Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sermon for June 23, 2013; Isaiah 65:1-10

Rev. George Miller
Isaiah 65:1-10
“I AM Ready”
June 23, 2013

(This is a character sermon)

Raising children is never easy, especially when you have two sons who could not be any more different.

If you have children then you know what I mean. You give them life, you give them breath. You do your best by them.

When they are little, you bathe them, feed them, and dress them. You try to set them on the right path, establishing rules, not to dominate, but to protect.

A good parent doesn’t put qualifications on them receiving your love. You don’t pit one against the other, deeming one boy a winner and the other a loser. Each child has already won, so they are loved.

Instead you appreciate their differences, celebrate their gifts, and acknowledge what makes them each unique.

With that love comes their freedom to work, to play, to be a part of, and to become the best version of themselves they can be.

Now my older son, he’s the kind that is real serious; almost too serious as times. He takes everything to heart, always gives his best and if there’s something needed done he does it. Don’t have to ask him twice.

He is dependable, although I wish he would break free a bit more, you know- take the afternoon off to go fish at the creak or take a nap under the shade of a tree.

Sometimes I get the feeling that he thinks he has to work to earn my love. He doesn’t. Hopefully one day soon he’ll figure that out, so the work he does can become more pleasing and a joy.

Then there’s the younger son. You know how they can be: takes things a bit more in stride.

Understands that there is always work that needs to get done, so he’s more likely to stop and admire the sunset or take a second slice of Aunt Bette’s coconut cream pie.

He’s more of a dreamer then a worker, but he’s good with people and knows his way around a sick or ailing animal.

He is a free spirit and there have been times, after a rainstorm, that I catch him looking out at the rainbow as if he’s thinking there’s something better out there.

At times I’d wish he was more content at home; that he understood that there are people here who love him and can supply him with everything he needs.

On the ranch is a beautiful garden with every kind of fruit to eat; green pastures for resting; refreshing still waters; and banquets with cups running over. Lots of space to work and to dream.

One day the youngest came to me, as I long knew he would. He said he wanted to see the world and experience what’s out there.

He asked for his inheritance; an insult for most men. But I understood. I knew I had two choices: let him go and experience the world his way- the joys, the heartbreak, the victories, and the struggle.

Or tell him no and force him into obedient servitude forever, in which he’d have everything he could want but no freedom.

True growth and true love don’t come by forcing someone’s hand.

So I gave him what he asked and trusted that my love and everything I taught him would be enough to keep him safe and give him a fulfilling life.

He left…and he never came back.

My oldest son continued to work with me; we’d tend to the field, care for the cows, and prune the trees. He gave me such great joy.

…but everyday I’d wander out to the edge of the property, lean on the fence and look out. I’d wonder how my youngest son was doing, if he found a way to balance his ability to dream with his ability to work or if his freedom had brought him into a waterless pit, a dungeon of dissolution.

Every day I would lean on the fence and call out “Here I am, here I am” in hopes that he would hear my voice. Not once did I get a reply.

Time went on. Seasons changed. The seeds we planted grew into plants, the plants died to become seeds again.

Cattle gave birth, their young ones were weaned, and their old ones were slaughtered.

My eldest and I worked side by side, bringing me great joy.

Every day I went out to the edge of the property, leaned on the fence and looked out.

I was ready to be sought out, but my youngest did not come to find me.

I was ready to be found, but he did not seek me.

I called out each and every day “Here I am, here I am” but never was there a reply.

Though he was far away from me, I knew what was going on. I knew he was struggling. I’m not a fool. I know what’s out there.

I knew he was walking in a way that was not good for him. I knew that he was playing by his own rules. I knew the kind of gardens he’s be in. The things people burned. The foods he’d be eating, beverages he’d be trying.

The things that may give a man momentary pleasure but could destroy him if not careful.

If not careful, he’d find himself in dark, lonely place where the wild things are and death is always near by.

By now he would have squandered everything away, perhaps starving on the streets, begging for a hand-out.

No matter how much time passed, each and every day I went out to the edge of the property, leaned on the fence and looked out.

I was ready to be sought, but my youngest had yet to come and find me.

I was ready to be found, but he did not seek me.

I called out each and every day “Here I am, here I am” but never was there a reply.

