Friday, October 21, 2011

Sermon from 10 16 2011; Matthew 22:1-14

Rev. George Miller
Matthew 22:1-14
“The Good, the Bad and the Hungry”
Oct 16, 2011

Earlier in today’s service, we sung “God’s eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me.” Later, we’ll sing “What a friend we have in Jesus.”

God watches me. Jesus is my friend. What does that mean?

When we say that God watches us, is this an image of fear, as if God is going to punish us for every wrong thing we do?

Is this an image of discomfort, as if God is a stalker watching our every move?

Or can this be a source of comfort that can become be a catalyst for positive change, knowing that if God is watching over us, if indeed we have a friend in Jesus, then we should want to be better people?

Paul writes in 3 Colossians that we should clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness and patience. But to do so involves change.

Change can be scary. Change takes time. Change comes with no guarantee.

Yet change will always be a part of life, like it or not. Nor are we the only ones who experience change.

Last week we heard in Exodus 32 how God was furious at the people and wanted to consume them with fiery wrath, until Moses talked him out of it, and the Lord changed his mind.

That was a powerful theology to grasp; the thought that God can change God’s mind. If God can change God’s mind, does it mean that God changes too?

If God can change, and we are created in God’s image, what does that mean for us in regards to change?

I would like to venture out and say that our willingness to change or to not change when encountering the Good News is one of the spiritual hearts of this parable.

In regards to change, I think back to myself in 1994. Back then I was worshipping at an inner city in Minneapolis where I learned about God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

I remember how I use to go to services wearing whatever I wanted. I’d show up in sneakers, shorts and chewing bubble gum.
It didn’t matter to the folks at the church what I wore; I was welcomed and I was loved.

However, eventually I noticed that I was the only one in shorts; everyone else was dressed up in what seemed to be their best.

No one told me I had to change what I was wearing, but on my own I started dressing up. I put on long pants, stepped into shoes, saved up for an Easter suit.

Somehow it changed the church going experience for me into one of wonder and awe.

The next change came when the church held an anniversary meal. I sat at the table and enjoyed plates filled with good food like smoked turkey, black eyed peas and sweet potato pie.

That day, my name changed. People called me “Brother George.” With that name change can new responsibilities: requests to help lead worship, to pray, to bless the offering.

Eventually those changes lead to attending seminary. Years later, after graduating, I returned to visit and my name changed once more.

No longer was I Brother George, I was Rev. Miller. The pastor invited me to sit right beside her during the entire worship service.

Every few years I go back to Grace Temple, and although I’m older and ordained, I still feel like that 24 year old kid, filled with reverence and awe, aware of the Holy Trinity’s presence.

But the truth is that I have changed. It may not have been immediate, it may not have been automatically detectable, but it has been real.

So, it is with delight that I get to witness the changes I see in people here at Emmanuel as they continue to grow in the Lord.

Those who felt lost in the wilderness become found. Those who’ve encountered death experience resurrection.

Those who cried at night find joy in the morning. Those who were meek become bold. Those who sat on the side line step into the light.

All of those are gifts of the Spirit, elements of change that says one has indeed accepted the invitation from God to banquet with Christ.

But what happens when we have an encounter with Christ, and for some reason, we do not change?

I think that’s part of Matthew’s retelling of Jesus’ parable.

A King holds a lavish wedding banquet for his son. No expense is spared; there’s BBQ, steak, sweet potato pie.

Invitations are sent out but those who receive them do not wish to attend. The gracious King gives them another chance to enjoy his hospitality. Everything you could want is there and there’s space for all.

They decline again, opting instead to go to their farm and business. Apparently they did not want to stray from what they knew or to change their plans.

So the King, however changes his plans. This time, he opens his invitation to include anyone who wants to attend.

Forget the farmer, forget the business man, the doors to the wedding hall are thrown open to all: the good, the bad; they are all welcomed to experience the joy, the community, the celebration.

But the King sees this one man. He’s still wearing his regular clothes. Here is he, the recipient of a wonderful, unexpected invitation, surrounded by so many others who received the same gift and acted accordingly by changing into wedding clothes.

But he hasn’t.

For some unknown reason he has refused to change. As a result, he ended up being on the outside, weeping and away from the joy inside.

How could this be? What power, what hold could his current, familiar clothes have that he would not want to don the wedding robe?

