Sermon: What do you do with Good News?

What do you do with Good News?

Luke 4:21-30

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This morning as we rest in God’s word, I would like us to spend a some time meditating on the theme, What do you do with Good News? We heard in the text today that there were several reactions to the Good News Jesus brought – so let is ask, What do you do with good news?

Let us pray…

Today our gospel lesson pick up right where it left off last week. Last we we met Jesus filled with the power of the Spirit coming into his home congregation – the church of his childhood. News had been spreading about what he was saying and doing around Galilee, but now, finally he had come home. 
We don’t know what all he was doing before he arrived home, but once he gets there he is invited by the preacher to say a few words. So, he reads from the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” he reads. “He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed. To proclaim Jubilee – the year of the Lord’s favor.” These are the first words of Jesus’ ministry as recorded by Luke. He reads from the prophet and reminds the people gathered that God’s promises are not fleeting. There will be a day when their poverty will be named; when their weakness will be made strong; when their debts will be forgiven…God is faithful. It was good news for them to hear. But, if you remember Jesus flips the script and swaps the story. He tells them, “Today…you don’t have to wait. Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus doubles down on the good news. Yes, God is faithful to God’s promises and instead of waiting for some kind of happy ending – it starts today. I am the the one of whom the prophet was speaking he implies. This is the mission statement of the ministry of Jesus the anointed one of God. This is the working definition of Messiah. He is saying – you can be apart of this Good News now, you don’t have to wait!

And this is where we pick up the story this morning. That good news was preached in the pulpit of his home church. Jesus told the people the Kingdom of God is today. And there is a buzz in the sanctuary. The men (and it was all men at that time) didn’t wait to talk about the preacher in parking lot conversations. They were talking amongst themselves right then and there. 

Some were excited with the news he proclaimed, ready to be a part of it. Others were wary. Others angry. But the thing they all held in common was the desire to keep this news for themselves. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they ask. Has he really come home to bring this good news to us? This young preacher will rebuild our church. He will bring in young families, and he will tell us how special we are. Our church, they say will be so blessed to have him. We can just sit back and watch him work – because he is ours. Our boy is here. Now people will come.

They wanted to keep the good news to themselves. They had been blessed to see the face of God in their padded pews and the knew God was present with them. They were good and faithful people, and they knew it. They wanted to keep the good news for themselves. 

And Jesus sensed their selfishness, he understood what conversation was being had. “Really, now you are going to say to me -Doctor, cure yourself. Take care of us. Do here what we have heard you have done in Capernaum. We want you to to stay home.” Having none of it Jesus replied, “Amen, folks, even if I do stay – you will like me for a minute and when things start to change you will want me gone. You like to keep the status quo. No prophet is accepted in their hometown. 

Listen now, what I am about to speak is the truth. There are many here who need help, yes, but you have each other – got that, you have each other. However, there are many outside the doors of the church who are suffering. They are in a drought. When it happened before, God sent Elijah the prophet not just to his home church – no, he was sent to a widow in Zaraphath. He wast sent into the world to be with one whom his people didn’t even know and be with her in her suffering. He was sent to see and bring good news to those outside the church. He was sent to those his church was scared of. So, too, it was with Naaman. There were many sick Elisha’s home church, but he was sent to the Syrian to care for him. He was sent to give God’s loving good news to one who didn’t even believe in his God.” 
Ooooo, weeee. They did not want to hear this. No, ma’am. They wanted to keep the Good news all to themselves. Heresy they cried out. How dare he talk like God loves the outsiders (missing the irony that they themselves were outsiders). How dare he say we can’t be the only ones to benefit. How dare he proclaim from the pulpit such strange ideas. Such new interpretations. They got up and chased Jesus to the edge of the town. To the brow of the hill. The ledge from which you could see Cana. They chased him to the ledge and were going to throw him off because they wanted to keep the good news to themselves.

Friends, God’s good news is not to be hoarded. 

When you have been made new by the Good News, it doesn’t stop with you. 

When you can sing I once was blind but now I see, God’s good news isn’t just for me.

When the chains of debt and the weight of oppression have been knocked down and dragged out, the good news should turn to a hallelujah shout.

