Saturday, May 25, 2019

Letters to the Editor- Sent May 25, 2019

Thank you for running the recent commentary by Michael Gerson. Gerson faithfully articulated what is an over-arching issue with the current Republican presidency- that ethics and dignity are being disregarded for economics. Yes- we all want our businesses, employees, and infrastructure to do well, but not at the cost of "goodness, justice, and mercy", core Biblical principals found in the prophets and teachings of Christ.

Respectfully, Rev. George Miller
Emmanuel UCC
Sebring, FL 33870


Christ is not the Journey's End, but the Beginning; Sermon on Romans 5:1-11

Rev. George Miller
May 26, 2019
Romans 5:1-11

Who is ready to feel their age today?

How many remember the TV show “Rhoda”?

How many know that the show debuted 45 years ago?

If you recall, Rhoda Morgenstern was the BFF in the “Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

While Mary was the seemingly goody-goody girl that you wanted to be, Rhoda was the flawed, imperfect person you most likely were.

Rhoda faced real life obstacles and situations.

There’s one episode that always stayed with me. It is the one which Rhoda has finally reached her goal weight. As someone who always struggled with her eating and body image, this was a huge achievement…but it also set her into a huge tailspin and depression.

Now that Rhoda had reached her ideal weight, she had no idea what to do. It was as if her journey had come to a conclusion, and her “Happily Ever After” felt more like a dead end, with no place left to go.

Worse yet, she wasn’t sure if it had made an iota of difference or if she was any happier or better off because of it.

…what Rhoda failed to realize was that achieving her goal was not the end, but actually the beginning, and now the true journey was up ahead…

That’s at least what Paul, the author of Romans, would have said.

If you recall, Paul is writing a letter to the churches in Rome. Paul is in his mid to late 50’s. He’s lived through great highs and he’s experienced great lows, and through it all he’s kept his eyes stayed on Jesus.

The churches he’s writing to are most likely tiny congregations located in the slums of Rome in which they providing safe spaces, sharing food, and caring for the sick even when others refuse to do so.

There is another element to their story.

Many members of the Roman churches were seen as such a threat to the government that the emperor forced them out of the city, fearing their belief in Christ would stir problems.

For 5 years these church members were exiled to another land until a new ruler came in and let them come home and continue their acts of compassion, care, and worship of the Lord.

So as Paul writes his letter to the Roman churches he is aware of the issues: that they are showing kindness and compassion when others won’t, and that their brand of justice and inclusion has been punished by the authorities.

And yet they keep on keeping on, and that’s what Paul tells them to do, doing so in a way that’s steeped in his theological understanding of the Gospel.

Paul has a rather unique view of faith in Christ. He does not believe that once we come to Christ and accept Jesus that our story is over and our problems are all gone.

No- Paul believes that our faith in Jesus is just the beginning of our story, and as such there are going to be trials, tribulations, obstacles to overcome, challenges to confront, new learning curves, and opportunities for continued growth, joy, and hope.

In other words, Paul would tell Rhoda Morgenstern “Your life didn’t end the moment you reached your goal; your life has begun now that you found your goal. So live!”

Of course, Paul was not about weight loss; he was about GRACE GAIN.

Paul was writing to the Roman churches to say “Guess what- now that we found Christ, you are in a state of grace. And in that grace you are freed up to make smart choices and to do good things. But it don’t mean life will be easy, it doesn’t mean problems won’t last all night…”

“But in Christ, with Christ, through Christ- you got this!”

Or, in the words of a song Carnide has written “Now that you know, you can call on Jesus.”

What does this mean?

This means that the more we come to Christ, the more we embrace and understand Christ, the more we realize that there is nothing we can go through that Jesus would not understand or has not gone through himself.

Living paycheck to paycheck? Guess what- Jesus lived that way each and every day of his life.

Gossiped about? Guess what- no matter where Jesus went or how much good he did there were always folks forming no good words behind his back.

Ever feel deserted by the one’s closest to you? Guess what- Jesus had a whole group of friends who fled the moment he needed them the most.

Falsely accused or facing injustice? Guess what- Jesus knows what it’s like to have the authorities come and arrest him in front of his people and make false allegations.

Jesus can even relate with the women in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri.

People filled with religious piety trying to tell you what you can or cannot do with your body?

Jesus had to constantly deal with religious leaders and authorities of his day who questioned what he did with and for his body-what we ate, when we worked and who he sat beside.

