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“Thy Kingdom Come…In Us”

Rev. Katherine Todd
1 Samuel 8
Isaiah 35:1-10

 

1 Samuel 8

When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not follow in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and set a king over them.” Samuel then said to the people of Israel, “Each of you return home.”

 

Isaiah 35:1-10

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


 

What is the point of all these Isaiah prophesies – telling of the coming of justice and God’s reign?  We are instructed that with Christ, comes God’s reign, and yet for the last 2000+ years, we’ve had knowledge of Jesus Christ, and yet wars still rage, injustice still reigns, and all things have not yet been made right.

What are we to make of this?

 

Is all this just a nice dream, a fairy-tale, make-believe?

Is it what we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better in the presence of evils and powers we feel powerless to change?

 

I wonder.

 

 

And I feel bad for asking these questions.  After all, I’ve not known more love and truth, hope and goodness than what I’ve found in Jesus Christ.

But what do I make of these prophesies and the disparity we see between the vision of God’s Kingdom and the realities of our broken world?

 

In the Old Testament, we read a lot about kingdoms.  Israel as a nation was supposed to be led by God and not by any human, that is why God raised up for them judges and prophets instead of kings.  They were to communicate God’s will to the people.  But in the end the people wanted a human king.  Like every child who wanted the same things as his peers, the nation of Israel wanted a king.  They wanted to be like all the other nations around them.

To this request, God warned them that if they got what they wanted, they would regret it.  Kings would cause suffering – asking of them the fruit of their labors and the lives of their children.  But the people did not heed God’s words through the prophet, and so God gave them over to their misguided desires.  God gave them a king.

 

And indeed the people knew suffering.  Their first king, King Saul, led them in God’s way for awhile, but he strayed from the Lord and began to disobey God’s leading, so much so that he was tormented by an evil spirit and God’s Spirit left him.

Their next king, King David, is remembered as a man after God’s own heart, but he certainly made his share of mistakes – taking life unjustly and abusing his power for his own personal gain.

And then after David, we have King Solomon – known as the wise king who rebuilds the temple.  But alas, he has many wives and is quite indulgent.  But following these three kings, the list goes downhill sharply.

 

Thus, Israel came to intimately know the downside of spurning God’s leadership and trading down for a human leader.  But experiencing all this suffering unfortunately does not insure that any of us learn our lessons.  And the nation kept wanting a new a better king.

This is something of the environment into which Jesus is born.  And Jesus starts using the phrase “Kingdom of God.”  Does it remind you of anything?  If the people’s memories had been preserved strongly, with the passing on of the knowledge of God and their history as part of God’s story, then this phrase, “The Kingdom of God” should take them back to the times of the judges and the prophets, the time when God sought to lead them more directly, without a personal ego in the way.

 

“The Kingdom of God” could also take them back to that original story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Because it was then that God walked and talked with the people directly.  Indeed THIS is what God intends for each of us.  But in our sinfulness, we have traded that possibility for the chance and power and knowledge and control.  We have sought not to be led but to lead.  We have sought not the One who knows but rather to know ourselves.

We wanted to BE God, rather than to be with God.

As a human species we have always wanted to be in full control, from our very beginnings – as though any of us possess the wisdom and power to do that, much less effectively.

 

And when God called Israel into covenant relationship with God – to be God’s people, a city on a hill – God provided leaders, judges, and prophets.  But again the people wanted more.  It seemed to weak perhaps.  They wanted a figure-head, and human display of power and might.  And so they got what they wanted.  And they traded down God’s good gift of intimate leadership for a human leader, a human king.

 

So here we have Jesus, claiming to have brought the Kingdom of God to earth.

For the first time in our history, since our fall in the garden, God will reign.  God’s will has come to earth, in the person of Jesus Christ.  And everywhere, hearts that receive Christ, receive God’s reign in their hearts – where God will live and guide them, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

And so, God’s Kingdom has come.  But not in the human sense.  Jesus didn’t make himself their human mascot king.  Jesus had bigger fish to fry.  Jesus didn’t want to govern our actions but to be Lord of our hearts – that we might will to do what is pleasing to God.

