Listening for God in a Challenging Time

It was in the opening minutes of the Zoom meeting of my worship planning team yesterday, January 6, when it started. We have a group text set up between my wife, two grown children, and daughter-in-law … and it lit up. Not with one or two texts, but with no less than fifteen texts. I saw pictures popping up in the text thread, and I knew it was something big. I finally had to say to my team that I needed to take a minute to see what was happening.

I was grief-stricken as I saw the images and read the texts. I looked back at the team to tell them what I was seeing. It was the lawless mob breaking into the US Capitol grounds demanding that their presidential candidate had won. In an instant, I felt the rush of anger, fear, and sadness that combined into one river flowing through both the conscious and subconscious parts of my being.

The prayer as we opened at the beginning of the meeting was for God to somehow be present in the midst of the anger, fear, and hate that was driving the crowd to breach the US Capitol Building.

Following the meeting, I was so overwhelmed by what I was seeing that I began to cry and pray. As I did, I remembered something we had used in the past couple years at Wellspring as we emphasized our inclusiveness … speaking out about racism. It was an affirmation that came as a gift to us from a group in Georgetown known as Courageous Conversations, which invites us to deeper conversations about racism and prejudice. The affirmation itself is based on words spoken or written by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I searched my computer and found it. I used it as my prayer, and then Jim Deuser, one of the leaders of Courageous Conversations, later sent out an email that had the same thing in it.

I share it here in hopes that it might touch us all with an even more expansive meaning today.

An Affirmation of Faith
Based on the Words of
The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I refuse to believe that we are unable
to influence the events which surround us.

I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war,
that peace, brotherhood, and sisterhood are not possible.

I believe that there is an urgent need for people to overcome
oppression and violence, without resorting to violence and oppression.

I believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace,
a way which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. 
The foundation of this way is love.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the
final word in reality.  I believe that right temporarily
defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day
for their bodies, education and culture for their minds,
and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.

I believe that what self-centered people have torn down,
other-centered people can build up.

By the goodness of God at work within people,
I believe that brokenness can be healed,
“And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and everyone
will sit under their own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid.”

Friends, let’s be people of prayer and people who resolve to speak a word of peace and love as we nonviolently resist a world based on fear and hate. Let peace and love be our anthem.

Christmas Day

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

John 1:1-5

Merry Christmas!

Today is a day of hope and light! It is the day we celebrate the birth of Christ … the light of hope in a year marked by pandemic, racism, divisive rhetoric, hatred, and darkness. Our proclamation, in the face of all these things, is that today Christ is born. God’s presence has been made known to us in the life of this child born of poverty, sleeping in a trough meant for animals … yet embodying God who has chosen live among us.

We celebrate Jesus as the Word made flesh.

This year has taught us about waiting and longing. We are awaiting a day when it feels safer to engage with our friends and larger family. We are longing to be able to shake hands and hug one another. Sometimes it is a very lonely feeling.

But today! Today we recall that, no matter how alone we might feel … no matter what darkness we might be facing … Jesus Christ is born.

This is none other than Emmanuel … God. Who. Is. With. Us!

Lord God who is incarnate in Jesus and who abides in us: We celebrate your birth and the indescribable gift of your abiding presence. Amen.

Christmas Eve

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

Isaiah 9:2-7

In this poem from Isaiah 9, we are given this prophetic hope of the One on whom all the authority of God rests. It is of the one who is named “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Then we are told that “his authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace.”

John Denver was an idol of mine through my high school and college years. In adulthood, I followed his career, I have played and sung his music through the years, and I even have a collection of his entire work. I grieved his untimely death, and I am still amazed at the gems I continue to discover amidst his work.

One of those gems I discovered just a few years ago was this poem, which I now offer here. It is an original from the late singer, songwriter, and poet … John Denver … and may it be a poem that moves us in this time of darkness and fear to the place of peace.