What does all this mean? It means that since Jesus lived and suffered, Jesus knows what it is like to live and to suffer, to endure, and to hope.

In other words, Jesus knows what it is like to be human.

Jesus knows what it is like to be crucified, both literally and figuratively.

But, as we know, Jesus was not gone for good. His troubles, his trials, his tribulations did not end on Calvary.

But three days later God resurrected what the world had crucified, and God turned what was meant for bad into something that was so, so good.

For us, as Christians, what this means is that our life with Christ does not end the minute we believe;

but the minute we believe is when our life really begins.

No matter what came before, no matter how good, no matter how bad, it is a life lived in Christ that becomes worth living.

But it does not mean our life is trouble free. It doesn’t mean that suffering comes to an end.

What it does mean, as expressed in the lyrics of Carnide’s song “Now that you know, you can call on Jesus.”

Now that your true life has begun, you know that if you are living pay check to paycheck you can call on Jesus, because he will understand and see you through.

Now that your true life has begun when you are gossiped about or left deserted, you can call on Jesus because he will understand and see you through.

Now that your true life has begun, when you face injustice or foolish folk telling you what you can or can’t do with your body, you can call on Jesus because he will understand and see you through.

And now that your true life has begun, when you face what seems to be a dead end or you are crucified, you can call on Jesus and see what resurrection can look like, and what resurrection can mean.

Faith and life lived in Christ does not mean everything is easy and problems and injustice are no more.

What a life lived in the crucified and resurrected Christ means is that when we fall down, we get up.

It means that we open our heart, asking God for guidance.

It means that just as a deer pants for water, we thirst for the Lord and trust that we will be fulfilled…

As Christians we are all on a journey, each and every single day.

Where do we go, what do we do, how do we act?

Do we stay down; do we get up?

Do we close ourselves off; do we open our hearts?

Until we get to our final day, our final breathe, our final goodbye, there is so much left inside of each and every one of us.

We have many rivers to cross.
Many mountains to climb.
Many valleys to walk through.
Many green pastures to lie down in.

Until we get to our final day, our final breathe, our final goodbye, we each have many crosses to bear, easter moments to experience.

Graces to give; and graces to receive.

In Christ, we will know that what we did make a difference and that we are better off because of it.

For that, we can say “Amen.”

Saturday, May 18, 2019

How Did Christianity Stray So Far From It's Roots of Compassion?; Sermon on Romans 1:1-17

Rev. George Miller
May 19, 2019
Romans 1:1-17

Last week we were with Paul and Barnabas in Lystra, that funky little back-water town known for their hospitality and worship of Zeus.

Paul was about 44 years old and 14 years into his ministry. In today’s reading, Paul is about 10 years older.

He and Barnabas have split up and parted ways. He is most likely in Corinth, a cosmopolitan city beside the beautiful sea.

Paul’s somewhere in his mid 50’s, which means his waistline has gotten a bit thicker around the middle. His face is a bit more weathered from the sun.

Paul has most likely traded in his feathered white go-go boots for some sensible Dr. Scholl orthopedics.

But none of this stops him from his ministry. In fact, here he is writing his most famous letter to a group of churches 600 miles away in Rome.

These are churches he has never been to, filled with people he has never met, and yet he refers to them as sisters and brothers, and freely shares his faith.

Nearly 25 years into his ministry, Paul is older, wiser, he’s seen some thangs, done some thangs.

He’s had great successes; he’s had epic flops. But his faith in Christ is stronger than ever.

Paul sees himself as part of something so much bigger than himself; something that goes back to the prophets, back to King David, back to Abraham and beyond.

Paul sees himself as part of the Good News, the Gospel of God, the Holy Spirit empowered message that Christ is resurrected and grace abounds to ALL people and creatures in Creation.

Filled with Easter morning joy, he writes this letter to the churches in Rome for a few reasons.

First, so that he can introduce himself.

He has never been to Rome, but he hopes that soon and very soon he can meet them and worship together.

Second, he writes to share his faith testimony. He is just so filled with God’s goodness that he can’t contain his joy and it overflows onto the paper.

Third, Paul is writing them because he is asking that they make an offering; an offering that he can bring back to the mother church in Jerusalem.

He hopes the Roman churches can assist with the food pantry and other ministries that are taking place over 2,000 miles away.