Perhaps because it would have meant change; perhaps for this man, like so many others, the thought of changing scared the heck out of him.

I think of this parable, I think of this man. I think of the garments we hold on to. The things we do not want to let go.

I think of myself and how I dress myself up in deadlines and tasks that I do not wish to stray from even if it prohibits me from building up relationships with others.

I think of family members who have so wrapped themselves up with issues of grief that they have weighed themselves down to the point where they can’t step forward.

I think of friends who have donned garments of fear, thinking it would protect them from further harm, when all they’ve really done is prohibit them from truly enjoying life.

I think of how those dressed up in anger at another for something that was done accidentally or purposely, how they’ve allowed it to cover them.

Or those with garments made out of chaos. They do the same thing again and again and seem surprised by to the same results.

Some party goers have become so attached to those garments that they hold on tighter, unsure of how they would behave if they could no longer continue to be sad, angry or scared.

Then there are those who come to the wedding and somehow the joy of the banquet allows those garments to slip away so they can be clothed in new threads of happiness, forgiveness and hope.

As a Christian who proclaims the Red Sea parted and Christ resurrected, I’m a big believer in change.

I believe that when people experience the Red Sea parting, when they have an encounter with Christ, when they feel the stirrings of the Holy Spirit, there is the chance for change.

I don’t believe it will always be instantaneous. I tend to think of it more as slow and progressive, kind of like changing from one outfit into a new one.

First a sneaker for a shoe, then a pair of shorts for a pair of slacks, the t-shirt for a collared shirt, a wad of gum for a delicate mint.

That’s how it was for me oh so long ago; change continues in me today.

If, as Exodus 32 implies, God can change, then we can too.

As Christians, Jesus Christ becomes the means, the path, and the way for that to happen.

It doesn’t matter if we start out as part of the good or the bad, the hungry or the rich, if we open ourselves to the wonder and the awe of being in the Lord’s presence, then we too have an opportunity to change and to grow.

In the beginning of today’s message I said that change can be scary and come with no guarantee.

This is true, but I would like to make one clarification.

When we experience a change in Christ we do receive at least one guarantee: there will always be a place for us at God’s table.

And before we know it, during the course of the Kingdom’s banquet, we’ll discover we’re not wearing what we use to wear and that we too will get the opportunity to help usher in the next batch of wedding guests who are waiting to be changed.

And for that, we can all say “Hallelujah” and “Amen.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sermon from Oct 9, 2011; Exodus 32:1-14

Rev. George Miller
Exodus 32: 1-14
“Whose People Are They?”
Oct 9, 2011

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a man named Moses. One day he did one of the most important things a man could do: he reminded God just what it meant to be God.

In the words of popular vernacular, Moses “Bossed up.”

Last year I preached a sermon about biblical women in which I used a word that offended some and empowered others.

I challenged the notion that Mary and Elizabeth were helpless, docile woman. Instead, I claimed that they were…broads.

I used the word in an affirming sense; that a broad was courageous and strong; unafraid to tell it to you like it is even if it means ruffling a few feathers.

I’ve been waiting for the moment to preach about the male equivalent of a broad, and now, it’s finally here.

The male word isn’t as colorful. When a man is seen as courageous and strong and tells it to you like it is, most will say he’s just being a man (although I’m sure some women want to call them an ignoramus).

But in the world of hip hop music, there’s a phrase that’s been circulating for a while.

When a man steps up and unapologetically stands his ground, it’s said that he is “bossing up.”

And there is a big difference between a man being an ignoramus, and a man being a boss.

You want a boss for your president, you want a boss to lead your kids soccer team to victory; you want someone who knows how to “boss up” when disaster strikes.

And that’s just what we have in Moses today.

For the last few weeks we’ve been traveling alongside the people of Israel.

We were there when the waters parted. We were there when they murmured in the wilderness. We were there when they experienced God being wild and free.

Today we come to a new part of the journey. Moses has been on the mountaintop talking with God for 40 days.

In his absence, the people become restless, and in their restlessness they have Aaron make an idol for them to worship.

The result: a hissy fit from God.

From atop the mountain God tells Moses to deal with people. “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought out of Egypt, have acted perversely.”

Did you catch the words God uses?

“Your people.” At this moment God wants to pretend as if they have no relationship.

At this moment, it’s as if God is one of those parents who have had it up to here with their kids and wants to temporarily disown them.

