit cards or some other form of currency.  Young mothers, with and without their little toddlers, likely would be carrying some sort of wet naps and diapers and a favorite toy for distraction when the little one melts down in the long line at the grocery store.  While men might turn out their pockets to show you their wallet or breath mints or safety knife – whatever men keep in pockets; some women might be carrying a purse that includes in it everything except the kitchen sink.  If anything, children might be carrying a fist-full of dandelions freshly picked from the cracks in the sidewalk or some other hidden gem discovered along the path.

We can answer the question differently, like:  what are we carrying with us –emotionally.  Of the past.  Memories that comfort us – especially those of the saints of our lives we honor here today.  Regrets that haunt.  Anxiety that grips us as we try to go about life in this busy world today.  We’re seeing almost daily that many Americans are carrying tension – a general unease in our bodies from the barrage of critical news.  Some of us who are extra sensitive might be carrying a little depression about all the violence against each other we keep seeing, and the horrors of the natural disasters our world has been living through these past several months.

On television the other night – I think during one of those World Series games; I saw a rare commercial.  Have you seen it?  It begins with people jumping out of their cars to help push a broken-down vehicle off a busy, backed-up street.  A man who appears to be rushing to work up an escalator, stops to help a woman of a different race get her baby stroller up the escalator too.  As all sorts of scenes continue of diverse people helping each other, the narrator says:  “It would be great if human beings were great at being human.  And if all of mankind were made up of kind women and kind men.  It would be wonderful if common knowledge was knowledge commonly know,” the narrator says, as some bullies in a school knock books out of a smaller boy’s hands, while a girl steps forward to protect him.  A smile flashes across the face of an elderly woman who looks like she’s telling stories, while a younger woman stands behind her brushing her hair.  The narrator continues, saying:  “And if the light from being enlightened, into every heart was shone.  It would be glorious if neighbors were neighborly and indifference a forgotten word.  It would be awesome if we shared everything and being greedy was absurd.”  If you’ve seen the commercial, you too might have found tears welling in your eyes just 40 seconds into this ad.  The final punch:  “It would be spectacular if the Golden Rule was golden to every man.  And the good things that we ever did were everything that we can.”  Another woman’s voice comes in to say:  “Treating others like we like to be treated has always been our guiding principle.”  As the final shot shows the name of the hotel chain being advertised, the screen reads:  “We live by the #Golden Rule”  (https://www.ispot.tv/ad/w6rw/marriott-human-the-golden-rule#).  . . .  What if more of us carried that:  the guiding principle that We live by the #Golden Rule?  Helping others no matter our differences.  Protecting the weak.  Truly being neighborly and accepting and generous.  A world of people who carry within the Golden Rule that can be seen in action daily.  Indeed, what we carry can make all the difference.

As the exodus of the Israelites finally comes to a close, their priests carry the ark of the covenant into the Jordan River.  We may not be as familiar with this part of our faith ancestor’s story as we are with the escape from Egypt through the Red Sea.  The day Joshua was their new leader and the power of the LORD God stopped another body of water, so that the people could cross over from their wilderness wanderings into the land promised as their home.  The Jordan River flows the eastern length of the Holy Land – originating in tributaries beyond the Sea of Galilee as far north as Mount Hermon, and flowing south into the Dead Sea.  From their spot in the desert, the only way into the Promised Land was through the Jordan River.  It likely sounded like a crazy plan.  Choose one man from your tribe.  All twelve together then, grab hold of a corner of the ark of the covenant.  Those twelve were to walk right into the Jordan, that likely was a mile wide during the time of harvest when its banks overflowed.  “And trust me now,” says Moses’ successor, who was so new he likely was still wet behind his ears.  “God’s gonna stop the mighty Jordan from flowing.  On dry ground we’ll all cross over – the men, women, children, and herds of animals too.”  The priests are instructed to wade into the water.  Pay no attention to the possibility of snakes and sink holes.  Stop then, and stand still.  Soon the waters shall be cut off from the north to stand in a single heap.  After all, they’re carrying the ark of the covenant.