My boy was dead…

…then one day, one day while I was saying the words “Here I am” to a son who could no longer hear me, I saw a figure in the distance.

He was much older, much more ragged, beat up. The years and life experiences had taken away the youthfulness that flowed from his spirit.

“Here I am, here I am!” I called, filled with compassion. My son, my boy who was dead had come back to life; he who was lost was now found.

Though he was still far off, I ran too him, not caring what the neighbors would say. I ran and put my arms around him.

I bathed him with kisses and with the tears that fell from my eyes.

He collapsed into my arms, confessing his transgressions, saying he had sinned and was no longer worthy of my love.

Instead of saying what he expected me to, I ordered the fattest calf to be killed. I had my son dressed in the best robe there was, and placed a ring on his finger.

Looking down, I saw he did not have shoes, instead two dirty, worn-out feet that bled and looked as though they had walked through fir and thorns.

Immediately I gave him a pair of sandals and continued to baptize him with my kisses and my tears.

“Father, I have sinned, I have sinned,” he was saying, to which I replied was “Here I am, here I am.”

After a while we walked back into our home, past the pastures and flocks, past the valley where the herds lie down to find rest.

Just as I had done when he was an infant, I filled the tub up with water, and I bathed him, washing away all that he had gone through, all that he had done, all the things that hurt him and separated him from me.

My child has returned. He does not owe me any explanations. He does not have to punish himself for the past.

He is justified.

All he has to do is to embrace his present and believe in his future.

What’s done is done.

Now each and every day he has the opportunity to heal and grow, to work and to play, to be the best brother he can and to continue becoming the person he was always created to be.

I am no longer the father who I calling out “Here I am, here I am” to a child who is gone.

Instead, I now get to say to both my boys “I AM here. I AM here.”

Amen and amen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sermon for June 16, 2013; Galatians 2:15-21

Rev. George Miller
Galatians 2:15-21
“Offense of Grace”
June 16, 2013

Today is Father’s Day, and an appropriate way to begin the message is with the story of the Father Who Had Two Sons. Ya’ll know the story, although Pop Culture gives it a deceptively simplified name.

The story goes like this: A man has two sons. The youngest asked for his inheritance, squandered it away in a distant land and found himself broke and ashamed.

He returns to his father expecting to spend the rest of his life as a hired hand. Instead, he is greeted with hugs, kisses, and a banquet.

Meanwhile, the eldest son who stayed behind, slaving away, tending to the family business, obeying every command, can not understand how his father could be so compassionate. So he refuses to be part of the celebration.

The father’s response? “We had to celebrate because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life, was lost and has been found.”

This story flies in the face of logic. In the words of Fred Craddock, this story is about the “offense of grace.”

God’s Kingdom goes against the world’s ways of what’s fair, how things should be done and the assumption that in order for there to be winners there has to be losers…

…But what if, what if in God’s Kingdom, the event of Jesus Christ means that everyone is a winner, no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey?

Does that give you great comfort, or do you find great offense?

Today we conclude our sermon series on Galatians, a letter Paul wrote in response to a painful experience at church.

Religious leaders came into the congregation to tell them that in order to truly reap the benefits of Jesus Christ they would have to embrace the Jewish Laws.

Paul disagrees and passionately hustles for the Lord, using all the tools he can to prove to the people once and for all that what God did for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was “enough.”

In today’s reading, Paul gets all courtroom on us, using legal jargon to explain how we have already been acquitted and pronounced as righteous.

In other words, we are “justified by faith in Christ.”

But what does that mean? What does the “grace of God” refer to?

Does that mean God is like a figure-skater gracefully moving too and fro?

Can a fairly liberal, welcoming congregation like ours, in the year 2013, away from a courtroom, even have an idea what words like “justified” and “grace” meant back in the year 50 CE?

Thankfully, I recently came across something that, for me, has made the whole notion of being justified a bit easier to understand.

In the June edition of Psychology Today there is a section devoted to what’s called “The Enemies of Invention.” It’s a psychological examination of how our creativity becomes stifled and limited.

One article, “Fear of Failure Narrows Vision,” stated that in physical or tedious tasks, we do our best when we know we are being evaluated.

But in tasks that require insight and creativity, we do better when we’re not evaluated. Why? Because then we are not afraid of failure.