At this moment, God is so upset with the Israelites that he wants to be left alone to bring down some holy wrath.

Whose people are these? They’re your kids, not mine!

How many parents have ever felt this way?

At this moment, Moses is the level-headed one, taking on the role of the supportive, sensible spouse.

“O Lord,” he says, “You’re just angry; do you really want to destroy your people? If you do the Egyptians will say you were evil all along.”

“Not to mention, if you do this, you’ll violate the promises you made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Read this way, it’s comical. But notice how Moses bosses up: he finds courage and strength to speak his mind for the sake of others.

Sure, by doing so he takes the risk of ruffling God’s feathers, but Moses does so anyway; and the amazing thing is this: Moses helps God to change God’s mind.

In other words, because Moses bosses up, he shows us that God is Still Speaking.

So, who exactly is this Moses, this man who bossed up? He didn’t start that way.

Moses began his life by being saved through the cunning act of three…broads.

He grew up with a bit of an identity crises that culminated in killing an Egyptian and running away.

A glimmer Moses’ bossing up comes when he stops a group of guys from harassing some women. Then he kind of fades into the background.

He gets married, works for his father-in-law, and lives a regular life until one day…God calls him to help set God’s people free.

At first, Moses is afraid. He hides his face. He repeatedly turns down God’s offer because he thinks he’s not good enough, he thinks no one will listen, he thinks that he can’t speak so good.

But eventually he acquiesces and eventually his actions prove that God made the right choice, especially when he talks back to God.

In doing so, Moses joins the ranks of Abraham and the citizens of Nineveh who helped God change God’s mind.

But why? Why does Moses boss up when in the past he wanted to back down?

How is it that Moses is able to speak his mind when before he claimed to be slow of speech?

I can’t speak for Moses, but I can guess of at least three reasons why.

First, Moses knew the history that God had with the people. He knew about the covenant relationship that God had entered in with them through their ancestors.

He knew that the whole reason this relationship existed was because God had first called Abraham and Sarah with the promise to make a great nation from their family tree.

He knew this promise was the root of all things; he knew that when Abraham proved his devotion via his son, that God had sworn on God’s own self to multiply his descendants.

By knowing the story, Moses understood that even when the people sin and make mistakes, God will forgive them if for nothing else, because of the covenant that had been made for the sake of Abraham.

Therefore, God can be challenged to show grace and hope.

Second, Moses had an investment in making sure God kept the covenant promise.

After all, it was God who called Moses to give up the comfort of an ordinary life and bring the people this far. Out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness.

So too bad; too bad if the people were stiff-necked, too bad if they upset God; Moses had invested too much for God to disown them in a moment of anger.

Third, Moses bosses up because he knew whose these people were.

They were not his, they were not Aaron’s, and they were certainly never the Pharaoh’s.

They were children of the Lord.

This is Moses’ trump card.

So when God tries to pass parental responsibility onto him, Moses bosses up because he knows that the people belong exclusively to God.

Yes, God is worn and weary and ready to give up, but Moses says to God “These are your people. Even if they act irresponsible you have the responsibility to fulfill your promises.”

Moses does not let God pass the buck; nor does he leave God alone. And the result: God changes God’s mind.

Moses is indeed a boss. Sure, he may have started his career apologetic and unsure, but through God he grew strong enough and courageous enough to face any obstacle, even God, head-on.

So what does this mean for us today? What is a theological statement we can claim?

That there are times, for the sake of the kingdom, that we are called to boss up.

That our gift of prayer is not a luxury but a responsibility.

That when we speak to God we don’t just give praise and thanks, we challenge, we make appeals, we speak on behalf of those who feel silenced; we speak to remind God of the covenant made long ago.

We speak because if we claim that God is Still Speaking, well then it means that we are to be Still Speaking as well.

After all, isn’t that part of what it means to be in relationship with God?...

…Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a man named Moses. One day he did one of the most important things a man could do: he reminded God just what it meant to be God.

In other words, Moses “Bossed up.”

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking people of faith should stand helpless and silent before God.

That’s an insult to our faith and to what our spiritual ancestors were willing to do.

Who are these people, and to whom did they belong?

They are broads like Miriam, Mary and Elizabeth; and they are bosses, like Moses, Peter and Paul.

They belonged to the Lord.

They did what they thought was right for the sake of the covenant and for the sake of God’s people.

