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Category Archives: Family Stories

Nurturing a Good Name

(a sermon for October 11, 2020, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, based on Proverbs 22:1-11)

While going through some scrapbooks and photo albums up at my mother’s house this week, I came across something I literally hadn’t thought about in years:  clippings from the newspaper column I wrote for a couple of years in our hometown’s little weekly paper, The Katahdin Journal. Now, that’s not quite as impressive as it might sound: basically, I was a high school reporter and the column was a weekly conglomeration of basketball scores, student events and teacher interviews.  But I do have to say it was kind of neat; since in those days I fancied myself as a latter-day John-Boy Walton, writing something that actually ended up in print was quite a thrill for me, and the admittedly minor notoriety it garnered me in my home town wasn’t bad either! 

It was fun to read some of that stuff again, but what really made me laugh came at the end of my weekly report.  You see, early on I got into the habit of ending each column with a “quotable quote.”  And the quote was usually along the lines of this: “Until next week, think about this: ‘To get ahead in life, don’t stare up the steps, step up the stairs!’”  Or, “Till next time, ask yourself this question: ‘Is your mind open, or is it just vacant?’”  Just little one-line bits of wisdom that I’d scoured out of quotation books and my family’s small collection of Ideals magazines!  In retrospect, it was kind of an early foray into church newsletter writing, and yes… I’ll admit, it was a little cornball!   But as it turned out, it also was quite popular! 

In fact, what I started to find out was that the thing people remembered most about what I’d written were these silly little quotes I’d stuck in the last paragraph!  People regularly started asking me about those quotes and where I’d found them; and even the newspaper editor confessed to me that if on a particular week he had to cut it out for lack of space, he’d inevitably get a phone call from an irate reader asking where it was!  But the best thing of all was that I’d go over to friends’ houses and I’d often see these tiny little clippings from the end of my column on their refrigerator doors! 

It got to the point where I ended up spending nearly as much time finding good quotes as I did writing the column (I even managed to get a couple of Bible verses in there; which was quite a trick, considering the decidedly non-religious nature of my editor at the time!).  I suppose that it was an early indicator that my destiny did not lie in the world of hard-core journalism but rather behind a pulpit; but it was also a small lesson in the truth that people need, want and appreciate some encouragement in their lives, even when that encouragement comes in the form of a “pithy” little saying.

To put this another way, we all need some proverbs for our lives… and that’s what our text for this morning is all about.

By definition, friends, proverbs are short, one-sentence bits of wisdom drawn from everyday human experience, and they are intended to help us find our way in a confusing world.  Or as the Alyce McKenzie of Perkins School of Theology has said it, “proverbs help to create order and reliability in an often unreliable world.”  Historically speaking, Biblical scholars believe that what we know as the Book of Proverbs arose during a time of great social upheaval and moral dissolution in Israel, a period when society was rife with corruption and moral weakness; which means that a great deal of what we read in this part of scripture grew out of a time much like our own:  a moment in time when culture seems to be in chaos, when accepted ways are coming unglued and old truths are being questioned.  What’s needed in such times is an affirmation: a reminder, writes William Willimon, “that life has some answers, that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, morally speaking, in each generation.  Proverbs,” Willimon concludes, “point the way.”

Very true; most especially in times such as these.  In fact, it would seem to me that now more than ever, we need some “proverbial wisdom” for our lives, a world view that’s spun not on the dreams of riches, the desire for power or the wish to prevail over others at all costs but rather wholly focused on the Word of God.

The trouble with the Book of Proverbs, of course, is that every verse is its own sermon, and the topics often vary widely from verse to verse:  from child rearing (“Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.”), to care for the poor (“Those who are generous are blessed, for they share their bread with the poor.”), to taking a proper attitude towards God, self and others (“Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech will have the king as a friend.”).  And if you read for very long in Proverbs, you’re going to run headlong into some fairly harsh and explicit advice in dealing with the perverse, the wicked and those who engage in loose living; not to mention some verses that, given the times in which they were written, certainly don’t jibe with our modern sensibilities as regards discipline and the treatment of women and children.  Suffice to say that there’s a whole lot to digest in the Book of Proverbs!