A Harvard psychologist ran an experiment in which participants were asked to produce something creative. A panel of experts evaluated them on being coherent, original, meaningful and surprising.

Some people were told their works would be judged. Others were told their works would be entered into a contest with prizes. Others were told not a thing.

The ones who the experts said had the most creative projects? The people who had no idea their work would be evaluated.

Why? Because they were just playing; they were creating art for arts sake, not for judgment or reward.

Another psychologist theorized that positive emotions broaden our views and thoughts, allowing us to create in new, exciting ways. Negative emotions narrow our imagination because we become focused on the idea of being judged, rewarded or punished.

In other words, you can’t force people to be creative or tell them to try harder. Creativity comes from “playing” rather then aiming to please or for praise.

Theologically, I believe this can be applied to Paul’s notion of being justified. Because of Jesus Christ, we are not being judged by an expert panel or by the Kingdom’s list of do’s and don’ts.

Because of Jesus Christ, God is not keeping a scorecard and lining us up to be loved according to being coherent, meaningful, creative or surprising.

Because God shown eternal, kingdom love for us in the manger Christmas Day, at the Cross on Good Friday and at the tomb on Easter Morning, therefore we are justified and deemed worthy of our Father’s love for once and for all.

Meaning there is nothing we can do. There is nothing we have to do. We can just be and play, have fun and create, and have faith in God.

Do you find this message incredibly offensive or do you find it incredibly freeing?

Is it possible that in Christ everyone wins, or do we have to have losers?

As Americans, as people who just came off of a season of Oscars, F-Cat scores, Tonys and graduation ceremonies, we are people of achievement and reward.

Because of this, there have been amazing strides in culture and science. But we are also people who are very much into pleasing others: our parents, friends, teachers, bosses, spouses, peers, co-workers, team mates.

Why? We want their love and we want to know we are loved; we want to know that we are a person of worth. We want that gold star, that certificate, that praise.

What about God? How many here have struggled with trying to please God? To earn God’s favor? To be guaranteed a place at the table? A space in the Kingdom?

How many have gone to houses of worship where you were told you didn’t belong? Or weren’t good enough? Or you were to be left behind unless…unless you tried harder, did the right thing, said the right words?

That’s not what Paul is saying here. That’s not what Paul is talking about when he refers to faith, grace and justified.

We’re not a kid who thinks he can only get his father’s love by hitting a homerun.

We’re not a toddler with a tiara who thinks she can only make her mother happy by winning first place.

Being justified means there is no magic number we have to hit on the scale.

We do not have to give the best sermon, sing the best solo, play the best postlude, design the best kitchen, plant the prettiest flowers, create the best Vacation Bible School or serve the hottest coffee in order to be accepted, loved or deemed worthy.

Because guess what? In Jesus Christ we already are.

In Jesus Christ we already belong, we are already good enough, and we will not be left behind.

In Christ we do not have to try harder, do the right thing, or say the right words.

We are justified by faith in Christ, meaning that we have already won.

In Christ, we have already won, so we can just be.

In Christ, we have already won, so we can play.

In Christ, we have already won, so we are free to create.

In Christ, we have already won, so we are free to do for the sake of doing and because it brings joy into our life, joy into the world and joy into our Father’s Kingdom.

In Christ, we have already won, so we are free to do justice, free to love kindness and free to continue humbly walking with our Lord.

In Christ, we have already won, so we are free to be the best version of ourselves that we were initially created to be, free of the snares, roadblocks and defeatist attitudes of others.

In Christ, we have already won, so we are even free to run away, make mistakes and to come back home because we know our Father is ready to meet us with hugs and kisses and a banquet ready to be served.

Through the event of Jesus Christ, God has shown for all time that we are forever acceptable in God’s sight.

In Christ, we have already won the prize, so therefore we can stop trying to earn God’s favor and instead faithfully live the best life we can.

A life that is coherent, meaningful, creative and surprising.

Amen and amen.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sermon for June 9, 2013; Galatians 1:11-24

Rev. George Miller
Galatians 1:11-24
“Hustlers Know How to Hustle”
June 9, 2013

Let’s play a game, called “Who Do You Want?”

1st question- who do you want to put out a fire: a fireman or a pyromaniac?

2nd question- who do you want to watch over the town’s children: Mister Rogers or the Pied Piper?