The Peace Poem
by John Denver

There’s a name for war and killing
there’s a name for giving in
then you know another answer.
For me the name is sin

But there’s still time to turn around
and make all hatred cease
and give another name to living
and we could call it peace

And peace would be the road we walk
each step along the way
and peace would be the way we work
and peace the way we play

And in all we see that’s different
and in all the things we know
peace would be the way we look
and peace the way we grow

There’s a name for separation
there’s a name for first and last
when it’s all for us or nothing.
For me the name is past

But there’s still time to turn around
and make all hatred cease
and give a name to all the future
and we could call it peace

And if peace is what we pray for
and peace is what we give
then peace will be the way we are
and peace the way we live

Yes, there still is time to turn around
and make all hatred cease
and give another name to living
and we can call it peace.

This is our Christmas Eve prayer, O Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

John 3:1-8

As we near the celebration of Christmas, we are challenged to add a key element that Jesus shares with Nicodemus in John 3. When Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night, Jesus challenges him saying, “No one can see the kingdom of heaven with being born from above.”

Nicodemus does not understand what Jesus is saying, and he asks how an old person like himself can be born again. “Do we have to go back into our mother’s womb to be born again?” he asks. Then Jesus gives us this incredible insight that speaks to us today. “No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Think again now of the annunciation the angel Gabriel made to Mary in Luke 1. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy.”

I don’t think it is too much of a stretch for us to consider how we come to celebrate Jesus on Christmas Eve … in the dark. And as we approach the cradle, I think we have to hear the words of the adult this child will become. “You must be born again … the Spirit of God will bring you new life.” This, if you are awakened by this Spirit, will be the birth of Christ also in us. As people born of the Holy Spirit, we will experience the Christ within us even as we celebrate the Christ born into Jesus, whom Fr. Richard Rohr calls “our central reference point.”

Jesus doesn’t intend to keep this incarnation just to himself. He comes to point out the Christ within you … within every single person you meet … indeed, in everything God has created. The gospel writer John sees Jesus as one who comes, not just to be blanketed alone as a small, innocent baby, but as one who comes challenging us to “be born again … and again … and again.”

So as we approach this celebration amidst a pandemic, social upheaval and, for many, a darkness marked by fear and grief, we come with this hope that Christ is born again … in us … in our families of faith … as we hear Jesus describe the wind. It blows where it chooses, and we don’t always know where it comes from or where it goes. What we do know is that, if we will give ourselves to this flow … what Rohr calls the “divine dance” … we will experience God as the source of a light that bursts through our darkness and gives birth to hope.

This Christmas, let us be born again, and experience the Christ who is born to us … for us … in us!

God who gives us birth: We pray that we might experience our own rebirth as we celebrate the birthday of this one whose name is “God Delivers:” Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”

Is this not the goal we seek?

If 2020 has taught us one thing, it is that we can no longer count on the “old normal” for what lies ahead. Even as I have experienced weariness and a general desire to be done with this, I am renewed by the reality that we serve a Christ who comes amidst our darkness to make all things new.

As we near this Christmas, here are some truths I bring to this Christmas celebration:

  • We are not called to be a people who “go back.” Like the Israelites, we long for the days when things were predictable and seemed more certain. Even the predictability of slavery for the ancient Hebrews was more desirable than the uncertain wilderness that lay beyond Sinai. Moses, however, knew that God was leading to something new and pushed them beyond their complaining.
  • God is greater than our darkness. There are times when this all seems so overwhelming. We wonder just where God will lead us. We, however, are coming to this day with the certain assurance that God’s “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
  • We are not the first people to experience a darkness like this in our lives. While we are tempted to say that there has never been anything like this, history tells us that pandemics like the bubonic plague and the Spanish flu have brought just as much (if not more) devastation to human populations.
  • God has equipped us with resources we never before imagined to help us cope with and move beyond this darkness. A Lutheran pastor in the little town Eilenburg in Saxony wrote the hymn, Now Thank We All Our God, during a time when he performed funerals for more than 4,500 people (including his wife) in the middle of the Thirty Years War in Germany; this occurred after their little town became a refuge for people fleeing the war creating the perfect conditions for famine and disease.
  • We are not alone. This is perhaps the greatest lesson I bring to this. This season, more than any other, is when we highlight the name chosen for this incarnate God: Emmanuel … God With Us.