So let us all remember that we too can boss up and still speak to God, trusting that God will continue to be “Still Speaking.”

And for that, let us say “Hallelujah” and let us say “Amen.”

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sermon for 10 02 2011; Exodus 20:1-21

Rev. George Miller
Exodus 20:1-21
Oct 2, 2011

Last week I visited Disney World for the first time in 25 years. I had me a good time. Waved hello to Snow White; spun around in the tea cups; went to Space Mountain, yelling out “Ya-hoooo!” just like my Mama taught me.

However, there was one ride I went on that scared the Donald Duck out of me. It’s based on the cartoon character Stitch, a mischievous creature from another world that children get a kick out of because he’s so amusingly inappropriate.

The concept of the ride is that you’re in a space station designed to hold the galaxy’s criminals. You’re lead into a circular room where you take your seat; handlebars come down to keep you in. Stitch appears in one of the holding cells, but something happens and he breaks free…

That’s when the fun is supposed to start.

The lights go out, and each seat is fashioned with a set of speakers, allowing you to hear all the playful havoc Stitch is creating.

Trouble is, my speakers were not working; at all. So I was left sitting in complete darkness, not knowing what was going on.

I heard others giggling, laughing, yelping; no idea why. I wondered if the floor was going to drop out like one of those carnival rides that spin.

It was a moment that any A-type personality dreads: total and complete loss of control.

The adult part of me knew that everything was OK; but the child, the one who thought monsters lived in my closet, did not.

And I was scared…

…One of the brilliant things about Disney World is the way it combines two different worlds.

There is the world that is cute and gentle: Cinderella’s Castle, the Dumbo ride, Mickey Mouse.

But then there’s the world that’s scary and rough: Haunted Mansion, Pirates of Caribbean, Stitch.

Kind of like the different parts of God that we come across in the scriptures.

Sure, there is the Still Speaking God who is full of love and compassion and concern for the poor.

Then there is the Raging God who is loud and intense, jealous and down-right scary.

Today’s reading gives us more of that side of God, the side that scares the people of Israel not because they couldn’t hear what was happening, but because they could hear.

To catch us up on things, I invite you to listen: it’s been three months since the people have walked through the Red Sea and cried out to the Lord in the wilderness.

It’s been three months and they’re now camping out beside Mount Sinai.

Moses and God have this special relationship going on. Moses goes up to the mountain, God gives him a message, and Moses goes down the mountain to share that message with the others.

The people respond, sending Moses back up the mountain to tell God what they said.

After a few times doing this, God says to Moses “Listen, I’m gonna come down to the people so they can hear me speak to you, that way they’ll better trust you. But before I do, get the people ready for me.”

The day comes and smoke fills the place, the mountain shakes, a trumpet blasts, there’s lightening and God’s voice sounds like thunder.

This is a moment that is intense, powerful, free, and dare I even say, passionate.

It is at this point of earth shaking, smoke swirling, lightening flashing, trumpet blasting that God speaks the 10 Commandments.

And as you heard, the people’s response? “Ooh Moses, we’re scared. You go on ahead and speak with God and we’ll just listen to what you have to say…”

As you can hear, today’s reading is so much more then about how the 10 Commandments came to be.

It’s about God. About a side of God that is wild, the side of God that is free, the side of God that can make us uncomfortable and down-right scared.

Today’s reading is about how God may make the rules, but it doesn’t mean that God plays by or follows the rules, or at least the rules as we would like to understand them.

This is God who is mysterious, distant and close, and a God who breaks into the world in ways that defy description and expectation.

In other words, a God who commands awe and wonder, respect and total attention.

I hear today’s scripture and I think of how different branches of Christianity reflect certain aspects of this reading.

The Baptists who embrace the notion of rules and laws of what you can and can’t do.

The Pentecostals who embrace the wonder and noise, where God breaks in to do the unexpected via elements and miracles.

The Catholics who embrace the sense of reverence and splendor, the notion that the holy and the ordinary are separate and to be honored.

In some ways, I think us UCCers have blocked our ears to this, because we’re taught to explain these things away as metaphors and to focus on the call to social justice.

And that’s there, after all the commandments are about how to love God and how to love our neighbor.

But the way in which the commandments are given, they way in which they are introduced, presents a God who is much more like Stitch and less like Mickey Mouse, a God who is wild and free, unexpected and untamed.

