Trust in Grief and Love

We enter Good Friday and Holy Saturday before we can come to Easter. I offer you three reflections, including the first one by guest lay preacher, John Endress, for whose offering of himself I give thanks.

Reflection by John Endress Good Friday Morning Prayer

The Gospel according to John 13:36-38

Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.

In our Gospel today, it is reasonable to assume that Peter knew the relationship he had with Jesus was about to change.  The time Peter spent with Jesus was special.  I think he knew it and that it’s not hard to empathize with Peter.

I remember special times too. I remember the feeling of Christmas Day as an eight year old boy, and telling my parents that I didn’t want the day to end.

● I remember a trip to summer camp on a late Friday afternoon.  It was special because for the first time, I was driving.

● I remember the whole day that I asked my wife to marry me.

● I remember watching children receive their diplomas.

All of those moments were special.

Although I remember them visually, I also remember the sounds, and the smells, and especially the people who were around and close to me at that time.  I wanted to hang on to that feeling with everything I had.

I don’t think I would offer my life to stop time.  But, I realize that sometimes things are special because they do not last.

Mother Elizabeth’s reflection on Good Friday

Good Friday Liturgy

Normally I would preach of betrayal and abandonment on Good Friday.  In acknowledging how most of those who loved Jesus best and the crowds who once cheered him either called for his crucifixion or ran away from Jesus and his punishment and death in fear of their own lives.  It remains a useful exercise to examine betrayal and abandonment in our own lives, both when we have experience each and inflicted each.  

Hearing John’s reflection above during Morning Prayer today I choose to reflect upon shifts in relationship and our desire to hold on to what we have right now as it is.   

Judas sought a social and political revolution and hoped to spur Jesus to action through his betrayal – at least that is plausible to me. 

Peter, though he was close to Jesus, really did not believe that death would come from following the path of love.  This was not at all what he planned or expected.  His life had been turned upside down once. What was this turn of events about?

The Jewish religious authorities wanted to keep business as usual.  They ran the temple, made and enforced rules of daily life and were pretty comfortable with all that.  Who was this Jesus challenging their ways as no longer true to the ways of God?  As the writer of Hebrews notes the blood of goats will not take away sin. 

Instead Jesus calls us to a new relationship with God and with one another that requires staying true to the path of love and keeping one’s heart open to others and to God not matter the difficulties along the way, no matter that the path is not one we wish to take.  It is in staying open to love and trust in God and to loving in the face of everything that we discover new and deepest life.  

But today we cannot yet see new and deeper life, we can only trust and love.  In the time of COVID-19 and shifts in our worship, our daily lives, we can choose fear or love.  Fear is a natural response as it was for Peter, but may we following Jesus choose trust and love. 

Mother Elizabeth’s Reflection on Holy Saturday

Job asks in Job 14:14 if mortals can die, will they live again? He offers sense that there is no enjoyment of life on earth (certainly he current experience would confirm that) and doubts a future communion with God.  Death is death.  Unlike trees which can sprout new growth when cut down, humans do not.  Job longs for ongoing communion with God, for death (Sheol) to be a resting place until such time as humans can know full communion. 

No doubt Jesus’s followers, including Mary Magdalene, John, his mother all wondered this.  Most were cowering in fear and sorrow.  Jesus on the cross felt abandonment just before his death. 

Yet, we see a tether of grief and love which go together.  It is this tether which Jurgen Moltmann refers to in the Holy Spirit holding together the love which binds the Trinity which God the Father grieved the death of God the Son, who felt abandoned.  It is this tether which held Jesus as he went down to Sheol when Mary Magdalene entered deep grief and a broken heart pouring out love of Jesus.  Her love as the love of the Holy Spirit sustained Jesus in his journey to Sheol to death itself.   

We, too, are called to be a tether to one another, a tether sustained by the love of Jesus.  As Peter writes: Maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.Today I invite us to sit in grief which comes from great love.  We cry as the psalmist: my soul waits for the Lord.  Perhaps feel the grief in our guts or our hearts as grief causes pain and emptiness.  May in that emptiness we discover a capacity to love one another always as our hearts are freed from self-focused desires and open to the tether of love.   This tether sees Christ in you and in me. 

There is hope.

Gifts of Love

Welcome a New Day

Good morning on Maundy Thursday.   On this day we recall Jesus’s full giving of himself in the Bread and Wine.   He offered his complete self in body and poured out himself for all, showing us the path of love.  In the shifting, confusing and sometimes chaotic experience of worship and care in the time of COVID-19, I offer to all of you a few offerings that friends of mine offered me in their love and care.    

