Tuesday, April 20, 2010

God’s Comma – April 18

Imagine if you will, that in anticipation of the arrival of your children, you have decided to create a wonderful gift for them. You put everything that you have, everything that you are into the creation of this gift. All because you want to show them how much you love them. You know that this gift provides sustenance to the life of your children? If when you give this gift, and your children show gratitude and respect and handle it with care, knowing this care would prolong the lifetime of this gift. This would make you very happy, joyful in the giving, wouldn’t it? Knowing your work and effort were not made in vain. That would be great, would make any parent proud. But what if just the opposite happened? What if, in the delivery your children showed indifference and disregard for all that this gift meant? My guess is, you would be disheartened and hurt. So, which description of these children would you best define yourself as?

Now in our scripture readings, the first scripture was from the first book of the Bible and its called Genesis, a book of origins. It’s a story of how we came to be, came to find ourselves in the world, our home that God created as a gift. Genesis begins by telling us that God created the heavens and the earth and then after he created the heavens and the earth and all things upon it, he created the first human beings, Adam and Eve. So God created all the things of the heaven and the earth in anticipation of the creation, and the arrival of his first children. (Can you see where I’m going with this?) And then God placed Adam and Eve in this beautiful garden. Eden was perfect; it had rivers running through it, all sorts of flowers and fruit bearing trees. It was beautiful. In this garden, God gave Adam and Eve meaningful and significant work, in this work they were partnered with God in the caring of the world. The humans were partnered with God. God’s initial intention was that his human children ‘creations’ would partner with him in the care of this home in which he had gifted them with. We are told that there was peace and harmony between human beings, and between humans and God, and that in this garden there was a tree, called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God has such respect for his creations, (that would be us). That he let’s us live however we want, we CAN live how he created us to live or we can make up our own rules and live however we want. God never, ever forces himself on anybody, God says you can live how you want or you could live how I created you to live. It’s almost as if God is saying, “It’s your choice”. It is our choice, maybe the greatest power of this story is not so much that it happened, but that, it happens, it is still happening. This is how our story begins. Our story is one of beautiful creation through love, partnership and choice.

The second scripture reading is from the end of the Bible, the book called Revelation. The last book of the Bible tells us how everything ends. At the end God says, “I’m going to make all things new again”. He creates a new heaven and a new earth and we’re told WHAT this new heaven and new earth are going to be like, that there will be rivers running through it, we’re told that there will be a healing of the nations, meaning that we will all get along, living in harmony. We’re told that we will actively participate with God in taking care of this new world that we find ourselves in, and in the middle of it all there will be a tree. This ALL has a familiar ring to it doesn’t it? In the beginning in Genesis, there was a tree, right in the middle of the Garden of Eden. In Revelation, there is a tree right in the middle of God’s perfect new garden. If this is how it ends and Genesis is how it begins, then we have to ask the question, “Are we living between these trees?” Are we supposed to be actively participating in taking care of our world now?

In Genesis, our readings covered some of the creation story, which is actually a poem, a very long and radical (for it’s time) poem, You see, in the culture at this time, there were several other creation stories? But the central creation story that was popular among the masses, when Genesis emerged, taught that the world came about because of conflict. The belief was that the world came about because this god was mad with that god, and this god was jealous of that god. And there was this massive war in the skies between these mythological gods, and essentially out of this conflict came the earth. So the basic belief among most people at the time of Genesis is that the earth came about because some gods were upset, out of their primeval conflict in battle, we got the world that we know.

Then this Genesis poem charges onto the scene and it’s similar in many ways to those poems, it’s speaks of land, sky and sea, and creating and shaping and forming and clay/dirt. It has many of the same elements, and yet it makes vastly different claims, this poem arising out of the same culture, says, no. We are not here because of divine conflict, we are here because of this one true God, who exists in some sort of loving, endlessly giving, generous community, and covenant/relationship with humanity. This one God, is so filled with joy and beauty and creativity, it’s as if this God can’t help but create. I mean this God starts creating things, and then this God complements himself on his creations, like “Oh Man! That’s good!” This God loves to make things so much so that this God just makes things and makes things. This God makes things and then says to them, “Okay, now you make more and more!” This God loves to make things that can make things. This God makes people, in this God’s own image and says to them, “Now you take care of it and share in my joy!” Because our one true God finds great joy in creating, he longs to share in that joy. This poem was absolutely radical in human history, because it said we’re not here because of conflict, we’re here because of joy. We are the result of divine creativity that said, “ I can’t help but give, and spread what I have to,… more.

