Monday, March 13, 2017

Hungry Hearts


Psalm 37:10-17; Matthew 5: 1-2, 5-6
March 12, 2017
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

Our first reading comes from the Psalms today, a Psalm that may not be familiar to many of us. You know, of course, that the Psalms are in verse, like poems and songs, and that many of them were used in worship in ancient Israel. You are probably familiar with the some of the Psalms – maybe even lots of them! – like Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…” Or maybe Psalm 121 – “I lift up my eyes to the hills…” And you’ve heard phrases from Psalms, even if you didn’t know the source. But there are 150 Psalms, and most of us aren’t that well-versed in the less-quoted ones.

Psalm 37 is a song of assurance to the people of Israel, people who had suffered under various oppressors, and who had lived with persecution and hardship. Granted, some of their troubles were the result of their own disobedience, but this Psalm assures them of God’s justice. It is also the Psalm that Jesus quotes directly in the Beatitudes. Let’s listen for God’s promised justice for the people in Psalm 37:10-17


Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land,
and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plot against the righteous, and gnash their teeth at them;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that their day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy, to kill those who walk uprightly;
their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
Better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.


We continue with our exploration of the Beatitudes. Jesus is still up on the mountain, sitting down to teach his disciples. We join with them to listen for God’s blessing in Matthew 5: 1-2, 5-6.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

You probably remember from last week that the word “blessed” in the beatitudes can be better translated as “greatly honored” or “happy.” That’s easy to substitute:
“Happy are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Greatly honored are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.”

Blessed is the easy word to deal with in these two verses. The words “meek” and “righteousness” however, present an interpretive challenge. The most challenging word for modern ears is “meek.” I want to invite you to consider for just a moment what words or images come to mind when you hear the word “meek.” If you immediately think of Nicki Minaj’s ex-boyfriend, rapper Meek Mill, ignore those words and images. If you don’t know who those people are, never mind. If you do, you can congratulate me later on my relevant cultural reference!

Now, back to meek.
What would it mean if you heard a national leader described as “meek”?
When you think of a person who is meek, what do you imagine?
Would you like it if someone described you as meek?

If you are like most folks, you hear the word meek, and unless you are reading the Bible, you think of someone who is timid, weak, and shy. Meekness is not generally thought of as an attractive trait. Unless you were a first century disciple of Jesus.

Then, you’d have heard Jesus say, “Blessed – happy – are the humbled, for they shall inherit the earth” and you would hear the echoes of Psalm 37.

The disciples would have had no trouble drawing a parallel
between the wicked of Psalm 37 and the Romans of their own day.
They had been victimized by debt, by taxes, by poverty
brought about by a system that was rigged against them.
They knew what it meant to be humbled.

The second interpretive challenge in these verses is the word “righteousness.”
Most of us, when we hear that word, think of “self-righteousness,”
or the idea that people who are saintly and pious are “righteous.”

But that is not what that word is, or what it means.
A much better translation of the Greek word in Matthew is “justice.”
Blessed, happy, are those who are hungry and thirsty for justice.
The meek, those who had been humbled, were starved for justice.
They could not count on justice, until the day when God’s final justice would restore them to the land. They were committed to doing good, even though it was clear that doing evil pays better. The Roman Empire was working out well for the rich and powerful, but it was a system that was founded on injustice and exploitation.

The disciples knew what Jesus was talking about,
and they were parched and starving for justice.
They knew that, absent God’s intervention, they were not going to get it.
They could not gain any material success
unless they were willing to sell their souls to the system.

So when Jesus quoted Psalm 37, you know they must have leaned in.
They understood that when Jesus spoke of the meek,
when he named those hungry and thirsty for justice,
he was speaking of them -- those who had been humbled by the wicked.

It’s pretty easy for us to connect the dots, too.
The contrasts Jesus paints are bold, and they apply even now.
We know that in our own time and place,
there are those who care nothing for the poor, care nothing for justice.
They cheat the poor to become wealthy
- they actively plot against those who seek righteousness.
You may not have much, but better the little you have gained
than the huge estates they’ve amassed by exploiting you.

Blessed are those who have been humbled; they will inherit the earth.

The wicked do not lose any sleep over the victims of their wrongdoing.
They intentionally – or carelessly cause suffering.
They sit down at tables of rich food and stuff themselves.
But you, you are famished for justice, parched for righteousness.