With every blessing, 

Mother Elizabeth

A prayer to you from the New Zealand Prayer Book:

God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to us
as we wait in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you. Amen.

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic

in you,

let there come silence.

Let there be

a calming

of the clamoring,

a stilling

of the voices that

have laid their claim

on you,

that have made their

home in you,

that go with you

even to the

holy places

but will not

let you rest,

will not let you

hear your life

with wholeness

or feel the grace

that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you

cease.

Let what divides you

cease.

Let there come an end

to what diminishes

and demeans,

and let depart

all that keeps you

in its cage.

Let there be

an opening

into the quiet

that lies beneath

the chaos,

where you find

the peace

you did not think

possible

and see what shimmers

within the storm.

  • Jan Richardson, author

Slow Me Down Lord

Slow me down Lord

Ease the pounding of my heart

by the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace

with a vision of the eternal march of time.

Give me amid the confusion of the day,

the calmness of the eternal hills.

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles

with the soothing music of the singing streams

that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art of taking MINUTE vacations,

Of slowing down to look at a flower,

to chat with a friend,

to pat a dog,

to read a few lines of a good book.

Slow me down Lord

and inspire me to send my roots

deep into the soil of life’s enduring values

that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

Author: Wilfred A. Peterson

Enter a week of lament and self-emptying.

A new Palm Sunday

Homily Palm Sunday April 5, 2020

Psalm 31 ; Philippians 2:5-11

The Rev. Elizabeth Ewing

 How quickly the world can turn upside down.   Less than a month ago,  we knew a deadly virus was coming, the but extent of COVID-19 and even its name we did not know or fully recognize. 

The rapid shift in our lives can help us understand Jesus’s followers in the week before his crucifixion.  The disciples had a sense of foreboding; they understood Jesus’s teachings had made authorities angry, both religious and political leaders.  Jesus had hinted at and then explicitly foretold his suffering and death.  Yet, how hard to believe anything other than Jesus as conquering Messiah overturning the government.   The disciples after all experienced the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, and the crowds who came to hear Jesus’s preaching at the Temple in the days before his death. 

Then came Maundy Thursday, Gethsemane and finally the cross at Golgotha.  

Jeremy Taylor, an early Anglican and favorite of mine helps guide us through this time with wisdom from his books Holy Living and Holy Dying.   Taylor notes the little deaths each one has on the way to the moment our souls depart mortal flesh.  As with the Adam and Eve after the Garden, death is a part of life.  In following Jesus we are meant to die more and more to self as we draw closer to Christ.  A life well lived which endures and trusts during whatever suffering comes our way is a means, “God dresses us for heaven.”   We may not welcome our departure from this incarnate life, but we have no need to fear death as God in Christ overcame death.  But we are not there yet.  

In the week ahead I invite us to feel and ponder both lament for our own finitude and the infinity found in self-emptying.

— Holy Week is a time for lament as we can experience with Jesus the frailty of human existence and our finitude in physical death.  With the psalmist in Psalm 31 we can cry out, “my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.” We do not need to push away the pain, the fear, or the reality of mortality.  

Though in our culture, we still try to numb ourselves to the reality of our mortality through material goods, power, entertainment, and more, the virus has stripped away some of that, and we are confronted with the fact of death.   We can lament.  We can wish it otherwise, and we can give ourselves over to trust in God that in the end all shall be well.  As with the psalmist who shifts from lament to trust, and with Jesus in Gethsemane who asks not to drink the cup God offers, but if that is the only way, Jesus trusts and says, “yes,”   we can do the same. Trusting in God to give life even in grief and earthly death is hard; may we choose Life.

  — Holy Week is a time to consider self-emptying.  Jesus lived pouring out himself for others to heal, to teach, and to invite us to the everlasting love of God. Indeed our finitude is held in the infinite love of God which we can share in Christ.  Death and the prospect of death strips away all but our relationship with God and connection to neighbor as self.  

When self-absorption shifts to choosing to pour out oneself, we are choosing life, and life everlasting.  Drawing closer to the heart of Jesus, we can choose to give up selfishness and selflessness and enter into full selfhood.  It is the paradox of being most fully oneself when giving oneself away to the Oneness of God and creation.  It is the paradox of losing one’s life to find it.  

The path of discipleship includes anguish, courage and sacrifice.  It is a constant call to self-emptying.  As Jesus lived pouring out himself so much that touching his garment healed a woman from bleeding, we can learn and trust pouring out ourselves.  Jesus died as he lived, offering himself for others even as he grieved and felt abandoned.  He chose to trust in Life.

