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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rising Light

Our actions reveal who and what we love, and often they are not the ones God truly needs us to love and care for. It’s time to listen to Isaiah and Jesus and not pretend we don’t understand what they really mean for us to know and do. It’s time to trust that God’s light can shine through us and break through this world’s darkness.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen
   The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary 21 C
   Texts: Isaiah 58:6-14 (6-9a added back in); Luke 13:10-17

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

It’s pathetic to love your donkey more than your crippled sister.

That’s Jesus’ point.

A week ago Nicholas Kristof, a writer for the New York Times, shared his sadness on social media at the death of his beloved 12 year old Golden Retriever. That same day he published a column in the Times calling for “greater international efforts to end Syria’s suffering and civil war, which has claimed perhaps 470,000 lives so far.” [1] In a column this past Thursday, he wrote that he received a torrent of compassion and loving comments at his dog’s death. But the outpouring of comments he received the same day about his article on Syria were mostly devoid of compassion, best summed up as “why should we help them?”[2]

It’s pathetic to love someone else’s dog more than your dying brother’s children.

That’s Jesus’ point.

This week a haunting photo of a Syrian boy in an ambulance went worldwide like wildfire over the Internet. Taken from a video, the photo shows him sitting, stunned, dead-eyed, bloody, only a few years old. It’s heartbreaking. It was like the photo of a dead Syrian child in the surf of the Mediterranean that likewise went global a year or so ago. But like that previous photo, I doubt the photo of this boy will do more than make a lot of us feel sad. Maybe if Golden Retrievers were dying by the thousands in Aleppo we’d actually want to do something about it.

This isn’t a question of people not wanting to do God’s will.

Isaiah’s people know what God commanded them to do for worship. They’re doing it the best they can, the fasts, the festival days, the sacrifices. The leader of the synagogue scurrying around the edges of the crowd today knows God’s commands about Sabbath. As he tells people to go away and come back on another day for healing, he’s trying to do God’s will.

But they’ve only picked up on part of God’s law. They’re keeping the parts that are easier to track, worship times and rituals, work on Sabbath. They’re failing to see the heart of God’s law, repeated throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, that God loves the poor, the hungry, the widow, the orphan, the dying, and commands the people of God to likewise care for them.

These people’s problem isn’t that they don’t want to obey God. It’s that what they love and care about isn’t aligned with God’s heart or God’s law.

Isaiah and Jesus aren’t creating new policy, or changing God’s law. They’re simply following God’s heart.

Isaiah doesn’t care about the people’s complaints in previous verses that God seems to be ignoring their worship. All Isaiah can see, all that fills his heart and mind, is that people are homeless and no one is taking them in. People are hungry and no one is feeding them. People are naked and no one’s offering them a cloak. He never says they should stop worshipping God. He doesn’t have time for that debate. He just says God would prefer fasts and rituals that also involved them taking care of people. Powerfully, he says to avoid helping people in pain is like hiding yourself from your relatives. “These people belong to you,” he says. “Do something.”

Jesus isn’t overturning the Third Commandment, either. He simply couldn’t look away from this woman in pain. He didn’t have room in his heart or mind for theological debate with the leader at that moment. He knew where his love, his loyalty, his energy, his help, needed to go.

And like Isaiah, Jesus claims this woman is a significant relationship. She matters, she’s a relative. He calls her “daughter of Abraham.” So she’s sister to this synagogue leader. To all the people there. You don’t hide from relatives in need so you can obey God’s law. That would be pathetic.

The question is not whether we want to do God’s will. The question is, will we hear Isaiah and Jesus when they unequivocally declare what God’s will is? If we’re going to debate about God’s law in these two scenarios, we’ll have to do it by ourselves. Isaiah and Jesus don’t have time for that, not when people are in pain.

Jesus’ comment about donkeys and oxen cuts to the heart of our neglect.

We will take care of the things we think matter. To the faithful of Jesus’ time it’s not a Sabbath-breaking question to care for your animals, lead them to water and food. Even if they didn’t love their donkey or ox, it was vital to their life, their self-interest. They broke the literal sense of Sabbath law because they wouldn’t turn away from their livestock’s need.

