Why did you doubt? Why do you believe?

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

I Kings 19:9-18

Romans 10:5-15

Matthew 14:22-33

 

After this whole ordeal with the terrified disciples assuming Jesus is a ghost and Peter’s failed water-walk, Jesus asks, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I usually read this question as rhetorical. I had thought that Jesus wasn’t genuinely interested in why Peter and the gang couldn’t bring themselves to trust him. I often hear this as another way of Jesus saying, “You messed up big time! Next time, trust me!”

What if the question isn’t rhetorical? What if Jesus is actually inviting Peter, the 11, you, and me to reflect on why we doubt? Why was it that despite their years of knowing each other and laboring together, the disciples see Jesus and assume he is a ghost rather than their lord and savior? Why was it that Peter couldn’t stay afloat on his water walk despite being in the presence of the Christ who commands the seas and storms? Continue reading

Our Perfect Wounded Healer

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 55:1-5

Romans 9:1-5

Matthew 14:13-21

They just got the terrible news. Jesus’ disciples had just heard the gruesome tale of how John the Baptist was beheaded at a dinner party. They all had known John to varying degrees. John was a co-laborer in the Gospel and though their paths only occasionally crossed, John and his disciples and Jesus and his disciples were risking their lives everyday healing God’s people and proclaiming the nearness of God’s kingdom. Some of Jesus’ disciples had even been baptized by John. But soon the disciples thought about their teacher, Jesus. Jesus knew John his entire life. They were related not only by mission, but they were related by blood. You know how it is when someone you love just received terrible news and you have no idea what to say other than, “I’m so sorry.” The disciples were walking on eggshells. They could do nothing more than give Jesus some space to grieve. Jesus also gives the disciples some space to grieve. Together, they set aside a time of rest and prayer. Then the crowds show up with all of their needs. Some of them are sick, some of them are hungry, some of them have friends and family thrown into prison, some of them are painfully alone, some of them have lost all hope. They are all in deep pain and deep need. The disciples of Jesus see this crowd coming with all their problems and now they need to be fed. Thousands and thousands of hungry people gather around Jesus and his disciples. Their need and their pain are too great for us to fill and to heal.  We need a break and we don’t have enough to go around. “Send them away,” they plead with Jesus.

We have nothing here but five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s it. We’re running on fumes here, Jesus. We’ve got no energy and if we did, we don’t have the materials to make a meal happen. Just send them away. Give yourself a break too.

Anyone feel like the disciples right now? Do you feel like your body and your heart have been ground down to practically nothing and yet you are still needed to give for the sake of others? We’ve experienced our own share of fear and pain these past several months. 

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The Burden that is Heavy and Light

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Zechariah 9:9-12

Romans 7:15-25a

Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

 

Jesus says, “Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest… Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Are you kidding me, Jesus? After the last month of his teachings on discipleship, my first thought and maybe yours too, is “how dare you!” How could Jesus say that his yoke is easy and his burden is light? He’s talking out of both sides of his mouth! Over the last month, we have listened to teaching after teaching from Jesus in which he warns his disciples how terrible and how heavy the burden of being a disciple is.

He said, “I am sending you like sheep among wolves.” Jesus announces that this mission he sends us on is going to cause us to make enemies- even within our own family- children and parents against one another, siblings against one another. He says that the message we proclaim about God’s Kingdom drawing near will be ignored by some, and for others they will get so angry that we will be hopping from town to town fleeing for our lives. The kicker of it all is when Jesus sums up the mission, “Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

That doesn’t sound like an easy yoke and a light burden to me. It sounds like a very heavy yoke and a miserable burden.

As strange as it may seem, the burden of proclaiming God’s kingdom and carrying the cross of Christ is light and it is easy precisely because it is so heavy and it is so difficult. The burden is light because the cross is so heavy with mercy. The burden is light because the cross is so heavy with justice. The burden is light because the cross is so heavy with abundant life. Continue reading

God Has Made A Home Here

Second Sunday after Pentecost

Exodus 19:2-8a

Romans 5:1-8

Matthew 9:35-10:23

Jesus looked at the people and he had compassion for them. They were harassed and helpless- they were neglected, they were pushed down, they were suffering. And Jesus had compassion. This compassion was not just a passing thought. This was not a Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial that makes us feel guilty for a quick second and then we forget about it at the next commercial for a mattress sale. Jesus felt this compassion deep in his gut. This is the kind of deep compassion that makes you nauseous, this is the kind of deep compassion that stings your eyes with tears. 