This is a God who’d rather side with the downtrodden Hebrew slaves then with the Egyptian taskmasters. This is a God who parts the waters and says “If I want to come down in a cloud, what’s it to you?”

We heard glimpses of this in Jesus. The way he stormed into the Temple and over-turned the tables, the way he spoke back to the religious leaders, and the way he just couldn’t stay dead even after 3 days.

And we certainly heard this in the Holy Spirit. The whoosh like wind, the speaking of tongues, the speech from Stephen.

All these things about the Holy Trinity are unexpected, untamed, fearless and free. Yet also enough to cause fear for those who could hear but were afraid to believe.

And although I am a mega A-type, control freak diva, I like this side of God and of Christ and of the Holy Spirit.

In closing, today’s reading presents to us the 10 Commandments, a way to live a full and healthy life with God, with our family, with our neighbor and ourselves.

But let’s not forget that the commandments were heard in the context of freedom.

Freedom of the Israelites after they crossed through the Red Sea.

Freedom of God, the one who chose to come down from the mountain to speak to them.

This freedom of God is not something for us to take too lightly. For if we say that God is Still Speaking, then it means that we have to be willing to listen.

Not with ears which only hear what they want to hear, but ears which hear what is actually being said.

God will speak.

Sometimes what God speaks will be instructions, sometimes words of reassurance, and sometimes things which we do not want to hear.

But listen…even if you are afraid.

Because God is not calling us to be left in the darkness, but God is calling us to step into the light and to be part of a whole new world.

And for that we can say “Hallelujah” and “amen.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sermon from Sept 25, 2011; Matthew 21:23-32

Rev. George Miller
Matthew 21:23-32
“Changing Minds, Changing Futures”
Sept 25, 2011

(This is a sermon done in character)

The wind blows today; through the house, in the trees, across the beach, carrying with it the sands of time, the sands of the mind.

It’s the kind of wind the signals change, that something good is about to happen. It reminds me of the wind that swept across the waters of creation. The wind that swept through the waters of Red Sea.

The wind that was present that day, the day he entered Jerusalem. Not everyone remembers what the weather was like that day, but I do. Or… at least I think I do.

The wind that swept across the city, up the steps of the Temple, into the sanctuary. The kind of wind that says “Stop, take a deep breath, the future is amongst you.”

Yet some of us chose to ignore the wind, thought we could bury our head in the sand until, until the wind went away.

Who am I? Once upon a time you may have called me a dreamer, a lover, an old fool.

Who am I? A man who liked things in place; correct. It was part of my upbringing.

I was born into a proper household; once 13 I went to a proper school for proper boys. Placed before me were all the proper opportunities for proper career: banker, businessman, rabbi.

It wasn’t hard for me to choose. I loved the Lord and all my gifts pointed toward ministry.

I loved the stories, both those found in the sacred scriptures and those found in the Midrash; I followed the Law and embraced the security of the rituals.

My favorite story was the Crossing of the Red Sea, not just how God parted the waters, but the events of that transpired next: how the people set eyes upon the wilderness cried out to God and were invited to look forward, and to see the glory of the Lord.

I did everything right. I went to school, I studied, and I embraced my ministry. I was young, imaginative; popular. People said I had a way about me that was healing.

Then, I entered my middle ages, became comfortable. Got married, had children. The popularity of my youth eased into the likeability of someone more mature.

Then, as it so happens, I grew older. Funny how that works. People stopped coming up to me for a healing prayer; I found that my teachings were beginning to be questioned, often by the younger rabbis behind me.

Like anyone who feels their authority being challenged, I dug in, held firm, became more conservative on my views.

Why? Mostly because of the need for security. Had a house to care for, a wife to protect, children to watch over, and grandchildren to love.

Hard to do that when you begin to question the status quo…

…A new wind had entered in, a wind that demanded attention; a wind which brought with it the new rabbi in town, a young guy of about 30 named Jesus.

We had heard stories about him, but not anything worth a response. Whenever a young hot shot entered the scene there was always talk until either they burned out, got caught in a scandal or grew older and became like us.

But this wind was different. This Jesus guy was blustery. He put on a show by riding into town on a donkey. He drove merchants out of the temple.

My colleagues and I watched as the blind and lame came to him and not only were they healed, but they were cured. Cured, as in able to see and walk.