When jubilee has erased everything you think can keep you from God’s face, the good news can’t remain in just one place.

The good news is to be shared. It is to be shouted. We are to be a pastoral people who see the needs in the world and feed the hungry, clothe the naked, sit with the sick and the prisoner, who welcome the religious minority and the outcast refugee. We are to care for them without hesitation or reservation. We don’t need to make them pray before we give them food. They are hungry they get food. They don’t need to sit through a service to get assistance, that is holding our power over them, if there is a need we meet it the best we can. We are to be a pastoral people. We are to be out in the world causing mischief and turning over the tables. 

We are to be a prophetic people who echo Jesus’ message and flip the script and swap the story. We are to be a people who don’t just sit idly by and watch the world go by shaking our heads wondering what is going on. We are to be engaged in the world. Confronting powers and principalities that feed hatred, that demean human worth, that seek to separate because of race or religion or gender identity. We are to be the embodiment of the Kingdom of God and provide an alternate reality. A reality where all of God’s children – whether they know it or not – are treated with the dignity we would treat God with. 

For some it is marching with fists held high and proclaiming at the top of our lungs that if you can’t say All lives matter if you can’t first say Black and Brown and LGBTQ Lives matter. You can’t say all lives matter if you can’t first say Poor lives matter. You can’t say all lives matter if you can’t first say Muslim lives matter, Refugee lives matter. You can’t say all lives matter if you can’t first say everyone, regardless if they believe what I believe – do what I do – act the way I want them to – if you can’t first say you are my brother and you are my sister. For some of us, this is how we proclaim the good news in the world.
For some it is meeting the needs of those around you. The sister in the pew next to you or the brother who isn’t here today. You are the relational ones who help connect the dots, but when you do -you just don’t care for them you share their stories. You encourage them to share their own stories. You help connect the dots as to why there is a need in the first place. You are a caregiver first – and in that care giving you proclaim the good news to all of those around you.

For some flipping the script and swapping the story involves being present in the times of need. You are the caregivers. You are the ones who can and do make the phone calls when a sister or brother isn’t here. You are the ones who go and visit those who are homebound or in the hospital. You are the one who take God’s good news outside of this place. You are the ones who care not only for members and friends of the church, but you live God’s good news when you are taking your neighbor to the doctor, when you are opening your couch to strangers, when you are mediating conflict between peers. You are, too, are the embodiment of God’s good news.

This is what is behind Jesus’ sermon in the synagogue. When he says, “today, scripture is fulfilled in your hearing,” it is a call to action for the people of God to bring the Good News – the good news that has so deeply touched our hearts – into the world. And it isn’t always pretty when we do. When we challenge the status quo; when we confront the king – it can be a perilous path. It can lead us to the brow of the hill with people wanting to push us off the cliff. It can leave us breathless with anxiety as we see down the steep edge. People don’t want to hear what we have to say when we refuse to hoard the Good News. It causes them discomfort. It disrupts what they want. It is a mischievous task. 

But hear this…oh hear this. Hear what happens when they push Jesus to the edge. The Bible says, “they got up and drove him out of the town, to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff…BUT…BUT Jesus passed right on through the mids of them and went on his way.” Oh, you missed it, “But Jesus passed right through the midst of them and went on his way.” Just in case, “BUT Jesus passed right through the midst of them and went on his way.” Jesus said the haters gonna hate, but I don’t have time to wait. Jesus said, take it or leave it, I am gonin’ on my way.

When they wanted to push him off the cliff, Jesus just walked on through so that he could keep sharing the good news. Because the good news doesn’t have time to stop and argue with the haters, it doesn’t sit on TV and cry about a war on Christmas or that somehow in the land of the free and the home of the brave Christians are being persecuted. No, the good news is on the move. It is something that is bigger that us and will get us from here to there. It is life giving, sister and brother loving, spirit transforming good news that will set us on our path and carry us past the haters in our way. It has a way of doing that.

When Joseph was thrown in to a hole to die, God’s good news carried him to pharaoh’s side.

When Pharaoh’s army gave chase to Moses and the refugees, God’s good news parted the sea and the went on their way.