They are hungry for war, bloodthirsty.
You, the humbled, are hungering and thirsting for justice, for God’s realm.

Blessed are those who seek justice the way a starving man seeks food.
Blessed are those who desire good like those who seek water in the desert.

Jesus is announcing a new reality: in him, the kingdom of God is present.
The promise in Psalm 37, like the performative language of the Beatitudes,
is that the wicked do not win.
Evil is already defeated.

They may draw their swords now, but they will pierce their own hearts.
They draw back their bows now, but God will break their bows.
They are armed against you, you who are unarmed,
but don’t worry, because God is going to disarm them!

God will accomplish this not through violence,
not through confiscation, like some kind of divine despot.
God will accomplish this through the disarming love of Jesus.

In us, that disarming love will be demonstrated in our daily lives.
As disciples, we follow our teacher.
We speak out for those whose voices have been silenced,
with prayer, with advocacy, words of hope.
We pray for all people – not only those whom we know and love,
but those who do evil, who hate us, who persecute us.
And we act in ways that seek justice, in actions large and small –
through our purchasing choices,
through our daily decisions about the right use of resources,
through our resistance to participating in that which wasteful or exploitive.

And when we grow weary, when our spirits fade,
when we are empty and hungry and thirsty
we come back to Jesus, the one who leads us to still waters.

Our life-giving shepherd provides for our needs.
Our souls are filled in the green pastures where Jesus leads.
As we follow him and listen to his voice,
he satisfies our hunger and slakes our thirst.
He prepares a table for us and then invites our enemies.
His disarming love invites us always to come and eat and be satisfied.

At his table, we break the bread of life together.
Our cups run over with his grace. He satisfies our hungry hearts
with his justice, with his righteousness, with his boundless love.
Come, you who have been humbled by life’s unfairness:
come and receive the kingdom.
Come, you who are starved for justice and thirsting for goodness:
come and be filled.
Come, you who are blessed. 
Come to this table of blessings.

Amen.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Greatly Honored



This is the first sermon in a Lenten sermon series on the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.


Deuteronomy 15:7-8; Matthew 4:23-5:3
March 5, 2017
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

As we begin our series on the Beatitudes, let’s set the scene and the context. Beatitude means blessing – a simple word that we use often, but maybe not in the ways that Jesus used it. The scriptures are filled with allusions to blessings – the blessings from God to people, from fathers to sons, between brothers, and the blessing of the covenant and the law. As a faithful Jew, Jesus was a student of the law, and as the Messiah, he was also the fulfillment of the law. Part of that law was the injunction to welcome the stranger,to care for the alien that resides in your country, and to care for the poor and the needy.

Listen for that injunction in this reading from Deuteronomy 15:7-8:

If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be.

In spite of that clear instruction of the laws given to the people by God, in Jesus’ time, there were many people who were very, very poor. The Roman occupation, heavy taxation, and the loss of land had a devastating effect on the poorest of the poor. The working poor could make a day’s wage, enough to subsist, but those who could not work because of age, or sickness, were destitute, and utterly dependent on charity.

In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, they were the ones who gathered around Jesus as he gave his sermon. But in Matthew’s version, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is teaching his disciples. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in Matthew 4: 23-5:3

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like, to be there with Jesus,
and to hear those words for the first time.
It’s hard to set aside the Sunday School pictures we might remember
or the scenes we might imagine, of the Sermon on the Mount.
In the pictures I remember, Jesus is a Germanic looking white guy,
with brown hair and blue eyes, very clean and pleasant looking.
He is sitting on a very tidy stone, on a very sanitary hill.
All the people crowded around him are neat and tidy and European looking.
Everyone looks quite healthy.

In reality, Jesus would almost certainly have a dark complexion, dark hair, a beard, and dark eyes. He was a Middle Eastern man, so he’d have looked more Arabic than European. The people who gathered around him probably looked much the same, except maybe even less clean. People who were sick, or afflicted with various diseases and pains, or demoniacs, or epileptics, or paralytics were probably extremely poor, and probably not too aromatic.

It’s safe to assume that most of us would be a bit nervous, if we encountered any of these people on the sidewalk. We might think Jesus looked more like a terrorist than the savior of the world. If we were there, and could get over our discomfort in that crowd, we’d be even more nervous hearing what Jesus had to say. Because Jesus is telling these destitute, forgotten, sickly, miserable folks that they are the ones who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. Actually he’s not even saying they will inherit the kingdom of heaven. He’s saying the kingdom of heaven already belongs to them.

