Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shadow Dancing

Sermon preached January 23, 2011

Text: I Corinthians 1:1-9

If I were to say that I am going to say a few words about the appointment system, how many of you might know what I am going to speak about? The appointment system is not a new app for your smart phone that helps you keep track of meetings! In the United Methodist Church, the appointment system is how churches get their clergy, their pastors. Here is how it works.
Perpetual Peace United Methodist Church in Lake Wobegon had their pastor retire, so they need a new one. They don’t form a call committee and send out word that they are searching. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee contacts the District Superintendent, who represents the bishop. They have a conversation about the needs of the church. They share a church profile with the district superintendent. On a regular basis, the bishop and district superintendents for a conference, in this case, Minnesota, get together and they discuss churches that need pastors, like Perpetual Peace United Methodist Church in Lake Wobegon. They consider its hopes, its dreams, its needs and the needs of its community. They consider the pastors in the conference, especially those that might want a new appointment. Together they decide who the new pastor should be, based on the gifts and strengths of a pastor and the needs of the church, and the bishop has the final say on that matter. Now the pastor is brought to Perpetual Peace UMC to meet with the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and after that meeting either the pastor or the church can say, “We don’t think so.” The bishop has the final decision, but pastors and churches have a strong say in the matter. That, in brief, is the appointment system.
I know it well. For seven years I served as a district superintendent. I was a part of those conversations. I did have to leave the room when First UMC, Duluth was discussed six years ago. All this is to say that I am here because of my choosing, and your choosing, and, especially, because of the bishop’s choosing. I stay out of my choice and your willingness to have me stay and the bishop’s willingness to let me stay. Every year you have the opportunity to ask the bishop for a change of pastor and I have the opportunity to ask for consideration for another appointment. There are some choices here.
But beyond your choosing and my choosing and the bishop’s appointing, I think there is something else going on. Better, I think there is someone else involved. I feel called by God to be here. My choosing to stay is in response to the voice of Jesus in my life. I know all the ins and outs of the appointment system, how it works, how I got here – and I still believe that this is where I am supposed to be – at this church, in this community, at this time.
I share this not as a claim to perfection on my part – “because I am called to be here everything I do is just right.” I am not trying to say that at all. In saying that I believe, I trust, that I am called to be here as your pastor, I am saying that there is someone I need to pay attention to, to listen for, as I seek to be the pastor of this church.
Now this is not earth-shaking stuff. You would probably expect me to say things like this. Here is where it gets interesting, though. I would say the same thing about you – not that you are called to be the pastor of the church, but I think you are called to be here. I think God has something to do with your being here at this church.
If you think about it, you may find that a little odd or uncomfortable. You chose to be here. You might be able to tell me or someone else why you chose this church – obviously because you like tall, dark wavy-haired pastors. I don’t want to diminish your sense of yourself as an autonomous, choosing person. What I am posing for your consideration is that maybe some of your choosing is done in response to the voice of Jesus, the voice of God in your life.
And maybe we are all here together not just because of our own choices and the choices of bishops. Maybe we are here because of Jesus, because of the invitation, the lure, the call of God’s Spirit in our lives. Maybe we are not doing this church thing all by ourselves. Maybe we are not alone, shadow dancing without a partner.
God in Jesus is our partner in the dance of life – calling, luring, inviting. We don’t shadow dance, but have a partner to whom we respond. I believe that to be true for my life. I believe it is true for your lives. I believe it to be true for our life together here as this church.
If we believe this to be true, about our lives, if we believe that we are not here at this church just at our own whim, but in part, in response to God’s invitation and initiative, then maybe we want to ask how we can pay closer attention to this God who is our partner in the dance. In the question section of her book Christianity For the Rest of Us, Diana Butler Bass poses a doosey – “Do you believe that God has some intentions for our lives and our communities?” “Some intentions” - - - that is different from saying that there is a detailed map of what we need to do next. It is more like a dance. God initiates, we respond, God responds and so on. Certain steps will make the dance flow better. How do we figure those out?
Answering that question is to discover what we mean by “discernment.” Discernment is simply a way to speaking about listening for the voice of God, about trying to sense God’s direction or intention. Theologian Marjorie Suchocki writes,
God’s word is hidden incarnationally in the world. It is a whisper. (The Whispered Word, 6). How do we hear that whisper?
We listen. We listen to the voices we find in the Scriptures. They help us along the way. We listen to the world: facts, figures, ideas. We listen to others and to each other. Listen deeply – to words and beyond words. John Wesley called this kind of listening “holy conferencing.” Listen to our inner selves, our deepest selves. Spend some time in silence.
The end result of all of this is not a simple print out – this is God’s direction for you, for First UMC. Brazilian theologian J. B. Libanio: We are forever tempted to want to be god-like – that is, to want to know the will of God as God knows it, with that certainty and clarity that is proper only to God. We are creatures, situated in time and space, subject to all their contingencies. (Spiritual Discernment and Politics, 36). Whenever we talk about something like discernment, we need to do so with a great deal of humility. We will do our best to listen and respond, knowing that sometimes our dance with God will be awkward. But we continue to trust that we are not alone, shadow dancing.
Another theologian, Nancy Bedford, helps me again understand the complexity of our situation as we seek to listen for God’s voice. “The practice of discernment entails both following creatively in the way of Jesus Christ, and taking into account personal, social, and structural dimensions of reality.” (in Practicing Theology, 159).
We believe we are not alone, that we are not shadow dancing in this life, but have a partner in God who calls to us in Jesus. We trust that God has brought us together here to do some good, to touch some lives, to share good news. We trust that God has something in mind for us. We believe that Jesus still speaks. But unlike Peter and Andrew and James and John, we are not on the lakeshore in Galilee. There is no audible voice rising from a figure in the distance. God’s voice in Jesus is a whisper, and we are trying to pay attention in a noisy world.
Still we trust that we are not alone. We are more than shadow dancing.
***Hymnal, page 883:

We are not alone,
we live in God's world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God's presence,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Only You

Sermon preached January 16, 2011

Text: I Corinthians 1:1-9

You know you are getting older when:
• You hear snap, crackle and pop at the breakfast table and you are not eating cereal
• Your back goes out but you stay home
• When you are on vacation, your energy runs out before your money does
• It takes twice as long to look half as good
• Getting “lucky” means you found your car in the parking lot
• You find many favorite television shows on the retro tv channel

Many of my favorite television programs are programs from the past – like MASH. It is difficult to believe that the final episode of that program was aired twenty-five years ago, yet it remains a favorite.
For a comedy, the show often shared serious messages. I recall an episode in which Dr. Winchester was operating on a patient seriously wounded in battle. He worked tirelessly to save the man’s life, but could not save a damaged right hand. By the way, MASH was a television series set in an Army hospital during the Korean War. When the patient awoke, he was devastated. He told Dr. Winchester that he would rather have died than lose his hand as he was a concert pianist. Winchester works to convince the man that while his hand is lost, he retains the gift of music – it is in his head, his heart, his soul and not in his hand. He introduces him to “Concerto for the Left Hand” – a piece of music the composer Maurice Ravel composed for pianist Paul Wittgenstein who had lost his right arm during World War I.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind… so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift…. He will also strengthen you to the end. (I Corinthians 1:4-6) These are words of Paul written to a church hundreds of years ago. Today they are words spoken to you. You are recipients of God’s grace. You are gifted, not lacking in spiritual gifts. God continues to strengthen you.
You may say to yourself – me? Gifted? Yes, you - - - you are gifted, touched by God’s grace, rich in God’s gifts.
You are gifted just because of who you are. No one, no one has your combination of talents, experience, knowledge. Only you know the world the way you do. Only you see the world with your eyes. Only you touch the world with your hands. Only you bring to this moment and every moment who you are, and that is a gift.
Celebrate who you are in Jesus Christ. Celebrate the gifts of God’s grace that are strong in you. Celebrate those gifts, and dedicate yourself to using your gifts, your life, to share God’s grace, to build God’s dream for the world in Christ.
Winter for me means walking on the treadmill more often than walking outside. I like to listen to something or watch something when I walk, and this winter I continued watching the Ken Burns Baseball series I began late last winter. In the episode on the 1940s I heard again the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play professional baseball in the major leagues. I was struck by this powerful story, struck by the gifts that Jackie Robinson brought to this moment. When Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a contract, Rickey, a person of deep faith, a Methodist, grilled him – presented him with difficult situations, even screamed at him in language that Rickey would not use, just to see if Jackie Robinson could handle the pressure. Rickey asked Robinson not to fight back for three years, not to respond to racial epithets or being run into. Jackie Robinson said, “yes.” Robinson’s unique combination of athletic talent and temperament made this work. He was a strong and determined person, a person with an inner fire, but one who, for the sake of a greater cause was willing to temper his assertiveness. Jackie Robinson was a gifted person, and used his gifts to help change the world.
This past week President Barack Obama used his gifts for language and oratory, his thoughtfulness, to speak words of healing and encouragement to our hurting nation. He used his particular set of gifts to offer comfort and hope after the Tucson shootings. Only he could have done this in this way – just as Ronald Reagan used his gifts for communication after the Challenger tragedy, or Bill Clinton used his particular gifts to offer words of hope and healing after the Oklahoma City bombing, or George W. Bush after 9-11. Each of these presidents marshaled the gifts they had to a greater cause and made a difference with their words. Whatever we may think of some of their politics, in each case, they were willing to offer their best gifts to make a difference in the cause of hope at a crucial time in our country.
In the mid 1950s, Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama was searching for a new pastor. A predominantly African-American church, they had let their previous pastor, Vernon Johns, go, because they felt he was often too controversial, especially when preaching on racially-charged issues. The church sought a pastor who might be more traditional – an educated and trained pastor, more conventional and less controversial (see Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters, p. 25). They found a pastor who was near to completing his Ph.D. from Boston University. His doctoral dissertation was a comparison between the concepts of God found in the theologies of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman, and he would critique them both from the perspective of Boston University Personalism (Branch, 102). He seemed to be just who they were looking for.
When a Montgomery Black woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person in December 1955, and was arrested for it, this pastor, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. head of the Montgomery Improvement Association, led a bus boycott. It catapulted him into the national spotlight as a leading spokesperson for civil rights for African-Americans. This pastor hired because he was well-educated and trained, used his intelligence and gifts for oratory to call our nation to be better, to live up to our promise. “Now is the time to life our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children” (“I Have a Dream”). His words continue to inspire. His gifts continue to give: We must work unceasingly to uplift this nation that we love to a higher destiny to a higher plateau of compassion, to a more noble expression of humanness.
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind… so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift…. He will also strengthen you to the end.You are gifted. You are a gift. Celebrate your gifts. Listen to your calling. Your calling is to offer who you are in each moment to the grace of God and the work of God in the world. Most of our moments won’t thrust us into the spotlight of history like a President, like a Jackie Robinson, like a Martin Luther King, Jr. But without the countless players in Negro League baseball, Jackie Robinson would not have had a place to first play the game professionally. The civil rights movement required countless people most unknown beyond their community, their neighborhood, to press the nation forward. We must not look at the gifts of a Robinson or a King and say ours are not enough. God has given us the gifts we have to use for good. Only you have your set of gifts and experiences to share in the moments that are yours alone – and the greatest gift you have is the gift of your very self.
Celebrate your gifts with gratitude. Help others celebrate their gifts. Hone your gifts, develop the gifts of God in you. Share your gifts with the world to make it kinder, gentler, more caring, more just. Only you can do what you can do, and I give thanks to God always for the grace of God that has been given you in Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wet and Ready

