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Category Archives: Epistles

At the End of the Day

(a sermon for November 1, 2020, the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost and All Saint’s Day, based on Revelation 7:9-17)

The story goes that on one particular Sunday morning the pastor was talking about matters of life, death and afterlife during the children’s sermon in worship. He’d actually spent a great deal of time talking with these kids about what God has promised to those who believe, and when he’d finished with his talk, he said to them, “Now… don’t you want to go to heaven?”   And most of the kids joined in a chorus of affirmation, all except one little boy who responded quickly and rather loudly, “No way, not me!”

Of course, this was most decidedly not what the pastor was expecting to hear, so he looked at the little boy and asked, “You mean you don’t want to go to heaven when you die?”

Oh,” answered the boy.  “When I die?  Oh, sure!  I thought you were getting a group together to go right now!”

It’s true, you know; even for us adults who would name ourselves as believers, as the saying goes, when life is sweet heaven can wait!  By that I mean that when life’s blessings are pouring down in abundance, relationships are solid and faith is easy, on such occasions, to quote Edmund Steimle, “questions about the afterlife aren’t too pressing.”  We simply and purposefully move through our days bolstered by our confident (if somewhat vaguely understood) assurance that when the time comes, heaven will be there waiting for us.

On the other hand, however, we all know that life does not always consist of what we might perceive as an endless outpouring of blessing; there are going to be times when things are difficult and faith can be a real tough thing to hold on to.  The catalyst might be illness or grief or one of any number of life’s many challenges; hey, 2020 alone has offered up plenty of reasons to despair!  The point is that these are the times and situations when a concern for heaven’s promise and its reality becomes very central to our thoughts and prayers… these are the moments when a sure and certain hope is what we long for the most!

Back in seminary I did a paper on the theology contained within the African-American Spirituals that are such an indelible part of our Christian hymnody as well as the musical landscape of this nation.  I was sort of approaching the subject from a musical perspective, but what I discovered in my research is that this music was not created out of any real desire for art – though that’s certainly what it is – but rather as an expression of great and redeeming hope; both in this life (where these songs often served as a rallying cry for freedom via the Underground Railroad), as well as in the life to come. So, for instance, when the slaves sang of heaven being a place where all God’s children had shoes – “when I get to heaven I’m going to wear my shoes” – they sang those words as an affirmation that however hopeless their situation was now, someday they would be living the life that God had intended for them; until at the last, if not on earth then in heaven, they would finally be who they really were. 

And while it is true that in our comfort and privilege most of us cannot begin to wholly appreciate the meaning and cultural impact of these song, nonetheless there’s a powerful promise there for each of us who find ourselves in times of trouble… that there will be one, final decisive victory over all that which would seek to destroy us; that in the end God in Christ shall have his way with the world that he created and loves beyond measure; and that those who suffer and who find themselves in the grip of death will find their salvation, because nothing in life or death or all creation separates us from the love of God. No matter what befalls us in life, our enduring blessing is that God is with us; actively seeking, searching and inviting us into his love and care.  As C. S. Lewis has put it, “God is relentless in seeking what is his.” 

And this is the vision that we’re given in our text for this morning from the book of Revelation.  Now, Revelation is, to say the very least, one of the more difficult books of the Bible to wrap our minds around:  it’s a prophetic work, it’s overflowing with rich, diverse and oftentimes dense and confusing symbolism, and the tendency for many people studying this portion of scripture is to try to match up whatever’s happening in the world with what’s found there, as if to crack some kind of apocalyptic biblical code.  I’m not going to argue that theology here, but I will say that we need to be careful with that kind of thinking because it risks diminishing the powerful message that’s contained in this final book of the New Testament.

Historically speaking, you see, the book of Revelation is a vision given to a CHhristian named John at the end of the 1st century; and by the way, most biblical scholars understand that this was not the John who wrote the fourth gospel, but rather a member of the early church who had been, because of his faith, banished to the small island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.  William Willimon, in his commentary on this text, puts it very bluntly: here was a man who was a “member of a tiny movement on the fringe of a great empire, [part of a] fragile church hanging on by its fingernails for life.”  What we know as the Book of Revelation was an epistle to encourage Christians in the seven churches of Asia Minor to remain faithful to Christ even as they were facing persecution, if not annihilation, at the hands of the Roman authorities.

