Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Is Jesus Your Lord?

“In times like these, in times like these, O I need you Lord to help me!” So the song goes, filtered through memories of campfires and blissful nights when the worst problem was getting a cabin of children to go to sleep. We teach these songs – and the stories of our faith – in times of peace so that they will be “in the bag” that we reach into during darker times.

This week seems pretty dark, as we struggle with a correct response to human suffering in the greatest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II. Likewise, the stories from France and Mali continue to break our hearts. Meanwhile the earth continues to shake in Mexico and Japan. And, regardless of how you voted, we are all unsure of what’s to come from those who were elected as public servants in yesterday’s election.

All of this may have you wondering where God is and what God is going to do about all this mess down here! When terror grips and chaos seems to win the day it may seem like wishful thinking to have a day in the life of the church called “Reign of Christ” Sunday.

It’s also called “Christ the King” Sunday, but I think I like “Reign” better than “King,” because we don’t really know what it’s like to have a King. I think that we think that we know what it’s like to be in charge. At least, it seems that our culture is based around the idea of being in charge of our own destiny – even though my freedom extends about as far as yours does.

Being free does not mean that we can do anything we want anytime we want. It means that we are compelled to honor that which liberates each of us – to the extent that it can – without harming or otherwise limiting someone else. Our freedoms are tempered by our mutual responsibility. Theologian H. Richard Niebuhr called this our “social solidarity” that is governed by our faith in Christ.

The idea for a special Sunday acknowledging the reign of Christ is relatively new – less than a century, in fact. Given that it came out of the Roman Catholic Church long after the Reformation, most Protestant congregations may not even celebrate it. We do, as an act of ecumenical faith in the church catholic (meaning all who follow Jesus), and because it seems good and right to celebrate the reign of Christ as we prepare to give thanks for all of God’s blessings at Thanksgiving.

This celebration actually started in 1925, and it was in response to what Pope Pius XI felt was an increase of secularism and the rise of European governments exercising control over the church. Meanwhile, in the US, we were experiencing a time of wealth with industrial leaders that were 
generously philanthropic while also exploiting the labor force.

So, the “Feast of the Reign of Christ” was created at that time to do three things:

1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).

2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).

3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

It seems that we are in need of reminding about the reign of God over and over again. Even the last words of David, God’s anointed King, were set as a reminder that it is God who must rule through us, and that we must act with justice and reverence. Justice was not simply retribution. Justice meant fairness, equal treatment, and mutual submission before God. And reverence, or fear as he states it, was rooted in an understanding that God is the one who decides what will prosper and what will fail.

That doesn’t mean that God is waiting around and creating a Vine of your fails. It means that acting independently in a way that takes care of yourself and those you love does not glorify God, and it will not last. Likewise in the introduction to the Revelation given to John at Patmos, we are reminded that the story that we are wrapped up in is not a story about you and me. It is a story about God, in which we have a part to play.

It may be hard for some of us to separate the idea of doom and gloom from the book of Revelation, but it was originally written as a message of hope. It was written in a time of religious persecution, when it seemed audacious to suggest that God – particularly the crucified Christ – had any power at all.

Yet we are told that grace and mercy has been given to us from the God who shall be as God shall be. This is the God who has been with us, is present even in our darkest hour, and will yet provide in our abundance and in our suffering. This is the God who raised Jesus from the dead to let us know what is to come for each of us. This is the God who is praised when we become the kingdom. This is the God who will return with such a spectacle that everyone will see it – whether it makes them cry for fear or out of great joy.

This is the God who stood before Pilate in human form and was questioned about his authority. “Are you a King?” Pilate asked. “Who wants to know?” Jesus replied. “Hey, it doesn’t matter to me, but what did you do to make these people so mad? I mean, if you are a King.” Pilate seems to say. Jesus tells him he has it all wrong. These people are not the source of his authority. His authority is not from this place.

Pilate hears an opening. “So, you’re a King then.” Then it almost seems as though Jesus has compassion, even for Pilate. “Call me a King if it helps you, but I’m here to tell the truth. And if you belong to the truth (wink, wink) then you will listen to me.” In the synoptic gospels, it says that Pilate “wondered about these things”, but in John’s gospel, Pilate simply said, “what is truth?” and walked away.