Sermon preached January 9, 2011

Texts: Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17

So when was the time in your life when you felt dirtiest? I don’t want to let your imaginations run wild. I am talking here about physically dirty, muddy, sweaty. I remember what it was like when I was pastor in Roseau, my first pastorate. The church operated a food stand during the county fair, and I remember what it was like after a day of frying hamburgers. Grease all over, and when you went into the shower the water would first bead up on you before you got enough soap on to cut through the grease. I also remember youth mission trips I lead as a youth pastor in Dallas. I developed a tradition of not shaving for about a week before the trip, and I had some work clothes that I would put on each day. Why get a lot of different shirts so dirty? By the end of the week, well, things were a little rugged. I did shower every day, but a lot of these trips were in South Texas in July and by the end of the week, that last day, the shirt could practically walk by itself and I looked a little rough myself.
When you have those experiences, and then you get all cleaned up, have you ever said, “Now I feel like myself again.”?
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan, to be baptized. Every year, around this time, if we are reading the Scriptures on the ecumenical lectionary, that three-year cycle of readings that many mainline churches use, we read the story of the baptism of Jesus. And every now and again, it is good for us to use this story as a way to think about the place of baptism in our faith, and that’s what we are going to do together.
Martin Luther once said, “Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes our whole lives to complete” (quoted in Robinson and Wall, Called To Be Church, 159). Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes our whole lives to complete. I think he is right, but what is it about baptism that makes it so?
At baptism we acknowledge certain realities.
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world and repent of your sin?
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves? Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the church which Christ has opened to all people?
At baptism we acknowledge that our lives get mucked up. We get caught in patterns of living that don’t enhance life. We do things that hurt others, and we are afraid to admit it and so muck our lives up even more. We distort our relationship with the world because we fail to see it more truthfully instead clinging to convenient truths which are not very true. The words in the baptismal vows are stark – spiritual forces of wickedness, evil powers of this world, evil, injustice, oppression. Maybe they need to be so we see our muddied condition more accurately. We have not necessarily been violent, but most of us have probably mishandled anger. We have not participated in lynchings or genocide, but we may have disliked someone just because of how they looked, or where they came from or who they loved.
At baptism we acknowledge that our lives get mucked up and muddied. We need to turn, to be washed, to accept grace. Waters of baptism symbolize the cleansing effects of God’s grace in Jesus, the cleansing effects of determining to live differently – to accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice and oppression. Given new birth through water and the Spirit, we feel like ourselves again. For in a way, that is what baptism symbolizes, the washing away of the dust, muck and mud in our lives so we can feel like ourselves again, be ourselves again. Ancient Christian thinker St. John of Karpathos wrote in words of encouragement to monks in India, “Through repentance a person regains their true splendor, just as the moon after the period of waning clothes itself once more in its full light” (Philokalia, I, 299)