It was a bleak time for the new church; so, imagine John’s astonishment to be given such a stunning vision as what we’ve shared here this morning.  A throne room, filled with a multitude of people from every nation and replete with all the trappings of royalty,  and it’s the  Lamb of God – the same Lamb who knows what it is to suffer, to be condemned to death, to be slain and humiliated; the Lamb once crucified, pushed aside by the ways of a cruel world – who now sits on the throne and rules all creation from the very center of heaven.

And what an incredible vision!  Hundreds of years ago, St. Augustine described these scenes as being ineffable, beyond words; and time has still not given us an adequate means of conveying the deep meaning of this vision.  This revelation, you see, is our ending and our answer to all the questions we pose about what life and this world is all about.  It sets forth the final victory of God in Christ over a hurting, rebellious world, the victory that most certainly will come to pass in the fulfillment of God’s own vision of time.

It is a sure and certain promise of God, and it is good news indeed; but here’s the thing:  it’s not the end of the vision.

In the midst of all of this, you see, is this great multitude of white robed worshipers “standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.”   The question is asked, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from,” and the answer is given: “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  

These were the faithful who have endured to the end; these are the believers who suffered contempt and loneliness and abuse because they would not deny their Lord.  Some of them are truly the saints of God, martyrs who died dramatic and glorious deaths for the sake of their faith; but also there are those who might be referred to as “ordinary saints,” the ones who played their part in the great drama of salvation by showing unswerving loyalty to Christ in whatever their circumstances happened to be.   And here they all are, each one standing before the throne of God in heaven: believers who had once known suffering yet now “hunger no more, and thirst no more;” the faithful who have been sheltered by God’s presence, shepherded by Christ and refreshed by the waters of eternal life.

What we have here is a vision of the church, that even in the midst of its greatest tribulation, is able to sing a song of victory because whatever struggles it faces in the present time it will prevail; it will prevail because the power of death has already been vanquished forever in the cross of Christ! 

And the best part is that though this was a vision given to believers at the beginning of the first millennia, it remains a revelation for our lives here at the start of the third!  This is our divine assurance that though we struggle through the dark and rough patches of our lives, we will find the strength and hope we need for the way because we know that “at the end of the day” God in Jesus Christ is victorious over death and will lead us on the pathway home.  

And what that means for us is that though there are so many uncertainties and even more injustices in this life, we can walk forward with confidence and enduring hope because whether we live or whether we die we belong to God; and when we belong to God, rest assured are loved and supported in a way that will carry from the darkness to the dawn of a brand-new day.

You know, lately I’ve found myself thinking that amongst the worst feelings we can have is to not have any sense of how things are going to turn out; to be in the midst of a situation and really have no indication of how the story will end.  Take right now, for instance:  we don’t know how the election is going to turn out and what that means for us as a nation no matter who wins; we’re still incredibly uncertain as to what’s going to happen with the Coronavirus in the coming months and what kind of winter we’re going to have; at this point we’re not even sure what we’ll be able to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas, much less who we’ll cope throughout the coming winter!  The fact is, we just don’t know yet, and it’s hard in these present days not knowing how the world will turn.

But I do know this:  God is in charge.

I love what Jim Somerville says to this: “I picture it like you would see it acted out on a stage, all that carnage and bloodshed there on the stage, all those battles being fought, all that smoke going up.  The story is at its worst in that moment and you wonder how it can ever have a happy ending… [but] when God gets good and ready… he’s going the clear the stage of all that bloodshed and carnage.  He’s going to mop up the awful mess we’ve made of things.  He’s going to make a new heaven and new earth… in the end God will make an end of death itself and the last word will be the word of life.”

It will be the fulfillment of the highest and the best, the triumph of God’s love and that place where God dwells… and it will give us the hope and strength for the living of these days, whatever those days might bring.

Let us embrace that sure and certain promise, and may the Lord lead each of us to live on earth as it is in heaven… and may our thanks be to God.

Amen and AMEN!

© 2020  Rev. Michael W. Lowry.  All Rights Reserved.

 

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And That Is What We Are

(An Online Message for September 13, 2020, based on 1 John 3:1-7)

It has newly occurred to me this summer that each day as I set out to face both the world and the challenges that await me there, I leave carrying a great deal of “stuff” along with me.