The ark of the covenant was a gift of the wilderness.  Like an artifact of faith, it got built at God’s instruction to house the tablets of the law given Moses on Mount Sinai.  Covered in gold with a solid gold throne for God on top of it, it was made portable from the start.  Placed in the exquisite tabernacle tent with an extra screen around it for added protection.  The ark was carried all through the wilderness as the people journeyed in stages from their slavery in Egypt to their new home.  In the day when the cloud of God was on the tent of meeting or at night when the fire could be seen in the cloud; folks remained in the camp.  The glory of the LORD was filling the tent, infusing the ark, enveloping all the holy accoutrements made for the ritual approach of God.  The Presence of the LORD, the God of all the earth, was fully in their midst.  Like a travel guide waiting to tell them when next to fold up camp to move on.  When the moment came – when the cloud rescinded from the tent; the ark and everything else would be packed up and moved to be set up at the next spot along their way.  Symbols of God dwelling in the midst of a people on the move, it all traveled with them as they went.  . . .  Imagine the scene then near Jordan, as those twelve men take up the ark of the covenant.  Its gold gleaming in the autumn sun – they set foot into the water.  In a sense, they were carrying the very Presence of God.  The box-like structure that reminded them of God’s promise to be their God as they did all they could daily to be people putting into action the ways of the LORD.

As a people of God today, we don’t carry around the ark of the covenant any longer.  It was destroyed the first time the Temple in Jerusalem was sacked.  Later in the story, to remind the people that even without the tangible object; the Presence of God, the LORD of all the earth, remained in their midst.  As a comfort, the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that God would renew the covenant.  It needed it, after all; as the people hadn’t lived up to their end of the bargain.  (Jeremiah 31:31-34).  This time it wouldn’t take a moveable ark to remind us.  Rather, we would carry within the promise of the LORD.  Not on tablets of stone, but on our hearts would be written the ways of God.  In our insides.  So that wherever we go in the world, together or apart, God shall be our God and we shall do daily all we can to be the people of our LORD.  The promise resides within.  The Presence of God steadier in us than the beat of our own hearts.  . . .

It’s another thing we carry – God in us.  In our daily hustle and bustle it might be easy to forget.  Like the priests at the Jordan, holding a power mightier than they might have imagined, we carry a Presence powerful enough to stop rushing waters.  Like the cloud-covered symbols of the tabernacle showing when God’s time to move has come.  Like a little piece of God lodged in our insides.  The spark of Divinity, the Spirit of the Holy, the Breath of the Living God of all the earth, is in us.  Take that in for a moment:  that the LORD God wants to be in us – living and moving and experiencing the world through our particular bodies.  Being seen by others through us as we help others no matter our differences.  And protect the weak.  And truly are neighborly and accepting and generous.  . . .  May our actions answer what we carry.  May our hashtag be seen!  We carry the Presence of God within.

In the name of the life-giving Father, the life-redeeming Son, and the life-sustaining Spirit, Amen.

© Copyright JMN – 2017  (All rights reserved.)

 

Alternatives

A Sermon for 15 October 2017

A reading from Exodus 32:1-14.  Listen for God’s word to us as we hear one more Sunday about the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt.  Listen.

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”  Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”  So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron.  He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”  When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.”  They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.  The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once!  Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”  The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are.  10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”  11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?  12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’  Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.  13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”  14 And the Lord changed the LORD’s mind about the disaster that the LORD planned to bring on the people.”

This is the word of God for the people of God.  Thanks be to God!

 

Have you ever seen one of those stage plays where the audience is involved in picking the ending?  Usually something like a murder mystery, the actors have rehearsed all sorts of ways to finish the plot.  Was it Ms. Scarlett in the Library with the wrench?  Or Mr. Green in the Kitchen with the lead pipe?  Once the audience chooses which way it will go, the actors spring back into action, as if never missing a beat, to show how the story unfolds.  It never goes quite the same way twice.  Alternate endings are possible depending on the will of the people.