In the midst of terror attacks and natural disasters, political campaigns and personal tragedies, it is overly tempting to ask those same questions of Jesus. Are you a King? What is truth, anyway? Yet the key to faith is in the belonging and the listening. If we truly believe that we belong to this greater truth – the truth of God’s amazing love that is best stated by putting forgiveness and compassion into action – then we will hear the voice of Jesus clearly.

We will hear the voice of Jesus whispering in between the sensationalism of the news media. We will hear him shouting in the presence of those who suffer. We will hear a call to arms for our King that involves risk and compassion and joy.

Now, as I say these things, I do not mean to be naive. There is great risk just in seeing the suffering that is in the world. And it’s not just in terrorism. Gun violence remains an issue that is wedged between personal freedom, care of the mentally ill, and the need to protect the innocent. Poverty is an issue that impacts all of our lives. The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in our society is now higher than it has been at any time since 1929.

In times like these, Oh we need the Lord to help us. That is for sure. In times like these, I remember the helpful words of a Presbyterian pastor, and former Navy man, Fred Rogers, who once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Maybe that’s a soldier who has been trained to respond to violence and protect the innocent. Maybe that’s a person providing assistance (or even laughter) to a family that is escaping the madness of war. Maybe that’s making a gift basket with C.U.P.S. or taking home some items to clean. Maybe it will take place in any number of ways in the quality of your relationships, but it has the greatest impact when we, as a congregation, can proclaim with one voice that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Renowned Evangelist, Tony Compolo, has been quoted as saying it this way, “It’s not enough to simply claim that Jesus is your savior, but is Jesus your Lord?” The reign of Christ has come, and his reign extends to our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies. It is simply up to us to realize that we belong to this truth, so that we may more clearly hear God’s calling and may evermore faithfully respond to the grace and mercy that we have received. 

I pray that it may be so with you, and that it may be so with me, and to God be the glory. Now and always, Amen!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Provoking the Good

It has been an interesting week. We have moved from the serious responsibility of taking care of our military veterans to the silliness of debates over who is offended – or even defending against attacks from – red coffee cups to the severity of terrorism and absolute suffering. Much of this drama has played out though social media in ways that make it all seem both highly personal and totally virtual at the same time. Of course, violence is not some virtual reality. Oh that it were so, and we could spawn and re-spawn countless numbers of lives!

When we hear the terrible truth of lives lost to violence we cannot help but turn to God. We ask questions of purpose. We make declarations of judgement, and we make vows and speak prayers that expose our fear even as we are called to hope.

Some may even think that it is time to abandon hope in the present and place all of our trust in the future. When the world seems to be changing under our feet it seems hard to trust leaders with whom we disagree. It may even be hard to trust those who are not part of the circle of those we call friends.

The truth is that this has all happened before, and it will probably all happen again. Well, not exactly in the same way. Whether it is the Trail of Tears, the Holocaust, or the Crusades, it seems that there have always been people who – for good reason – are expecting their world to come to an end.

In fact, that was part of the problem for the second generation of Christians living in Rome that were (most likely) the first recipients of the letter to the Hebrews. Scholars are not exactly sure who wrote “Hebrews”, or who first received it – even though it was written in the same tradition as the letters of Paul. From the content of the letter, it was certainly written to followers of Jesus who were at least familiar with the temple and its rituals.

The important thing is that this letter was addressing people whose hopes were growing thin. The generation that would have heard and seen Jesus was dying off, and they needed some assurance that their faith was not misplaced. Throughout the whole letter, its author is dealing with matters of eternity and moving the readers away from the need for a temple.

In today’s reading, there’s a fundamental shift from religious practices that seek God’s approval through an intermediary to the idea that – because of Jesus’ sacrifice – we no longer need to seek God’s approval. Instead we have this assurance, this hope, that God actually loves us because that’s what God does. This hope, this assurance, is not dependent on our faith.

It is the result of God’s faithfulness. And so we are told to hold fast to that faith. Hold fast to the idea that God is willing to let go of the memory of your sins, as long as you do it, too.