The hypocrisy Jesus and Isaiah decry is that we do everything we can for those we care about, we work hard for those things we value, we always take care of business. We will sacrifice what we need to for what matters to us. If we want something, we’ll save until we can get it, or use credit to get it now. We make all sorts of allowances in our lives for things that matter and never think twice.

Yet millions are dying, refugees are turned away everywhere, and we do nothing. People haven’t got enough to eat, even in this rich nation, and we refuse to work for good paying jobs for all. Too complicated. It needs debate, we say.

But if we’re not finding shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, clothes for the naked, then Jesus and Isaiah only point out it’s clear we care for other things more than these.

And notice this: we can’t even fall back on our old faithful excuse, that the problems are just too big to solve.

Because Isaiah doesn’t tell his people to end homelessness. He says “how about bringing a homeless person into your house?” He doesn’t say that a program to eradicate hunger is commanded. He says “how about sharing the bread you have with your neighbor who is starving?” Jesus isn’t solving all health care issues. He’s just bringing healing to a suffering sister, even if technically it’s against the law.

Do you see? These are close-up solutions to massive, intractable problems. These are actually things we could do. No one’s asking us each to come up with worldwide answers. Isaiah and Jesus just wonder why we love and care for so many other things while people who belong to us, our relatives, are suffering, and we can’t see them. Why we try so hard to make these words of Scripture not really apply to our actual lives and decisions and use of wealth and time.

In the midst of all of this, Isaiah tells us to stop pointing the finger. That might be the most important word today. It’s time for us to stop pointing at all the other people who are making a mess of things, to stop pointing at others as the problem. Once we put our finger down, we’re faced with the only answer that makes sense: we are the problem, too.

But here is our hope: when we stop pointing fingers, Isaiah says, when we take in a homeless person or share our bread, our light begins to shine.

These are dark, frightening times. The problems do seem too huge to take on. So Isaiah and Jesus simplify it. They invite us to put down our pointing fingers, and start seeing the people around us as relatives, kin, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons. And to see their pain and care about it more than we care about the things that usually command our attention and energy. And then, simply, do whatever we can.

Perhaps this will also teach us that we can make a difference on bigger problems too, by working together in our city, by calling on our leaders who can tackle even bigger things, like that Syrian boy and his destroyed world, to do that.

Then, Isaiah promises, our light will start to rise in this dark world. God begins to work in us. And that might not seem like a lot. But imagine if the light starts rising out of each one of us here, and then from each of those we encounter who learn from us. Pretty soon you’ve got enough light to see by. Pretty soon streets begin to be restored, ruins start to be rebuilt, breaches become repaired. Pretty soon you’ve got reason for crowds to rejoice at all these wonderful things happening, just as they did with Jesus.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

[1] Nicholas Kristof, New York Times online, Aug. 18, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/opinion/but-what-if-my-dog-had-been-a-syrian.html
[2] Kristof, op. cit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

God’s Mother

God’s Son needed a mother to teach him, to keep him safe, to shape his heart, and through Mary the Triune God knows us better.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen
   The festival of St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord
   Texts: Luke 1:46-55; Galatians 4:4-7

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

Why would God need a mother?

The Triune God chose Incarnation as the path of ultimate revelation, the taking on of our life, our flesh, becoming one with us. In the fullness of time, Paul says, God sent his Son, born of a woman.

But did God need to involve humans at all to save humanity? Since this is what God did, we have to assume it was critical, and any understanding of salvation has to account for this unexpected choice. We have to ask, why did salvation involve God being born of a woman, growing as a child to adulthood? In short, why would God need a mother?

The most obvious need was for the safety of a mother’s care.

The Incarnation is an act of deep vulnerability on God’s part. Few newborns are more helpless than human babies, and the nine months of gestation are a perilous time of potential danger. God’s Son needed a mother who would protect a growing child for nine months, caring for her health and the health of the baby, holding this new life in the embrace of her womb.

Then this child who is God needed a mother to nurse him from her own body, even as he was fed in the womb from her own life, to nurture him as he learned to walk, to talk, to keep him safe from all things that threaten young children even today in our world.

If God was going to become one of us, God needed a mother so this child born to us would survive to call all into life in Christ.

Perhaps God also needed Mary to share her mother’s heart with her son.