When big stone walls protected the first town in the promised land, Joshua and the priest blew horns and shouted some good news and those walls came tumbling down.

When David came face to face with a giant philistine, some good news came and that giant fell.

When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were in a fiery furnace and Daniel in a lion’s den; God’s good news gave them a shove right through the door.

When the Hebrew Children were at death’s door about to be slaughtered; Ester shouted some good news and they lived to make it home.

When you have the good news, the haters are gonna hate, but it doesn’t matter because you ain’t got time for that. You have seen the Kingdom of God and you just have to share it. You have to love your neighbor and pray for your enemy. You have to step out and cause some mischief. You have to get out of your comfort zone and change the world. Not because you will get some reward. Not because you have to earn some kind of grace. Not because someone has guilted you. You shout the good news because you know what it does. You know that it has changed your life. You know that it has transformed your spirit. You share the good news because that’s all you can do. Your life has been made new.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.

It has anointed you to bring good news to the poor

Release to the captives

Sight to the blind

liberation for the oppressed

To announce the year of God’s favor.
What are you gonna do with the Good News?

Thanks be to God.

Sermon: A Mischievous Mission

Sermon for today from Luke 4:14-21

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Sermon: Surprised by Grace

John 2:1-11

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Sermon: Breaking Through

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Breaking ThroughLuke 3:21-22

Please pray with me…
Imagine with me. You have left your home in dusty Jericho. It is not just dusty because of the sand in the area, but also because of the ash flying through the air from the open fires upon which meals are made. Everything you touch has a think layer of dust on it. And your skin clammy with the beginning of perspiration becomes an attractive vacuum for the dust. It covers you, very thinly but enough to notice and to be annoying. The dust is everywhere.

So, you have left your home in dusty Jericho and and you move through the city and out into the wilderness. You have heard about this prophet who is hanging around by the Jordan. So you head toward the rising sun, east to the river as it nears its emptying point in the Dead Sea. In the few miles you are in the desert making the walk to the waters your mind begins to think about all that dust. All of that grime that is always everywhere. It never goes away. You scrub the house and it just returns. You wash your body only to have the dust dry on you skin before you are even dressed. It is the bane of your existence.

And as you wander in the wilderness you watch as dust devils dance in silhouette on the horizon. And your mind jumps to the chaos that is your life. The insecurity you have about feeding your family. The well being of your aging mother. They tears you shed for the death of your neighbor. The constant barking of orders from the Roman overseers as you work in the fields. The beggars, always there, Blind Bartemaus, will he ever find happiness. All of it spins in your head like the dancing of the dust on the horizon.

Then as you begin the descent into the valley carved by the ancient waters, waters crossed by Jacob after facing God on the Jabbock; waters crossed by Joshua and the people of Israel as they made their way to the promised land; the waters crossed by the Elijah and Elisha; the waters that washed away the leprosy of Naaman; as you begin your descent you see him. The prophet you have heard of, standing waist deep in the water. He is proclaiming repentance for the forgiveness of sins and people are running to him to be washed in the water.

You make your way to the rivers edge. You sit and watch. You pick at the dried and cracked dust coating your hands. Will it ever go away? Will this dust ever go away? You listen to the man in the water, but you are skeptical about his claim. How can it be that one dip in the Jordan can cleanse you? If you can’t even get your house in order, you can’t get your house clean, how will something like this clean your soul, clean your spirit, clean your heart?

There is just too much dirt in there.

Imagine with me. You leave your home in Indianapolis. You leave it and you know it is disarray. You know you haven’t dusted in days, in weeks, in months. There is a layer of minuscule matter coating every surface, and you see it every time the sun shines in the window. You watch it dancing in the sunbeams, taunting you. You see it, but why bother, really, it is a Sisyphean task, it always comes back. The dust.

It lingers there like the back log of bills waiting to be knocked down. You can almost feel the weight of it as it falls on you. And it gets under your skin. Every time you get the phone call from a collector of and alert from the bank telling you you are overdrawn, the dust collects. It builds up and up until you are about to break. You lash out at those you love because everything you see is dirty. It just won’t come clean.