So maybe what we need to do, at least for our purposes this morning, is to find a way to somehow bring all these proverbs together.  And for me, the key to this can actually can be found in the very first verse we shared today from the 22nd chapter of Proverbs: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”

What’s interesting is that if you ask someone what they want out of life – particularly if you ask someone this question as they’re starting out in life – odds are this person will answer in one of two ways: either they will say something to the effect that they want to be successful (that is, to be powerful or popular or influential or rich) or that they wish to build a life that is based on happiness or security (you know, falling in love, raising a family, having a home, getting a job that not only pays the bills but offers some satisfaction).   Now, don’t misunderstand: this is not to say that these two points of view are mutually exclusive from  each other, nor that one choice is all bad and the other all good – there are those who do seem to “have it all,” as it were – it is just to suggest that when it all comes down in life, most of us end up in one way or another choosing in which direction we wish to go.  Whether we actually reach the destination we’ve chosen is almost beside the point; what matters is how the choice we’ve made defines who we are along the way.

So… when this proverb for today advises you and me to choose for ourselves a good name over great riches, you can’t help but wonder what true wisdom really is!  For instance, you might remember my telling you a few weeks ago how Lisa and I have been “binge-watching” old seasons of “Survivor” this summer and fall; well, I can share with you from that experience the insight that the most memorable players of that million-dollar game succeed through cunning and deceit, backstabbing and a decided lack of personal integrity!  Likewise, you don’t hear an awful lot of politicians running for office these days who focus solely on matters of one’s own goodness, mercy and worthiness for office, but rather on tearing down the character of that his or her opponent… even as they rail against negative campaigning!   But that’s the choice that they’ve made, and we refer to it as “politics as usual.”

By the same token, however, think for a moment about the handful of people who have meant the most to you in your lives: family members, friends, teachers, mentors of one sort or another; the people you love and who have loved you.  When you describe these people, what do you say?  I’m guessing that you’ll say that they were kind and generous to you; that they could be counted on through thick or thin; that they did so much good without ever saying anything about it.  The point here is that these are the people who have for you personified love and faith:  they may or may not have ever had anything in their lives approaching worldly success, but they were and are of good character, people who have chosen in their lives to make a good name for themselves; and that has made all the difference.

The very word character comes from the Greek word charaktíras, meaning “a engraving tool,” that is, that which creates and sharpens the unique traits of one’s personality.  So character does matter, doesn’t it; and it matters to you and to me as we walk the pathways of our lives.  Character is determined by the choices you and I make in how and which way to walk, and not only does that become integral to the way that life unfolds for us, it also has a profound effect on those who walk with us.  As theologian and author Stanley Hauerwas has written: “Be well assured,” he says, “that our character will conform to some account of what’s going on in the world.” 

The question is – it always is – which account… and is that account true?

I think I’ve shared with you before that one question I always ask every couple that comes to me wanting to get married is where they see themselves in, say, five or ten or twenty years?  What would they like to be doing?  Where would they like to be?  Actually, it’s a good question for any of us, married or no, to ask ourselves from time to time; basically, what do we want out of life, even as that life is being lived?  How do we wish to be seen by others – be they friends, neighbors, or even strangers – and who is it that we want to look like in terms of who we are?  When all is said and done, what is it that we fervently hope that the people who know us will say about us?

Will those people say we were “pure of heart and… gracious of speech?”   That we were generous to a fault, kind to others in their distress, both cautious and clever at the right time, people who live life in “humility and fear of the LORD,” and thus knew “riches and honor and life?”  Will they say of you and me that ours was a good name?

Well, the answers to such questions and so many others come down to the choices we make here and now… today, tomorrow and in every day that comes.  Because, beloved, the nurture of a good name is work that stretches over a lifetime.

And it begins and is rooted in the power and presence of God, because as the Book of Proverbs reminds us, “The rich and poor have [at least] this in common, the Lord is the maker of them all.” 

Yes, a good name is of greater value than anything the world can provide; so rest assured that what we do out there – as persons, as people, as the church of Jesus Christ – matters; and how we’re seen in these strange, divisive and distressing times is not only important, but crucial.  May it be truly said of you and of me that the light of our character and wisdom was but a reflection of our God, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And may our thanks be to God.

AMEN and AMEN!

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

 

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As Bread for the Broken

(a sermon for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost and World Communion Sunday, based on  Exodus 16:2-15)

I suppose that it was inevitable.