As we walk closer to the cross with Jesus and spend time in lament and self-emptying, we may want to consider as well the cruciform shape that balances suffering and trust, human frailty and God’s faithful love.

Blessings for Holy Week.  Let us walk together.

Space for Grief and Silence

Grief, Silence, Awe

 Our lives have changed.  When we once again go out and about and can touch one another, all will remain transformed.   Grief is a factor in all transformation even changes we long for, such as a new job, a child, or spring; the known is gone.   

In the Christian liturgical calendar, we are entering into a period of deep grief, and now is the time to make space for sadness and loss.  Some now are working harder than they ever have, and all levels of medical personnel find themselves having or potentially having to make life and death decisions, and this is hard for healers.

Others are becoming overwhelmed with more intense work responsibilities even when not in the health field, and many have to balance entirely new levels of childcare on top of everything else.  Still others find wide open empty spaces they make want to rush and fill.  May we not forget those who have lost their jobs, those without homes in which to shelter and those without basic items, such as food or soap. 

In our new reality, we grieve a way of life we have lost, time with family and friends, and a sense of safety and coping.  The pain of it all is something most would like to avoid.  Still, I invite us to consider a response of reflection, humility, tears, and lamentation. It seems other Christians, including N.T. Wright agree, citing our long tradition of lamentation.  We have Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations from the time of exile.  A good portion of our psalms are psalms of lament.  Next Thursday we shall read Psalm 22:  “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Passover begins next week.  It celebrates the deliverance of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt; yet, too, is a time to grieve what is lost and what is not yet here.  

Even in the busyness of those overwhelmed, even in the rush to fill space to avoid pain, I invite each of us to take at least some moment of silence to sit with our souls with God.  For God is with us in all this; God knows grief. It is part of life.

I offer below some poetry, psalms and prayers for a time of lament, humility and trust. 

With Lenten blessings, 

Mother Elizabeth

Of Lament:  Psalm 22: 1-11 

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.  But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.  All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,  He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Of Trust and Humility 

Be helpless and dumbfounded,

unable to say yes or no.

Then a stretcher will come

from grace to gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see the beauty.

If we say “Yes we can,” we’ll be lying.

If we say “No, we don’t see it,”

that “No” will behead us

and shut tight our window into spirit.

So let us not be sure of anything,

beside ourselves, and only that, so

miraculous beings come running to help.

Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,

we will be saying finally,

with tremendous eloquence, “Lead us.”

When we’ve totally surrendered to that beauty,

we’ll become a mighty kindness.     Rumi. (my italics)

Psalm 131 (from today’s Morning Prayer)

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;

    my eyes are not raised too high;

I do not occupy myself with things

    too great and too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed and quieted my soul,

    like a weaned child with its mother;

    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord

    from this time forth and forevermore.

A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
We are frightened, God,

Worried for our loved ones,

Worried for our world.

Helpless and confused,

We turn to You

Seeking comfort, faith and hope.

Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,

And our fear into acts of kindness and support.

Our strong must watch out for our weak,

Our young must take care of our old.

Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus

Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses

In the frontlines of this battle,

Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.

Send wisdom and insight to the scientists

Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.

Bless their efforts, God.

Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage

To choose wisely and act quickly.

Help us, God, to see that we are one world,

One people

Who will rise above this pandemic together.

Send us health God,

Watch over us,

Grace us with Your love,

Bless us with Your healing light.

Hear us God,

Heal us God,Amen.  by Rabbi Naomi Levy

“This is the time to be slow,

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let

The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.”  John O’Donohue,

Held in God’s Web of Love

Golden Filament of Love

A recurring image for me in the last two months has been a beautiful golden web holding each and every one of us and all of creation.   In all I see and do, I see a glorious web of gold filament surrounding us and holding us:  this is God. 

Within the web of God’s love are other webs of connection, notably the connection we feel with those we care about, especially family and close friends.  With these people often we sense when something is happening or sense presence.  The same is true for those who have died.  

Yet this communion of saints is much broader.  One insight from the coronavirus exponential spread is we are one.  The number of contacts and connections which ripple outward from each person infected can easily reach hundreds.  What we each do, who we meet, how we behave: it all matters. 

With new eyes we begin to see our oneness and interconnection.  Viral contagion is a hard way to learn we are one people, but learn we must so we and the earth may heal.  

