Apostles beginning to spread the Gospel in every language, I’ve been thinking a lot about birthday celebrations and traditions. The first thing that I thought of actually wasn’t my own birthday tradition, but a tradition from the fictional world of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I have a particular love of Hobbits, the little country folk who love nothing more than good company, good food, and good gardening, and I think that these lowly Hobbits have something to teach us today. These festive people have a particular birthday tradition that is a bit foreign to us. On our birthdays we generally receive gifts, and today we remember that the Spirit does give us each gifts, but the Hobbits do something a little bit different on their birthdays. It is tradition in the Shire for the Birthday halfling to give away gifts to their friends and neighbors. This gift giving spreads throughout the whole community, on my birthday I give you a gift, on your birthday you give someone else a gift, and in a couple generations, the gifts we gave may be passed on to a new recipient who will use them in whatever way makes sense in their context. .
Today, we come to this place because we have been given something by someone, the light that dances on the Paschal candle has somehow sparked in us, and we have caught the life that sustains us through the changes and chances of this life. This morning, we began our liturgy with tolling a bell in remembrance of those who we have lost this year due to gun violence, this act of solemn witness is a fruit of that light we carry. There is so much pain and brokenness in this world, in this community, and that is why I think the Hobbits have something to teach us on our birthday. No matter how small the gift, no matter how dull the bell, no matter how dim the flame, our neighbors are hungry for the gift of Pentecost. The refreshment of Living Water that Jesus brings out of the hearts of believers and the warmth of Holy Fire that Moses and the Elders and the Apostles received are such powerful forces of healing that we must share them in whatever ways we can.
By merit of our Baptism, we have been caught up in this ministry of healing because we each have been given some gift, we each have some story of how God has touched our lives.When I think of Living Water, I am reminded of another Gospel story from earlier in John. Around noon Jesus meets a woman at a well and has a prolonged conversation with her. This woman, who society had shunned, who had likely internalized this shame, came to the well at a time when she could avoid seeing anyone. But Jesus sees her, he listened to her, he gave her something new and refreshing, he allowed her to tell her own story, and some new sense of life came welling up in her heart. After she had received this living water from Jesus she couldn’t help but tell everyone she saw, saying “come and see”. “Come and See”
When I think of Holy Fire, I think of two people. First, my Great-Grammy. She was the woman who introduced me to Jesus and sat next to me in Church praying when I was too young and too shy to even speak the Lord’s Prayer. The second is my best friend who encouraged me to not be afraid of the fire of God’s love, “lean closer to the fire” he says every now and then. Both of their witnesses have stirred the flame of my faith when it was wavering or growing dim. And like wind over coals, our prayerful encouragement and presence with others can reignite something in their lives that helps to bring life anew. The Spirit, our advocate, can give us the strength to advocate for others, if we let Her lead the way.
Saint’s James and Andrew, as I listen to stories about your community, as I scrolled through your website, and as I look around, I can tell that you have been listening for the ways the Spirit has been blessing your community. To those who are being welcomed into the parish family today, I’m excited to hear how you are equipped for ministry in the midst of this community. As you all continue to gather week after week to be nourished by Word and Sacrament, continue to turn around and walk out that door. At the end of today’s liturgy, we will extinguish the Paschal Candle, this great light that has been burning in our midst for the past 50 days. But really, the true Light of Christ will never be extinguished in this community as long as two or three gather together to be fed and to go out into the midst of the community. If the heavens can declare God’s glory with no words or language, imagine what we can do, equipped with a multitude of languages and gifts on Pentecost, maybe we can participate in God’s redemptive work, maybe, just maybe, Babel can begin to look a little more like Eden.
En el Nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.
I’ve been fire hosed with a ton of information since beginning last August and I prayed to God when I was writing this that some of the more interesting and relatable things I’ve retained over the many weeks will find its way to enlighten today’s message.
As a future Priest and military Chaplain, I will encounter a range of people with different backgrounds and beliefs. Suffering can and will be a present reality for any of them. For us who are ministering to a very broken, sick, and hopeless world, providing a universal message about the need to suffer from our Epistle reading, is not the most positive nor easily receptive thing to present to the oppressed.