Now, some of you may be thinking, “If my sins are all forgiven and I don’t have to do anything about it, then why am I here?” If so, apparently you aren’t the first one to have that thought. Because the very next thing the letter says is that – because of the love of God – we must provoke one another to good deeds. But how?

Well, apparently the most important thing to do is to get together with other believers. “Do not neglect meeting, as some have done, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The Day. This always reminds me of the bumper sticker that reads, “In Case of Rapture This Car Will Be Unmanned.” And of course the responding, “In Case of Rapture, Can I Have Your Car?”

Neither of those really matter to us because Presbyterians don’t really believe in the Rapture. Well, I should say that we don’t want to say what God will, won’t, can, or can’t do. It’s more that we place our trust in the idea that the Kingdom of God is revealed in our ability to provoke one another to love and good deeds here and now.

That word, “provoke”, is a pretty strong word. It typically means to do something so obnoxious that someone else feels like they have to respond in some way. In fact, the word in our Greek text can also be translated as irritate. I don’t think that means that we have to nag one another into doing the right thing. Taken with other scriptures that encourage us to study God’s word and pray and worship and serve those in need, it seems clear that the more we can be together, the more we can encourage one another; the more we can celebrate what God is doing through us; the more we can come to know that our hope is not only established in God’s present action of love toward us, but even more so in the hope of the life to come.

That’s about where our Gospel text comes in. This particular passage is part of Jesus’ farewell to the disciples. But it’s also one of the places we see Jesus as a prophet. I don’t mean that he’s a fortune teller. I mean that he is willing to speak the truth about the way things are headed. One of the reasons he said, “Many will come in my name and say, I am he!” Is because there were multiple revolts going on, with leaders claiming to be the Messiah.

Some have even said that the Gospel of Mark was written as a caution to those revolts – kind of like a way to get the word out that Jesus was not a militant. He was concerned with bigger issues than Roman authority. He was concerned with authority over sin, and the revealing of the Kingdom of God.

So Jesus condemns the Temple; then he goes to the Mount of Olives with his closest disciples to find sanctuary. Naturally they want to know what signs will be a part of this incoming storm. And he tells them there will be war and famine and any number of terrible things, but these are only the birth pangs of what is to come.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wonder how long birth pangs can go on. But that is probably precisely why we have this story in our text today. Lamar Williamson Jr. says of this text in his commentary on Mark, "It both ennobles and relativizes the common round of daily life by making each moment subject to the invasion of the Son of man, who comes to judge and save.”

Thinking of it this way means that every moment and every chance interaction hold a revelation of the Kingdom of God. Jill Duffield, Editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, says it this way:

“This future promise shapes our current living because it imbues ‘each moment’ with the possibility of being the moment in which we see the glory of God, the very moment when judgment and salvation meet. What would our living be like if we viewed it through that kind of anticipatory lens? I suspect there would be a lot I would worry less about and some things I would take a whole lot more seriously.”

So it is with each of us, as we continue to seek ways to provoke one another to good in a world where some feel so squeezed by economic oppression and religious fanaticism that wearing a bomb or shooting innocent strangers seems like a good idea. Likewise, we live in a town that seems to have recovered from recent shooting deaths and injuries only to realize that just last year there were over 200 hand guns stolen (many out of unlocked cars) and used or sold by criminals in our Parish.

So, what do we do? Well, for starters, you are here worshiping God and expressing hope. You are here to learn and grow in the knowledge that Jesus has called you to follow and encourage others to follow him. You are here in hopes that you might even be provoked into loving others as you have been loved!

And let me tell you what else we are doing while we await God’s Kingdom. We’ve grown a gift basket ministry that is so big you can’t keep it. You’ve elected Officers to encourage us in the collective ministry of the church, and part of their job will be to be sure that we are using the newly opened space faithfully after the basket ministry moves on. You’ve also made commitments to support the church financially, and because of your commitments the Session just approved their “dream budget” that will provide increased support for local missions, increased support for Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly mission work, funds to maintain our property, and even a little extra to develop youth ministry and congregational outreach in the community!

