Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Promises Made, Promises Broken: Love Withheld

When we left our story last week, God had promised to Abram that he would have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. God made good on that promise, and Abram and Sarai, who later became known as Abraham and Sarah, became the parents to Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah, and they became the parents to Jacob and Esau. After this, their story gets pretty complicated. But, the thread of the narrative we will follow is the one where Jacob, who is also known as Israel, becomes the father to twelve sons and one daughter, living in the land of Canaan. Jacob’s youngest son is Joseph. Our story begins in Genesis, chapter 37. 

Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he was born when Jacob was old. Jacob had made for him a long robe. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of his brothers, they hated him and couldn’t even talk nicely to him.

Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, which made them hate him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. When we were binding stalks of grain in the field, my stalk got up and stood upright, while your stalks gathered around it and bowed down to my stalk.”

His brothers said to him, “Will you really be our king and rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of the dreams he told them.

Joseph had several dreams like this. In fact, they were visions. These dreams did not win him any love from his brothers. Yet, Joseph remained his father’s favorite. One day, Jacob sent him - his favorite son - to go check on his other sons as they pastured the flocks. One of Joseph’s eleven brothers was Reuben. 

Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”

When Reuben heard what they said, he saved him from them, telling them, “Let’s not take his life.” Reuben said to them, “Don’t spill his blood! Throw him into this desert cistern, but don’t lay a hand on him.” He intended to save Joseph from them and take him back to his father.

The brothers threw Joseph into a pit. Then, they sat down to eat and to contemplate what to do with him next. Another of Joseph’s brothers was Judah.

Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and hide his blood? Come on, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not harm him because he’s our brother; he’s family.” His brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they pulled Joseph up out of the cistern. They sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.

When Reuben returned to the cistern and found that Joseph wasn’t in it, he tore his clothes. Then he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy’s gone! And I—where can I go now?”

His brothers took Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the long robe, brought it to their father, [Jacob] and said, “We found this. See if it’s your son’s robe or not.”

He recognized it and said, “It’s my son’s robe! A wild animal has devoured him. Joseph must have been torn to pieces!” Then Jacob tore his clothes, put a simple mourning cloth around his waist, and mourned for his son for many days.

Though his brothers and their father, Jacob, thought he was dead, Joseph had actually been taken to Egypt. There he was sold and kept as a slave. Yet, over time, his master saw that the Lord was with him and placed him into a position of responsibility. Joseph was very successful at all that he did. He became very powerful as an interpreter of dreams and, eventually, came to be in the service of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. 

The dreams Joseph interpreted for Pharaoh came true. The first seven years in Egypt were plentiful and Joseph, working as Pharaoh’s assistant was able to store up grain and other produce abundantly. But, then, as Joseph had predicted, a famine came to the land. This famine, which lasted seven years, also affected Canaan. Joseph’s brothers, hearing that there was grain in Egypt, traveled there, hoping to keep their families alive. They came into Joseph’s presence, but did not recognize him in his position of power, even though Joseph recognized them. Eventually, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers. And he shared that God had sent him ahead of them to help them through this terrible famine. When Jacob heard that his beloved youngest son was alive, he packed up and brought his entire family to Egypt for the reunion of a lifetime. Jacob was able to die in peace and his remains were taken back to Canaan for burial, as he had requested. Our reading continues in Genesis, chapter 50.

When Joseph’s brothers realized that their father was now dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge against us, and wants to pay us back seriously for all of the terrible things we did to him?” 

So they approached Joseph and said, “Your father gave orders before he died, telling us, ‘This is what you should say to Joseph. “Please, forgive your brothers’ sins and misdeeds, for they did terrible things to you. Now, please forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God.”’” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

His brothers wept too, fell down in front of him, and said, “We’re here as your slaves.”