This concept, where we are given partnership by God in the care of this world is not my original idea. It’s been around as long as there have been theologians. Sometime in history, I think it was right after the canon of the Holy Bible, people started asking questions, because there were many other writings that didn’t make it into the Bible. Many people felt that these other, unchosen writings were just as sacred and divinely inspired, so they were a little upset with the idea. The answer that they got from Constantine was this, “The included books are sanctioned and verified to be the inspired words of God, period. There are no more, nor will there be more, period. FINI!” Of course it’s obvious that Constantine was a dictator and the use of the two periods, I think meant that you had better not ask again, or else. So what did this mean exactly? Just a few of the many questions that rose up were; does this mean that God has stopped speaking? And if God is done speaking, does that mean God has gone away and left us? Is God finished in his divine creations?

One thing that you might notice, is this; in the creation process, AS God goes along, his creations become more and more complex, more advanced, more sophisticated. (That’s why he created woman last) at least in the poem. There’s theory/label that scholars have placed on this type of creation story, it’s called “unfinished creation”, I prefer to call it “open ended creation”. The premise of this theory is; in the creation of all things, God created things that create more of the same things. Thus, God created trees, trees bear fruit, fruit drops to the ground and leave seeds, the seasons come and the seasons go. And from these seeds, more trees will grow. Animals and all CRATURES, procreate. Humankind mates and propagates the species. Because of this, God’s creation never ceases. We are all a part of this process, partners in creation. We create, because God has given us this ability.

I think this answers at least two of those questions, no, God is not done speaking and creation,.. never ends. The comedian, Gracie Allen said, “Never put a period, were God has placed a comma.” Gracie had smarts. God is not done with us yet, and he ain’t going nowhere.

Now with ability, comes responsibility. With partnership, comes accountability. Earlier I asked two questions, 1) Which type of child would you best define yourself as? And 2) Are we supposed to be actively participating in taking care of our world now? The answer to both is simple. It’s your choice. So how about it, do you choose to go through life, and not notice all the beauty of the earth? Have you not unwrapped all the gifts that we have been given? Do you just slide by on the surface of life, not even trying? Are you just waiting for the end, do you think that God is not yet here, but is out there somewhere? Or are you looking at nature and witnessing God? You know Jesus was always saying things about nature, pointing out the significance of the beauty in nature. He would say, “Look at how the birds fly,” or “Have you noticed how beautiful the flowers are in the meadow?”

So where does beauty come from? Who invented art and music? Who invented laughter? Who thought all this up? I mean beauty and wonder and awe, where does it come from? Why is it, that when we humans are surrounded by greenery, we feel so alive and filled with healthy oxygen, our life source, God’s breath? We live between the trees, in a world drenched in God. We are all immersed in God’s love. Some people ask, “Where is God?” But maybe a better question would be; where isn’t God? His fingerprints are all over our world. Or maybe it is His world and they are our fingerprints. How can we live in this world, as believers in God, followers of Christ, and not hold everything that is here as sacred? Why would we treat the sacred gifts of God with disregard and disrespect? Why is it that even one single day passes by, and we can’t find gratitude in what we have? Are we so poor of thought, that we can’t even pay attention?

There’s an ancient Jewish saying, that a person’s good deeds are used by God as seeds to plant the very trees of Eden. By our faith, by our thoughts, our actions, our love, you and I enter into this kind of relationship with God. And the very trees of paradise are being planted. Please believe that you can partner with God in redeeming and restoring this fallen, broken, hurting world? There is an observance this week, it’s called Earth Day. I urge you to participate, why do we just give our sacred home one day a year? Do we actually have to be reminded to take this gift back into our hearts? The earth is God’s awesome gift which sustains us, His children. May you choose to be a partner with him in making this the kind of place that God originally intended it to be. Be the kind of person that when you live this way, the very trees of paradise are being planted. And may you notice all that surrounds you and witness God. Remember, we are not here to merely exist, but as an extension of God’s presence.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Statement of Faith

(In the Systematic Theology class the first assignment is as such; provide a first draft of your personal statement of faith, we were given three pages to do this, doubled spaced, with a twelve point font. I don't know about you, but for me, three pages is pretty skimpy as far attempting to state all of my beliefs, but I gave the condensed version of the good ole college try.)