That’s pretty amazing. Yet, it is simply what we do when we recognize that God is not keeping score. Then every moment becomes a chance for the Kingdom to come and for judgement to take place that finally rids the world of all that is opposed to God. And the good news is that Jesus is both the Judge and Redeemer!

And that good news, in the face of violence and terror, leaves us with both hope and responsibility. The Talmud, which began as an oral Rabbinic tradition, states it this way, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

Thanks be to God that the work of restoration and hope is not ours to do alone. It will be accomplished through the will of God, and we will have a part to play. Let’s just not forget to meet together and provoke the good in each person. For in this way we may experience more and more of God’s active presence – even here, even now. And to God be the glory. Now and always, Amen!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

No More Turning Away

On the turning away
From the pale and downtrodden
And the words they say
Which we won't understand
Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"

This is, of course the opening stanza to Pink Floyd’s, On the Turning Away, written by David Gilmore. Interestingly these words were written in the mid-1980’s, a time that researchers say began a trend toward income inequality that has now become greater than at any other time in our nation’s history.

You can blame whomever you want for that, but the reality is – according to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research – the top .01% of income earners control 22% of our nation’s wealth. Now, I’m no economist, and I’m certainly not a politician. I’m also aware that figures can be manipulated to work for each side of an argument.

And yet we live in a time where we argue over when and how to feed children because their nutrition levels are impacting their educational opportunities. We live in a state that generates tremendous wealth and opportunity and yet has an increasing level of food insecurity. That is something I think we can all agree is just wrong.

It's a sin that somehow
Light is changing to shadow
And casting its shroud
Over all we have known
Unaware how the ranks have grown
Driven on by a heart of stone
We could find that we're all alone
In the dream of the proud

And yet, we are not alone. That is abundantly clear in the texts that we have received today. The story of Boaz and Ruth is a tender story of love and fidelity between Ruth and Naomi – then further still between Boaz and Ruth. It’s interesting that God is silent in this book. Not only that, but the one who demonstrates the character of God is someone who is not bound by the covenant God made with Abraham and Sarah.

Ruth was a Moabite, and her loyalty to her mother-in-law is what won her the right to glean in Boaz’s field. Boaz was moved by her “hesed” – her loyalty and undeserved compassion – and he treated her with the same. Ruth, acting on Naomi’s intuition, went to Boaz at night so that no one would know and neither would be at risk for rejection.

I’ll spare you the discomfort of exploring the intimacies that followed, but the good news is that the child of Boaz and Ruth brought hope and restoration that eventually impacted the whole of Israel and Judah. In fact, you could even argue that the kindness and loyalty of a Moabite woman eventually impacted the whole of creation through Jesus of Nazareth, born in the city of David.

Wealth and poverty had a conversation on the threshing floor – the place where wheat is separated from chaff – and compassion was born. Sometimes finding the space for that conversation can be the hardest part. When the conclusions are drawn about need, or the value of a person, or anything else before the conversation begins, there is no conversation.

Yet there are times when silence speaks loudest. There are times when the space between hearing about a problem and realizing that we are not sure what to do about it can be very fertile ground – even if it only creates a feeling of compassion that opens our hearts to the concerns of others.

Of course compassion without action does little to change the world, let alone to restore and transform our lives. I think that is why Jesus condemned the “scribes” in our reading today. Truly the whole passage was not so much about wealth and poverty as it was about a temple system that didn’t include compassion. And because of that, the ideas of abundance and poverty were flipped.

Did you notice it? The wealthy gave out of their abundance and she gave out of her poverty, and yet her gift was the greater. Truly this passage is not about wealth or generosity. It is about fidelity and trust. Jesus did not say that the wealthy donors were stingy. He just said that they gave out of their abundance. The widow gave all that she had. She put her trust in God alone.

And so, by comparison, the large sums of wealthy donors and the demonstrative prayers of the scribes were not about glorifying God. Essentially these offerings turned them away from God’s active presence of grace and mercy. Certainly they would not have seen the abundance of value in the widow’s offering. It makes me wonder – do we?

Do we listen to the silent chorus of those that live by God’s grace alone? Do we truly understand that we are equally dependent on God’s grace? I think we do – most of the time.