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I God? You planned something bad for me, but God produced something good from it, in order to save the lives of many people, just as he’s doing today. Now, don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” So he put them at ease and spoke reassuringly to them. --Genesis 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50:15-21 (CEB)

As I’ve been reflecting on this story of Joseph and his brothers over the past week, I think we simply need to acknowledge at this point that this is a horrifying story. There is what seems to be the deepest of hatred and evil at work. It’s a story of the harm love can cause, when love is given abundantly to some and more scarcely to others. Because it seems that everything begins with the favoritism shown by Jacob to his youngest son, Joseph. This story shows the damage that can come when one is loved more than others. 

And, yet, Joseph’s brothers are not blameless. Not at all. Even jerks do not deserve to be thrown into a pit to die, much less sold into slavery. Brothers selling brother. It’s almost unimaginable, isn’t it? And, yet, we see it in families, perhaps to some degree, even in our own families - what happens when love is given unequally. And we can even look more broadly than our families. All we need do is notice what has been happening in our own city this past week. As we witness the result of a people not loved equally, not given the privileges of others, not experiencing justice in the same way as others. As those of us who are white. 

Love withheld. Or love given out in unequal measure causes harm. Results in evil. Brings death. In so many ways.

At the end of this story, after Jacob has died and his remains have been taken back to Canaan for burial and after Joseph and his brothers return to Egypt, we see how the power dynamic has shifted. No longer is Joseph at risk of being harmed by his brothers. No longer is Joseph the weaker brother. No longer is Joseph afraid of his brothers. They are afraid of him. They are afraid of what he might do. Because the evil they perpetuated has bound them all of these years, just as it had bound their father to his grief. This one evil act bound them to the guilt of what they had done and the potential fear of what might now happen to them. Joseph held their very lives in his hands.

I wonder, if we were Joseph, what our response might have been? All those years of slavery. The grief of losing his family and being torn away from his father. To strike out against them - to pay them back for their evil act - would have been justified. I wonder, if we were Joseph, what our response might have been?

But, Joseph doesn’t. Because he has the broader vision. Just like in our story last week in which God showed Abraham, Joseph’s grandfather, a broader vision, Joseph, the dreamer, has that vision. That he has been blessed to be a blessing. So, his response, when his brothers come to him begging for his forgiveness is to forgive. And that, my friends, is where redemption happens and the unbinding begins.  

What will it take for redemption to happen in our broken families? For the unbinding to begin in our broken city? In our broken world? 

In their public statement this week, issued after the decision in the Breonna Taylor shooting, Bishop Eaton and Bishop Gafjken said it best. “Our baptismal covenant with God calls us to better relationship with one another...We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ’s presence in the world. The covenantal relationship we have with God in Christ leads us to our neighbors in a common cause to confront the reality of systemic racism [or any other ism] in our country. We come together at the cross.” 

We come together at the cross. Because it is at the cross where we meet Jesus, the One who reconciles. It is at the cross where we meet Jesus, the One who shows us God’s vision in flesh and blood. It is at the cross where we meet Jesus, the One who unbinds us. And it is at the cross where we meet Jesus, the One who teaches us that, even in the most evil of situations, God will reckon it for good. 

Because of this One, we have peace. We have hope. We are loved. Amen.

Preached September 27, 2020 online at Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Pentecost 17
Readings: Genesis 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50:15-21; Luke 6:27-36

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Promises Made, Promises Broken: Do Not Fear!

Our theme for this entire year is about how God is revealed in story. Today’s zooms in on the story from last week, moving from Adam and Eve, our distant ancestors, to today’s story, which focuses on two people with whom God forges a relationship. It’s a story that shows us that, no matter how often we break our promises to God, God continues to make and keep promises to bless and to care for God’s people. It is this theme of promises made and promises broken that we will be considering over the next several weeks. 

Today, our story is from the book of Genesis, chapter 15.