The most fundamental and basic testament that I proclaim regarding my faith is this; I believe in God and I feel a profound love for this God, a love that I feel deeply committed to, from an inexplicable, innate place within myself and without question. The love a child feels towards a parent. I have taken Jesus Christ as my savior, both personally and socially. I believe that God loves all of us and wants us to love Him back. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus proclaimed the greatest commandments to be: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'" So God wants our love for Himself and wants us to love all of our brothers and sisters in the family of man. I believe that the manner in which you love others is a testament to the way that you love your God and the more you love, the more you are loved. And the more love that you allow into your life, the closer you move to God. When we love from a pure state within our hearts, without personal agenda, we please God. Love is that essential tether that binds us all together and to our Creator.

I believe that each individual’s relationship with their Creator is the most intimate, life defining and fulfilling that there could ever be. I would never take it upon myself to attempt to legislate or dictate to another person on just how they should conduct this relationship. However, I would encourage each person to think about what they are doing, saying or reading, think about it and then think about how you are feeling when you do these things.

I see God in my autistic son’s face, innocent and clean- a reflection of nothing but pure love and honesty. I see God in the face of my mother, in her eighth year of the Alzheimer’s journey, where as in many ways she has returned to innocence and new experiences while retaining a glimmer of her gentle wisdom, all done with inner strength and dignity. But I also long and seek to look for the face of Christ in the face of all humans and find it there, for we are a part of God as His/Her creation. It is in those moments, when I am attempting to aide my mother or son, those moments when I am working out of love, outside and beyond myself, when I feel God’s presence the strongest.

I believe the Holy Bible to be a supreme guide for faith and life. Man’s written interpretations of God’s word, including the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ, initially inspired by the original author’s great faith in God, and His/Her hand of divine inspiration. By divine inspiration I mean that the original writing came from someplace ‘outside’ of the author’s common vernacular. It is a living book that can provide answers for life’s many questions. It touches each individual on a personal, intimate basis. Though I feel God’s judgment and knowledge to be infallible, I find man’s (human kinds) translations and commentaries to be just that. I also believe that the Bible can and does mean different things to different people, and should be individually interpreted.

“I AM” is God’s proof/description for His presence and existence. And that He has unquestionable and distinct authority over His humankind. “I AM” is not only His given name but referring to the fullness of His nature, which is omnipresent in His forever wholeness, meaning that He is simply the sum total of everything in existence. And He is beyond space & time; God is not only expressing His existence but showing that He is eternal.

Jesus was born of a human woman into the flesh of human form; he may have had fallibility in while in his human body, yet he had a divine connection to His father God. He was in existence with God prior to His birth (pre-existence) and he was with God from the beginning of all time because He is God, God sent the Son down to give his word’s to communicate with human kind in a manner which we could understand. He attempted to teach us how to love and share and strive to be what God wants us to be, strip us of our sins and ready us for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

I find and feel God in the process of my artwork, which sometimes is completed inexplicably through and before me. When the textures become apparent and real and the emotions that I felt at the inner sight of conception are perfectly expressed through the medium on the canvas. When the music that I write comes to me in a flash, words, rhythm, and melody flowing together with no effort on my part. When the message is conveyed with such a strong image that my own creation brings me to tears, I fall into bed exhausted and dream of God.

Now I see God, and His beauty in practically everything that I come into contact with, when I take the time to really think about it I find more than just a flicker of that awe, I find everything good that I carry within myself and I am filled with an indescribable gratitude and joy. Everything that is love brings thoughts of God to me.

I think that God always acts within our best interests, but we (being human kind) want God always to answer in the way and manner that we want Him/Her to. Much like spoiled children, we tantrum and act out when we do not get our way with immediate gratification. God may say no when answering some of our prayers, but only because God knows in the end, what is best for us. God is always there to guide us, if we would just ask for direction. And we will only get to the correct destination if we listen and follow those directions. God is there to comfort us, if only we would lay back into His arms and allow ourselves to be carried. God will always love the world, no matter the count of how many times we look away and choose to hurt Him. I believe that God acts out of mercy, compassion and infinite love. There is so much that we as mortals and Christians, do not know and cannot understand for we are only finite. We cannot even begin to understand God in His infinite nature and wisdom. We can only be carried in His love.