Jesus had seen the suffering crowds. He saw people who were sick, alone, and hurting. He saw what little compassion the neighbors of these suffering persons had. And it made him sick. He saw a paralyzed man brought to Jesus by his friends. When Jesus healed him, some leaders refused to rejoice at this miracle, but instead chose to nit-pick about whether or not Jesus was also entitled to offer a word of forgiveness. It’s this kind of callousness in face of suffering that makes Jesus sick. It is this suffering that moves him to compassion.

Jesus sees the suffering crowds today and has compassion on them today. Jesus sees the hundreds of thousands of people who have died and who will die from COVID-19 and his stomach lurches. Jesus sees the “essential workers” risking their lives for $8 per hour and tears sting his eyes. Jesus sees the countless black and brown lives that are treated as disposable fuel for an empire they themselves have been locked out of, and Jesus has compassion. Continue reading

Enduring Through Hope

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 17:22-31

I Peter 3:13-22

John 14:15-21

 

Helen was tough as nails. She was a 68 year old nurse, with calloused hands and skin covered in tattoos. She didn’t mince words and she always said what she meant. She swore like a sailor and she never tried to reign it in… even in front of her pastor. When her adult daughter started dating someone she thought was no good for her, she told her… loudly. There was a time when her daughter’s boyfriend was yelling at her daughter from outside her house and quick as lightning, Helen got up, swung open the door, got in this boy’s face, and told him to beat it before she got really angry. He took off running. I love Helen. She knew what was important to her and she would fight tooth and nail to protect what and whom she loved.

A few months after I met her, Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent several months of chemotherapy until the disease went into remission. About half a year later, she got news that she now had lung cancer. Again, she endured chemotherapy and after a few months of treatment, the cancer had gone into remission. But just two months after that she started getting pounding headaches. She went to the hospital and after some tests she was told that she had brain cancer. 

I went to visit Helen in the hospital after she received this diagnosis. The fight in her was practically gone. She looked tired and defeated. Every time I had visited her during those other bouts of cancer, she would declare boldly why she wanted to survive. She wanted to make it to her next birthday. She wanted to make sure her husband, Denny, was going to be OK. She wanted to make sure her daughter was going to be OK. This time, I think she knew how serious her situation was. I think she knew that she wasn’t going to survive this time. Even knowing that, she said to me, “Pastor, I know my time is up, but I just want to make it a little longer. My daughter, Angela, is pregnant. I want to see my grandchild before I go.” Helen did live to see her grandson born, but about a month later she died. 

Helen was tough as nails. She wanted to have control in her life and fought hard to keep it so. When she had no choice but to endure her suffering, she endured with hope. She held on to hope to see her grandson and to make sure her family was OK before she died. Even when she knew that death was inevitable for her, she held onto the hope that God was going to welcome her into eternal life and that God was going to abide with her family when she was gone. It was only hope that kept Helen strong while she was fighting for her life and it was only hope that gave her peace when she finally gave her life into God’s hands.

The author of I Peter encourages the people of God to have hope in the midst of fear and suffering. It is only faithful hope in God’s goodness and mercy that will allow us to endure the hardships we face now. In the time this letter was written, Christians were ridiculed and shamed by the population at large and many were afraid that these hostilities would only grow. In the years following the writing of this letter, Christians were exiled, imprisoned, and executed for their faith in Jesus and their resistance to the Roman Empire. In the midst of these great fears, the author of I Peter encourages the church to “not be intimidated but in your hearts sanctify Christ as lord.” The church can only endure fear and suffering when we are filled with hope. We are people of hope and by hope we hold fast to the promises of Jesus. Jesus promised that he would never leave or forsake us. Jesus promised that he would never leave us orphaned and alone. Jesus promised to be with us always to the end of the age. Continue reading

We Had Hoped

Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

I Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

“We had hoped he was the one…” To me, these are the most heartbreaking words in all Scripture. And it all comes down to that one little word, “had.” We had hoped… The implication is that Cleopas and his traveling companion once had hope within them, but now there is nothing. No more hope. They are finished with hope.