That is the challenge with today’s passage in 1 Peter. It tells us that we should not be surprised at the chaos happening around us as if it were a strange thing. That no matter who we are, we believe, as Christians, that we must and will endure more suffering. There is seemingly no way to escape the powers of evil that divide and violently interrupt the good of creation. Our attitude then should be joyful, humble, and disciplined.
As I read this passage when writing my sermon, my initial reaction was that Peter made it seem too easy to just have a joyful spirit within a practical sense. I then began to ask myself, as a Christian community, how do we sit with this? Why must we suffer? I can even take it a step further and ask How does such a good and benevolent God, who has already called us to his eternal Glory in Christ, allow suffering?
From what I observed, I am way younger than most of you in this space so if you have it figured out, please do come up here and proclaim the good news! I certainly need to hear it!
The attitude of joy, humbleness and discipline may provide us with the remedies of the fiery ordeal yet, something is missing. What’s missing is that the passage of our Epistle reading only reveals a conclusion of Peter’s wisdom from all of his own spiritual testimonies. I am certain that he went through several hardships that shaped this further understanding of suffering as he was writing this letter and probably spoke more about it in the earlier chapters or latter ones. For those of you who know the term exegesis, you know what I mean. There is no simple answer.
I can’t remember the quote exactly nor do I remember where it comes from, but it said something about faith having reasons that reason has no knowledge of.
Therefore, a possible first step in understanding suffering is not the fact that we must simply be joyful and disciplined. I believe it could be that we first have to develop our faith, to encounter and learn about mystical experiences that draws our attention inward, giving us a deeper understanding of our reality. This faith then reminds us of our truest identities as Human Beings made in the image of God destined to be renewed and glorified beyond this world as Peter stated.
These deeper revelations can help draw meaning out of suffering within our own context of liberating epiphanies, as Peter seemed to have reflected on throughout his Epistles in encouraging the early Christian communities to have steadfast hope and joy.
Peter said: “the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour”. We must be on alert for inadequate ideologies, thoughts and social standards that can easily disrupt our faith. Otherwise the world will define our realities and enslave us to a false perspective.
Like Peter, the other disciples witnessed miracles, paradoxes, parables, and mystery throughout their journey with Jesus. These countless moments, most of them requiring some level of hardship and uncertainty, developed their faith through their spiritual growth which led them to continue to walk with Christ against their religious and political adversaries.
In our first lesson, a reading from Acts chapter 1, Jesus was finally resurrected from all the turmoil and pain. The disciples, having endured so much through Jesus’ ministry, thought the end was near and asked Jesus if this was when he will restore the Kingdom to Israel.
I can imagine how hopeful they must have felt, the relief they thought so possible, that it might be time to experience the new reality. Unfortunately, Jesus told them that they will not know when, but that the Holy Spirit will be with them and they will be his witnesses.
Sidenote: I hate cliffhangers and this ascension story is probably one of my most hated ones in the bible! I thank God that cliffhangers are not the final say in our creation story.
Then suddenly, Jesus ascends and disappears into heaven, leaving them more disoriented than they probably have ever been in their entire life.
As they stood there, confused, perplexed, in awe, pondering upward…….
They were unable to make sense of what just happened to them and how it should shape them moving forward.
Then again, very suddenly, two figures appeared next to them, reminding them that this isn’t the end as they expected it. Instead, a new beginning has emerged, one in which they will soon partake in through establishing the first Christian communities, spreading a message so radical, abundant, hopeful and restorative that it leads to our redemption from the sufferings of sin rather than our desolation to it that marked the end of our first beginning in Genesis.
I witnessed this very recently during my stay at the monastery, not the glories of heaven yet, but rather a 21 year old, a young man on retreat as I was. He told me how he was nervous about being there, not knowing how to enter an intentional space with God in this moment of his life. He isn’t sure about his college degree nor specifically what he wants to do in life yet, and even dropped out once, receiving negative feedback from his family.
The young man is taller than me by about a foot. As he spoke with me, he is hunched in his chair, visibly lost and also curious as to how God will show up in his life. I can imagine the pressure he is feeling within his reality, him possibly asking God why, why can’t I figure out what to do in life? Why aren’t my loved ones supporting me with care and understanding? Why must I suffer like this?