And Jesus came to bring that Good News that God wasn’t looking for perfect people but for followers.  WHO would let Jesus into their hearts?  Who would allow the Spirit of God to break into their lives and sensibilities?  WHO would be so transformed in God’s unwithheld love that they’d never be the same?  WHO would be among those who finally realized that life isn’t life at all, unless it is the life that God freely gives?

 

And so our Messiah has come.  Our King has come.  Our Rescuer, Deliverer, Savior has come!  But not in the human sense, not in our human political machines, not into our systems of laws and societal order.

 

God has come into hearts, far and wide. 

 

And if God reigns in us,…

If God truly lives in us,…

Where God is still truly received,…

Where God’s WORD is still welcomed and followed,…

THERE is the Kingdom of God.

THERE is power and authority like none other.

 

THERE we find justice flowing down.

THERE we hear truth rightly spoken

THERE the sick are made well.

THERE the lame are healed, the deaf hear, and the blind see.

THERE the burning, thirsty ground becomes a pool of refreshing.

THERE we hear singing, with everlasting joy and gladness.

THERE no one steals or kills or destroys.

 

THIS is the power of God.  THIS is the Kingdom of God.

WE are the body of Church.  WE are the body of Christ.

 

Will we rise up and be people of God?

The family of God?

The messengers of God?

 

Will we bring Good News?

Will we set the captive free?

Do we proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor?

 

 

In all things and at all times, we have a choice to make: 

To follow Christ our Lord and King

Or to follow in our own way. 

 

May we,

Both individually and collectively,

Choose to bear the Kingdom of God into this weary and burnt-out world,

Day after day

After day.

 

The world is dying for the LIFE that lives in you. 

 

“Holy Spirit Growing Pains”

Rev. Katherine Todd
Acts 16:9-15
John 14:25-29

Acts 16:9-15

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.  On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

John 14:25-29

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.


 

This story of the Apostles figuring out how to follow the risen Jesus, by the power of Jesus’ gift to them of the Holy Spirit – this is what fills the pages of the book of Acts.  Clumsily these apostles keep running into the borders and boundaries of God’s call on their lives.

They have been given this ultimate gift – to know the Lamb of God, Jesus – and to receive forgiveness of sins – what a gift!?!  The Spirit has been poured out on them, and they are all in, eager to share the good news with any who will hear, but they keep awkwardly hitting boundaries.  In the bit just before our passage today about Paul dreaming about a man in Macedonia begging him to come, Paul and Timothy try to go many places, but we read that the Holy Spirit limits them.  It says the Holy Spirit forbade them to go to Asia.  And then they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit would not allow them.

 

I wonder what this looked like.  How did they know it was the Holy Spirit?  We are not told if they both were given hunches or premonitions, we don’t know if they received visions forbidding them to go, or whether or not they deducted the Holy Spirit’s leading by which doors were opened to them and which doors were closed.  But I am very curious, because in our everyday lives, this is what we’re in the business of determining.

It is very easy to read these stories and to make a mental separation between what WAS and what IS.  It isn’t so very difficult to accept that the Holy Spirit led these two early disciples in spreading the Good News – after all, we are all here today because something they did worked!  We know about Jesus because of their good work and those who followed in their footsteps, generation after generation.

It can be another thing to believe that such things happen in our lives today.  So do you believe?  Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is still active and living in the world today, still speaking to our hearts today, still guiding our steps today, still interceding for us with sighs deeper than words today?

I certainly hope so!

 

It gets tricky because how can we be sure?  It isn’t a scientifically proven thing.  It isn’t black and white.  It isn’t something we can fully perceive or even begin to understand.

So in this modern world of facts and fiction, it can be hard to know when and if the Holy Spirit is active and moving.  How do we know?

Well, first off, as scripture says, “For now, we see through a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face.”  In this world, we do not see with clarity and breadth.  We cannot.  And so when it comes to the Holy Spirit, we must approach with eyes of faith.  It is by eyes of faith that we believe and then see.