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, "Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me? For I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus." And Abram said, "You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir." But the word of the LORD came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir." He brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness. --Genesis 15:1-6 (NRSV)

If you’ve seen the news over the past 24-48 hours, then you know about the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Over these past few years, her popularity has soared in our country, particularly among younger women. The Notorious RBG, she became known as. Graduating first in her class at Columbia Law. And who, unable to find work as a young female lawyer, moved into education, eventually teaching law at her alma mater. But, it was her legal work on behalf of women for which she is most known, a formidable advocate for gender equality and women’s rights - losing only 1 of 5 arguments before the Supreme Court. And an advocate without whom I would most likely not be here with you today as an ordained member of the clergy.

On Friday night after I found out she had died, I went onto Twitter to see what was being said about her and about her legacy. I was particularly struck by two tweets, coming just a couple of hours apart. 

The first from a woman named Ruth Franklin, who wrote that there is a tradition in Judaism that if a person dies on Rosh Hashanah - which is the Jewish New Year and the first of the high holy days set out in Leviticus, a time of solemn reflection and repentance that concludes with Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year...if a person dies on Rosh Hashanah, as did Justice Ginsburg, they are known as a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness. 

And then there was the second tweet. From Nina Totenburg, a reporter for public radio who has covered the courts in our country for decades. She wrote this. "There is a Jewish teaching that says that those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed most & were the most righteous. And so it was that RBG died as the sun was settling last night marking the beginning of Rosh Hashanah."

So, there’s this. A tzaddik. A person of great righteousness, one of the most needed and most righteous. And, then, there’s this. From our story today: Abraham believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness. Or, in Hebrew, tzedakah.

Do you see the connection between these two words? Tzaddik and tzedakah. One the noun. The person - the righteous person. The other the act of righteousness, of being righteous. The verb. Both related to the word, righteousness.

We often confuse this word righteousness. We have been too impacted by pietistic and moralistic movements in Christianity that connect this word righteousness with right and wrong. That to be righteous is about being a good person. Or not. 

In the Hebrew scriptures, though, the term, righteousness, is a term of relationship and of justice. To be a righteous person is to be a person who abides by the claims that their relationship makes on them. To do all that is needed to remain in the relationship. And if one fails in this, to be restored back into relationship - because that’s what justice is about, about always being restored back into the relationship. With one another. And, particularly, with God. 

In Abram’s case, he is judged righteous in relation to his covenant with God. 

We first hear of this covenant - this promise - in Genesis 12. God calls Abram to pick up his entire family and household. To leave his homeland. And to move to a land that God had promised to Abram and his wife Sarai. It was there that God promised to bless him. To make of him a great nation. To make his name great so that he could be a blessing. This was the promise God made to Abram. And to Sarai.

But, by today’s reading in chapter 15, years have passed. Abram and Sarai have no heir. No way to become this great nation promised by God. They become discouraged. Fearful that God will not keep God’s promise. They begin to take things into their own hands, preparing to name their servant as their heir. It is here where God steps in. “Do not be afraid,” God says to Abram. “I am your shield. Your protector.”

And, then, God tells Abram to look to the skies. To count the stars, if you can. So, shall your descendants be.

Aren’t we just like Abram and Sarai? We, who are the heirs of that promise. Living in the time between the first and second coming of the Messiah, long promised, not only to Israel, but to us, as well. We who wait for God’s kingdom to come on earth in all its fullness. And its truth. And justice. And righteousness. It’s easy to become discouraged. Particularly, this year. When it feels as though every time we turn on the television, or open a newspaper, or check our phones, it’s just one more thing. One more devastating thing. How easy it is to lose all hope! How easy it is to sink into despair! 

“Do not fear,” God says to Abram. And to us. “Do not fear! Look to the skies. See its broad expanse. Trust that my vision is broader than the narrow horizon of your limited human eyesight. Trust in me and in my promises, even when it seems that they and you are in jeopardy. Have faith! Know that I am your shield. Your great protector. Believe that your reward will be great!"