(If this posts appears a little weird, I am aware of that fact, I can't edit the spacing and I am getting more that a little frustrated. I will confer with the Guru this afternoon and see if I can rectify the matter, thanks for your patience.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Parable - The Bird, the Feather and the Wind

(I teach a class in parallel Bible study every Friday night. A couple of weeks ago I was ill and my husband, Mark was the substitute for me. Mark assigned a homework paper as follows: the students were to write a parable, bring it to the next class and share it with his/her fellow students. I decided that it would only be fair to complete the assignment. Here it is.)

A bird glides upon the air, turning this way and that.
It trusts in the strength of the wind and the lightness of it's own frame
to carry it along it's way, effortless, there is confidence in it's pattern,
manipulating it's own wings in flight.

With a sharp turn a single feather pulls away and floats gracefully to the ground.
For the most part this pattern glides unnoticed, but for it's shadow upon the rocks.
The feather's existence is simple and silent, but it exists in beauty, none-the-less.
A thoughtful gust comes along, inviting the feather into another dance.

The bird does not acknowledge the separation of the feather's freedom.
After all the feather has no substantial weight or volume.
Instead the bird continues on to the safe destination of it's home and nest.
This bird craves nothing but the safety it alone has created there.

Rising up in a whirl of graceful advance the feather has no muscle or wing,
Yet it glides along smoothly, carried by trust in the strength of the wind.
The feather does not guide or question the destination or it's flight,
The feather has no thought, but only sheer, silent faith.

The bird thinks that he is good and beautiful.
He has faith is his well honed skills of life.
This bird sings each morning, praises for it's own song.
This bird believes that only he is responsible for it's own life.

The feather is unaware of it's own remarkable design and beauty,
the intricate design of trundles flowing in and out like a breath.
It exists only to be carried by the wind, the feather listens only to one sound.
The sound of the wind combing through it's delicate and innocent trundles.

-The bird is an adult Christian who believes he is good and honest and living the best life that a human can. but he does not know complete trust in God and unquestionable faith.

-The Feather is an innocent child who wants and knows only love. He/she loves completely and trusts without question, because this child has not yet 'gained the ability' of the "mis'" in life; like mistrust. So trust, love and faith fill the child's entire being. And so the child feels only the safety in being carried along in life by LOVE.

-The Wind is God, whom will carry all of HIS children along, if allowed, whether they are fully aware of or acknowledge this fact or not. We are carried along by God's expansive LOVE.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Joy of Repentance

(Okay, so maybe this will be a more appropriate posting than the last one. It's funny but I try not to feel sorry about what I wrote about Tiger Woods, but remorse always seems to creep it's way into my heart. The thought of his behavior still makes me angry and I feel so terrible in thinking about what his family is going through right now. I felt compelled to speak my mind and I did, and that is what I will live with and stand by my convictions. You can't change the past, only the future.

On Sunday, Dec. 6th I preached the sermon at the Granger Christian Church- Disciples of Christ. I based my sermon on the current lectionary scriptures for the Advent Season. The primary scripture assigned for this the second Sunday in the Advent season is Malachi 3:1-6, which deals with judgment and repentance. Eek! I gave it a good try.)

Confession and Repentance
Dec 6th – 2nd week of Advent
Malachi 3:1-4 Luke 1:68-79 Luke 3:1-6

Remember when you were a child and anticipating the coming of Christmas- not just the thought of the gifts would make you all excited, but the pure magic of it all. The lights and the carols, the school programs, and having time off of school! A time when your family came together to celebrate. Do you remember the countdown calendars? Oh, I loved those things! They would only help to build up the anticipation more! And then on the eve of Christmas, as a child you could hardly breathe! You swore that you were not going to fall asleep, but you were going to sneak a look at jolly old St. Nick. You lay in bed and listen for the sound of sleigh bells and hooves skittering across the roof above. I would be so restless with excitement, I didn’t think could stay still. I used to make deals with myself. If I stayed in bed and could count to one hundred, one hundred times, then when I finished it would be alright to get out of bed and it would be morning and our gifts would be in place and ready to open. But inevitably I would be overcome with sleep sometime during my counting prayers, but always, my counting prayers would be answered and I would awake to gifts and magical Christmas fun with my siblings. So it all seemed to work out in the end. It’s funny but I never ever questioned that come Christmas morning my counting prayers would be answered. I had a child’s trust, a child’s faith. It seems that the image and lines between St Nicholas and God were so often blurred as we were told the stories of the first Christmas, maybe St Nick’s heart was filled with the Holy spirit. I think that it would be a good idea to strive to enter this season with the anticipation, trust and faith of a child in order to make our seasonal intentions more pure. So you see, to me Christmas is not necessarily about the presents, but rather about God’s presence.