Now some would say “Of course Paul is asking for money. The Church is always asking for money! What would the Church do if it wasn’t asking for, taking, or sending out letters about an offering?”

Why is the church always about money, money, money, when it should be about God, God, God?

Here is a little back story; a bit of history that is so beautiful to behold.

It’s been said that in Rome, the earliest Christian churches were actually located in the slums.

These tiny congregations met in people’s homes in the parts of the city in which chaos, crime, and unsanitary conditions existed.

The earliest Roman followers of Christ would call one another sister and brother whenever they met.

They created areas of safety and care, sharing food and resources in areas that most people would stay away from.

When plagues hit these slums, the pagan doctors would flee, thinking that the gods were angry, absent, or punishing the people.

But the Christians?

The Christians stayed in the slums, caring for the sick, feeding them, nursing them, holding them.


Because they were convinced that God loved everyone, and through Christ, they were empowered, even obligated, to care for one another.

So the early Christians in Rome nursed the sick, taking in surviving neighbors.

This explains one reason why Christianity really took hold and triumphed in Rome.

There, in the slums, they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and showed sympathy to the sick.

In other words, they were Christ to Christ.

This beautiful reality was known to Paul, and no doubt he knew that the churches in Rome would understand what an offering was all about:

An act of unity that showed grace upon grace.

Today, we have a glimpse into Paul, a glimpse into history, and a glimpse into the roots of the Christian Church.

And in chapter 15:18-19 Paul explain things a little bit more to these churches he never met.

He articulates that it is his belief that the more we minister, the more we experience signs and wonders, and the more we experience signs and wonders, the more we minister.

The more we reach out, the more the Holy Spirit moves; the more the Holy Spirit moves, the more we can reach out: welcoming, sharing, embracing, healing, proclaiming.

Being the Good News; living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Easter People who truly live knowing the Resurrected Christ is a Compassionate Christ who cares for ALL…

…so how have we strayed so far? How have we lost our way?

How, if we like to say we are a Christian Nation, founded on Judeo- Christian beliefs, have we strayed so far from the compassionate care of the Roman slums?

How, just how, have we gotten to a place in which:

-Brown babies are being kept in cages?

-A Black woman living with mental illness can be left alone for 9 hours in a jail cell while giving birth?

-A 15 year-old boy can be slammed to the ground and sprayed with mace?

-An 18 year old is hailed a hero for jumping in front of a bullet instead of simply being a boy who gets to go to prom?

-Alabama and Georgia are deciding the fate of women’s bodies, even in situations of rape and incest?

-And we are on the brink of another war!

How have we gotten to this place, and how has the news of Christ resurrected been turned from one of grace into one of so hurtful moral judgments and acts of corrupt unkindness?

I wonder what Paul would say today if he was writing to the churches in America.

I wonder what Paul would proclaim if he traveled the 2,000 years and 5,000 miles to modern day America and saw just how we live, how we act, and what we preach...

…I wonder what Paul would proclaim if he traveled here to Emmanuel UCC.

If he heard about the High Tea fundraiser that took place here to benefit the youth of Greater Mt. Zion AME

If he was here to see Carnide, family and friends perform in a free concert.

If he was here tomorrow to witness the welcome and the ministry of The Shepherd’s Pantry.

If he was here to meet with Council and ask “What are you doing to make the Resurrected Christ known? What are the miracles, signs, and wonders you are experiencing as a result?”

These are questions we do not have to answers to today or tomorrow.

But they are questions we can keep coming back to, knowing we are not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for the well being of ALL.

And the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith for faith, everlasting, and always.

For that, we can say “Amen.”

Monday, May 13, 2019

Go-Go Boots or Not, We Keep Going; Sermon on Acts 14:8-20

Rev. George Miller
May 12, 2019
Acts 14:8-20

Once upon a time, in a land called Lystra, there was a community of folk who were known for their generous hospitality.

They were not Jewish. There was not a synagogue in sight. Most likely they had never heard the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Moses or Miriam, much less any stories about Jesus.

But there was a story the parents told their children, and the children told their children’s children.

It’s a story that shaped who they were as a people.

It was said that one day the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes came to Lystra dressed as peasants. They went from home to home asking for a place to sleep, but they were rejected by all.

Finally, they came to the home of a poor peasant couple in a simple, rustic cottage. Though they were poor, the couple’s generosity was great, exceeding that of their rich neighbors who had bolted their doors and spoke not a kind word.