In his Gospel, John tells us the Son reveals the Father’s heart to us, and we know from Christ and from Scripture that the heart of God beats deeply in love for us and for all creation. Jesus’ relationship with his heavenly Father was also critical to his life and ministry.

But this child also must have been deeply shaped by his mother’s love, by the heart of Mary. She who dreamed a very human dream and sang about it in Magnificat, she was the one who carried this God-child in her arms. She sang before his birth and surely after, that God would turn over the scales of the world and lift up those who were in pain, hungry, oppressed. She sang, as Hannah did a thousand years before, of her trust that God’s plan would answer humanity’s cry for help.

We know God’s Word has said the Triune God’s love for the world is vast. But we also know God hears and learns when we cry out for God’s healing, as with the Israelites in Egypt. God listens to us to learn compassion for our needs. Why wouldn’t the Son of God need to hear our human pain and longing and hope from his mother’s heart, to know us better? Why wouldn’t the Son need to learn human love the way most do, from a mother’s heart?

Is it possible God also needed a human mother to learn patience?

Mary’s song could be heard as a call to powerful revolution and intervention. Surely there are times God is tempted to simply force this world to become what God dreams it could be.

But in the Incarnation, God chose the path of letting go of power, of losing in order to win us back into the life of Christ. So God began this by learning to wait nine months just for birth, by taking the time to grow up as a human child, day by day, step by step. To live with a woman who sang of God’s restoration of all things but lived with very little power of her own to make it happen. A mother who would teach the Son of God patient waiting, and loving acting, to bring about God’s healing grace.

Someone taught Jesus that even the smallest act of love, like giving a cup of water to a child, can change the world. It’s not hard to imagine he learned that from the loving actions and patient trust of his mother. From her, the Son of God learned how to patiently trust in the planting of seeds of love rather than the blatant use of power and might.

This involves speculation, yes. but there is a truth we know as certainty, and that’s what we celebrate today.

That truth is that the almighty and Triune God, maker of all things, needed Mary in the plan to bring us life and salvation.

Choosing our sister Mary was only the first sign of God’s deeper need, that salvation will be found when all God’s children live in love of God and love of neighbor. In celebrating Mary we celebrate ourselves, that we, too, bear Christ in the world, we, too, teach God of our human hearts, and we, too, are needed in God’s plan of life for all.

Today we marvel that God needs us.

We give thanks and praise to the Triune God who crossed the barrier between us and God by humbly seeking out one of us as a mother, by trusting her for safety, and learning patience and love from her.

And Mary can teach us such patience and love, too. When we doubt that her grand vision of Magnificat will ever be reality, she reminds us God once was willing to wait nine months in her womb just to be born among us. God’s plan will take time, but it will come to pass.

When we struggle against her vision of Magnificat because we fear we are the rich, the ones who will be brought down when the lowly are raised up, she reminds us to love all with compassion and grace, and shapes our moral heart to include not just our own needs, but the needs of all God’s children and creation.

Thanks be to God for this sister who became a mother to our Lord, and so to us all. May we follow her lead, and walk Christ’s path she helps us see before us.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Better Storage Solution

Jesus invites us to be rich toward God—to let go, to give up, to reach out, and to share one's life.

Vicar Anna Helgen
   The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary 18 C
   Texts: Luke 12:13-21; Colossians 3:1-11

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you and peace, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” I have a lot in common with the farmer in this parable. But instead of building barns, I build shelves. And I should be clear here: I don’t usually build these shelves, my husband does, but I consider myself a part of the creative process.

Kurt has built wooden shelving for our shared common space when we lived in a condo building. He’s built shelves for storage in our basement. He created a beautiful gear closet, with custom drawers and shelves to fit all of our camping equipment—from tents and tarps to paddles and nalgene bottles. He just helped his dad build shelves for the garage at his new house. He’s installed at least nine shelving systems in bedroom closets, hallways, office spaces, and, most recently, at my parents’ cabin, to store our dishes. These shelves hold plates and mugs, wine glasses and serving platters, dainty ice cream bowls and pint glasses from our travels to England. When we lived with my parents briefly between moves, a friend warned my mother, “You’d better be careful because Kurt might start building shelves!”