3rd question- who do you want to cook a 3 course meal: Julia Child or Hannibal Lector?

4th question- who do you want hosting your next mahjong excursion: Days Inn or the Bates Motel?

5th and final question- who do you want to spread the Gospel message of Jesus Christ? A polite pastor with a PHD from Princeton or an overzealous Jew with anger issues and a history of violently persecuting Christians?

Choices, choices, choices…good thing we ain’t God.

Today’s sermon is called “Hustlers Know How to Hustle.” Let me share with you how this title came about.

Back in the 90’s, while living in Mpls, I attended Grace Temple Deliverance Church on 4th Ave South, the part of the city where the highway ran through, streets dead-ended and businesses were shuttered closed.

It was the kind of neighborhood where on Sunday morning you’d drive past people on the corner that were no doubt selling something.

Grace Temple is a church in which the Holy Spirit is always on the move and it isn’t just the pastor who preaches.

Back then, one of the speakers was Brother Babington Johnston, a tall man with a deep bass who had a family, owned a business and was going to seminary.

Brother Babington Johnson gave the first message about Paul that I “heard.”

He called Paul a hustler. He said if Paul was alive today, he’d be one of the guys on the corner with a toothpick in his mouth, baseball cap on his head, saying he was going to “break you off a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’.”

For the longest time that description of Paul stayed with me. I knew who those guys were. I knew the danger they represented, the force by which they lived.

I could not figure out why God would call someone like that to be the bearer of the Good News. I kept asking myself “Why would God call a hustler?”

Then one day, the answer came, and it was so obvious. “Why would God call a hustler?”

“Because hustlers know how to hustle.”

Just look at what we learn about Paul today. He’s not afraid of moving around. He’s not tied to one spot or a 9-5 job or a family. He goes to Arabia, Damascus, Jerusalem, then on to Syria and Cilicia.

If Papa was a rolling stone, then Paul was a barreling boulder.

Paul’s a hustler who’s not afraid of some confrontation. Look at verse 11: “I want you to know…that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin.”

Don’t be fooled because this sentence is in the Bible and we like to think of our church forefathers and foremothers as nicey-nice folk, these here are fighting words.

Check out Paul’s in-your-face approach
Vs 13: “You have heard, no doubt…”
Vs. 16: “I did not confer with any humans beings…” And vs. 20: “I do not lie!”

Paul’s a hustler who knows how to use his words and how to sell the heck out of stuff.

Let’s look at three examples.

Vs. 14 “I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous…”

Here’s a guy who isn’t afraid to create his own press release and believe what it says. How do you argue with someone when they tell you they’re the best in their class?

Next, vs. 15 “God set me apart before I was born.” Here Paul is hustling by using the language of well known prophets. Centuries before Isaiah wrote the Lord “formed me in the womb to be his servant.” (Isa. 49:5).

Then there’s Jeremiah who wrote “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you…” (Jer. 1:5)

How do you argue with someone who claims he was hand-picked and set aside by God following a centuries old prophetic model?

I consider vs. 12 Paul’s biggest sell. He states he did not receive the gospel “from a human source…but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Why is this a hustle? Because he compares himself to Moses in a technical, subtle way.

The key word here is receive. He doesn’t say obtain or come by, but receive. Why does this matter? Because words do matter.

Located in the beginning of the Mishnah, a foundational tract used in rabbinic Judaism, which Paul and his peers would have known very well, it states “Moses received the Law from Sinai, and he handed it down to Joshua and Joshua to the elders, and the elders to the prophets.”

Paul, the hustler, is telling us he did not hear about the Gospel in any ordinary way, but in the same way in which Moses received the 10 Commandments and the Torah.

Who’s gonna argue with that?!?

Who is this guy? Is he narcissistic? Is he insane? Is he actually speaking the truth?

Who’s to say, and who’s willing to argue with a man who subtly and not-so subtly claims he’s better then all the rest, on the same level as the prophets and shared a similar experience with Charlton Heston…I mean Moses?!?

Paul is a hustler who knows how to hustle, and I don’t know about you but if I needed something done, if I needed someone to stand up for me in court or help me buy a car, Paul is the guy I’d want.

Sure, Paul had some questionable traits; Paul had done some horrible things.

Yet God called him. Jesus was revealed to him. And eventually he embarked on a ministry of proclaiming the gospel and many people glorified God because of him.