May we, like Abram, have faith. May we trust in God’s promises despite all evidence to the contrary. And may we lean into the future - into God’s future - with hope. That we, too, may be judged righteous, faithful in our relationship with the Creator. May God grant this. Amen.  

Preached Sunday, September 20, 2020, online at Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Pentecost 16
Readings: Genesis 15:1-6; Galatians 3:6-9; Psalm 105:1-15

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Our Money Story: Restore

Our reading today is from the beginning. Genesis. And in two parts, beginning first in chapter 2.

On the day the Lord God made earth and sky— before any wild plants appeared on the earth, and before any field crops grew, because the Lord God hadn’t yet sent rain on the earth and there was still no human being to farm the fertile land, though a stream rose from the earth and watered all of the fertile land— the Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life.

The Lord God took the human and settled him in the garden of Eden to farm it and to take care of it. The Lord God commanded the human, “Eat your fill from all of the garden’s trees; but don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because on the day you eat from it, you will die!”

There are two stories of creation at the beginning of Genesis. One in chapter 1. And a second creation story in chapter 2, which we just heard a portion of. Each of these stories is different. Each of them has a very distinct story to tell. 

In chapter 1, we have this amazing story of the beginning of the world, created out of chaos by the very breath of God. Shaped, formed and filled by God’s Word. An ordered world. Crowned at the end by God’s greatest achievement - humankind. Male and female. Made in God’s own image. Genesis 1 is this great, grand story of the creation of our big, beautiful world and all that inhabits it. 

In Genesis 2, we move from this big creation story to one of intimacy and relationship. A story of the first people. And of the beginning of their relationship with God. And it all begins in the dirt.

Did you notice that detail? The first human wasn’t made from clay - that sturdy, durable soil that can be molded and shaped and is strong. No, the first human was made from dust. Topsoil.

We miss it in English, but here in the Hebrew, there’s a pun. A play on words happening. ‘Adam in Hebrew means human. It’s not a proper name. Not a gendered name. ‘Adam represents that first human being, created by God out of dust, which in Hebrew is ‘adamah. ‘Adam. ‘Adamah. The first human is created out of fine, dry particles of earth so light and so fragile that they can easily be picked up and carried by the wind. Just like our own human existence, which is also so fragile. 

Then as the story continues, God takes the human and puts him in Eden to serve it. Not to have dominion over it, but to serve. To work for it. God tells ‘adam to eat fully from the trees in the garden. Except from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The phrase “good and evil” in Hebrew is an idiom that simply means everything. This is not about right and wrong. This is about everything - about knowing everything. About omniscience. About being like God.

There is also, in Genesis 2, no distinction between human and animal life. Both are called living creatures in Hebrew. Living creatures who all come from the same place...the dust of the ground. 

After making ‘adam, God discovers that being alone for this creature is not good. Human beings need companionship, relationship, community. God takes ‘adam and out of the human makes a companion. Woman. A helper. Sometimes, in the Hebrew bible, God is referred to as a helper - as Israel’s helper. So, this woman is not subordinate. This is not a hierarchy. Adam needs Eve as companion, as partner, as fellow worker in the garden - in God’s Garden of Eden.

There is intimacy in this second chapter of Genesis. There is an intimate link between the Creator and the created.

But the story continues with chapter 3.

The snake was the most intelligent of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say that you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the garden?”

The woman said to the snake, “We may eat the fruit of the garden’s trees but not the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘Don’t eat from it, and don’t touch it, or you will die.’”

The snake said to the woman, “You won’t die! God knows that on the day you eat from it, you will see clearly and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was beautiful with delicious food and that the tree would provide wisdom, so she took some of its fruit and ate it, and also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then they both saw clearly and knew that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made garments for themselves.

During that day’s cool evening breeze, they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God in the middle of the garden’s trees.

Oh, that snake. That crafty snake. 