 

Nicole’s mom Bonnie, Jayne’s sister is a praying person.  When she heard about the needs of a young family in our congregation, she wanted to help.  She offered to buy the baby girl her first pair of shoes and a new dress for her first birthday.  So she spoke with the mother who measured the child’s feet, and Bonnie set out to buy a new pair of shoes.  She went to a shoe store and spoke with the clerk.  She told the clerk about this family and how the child had never before owned a pair of shoes but that she wanted to get the little girl her first pair.  The woman was moved by the Bonnie’s story and said, give me your number, I have several bags of little girl outfits AND shoes.  I want this little girl to have them.  When the clerk dropped off the bag to Bonnie, the clerk explained, ‘The day before I meet you in the store, I was cleaning out all these old clothes from my daughter and preparing to store them.  My daughter, 3 ½ years old, came in and said, “Mommy, there’s a little girl that needs those clothes.  Don’t put them away.” ‘

 

Bonnie was so moved by this.  It was so clear to her that God had spoken through this child.  It was clear to her that God loved this young family.  It was clear to her that the Holy Spirit had directed this mother and was directing her.

And this gift freed Bonnie to put her money toward caring for the rest of the family, the mom and dad.  And even as she shopped for the parents, she prayed and paid attention.  Even the sales seemed so appropriately suited to the family, and Bonnie followed that trail – she followed the Holy Spirit.

 

How do we follow the Holy Spirit?

How do we understand when God says, “Don’t go there,” “Go here,” “Say this…,” “Don’t say that…”

I do believe that the Holy Spirit is still living and moving among us here and now.  I do believe that God is still speaking to us in ways that we uniquely can here.  Even now as I sit and write this sermon for you, I do not have a plan of what to say.  I’m not mapping things out.  No, I am praying and listening and following the trail.  If I am doing this well, it is because I am following the Holy Spirit as I serve in this way.

For the Spirit of God knows the deepest heart.  The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with sighs deeper than words.  The Holy Spirit can use any means by which to guide and direct us.

And so, I believe the key is to listen, trust, and follow.

 

Will we ever KNOW FOR SURE that we are following the Spirit of God?  Probably not in this lifetime, but when in doubt, I have prayed to God saying, “Lord, I hear you, but is this what you’re really saying?  Please confirm it to me.”  And as I’ve kept my heart open, as I’ve stayed alert, listening, I have heard confirmation, God has given me clarity.

Sometimes this clarity has come over years and decades.  Sometimes it has come in days or even minutes, but our God loves us.  Our God is good.  Our God has given us this precious gift of the Holy Spirit SO THAT we might follow God well – SO THAT we might continue to do the work of Christ, in the power of God.

 

Only God knows what’s going on in our secret hearts.  Only God knows the questions we dare not speak.  Only God knows the feelings we dare not acknowledge.  Only God knows the path that leads us to fullness and quality of life!

 

And so may we take this good gift!

May we, like Paul, bump into the boundaries and borders of this gift – trying out wrong paths and being redirected until we hear and find our way.  Scripture says, ‘…Whether you turn to the right or the left you will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way.  Walk in it.” ‘  We don’t need to know the way head of time.  We just need to set out, to start, and to listen as we go.

May we, like Paul, be alert and listen to the many ways God speaks to us – be it in dreams, or visions, friends, or facebook, strangers, or little children.

GOD STILL SPEAKS.

 

May WE be a people who are open – open to the Spirit of God, living and active, working and moving, calling and inviting, opening and closing doors – that the love of Christ might spread abroad in hearts and minds, setting captives free, giving sight to the blind, proclaiming God’s favor.

It is for this, that we are called!

“Christ or Culture”

Rev. Katherine Todd
John 10:10b
Mark 7:1-8

John 10:10b

Jesus said to them, … “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Mark 7:1-8

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”  He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
 in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”


In seminary, we read a book called Christ Or Culture by religious scholar, Richard Neibuhr.  While I cannot remember the details of the book, my take-away was that it is a complex thing to untangle Christ from our culture, but that we are each responsible to work on it.