With the virus spreading I have sat and sit in 

  • fear especially for family and friends;
  • sadness for refugees and intending immigrants in camps, for prisoners;
  • admiration for all medical personnel including those who clean hospitals and for all who care for the ill;
  • frustration in greed, posturing and self-focus that hinders getting needed supplies;
  • grief for all who suffer the worst cases and those who have died;
  • vulnerability in recognizing my own underlying health condition and age;
  • frenzy while seeking with others to get the congregation together in new ways;
  • joy in connections new and renewed through online worship and gatherings;
  • readiness and peace with what God calls me to in the safety of the web of love.

In this new season and time of change, may we all remember we are held each day in God’s web of love.   It is not easy keeping our distance when we need connection more than ever.  May we try to do distant socializing rather than social distancing, boldly exploring new means to keep in touch.

Easter will be a new experience this year.  It may feel more akin to that first Easter when the disciples were scared, deeply sad and not understanding the new path God was showing them.  We want to be together to sing, to shout A…., and embrace.  For now we are in our homes.  Some may head to hospitals.  We all are one, and we have hope one day we shall be together.  

Throughout this time we are held by God’s web of love, a web we see best when we recognize Christ in one another and the threads that link all creation.  

We may begin to see more cases of COVID-19, and deaths, here in Central New York and elsewhere, and may our prayer and connection sustain each one at that time.  For now we are caring for one another, including medical personnel, by staying at home and thwarting the virus’s transmission.  Staying home now means healing.   I offer you this poem while you are HOME.  

a poem from Kitty O’Meara:

And the people stayed HOME

And read books, and listened, and rested,

And exercised, and made art, and played games,

And learned new ways of being, and were still.

Some meditated, some prayed, some

Danced, some met their shadows.

Ant the people began to think differently.

And the people healed.  And, in the absence of

People living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless

And heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

And when the danger passed, and the people

Joined together again, they grieved their losses,

And made new choices, and dreamed new

Images, and created new ways to live and heal

The earth fully, as they has been HEALED. 

Being Community in Christ during a Pandemic

We are the Body of Christ: first and foremost.  Our lives are governed by deep love of God and neighbor, and true love of self which sees our neighbors as ourself.   We live, move and have our being in God, our refuge and strength.   May we awaken to that knowledge and remember this as our world for now is changing at a topsy-turvy rate.

In Lent we look to our own hearts to see what might be getting in the way of God’s indwelling there.   Are we so worried about ourselves and how we appear and what we can get that God has no space?  Each of us can take advantage of this soul searching and heart cleansing to open ourselves and offer ourselves fully to God. 

God created us for community and interconnection.  When health advice interrupts how we come together, this is difficult, but we can remain and strengthen our life as Church, the community in Christ, in this time of pandemic.

We are in this together, as Presiding Bishop Curry emphasized.  The secular world agrees.  “See people as allies in this unique moment of uncertainty,” writes offered an article in “The Atlantic” when giving advice on dealing with coronavirus.   Pandemic is countered by working together, by caring for one another, by taking precautions and noting what the essence of our desire to be together.  We may not be able to shake hands or hug for now, but we can offer other gestures of greeting with love, such as bowing, hand motions, sign language, Vulcan salutes, etc. 

Most importantly we can think of one another and not just ourselves.   How disappointing to see an out and out fight over toilet paper.  We do consider our own safety but sauve qui peut (focus on saving oneself) is not the answer to ending the pandemic and not at all what God requires of us. 

 How wonderful to hear, 

— “how can we help schoolchildren who depend on free meals if our schools close?” 

—  I add to this, how can we help our CHOW clients get food without exposing one another to the virus, for we all are potential carriers? 

— How can we help those in our own community if they need to self-quarantine or are sick?  

— How can we still worship?

Soon we shall prepare and send out an updated protocol which I imagine shall always be a work in progress.  

For now:  

Our communal worship continues, and I will not be requesting all of you to sit closer together.   We will have hand sanitizer at both entrances and encourage hand-washing before the service.

— At the Peace, we shall refrain from hand-shaking and hugs, using sign language or a kind gesture you prefer.

— We shall distribute wafers only for Communion and from the bottom of the stairs as we do in the summer.   All those serving at the Altar shall wash hands first.

— at the end of service, I shall greet you without hand shakes or hugs but with love in my heart. 

Please feel free to call me at anytime to discuss this.  We have knowledgeable people in the congregation who can assist in developing our protocols and we follow diocesan guidelines as well.  