The impoverished couple welcomed the strangers in and served them food and wine. The wife noticed that although she had refilled her guest’s cups many times, the wine pitcher stayed full.

Realizing their guests were gods, they shared their praises and offered to kill their prized goose to make a meal.

In appreciation for their kindness and generosity, Zeus turned their meager home into an ornate temple; the couple was made guardians of the shrine.

This story shaped the people of Lystra, playing a role in their understanding of hospitality and welcoming the stranger.

The surrounding areas thought the people of Lystra were simple. Country. Uncivilized.

Because the people of Lystra were so willing to welcome others, they were considered gullible. But it did not stop them from welcoming the stranger.

Meanwhile, about 780 miles south-east in Jerusalem, the early Christian church was continuing to grow.

The 7 selected leaders are continuing to stock and run the food pantry. Folk like Peter are enjoying bbq ribs and shrimp po’ boys while bringing gentiles into church membership.

And extraordinarily, one of the biggest critics of the church, Paul, has joined the ministry team.

This is amazing, because at one point Paul hated the church so much that he was going into people’s homes, dragging men and women into prison, making death threats against disciples, and literally putting people into chains.

But Paul has an encounter with the Resurrected Christ, which open his eyes, changes his ways and makes him go from persecuting Christians to proclaiming Christ as King.

Filled with zest for the Lord, Paul takes off like a 17- year old boy who just got his driver’s license and thinks he knows it all.

Paul teaches. He ruffles feathers. He goes down to the seaport of Caesarea. He’s sent to Tarsus.

The Holy Spirit asks Paul to be set apart. He’s commissioned. He sails to Cypress. He has a run in with a false magician.

He heads for the mainland. Preaches such an awesome sermon that he’s invited back the next Sabbath.

But in the next town his charisma is seen as so threatening that everyone wants to kill him, so Paul and his buddy Barnabas escape.

And where do they end up?

In back water, country Lystra, where nary a synagogue, a Target, a Whole Foods or a Dali museum exist.

Just a bunch of folk who love their one traffic light, their casseroles, and seeing the latest “Avengers” movie is their cultural highpoint of the year.

Immediately Saul and Barnabas have a chance to do some good ministry. They offer healing to a man who has been struggling for years. They get him back on his feet and walking with his head held high.

The people of Lystra are so ecstatic that they think Paul and Barnabas are the Greek Gods coming back to reward them for all their years of kindness and generosity.

They bring them oxen and flower necklaces and offer to make sacrifices unto them.

But Paul says “No” and tries to set the crowds straight, but they refuse to listen.

Into this chaotic mix come leaders of neighboring Jewish communities who attack and nearly kill Paul, who is rescued by the disciples…

Now, there is this unspoken humorous portion of today’s reading- the people thought Paul was Hermes.

Hermes- the Greek god of messages who was often pictured in white-winged boots, a wide-brimmed hat, and associated with rabbits.

How did Paul go from being one of the most feared men in the land, who could have anyone put in chains and sent to jail, into being viewed as a go-go booted god who liked to wear big hats and hang out with Bugs Bunny?

In many accounts Paul’s trip to simple, country, back water Lystra has been an utter failure. A flop.

No one was brought to Christ. His work did not increase church membership by one iota.

In fact, if anything, Paul increased the popularity points for Zeus and Hermes.

Plus, Paul nearly died, and he had to be rescued by the same people he once tried to have killed.

It’s like he went from being John Wayne to Nancy Sinatra, and his winged go-go boots are made for walking.

Today’s story shows that Paul’s trip to Lystra was not a success…if you measure success only by numbers, or membership, or leaving with you dignity unscathed.

But what if we looked at success another way?

What if success simply meant that just one person was able to walk into their future, healed from their crippling past?

What is success meant that when one is beat down by life’s circumstances, they find a way to get back up and to go on?

What if success meant not giving up, even if your intentions are misunderstood and you have to be rescued by others?

What if success is measured by one’s ability to just keep going regardless of who they are and where they are on life’s journey?

That’s the thing about the Jewish and the Christian story- that we just keep going.

Even when we look foolish. Even when we are attacked. Even when others don’t understand our message or no one turns up in droves.

We keep going.

Even when we fail, we keep on keeping on.

People don’t often realize it, but the Bible is full of epic failures featuring epic individuals.