As he spoke, I resonated with him, being in a very similar position during the entire duration of my college years. Unlike the young man, I had plenty of support from my loved ones but it took me almost 3 years after graduating college which was almost 7 years after finishing high school, that I finally figured out what my path was.
Of course, only knowing each other for that short amount of time, I can’t appropriately offer him any specific advice. However, like the 2 mysterious figures giving the disciples hope, I encouraged the young man to continue to live into this experience with God as his call will come in time as it did for me.
Again, to provide meaning to anyone’s suffering requires much context and no simple answer. It requires one’s willingness to step in faith with God through God’s timing of his revelation in their lives. I have learned very quickly that seminary does not and cannot teach all of these life lessons to you.
Within my seminary education as a graduate student, I have studied philosophy, theology, ethics, canon law, introduction to liturgy and performance, Christian history in the last 2000 years, and have taken all my bible classes for Old and New testament in 2 semesters.
To say that this is a lot of information in a very short amount of time is a huge understatement and on top of that I have 2 more very full and busy years left to complete my degree. Please do pray for all of us who are working very hard to become and continue to be well rounded ministers of reason, knowledge and scripture.
Through all the hardship that I am going through, not yet able to digest all the wisdom and knowledge being thrown at me, frustrated that I cannot have all understanding bestowed upon me right now, I know that seeds are being planted, new beginnings are unfolding for my next steps beyond seminary. Faith has reasons that reason has no knowledge of.
However challenging it is to find a meaning for suffering, I am particularly fascinated by the ways in which our Old Testament Professor, Dr. Judy Fentress-Williams, speaks of the paradox of good and evil through her method of teaching Hebrew Scripture. Overall, her teaching style is to remind us that we are a part of this story, this narrative of God who wants to love all creation deeply and intimately.
She reminds us that knowledge is an embodiment.
Whether we like some parts of the bible or not, it’s there, that is our reality and we must sit with scripture and try to embody it as a story that is ongoing, transformative and everlasting.
Just think for a moment how profound this knowledge is? That our scripture is an account of a faith community who remembered their love story with this vulnerable God particularly in the suffering and restoration of the Exodus. This understanding of their divine purpose removed the fogginess of their exile beyond the failures of the Davidic monarchy that left them dispersed and dislodged from their home land. It brought clarity through the prophets who vividly reminded them why they fell into such a state yet there is hope because that isn’t the end of Israel.
Hebrew scripture contains an important account of this history but even more significantly, almost 50% of the books of the old testament are of the Prophets, telling Israel to be alert, be hopeful, for God’s endless glory will be revealed to the seeds of Israel, the remnants, the strangers, the eunuchs, the aliens, the suffering, poor abandoned people, to all nations, eventually.
This is the living word that the Apostles and disciples of the Early Christian church held faith in and evangelized of. Not the living word of a canonically shaped bible or some other Christian document of faith since that did not exist yet for the new Jewish and Gentile community of Christ, but the living word of God through the story of the Hebrew people that transcends boundaries of time, space, language, ethnicity, gender, culture and religion to transform their narrative of suffering into everlasting glory as was prophesized.
Knowing our history can help us find meaning and purpose to overcome suffering and not let it hinder us. We can embody this knowledge as Christ did in our Gospel reading today, praying for the good and wellbeing of others, and for ourselves, so that we can be transformed in all ways and be redeemed through the Spirit.
Another side note: I’m not sure about you but I find it quite creepy that our Gospel passage may be an account of someone overhearing, or rather, eavesdropping on Jesus’s intimate prayer to God!
But, regardless, what a joy, what a blessing, what peace we have in knowing that even at the climax, right before he was to be handed over to the Roman soldiers to his imminent suffering and death, regardless of how his beloved disciples have kept their integrity and faith. Jesus prayed in confidence of the outcome. Jesus knew.
He knew his Jewish history, he knew their scripture, he knew of THE exodus and several other stories of rejection, abandonment, loss of dignity and suffering and was a witness to it throughout his ministry.
More importantly he knew of an all powerful and all loving God full of mercy, full of grace, full of a vulnerable love for his creation that will not allow suffering to separate them from a much deeper reality that awaits us all. Jesus knew, and so he prayed in confidence, knowing that his death, resurrection and ascension is an end and therefore the beginning of what the disciples will witness.