Last week I said: We carry light within to light the world a little bit. We carry within the light of kindness, the light of caring, the light of compassion, the light of forgiveness, the light of joy, the light of peace, the light of love. We do, and sometimes our light gets muddied, sometimes by our own doing, and we need to brighten it again. Baptism represents that need for finding ourselves again, for claiming our light again. In the waters of baptism, experienced once, but continually washing over us, we come to feel like ourselves again, be ourselves again. We hear God saying to us, “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have given my spirit. I have taken you by the hand and kept you.” (Isaiah 42)
Part of the work of completing our baptism is seeking to rediscover who we are in God again and again. It is seeking forgiveness. It is seeking on-going renewal. It is seeking a deepening of our faith. Sometimes that may mean washing the dust off a faith we have set aside as a part of our childhood. Our faith needs to grow with us as we grow.
But there is a second part to completing our baptism, I think. We are water-washed to get back into the muck and mire of life. Here I am shifting my metaphors, but good images speak with multiple voices. You see, we don’t simply get all washed and clean, and feel like ourselves again to look nice and shiny. God calls us to stand with others whose lives may still be stuck in the mud, who have not yet discovered the light of God within them, who are suffering from evil, injustice and oppression.
At some level, Jesus really did not need to be baptized by John. The story of his baptism has that awkwardness about it, John hesitating to baptize. Yet he gets baptized. He joins with humanity, becomes a part of the human project, enters the streams of human history. In a powerful prayer, Sheri Brown writes about the baptism of Jesus. Jesus goes into the Jordan River to be baptized by John. A muddy river where crowds had bathed and been baptized, a dirty river full of scraps and waste, fish bones from lunch and yesterday’s sweat, soured dreams and bitter tears. Jesus immersed himself in all of this – the muck of life.
We are washed in the waters of baptism, filled with God’s Spirit and discover our light, not to remain removed from the world, but to work with God to change the world. Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have given my spirit and they will bring forth justice to the nations…. I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, form the prison those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 42) In baptism we rediscover who we are, that we are loved by God and that we are to share that love.
Desmond Tutu and his daughter Mpho write in their book Made For Goodness, “living our goodness is our way of testifying that we know ourselves to be perfectly loved by God” (35). Among the stories they share about living goodness is a story from South Africa, the story of Mrs. Maphosela. Mrs. Maphosela is a middle-aged woman who began taking children into her home as their parents sickened and died of HIV/AIDS. First one dying mother and then another asked her to take their child in. After a time, children were simply left on her doorstep because of her reputation for providing loving care. Her three-room house is home to twenty children ages 18 months to 18 years. Some of the children are themselves infected by HIV, most, thankfully, are not. Women from the neighborhood volunteer to help. The older children help take care of the younger. Mrs. Maphosel used to take all her children to church by way of taxi, but that became cumbersome so now a deacon comes to lead worship in her home.
This is a woman who has immersed herself in the muddy waters of life to share God’s light and love and goodness, her light and love and goodness too.
Baptism is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes our whole lives to complete. We continue to renew ourselves in God’s love, growing, refreshing our lives, rediscovering who we are in Christ. Knowing more deeply who we are we enter again into the muddy streams of humanity to bring light, to be light, to offer cleansing and renewal and hope.
In baptism we come to know ourselves as God’s wet and ready people. Amen.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Sermon preached January 2, 2011