Moses never did get to enter into the Promised Land.

David never did get to build the beloved Temple.

Jesus was betrayed, deserted, and nailed to the cross like a criminal.

Each and every one of the disciples was persecuted, and Paul was pictured in winged boots, dragged out of town, and left for dead.

But none of this stopped the Message from spreading. None of this stopped the Good News from being known.

None of this stopped God from acting, the Holy Spirit from moving, or from Christ’s message being shared

Today’s scripture is a reminder that our God is bigger than any obstacle we may face.

God is bigger than what any mass crowd of people may say.

God is bigger than any failure we may think we experienced.

God is bigger than one flop, one fluke, one epic fail.

Knowing this, we get to realize that as children of God, we are more than our mistakes.

We are given more than just a single chance.

As children of God, we may fall down, but we get back up.

As children of God, we may be misunderstood by the masses, but we are not forgotten by the Master.

As children of God, we may need to rescued by others, but it is in Christ we are saved.

As children of God, we may fail by human standards, but by heaven’s standards we always succeed by the gifts of grace.

For that we can say Amen.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Letter to Editor addressing Rev. Jeremiah Wright; sent May 7, 2019

Recently a letter-writer made reference to Rev. Jeremiah Wright wanting a division of the races. This is untrue. Rev. Wright was a progressive U.C.C. pastor who advocated for justice and accountability. He often held up a mirror to America's past, which proved to be uncomfortable for some people. Yes, his preaching influenced President Obama, but not to incite hate, but to find ways to build bridges. As a U.C.C. pastor, Rev. Wright used biblical language and precedent to prophetically call people to own up to what was not working, and to move us forward into who we, as a nation, are truly meant to be. I sense that people hated Rev. Wright not for what he said, but because what he said was often true.

Sincerely, Rev. George Miller, Emmanuel UCC, Sebring , FL

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Bringing People to Christ through Captain D's, Sonny's BBQ, and Crab Leg Fiesta; Sermon on Acts 10:1-17

Rev. George Miller
May 5, 2019
Acts 10:1-17

Today we enter a new era- the beginning of the Christian Church.

Through the Book of Acts we witness how the Holy Spirit takes a group of so-called common, uneducated people and uses them as witnesses of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

We see how the church is formed, how it goes about doing ministry, and how it functions now that Jesus has been resurrected and is with them spiritually as opposed to physically.

What an adventure the disciples go on! We see how the Holy Spirit empowers them to welcome new followers and share meals.

How they upset the Temple leaders, which causes them to be persecuted and condemned, but to also experience wondrous acts of freedom.

We see how folk come together with such a passion for God and compassion for others that they sell their stuff, distribute their offerings to those in need, experience miracles, and come together to worship God.

Amidst all these signs, wonders, and acts of generosity, something rather unique takes place.

In chapter 6 it is brought to the disciples’ attention that despite all their good works, they have neglected one demographic.

There are a bunch of widows in their community who are of a different faith and a different ethnic background who are not receiving food.

Unfortunately the church pantry is failing in its duties by not feeding these widows.

So guess what the disciples do?

They call together all the members of this new church community and say “How can we fix this situation?”

They come up with a great plan of delegating responsibility.

They select 7 people, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom, and assign them the task of making sure the pantry is stocked and everyone is fed, including those widows of different backgrounds.

Then they appoint others to the sole responsibility of praying and preaching.

Both tasks are viewed as valid forms of ministry, but now nobody has to get burnt-out by doing it all, plus, now there’s less of a chance of someone being neglected.

So now with that problem solved, part of the early church is busy serving and preparing meals, feeding people of all backgrounds, no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey.

But now for church members like Peter, another issues come to light.

Sure, now he can just focus on teaching and preaching, but how can he share the Good News and make sure the message of Christ’s resurrection be spread if it requires going out into a world in which he’ll come across people from all walks of life, with different rituals and food preferences?

See, Peter was a Jew, a kosher-abiding Jew, which meant he did not eat things like pork, or shellfish, or dishes made of meat and milk.

This wasn’t a problem as long as he stayed in Jerusalem and people came to their food pantry, where they could control what they served.

But now that he’s out and about in the community, he’s noticing there’s a whole lot of Sonny Barbeques, Red Lobsters and Captain D’s lining the roads, and the gentiles sure seem to enjoy serving their meat-and-milk based casseroles.