As a future Priest and Air Force Chaplain, this is the hope, that I desire to have in restoring humanity’s meaning and purpose in a suffering world. Despite how difficult it may seem to accept suffering in the present moment, I firmly believe in the first Epistle of Peter, that this does not however define the final revelation of our story nor should it allow us to be indifferent or unfazed by the effects of suffering in our lives and in others.
We are made in the image of a merciful and compassionate God who will not let his love for us end in death and suffering. God’s love requires justice, it requires reconciliation, renewal and mercy not just for the patriarchs, nor only for the Jews, but for All OF CREATION as spoken through the prophets and fulfilled by Jesus. God made us in this abundant love and we must imitate that same desire to swell within our heart, mind and soul. In embodying this love, we are already overcoming death and destruction, and can be humble, joyful and disciplined, knowing that we are able to witness the magnificent and glorious new kingdom right now. Described in Revelation chapter 21 is a small glimpse of what the 2 mysterious figures revealed to the disciples when Jesus ascended. That there will be a new heaven and a new earth. God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither will there be any more pain. Only for a little while longer, then we will all be there soon.
My ending thoughts will be for you. Every single one of you, unconditionally.
I pray that in this upcoming season of Pentecost that you will keep a faith having reasons that reason has no knowledge of, sit in that tension for some time.
Allow the seeds being planted in your life,
in those moments of confusion, perplexity, and awe,
to transform you as you embody Christ’s mysteries that has and is and will be revealed.
Know that God intimately longs for you, his beloved. Appreciate this love story that you are wonderfully made in spirit and body, as Christ was, full of goodness and glory regardless of the suffering reality that is indeed for a little while. Amen.
today (although I’d love to talk to you at coffee hour about it!), I want to begin in the archives, in the special collections, in the collections of papers in the back of libraries. While I had not done this type of work before, this sifting through an organization’s papers and looking through letters sent to Congressmen, this trying to track down a name, trying to read someone’s old handwriting, I began to love it. Working with archival material places me in contact with small, finite, fleeting moments in history.
When I work with the archives, I feel like I am searching for the work of God within them and have often found traces of that work. What I love about archival material is that most of its scale is so specific: a letter sent between two people or a typed-out draft of a resolution edited with a pen on a specific date.
And it is through this specificity that one is put in some form of contact with some portion of humanity. It is only through this specificity that any larger meaning can be made. It is only in the particular that the universal can be found.
I see echoes of this in Paul’s speech we read today in Athens:
We meet Paul today in Greece, following the resurrection of Christ and Christ’s ascension that opens Luke’s account of the early disciples’ movements in the book of Acts. At this point, Paul has been changed from his meeting of Jesus on the road to Damascus and has begun traveling and spreading the Gospel.
We now find Paul in Athens, speaking at the council in Athens. While much of Paul’s ministry focuses on issues of identity as a minority religious group under imperial occupation, this speech of Paul’s looks at the question of God’s nature and human nature in relation to the finiteness of humans and the infiniteness of God.
How are we to think of God, and how are we to think of ourselves? Is God an unknown God as the Athenian altar claims? How much can humans know God? Can finite humans search for –and find--an infinite God?
And Paul’s response to the Athenians and to us today is that this unknowable, infinite God is able to be known through our finiteness and our particularities, through our humanity. The God who is the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the God who gives to all moral life and breath, is not bound by shrines or silver or stone, but that does not make God entirely unknowable and transcendent to us.
As Paul says to those gathered in Athens, God allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps find God—though indeed he is not far from any of us.
It is through our allotted times, through the boundaries of where we live, this is where God is to be found, or at least this is where we are to search for God. Our humanity, our limitations, is where we are to search for God; these places are where God is to meet us.
I want to pause here and focus in on search, and on the slight unwillingness that Paul has to declare that God can be found in God’s entirety.
Paul is very certain that it is good to search for God; God has given us these times and places in order that we may search for God. The search for God by humanity, in all of our finite humanness, is what has been ordained by God. If then, we can fully find, fully grasp God, is less certain.
Yet, I am not sure that we have been tasked to fully grasp God, to fully find God. Jesus lays out our task in today’s Gospel.