Today’s first lectionary scripture is Malachi 3 verses1-4 familiar to many from its use in the beautiful Handel's Messiah, this passage from Malachi speaks of purification and judgment, themes not generally associated in the popular imagination with Christmas. Nevertheless, Advent is, of course, preparation not only for a remembrance of Christ's first coming as a baby, the celebration of Christ’s birth, but also for Christ's second coming, in power and glory. And we use the occasion to remember Jesus’ promise to come again. In the anticipated coming of Christ, we wait and we prepare.

Malachi 3 starts out, “See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke refer to this passage as prophecy, foretelling the coming of John the Baptist. This Old Testament reading is paired in the lectionary with the song of Zechariah after the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1 verses 68-79 and the account of the beginning of John's ministry in Luke 3 verses1-6. John the Baptist is the one that God refers to as the messenger sent "to prepare the way before me", He is, as his father echoes later on, in Luke 1:76, the one who will "go before the Lord to prepare his ways".

If "my messenger" in Malachi 3:1 is consistently identified with John the Baptist in early Christian interpretation, then, "the Lord whom you seek" and "the messenger of the covenant" are most often identified with Jesus Christ himself. It is the Lord who is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap. It is Jesus who will purify the people of the covenant. And, despite our feelings or fears about the matter, this is actually good news! Sin separates us from God. Sin clouds and distorts the good creation God made us and meant us to be. And we are helpless to clean ourselves. Or are we? Enter the refiner of gold and the washer of clothes, to do the cleaning for us? In this Advent text, we are far from Bethlehem and the sweet strains of "Away in a Manger."

Repentance is not an easy process, of course. There is pain involved in refining and cleansing. There is pain involved in dying and rising. But it is a process that is designed for our good, for our well-being, to prepare us for the coming of the Lord. God comes into our midst as Emmanuel, comes to destroy the evil, He comes to draw us out of death into life, into His eternal realm. And though that can be an alarming prospect, it is also one that should fill us with great joy.

It is thought that only when we consider the possible wrath of God, can we also recognize His incomparable kindness. God comes into the very midst of evil and of death, and judges the weaknesses in us and evil in the world. And by judging us, God cleanses and sanctifies us. He comes to us with grace and love.1 Through him and only through him, are we able to name our sins and to enter into repentance.

These are apt words to us in this Advent season. ‘God is coming’. God is coming as a baby in Bethlehem, but God is also coming again "in glory to judge the living and the dead," as the Nicene Creed puts it. And what is our response? Well according many early Christians, any reasonable person should feel at least some healthy respect. You know I find it very remarkable that most of us contemporary Christians face the thought of God’s coming, so calmly, whereas previous generations trembled at this same thought. Have we become so accustomed to the idea of God’s divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of awe that God’s coming used to arouse in us? Should we feel comfort at the thought of God’s judgment, or should we fear it? Or have we just become indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable from it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all sobering news for every one who has a conscience. The Advent season is one of preparation and anticipation. We anticipate the coming of Christmas, of the celebration of Christ’s miraculous birth with mirth and merry activities and in this, the thoughts of God’s possible coming in judgment can be lost. We prepare our houses, schools and churches with decorations, lights and trees with ornaments and such. And this is good. It fills our world with so much beauty, how can we help but feel merry in our preparations? But how should we prepare our spiritual selves? The thought of gift giving and generosity, an extra helping hand extended with love to your neighbors, comes to mind quickly, it is all a part of the essential message that Christ preached. But in doing so are we preparing ourselves spiritually? Are we really thinking of our acts as the cleansing away of our sins? We shouldn’t be giving out of the feeling of guilt for our sins -or the meaning of Christ’s message is lost. We should give out of love, as He gave to us.