The dust in your aching joints and muscles tries to keep you from getting things in order. You know that as you get older it gets harder and harder to move around the house. To get the cleaning supplies from under the counter. And you feel it every time you move. And you want to scream.

It collets on the bottles of vodka that you turn to when you think no one is looking, the bottles that sometimes offer you solace, but more often than not make a mess when you fight with family. Your need for the bottle adds another layer. You want to, but it is so hard to get clean.

The dust coats your skin. It cakes on and every time you try to get it off you end up with bleeding knuckles. No matter what you do you can’t get clean.

And so you leave your house covered. You leave your house and you step in the mud. You see the violence in going on around you – four dead in 10 days. You watch as bile bellows forth from those who seek to lead our country. They dehumanize everyone who is not like them. Right, Left, Tea Party it doesn’t matter – the discourse does nothing to increase the dignity of God’s children.

Covered in dust and dirt you find your way to this place. You find yourself in a blue padded pew. You don’t know why you are here, and you almost didn’t come because you thought you were not good enough. You were too dirty. Stepping in there would make you vulnerable and you might get shamed by people who have their stuff together.

You come in these doors and into the blue padded pew and you see that the person next to you is just as dirt covered as you. You look around and everyone you see has dust covering them.
You come into these doors and into the blue padded pews and you hear words. You hear these words. These words that were witnessed by the one who left Jericho that day so long ago. That one covered covered in dust who made her way to the Jordan to see the prophet in the camel hair tunic. You hear these words that changed her life forever. You hear the words you have longed for; words of hope; of promise. You hear these words this day seated int he padded blue pews:

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Well, sisters and brothers, we are all here today covered in dust and dirt. We are all here today with sin writ large on our hearts. WE are all here today with questions and uncertainties. We are here on the shores of the Jordan. And we witness all in one place and one time God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Sprit break forth into the world. Exploding from the heavens into our present reality – into our dusty and dirt word – Exploding into your reality saying to Jesus, I love you. I love you before you have even done anything. I love you and you are here to hear it. I love you.

And I’m here to let you know that that is the power of baptism. That is the power of the promise of God. That through these water all that dust and dirt you carry; the weight of the world, the sin of the hear, the hurt and anxiety – through these waters they get washed away. You don’t need to scrub until you bleed because in these water – God’s love does all the work. Because in the waters of baptism we hear clearly God say, I love you. I love you now. You don’t have to be perfect to come to these waters. You don’t have to do everything right. You don’t have to be busy doing work. No, I love you. I have loved you since before you drew your first breath and I will love you into eternity.
Through the waters of baptism comes new life; comes new hope. Cleansed in these holy waters you come out a new person. You come out marked with the cross of Christ forever and that is something that will never be taken away.

Now you may be about to say, Pastor, it sounds like you are saying that after baptism everything will be perfect. The dust is washed off and will never come back. Well, I am sorry to say, the dust does come back. You aren’t cured of hard times. They will still be there. You aren’t promised prosperity or fortune. You will sin again. People will still act like jerks. There will still be heartache and grief. After all it is still a dirty and dusty world. But what happens when you come out of the waters of baptism you come out of them with a new perspective.

You look at them the dust and dirt and say it ain’t that bad, because I know if can get washed off. You look at stress and confusion and say, I don’t have to go through it alone because I belong to God now. I belong to the church. I belong, because God loves me.

The aches and pains don’t go away, but they are transformed form instruments of torture into a ridiculous reality. Your getting old and this is what happens, but you aren’t getting old alone. You are part of something bigger when you come out of the waters of baptism. You come out as part of the body of Christ who has other weary travelers just like you and you can lean on each other. You can encourage each other. You can cry for each other. You come out of the waters of Baptism into the body of Christ that has younger and stronger people to stand long side you to lear from you; to help you; to grown from your knowledge; and to pick you up and carry you- because God love you. God loves you for who you are.