 Mostly, it’s the things you’d expect: my wallet, keys, phone, sunglasses, maybe some pocket change; and of course, these days you don’t go anywhere without a mask!  Just the everyday essentials for what you’ve got to do every day, right?  But along with all the rest of it, I also carry with me something of much greater importance; and in fact, in your own way, so are each one of you: because each one of us, wherever we go and in whatever we do, brings with us who we are.  Actually, in truth of fact, we carry with us several identities by which we are recognized and distinguished by others; and these are the ways that quite often serve to determine how we relate with those around us.

For instance, I’m Lisa’s husband, I’m my kids’ Dad; I’m also (and shall ever be!) my mother’s son (true story: one day last month while my mother was still in the hospital, I had to go to her bank; and not only did I not know anybody working there, nor had I introduced myself – and I was wearing a mask – the woman behind the counter immediately greeted me by asking how my mother was doing after her fall (!) …she told me afterward she knew who I was because of my eyes!).  And besides that, I’m a son-in-law, a father-in-law and a brother-in-law as well as an uncle to several nieces and nephews. I am a proud resident of the Granite State, but most assuredly a native “Main-uh;” moreover, I’m an American citizen, a tax payer and a voter, thank you very much.  

And to a great many people, I’m also identified, perhaps primarily, as a church pastor.  Now I realize not everybody knows me that way but I have to tell you that over the years I’ve been continually amazed by the number of those outside of the churches I serve who do see me that way, and who approach me just on the basis of that: people (even strangers!) who just want to talk about faith, particularly, as of late, as it applies to these strange and tumultuous times in which we live.   And I’ve never minded that, because I’ve always felt that part of my identity as “a minister” is to pastor to the larger community.

On the other hand, however, I have to be careful not to assume too much: once a few years back, on a day when I happened to be all dressed up in a shirt and tie, I was at a mall department store; and this elderly woman came up behind me, tapped me on the shoulder, and when I’d turned around she said, “You!  Do you know where the light bulbs are?”  Now, for some strange reason, I went right into “pastor mode.”  I simply smiled at this lady and answered, “Well, probably down near the light fixtures, but I don’t really know for sure. Why don’t we find somebody to ask?”  To which this lovely lady replied in a huff, “You don’t know!?  Don’t you work here?”

 So I suppose there are times when that pastoral identity doesn’t come into play, but then again, there have been many other strange and powerful moments over the years when for some unknown reason I have encountered individuals who, right in that place where we were, at that precise moment of the day or night needed me to be… a pastor. These are the moments when this identity I carry as pastor, as a Christian, as a Child of God comes to the forefront, and it suddenly becomes clear to me that this is where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing at this particular moment.  This is who I am.

 And I don’t share this with you this morning to let you know what a great person I am, but rather as a reminder to each of you that you carry this same identity.  No, your job description may not list “pastor” as its title; and even as a person of faith, you might not always consider yourself to be particularly “religious” as it relates to what you do for a living.

On the other hand, though, perhaps for you there was that moment when a friend or a neighbor chose your shoulder on which to cry, and even as you were offering up some comfort, silently you were wondering why you, and not someone else!  Or maybe it was when you found yourself in the middle of a conflict and were surprised to realize that yours had become the voice of reason and reconciliation; or in these strange days of pandemic, that you somehow became the example of hope and strength for the people around you! Or maybe at a time when it was far easier to turn away, you were the one to stand up and speak out for that which is only right and just, or you were the one who rushed in to risk love and care to those in need.  Let me tell you, friends; if any of this applies to you – and I suspect it might – the truth is that you might be more of a “minister” than you think!

For you see, one of the hallmarks of our Christian faith is that as Christians, each of us serves as a reflection of the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  You may well carry a number of identities in your life – man, woman, spouse, parent, child, friend, worker, teacher, coach, retiree, student – but in and through all of these you carry a name that is given by God and which connects you to God!  Just as a child is a reflection of his or her parents, you too are a reflection of your heavenly parent, a true child of God. That’s the “lesson” of scripture today: “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” That is what we are!  That is who I am, and that is who you are! 