We forgot we have the power, in pretty much every situation, to influence how things will unfold.  So often we feel as if only one way is possible in the story of our lives; but it is not so.  Fear often holds us back.  Literally moving us out of the higher realms of our brain’s ability to imagine alternate endings.  Fear leaves us operating out of what’s often referred to as our “Lizard brain” – the oldest part of our brains that develops first in the womb.  It’s an important part of who we are so we can instinctually act when our lives really are in danger.  But allowing ourselves to daily live out of our lowest, lizard brains is the last thing needed from human beings by this planet.  God gifted us with frontal lobes, the most complex part of the human brain where impulse control, consideration of actions’ effect on others, even reasoning about consequences can take place.  The goal is to use the amazing heads we’ve been given so that we can envision possibility number one.  Or possibility number two.  And even possibility number three, four, five, six, and seven.  Endless alternative options in any given situation.

I wish the Israelites at Sinai would have taken some collective deep breaths.  To move from operating out of their lizard brains into the higher realms of conscious ability.  If we’ve ever given up something we really love for Lent, then we might understand how long 40 days can feel.  Moses, the one who has guided them miraculously into freedom, and God, the One who has been present to them all the way, convene forty days on the mountain.  And the people below panic.  They’ve just been given the commands of God for how they can live connected rightly to God and each other.  In awe they saw the thick cloud envelop the mountain.  They heard the thunder roll and witnessed the lightening flash.  They heard command number one:  have NO OTHER GOD’s before me.  And command number two:  MAKE NO IDOLS!  The either have really short memories, or refused to listen in the first place.  Maybe it even shows that the commands of God foreshadowed what anyone studying human behavior could guess would happen.

Afraid Moses had been torn to pieces by some wild animal on that mountain, or maybe convinced the ole’ fool at last was smothered by the thick cloud of God; the people demand brother Aaron do something concrete in their midst.  They want something tangible to show them the way.  Impatient with the wait.  Anger certainly on the rise.  And afraid they’ve been abandoned.  They beg for a god to be made that can lead them out of that harsh desert.  The salt in the wound is that even as Aaron collects all their gold for the calf, God had been describing to Moses a sanctuary where a LORD who seems to be passionately in love with the people could dwell among them forever.  According to Exodus 25, step one was to begin with “an offering; for all whose hearts prompt them to give.”  Specifically, it would be an offering to God of “gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and crimson yarns.  Fine linen, goat’s hair, tanned rams’ skins, (and) fine leather; acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; onyx stones and gems to be set in the ephod and for the breast piece” (Exodus 25:2-7).  God wants the finest of all they have for a sanctuary in which the people would be able to lift up their hearts in gratitude to God.  Meanwhile . . . the people circle Aaron to demand some new deity immediately!

Tragic.  So tragic when our fear demands our one and only imaginable way.

How else might the story unfold?  If the people hadn’t let their fear get the best of them, if they could have held on just a bit longer; what other options might had they imagined together?

Our other reading for today offers an alternative.  “Rejoice in the LORD always,” the Christians of Philippi are instructed.  “Let your gentleness be known to everyone.  The LORD is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:4-6).  Wow!  If the people could have kept back their fear.  If they could have remained a bit more patient; then imagine the party they could have enjoyed!  They could have sang and danced at the mountain’s edge.  Remembering the LORD God always is near, they could have built a fire as a sign of the fiery column that had led them.  They could have sat down to rehearse with one another the first time God provided for their thirst.  They could have told tales of the remarkable double manna portion waiting them every sixth morning on the desert floor.  They could have taken out a few of the quail feathers and swopped stories of how good it tasted when first they arrived in a rush from Egypt.  And Egypt:  that flight they finally made?!  Aaron might have taken the opportunity to remind them to pour out their requests once again to God.  God heard and acted every time in the past.  What makes them think this time will be any different?  Maybe allow a little gratitude to mingle with their concern just to remember that the One to whom they pray their prayers is nearer than their very own breath.  It would have been a completely different unfolding of their story . . .  it can be a totally alternate way for our own as well.