So I come seeking this new thing that God is doing in our midst. I think Paul has it right. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”

What is the new thing God is doing in your life?

Lord, we come seeking this one known as Emmanuel. We are ready to let go of this year that has become very old, and we seek the new creation you now offer us. Amen.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

Galatians 3:23-4:7

Richard Bach was one of my literary heroes in my teens and well into my twenties. His book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, found its way into my psyche as a teenager, which led me to the perpetual pushing of boundaries … some were rebellious and others were signs of positive growth.

Jonathan is a seagull who is told by his elders that his wings are meant for hovering, catching fish, and waiting for boats and beachgoers to provide food. The wings of a gull had nothing to do with speed or agility.

Jonathan, we soon discover, completely rejects these boundaries and restrictions.

Jonathan continues to work on his speed … drawing his long wings tighter and tighter into his body … going to greater heights and falling faster and faster trying to maintain speed while somehow pulling out of the disastrous collision with the ground awaiting him at the end of each fall. His determination to fly fast while abdicating the more materialistic goals of his flock lead to his banishment from the flock.

As he continues to practice alone, he is met by two mysterious, loving gulls who come to teach him more about breaking the boundaries. He finally breaks through and finds himself in the land of gulls like himself … gulls who know the liberation of moving beyond the boundaries.

My own story in faith is one that was, for so many years, set within the parameters of rules and boundaries. As a Methodist, I was raised on a steady diet of discipline. The curious “methods” observed by John and Charles Wesley and their group of friends at Oxford University were derided by other students thus earning them the title of “methodist.” Additionally, our churches and our ministry are guided by a book that is called The Discipline.

Over the years, I have found myself increasingly pushing the boundaries … especially when faced with boundaries that are exclusive or unjust. As a child who was raised during the civil rights movement, I was influenced by the people who dared to take a stand against injustice … even injustice that was cemented by our own legal system.

The people who got in trouble for taking a stand were participating in what John Lewis referred to as “good trouble.” These were people who openly defied unjust laws and faced abuse and incarceration … many lost their lives.

It is not different from Jesus who radically transformed our world by pushing the boundaries of the law (especially the moralistic and ritualistic laws that demanded conformity) for the sake of the law of love. He, too, was turned away by many of his own people, and it cost him his life, as well.

The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is itself liberating. And when we experience this liberating power of this God born in Jesus, as Paul shares in Galatians, we have no need to draw distinctions among ourselves. “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”

As we celebrate the birth of Christ in our world, we realize in Christ both the power to unite us and set us free.

God who unites us in your law of love: Be with us as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ in our world that we might break down the boundaries that divide us. May we live with as one in a world defined by your grace. Amen.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Today in worship, we will be sharing the proclamation made by Mary, the mother of Jesus, while she is visiting Elizabeth, who has also conceived by after a pronouncement from an angel. As we discussed the story of Mary in our worship planning, George reminded me that Mary’s proclamation, known as the Magnificat (found in Luke 1:46-55), is a reflection of this Song of Hannah that we find in 1 Samuel following the birth of the child Samuel that came to her also as a gift of God.

It brought me back to reflect more deeply on Hannah and where her poetic utterance takes us. The thing that is most striking is that Hannah, like Mary, is in a position of powerlessness. Hannah is one of two wives married to Elkanah, and while she was favored by her husband, the other wife, Peninnah, had given birth to all of his children. Hannah was barren, and since the ability to bear children was highly prized, Peninnah would hold this over Hannah. Hannah was crushed by the constant vexation that came from the one referred to as “her rival.”