So often our mistake is that we assume we work our way up to become children of God.  But our reading from 1 John this morning makes it very clear that we’re already there! We are God’s children now, a status and relationship that is the gift and consequence of God’s love, demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

And this is good news indeed!  As William Willimon has put it, the best thing about all this is that this is God’s work, not ours.  “I do not always feel like a child of God,” he says.  “I do not always look like a child of God.  God knows I do not always act like a child of God!  But I am.  I am one of God’s children not because of what I did or because of who I am but because God chose me, out of all the universe, to be his child.”

 And so, in love, we have been chosen, you and I.  We’ve been given a new identity, and that transforms… everything! But we need to understand that along with this new identity comes new responsibility.  What’s the first thing we read in 1st John after this glorious affirmation of our being called Children of God?  It’s that “no one who abides in him sins: no one who sins has either seen him or known him.”  Or, as The Message goes on to translate it, “Don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah.” In other words, a change of identity means a change of stance!  Suddenly, it’s no longer appropriate to do that which goes against our relationship with God.  From here on out, it’s going to matter what it is we reflect toward others; we’re going to need to show forth love and righteousness rather than sin and disobedience; for friends, whatever shines out from us is now a reflection of God!

To be child of God, you see, carries with it the weight of responsible living, of words that speak the true nature of one’s Christian faith, and actions that speak louder than those words; not that we always succeed at that. 

Do you know that there are stores where you can actually rent an engagement ring? Seriously!   I don’t know where this place is, but a few years ago I read an interview with the manager of a store in Boston that was created for just this purpose, and he explained that there are a lot of men who are thinking about proposing to their significant others, but aren’t quite sure if they want to follow through!  And so, not to have make a full commitment of time or money, these men rent the ring for 30 days in order to make their half-hearted proposal!  (Ah, romance!)

Well, folks, there are a great many people today who are living out their faith in exactly the same manner: half-heartedly, with no real commitment nor with any depth to what they believe at all.  But you and I, who are called children of God – for “that is what we are” – and we are called to something more.  We are called to be a reflection of God in all the ways that we speak and live and love; most especially in these days of pandemic when our “visibility,” so to speak, has been forced into the background.

I wonder what kind of commitment, what kind of love and compassion, what kind of faith people see when they look at us.   I mean, it’s one thing to have a sign out front that says “We are the church no matter where or how we meet,” but how is that actually perceived out in the world?  How are we seen, beloved?  Do people see in us merely a half-hearted effort to be good, or at least good enough people; or do they see a shining example of righteousness; people who are not led astray by whatever seems easier or more expedient or personally beneficial for the short term, but who do the right thing in keeping with the Lord’s principles, standing up, speaking out and living what we believe even if that means taking a personal risk for doing so?

It comes down to our statement of faith, made real and “identifiable” in our identity as children of God…

and that is what we are, beloved: in the work we do, in the ways we relate to one another, in the ways we seek to be faithful in all our dealings, in what we intend for the world.  This day and every day, may that faith come shining through in every large and small happen, in every good word and every warm embrace.  In all things, may our identity be rooted in the love of Jesus Christ!

Thanks be to God!

Amen and AMEN.

© 2020  Rev. Michael W. Lowry.  All Rights Reserved.

 

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Heart Knowledge

(An Online Message for August 16, 2020, based on 1 Corinthians 8:1-13)

As Rod Serling used to say, “Submitted for your approval: the story of three people, each one who is holding a small block of pine wood in his or her hand!”  Okay, then (!), here’s how the story goes: the first person lets go of the block and it falls to the ground.  However, when the second person lets go of her block, it moves upward.  And then the third person does the same; except in this case, the block remains in exactly the same place!Now, I’m guessing that our first response to such a scenario would be, well, that’s impossible… certainly, the first wooden block falling to the ground, that’s what you’d expect it to do; but the second moving upward?  That would go against the laws of gravity, and as we all know, gravity works (!); and as for the idea that the the third block would just float there… well, that’s just bizarre, and proof, to quote Rod Serling once again, that “you’ve just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone!”