I see it in the conversations of care and concern that pass between you. I’ve seen it in the consecration of our commitments to support our mutual ministry in this place. I’ve seen it in the Session and their increased commitment to local and global mission as reflected in our proposed budget for 2016.

We are still searching, still discerning what God is doing and will do through us in the years to come. Our answer won’t be found in the middle of threshing the wheat, but it might be found on the threshing floor in the relationships God gives us. It might be found by listening to those whose views are defined by a dependence on God’s grace, and who have otherwise been silenced with indifference.

That song – On The Turning Away – does not end with the sin of indifference. Mr. Gilmore also wrote about the strange hope found in connecting compassionately with others.

No more turning away
From the weak and the weary
No more turning away
From the coldness inside
Just a world that we all must share
It's not enough just to stand and stare
Is it only a dream that there'll be
No more turning away?

I suppose if David Gilmore can dream that we’ll stop turning away from each other amidst the excesses of the 1980’s, I can dream that we’ll stop turning away in the inequality of 2015. And while I would doubt that any our members are .01%ers, we are all people blessed with an abundance of grace.

My hope and my prayer is that we can find our place in the story of faith that is unfolding before us by looking and listening for those who have been silent. I pray that God will continue to move us from generosity to compassion. And I pray that we can continue to develop relationships in the community that will bear forth hope and restoration. In all of this, we must remember that it must be done to the glory of God. In all of our relationships, we must demonstrate the grace and mercy that we have received.

Otherwise, we may find that what we think of as abundant is truly impoverished, and what we see as impoverished is abundantly valuable in the eyes of God.

May this God, the One in whom we place our trust add understanding, give you eyes to see and ears to hear with compassion, and may you be transformed by it today. Amen.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Saint You

Today is the day we celebrate All Saints day in the church. But wait a minute, isn’t sainthood something the Roman Catholics believe in? It’s true. When we aren’t talking about football, the most common references to Saints and sainthood are found in the Roman Catholic faith. For them, Saints are people who lived holy lives and are recognized by the church as protectors, mediators, and agents of action for God’s grace and mercy. Saints are able to comfort and intercede for us when we feel that God has become too distant, or that we have fallen too far away to approach God.

In the Reformed tradition we reject the idea that we need someone other than Jesus to intercede for us, and yet in the Apostles Creed we say that we believe in the “Holy Catholic church and the communion of the Saints.” And in many cities across the United States you can find Presbyterian churches named after St. Andrew or St. Paul. How can this be?

The simple answer, as many of you know, is that the word “catholic” means all encompassing. The original intent of this word was not to exclude but rather to include various communities that shared a common belief in Jesus as the one who revealed the character and nature of God. Eventually the church in Rome became a state power, and then there were those that realized that the church needed to be reformed in order to reveal the character and nature of God in the same way that Jesus did.

Those Reformers had no desire to leave the church. They just wanted it to fall more in line with scripture. So, there are many things that remained the same – even as many changed. Some ancient traditions have been re-instituted over time, when there is no Biblical reason to exclude them. Likewise, there are terms and language and practices that have been kept and re-invented. The idea of a “Saint” is one of those.

Saints are not simply those who have lived for God, and through whom God has done miracles. Saints, from a Biblical perspective are those who – past and present – demonstrate God’s active presence. Saints are those who live and die in the tension between the God who is revealed here and now and the God who will be revealed in the end.

That tension is apparent in our scripture readings today. In Isaiah we hear about a promise for a future held by a God who overshadows pain and loss and even death itself with hospitality, redemption, and joy! God is promising not only to meet the needs of the exiled Jews but to feed them sumptuously. And God can do this. In fact, a sumptuous feast is just an appetizer for the God who swallows up the swallower. God swallows up death itself. In this place – on God’s mountain – they can expect that God will put an end to death for… who? Everyone.

God’s people will be saved from disgrace because it is their God that will do these things – for everyone. The promise of Isaiah is that a time is coming when death shall be no more, and God will wipe the tears from every eye. The ancient Jews hearing this in captivity understood the mountain to mean a restoration of Jerusalem, but we who follow Christ know that salvation is not limited to a time or a place.