The stain of violence and putrid political rhetoric still will sully the streets. But instead of being worn down by it and carried along in the vocal hurricane you are able to say – this is not what the Kingdom of God looks like. This is not the eternal life I just was born into. You are given courage to be bold in the face of violence. You are given the voice to name the causes of violence; guns, drugs, gangs, sin, and broken systems that perpetuate the myth of redemptive violence. You are able to look at structures in place and call them racist because the disproportionately affects persons of color. You are able to say to your your candidate you are wrong. You are able to say that their platform does not reflect the kingdom of God. You are able to offer a different realty. The reality that is love. That is God’s love for all people. Let me say that again -God’s love is for all people. You missed it – God’s love is for all people.

Love that is for white people and black people. Brown people and first nations people and asian people. Love that is for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered people. Love that is for Jewish people. Love that is for Muslim people. Love that is for Hindu and Buddhist. It doesn’t matter who you are. God loves you. God loves you. I don’t think you hear me… GOD LOVES YOU.

When you come through the waters of Baptism you are able to come out clean having been bathed in God’s love. You come out of the waters someone new. Someone who knows the dust won’t stay put.

Someone empowered into a new way of life.

Someone ready to move mountains.

Someone ready to tear down wall.

Someone ready to reach out and love the ones everyone else says hate.

Someone who is ready to sit with the suffering; weep in the weeping; dance with the joyous.

Someone with a heart full of praise, singing Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless your holy name.
Someone who can’t help but shout the Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.

Great are you Lord and greatly to be praised.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

You come out of the water as someone who can look to the heavens and hear God say, I Love You. I Love you. I Love you.

The doors of the church are open…

Sermon: A Little Mischief

This is the year of holy mischief. 

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Advent 3: A Disruptive Hope

I only have the audio link this week. God add blessing to this word. 

Audio link for the sermon… Click here.

Sermon: Pulling the Thread

Pulling the ThreadMark 13:1-8

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[Intro: Sermon Title change]

Let us Pray…

There is a thread loose. Don’t how how it got loose, but there is a thread loose. It is minuscule, but it is hanging there. A speed bump on the smoothness of the material. It dances when the breeze breathes across it. Waving as the dust mites dance in the ray of the shining sun. the is a thread loose. 

This loose thread started at the first breath of creation. It is wound from the bark of the tree of life. Generation after generation adding to its story. Winding itself on the spinning wheel of the cosmos; as this piece is woven the thread is attached to the shuttle of time and passed over and under the warp of history. It weaves the fist row as the first ones walk through the garden; adding each successive row with each generation. The warp and weft of the material grows heavy as the weight of history begins to leave its mark. Frayed edges; places where neglect skipped a thread; the dinginess of the manufacturing floor; this veil is hung in the high place of the temple. This garment of history is hung between the dwelling place of God and of God’s creation. And there is a thread loose.

I am going to confess that this is not the sermon I was planning on preaching. Once again we are coming face to face with he evil that is in our world. The words of Jesus this morning can not be more appropriate for today, can they?

Every where we turn it seems all that we can see is death and destruction. We see hurting and pain. It is enough to make on sick. And I am sick. I am sick and tired of having to preach these kinds of sermons. I am tired of seeing hate on my Facebook news feed. I am tired of having to shield my daughter’s eyes from the television. I am tired of hearing people spew hatred to an entire religion because of the actions of madmen. I am tired of it. 

I want to be one of those disciples who ask Jesus to tell me when it will all be over. When will the killing end. When will the death end. When will the hatred end. I want to pin him to a wall and make him give me a straight answer. I am sick to death of all of it. Enough is enough.

And then I think about a loose thread.

And soon as that thought appears it is gone. Consumed again by rage. Jesus answers his disciples telling them that there will be many who claim to know the answer saying, “I am he.” He tells the that there will be politicians who claim to be the messiah in the bellicose blathering. They will claim to speak for him when they advocate killing and war. They say they speak for him when the ignore the plight of the refugee and immigrant – in fact they will use them as pawns in their political maneuvering.

The thread is loose.

Jesus warns of wars and rumors of wars. He speaks of terror attacks in Paris leaving hundreds dead. He speaks of bombs in Beirut that will level the cedars of Lebanon – 40 dead and 200 hundred injured. A Baghdad funeral leaves more dead. 