Seriously, though, it’s an impossible scenario, right? Or at least it is until we realize that while the first person letting go of the block might have been standing right here — and so the block would drop just the way we’d expect — it turns out that the second person is standing underwater; so when she lets go of her block, quite naturally the wood floats upward, which is perfectly normal and logical given the situation!  And, in case you haven’t yet figured out this riddle, the third person is a crewmember who just happens to be aboard an orbiting spacecraft in zero gravity, which would explain how his pine block stays where it was let go.

As the saying goes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially when it’s what we think we know! For what we think we know is not always that which is true; and even what we do know to be true varies widely given the particular circumstance, or depending on the experience in which we received that knowledge.  What’s also true is that sometimes our knowledge ends up merely revealing just how much we have to learn.

 For some strange reason, when I think about this I always remember this man who was a contestant on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”  This was years ago, back when the show was just starting and the late, great Regis Philbin was the host (the absolute best game show host of all time, in my opinion): and there was this one contestant who came on and ended up getting hung up on the $200 question, which, if you remember the show, was always one of the easiest questions of the night; and which, in this instance, was about what color you get when you combine yellow and blue.  The thing was, however, that this man honestly did not know the answer, and even after using his “lifelines,” still got the question wrong and was gone from the “hot seat” as quickly as he’d arrived.

What I remember about this, however, was how everybody reacted to this: the studio audience laughed at him and even Regis, who was always cool and unflappable in any circumstance, looked shocked at what had happened.  And over the next couple of days, just about every radio DJ, talk-show host and stand up comic in the country was making fun of this guy, calling him an idiot and a moron;  instead of becoming a millionaire, overnight he’d become this national joke. Eventually, however, the man was interviewed about what had happened, and come to find out, he was color blind; he’d been that way all his life, and having no concept of color combinations at all, he’d really had no real way to answer the question!  Needless to say, that revelation changed everyone’s perception of things!

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing indeed… but most especially so when that knowledge proceeds out of the absence of love.

That’s what this morning’s scripture reading is all about; in which the Apostle Paul addresses a matter that had become a hot-bed of controversy among Christians in the Greek city of Corinth: the question of whether or not it was alright to eat meat that had previously been sacrificed to idols.  Now, to give a little background here, Corinth was not only a busy seaport city it was also well known for its diversity where religion was concerned; basically, just about any “god” or idol you could name was being worshiped by some group or another, with a great number of shrines and temples having been built to honor these so-called deities.  There were also a lot of animal sacrifices, and these sacrifices would often end up being sold to vendors on the street who in turn would make it available to the public.  Bottom line is that the vast majority of all meat that was sold and served in the city of Corinthians had more than likely first been sacrificed to idols.

And for these new Christians in Corinth, therein was something of a moral dilemma: to wit, if they were to eat this meat that had been previously sacrificed to pagan gods and idols, were they in essence worshiping those pagan gods and idols in the process, turning their back on Christ in doing so?  Or, on the other hand, did it even matter since all those idols and gods never existed in the first place? 

The question had sparked great debate, and as was typical of the Corinthians, it had created a great deal of division among them.  One faction claimed to be “strong” Christians, whose strength was rooted in their belief that now since that they had been saved through Jesus Christ, they were blessed with the “knowledge of the truth” that there is only one God; that all the other idols out there in the city amounted to just so much stone and wood; and so, any food offered up to these lifeless statues was just that, and eating it could not possibly harm or endanger their salvation. In fact, so great was their knowledge in these matters that they also made it clear that anyone who disagreed with this understanding were just “weak” Christians who were simply being silly and superstitious about it all.

To be fair, the reasoning of these so-called “strong” Christians did kind of make sense; it was logical, their way of thinking; even theologically sound.  After all, when you know what you know, that’s kind of the end of the discussion, isn’t it?  Which makes it all the more interesting that when they ask Paul what he thinks about this issue, the first thing that Paul writes to them is that yes, “we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge,’”  but, he goes on to say, don’t be so self-assured about it.  Because, he says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (Or “edifies,” as it’s translated elsewhere.)

In other words, there’s more to this matter of eating sacrificial meat than mere logic and theological posturing. What about how our knowledge and conviction, and likewise, the choices we make because of that knowledge affect others? And what about those so-called “weak” Christians, who might just be struggling in their faith and for whom the act of indulging in pagan rituals keeps them from truly living as Christians?  What about our oneness and unity with them in the Body of Christ? 