As Jesus tells the disciples in the passage from John, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” He tells his disciples this on Maundy Thursday, as he commands them to wash each other’s feet and to love each other as he has loved them. By living out these commandants, we are drawn deeper into our own humanity, into our own particularities, into close proximity with our neighbors. By living out these commandments, we are washing each other’s feet, we are feeding those who are hungry and being fed when we are hungry, we are sitting with those who are mourning. By living out these commandments, we become more human.
The commandments of God draw us not away to some distant place or some other time, but into where we are now. It is through these that we are, God-willing, becoming more human.
As told to us in John’s gospel today, we are not alone by any means—we have been sent the Advocate, the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Holy Spirit, God, does not come to dwell with us in any circumstances except for those in which we are; the Holy Spirit dwells within us not to make us into anything we are not, not to take us out of our humanity, but to have us become more fully human.
Kathryn Tanner, an anglican theologican, writes on this in Christ the Key:
When human processes become Spirit-filled, they are not made more than human themselves; and humanity is only more fully itself in being thoroughly reworked by divine power.
We do not need to overcome the limits of our own finiteness in order to search for God. God, who is unbounded by time and unbounded by space, can be sought in all spaces and in all times, even as we are bounded by our particularities.
It is in these particularities—particular times, particular places, particular people— where God works and through these particularities where God shapes us.
Throughout history, God has not worked by entirely circumventing human processes, but by working through and with them.
We see this in God’s defeat of death; as Saint John Chysostom writes in his Easter sermon: He has destroyed death by enduring it; he destroyed hell when he descended into it.
God works through God’s descent into our lives, into our humanity, into our human processes, into our boundaried existences, into our deaths.
Our task then is to allow God’s descent into our lives—not to only attempt to ascend to God. Our task then is to descend as well within our own lives and the lives of those around us.
And as we descend, we begin to find both the deep suffering and sin of our current state, yet glimpses of God’s work within these things nonetheless.
May we find God not through overcoming our own boundaries of where we live, or any of our own particularities, but rather in rooting deeper into them, searching for God within them, and living out God’s commandments within our own lives.
buried under the bridge to the imperial palace in Prague. The vision was compelling, but too far to journey to pursue. But then for three more nights the Rabbi had the same dream, and he thought to himself “God must be summoning me.”
Isaac, son of Jekel set out to journey to Prague, on foot, and it took him many days. When he arrived in Prague he was disappointed to discover that the bridge he had dreamed of was guarded by armed soldiers. He lurked around the bridge hoping he might have an opportunity to dig for the treasure, and the Captain of the Guard, noticing him, asked “What’s the trouble? What are you looking for?”
So Rabbi Isaac told the Captain of his dream. The soldier laughed, saying, “You must be kidding – dreams don’t mean anything! I myself had a dream that there was a treasure buried behind the stove in the house of a rabbi named Isaac, son of Jekel, who lives in Crakow. You don’t see me going there!”
The Rabbi thanked him for his sage advice, and journeyed back home. He began to dig behind his stove, and indeed, discovered a treasure there that allowed him to live in comfort for the rest of his life.1.
Turning to today’s gospel reading from John we find ourselves uprooted chronologically. In recent weeks we’ve been with the disciples following Jesus’ death and heard a series of resurrection appearances, in a garden, a locked room, and on the road to Emmaus. This morning the lectionary sends us back in time to night before Jesus’ death, and has us listening in on the conversation in which Jesus prepares his friends for his departure, and for their ongoing work without him.
The church community for whom John was writing had a unique perspective and particular concerns: unlike first generation of Jesus’ followers, they had seen destruction of Jerusalem in first Jewish Revolt, and were coming to terms with fact that apocalypse expected by Paul and others had arrived.
Perhaps they were asking, in new way, what it meant to go forward in Jesus’ absence. The teachings in Jesus’ “Farewell Discourses” in John’s gospel answered those concerns. Our lectionary offers them to us, in these last two Sundays before ascension and Pentecost, to remind us of the same teachings.
In this first part of the discourses Jesus offers comfort and assurance about his impending departure. This morning I want to address just one of the several important sayings we find there.
In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
We frequently hear this passage at funerals, and have, I think quite unfortunately, come to understand it as being about a life in a heaven that followers of Jesus will go to after we die. It’s worth taking another look.