Then, we listened. There was the sound of singing, erupting, from the children; children are supposed to be quiet in worship, not heard.

Worse yet, they had joy in their voices; joy that was not present when we taught them.

We became angry; and jealous. As popular as I may have been, I never had children sing, I never caused a blind man to see or a lame woman to walk.

So when he left the temple that night, we transpired a way to challenge him, to show him for the fraud he must have been.

We composed a question; a question challenging his authority, a question so richly devised there was no way his popularity could sustain it.

But when we asked him our question the next day, he met our challenge head on and questioned us back, a question so wisely worded that we were at a loss.

And I knew that if I answered it the wrong way I’d lose my authority as a leader, I could lose my popularity with the public, which could mean I could lose my job, my future.

So instead of saying anything, we said “We do not know.” It was as if we buried our heads in the sand.

Then Jesus told a story, about two sons. The first who says no to his father, but later changes his mind, and a second son who says yes, but does nothing; a lie.

Was this story an attack, a joke, a trap?

To add insult to injury, Jesus likened the first son to prostitutes and tax collectors, varmints who will enter the Kingdom of God before my colleagues and I.

What disrespect, what nerve. Women who let others violate their bodies; men who are traitors to their own country; more worthy of a place in God’s kingdom before I?

This blasphemous notion of a God who’s love is inclusive even of the dregs of society.

That day he stirred up a new kind of wind: anger, contempt…fear.

And men like me, when we feel threatened, when our source of livelihood is challenged by another, we respond.

Respond we did, and the wind grew ugly. Perhaps you heard about the way people conspired to betray him, to silence him for good.

Pilate, the crowds, the soldiers, they all played their roles until he was heard crying out to God and died upon the cross.

We, I, breathed a sigh or relief. We assumed the wind that had come with him had left; things would go back to as they were; our futures secure in the Temple’s employ.

Odd thing is that it wasn’t long after, that we began to catch bits and pieces of stories about how people were having experiences of Jesus, claiming he had been resurrected.

It came from these seemingly silly women who claimed the tomb was empty, to travelers on a road, to people sitting at the table, to proclamations that “He has risen” to mumbled words of assurance that there was no need to be afraid.

At first it was easy to dismiss these stories; simple mass hysteria from people trying to make sense of his death.

But after this continued for years and seemed to spread and grow, I began to question my questioning of them.

And I begin to notice the way these folks were greeting each other, with smiles and hugs, calling each other “sister,” “brother,” the ways in which they reached out to the community to feed and clothe.

Instead of burying their heads in the sand, they were looking up to a changing future and the glory of the Lord.

I have to tell you, it made me reevaluate my own part in Jesus’ death.

What was I so threatened by anyway? That he was the new kid in town? That he would take away my job?

That he had enough love in him to welcome people like prostitutes and tax collectors?

And what are those people anyway? Aren’t many of them just slaves to circumstance, shackled by their own situations?

Had I too been trapped, chained to my own understanding of scripture and Law, ritual and the way it’s always been done?

Was Jesus actually trying to lead us all through a new kind of Red Sea where God’s glory was again being revealed?

I began to ask myself “Would I have lost my authority as a Temple leader if I had allowed Jesus to change my mind and open my eyes?”

Would I have lost my gifts for the Lord or would my gifts have changed, evolved, grew?

And then…I revisited the story that Jesus told, of the son who originally said no, but later changed his mind.

The story never says how much later was later; was it five minutes, was it five hours, five days, five lifetimes?...

…And, like the first son, I changed my mind, and found myself saying “Yes!”

Yes, not so much to the letter of the Law, but yes to the Spirit of the Law.

Yes, not to a deity who loves selectively, but to a God who loves inclusively.

Yes to the Lord who heard the cry of my ancestors and set them free, who now also hears the cries of tax collectors and prostitutes and sets them free as well.

I have discovered it’s never too late to say “Yes!” when it comes to the love of the Lord.

And now, though my body is much, much older, I feel more like my original, imaginative self.

Yes, a familiar wind blows today; through the house, in the trees, across the beach, carrying with it the sands of time, the sands of the mind.

It’s the kind of wind the signals change, that something good is about to happen.

Now instead of worrying about my authority, I instead lift up my eyes before me and know that through Christ I will see the glory of the Lord in a way that is forever new, forever unexpected and a way that will forever change minds and change futures.

For that I say “Hallelujah” and I say “Amen!”