A more thorough reading of the first chapter of 1 Samuel gives us the picture of what is going on … how Hannah prayed at the place of worship known as Shiloh (which was the central place of Hebrew worship prior to Jerusalem) … how Eli thought she was drunk until she explained her weeping … and how Eli had promised that her prayers would be heard by God. Then Hannah is finally granted the gift of a child, whom she promptly dedicates completely to God.

She starts without a child and then, upon receiving the gift of the child, promptly gave him back to God. Samuel was raised in the house of the Lord by Eli, the priest who had blessed her when she was in distress. It would be comparable to a poor person winning the lottery and then giving it all to charity only to end up as poor as before.

There is something important happening here. It is the backwards nature of our faith. The riches we seek come more through our giving than in our getting. If I am not mistaken, this is a theme in this season. We talk about it as a season of giving. Yes, the commercialism and rampant consumerism turn giving into getting, but deep within the human soul is this realization that there is something fundamentally enriching by giving ourselves away.

And it is a gift made real for us by the poorest among us. As Jesus taught us that we could see him in the face of the poor (see Matthew 25), we learn that it is the poor who have the greatest capacity for the pouring out of self. We learn from people in the margins the true nature of self-giving.

So as we hear the story of Hannah and compare it today with the story of Mary, keep in mind that, when we live in the kingdom of God, the least are the greatest, and the greatest are the least. The poor are made rich, and the rich find themselves poor. The powerless are the strongest, and the powerful find themselves weak.

Finally, the pathway to the fullness of the Lord begins with the capacity to pour ourselves out entirely for God and the children of God. This, in my view, is the spirit of Christmas … it is the way of discipleship.

Lord, we come seeking to learn about your fullness by learning how to pour ourselves out entirely to you. Amen.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

James 5:13-17

I tell this story here that I have told before, and I pray you will hear where this leads. A childhood friend, Mark, is the one who led me to a place of being open and inclusive, and as I have tried to live faithfully by the grace of God in its continual unfolding … in the ongoing reflection on where God was at work and still is at work in me.

Mark and I were best friends. We spent a lot of time together from junior high school through our high school graduation. We went our separate ways to college, yet we were just a metropolitan city apart from each other. Even with that, we began to grow apart. Mark, I had heard, was slipping into drug and alcohol use, and I didn’t know how to help him. He had new friends, so I placed the bookmark of our friendship in my memory as something that was meant to be only for a time.

In my third year of college, I had begun to work in the church, first as youth director, and then I was appointed as student local pastor to the Abbott United Methodist Church (whose big claim to fame is as Willie Nelson’s home church). Because the love of my life was still in Ennis, I drove from Abbott to Ennis, which took me through the little community across the lake from Ennis, named Bardwell. This was where Mark had grown up.

One day, Mark called my parent’s house, and upon finding out that I was there, asked me to stop by to see him. He had dropped out of college, and wanted to share something important with me. I agreed to do so. He was living in a rent house his mother and stepfather owned just down the road from where he was raised in Bardwell.

I went in, and we sat down. He began to explain that he had suffered a physical and mental breakdown in college. His drinking and drug use had largely happened because of his inability to deal with his identity.

Mark told me he was gay.

I am pretty sure I glazed over as I tried not to react adversely in the moment. He knew I was shocked, but he explained that he had tried so hard not to be gay, but that denial would eventually lead to his own death.

He knew he had to face the truth or die. You see, Mark had suffered rheumatic fever as a child, and he knew that his heart was damaged. The fact that he had only a physical breakdown and did not die was a small miracle.

He gave me a landscape from a “starving artist” display he bought on 6th Street in Austin, and he had written a note about how dear our friendship was to him on the back of the canvas. It still hangs in my office.

I was lost. I couldn’t think straight. In my mind, this was just wrong. As I became a pastor, it became even more wrong, in my mind. I went home and wrote and eight-page letter about how God judged Mark’s “choice to be gay” as sinful and immoral. I moved into my place of high-minded righteousness … well above my friend and anyone else who challenged my faith in this way. Then something big happened. God deflated me enough just to tear it up and throw it away. I cried as I did so because I no longer knew what I believed.