These two disciples of Jesus are completely heartbroken and hopeless. Grief and trauma has devastated them. Their friend, their Lord, their savior, had been cruelly tortured, murdered, and his corpse was laid in a stone tomb only a week earlier. As they journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, the disciples are greeted by a new traveling companion who is none other than Jesus himself. Yet, we read that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” The text is ambiguous as to why they do not recognize Jesus. Were their eyes unable to recognize Jesus because he used some sort of supernatural power to conceal his identity? Or maybe it is much simpler than that. Perhaps they couldn’t recognize Jesus because without hope, their eyes could not accept the reality of Jesus’ presence among them. Without hope, they are certain that Jesus of Nazareth whom they had hoped would save them was dead. It is more preposterous to them to believe that Jesus whom they are looking upon is alive and raised from the dead, than to deny what they see and accept that Jesus is dead and this traveling companion is someone else entirely.

Even though they cannot recognize him, Jesus plays along. When the two disciples ask this apparent stranger if he really hasn’t heard about the terrible things that have taken place in Jerusalem the past week, Jesus innocently asks, “What things?”

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Love is Enough

Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14

I Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

 

Is love enough? Is love powerful enough to change the world?

On this Maundy Thursday, Jesus commands us, his disciples, “I give you a new commandment, that you lvoe one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is Jesus’ final address to his disciples and as such, we have to ask, “Is this advice going to cut it?” Will it be enough to get us through the challenges and the dangers that lie ahead? Is love enough when it comes to overcoming disagreements and schisms, persecution, war, poverty, disease and death? Is love powerful enough to overcome the power of greed, violence, and fear?

Was love enough when Jesus was betrayed by Judas? Was love enough when Jesus was denied by Peter? Was love enough when the rest of his friends and disciples abandoned him? Was love enough when Jesus was arrested by the soldiers? Was love enough when Jesus was humiliated and beaten? Was love enough when Jesus was crucified? Was love enough when Jesus was killed?

Yes. We know, with hope beyond comprehension and faith beyond reason, that love was and always is enough.

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Christ Marches for You

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11

 

Palm Sunday is a day all about the parade and if I am being honest, I haven’t always liked parades. As a member of the marching band, I had to march in parades throughout my junior high and high school years. I also played the sousaphone- that 35 pound brass tuba beast that you’re supposed to wear like a Miss America sash. We marched in the Memorial Day parade and I hated it. Without fail, the weather was always unseasonably hot, the parade route was long, and I was hauling around a monstrous hunk of brass while wearing a wool uniform in late May. We marched in the Saint Patty’s Day parade and I hated doing that too. For five years in a row it was frigid and rainy. In the heat and in the cold, year after year, I asked myself, “Why am I even doing this? What’s the point?”

Well, there was usually a reason. For the Memorial Day parade, we were marching in honor and respect of people who have been killed in war and when on the parade route I saw the weathered faces of our local American Legion branch- faces that no doubt saw the deaths of friends in war- I felt a little bit less sorry for myself for sweating in that parade. We were marching for those they had lost demonstrating that even in death, we remember their lives.

Saint Patty’s Day was another story though. I honestly am still not sure why we marched in that parade. In honor of the saint I guess, but in practice we stood in the cold rain for hours so drunk attendees could try to throw their plastic beer cups in the bell of my sousaphone or toss green jell-o shots to our band director (who laughed at this but declined the offering). I still struggle to find the greater purpose in that parade.

A good parade, however, has a good purpose. A good parade shows honor or respect to a person or an ideal. A good parade takes a stand against a wrong or an injustice. A good parade reminds us that the pain of the past is never greater than our hope for the future. 

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Disorienting Temptations

First Sunday in Lent

Our theme for this Lent is Holy Disorientation and there is plenty of that to go around! Each week, we are together looking at the many ways God disrupts our expectations and our routines to make something new and holy. And we are off to a heck of a start beginning with how Jesus gets some holy disorientation and how his holy disorientation in turn disorients us!