Jesus must be getting tickled by the loose thread because he says that these things must take place. The end is yet to come. What is the end, Jesus? When will all this end? We just wanna know.

There will be more destruction. A heroin addict overdosed 3 blocks form the Church Thursday night, and instead of concern for the person there was the mantra of – one more out of the hood. There was a man murdered by arson 8 blocks away, a man without a home and in the wrong place at the wrong time. 
Nation will rise up against nation, Jesus says. 

There will be earthquakes and famines, Jesus says. 

The thread is loose.

It all makes me want to pull the thread and let it all come falling down. I just want to rip the seam and let all of the horrible happen and just be done with it. 
The thread is loose. Then Jesus says something else. He opens his mouth again, Listening to him – what else can it be? What else is left?

“This is but but the beginning of the birth pangs.” And in 48 hours he, too, is dead. It is the end. 

I stand there looking at his outstretched arms. Nailed to wooden beams. I see him there. And waving in the breeze stuck in the crown upon his head I see a thread. Dancing in the breath of the breeze. 

I hear a scream. The rain starts to pour. I run to that place of safety the temple and there I see it. I see the thread ripping tearing its way down the veil between the Dwelling Place of God and God’s creation. I see through the rip in the veil, as the tread zig-zags its way down, I see light breaking through. Light making its way into the darkness. In that light I see the silhouette of the cross. I see Jesus calling me to lay my weary head on the foot of the cross. I see on the cross all of the tears, I hear all of the cries. At the cross I see God, Fully God – die a fully human death. I see in Jesus, God taking upon God’s self all of it. All of the death. All of the destruction. All of the hate. 

I see myself in the face of Jesus. I see you in the face of Jesus. I see all of your pain. All of your fear. I see all of the darkness that you carry on the cross. And I hear Jesus. Jesus is calling out this is the beginning of new life. This is beginning of the birth pangs of a new creation.

The thread is loose. And in the light now busting through from the dwelling place of God into the place of God’s people I see an unveiling. I see the true glory of God – there on the the cross. I see hundreds of Parisians gathering on the night of a terrorist attack with a giant sign that says “Not Afraid.” I see Baghdadi’s getting married in the face of death. I see the might cedars of Lebanon laying the foundation of a new generation. 

I see the Hebrews dancing across the Red Sea. 

I see Sarah laughing.

I see Mary holing her belly knowing that this day would come.

I see Christians facing the lions.

I see Harriet Tubman conducting the underground railroad. 

I see children holding hand not caring what color they are.

There at the cross I see Christians and Muslims protecting each other as they pray and proclaiming Terrorism Has No Religion. At the cross I hear the words of theologian Fredrich Buechner echoing the words of the angels, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

This is but the beginning of the birth pangs of a new creation. The cross happens to prove that there is nothing to fear. Nothing our God will not do for us. Our God died for us, so that when the terrors come we would know that we are not alone – for even God understands terror. 

The loose thread finally fully unfurled reveals that even in death Our God comes out on the other side. Our God declared victory over the all of the forces that seek to destroy. That doesn’t mean they go away, or that we will never encounter them – no, it means that we don’t have to live in fear of them. We don’t have to live in fear of terrorists, because we know the promise of God. We don’t have to live in fear of the wars and rumors of wars, because we know that the prince of peace will triumph. We don’t have to live in fear of those who look different from us or believe different from us, because we serve a God who died on the cross for all of us. 

The thread is no longer loose, but has been ripped out revealing God’s new and glorious creation. Giving us hope. Giving us perseverance. Giving us the reminder that God’s love for us knows no bounds. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

War can’t keep us from the love of God.

Terror can’t keep us from the love of God.

Addiction can’t keep us from the love of God.

Abuse can’t keep us from the love of God.

Death can’t even keep us from the love of God.

For in all these things we are more than conquerers. Nothing in all of creation can keep us from the love of God. This is the new creation.

Friends, Be not afraid. Trust in the love of God. Trust in that in the cross of Christ – all of the powers of death of destruction came to an end and no longer can control you. Be not afraid. Weep. Cry. Lament. Lean on the cross. But be not afraid. The thread is gone and the veil is torn. You are God’s.

Thanks be to God