In fact, even as we wait for a new heaven and a new earth, we understand that salvation is unfolding right here and right now. This is what we believe and trust and put our hopes in, but there are times when it sure seems like salvation is a long way off.

When local politics and global crisis seem to be spinning out of control, we want to know what God is doing about it. When the fragility of life is made undeniable, we want to know what God is doing about it. And when we read this story about a Jesus who seems absent when his friend is dying, we want to know how he can be so callous as to use death as a sermon illustration!

Jesus knew that Lazerus would die. He said privately and publicly that this was going to be used to demonstrate God’s glory. So, I think we have to look at this story from that angle. When Jesus was disturbed and when he wept, surely it was because of the pain of those he loved. But perhaps it was also for something more. Perhaps it was simply because of the fact that there is pain and suffering at all. Perhaps it was because he knew that giving life in this way would move him one step closer to giving his own life away.

One thing that we do know is that Jesus is the one who gives life. He is the one who demonstrated for once and for all what God is doing about sin and suffering and death. Jesus was the one who heard the request for help, and he is the one who gives life. But what about the rest of us?

Well, we may be the ones asking for help or lamenting a loss. We may be the ones who have to say what we believe – like Martha – even when our belief doesn’t seem to be helping. We may even be the one that Jesus is calling to and telling to come out of the tomb made of old habits, old grudges, or wounds that could be brand new or old and smelly to everyone but us.  Above and beyond all of that, as a community, we are the ones who Jesus commands to unbind Lazerus. We are the ones being called to demonstrate God’s active presence here and now, together. We are a part of the communion of Saints.

Last Wednesday in youth group we talked about Saints who demonstrate the love and grace of God. I told them about the pumpkin at our presbytery meeting that was decorated to look like John Calvin. Then we decorated our own pumpkins to represent people who have helped us see what God is up to in this world. It should be no surprise to those of you who know them that St. Leigh, St. Dorinda, and St. Bob were among those honored saints that night.

I did not make one, but if I had it would’ve been St. Jodi. Jodi was in the first youth group that I led many years ago. I have a Christmas ornament she made for me that reminds me of her strong faith every year. As an adult she’s always been somewhat of a community organizer and an advocate for things like co-ops and shared resources. A couple of years ago I was shocked to find out that she had opened a business selling cup cakes, and is doing quite well. She is intentionally located in an area of Asheville, NC that needs development, and she works with young women to develop and empower them through the business community.

That might be reason enough for Sainthood, given that she does all of this as an aspect of her faith and belief in God’s active presence in the world. However, she’s gotten herself in a little bit of a battle these days. Here’s how it started. Two owners of a local coffee shop began broadcasting anonymous information about their exploits with women in the community. This didn’t stay anonymous very long, and the fact that these men were selectively preying on women in vulnerable situations was not well received.

Jodi was not only a major voice of protest, she mounted a campaign with another female business owner to purchase the coffee shop and develop a new cafe that would give a percentage of sales (not just profits) to a local organization that helped women recover from abuse. She wanted to take specific actions to reclaim the space and the function of that business to move from a place of suffering to a place of healing and hospitality. In the end, the two men did sell their coffee shop – just not to Jodi. She was still able to raise awareness in her community, and she and her potential business partner raised a few thousand dollars for resources for women’s recovery from abuse. Yay for St. Jodi! Yay for God’s kingdom! Except… in the Kingdom of God, we find space for the abuser and the abused, the sinner and the saint, at the same table. Abuse is not OK. Forgiveness does not equal permission. Jesus still weeps with our specific pains and over the fact that we must endure it.

In the Kingdom of God there is redemption and hope and yes, even resurrection, for everyone who believes. And God’s people will not be put to shame when everyone sees that it is only by the power of God that restoration takes place. If you look for it, you will see that the power of God is restoring all things – even here, even now, even through you, even through me. If you listen for it taking place, God’s redemption may sound like your name being called from outside of a tomb. Or it may sound like a call to unbind someone else, so that all might be free.

Whatever you do, let it be done to demonstrate the redemption and healing that is both present and yet to come. And to God be the glory for that, now and always. Amen!