It’s been a rough go these past few months.  Starting with Harvey, intensifying with Irma, and Maria too.  Finding out in the narthex after worship that a church across town was being shot up.  And just a week later, the most horrendous mass shooting our country has known.  Fires rage out of control in California again.  Now more than ever, an alternate way is needed.  . . .  A heart-felt reflection offered by one of our denomination’s current General Assembly Co-moderators, included these words this week:  “Are these tragedies changing the way we live now?  Are we giving up a Starbucks or two so that we’ll have some loose change to send to a disaster relief organization?  Are we talking in our churches about ways we can do more as congregations?  . . .  How does our faith in God manifest itself in these days?” (https://achurchforstarvingartists.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/what-a-difference-a-tragedy-makes/).

We can get caught up in the fear – there’s enough of it out there.  We can grow weary and impatient and even angry during such difficulties.  . . .  Or we can turn to God.  Rejoice in all the ways we see the will of God being lived out as neighbor helps neighbor and compassion is given more room to grow.  We can rehearse all the ways we see provisions are being made.  And instead of wringing our hands in worry, we can live in gratitude for the gift of each day – for another opportunity to embody God’s ways among this world.  We have the power to significantly influence the outcome of these days.  How it all unfolds can radically be impacted for good by us.  . . .  Breathe deep, brothers and sisters of Christ.  Through us, let the story unfold another way.

In the name of the life-giving father, the life-redeeming Son, and the life-sustaining Spirit, Amen.

© Copyright JMN – 2017  (All rights reserved.)

Freedom and Rest

A Sermon for 21 August 2016

A reading from the gospel of Luke 13:10-17. Listen for God’s word to us.

“Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.”

This is the word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

 

Remember the Blue Laws? Some fifty or more years ago in the United States, no matter where you went on Sundays, most everything was closed. The doors of sanctuaries were open and it was expected everyone who was anyone had their entire family with them in a pew. Laws throughout the United States banned such things on Sundays as open restaurants, open department stores, open car lots, and open liquor shops. “You did not even hear the whistle of freight trains . . . on Sundays, because it was illegal to haul goods on the Sabbath” (Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, p. 128). Sunday had become the day you did not! Radically, to this day, a county in New Jersey still bans “the sale of clothing, shoes, furniture, home supplies, and appliances on Sundays” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law). And of course, we all know that if you want to enjoy some wine over Sunday dinner or a beer for the afternoon ballgame, you better be sure to stock up before Sunday morning arrives.

Ironically, the fourth of the infamous Ten Commandments begins not with shall not but with this: “Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). . . . Remember the Sabbath day? Way back in Genesis 1 and 2, the Great Creator went about all the work of making this amazing world. Separating light and darkness, crafting an environment in which creation could thrive – waters above, waters below, with dry land in there too. Fruit trees and pines and, as the story was told from the perspective of the land tucked between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, certainly there were figs and pomegranates and grapes galore. The stars twinkled in the brilliant night sky and the moon waxed and waned to keep track of all the seasons. Fish and cattle and creeping things of every kind came into being until earth was mixed with the divine breath to concoct such a creature as had never been before: humankind came into this world! And then, at last – not because we wore God out in our making, though the news each day might cause us to wonder – then, the Great Creator stopped. It was finished. The Great Creator paused in delight declaring: “Ah! Very good! Very, very good indeed!” . . . Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy – because God wants everyone of us to stop too. To pause, if just from one sundown to sundown, to declare in delight: “Ah! Very good! It all is very, very good indeed!” Set apart in this way, we too make the rest holy.

That was the purpose of Sabbath, at least until the Exodus when Sabbath took on another meaning as well. Observant Jewish brothers and sisters welcome Sabbath in their homes each week with the lighting of two candles when at least three stars can be seen in the sky. One is this candle command of creation – the pause for creatures to delight. To rest. The other is the candle of freedom. Once we were enslaved by the ways of the Pharaoh. But God heard the cries of the people. The wringing of hands over if there would be enough this month to feed the children. Would we ever get a break from the boss who has been breathing down our necks these past several months over our performance on the job? Is that all it all is: toil for a paycheck and worry everything shall work out? . . . Will we ever get a break from defining ourselves by what we do and being defined by others in that way too, instead of simply being accepted for who we are – warts and all? God hears all those cries. Every wonder and weary worry. In response, once a week for a whole 24 hours; we are free! None of it matters. We are invited to put down such heavy burdens to take a walk in the park with someone we love who loves us back just as well. We can take a nap no matter the piles of dirty dishes or chores to do outside. Lay in a hammock or rock out on the front porch if only for 20 minutes just to listen and observe. Rest from the pecking order of this world at least for one whole night and one whole day and see if you wake ready to worship the next morning. Do it on a Saturday, as was first the plan; so that the next day you can gather with others in the faith to swop stories over how good it was for just one night and day this week to rest in the freedom of God.