Which brings us to today’s lesson: no matter who we are or where we are on life’s journey, the Lord has the ability to use us for the benefit of God’s Kingdom.

Unlike committees or corporations, Jesus does not call us upon human merit or achievement or how well we’ve polished our shoes.

No matter what we may think, no matter what others may say, the Lord is capable of finding a way to use us, and it may not be in a way that is obvious or always makes us feel comfortable.

But if God has set you apart and called you through God’s grace, the Lord’s going to do his best to make it happen, even if it means sending a giant fish to swallow you up or knocking you off the donkey you are on.

It means that no matter what happened in your past, no matter what you may have said, no matter what you may have done, if Christ wants to reveal something to you, it will be revealed.

God is free, so revelation is unlimited.

Revelation is not limited to studying at the right school, being surrounded by the right people or even doing all the right things.

It’s more about being the right person at the right time and the right place.

It means that the Holy Spirit has a way of moving through and harnessing our passions: those things we truly care about that we’re willing to pour all our time into.

Our peccadilloes: the things we may be ashamed of and try to hide. Our peculiarities: those things that in the past have made us stand-out or bring negative attention.

One never knows how those very things become our ability to reach out to and minister to others.

For example, as a child I was always getting in trouble for speaking too loud. Now where would I be without that trait?

These are just some of the very things the Holy Spirit likes to wrap itself around and harness and use for the benefit of the Gospel.

If God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost does not see or set limits on who, what, where, and when, then why should we, not just with others, but also with ourselves?

We can each take a lesson from Paul’s life and realize that we all have the ability to hustle for the Lord, each in our own unique way, each in our very own style.

Each of us come with our very own story, each of us sing our very own song, but it is our story, it is our song that Christ resurrected is ready to use.

So the question is: are you ready for a miracle? Are you ready for a revelation? Are you ready to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are you ready to help others glorify the Lord?

Amen and amen.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sermon for June 2, 2013; Galatians 1:1-12

Rev. George Miller
Galatians 1:1-12
“Whose Gospel?”
June 2, 2013

Thomas W. Gillespie, a professor at Princeton, wrote “The gospel is ultimately authenticated by what it does.”

Near the turn of the century, a series of books came out using the word “gospel” and tying the Bible into pop culture.

One such book was The Gospel According to the Simpsons followed by The Gospel According to Disney and The Gospel According to Harry Potter.

This week I thought of other pop-culture gems and what their Gospel message is.

Bonanza would be that nothing is more important than family and land. The Mary Tyler Moore Show would say “You’re gonna make it after all.”

Golden Girls and Sex and the City tell us there’s nothing you can’t face as long as you have good friends and a good cheesecake or a good cocktail.

Modern Family’s message is that our kin are no longer made up of just those who look, love or talk like us.

Then there is the recent HBO movie based on the life of Liberace which uses his quote “Too much of a good thing is wonderful!”

I don’t think Paul, the author of today’s scripture, would approve of my attaching the word “gospel” to any of the above pop cultural touchstones, especially the last one.

For Paul, there is one gospel, and one gospel only: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today we start a three-week series on the book of Galatians, a letter Paul wrote some time between 49-56 C.E.

This is a letter to a church he helped form, a church made up of Gentiles (non-Jewish folk) who had come to believe in Jesus Christ.

When reading the entire letter, we discover that when Paul met them, he was suffering from some kind of physical ailment. This did not stop the people from greeting and accepting him warmly.

Paul preached the gospel, they responded with great enthusiasm, and the Holy Spirit was present in them and many miracles occurred. (Charles Cousar, Interpretation commentary on Galatians, pg 4)

But then something happened. While Paul was away other people came in, religious leaders with different beliefs. Yes, they preached about Christ, but they also taught that one had to first become a Jew before they could fully become a Christian.

The men of the Galatian church were told they had to be circumsized if they wanted to be guaranteed a place among God’s people.

News of this angers and astonishes Paul who sends them this letter in which he “makes his case for the gospel of grace”. (Cousar, 4)

Though a Jew himself, Paul is of the belief that the members of the Galatian church have already found their freedom in Christ; to force them to follow circumcision regulations would only lead them backwards.

In this letter Paul writes with a righteous anger and a zealousness similar to what Phinehas possessed in last week’s message.