Fast forward to the mid-90’s. Our family was now living in Arlington. Mark and I had some correspondence and a few phone calls. Our relationship was cordial, but I still wasn’t sure how to think about homosexuality … especially in a church that told me it was clearly wrong and not to get too close to it for fear of tarnishing my ministerial credentials. I had grown a lot, but I still struggled to grow more.

One day, Mark called and said he was in the hospital in Dallas, and wondered if I could come by. When I went to see him, he had lost a great deal of weight and looked pale and weak. He told me that his heart was finally playing out, and he was making every effort to to get on the list for a heart transplant. He was alcohol and drug free, and as a gay man, he had to verify that he was negative for HIV/AIDS (which he was). The hospital, however, was owned by a conservative Christian denomination (some will know which hospital this is), and they resisted putting him on the list. The reasons they gave were trivial and made no sense.

Mark was clear that a gay man could not make it onto this hospital’s heart transplant list, and it was too late to turn elsewhere. He wanted to talk to me about his funeral service and what it would look like. He had written something he wanted me to read. We talked more. Then I took his letter and left in tears.

Mark was back in the hospital within a month, and his mother called to tell me that he wasn’t going to make it. Could I please come to the hospital. I arrived to find Mark just barely conscious, and there was his mother who was in tears. Also there were his two brothers who hated the fact that he was gay and therefore loathed him.

I stayed for a long while, but it appeared that death would not come soon. I drove from Dallas back to Arlington, and no sooner had I arrived at home, I received a call from his mother that he was actively dying and taking a breath only every so often. I immediately got back in the car and drove back to Dallas.

When I got off the elevator, I was headed to Mark’s room when I heard my name called from the large waiting room. It was empty except for four men who were friends of Mark’s. I had met them earlier in the day. As I walked in, they told me that Mark had died shortly after his mom had called me. His brothers did not want her staying around, and they left with her after they made sure the hospital knew who to call about the body. Mark’s body was still in the room, and his friends didn’t want me to walk in and find him that way.

They had stayed just for me.

I felt my legs begin to give way. I was heaving and melting into a puddle of tears, and these four men moved into a circle around me. They pulled me up in the middle of them and created a giant group hug of grown men completely in tears.

Through my tears I looked up and realized that there were only five of us in the room, and I was the only one who was not gay.

They, however, were my church. They were the ones who sustained me. They became, in that moment, my confessors and my pastors as they cared for my grieving soul.

They were the Body of Christ … the embodiment of God’s grace. It was true that God was there, and I had arrived at a place where I saw, not sin, but the incredible love of God made real.

It was a gift for me.

That, you see, is where I took the greatest step into full inclusion. God was preparing me, I believe, to be the pastor who saw Christ in the face of all whom I met. There was no one outside the bounds of God’s sustaining grace. God moved in such a way that I would ultimately become pastor of Wellspring, which was practicing its own radical inclusiveness and became a Reconciling Congregation.

We are that place where “All Are Welcome, All Are Accepted!” AND ALL MEANS ALL!

Friends, the light shines in the darkest moments. It transformed and is transforming me. It can transform you, as well.

So #HowBoutIt Church? How will we be the Body of Christ … the light of Christ … in a season of darkness for others who join us on this journey of redemption.

Lord God, you show up in the most surprising ways. As we prepare for the birth of a savior that oddly happens amidst the stark poverty in a stall meant only for animals, may we see your light rising in the darkness of our lives and our world. May we be those who share the light of Christ in radical ways. Amen.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

Ezekiel 34:17-31

When we last visited Ezekiel he was talking about the shepherds who did not care for the sheep. In this later part of the same chapter, we find Ezekiel prophesying about how God will “judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.” It begins on a harsh note as the sheep go beyond eating the grass to the point of trampling the rest of the field … beyond drinking from the stream to polluting it. This sounds like judgment on our current treatment of the our planet and its ecosystems.