See, the beatitudes, these blessings Jesus is pronouncing, are not promises.
These beatitudes are not pie in the sky when you die.
The language Jesus uses is performative language.
Performative language is just what it sounds like – words that perform – that DO something. The most familiar example of performative language I know of is the language of wedding vows. When you say, “I take you to be my lawfully wedded wife, or husband,” your words are performing the action. When you say “With this ring, I thee wed,” it is your words that make you married.

So when Jesus says, “Blessed are…” his words are performative – they have effect -
he is announcing an accomplished fact – the blessing is already there.

Actually, the word blessed is better translated “happy” or “greatly honored.”
Greatly honored – happy - are the poor in spirit –
they’ve already been given the kingdom of heaven.

Greatly honored - happy - are those who mourn –
they are already receiving comfort.

In Jesus’ time, these powerful blessings are contrary to what everyone really knew to be true. Those whom Jesus named as the poor in spirit were not just poor – they were destitute, actual beggars who relied completely on charity. And as if that weren’t curse enough, they also suffered from a poverty of the soul – they were beggars in body and spirit – on the absolute fringe of society.

Everybody knew that the rich were blessed.
Everybody knew that happy people were blessed.
And they knew that beggars were NOT blessed, not honored, not happy.
They knew that those in mourning,
were NOT blessed, not honored, not happy.

But Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…blessed are those who mourn.”

We normally count material things as blessings –
"blessed with" a nice home, a decent car, a good job.
We normally count happiness, not grief, as a blessing.
To be bereft, in body and spirit, does not sound like blessing.

But if we look at “those people” – the sick, the beggar, the mournful,
and we ignore them, or dismiss them, we miss the blessing.
If we look at “those people” – the alien, the stranger, the outsider,
those who are in poverty of body and spirit –
and we turn away, or push them away, we miss the blessing.
If we look at “those people” and see our own poverty and sorrow reflected in their eyes,
if we look at them and greatly honor them,
and we hold a space for them, and for ourselves,
then we’ll be open to that blessing
that comes from the poverty, the sorrow, the darkness.

I know it does not make much sense – it’s all backwards.
It makes about as much sense as loving our enemies.
Perhaps this poverty of spirit and this grief are blessings in a different way
than the blessings we normally name.
The season of Lent is a time of transformation.
The word “lent” has its roots in the word “lengthen”
– the lengthening of days as spring draws near.
From the time of the winter solstice, the longest night, in December,
the days are gradually growing longer,
pushing back the dark nights of winter up until the vernal equinox.
Lent is a time of dwelling in darkness –
a time in which we are poor in spirit, in which we are those who mourn.

Ash Wednesday opens the door to this reflection and repentance,
to this time of letting go, and emptiness.
When I marked the ashes on people’s foreheads last week,
I offered a prayer for each one –

“Gracious God, we pray that you open our hearts to your presence,
to let go of those things of which we need to repent,
and to embrace the actions and thoughts
which you’d have us carry with us throughout this Lenten season.”

Meister Eckhart said that to be poor in spirit
is to “know nothing, want nothing, and have nothing.”
That sounds pretty Buddhist, and it is deeply Christian,
because if we know nothing, want nothing, and have nothing,
we are ready to learn everything that Jesus wants to teach us,
to receive everything that Jesus wants to give us,
and to give everything to others that he wants us to share.

If we are poor in spirit, our poverty makes space for Jesus to be present.
If we are grieving, mourning in this Lenten season,
our sorrow is a doorway – an opening into a deep place in our souls.
Our emptiness creates a space where we can encounter mercy,
a place where we can stand, bereft and broken hearted,
ready to be healed and restored through the love of Jesus.

It will require from us the willingness to be empty,
without rushing to fill ourselves with distractions.

It will require from us the willingness to sit with our grief,
to confess the places in which we are wounded,
without seeking immediate, if temporary, relief.

It will require from us the willingness to sit for a time in the twilight,
to dwell in the darkness,
to open our hands and hearts,
and to simply wait.

Because the kingdom of heaven is already ours –
and the consolation for our grief is already here.