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist and as he comes out of the water the heavens are opened and God’s voice from Heaven declares, “This is my Son, the beloved. With whom I am well pleased.” You’d think that things would be all downhill from there, right?. After such a powerful display and definitive confirmation of Jesus’ identity as Messiah and Son of God, you’d think word would spread about the truth of who Jesus is, his message would be easily accepted by everyone, there’d be peace on earth, and we all go home. The End. But no. God’s Holy Spirit has other plans. The Holy Spirit immediately casts Jesus out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights. God interrupts what we think should happen next and brings some holy disorientation to our Lord. In the wilderness Christ is tested and at the end of it the very nature of the salvation he brings is shaped and revealed to us.

The same is true in our Baptism. After you are baptized you might logically conclude that everything ought to be downhill from there. You’ve been named and claimed by God, made into God’s family, and saved from the power of Sin and Death. No more worries, right? But instead God is just beginning the disorientation. Like Jesus, we continue to face temptations every moment after our baptism. We are faced with temptations to believe that we need to secure our own power and earn salvation for us and the world, rather than trust that God has and is indeed saving the world. After our Baptisms, we as the Church face trials that will define who we are as the church and what shape our ministry will take- just like Jesus did.

Jesus is tempted three times by Satan. First, he is tempted to turn stones into bread so he might satisfy his immediate hunger. Second, he is tempted to leap off the Temple so he can be caught by God’s angels and use a spectacle to prove his identity as Messiah. Third, he is tempted to receive authority over all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for a bit of worship to the devil. In short, all three things are about one thing- Power. The question that Jesus and we face is, “Will we live for ourselves and seek power to right the world on our terms or will we give of ourselves for the world and trust that God is at work in our weakness?”

I love a good movie villain. For me (Pastor) a good, compelling villain with a relatable motivation can make or break a movie or a book for me. The best villains desperately want to do good in the world- not evil. There is a comedy in which a supervillain, Dr. Horrible, says, “This world is a mess and I just need to rule it.” If we’re being honest, our natural inclination is to be like Dr. Horrible. We see the mess of the world and we want to be in charge to rule it and set it right. We all want the world to be a better, more just, more beautiful place, but we often believe that the best way to do that is to destroy our enemies and make the world right by sheer force of will.

Christ faced this test three times. Jesus was going to save the world one way or another, but the question in the wilderness was, “How was he going to do it?” Was Jesus going to align himself with the poor, the weak, the despised, the sinners, and those facing death? Or was Jesus going to align himself with absolute power? Jesus could have taken the devil up on any of his offers and taken the familiar path of making disciples and sharing the Good News of God’s grace through compulsion. Jesus could have turned stones to bread and made his focus on feeding himself before feeding others, but instead, Jesus fed 5,000 people by multiplying and sharing loaves and fishes for hungry crowds. Jesus could have leapt from the Temple and wowed everyone into following him promising more Evel Knievel stunts to keep the excitement high, but instead he subjected himself to ridicule and death and he was lifted up on a cross instead of a Temple. Jesus could have received authority over the kingdoms of the world in exchange for a little worship of Satan and he could have avoided the tough way of the Cross, but instead Christ lovingly served prostitutes, sinners, tax collectors, outcasts, and all the rest until finally he gave his life on the Cross and rose again. Jesus faced his temptations and in so doing he chose to save the world not through dominion and might, but through self-giving and compassionate love.

The church has faced and continues to face the same test. We continue the work of Jesus as his disciples so the the mission is the same- share the Good News of God’s love and mercy that defeats sin and death. The only question is how will we do it?

Are we willing to be divinely disoriented and reoriented in this test? Will we choose power or service? Will we choose the way of the Cross or the way of the sword? Will we glorify and celebrate violence or will we humbly work for peace? Will we prioritize self-security or will we boldly share generous compassion and welcome? With election season coming up we need to ask ourselves if we will vote primarily out of our own self-interests or will we vote in the interests of our most vulnerable neighbors? Will we be ruled by fear or hope? Will we choose the way of death of self for the life of others or will we choose the way of life for self and death for others?