We like well-designed, efficient storage. We’re not afraid to get rid of junky shelves in order to replace them with new, better shelves. We like to be able to find what we’re looking for and access it without having to move a bunch of boxes or go digging. Like this farmer, we love a good storage solution.

So why does Jesus tell this parable? What are we to learn from this farmer and from his choice to build a bigger and better storage solution for his grain?

On the one hand, this farmer is successful. His land has brought forth an abundance of crops and he is faced with a problem: where on earth will he store it all? There is so much grain that it cannot fit in his current barns. He needs bigger, better barns, and resolves to knock down his current barns and build new ones. It seems like the right thing to do. His storage solution wasn’t working—so he built a new one! It’s what I’d do.

But despite his success, and after deciding to build bigger and better barns, Jesus calls him a fool. It’s worth remembering here we’re in Luke’s Gospel, a gospel in which the powerful are brought down and the rich are sent away empty. Jesus doesn’t follow the rules of the world where one’s wealth is defined by the accumulation of goods, or where one’s future is secure only when retirement accounts are maxed out and one has 6 months of savings in an emergency fund. Jesus plays by the rules of the gospel. And according to the gospel, the lowly are to be lifted up and the hungry are to be filled with good things. The kingdom of God belongs to the poor, not the rich.

So yes, according to the world, the farmer is successful in that he has accumulated goods and will store them up for himself in order to secure his future. But according to the gospel, this farmer is a fool. For one, he neglects to praise God for the abundance of his harvest. His first thought is that he has a problem. A problem having too much food?! Wouldn’t a problem be having too little? He could be feeding the hungry, but he’s not.

Perhaps he doesn’t think to feed others because he is completely isolated. With no community, no family, and no friends, he has no one to consult with, no one to convince him that he’s making the wrong choice, no one to help him see differently. All he has is me, myself, and I. And unfortunately, his isolation leads him astray: his motivation for a new storage solution is all wrong. He will build bigger and better barns to store his crops so that he can eat, drink, and be merry for his future.

Poor farmer. I guess he missed the message, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.” We miss it sometimes, too. So often our greed gets in the way and we are unable to see beyond ourselves, beyond our needs, beyond our lives. We can be greedy with all kinds of things: our time, our truth, our possessions, our gifts, our money. We say, “I’ve been so busy,” as if it’s a badge of honor. We insist on our truth, even if that truth hurts others. We take credit when credit is not due, and we neglect to give it when it’s deserved.

So how can we see differently? How can we live as God intends for us to live?

What I love about parables is that they can be interpreted in all kinds of ways. And our interpretation may shift depending on what’s happening in our life, in our community, and in the world. So let’s take a look at some of the other players in this story. Perhaps Jesus invites us to consider not only the rich farmer, but also his grain and his barns.

Let’s start with the grain. The farmer’s crops. His prized goods that he stores up in barns all for himself! The parable teaches us that these goods are not meant to be stored away; they are meant to be consumed, to be shared, to provide nourishment for the other. What if we saw our lives like that? That is, after all, what it means to be a steward of one’s own life. Our responsibility is to live for the sake of the other. To be a steward of our very lives means to live as if they are not our own. Because it is actually Christ who lives in us! And Christ gives his life by emptying himself, by showing power through vulnerability, by giving himself completely for the sake of the other.

But Jesus knows that this can be challenging—that to give, give, give can be impossible, especially when we are faced with our own difficult circumstances. Sometimes we need to receive the gifts of others. And this is where we can look to the barns. The farmer’s storage solution. Consider what happens with a barn: it fills up with grain and then the grain is removed, emptied out to be made into flour. The life of a barn is about filling up and emptying. Like the shelves at my parents’ cabin that are filled with dishes, as these dishes are used, they are removed from the shelf to serve food to others. Then, after they’ve been washed and dried clean, they return to their space on the shelf. The life of a Christian is like this. It’s about emptying and filling up, about giving and receiving. And it is always done for the good of the neighbor.

This parable gets at the heart of what it means to be rich toward God. In our culture, to be rich is to acquire or accumulate wealth. But in the gospel, to be rich toward God is to let go, to give up, to reach out, and to share one’s life. It is to live as Christ lives for us, to live as though Christ is our life.