It is here in Genesis 3 where the great central act of disobedience is introduced. In choosing to disobey God’s command, the humans radically alter their understanding of themselves and of their world. Their eyes are opened. They become self-aware.  

Previously, they were living in a world that was theo-centric. Centered around God. Now, they believe they live in a world centered around themselves. Where they can assert that they themselves are the center of value. The center of decision making. The center of knowledge. 

This knowledge of all things - this desire to be like God - results in alienation from God and from the soil - ‘adamah - to which they are so deeply connected. 

This is the story we see in Genesis 3. The human story. Our story. 

It’s a story about moving from creation to distortion. The distortion of God’s desire for us and for the world. Of a broken relationship between God and humanity. Of broken relationships between neighbors. Of a broken relationship with the dust of the ground and with all living creatures. A world of scarcity and “not enough,” as we hoard God’s abundance. Where we chase the idea of self-worth by seeking more or trying to be more. And more. And more. It is a story that has moved from creation to distortion. It is our story. Our very human story. 

But this is not God’s story. Because God’s story is not about distortion. Not about alienation. But about restoration. About restoring dignity to those disenfranchised. About restoring broken relationships with neighbors. About restoring our own lives - so that we might be centered, healthy, spirit-filled beings, caring for all living creatures and all creation. It is a story about enough. About more than enough. About abundance.

In God’s story, God continuously works to move us from distortion. To restoration. From death. To life. That we might be reconciled with God, with one another, with all creation. 

As we move throughout this lectionary year, we will see over and over and over again, our God, revealed in the story. A God of promise. A God of relationship. A God of mercy. And a God of new life. A God who comes near to us in Jesus, the great restorer - the great reconciler - of the world. And a God who sends us into the world with this good news of restoration.

Why does God do this? In one word. Love. You and I, sisters and brothers, we are God’s creation with whom God desires to be in intimate relationship. You and I - we belong to God. You and I - we are created by God. You and I - we are God’s beloved. Amen.

Preached September 13, 2020, online at Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Pentecost 15/Rally Day
Readings: Gen. 2: 4b-7, 15-17; 3:1-8; Luke 11:2-4; Psalm 8

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Our Money Story: Reimagine

 Jesus told them, "When you pray, say:
‘Father, uphold the holiness of your name.
Bring in your kingdom.
Give us the bread we need for today.
Forgive us our sins,
    for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us.
And don't lead us into temptation.'"  --Luke 11:2-4 (CEB)

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

I know this may be confusing. We are in our third and final week, considering the Lord’s Prayer as it is written in the Gospel of Luke. In addition, we are in our third of four weeks focusing on the topic of our Money Story. That’s where it may get confusing. It would seem reasonable that our discussion around our money stories should conclude with our discussion around Luke’s Lord Prayer. But, have you ever experienced the end of something in your life while at the same time something else continued on? Let’s think of middle school, for example. You can finish fifth grade, but still be in middle school, right? Or think of parenting. Your child can finish college and move away, but your role as parent doesn’t end, right? It continues on.

So it is sometimes with sermons and sermon series. I hope that after next week, all of this will have made sense to you. Not to mention being a carrot for you to join us in worship next week, too!

Before we focus in on verse 4 of today’s reading, I’d like us to look back at this entire prayer in Luke in a slightly different way. We haven’t yet talked about this, but if we look closely at these three verses, we see that they are a chiasm. A chiasm is a tool in ancient literature and argument in which the elements of a passage are divided into parallel members. 

A Father, uphold the holiness of your name.

B Bring in your kingdom,

C Give us the bread we need for today.

B’ Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us.

A’ And don’t lead us into temptation.

The parallelism works from the outside in. So, if you take our reading in Luke, you will see that the lines marked with an A are parallel to each other, here in white. Likewise, the B lines are also parallel to one another. In green. In the center of the chiasm is line C. This is the most important line in the chiasm. Revealing the deepest concern of the passage. A prayer for God to give us provision. What we need.