Texts: Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12

Once upon a time, a kind and beautiful queen gave birth to a lovely daughter whose complexion was fair, whose cheeks were rosy and whose hair was a beautiful black. She was named Little Snow White. Unfortunately, the queen died, and after a time, her husband, the king, married another.
This woman, too, was beautiful, but on the outside only. Inside she was so proud and haughty that she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by anyone. She possessed a wonderful mirror which could answer her when she stood before it and said-
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, Who is the fairest of all?" The mirror answered-
"You, O Queen, are the fairest of all," and the Queen was contented, because she knew the mirror could speak nothing but the truth. But as time passed on, Little Snow-White grew more and more beautiful, until when she was seven years old, she was as lovely as the bright day, and still more lovely than the Queen herself, so that when the lady one day asked her mirror- "Mirror, mirror upon the wall, Who is the fairest fair of all?"
it answered- "O Lady Queen, though fair you be, Snow-White is fairer far to see."
The Queen was horrified, and from that moment envy and pride grew in her heart like rank weeds.
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage. "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greatest king of all?” “Powerful, Herod, are you now, but another light has come to call!” Herod, like the vain Queen in Snow White, is horrified, and envy and anxiety would grow in his heart like rank weeds. We read more of that sad story last Sunday. Here we have only the beginnings of Herod’s scheming.
And the focus here is less on Herod than on this new life, the new birth, Jesus. A light has come into the world. This light has never been completely absent. God never abandons the world, but the good news of Christian faith is that in Jesus, the light of God shines with a particular brightness.
Like the wise men, we are drawn to this light. Christians are those who see the light of God shine brightest in Jesus the Christ. He is our good news. His light illumines our lives, giving us hope, showing us a way, energizing us.
We see the light of Christ. We meet him and we encounter the light. Like the wise men, we see the light of Christ and return to our lives – “they left for their own country by another road.” Our lives go on, but we are changed by our encounter with the light. The poet T. S. Eliot helps put this into words with two of his poems. He wrote a poem inspired by this Bible story called “The Journey of the Magi” in which he penned these lines: We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,/but no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,/with an alien people clutching their gods. We encounter the light, and we are changed, sometimes uncomfortable in the world – uncomfortable with hunger and violence and injustice and cruelty and indifference. In another of his poems, Eliot helps me understand this change in our lives because we have encountered the light of Christ. “Little Gidding”: With the drawing of the Love and the voice of this Calling//We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time. In the light of Christ we can see our lives and the world more truthfully.
The wise men followed a light, encountered the light of Christ, and returned to their own country a different way, made different by their encounter with the light of Christ. They carried some of that light back with them, inside of them.
Christians are those who see the light of God shine brightest in Jesus the Christ. He is our good news. While one part of Christian faith and life is to proclaim where we have encountered light and love and life – that is, in Jesus, another part of Christian faith and life is to claim our light, let our light shine, let Christ shine in us and through us. “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Again, an Eliot poem helps me put words to this. Therefore we thank Thee for our little light, that is dappled with shadow. (Chorus X from “The Rock”) We have light within, sometimes dappled with shadow, but we have light to share with the world.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who shines brightest of them all? Jesus shines brightest as we see, but shines his light through you and me.
Lisel Mueller writes this lovely poem about the light of the sky pouring itself into her some mornings. She goes on: But the plot/calls for me to live,/be ordinary, say nothing/to anyone. Inside the house/the mirrors burn when I pass. (“There Are Mornings”) When we see ourselves as Jesus sees us, as God creates us, even as we live our ordinary lives, the mirrors burn when we pass – mirror, mirror on the wall.
Abbot Lot went to see Abbot Joseph. ”Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and according as I am able I strive to cleanse my heart of bad thoughts: now what more should I do? Joseph rose up in reply, stretched out his hands to the heavens, and his fingers became lamps of fire. He said, “Why not become all flame?” (in Kathleen Norris, Dakota, 123. From Thomas Merton, Wisdom of the Desert Fathers)
We carry light within to light the world a little bit. We carry within the light of kindness, the light of caring, the light of compassion, the light of forgiveness, the light of joy, the light of peace, the light of love. We have encountered the light in Christ, and we are different. Our lights are kindled. The mirrors burn when we pass. Why not become all flame?
Last Christmas music story for this season. Since we have a long Christmas music season at my house, I try and scope out some new music each year, stuff that I might particularly like. This year I discovered a beautiful Christmas song written and sung by Sheryl Crow – “There is a Star That Shines Tonight.” Tonight my Christmas wish will be for all to heed the call: Peace on Earth and in our hearts, Let love ring out, ring near and far, And lift the weary and the weak, And keep you near on Christmas eve, There is a star that shines tonight.
Arise, shine for your light has come. Heed the call. Let love ring out, near and far. Lift the weary and the weak.
Arise, shine, for you carry light, you are light – light for a weary world, light of kindness, compassion, caring, reconciliation, peace, joy, love.
Arise, shine, let the mirrors burn when you pass, burn brightly with Christ’s light in you. Aspire to become all flame. Amen.