Head knowledge, you see, is one thing; and those “strong” Christians had that in abundance.  But for all their huffing and puffing about what they knew was true and right and permissible, they’d neglected something of equal if not greater importance to a believer; and that’s heart knowledge.

Paul says to them that ultimately food doesn’t bring us closer to God; we’re no better off where God is concerned whether we eat sacrificial meat or we don’t. In Christ, we are free to do what we want, but Paul says, “take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.”  Or, as The Message translates it, “isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling on this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet,” thus“getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.”  In other words, by faith we are free, but we must not use our freedom, either knowingly or unknowingly, to undermine others in their faith. And if food is going to be the source of their falling, Paul concludes, then I won’t eat meat “so that I may not cause one of them to fall.” 

In the end, you see, it’s not about our being right or wrong in our opinions or our posturing; ultimately — and this is true of whatever it is we believe to be real about our Christain faith — it always has to be about the care and the LOVE in which it is expressed, acted upon and shared. Anything less than that ends up meaningless if not downright detrimental. 

But here’s the thing; when love does factor in, faith becomes all the deeper, and more relevant, for it.

Some of you have heard me tell the story of how for many years in high school confirmation classes, I did this thing with the kids that I used to call, “Sin… or No Sin.”  It was (speaking of old game shows!) a take-off on “Deal or No Deal,” and basically what I would do is write on the blackboard all these different kinds of actions or behaviors, and then asked them to decide as a group whether those behaviors represented “sin, or no sin.”  And friends, we covered the gamut of human experience, everything from little white lies, swearing, and cheating on a math test, to some of the more adult concerns of drinking, doing drugs or engaging in casual sex. It served as a good way of getting into a discussion of Christian morality and ethics; but what was always interesting is how those kids would work out some of their answers.

For instance:  buying a lottery ticket; sin or no sin?  Well, that’s no sin: there’s nothing wrong with buying a lottery ticket; it’s not hurting anybody and my parents buy them all the time, and they say if they win the megabucks they’re going to give lots of money to the church!  Okay, then (and say thanks to your mom and dad for me!); but what if someone is spending so much money on lottery tickets that they’re not able to pay all their bills or put food on their family’s  table?  Well, that’s a little different; but everybody can afford to buy at least couple of tickets once in awhile?  But what if they can’t?  What if they are addicted to gambling; what if this is just one thing they do that has caused problems for their families?  I guess then we’d have to get that person some help, and then do whatever we can to make sure that family has enough food… 

Friends, that’s how every one of those discussions seemed to go; understanding on the one hand how we are free to do pretty much anything we want, sinful or not; but how on the other hand, not all things are good, nor do they build up.  The challenge, you see, for all of us who seek to live faithfully and to follow Christ in our walk of life is to always choose that which brings ourselves, and others along with us, closer to God. 

Am I saying to you this morning that the depth of your faith is contingent on whether or not you buy a Powerball ticket this week?  No; that’s truly up to you.  But what I am suggesting is that each one of us need to look at what we know in the strength of our faith to be good and acceptable about our lives and living, and then ask ourselves how that knowledge touches the hearts of others.  What does our behavior tell our children about who Jesus is, and what it means to be a Christian?  Do we, by what we do, create a stumbling block for others struggling to live their lives as followers of Christ; or does it create a new way of building up hearts and lives for the sake of God’s kingdom?

Our answer to that question, yours and mine, comes down to love. 

It’s always to be found in the love; the love that creates an entirely new kind of ethic for our lives, the love that resets our priorities and builds up relationships with others as builds up a relationship with God in Jesus Christ.  It’s knowledge, true knowledge of the heart; knowledge that will not only nurture our relationship with the Lord, but that which will also bind the church together in it’s shared ministry of healing and reconciliation.  And without it; well, as Paul would later write to the Corinthians,“If I understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

I hope and pray, beloved, that in wherever our faith takes us in these strange and uncertain days, we do have the love to move mountains.  Truly, may our knowledge and wisdom will be that of the heart as we walk together though this journey of faith that is life; and may we be girded by love that comes from the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist… and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”

Thanks be to God. 

AMEN and AMEN!

© 2020  Rev. Michael W. Lowry.  All Rights Reserved.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2020 in Epistles, Love, Sermon

 

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