God invites us—creates us, in fact—for relationship. Just as our plates and cups aren’t meant to sit on a shelf, so are we not to be stored away, collecting dust. We’re not created to be kept for ourselves! God made us to be shared.

So don’t go collecting dust at the back of some disorganized closet.
Build yourself some better shelves.
Make yourself available—
To be seen.
To be known.
To love and to be loved.
And know that Christ dwells in your heart and gives you the freedom both to be emptied and to be filled back up again. Both to give and to receive.

Thanks be to God.
Amen.










Sunday, July 24, 2016

How Much More

Prayer is deepening in relationship with the Triune God, getting to know God’s heart truly, so we bear it faithfully into the world.

Pr. Joseph G. Crippen
   The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary 17 C
   Texts: Luke 11:1-13; Genesis 18:20-32

Sisters and brothers in Christ, grace to you, and peace in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen

It takes time to get to know someone.

Our first impressions might sometimes prove accurate, but often we’ve assumed things about people and had our assumptions profoundly changed the more we got to know them. That’s the key: the only way we understand anyone is to spend time with them.

This means being in direct contact. It’s frustrating when someone misunderstands us but talks to others about it. “Why didn’t you ask me?” we think. “I could have told you the truth.” We hope people will take the time to directly get to know us rather than assume about us. It turns out that’s what God wants, too.

Today we consider what prayer really is. We see Abraham courageously talking with God, calling God to be whom Abraham knows God is. The Son of God teaches us a model for prayer, and a parable about being persistent, and encourages us to seek God, knock, ask of God.

Nowhere is the question “does prayer work?” Instead, God’s Word today reveals prayer is all about relationship with God. Prayer is talking with God, not about God. Prayer is listening to God to learn God’s true heart. Prayer is being drawn deeper into relationship with God, closer to the heart of God for us and the world.

Abraham has spent years in relationship with God, has learned truths about God’s nature. In this encounter, where Abraham questions God’s response to human evil, we see that relationship has taught Abraham something about God many do not know. This is the prayer life we seek: that we might also have such a relationship with God, so we, too, might know God’s heart so well.

In the Hebrew Bible we see this people learn to know God better over time, and through their relationship have their understanding of God profoundly change.

Most of the archaeological evidence suggests that the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan was gradual. However, in the book of Joshua it’s described as a great conquest, whole cities burned to the ground in God’s name, every living thing killed. Believing this about their God made the Hebrews like everyone else. If your god was worth anything, it would destroy your enemies.

But as Abraham talks to God today, we see a crack appear in the Hebrew understanding of God. In the end, they interpret the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as before, as most people did: God destroyed the cities for their wickedness. Except this: they have this memory of their ancestor arguing that God’s true nature, God’s true justice, was different. There’s a hint that perhaps it is not God’s justice to destroy, that God’s justice is to offer mercy.

Later, in the story of Jonah, that crack is opened wide. Once again there is an evil city, but now God claims the right to mercy. Jonah wishes God would be a proper god and wipe these people out. But now, over centuries, Israel has learned that is not God’s true nature. Now they see God’s way is mercy and love, not vengeance.

By the prophet Hosea this revelation is complete. God cries out over the wickedness of the people, their betrayal, and announces their destruction. God’s anger is righteous, because all God has done is show love. I nursed them, God says, I taught them to walk, I loved them, and they turned against me. But then, astonishingly, God changes tack. God says, “How could I destroy my children?” And this breathtaking word: “I am God, not human.” Meaning, I don’t have to be like you. Now Israel has learned God’s true nature, mercy and restoration, not destruction. They’ve learned God is love.

And now God’s people are ready for a deeper, closer relationship with God. In person.

In Christ, the Son of God, God’s Word made flesh, we meet God face-to-face.

Prepared by centuries of deepening relationship with God, many Jews first saw in Jesus what we have come to know: in him God became one of us, and through him we are given the clearest revelation into the heart of God we have.

And in our relationship with Christ Jesus he continues to teach the true heart of God. A month ago in worship we heard Luke tell us that as Jesus and the disciples traveled, they weren’t welcomed in a Samaritan village because Jesus was a Jew. James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven on that poor little town. Jesus rebuked them. Hosea’s vision is reality: this is not God’s way.