After all, it was now about six weeks out from their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and their subsequent journey across the parted Red Sea into the Sinai wilderness: just long enough for food supplies to run out, patience to wear thin and the harsh reality of their situation to settle in.  And moreover, to be fair, there was a certain vagueness to this whole enterprise.  There’d been a whole lot of talk about freedom, a better life and “a land flowing with milk and honey,” (Exodus 3:8) which was all very good, but so far no specific indications as to how that was all going to work out; nor had they had any real say in the process.  All they knew is that this pilgrimage through the wilderness had now become a battle for survival; bad to the point where they’d even begun to reminiscence that even in the worst of times back in Egypt, they “sat by the fleshpots” and ate their fill of bread!  So it was kind of understandable that what they did in response was exactly what any of us might have done under the circumstances:  they complained. 

Now, in other translations of scripture, the word used is grumble, but actually for my money the best translation comes from the old King James Version where it says that “whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured” against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.  The idea that out amidst the dry sand and blistering winds these people were murmuring their discontent, for me says it all: no rioting, no attempted coup or petitions for asylum; just this growing crescendo of fear and uncertainty, an overwhelming feeling of helplessness that builds into hopelessness, and then to anger and desperation.

And that we can understand, right?  Because after all, we are a people who want, need and expect some measure of control in our lives!  M. Craig Barnes says this very well: “Vague is one of our least favorite adjectives.  If you give a report or presentation at work, the last thing you want to hear is that you were vague… when your daughter announces she is getting married and you ask about their plans for the future, you don’t want to hear they plan to live on love.  Vague frightens us.  We are a people who prefer plans, strategies, numbers, and lots of details.”

The trouble with all this, however, is that oftentimes life is far out of our control; and just like Israel, we find ourselves wandering aimlessly in the desert.  Things are going along just fine, and then you lose a job; there’s a health scare; a cherished relationship comes to an abrupt end; a world-wide global pandemic (!) leads to months of quarantine… and suddenly that pathway you’ve been walking along every day of your life takes a sharp turn into unfamiliar territory. You’re totally disoriented, scared to death and wanting like anything to go back to the way things were, where at least it was safe. 

That’s the desert experience, friends; that’s what the Israelites were facing out there in the wilderness; and that’s what you and I very often have to deal with in the utter uncertainty of our own lives! In the face of that, murmuring just seems like the proper response!

But here’s the other thing about the desert experience:  while it is most definitely the place where we have to give up control, it is also the place “where we learn to receive the mysterious future God has for us.”  To quote Craig Barnes again: “The desert journey is hard because it is so threatening.  Resources and assurances are few; questions and anxiety are plentiful.  In the desert you discover you have no choice but to trust God, which is why it is a place where souls are shaped.

In today’s reading from the book of Exodus we discover that the Israelites’ problem is ultimately not with Moses and Aaron, but with God.  Even Moses can see this: it’s not he or his brother that the people can’t trust, it’s Yahweh; and that’s because they don’t know or understand that this same God who enacted their deliverance also plans to be with them in the wilderness.  They don’t “get” that while their plight is very real, God in his providence will sustain them for the journey ahead.  Once you’ve started crossing the desert, you see, there is no going back; the future and its promise lay ahead and Israel had not yet come to embrace the truth that only the God of mystery could get them there.

So what does God do in the midst of the murmuring?  How will God respond to a people who won’t trust him to lead?  Well, the answer comes in one of the most evocative images we have in the Old Testament:  God tells Moses that “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you.”  It’s manna, “a fine, flaky substance” appearing each new day with the morning dew, “as fine as the frost on the ground,” as Exodus describes it; in fact, we’re told later on in this chapter that “the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.” (16:31)  It’s a true gift of God, but it’s a gift that comes with instructions:  first, every family has to gather their own; you can’t hoard it because by the middle of the day it will have been spoiled by the worms; and only one day’s ration was allowed, except on the sixth day of the week, when you could have an extra portion for the Sabbath.  So, manna in the morning, followed by the arrival of quail in the evening for meat: not too much food, to be sure; but enough, just enough sustenance to keep them going on the journey.

Interestingly enough, while Moses is very reassuring in bringing this news to the people – “in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your complaining,” he says to them – God, on the other hand, is more than up front as to how this is, in fact, a test of Israel’s trust and faith; a determination as to whether or not this measure of food will lead them in trusting that God will continue to provide for them along the way… or not!  If you read through the entirety of this 16th chapter of Exodus, at first it sounds kind of vindictive, the very vision of the judgmental God of the Old Testament.  But looking at it a little more closely, it makes perfect sense that God would see this as a test of faith; in fact, it actually kind of completes the gift!