That’s what Jesus wants us to know.
He wants us to know that his kingdom can be found at the edges,
among the people on the fringe of society.
He wants us to see that in him, heaven and earth meet.
He wants us to come to him, at his table, where he is present and waiting,
where he offers himself to us in our poverty,
where he offers his sorrow to heal our grief.
Greatly honored are you, you who are empty!
Greatly honored are you, you who are sorrowful!
Greatly honored are you, you who wait!

You are greatly honored, for you are God’s own people,
beloved, welcome at Christ’s table,
where he offers you the bread of life, the cup of salvation –
where he waits to fill your emptiness with grace. 

 Amen.

Glory Be!


2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, Illinois
February 26, 2017
Christina Berry

Our first reading, from second Peter, comes from a letter that was written at least one generation after Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is a reminder to the Christian community that the stories of Jesus are our family stories, and they are true stories. These stories are told and retold, like any family stories, until we ourselves feel like eyewitnesses to the events they describe. Like all true stories passed down from generation to generation, these stories must be repeated so that their power is not lost to time. The interpretation of them comes through the power of the Holy Spirit, and so they are never individual stories, but truths shared by the community of those who follow Jesus. This story is a reminder to us of the glory we now share, and the glory that is yet to come. Let’s listen for the Holy Spirit speaking to us in 2 Peter 1:16-21:

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Our second reading comes from the Gospel of Matthew, the 17th chapter. This is Matthew’s account of the transfiguration. We’ve been noticing for several weeks Matthew’s intentional parallels between Jesus and Moses, and this account is no exception. We’re intended, as we hear this, to recall Moses on Mount Sinai, when he had encountered the very presence of God, and his face shone with such glory that he had to put a veil over his face, because no one could look upon him.

This Sunday of the transfiguration marks the end of one season and the beginning of another – we leave the season after the Epiphany and now move into Lent. The transfiguration is like a bookend, marking the start of the season of Lent with a demonstration of the glory of God. Of course, Lent ends with Easter, when we again become eyewitnesses to God’s glory in the resurrection o f Jesus. We have this glimpse of glory just before we come to have our foreheads marked with ashes this coming Wednesday.

We have this glimpse of immortality just before are reminded once again: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. So let’s listen now, and be attentive for God’s presence and glory in Matthew 17:1-9

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.

Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"

When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.

But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Get up and do not be afraid."

And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Eight years ago, almost to the day, I stood before you on Transfiguration Sunday and preached what’s called a “candidating sermon” – a kind of audition to see if you wished to elect me as your pastor. Of course, I’d been in conversation with the search committee for many months prior to February 22, 2009 – this was the final event of the process. I don’t know if you remember much about that sermon – I didn’t! but it started with one word: WOW!

And I’m starting again this morning with that: WOW!

The transfiguration story is a WOW moment. Up there on that mountain top, everything changed, radiant, glistening, transfigured in an instant, right before our eyes. One of the things I love about the lectionary is that every year, we come to this WOW moment of the Transfiguration Every year we climb this mountain, on our way upward with Peter, James and John, following Jesus to the mountaintop. There, while we watch, Jesus is transfigured.

Joined by Moses and Elijah, symbolizing the law and the prophets, 
Jesus is overshadowed by divine presence.
Transfigured.
Dazzling.
Whiter than any white.
Radiant.
Right there before our very eyes.

We are eyewitnesses to this Majestic Glory of Jesus, shining like the sun. We’re overcome with awe, but we want to preserve this moment. We want to stay on the mountaintop, or maybe be able to come back to this experience. So like Peter, we try to save this glorious moment, in a little tabernacle of our own making. (If this happened today, we’d all pull out our cellphones.)

And then, before Jesus can even answer we are overshadowed once again, and we hear a voice from the cloud, saying: "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!" For many of us, like Peter, it’s too much. But then Jesus is there, to touch us, to lift us to our feet, saying “Get up, and do not be afraid.”

Wow! What a moment!
But the moment passes.
Now at this point, the preacher starts leading you back down the mountain. That’s what I did, eight years ago. I said, “They walk back down the mountain. We, walking along with them, move into the season of Lent, and the reality of the coming of the crucifixion. We lose sight of that splendid, shimmering vision. We can empathize with Peter longing to sustain that rapturous moment, But it’s the nature of epiphany that those moments can’t be preserved.”