Ezekiel then talks about how the fat sheep have “pushed with flank and shoulder” and butted the weaker animals until they have “scattered far and wide.” Again, I hear what sounds like judgment of our culture today where we have so much divisiveness and where people are bullied and assaulted, both verbally and physically … for what they believe or think … for who they are or who they love … for the color of their skin or their cultural heritage.

The darkness of Ezekiel’s day sounds so eerily familiar … until … we hear the word of hope!

God will save the flock, and there will be one shepherd. For Ezekiel, this was God’s “servant David.” He will feed them and care for them as a good shepherd cares for the flock. Surely, we see God’s incarnate love made real in David.

This passage from Ezekiel is what Jesus quotes in John 10:11-16, as he says, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.” Then Jesus concludes by saying, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

As we hear Ezekiel and then Jesus make this claim about the flock, there are two things that stand out for me. First, the good shepherd doesn’t harm or banish the offending sheep or goats. God doesn’t even banish or harm the predators. They are simply given their place, but the flock will be protected and cared for by this good shepherd. This shepherd will maintain a sense of justice, and by caring for the weakest of the sheep will provide strength, not just for some, but for the entire flock.

Second, the good shepherd is the epitome of God’s incarnate love. You see, being the good shepherd doesn’t just come down to a task or a job. It is the primary identity of Jesus, and it is the calling of every disciple following after Jesus. We are called to embody God’s love in powerful and meaningful ways … for our friends and enemies alike.

It is to live as though we fully understand that every person ever born is a beloved child of God who, regardless of who they are, belong to the one flock loved and cared for by the good shepherd.

God who shepherds us in the love of Christ: May we see ourselves intimately connected with Jesus as we live out the full embodiment of love in ways that transform our world. Amen.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

2 Samuel 7:8-16

When one tours Jerusalem during a trip to the Holy Land, one of the must-see stops is at an ancient tomb that is purported to be the tomb of King David. David is still revered as the ancient king who set the foundation for Israel’s future, and one is expected to pass by the tomb reverently.

This passage in 2 Samuel tells us what God spoke to David through the prophet Nathan. The Lord took David from being the youngest son of Jesse to being the greatest king Israel would ever know. He was the shepherd who had no hope of having wealth, power, or influence, were it not for the power of God.

In the midst of this prophetic utterance, we hear something profound. We hear that God is building a house for David, yet it will be David’s offspring will build a house for God. The biblical story tells us that David longed to build a temple for God, yet God spoke that it was not David’s to build. That task would fall to Solomon.

I think, however, that, while it is perfectly fine to leave it at that basic understanding that even the great king had limits placed on him, there is a deeper archetypal way of seeing this story. For one, this contains the symbolism of the “house of David” that will soon be heard again in the stories of the annunciation and subsequent birth of Jesus. But I think there is more.

In my faith journey, I have often spoken of how God has provided for me, and there is something significant about how we experience God’s provision. It comes as a gift of grace … unmerited and undeserved. I have experienced it as God reaching out to me when I have felt small and incapable. It is like being lifted up higher than I could ever have done by my own strength.

The truth is that this is a legacy passed on to me from my biological and spiritual ancestors.

It is this gift of grace that is then passed on from one generation to the next. Each subsequent generation is then responsible for building up the kingdom of God in whatever way we can. It is the flow from God’s provision for us to the task of discovering a creative partnership with God as we seek to erect temples of love, justice, and peace in a sometimes darkened world.

In this way, God is glorified … the gift of this incarnate Christ is passed down from generation to generation. So how are you experiencing God’s provision and how is God working through you to build a temple of praise to God?

God, we have experienced your grace poured out abundantly, and we now seek to pass on that legacy of grace so that the Christ who comes in the person of Jesus becomes real in us. Amen.