Our path with the Incarnate One inevitably leads us to Gethsemane. Here what Abraham started to understand becomes truly clear to us. God’s response to wickedness and evil is to take it on and bear it. God’s final answer to Abraham’s plea is revealed: I will not destroy, I will forgive by taking on death myself. In this, I will bring life.

At the cross the full truth of God is revealed to us: God is a just God who shows mercy, not vengeance. A loving God who offers forgiveness, not destruction.

But each of us needs to spend time with God ourselves to learn this, to have it fully change our heart and our understanding of God’s heart. It matters so much to how we bear God in the world. That’s the ultimate goal of prayer as Jesus teaches us, as Abraham models it. Heart-to-heart life with God so we know God ever more fully, and show God’s truth in the world.

The disciples want to learn to pray for this reason, too. And Jesus first invites them into this relationship.

The prayer Jesus teaches begins with a prayer that is all about getting to know God. First, the Son of God invites us to pray to the Creator, whom we know as the first person of the Trinity, in intimate terms. “Daddy,” Father. But also to claim God’s holiness, God’s otherness from us. A relationship of intimacy, even though God is not like us.

Then, the key to all our prayer: your kingdom come. Your will be done. We are invited to pray for God’s rule to come into our lives and in the world, which will only happen when God’s will is done.

This is prayer: that we take all our lives to get to know the Triune God, so that we learn to know God’s will. Prayer begins with listening to God, Jesus teaches, getting to know God, so that then we might do God’s will. Prayer is not all speaking, Jesus says. It is also contemplation, listening for God. Listening in God’s Word. Listening in our hearts. Listening for God in others. Only then can we do God’s will in the world.

This is the beginning and ongoing heart of all prayer. Only in this life of listening are we then invited to speak, to ask, to knock.

What Jesus tells us to ask for, strangely enough, is the two requests we heard today.

We’re told to pray for daily bread, just as in Jesus’ parable, knocking on God’s door and asking for food. Luther teaches us this is not just food, but all we need for life, all we need to be satisfied and whole. Luther also teaches us we pray not just for our daily bread but for all people’s bread, that God would provide for all. Since we’ve already prayed that God’s will be done by us, we’ve also committed ourselves to making sure all receive their daily bread.

The rest of Jesus’ prayer mirrors Abraham’s prayer, praying to the Judge of all the earth for forgiveness and mercy for us and for others. Praying for salvation in times of trial. Praying for deliverance from evil. In these three things we stand with Abraham and call God to account for the mercy we have learned is God’s heart. Since we’ve already prayed that God’s will be done by us, we’ve also committed ourselves to the same mercy and forgiveness for others we ask for ourselves. We’ve committed to being with others in their time of trial, standing with others in the face of evil.

Jesus teaches us the heart of prayer is deepening into the relationship with the Triune God he has made possible for us.

And perhaps, like the Hebrew people, we are learning to know God better in such a way that we can go even further than Jesus’ invitation in this prayer. Many have found great help in praying to the One Jesus called Father, and that name shapes their prayer constantly. Many others find the face of Jesus more accessible, and their prayer becomes centered first on the Son of God.

But the same Son who taught us to pray “Father” today, also today promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we pray. This is the One whom the Son taught us to consider as our Mother, the One who gives us birth. In this Spirit we find many of the ways of God we’d normally call feminine that are named in Scripture. As we learn to know the Triune God better, perhaps we might consider if the Spirit is a more helpful entrĂ©e for some into the life of God. If Father and Son seem daunting for some, perhaps the motherly grace of the Spirit is a better way for them or for us to be drawn deeper into the fullness of God.

It is a deep grace, in fact, that in Christ we have come to know God in these three Persons, even as we trust that God is One. As we prayed in our Prayer of the Day, God is ever more willing to hear than we are to pray, and the gift of God to come to us in different ways shows that hope. A hope that our life of prayer would be the way God would draw us deeper into the truth of God’s heart. So we can live with confidence and hope. So we can be faithful in our service and life. But mostly so we can know the inexpressible joy of the love the Triune God has for us and for the world, and speak it with Abraham’s confidence, in our words and in our actions.

In the name of Jesus.  Amen

Thursday, July 21, 2016

 

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