That is what has Jesus all incensed in the story before us in the gospel of Luke. At a glance it might appear all is well, but the Sabbath command is violated. Not by the one accused of doing the healing. Rather, this particular synagogue leader failed to see the burden on the shoulders of a woman bound by her body for eighteen long years. They would untie their ox or donkey every Sabbath that the animals might get what they needed – even on the day of rest and freedom. But that synagogue leader would not have it that a child of the covenant might get a bit better treatment than beasts of burden on the weekly day to live God’s freedom and rest! . . . Notice that this woman didn’t seek out Jesus. The text says nothing of her coming to the synagogue expecting any sort of healing that day. The author gives great detail that the woman was “bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight” (Luke 13:11). So that even if she wanted to seek out Jesus, about all she’d be able to see as an identifying mark in her search would be feet. Some of you live with back problems that have hindered you to stand up tall to look another straight in the eye. You know the pain that becomes the constant companion. The desperation of wanting to be well. And if you’ve been dealing with it for nearly twenty years, you know too how crushed a spirit can get. So crushed, it would seem, this woman just goes to the synagogue – no indication she’s expecting any sort of release, even there among religious folk you might hope would be concerned enough to find a way to help. . . . Though the leader might spit in his criticism that she was in the wrong for seeking healing on the Sabbath; the story never questions her motives or throws any sort of blame her way. Jesus who has stop to rest and remember – to delight in the goodness of it all and to be free from anyone else’s expectations – while Jesus is observing this day of Sabbath in the synagogue, he sees someone who needs immediately to be set free. Likely, he saw a whole synagogue full of faithful Sabbath-keepers who desperately needed to be free. Free from law over grace. Free from rules trumping compassion. Free from external expectations over the will of God. Free from mental, emotional, and spiritual ailments that weigh heavy upon the backs of every last one –even if those burdens haven’t yet imprinted physically on the body. None of it is ok with this faithful Sabbath-keeper. Keeping his eye on the true intent of the fourth command; with one word, much like the Great Creator at the beginning of it all, Jesus releases the chains upon this woman’s back. He lays his hand upon her and in an instant she is set free. With a full body alleluia, she stands upright, for the first time in eighteen years, to praise God! . . . True Sabbath. True freedom. True joy-filled rest as a beloved child of God! In the whole room, they’re the only two rightly practicing Sabbath. The only two resting in the delightful freedom of the LORD!

In An Altar in the World, the book we’ve been reading this summer in Home Book Club, Barbara Brown Taylor reminds that Sabbath is a “’palace in time’ . . . into which human beings are invited every single week of our lives. The question is: “Why are we so reluctant to go?” (p. 127) . . . I get it. For far too long we’ve been told it’s all about thou shall not. For far too long we’ve let the world around us demand our time and attention. Maybe you’ve been taught to believe Sabbath is all about Sunday and “going to church” – which is not at all what the bible records anywhere! Sabbath is about entering the beautiful palace in time each week to sit a spell, not in an effort to do anything holy, but just to be. Just to rest and remember that we are free. Free from it all because the Great Creator hears us and loves us and commands us just to stop. That in itself is holy! . . . If one sundown to the next sundown is too long for you each week, then at least begin with an hour – preferably sometime Saturday so you at least have some bit of gratitude in your tank when you race in to worship on Sundays. Give it a try, if you don’t already. And enjoy the freedom and rest of God! It is so good. So very, very good indeed!

In the name of the life-giving Father, the life-redeeming Son, and the life-sustaining Spirit, Amen.

© Copyright JMN – 2016  (All rights reserved.)