 

The basic gist is that when a people has lived with Christ for some time, the knowledge of Christ gets integrated into the way things are done and vise versa.  Culture gets mingled into our understanding and worship of Christ.  Our traditions, rites, and rituals are all a co-mingling of Christ and culture.

When we’re in our own cultures, it is almost imperceptible which is which at times.  For example, our Christmas trees feel very Christian, though their origin is distinctly pagan.  We have taken things that had no association with Christ and connected them to Christ, so those things acquire new meanings.  Now, Christmas trees are in most churches in America.  Few even think to question their place.

This merging of Christ and culture is honest and natural.  It’s as natural as our own American melting pot.  Made up of people from most nations, our country indeed begins to take on the blending flavors and cultures of those nations.  We take for granted the fact that we can buy Chinese, Italian, or Mexican food on the same block, get our nails done by a Vietnamese shop owner and have our clothes dry cleaned by a Korean family.  Obviously these are stereotypes, but as with most stereotypes, they communicate because there is truth behind them.  My point is that we are accustomed to this blending of very different foods, people, and culture.  It is the natural outcome of our nation of immigrants.

In the same way, when a culture hears the good news of Christ, their own traditions and rituals start blending with the Good News of the Gospel, and in the end, it can be difficult to tell one from another.

All of this is just fine.  Where it has most often gotten problematic is on the mission field.  When well-meaning Christians leave home and culture to share the good news with a people who’ve not yet heard, they, as would any of us, can have quite a time discerning where their own native culture ends and Christ begins.  Since our own cultures are simply our “normal,” they can become invisible to us.  They are the air we breath and the ground we walk on, so to speak.  We take them for granted.  We rarely question them, if we even notice them at all.  But when we encounter folks from another culture and try sharing our faith in Christ with them, our own culture inevitably is also communicated.

Now, this isn’t all bad.  Learning of another culture can be a beautiful and eye-opening thing.  IT gives us new eyes to see the world around us.  Where it has gotten toxic is when culture is mistakenly presented as being part of Christ and one way is presented as the way.

Now, I don’t think all cultural traditions or mindsets are made equally.  Some native traditions are full of the honor and respect we learn in Christ.  Some are filled with domination, cruelty, and the things Christ warns us against.  But when we share the Gospel with another, we need to let Christ be the center and the guide and not impose our culture on others.

This is easy enough to say, but it’s quite another things altogether to do.

How do we separate Christ from the culture in which we’ve come to know Christ?

How do we separate Christ from these walls in which we’ve worshipped, year after year?

How do we separate Christ from the creeds we’ve memorized?

How do we separate Christ from the songs we can sing by heart?

How do we separate Christ from our experiences of Christ in this community?

 

All of these are excellent questions.

And while we cannot answer them all cleanly, it is important that we ask them and keep asking them. 

The reason can be found in the Hippocratic oath Doctors take.  They promise “first, to do no harm.”  And when we impose our own cultures onto others in the name of Christ, insisting that our way is superior to their ways, we can do a great deal of harm to that people.

Now, I know you guys are not missionaries in the traditional sense, so all this talk of Christ & Culture may feel misdirected, but if you are a Christian, you are indeed a missionary because Christ lives in you.  You have the Spirit of the Almighty God living in you, and God’s heart is for the whole world.  God’s love is for the whole world.  And God is pouring out love and light in the world through each of you.

Now you can rightly point out that if you haven’t left your culture, this information is not exactly pertaining to your sort of mission work in the world, but I would argue that in our culture today, Christ is not the center.  And even when we thought it was, it probably wasn’t.  Truly, when cultures have adopted Christ as the main religion, they have often, if not always, done so with covert motives, using Christ to one’s own ends.  And even if motives started purely, the result of aligning Christ with power and regimes is growing corruption of faith for political power and personal gain.

My point is that we live in a post-Christian society.  Most families and people do not go to church.  Many do not claim Christ.  And a great number do not consider themselves religious.  So our experiences may be a great deal different than that of our neighbors.

But we know that God’s heart is for each of them.  We know that God’s love extends to each of them, just as they are, right where they are, many here all around us in this neighborhood, in their houses, running trails, or perhaps in the park just blocks away.