The traditional translation of the King James Bible has Jesus saying that my Father’s house has many mansions, or sometimes habitations. At its most extreme, this has sometimes been preached as a great heavenly hotel, with one mansion for Episcopalians, another for Baptists, one for Methodists, Catholics, and so forth. Can’t you see Jesus getting the beds made up and putting chocolates on the pillows?
The Greek word we now translate as dwelling place or abode is monai, and it doesn’t mean so much an established structure, let alone a mansion, as it refers to a temporary resting place for a traveler.
Monai (in the Hellenistic world) were associated with caravans. In ancient cultures a contingent of folks would go ahead of the caravan to "prepare a place" so that when the caravan arrived there, the camp ground had been made ready, the water supply located, and food prepared. Travelers in the caravan would have a place of comfort to spend the night.
So the dwelling places Jesus prepares for those he loves are not permanent accommodations so much as places where, on our ongoing journeys, we can find rest, comfort, hospitality, community.
New Testament theologian NT Wright points out that Jesus uses the phrase “my Father’s house” one other time in John, and once in Luke, in both instances refering to the Jerusalem Temple. Wright makes case that the Temple “for the Jewish people is that place where heaven and earth meet, where people are in relationship with God.”2
Could it be that the dwelling places Jesus prepares are not physical places - let along places outside of our world, or places beyond our lifetimes – but the opportunity of finding rest and peace, in intimate relationship with God, HERE? NOW?
It is a tough concept to wrap our heads around and not just us. Thomas wanted coordinates for this place where Jesus was going, to plug into his GPS. Philip wanted a more detailed description.
And surely, we all share that impulse to know exactly where and how we can find rest, find peace, where we can experience the comfort of God’s presence in the midst of the troubled and troubling world we live in.
This is the thread, I think, that runs through Rabbi Isaac seeking the treasure that would allow him to live a life of comfort, and then through Jesus offering a promise of comfort to his friends.
And there is yet another place this thread runs through this morning. In just a few minutes we are going to hear DaCamera Singers share a piece from a much larger composition that they will be singing later on in the month. It is based on a story of terrible tragedy, a cruel hate crime against a young gay college student that resulted in his death. The piece offers a vision of forgiveness, however, and is full of hope.
The movement we’ll hear this morning comes near the end of the oratorio and takes the image of the “old fence” to which Matthew Shepard was tied and abandoned and suggests that it is a place where we can meet after “walking through the darkness”, where we can lay down our burdens, and join “that great circle of dancing”, dancing “with all the children who’ve been lost along the way”. When we meet there, we will “welcome each other, coming home, this glorious day.”
Craig Hella Johnson’s Considering Matthew Shepard is not an explicitly Christian piece – though Matthew Shepard was an Episcopalian – but it is surely Sacred Music, and I can’t help but think that it in many ways shares the same message as the gospels – that Divine Love, often enough expressed through human generosity and forgiveness, can transform the violence we humans are so capable of inflicting on one another.
As we hear this piece this morning – and I encourage you to come hear the larger work when it is performed later this month – I invite you to hear in it the same hope and promise that Jesus offered his friends in the upper room.
Rabbi Isaac believed the promised treasure was in Prague. We’re always thinking it’s “out there” somewhere, some “otherwhere’, in the future, with greener pastures, that we’re trying to get to.
Rabbi Isaac, unlike the captain of the guards, had his heart open enough to discover that the treasure was hidden right under his own floor.
Craig Hella Johnson takes the promise further, suggesting that if we are committed to doing so, we can find peace even in a place where hatred has drawn blood.
For those of us who are Christian, Jesus is where we meet God and where we find rest. In Jesus, there isroom for all, a dwelling place. There is no need to go anywhere, for God’s love is already with us and in us, and among us. It is where we can rest in stillness – we are home already.
The promise Jesus makes is not about a particular place called heaven with rooms or mansions or houses, but more about a continued relationship with the Holy One, a relationship that begins while we are in the womb, that continues throughout our lives that will carry-on after death.
It is a promise that whatever happens, we will “abide” with God in Christ.
In this Easter season we give thanks that who Jesus was and what Jesus did in life continues on in the Risen Christ, and that we, through our life in community, continuing the work of reconciliation and the offering of hope, are part of that same risen life. Amen.
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