You see, just as God understood that the Israelites would most certainly not be wholly satisfied with what they were being given; God also knows that there will never be enough sustenance in this world, at least, to rid you and me of every concern and anxiety we carry; because the true nature of life, friends, is that life is predictably unpredictable!  In other words, just about the time we figure out what we need to survive whatever it is we’re facing today, here comes another challenge that needs facing tomorrow!  On some level or another we will always be hungry, we will always be thirsty, there will always be yet another unexpected twist and turn along the pathways we follow: like it or not, that is simply what life is, and if you and I are going to live that life with any sort of confidence or integrity or purpose, friends, we are going to have to walk those pathways trusting God, knowing that there will be more manna and quail when we need it.

Granted, we all do the best we can along the way: we put away money for the future, we build up our pension accounts, we get serious about losing weight and exercising more, we wear our masks and make every effort to stay socially distanced from one another.  But at the end of the day, that kind of effort only takes us so far, and the time will inevitably come when in the midst of our challenges, our “murmuring” and even our brokenness, we’ll have to give the rest over to God… this God who provides for us one meal, one day, one blessing at a time; truly giving us “this day our daily bread.”

Today, of course, is World Communion Sunday and in a few moments, we’ll be gathering – however remotely in 2020 (!) – at the Lord’s Table with believers the world over so that we might know his presence in the broken bread and shared cup.  It’s also, I think, a time to reflect on the true meaning of this sacrament as regards our Christian faith and moreover, a chance for each of us to remember and give thanks for how this deceptively simple meal has nourished our own spiritual growth. 

For me, this day is filled with the memories of moments when in either receiving or serving communion I was made newly and palpably aware of the Lord’s presence in the bread and cup, as well as the powerful movement of God’s Holy Spirit in and through my life and the life of the church of which I was a part.  But of all those memories, perhaps the one that stands out the most happened right here in this very sanctuary; shortly after I’d arrived here at East Church as your pastor. 

As most of you know, before we came here, I was at a place I like to refer to as “in-between callings.”  Lisa, the children and I had left Ohio and had come back to Maine, where I was going to focus all my attention on the search and call process and finding a new church.  And we did so knowing that in the United Church of Christ, this is a process that can take some time; but hey, it was summer, we had the camp and it was going to be fine!  But… as August turned into September and the days of autumn crept toward a long Maine winter with still nothing concrete about a pastoral position, I’ll be honest with you; I had begun to do more than just a little “murmuring” of my own! Now, in retrospect, I don’t know if I ever doubted God through all of that but I certainly doubted myself and day by day I was feeling increasingly mired and broken there in the middle of my own personal desert wilderness. 

But you all know what happened:  our wonderfully amazing graceful God managed to bring us together as pastor and parish here at East Church.  And now, about a month in, it was the first Sunday of the month, we were in worship and I was leading us in communion; something that as a pastor I’d done literally hundreds of times over the years… but this time it was different.

And I can tell you exactly the moment I realized it:  it’s when I said, as I almost always do during communion, “In the broken bread we participate in the broken body of Christ… in the cup of blessing, we celebrate the new life that Christ brings.”  I tore the bread, and the reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks:  I’d been broken!  All the challenges and struggles of the past few months, all of the uncertainties, all of the doubt, all of the lingering feelings of regret and fear and anger and… brokenness in my life: I was suddenly and profoundly and deeply aware that Jesus’ body was broken for my sake so that I might know redemption and hope and life, not to mention forgiveness and the ability to forgive; all of this even when I’d been too mired in my own feelings of being lost and broken to fully know and trust in it.  But now I realized that I was, in fact, “participating in the broken body of Christ,” a recipient of love infinite and unending… and able, at last, to truly and wholly celebrate the new life Christ brings.  As bread was given for the broken in the form of manna, at that very moment of celebration in our worship I was given the sustenance I needed.

And I’m telling you about this today because if right now you’re feeling broken – maybe seven months of pandemic has finally gotten to you… perhaps the onslaught of negativity and divisiveness in this election year has left you exhausted, angry and bitter… or maybe you’ve come to the sad conclusion that this roller coaster ride that is 2020 is much more than you can handle and now you’re just broken as a result – if that’s you, beloved, then know that this Holy Meal we’re about to share is for you.  As the song goes, “there’s life to be shared in the bread and the wine,” and whereas this act of worship might not change the ever-spinning nature of the world in these times, it will give you and me the sustenance we need for this desert journey…

…so let us come to the table so that we might be fed, and that we might know the presence, the power and the Glory of God in Jesus Christ in the process.

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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