We know that God doesn’t require conformity first, in exchange for love and acceptance, but that God has loved and accepted us first, and we are called to respond in faith, walking in God’s ways.

We are bearers of light.  We have a message folks deeply need to hear.

But we will lose people and do more damage than good, unless we can untangle our own histories of Christ & culture and begin to imagine what Christ is doing in new cultures, in a new people, in the lives of those who’ve sworn never set foot in a church.

Because God IS moving in their lives.

God IS inviting them to come close.

God IS calling, through work and rest and play.

God is reaching out first.

 

It is not therefore, our job to INITIATE God’s work in their lives.

Rather, it’s our job to listen and follow God’s work in their lives.

It becomes a matter of listening for what is profoundly Christ-like in their unchurched lives and affirming those commitments to love and justice, respect and community.  It becomes a matter of listening for what may be destroying life and listening for God’s invitation to wholeness and healing.

So, our children do not have to do exactly as we do.  They don’t necessarily need to sing the same songs or speak the same creeds in order to hear God’s still small voice.  But perhaps when they love as God has loved us, we celebrate the beauty and goodness of their lives.  Perhaps when they undo themselves with poor decisions, we forgive as we have been forgiven and call them to a better way.

In other words, we affirm the love and goodness of God in their lives, listening for God’s lead and following.  And we echo the words of God for all who are suffering in sin saying, “You are made for so much more.  You dear and beloved, just the way you are.  Please do not hurt yourself or anyone else anymore.”

When we truly begin doing the work of separating Christ from Culture, we will find that things and rituals, traditions and nostalgia matter far less than we may have thought.

For as Christ quotes Isaiah, saying to those criticizing his disciples for not following the rituals, “This people honors me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me.  In vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrine.”

All our routines and rituals are beautiful but only a vessel for the divine.  And without Christ at the center, all of it is meaningless.  For it isn’t what we say, but what we mean that matters.  It isn’t calling ourselves Christians but rather living as little Christs that matters.  It isn’t singing hymns, saying creeds, or even coming to church that is the most important thing.  What matters is following God, day by day.  What matters is loving as Christ has loved, forgiving as Christ has forgiven, doing justice as Christ brings justice, loving mercy as Christ has shown us great mercy.   And none of that requires a steeple or an organ, a pastor or a sermon.

Now all those things can help us a great deal.  We have reasons for doing them.  But these THINGS, these ROUTINES are meant to be a vehicle of God’s presence and power.  These expressions of faith are meant to empower us in the living of our faith.  They are not meant to be obstacles or litmus tests or criteria for inclusion in the club.  Our forms and ways of being church are meant to flow out of vibrant lives of discipleship, and not the other way around.  And when Christ is truly at the center, we may find that there are an infinite number of ways we can follow faithfully – at least as infinite a number as we have one-of-a-kind children of God in the world.  And just as the rituals we follow were once birthed from new vision and ideas, new rituals and traditions are emerging still.

And so may we not be as the Pharisees in the scripture today – criticizing those who do not do as do we do, looking down on those who do not come when we come, …thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought.  But rather, may we recognize that what matters most is on the inside.  And may we each tend to our hearts and minds and spirits with great and loving care.

So that when God moves in new and unexpected people and places and rituals – those outside our circles, who look differently, and live differently, and see the world differently – we might see and hear and follow – ever following Christ, beyond the borders of these walls, of our own cultures and ways, and into new broad vistas of an ever-deepening and living faith.  For our God is calling, calling each one out of darkness and into Christ’s marvelous light.  And that broad place is like nothing we have ever experienced before, transcending all the ways of this world, and all the things we’ve come to know.  Christ alone remains.

 

In an ever-changing world

where church as you may have known it, no longer exists,

where potlucks no longer fill the hall and Sunday School isn’t packed…

May we keep our eyes on Christ.

It is Christ who knows the way;

Christ IS the way.

The landmarks and scenery will ever change,

Our tools and methods and rituals will also change,

but our God remains the same and is ever with us.