Why do we need this provision? The question may seem silly to us. Of course we need food and shelter. To live. But, perhaps this question about why we need this provision is better answered by backing up in the chiasm. From Line C to Line B. 

Now, there are different types of chiasms. In this particular one, the parallel line are intended to explain each other. So, if we look at the first B line “bring in your kingdom,” it is to be further explained by the second B line. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who has wronged us. Our prayer for forgiveness is related to our prayer that God’s kingdom come. 

Now to our focus on verse 4.

The idea of forgiveness here is not intended to be pietistic or moralistic. Instead, about seeking forgiveness because we have failed in working for the coming of God’s kingdom. A kingdom of justice. A kingdom of equity. A kingdom of enough. For everyone. We have failed in working to bring God's kingdom on earth by holding onto our wealth and our possessions. By being unwilling to share abundantly of them, in the same way they have been abundantly shared with us. Maybe we need to be forgiven because Our Money Story has been about scarcity. About hoarding our abundance. And in so doing, by maintaining power. 

To share our possessions is not only a mandate by God by a symbol of our faith. A fruit of it.

But, perhaps we’re on the other side of this. Perhaps we are impoverished. Poor. Lacking even the basic essentials. Wronged by those with means. Perhaps we lack power, wronged by systemic structures that seem to only keep us enslaved. We, too, are called to forgiveness. To forgive those who have wronged us.

To forgive and to be forgiven frees us from all that binds us. It reconciles us with God and with one another. So that we might begin to reimagine a world where social and economic systems no longer disparage or impoverish, but provide for and benefit everyone. A world consistent with the reign of God. And a world in which the holiness of God’s name is upheld and we are not tempted to idolatry.

We’ve now been in this time of pandemic for nearly six months. A few months into it, I remember reading several articles and hearing news reports about how, even in the midst of the evil we were experiencing, it seemed as though we were learning important lessons and considering the possibility of a new way of being after all of this was over. Spending more time with family and in relationship with others. Working to simplify our lives and be less busy and less consumed with acquiring stuff. Spending more time on our spiritual lives and our relationship with God and our faith community. And wanting to create new structures in our world, structures in which the inequities that have become so apparent in these past few months might be repaired. The world was, even in this midst of pandemic, vividly reimagining what might come out of this period of bondage. 

Last week, we talked about the year of jubilee set forth in Deuteronomy. A Sabbath year, where everyone and everything was to rest. To cease work. In a way it feels as though we are in a coronavirus-induced year of jubilee. Yet, as much as we might hope that things will be different at the end of this jubilee - this Sabbath year, we are already beginning to witness this hopefulness diminish as we become more tired and disheartened. And more divided. I have no doubt that, when it does end, credit card companies will charge interest again. Libraries will impose late fees. Prisons will be full once more. Rent will be due and not forgiven. The land will be worked and overworked. Just as our worth, our value, will, once again, be measured by our productivity or lack thereof.

Yet we, you and I as the church, are called to something different. We are called to bear witness to a greater jubilee, a fuller Sabbath, a never-ending kingdom inaugurated by Jesus. To continue to reimagine our money stories and to live out our reimagined lives in ways consistent with God’s kingdom. Lives of solidarity with and compassion for the poor and the dispossessed. Lives driven, not by consumerism and consumption, but by simplicity and gratitude for the abundance God showers on us, knowing that there is more than enough. And lives in which we are released from all that keeps us in bondage so that we might remember God’s name and, as the reconciled people of God, might fully experience the love God shows us through Christ Jesus. Witnesses to this reimagined way of being.

Luke in his version of the Lord’s Prayer calls us to pray for the coming of this kingdom. To be sustained as we wait and witness to it. And, in our praying, to open ourselves up to the divine coming, where God will wrap God’s arms around us and bind up our wounds. As God will do for the world.


Preached September 13, 2020, online at Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Goshen, KY.
Pentecost 14
Readings: Luke 11:2-4; Psalm 126