It is this anger which fuels Paul’s rich, artistic take on grace and the proclamation that there’s nothing we can do to earn God’s favor: grace is a gift that is given.

We will explore that theme later this month. Today, we focus on just the first 12 verses of today’s letter.

In these words we hear Paul’s greeting to the church. Note how quickly he gets to the manner. There is not dancing around the subject.

People are deserting the gospel he taught them and turning to another gospel. But as far as Paul is concerned, there is no other gospel. Not even if an angel from heaven were to say it was so!

Paul, trying to prove he’s not trying to people please, says his gospel is the right one, because it didn’t come from him, but directly from Jesus Christ.

(A side note here: Paul is a great debater, but I can’t help but to sense a narcissistic streak in him: “Only I am teaching the right Gospel; all others are wrong, and by the way I’m not trying to get you to like me.”

As Shakespeare wrote “Me thinks the lady doth protest too much”…)

Paul is zealous and clear: there is one Gospel and one Gospel only. In reading the first 12 lines, I’d surmise that the Gospel is this:

“The Lord Jesus Christ died and was resurrected by God, giving himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and father.”

Paul spends the next 2 chapters going over his history of ministry, then 2 chapters summarizing his theology, then the last 2 chapters explaining how this leads to leading an ethical, Christian life.

The zealousness he has for the Gospel, the anger Paul feels over what’s happening in the congregation never dims, creating a passionate letter that still has had profound impact on our faith 2,000 years later.

Today, let’s explore this notion of the Gospel and whose Gospel are we talking about.

Paul claims that others have a mistaken sense of the Gospel. According to him, even an angelic messenger can have it wrong.

It reminds me of when clergy and other religious personalities gather. Most everyone claims to have a grasp on what the gospel is about, and assumes everyone else believes the same as they do.

Yet most of us do not believe the same, which can make ecumenical, community worship services unpredictable and frustrating.

After all, we are all human. Regardless if we admit it or not, each of us carry our own agendas; our own life views. Everyone likes to believe that God has talked directly to them and them alone, and the others have it wrong!

Whose gospel are we talking about?

It drives me crazy when I meet someone and they say something like “We can all agree…” because the truth is we can’t all agree. Put 5 religious leaders in a room and you’ll get at least 5-10 gospels.

One person will tell you that the Gospel message is that Christ came into our world so we can be saved. Another will tell you that we are to save others.

One person will tell you the Gospel message is about getting into heaven; another will tell you the gospel is about living in the “now.”

One person will tell you the Gospel message is about prosperity; another will tell you it’s about caring for the poor.

Each person, each preacher, each church, each denomination has their own gospel message. It may be similar; it may be on the completely opposite end of the spectrum.

We’ll say “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey” whereas another will say “Change or leave.”

So what do we do?

We can say our understanding of the Gospel, and only ours, is right. We can say that only Paul has the clearest grasp of what the Gospel is about.

Like we mentioned last week, we could just throw the entire notion of the Gospel away and live any way we dang well please.

Or we can continue that wrestling match with God and with our faith. That delicate and yet durable, dangerous dance in which we discern, we ask, we wonder, we argue over what it all means.

What Gospel is it that we have discovered in our experience of Jesus Christ who was crucified, resurrected and ascended up to heaven?

What does it mean to say that God came to us as Emmanuel, to sit with us at table, to rejoice in our joys, to share in our sufferings and to die at the hands of those he loved?

Why does it matter that it was God who raised Jesus from the dead and that on the day of Pentecost we experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

What is the Gospel and whose gospel are we going to follow?

Thomas W. Gillespie stated that “The gospel is ultimately authenticated by what it does.”

Could we say the gospel is that which calls us to do justice, love kindness/mercy and walk humbly with the Lord?

Or do we want to take a page of sheet music from Liberace and say that “Too much of a good thing is wonderful”?

Too much of a good thing, when it truly is good can be wonderful…but there is more, so much more.

So for the next three weeks let’s spend some time with Paul and the Galatian church to find out what that more is.

To give thanks to God that because of the Gospel there is a bonanza of joy, boundless joy.

To realize that in Christ there is peace, light and grace, which the world can not give.

To discover that there are gifts of the Holy Spirit still waiting to be unwrapped.

Amen and amen.