If Peter is unable to eat the food that others eat, he cannot legitimately be an effective ends-of-the-earth witness to God’s Easter victory.

That’s the issue today’s reading addresses.

One day, in the small coastal city of Caesarea is a Roman army captain named Cornelius who is living right by the seaport. He is a man of power and influence, who has anywhere from 100-600 soldiers under him.

He is not Jewish, and neither he nor anyone in his surroundings is circumcised, and they eat whatever they want.

So living by the sea, imagine the shrimp boils they have, the unlimited crab legs they ingest, and all that surf and turf served with sides of clarified butter and cheddar bay biscuits.

Now, Cornelius is not a Jew, but he does believe in God, he does pray, and he has a generous spirit. He’s kind of like people who hang a Dream Catcher in their car and now think they are Native American.

But this does not matter to God. God says to Cornelius “Hey- there is someone I want you to meet. Send your men to get him and I’ll take it from there.”

Meanwhile, across town Peter has this wild dream in which a sheet of food sails down from the sky and a voice says “Guess what Peter! God says it is now Ok to eat anything you want!”

It’s like some surreal restructuring of Weight Watchers in which now all things have equal spiritual food points.

Peter says “No!” God says “Yes!” Peter says “No!” God says “Yes!” Peter says “No!” God says “Yes!”

Then a strange voice calls from the gate. It’s Cornelius’ messengers coming for Peter. The Holy Spirit tells Peter to welcome them in.

By the next day Peter is inside the home of the Cornelius, teaching, and preaching to the Roman guard and his entire household of uncircumcised, shrimp scampi and pork sandwich eating soldiers, slaves and family members.

The Holy Spirit falls down upon each person, they ask to be baptized, and Peter stays as their guest for a few days.

…And what do you think Peter ate, while in that Roman soldier’s home, located by the seaport in a coastal city?

If you’ve been to Baltimore, the home of Old Bay Seasoning, you would know. If you’ve been to the shores of Long Island you can start to imagine.

If you’ve been to any family reunion or cookout you can already smell, taste and see the foods.

It may not seem like a big deal to us, but for Peter being given permission to eat any and all things, is a HUGE deal, as it now frees him up to visit the homes of other Gentiles, to visit different places, and to play his part in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

See, today’s story is not just about how a Roman soldier named Cornelius came to Christ.

It is about the 1st recorded time in which Gentiles are admitted into Christian fellowship in which they can break bread, share a meal, praise God and sing songs of praise together.

We are witnessing how the Holy Spirit made sure that the “insiders” reached out to the “outsiders” and found a way to welcome all.

How God was not going to allow one’s preference for a cheeseburger or for grilled tofu to get in the way of sharing Christ with all of Creation.

Today we witness how the Christian Church began by being new. How it broke barriers, reached out to others and spoke in ways that people of their day could understand.

But we also witness something else- that although the early church was doing something so new, so exciting, so radical, that it often got them in trouble, the early church was also rooted in the very things that had always defined them.

That the Christian Church loved the Lord with all their heart and all their soul, they did unto others as they would do unto them, and they did justice, loved kindness, and walking humbly with the LORD.

Yes, the Holy Spirit was breaking in and doing miracles and giving signs, but it also did what needed to be done.

The Holy Spirit made way for Justice- when the disciples heard there were starving gentile widows not being fed, they came up with a way to make sure they too were welcomed at the pantry.

The Holy Spirit made way for Kindness- when Peter was extended an invitation, to be a guest, to speak and share with strangers, to receive their hospitality and to share their meals, he said “Yes.”

The Holy Spirit made way for Humility- even though it took 3 attempts of heavenly contact, Peter eventually listened to the voice of Spirit and the new directions he was given.

Together, all 3 things worked to ensure that the Mountain Moments of Jesus continued, that God’s disruption of death mattered, and that the victory of the LORD went beyond Easter.

Today we embark on a new era, witnessing how the Christian Church was formed, and how it was the Holy Spirit who formed it.

Today we witness and are reminded that though we are rooted to the past, we are constantly moving into the future, never knowing where we will be lead, who God will call us to minister to, and how the Holy Spirit will invite us to make Christ known.

It can be through a food pantry, it can be through a sermon, it can even be through a double bacon cheeseburger served with a side of lobster fries.

We just never know; but God sure does, and for that, let us say “Amen!”