We face a difficult test. Since the Garden of Eden we’ve wanted to make ourselves the boss. We’ve wanted to be like God and make ourselves the judge over good and evil. We’ve coveted God’s power to shape the world to our will. But in the midst of these sinful desires, God breaks in and disorients us. That disorientation comes in many forms- a conversation with someone who has known the pain of being imprisoned, a word from Scripture that pierces our heart, or a splash of baptismal water that reminds us we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection. 

Christ himself was disoriented by God’s Holy Spirit to define his mission. He chose self-giving love over awe-inspiring, dominating power. And he chose that love- that cross, so we and all the world might be saved. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Roller Coaster

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 9:1-4

I Corinthians 1:10-18

Matthew 4:12-23

roller coaster

How many of you remember the first time you ever went on a roller coaster? That first time on a roller coaster tends to bring out a proverbial roller coaster of emotions. There is a moment of anticipation, of heightened anxiety and fear- a moment of expectation. It happens when the roller coaster begins its ascent. You get strapped into your seat, the ride operator reminds you to “please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times,” and then you go up. The car jolts forward, you are angled upward, and the clanking chain slowly, slowly pulls you higher and higher. Everything below you gets smaller and the rest of the roller coaster track finally comes into view. You can see the steep initial descent, you can see the hairpin curves, you can see the loop-the-loops. And what do you feel in that moment? Do you feel excitement? Do you feel fear? Do you feel regret? 

 

Life is a lot like a roller coaster. There is often a build up of anticipatory energy and expectation, until finally gravity does what it does best and you are pulled into the track of life. When you finally crest that hill and you are about to descend you might feel a bit of excitement, fear, or even regret.

 

The story of Jesus is a bit of a roller coaster ride. At this point in the story of Jesus, we have been building up to the big drop. Bit by bit we have been climbing up a hill of anticipation and expectation. We begin with the family tree of Jesus remembering where Jesus’ blood famiily came from and how God remained faithful to Jesus’ people generation after generation. God was with King David and King Solomon in their faithfulness and unfaithfulness. But God also lifted up and used the gifts of outsider, non-Jewish,and those whom some would consider “unsavory”-  women like Tamar (who was accused of prostitution), Rahab (who was non-Jewish and operated either an inn or a brothel), Ruth (who was non-Jewish), Bathsheba (whose husband was killed by King David when he got her pregnant out of wedlock), and Mary (who was a peasant girl found to be pregnant before marriage). Jesus’ lineage anticipates how the salvation of God is proclaimed and enacted through unlikely, overlooked, and often maligned persons.

 

Jesus is born in Bethlehem and visited by the non-Jewish stargazers called Magi showing that the salvation of God that Jesus brings is for all the people of the world, not just a select few. King Herod hears of this Messiah King’s birth and orders the slaughter of all the children in Bethlehem showing that the salvation of God will often upset and threaten the unjust powers of this world. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist showing that Christ comes to be with us in life and death, and that he is beloved by God. Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by the devil and three times he rejects the temptation to use his power and authority to serve himself, but instead we are shown that the salvation of God is enacted through self-giving love and service.

 

As Jesus prepares to embark on his ministry, the anticipation rises as bit by bit he ascends higher and higher to the crest of that roller coaster ministry. From that anticipatory height, we see the tracks ahead- God empowering the outcast and despised, God bringing salvation to all the world, the challenge and opposition of proclaiming Christ as King, the solidarity of Christ who dwells among us, and Christ giving his whole life for others and not glorifying himself. Now, Jesus is at the top of the hill. His car is just a moment from speeding down the hill of ministry. From that vantage point, Jesus knew what lay ahead of him- the countless needy people who were sick, poor, hurting, mourning or lost; the opposition to his teaching on grace and mercy; the abandonment of his friends; his suffering; his death; his rising from the grave. What do you think Jesus felt as he gazed down that steep decline, the hairpin turns, and the loops? Was he scared or was he confident? Was he excited or was he worried? Was he hopeful or was he lost?