Please do not neglect either prayer or humor for both are needed and keep us grounded.   Each day this Lent we are sending a prayer, or you may use this from the Prayer Book or others there; we are a people of prayer.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and

rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be

our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,

to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

To keep hand washing a sound practice, you can watch The Doxology Handwashing Timer.

And do not forget, it is Lent Madness, and we can take joy in following the saints.  

www.lentmadness.org

With every blessing, 

Inspired – Entering our story with God

Tales of adventure, deception and redemption; histories of kings and battles; paradoxes and parables; struggles and joys in a new community; poetry and all of it part of a deep love story.   This is the gift our ancestors gave us in writing down their story as a people and community in relationship to God continues to speak to us, drawing us ever closer to Godself and to living together on this earth with love and neighbor and all creation.   This is the Bible.  To some daunting, to some beloved guide, it is our story.

The late Rachel Held Evans wrote in her last book, Inspired:

Dignified or not, believable or not, ours is a God perpetually on bended knee, doing everything it takes to convince stubborn and petulant children that they are seen and loved. It is no more beneath God to speak to us using poetry, proverb, letters, and legend than it is for a mother to read storybooks to her daughter at bedtime. This is who God is. This is what God does.

The Bible is Living Word through which we encounter God individually and in community, this latter so important.  In the Bible we seek the truth together.  The Bible “study” deepest to my heart is a wrestling and striving together to meet God at God’s deepest truth.   Even when I read the Bible on my own, I seek out the communion of saints in earlier or present commentaries in books, blogs and regular conversations.  

Each Thursday morning at Christ Church, we come together to grope for the truth, if you will, to seek, search, debate, question and wrestle with it as Jacob wrestled with God.   The Gropers was the informal name of a favorite Bible study I facilitated.  This name came from Paul in Acts 17: 26-27.  

He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.

I invite each of you to join me this Lent and possibly beyond to seek, wrestle and read together Rachel’s book, Inspired.  I propose gathering in person Sundays at 11:45 or Thursdays at 7 or in an online group via Zoom, exact time to be determined. Please read, join in, and seek together encountering the Living Word and Evans’s journey with it. 

Evans wrestles with scripture, reads and explores through doubt, imagining, re-imagining and debating Scripture. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God’s loving and redemptive work in the world.*

Elizabeth

*with thanks to Goodreads blurb

For Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven – Now in a life of integrity and humility

Having celebrated the Feast of the Presentation in the Temple on February 2, we missed hearing the Beatitudes, the first part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. 

These are not to be missed and so today I reflect on two of them, the existing blessing of being poor in spirit or persecuted, which most of the time we do not consider a blessed state of being. 

First, let’s look at the word “blessed,”  and the joy of word study.   Thanks to Kenneth Bailey* we learn that what we often translate into English as blessed is grounded in the Greek makarios which describes a current state of being rather than a wished for state of being, eulogeo.   So, as Bailey says, blessed is Jane a she will inherit the family farm; she is blessed now thanks to a future or present state.  

Now that we recognize Jesus is talking about the here and now of a person, let’s look at two states of being which yield the Kingdom of Heaven:  poverty of spirit and persecution.   

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mt 5:3

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Mt 5:10

The poor in spirit are those who recognize they need God’s grace now and always.  They approach life with humility rather than pride and trusting in themselves.   By living now in constant reliance on God and in humility which recognizes one’s own strengths and weaknesses and those of others, a person is able to see and experience God at work each day.   Those who live in trust and humility already live in The Kingdom of Heaven!  God’s reign is here and now and in the not yet. Hallelujah.

The persecuted for righteousness’s sake know they live in the presence of God and God’s actions, and importantly, they act, speak and serve to maintain a deep relationship with God.   These are the ones who speak the truth in love and value the way of God above all others ways of living, especially above giving one’s soul over to the ambitions of this world for power and greed.  Those who value the way of God above all other paths and speak the truth of their conscience live in the Kingdom of Heaven!

Happy/ blessed am I to have had a mother who spoke her conscience whether it was unpopular or not.  She lived the Phillips Brooks prayer for “the joy of conscious integrity” which no one can take away.   Whatever one’s own views, we can rejoice in those with responsibility of government who have spoken their conscience and their faith as in Amb. Marie Yovanovitch and Senator Mitt Romney and others you may name and know.   We rejoice in Presiding Bishop Curry who calls us to the Way of Jesus.

How happy and blessed are we who come to rely on God’s grace with humility, who seek righteousness with courage and speak up for the Truth in our hearts no matter the consequences.   For ours is the Kingdom of Heaven.

*with thanks to Sarah Bessey who introduced me to the work of Kenneth Bailey