Jesus Christ and John the Baptist both preached heavily about repentance. “Repent and be baptized for the Kingdom of God is at hand”. In other words, get yourself ready to come face to face with God, your maker. Make yourself worthy of His presence and to enter into His Kingdom. So I guess that repentance would be a good starting point for our spiritual preparation. I know, I know, most of us think about repentance of our sins, and go “oh man!” “Do I have to?” But I truly believe that the act of repentance is a gift and not the chore or punishment that most of us initially see it as. It can be like some very heavy internal spring house cleaning. The process may leave you exhausted, but you can feel a strong sense of accomplishment in the end. You feel clean and purged. All brand new! So how do we really take a step towards repentance? Well, that is really a personal process, and as individual as all of us are. But I can tell you one thing, to many Christian groups the process of repentance starts with confession- public confession. How public I can’t say. But I do know that many today cringe with fear at this idea, even more so than at the thought of God’s judgment? Wait a minute, so we fear our neighbor’s judgment more so than our makers?

Why confession? Well it’s based on the premise that in order to truly confess our sins we have to do some very deep introspection, we have to take a long and honest look at ourselves. We have to become totally aware of ourselves, in order to be able to identify all of our sins. We have to look at the good and the bad of ourselves, in order to be able to distinguish between the two. We have to hear our own voice as we confess our sins and expose ourselves in our raw shame and the guilt. This is to feel remorse, because that’s what repentance is, isn’t it, remorse? We have to be sorry for what we have done in order to unburden ourselves of this sin don’t we? We can’t do this secretly, there is no privacy in becoming humbled, even if it is self invoked. And that isn’t always very easy is it? The thought of confessing makes most of us today feel very uncomfortable, stepping forward and announcing our short comings is a very humbling experience. Last week during youth time, the question was asked as to whether it was easy to be a Christian and most of the children quickly said yes, the thought ran through my mind, “Perhaps, but it is very difficult to be a ‘good Christian’.”

A little side note here; I spent the yesterday at the church and was pretty busy, so I really didn’t have much time to think about my upcoming sermon, this sermon. But on the drive home I did, wondering and hoping that I would say enough and praying that I didn’t say too much, when a little blurb came on the radio station I was listening to, it was about confession. My ears perked up, this is what we call a ‘God Wink’ in our family, a God Wink is a serendipitous or profound coincidence, a personal message maybe, it was like God was saying to me, “Okay Ray, here’s a little something, something for you to think about.” The person on the radio was talking about the difference between a confession and an excuse. A true confession does not contain a ‘but’, in it. In other words you don’t go up to the person that you have wronged, like oh, say your wife and say, “I am sorry I snapped at you on the phone, BUT, the traffic was terrible and I had bad day at work, and,….blah, blah, blah.” No, that is an excuse, you are excusing your own behavior and placing the blame else where, a true confession would go something like this, “Honey, I am so sorry that I was short with you on the phone today, I was wrong and for that I am very sorry, I feel bad.” That is confession and repentance, the difference being, accepting responsibility for your actions, (it’s called culpability) and then you come forth to apologize for what you have done, because you truly are feeling sorry. And now back to the sermon!

And now we come to the Baptism part of the message. The Jewish practice of immersion has carried over into the Christian tradition. We will be cleansed internally by repentance and externally through baptism, and through this process we are changed, we emerge clean and ‘new’. We emerge into the light and into God’s presence which makes us whole. Baptism is our public proclamation of our change, as we make a vow to ourselves and those that surround us and mostly to God that we use this new beginning to invite God into our lives, thoughts and souls.

I don’t know if I have convinced you or not but at least now you can see why I feel that repentance is not a chore but a gift! An honor! A point to start from, in working towards our way closer to God’s presence. It is our holy spiritual preparation, in our journey and process of stepping into the light. For Jesus is the light, that carries us all on through the darkness, the light of the breaking dawn that kisses us good morning. Oh, the anticipation!

(Please note that the scriptures referred to with this sermon are read by the scripture reader prior to my giving the sermon, if you cannot understand the sermon because you are not familiar with the text, grab a Bible and give it a read, it can't hurt. Can it?)