 

We at Saint John’s are at the top of our roller coaster hill too. It has taken a long time for our car to be tugged up to the top of this hill and we have anticipated this moment for a long time. Over 150 years ago Saint Johannis was founded by a group of faithful Christians who wanted to serve and worship God together. In seeking to follow this call to serve and worship, our congregation moved to this neighborhood in Mayfair. We have seen many beloved pastors, musicians, teachers, and leaders offer their gifts. We have seen many changes over the years with the goal of remaining faithful and proclaiming the love of God in word and in deed. Generations of Sunday School teachers offered wisdom and kindness. The preschool was opened. Women were ordained. LGBTQ persons were ordained. Lay leaders served the church on Council, Ministry Teams, property work, and more. 

 

In those 150 years the world has changed too. Our neighborhood exploded in population. Immigrants from all over the world now call our neighborhood home. Poverty is on the rise, housing is insecure, hunger is a perennial issue, and systemic and personal racism continually rears its ugly head. Our membership and worship attendance exploded 60 years ago, but now is at a fraction of where it used to be. Church as an institution is often viewed by others as either a quaint, irrelevant organization or it is characterized as a hateful, hippocratic, self-righteous club. The injustices and sin of this world often seem too great to overcome and the people and tools of the church seem too small to meet the need.

 

So how do we feel at the top of this hill? How do we feel as we await that moment when we plummet toward the earth and into its hairpin curves and its frightful loops? Are we scared we won’t make it? Are we regretting that we ever got on this ride? Are we excited to see what happens next?

 

Jesus was at the top of his roller coaster hill when he gets word that his coworker in the gospel, his cousin, and his friend, John the Baptist, has been arrested. What was Jesus feeling in that moment? Was he excited to go down that hill? Was Jesus, fully human and full of compassion, feeling anger? Fear? Did he regret that he ever got on this ride? It is at this point that Jesus crests the hill. It is now that Jesus goes down the roller coaster hill of ministry. It is time. Injustice that imprisons and condemns to death the innocent, like John, will not be tolerated. Christ has come to proclaim the Good News of God for everyone who is burdened by Bad News of sin, injustice, and death, and he has come to proclaim it now. He has come to set the captive free, to bring light where there is shadow, and to bring life where there is death.

 

What did Christ do when he descended this roller coaster of ministry? He trusted the salvation tracks that God had laid long ago. Jesus continues to proclaim the same message that John the Baptist had proclaimed, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven has drawn near!” Like John the Baptist and Moses and Mary and the prophets who had gone before him, Jesus announces in his words, in his healings, and in his self-giving love, that God is coming into this world and the world will not remain the same. Jesus announces that we must repent, that is, have faith and trust that God is making right the wrongs of this world and that we get to witness and live into that Good News. The other thing Jesus does, is he gathers friends and coworkers in this roller coaster journey. He calls fishers to fish for people. He gathers his followers to teach them about God’s love, to support and challenge their faith, to love them, and to ask that they love him too.

 

We are on the same tracks and the same roller coaster of salvation as Jesus. So what do we do when we crest the hill and see the steep decline into the world’s injustices, pain, sin, and death? We do the same thing Jesus did. We trust the tracks that God has laid out long ago. We trust in the stories of God’s faithfulness and mercy found in Scripture and we hold on to the tradition and songs of the saints who have gone before us and witnessed to God’s love and power. We also do not ride alone. We ride with coworkers and friends in the Gospel. Sitting in adjoining cars, we encourage one another, we face our fears together, and we rejoice in the ride together.

 

We are at the top of the roller coaster tracks and looking down at the loops, steep declines, and hairpin turns of our future as the Church. We see the steep bends of fighting for justice in a broken world, we see the loops of church survival and the call to faithfully root in our communities, we see the hairpin turns of how we are called to serve, worship, teach, and invite in a changing world. It is OK to be scared.

 

But we do not ride alone. God has given us each other as co-riders of the Gospel journey and our track is secure. God has been faithful and laid the tracks of mercy, kindness, justice, forgiveness, and abundant life that we get to ride into the future.

 

Christ rode this track too and so we can be sure that the ride is right and our journey is secure.