That’s what I said. And it is true.

We can remember such moments, hold them lightly in our hands, like a mayfly wing, but we cannot re-create the transcendent, because we did not create transcendence to begin with. So those awe-inspiring experiences are not something we can preserve in amber.

But what I said is also not true. Because the glory of God is ours, even in the forty days of Lent. It’s not something we can whomp up in worship. Even though our worship team is very talented, we can’t manufacture glory: Imagine: “let’s put a moment of transcendence here, right after the offertory…”

This sort of glorious moment doesn’t come from us. It doesn’t emerge from our expectations or our programs, or my sermons. It comes from God, at God’s own bidding, in God’s own time.

Now, we Presbyterians sometimes have a little trouble with this idea. We get a little anxious about the idea of anything that seems, well, mystical. Especially when it sounds, so, welll… so much like, well, like…..CHANGE!

You remember the jokes?
They were old back then – they’re even older now!

How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?
None. God has predestined when the lights will be on.

How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb?
Well, it should require one committee to review the Biblical scholarship regarding change, light, illumination and darkness.

A second committee will discuss the essential tenets
of the Reformed Tradition as they relate to change and light bulbs.
We need another committee to consider polity requirements
for change to take place decently and in order.
A fourth to formulate the report and related overtures to General Assembly.
And a fifth committee to plan the potluck afterward.

How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? 
Change?!? Change? My grandmother donated that light bulb and now you want to change it?!

We suspect, and rightly so, that our own transformation may not be as easy as changing a light bulb. In our culture, opening ourselves to transformation can be risky. It can leave us feeling vulnerable, and out of step with everyone around us. It is dicey, this business of being transformed. We are afraid.

Maybe we’re okay with the abstract concept of metamorphosis, but we’re not so sure that we want it for ourselves. “You go on ahead and change; I’d rather not, thanks. I’ll just wait here.”

Marianne Williamson, in an oft-quoted passage, says “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. … We are all meant to shine, ... We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us…. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”[1]

Maybe we are open to metamorphosis, but we’ve learned to close our eyes to the mystical visions that God offers. Maybe we’ve stopped seeing, or stopped looking. It’s possible that we have stood on holy ground and pushed that knowledge away from our awareness.

And it’s probable that many of us have had mystical experiences, but we’re embarrassed to tell anyone – what would people think? People who see visions and hear God talking to them are, well, not, um normal, right? In our culture, such people are called crazy – in other cultures, other times, such people are called prophets.

If you’ve had a mystical experience – a vision, an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, a dream that is more than a dream, you are not alone, nor are you crazy. The winds of the Holy Spirit still blow through our lives, and every now and then we see that wind moving in the world, or we feel the brush of angel wings on the backs of our necks, if we are willing.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in Sonnets from the Portuguese, writes:
“Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes -
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”

We may not even be able to identify our own moments of glory, or our own transformation, until later, after the moment has passed. And then, one day, we wake up and walk out to the kitchen, stand at the window staring out at the back yard, watching a robin in the apple tree, listening to the morning news, smelling the coffee that’s brewing, we just stand there, and WOW! Glory, glory be.

One afternoon, we’re coming back to work after lunch, and there’s just this moment, walking in the door, when we feel a deep sense of peace descend. Nothing we were looking for, exactly, but all we were hoping for.
Wow! Glory be!

Some evening after supper, the dog lays his head on the rug and sighs, the kids are all clean after their baths and snuggly in their jammies, And there’s an almost audible “click”, a silent joy, a smile that comes from inside, down deep.
Wow! Glory be!

This is the glory of God, even in the season of Lent, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. The glory of God not only amazes us, it transforms us. 

God’s glory shines forth from us through our acts of compassion, 
transforming the world though our voices of advocacy, 
dazzling our hearts with passion for Christ’s work,
surprising us with unexpected joy,
transfiguring our homes, our neighborhoods,
the world, through our resolve for peace
through our actions for justice.

God’s glory shines through our hands and feet and voices in prayer that transforms our hearts, Scripture that challenges our minds, fellowship that changes our attitudes, worship that reorients our viewpoint, away from ourselves, and towards God.

That’s a Christian life that reflects the transfiguration
A life of commitment
A life of joy in service
A life that leads to glory.

Wow!
Glory be!
Glory be to God!

Amen.








[1] Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love