Saturday, April 25, 2015

"We Know Love by This" - April 26, 2015

I John 3:16-24

With music and lyrics by Mick Jones, backup from the New Jersey Mass Choir, and what one critic called, “Its dreamy, hypnotic feel … due in part to Lou Gramm's soulful lead vocals,”[1] a certain 1984 rock anthem by Foreigner says,

“I gotta take a little time, a little time to think things over
I better read between the lines, in case I need it when I'm older

Now this mountain I must climb, feels like the world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds I see love shine, it keeps me warm as life grows colder

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far, to change this lonely life

I want to know what love is, I want you to show me
I want to feel what love is, I know you can show me …”

(I’ll spare you the air-guitar solo.)  Now, I know that’s a corny introduction, but the question is really out there, in popular culture and in people’s hearts: “How do you know what love is?”  Or maybe I could rephrase it to ask, “How do you know if you are seeing love or something else?”

            I’m not a big fan of Disney movies of the past few years.  They market to little girls in a shameless way, and fill their minds with princess images that they may need to unlearn as they grow older.  It’s cute, but… Frozen, in particular, seems to have caught the elementary-school imagination.  I will say this for it, though: Frozen does have some substance and part of it is the way it addresses this question.  (Bear with me if you already know the plot.  I want to summarize it for everybody else.)  The main character is a princess whose older sister rules their land.  The younger sister falls in love at first sight with a visiting prince and asks permission to marry him.  The older sister says, “No, you don’t even know him.”  They have a falling-out over that, and there are complications that push the ruling sister out of the picture and leave the younger sister to be saved from dying by the kiss of her true love, which is how we all discover that the prince really did not love her, but was only trying to marry her for her kingdom.  The older sister was right after all.  And, because this is a Disney movie, there’s a loyal, slightly clumsy hero in the wings who has been undervalued up to that point who steps in and saves the day.  He restores the older sister to the throne and marries the younger sister and they all live happily until the sequel comes out in a year or two.

            So how do you know that love, not just romantic love, but any type of love, is genuine?  According to the first letter of John, we do that by measuring it against the love of Jesus.  If it reflects the way that he has loved us, it is real.

“We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.” [I John 3:16]

People do find themselves unexpectedly called to risk life itself for one another.  When they are ready to do that, look to see Jesus’ love there somewhere.

Time magazine named as its “Persons of the Year” for 2014 “The Ebola Responders”.  The article where they did that pointed out not just the horrors of the situation and the bravery of the responders but also their motivation for stepping in at great risk.  It says,

“Not the glittering weapon fights the fight, says the proverb, but rather the hero’s heart.  Maybe this is true in any battle; it is surely true of a war that is waged with bleach and a prayer.

For decades, Ebola haunted rural African villages like some mythic monster that every few years rose to demand a human sacrifice and then returned to its cave. … This time it reached crowded slums in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; it traveled to Nigeria and Mali, to Spain, Germany and the U.S. It struck doctors and nurses in unprecedented numbers, wiping out a public-health infrastructure that was weak in the first place. One August day in Liberia, six pregnant women lost their babies when hospitals couldn’t admit them for complications. Anyone willing to treat Ebola victims ran the risk of becoming one.

Which brings us to the hero’s heart. There was little to stop the disease from spreading further.  Governments weren’t equipped to respond; the World Health Organization was in denial and snarled in red tape. First responders were accused of crying wolf, even as the danger grew. But the people in the field, the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse and many others from all over the world fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams.
Ask what drove them and some talk about God; some about country; some about the instinct to run into the fire, not away. …

MSF nurse’s assistant Salome Karwah stayed at the bedsides of patients, bathing and feeding them, even after losing both her parents—who ran a medical clinic—in a single week and surviving Ebola herself. ‘It looked like God gave me a second chance to help others,’ she says. Tiny children watched their families die, and no one could so much as hug them, because hugs could kill. ‘You see people facing death without their loved ones, only with people in space suits,’ says MSF president Dr. Joanne Liu. ‘You should not die alone with space-suit men.’”[2]

There is no doubt that people there were acting out of the noblest type of love.

            In less dramatic situations, the principle is the same.  Again, here are the words of I John 3:17.

“How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?”

The Bible says that over and over and over in so many ways.  Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan.  It’s interesting to recall that one of the first responders to the ebola crisis was called, “The Samaritan’s Purse”.  And the next verse,

“let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action,”

when the first college chapter of Habitat for Humanity was formed, at Duke University in 1988, with Foreigner still playing “I Want to Know What Love Is” in stadiums all across the continent, the students chose to plaster that verse across the back of their T-shirts so that it could be read while they were digging or hammering or sawing.

            So if you really want to know what love is, look where it is most needed, and when you see someone sharing themselves, that is what it looks like.  And if you look and see that no one has stepped in, don’t be surprised if you hear the Holy Spirit announce that no one has responded yet because God has saved that job for you – with his help, of course.

“And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.”  [I John 3:23-24]

[2] Nancy Gibbs, “The Choice” in Time (December 10, 2014).

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"You Are Witnesses" - April 19, 2015

Luke 24:36-48

In John’s gospel, there’s the scene that we heard about last week, where the disciple Thomas doesn’t believe Jesus was really and truly raised from the dead until Jesus appears and offers to let him touch the places where he was wounded on the cross.  Luke takes the same story but it isn’t just Thomas who has this experience.  It’s all the disciples together, each and every one of them.

“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’ And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.”  [Luke 24:36-40]

I love the detail that Luke throws in, where Jesus offers them this proof of his own, physical being:

“He said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.”  [Luke 24:41-42]

Again, there’s a slightly different version of the same detail in John, where Jesus cooks the fish himself and they all eat it.

            For me, the way that those versions differ makes me feel better about taking the Bible seriously.  The gospels did not start out as literary compositions.  Luke set down what he could gather from various sources.  He tells us that.  We know from Paul’s letters that Luke was one of Paul’s travelling companions, so it’s not unlikely that some of his material came through Paul or others whom they met on their journeys.  Like any news reports, there are going to be witnesses who see or remember things differently, and a good reporter will not hide that.  Having four gospels, four accounts of the good news, side by side is a sign of reliability and honesty.  Jesus told his followers

“You are witnesses of these things.” [Luke 24:48]

They took him seriously, and shared what they knew for themselves.  They shared their experience of Jesus, and that has always been how faith has spread from one person to another to another to another.  There is no other way.

            What’s your story?  What witness do you have to offer?  Who needs to hear it, and how do you share it in the right way?  Those are not easy questions but they need to be asked.

            Your story may be dramatic or it may not.  It is your story.  It belongs to you.  It helps if you share it, though.  The spectacular ones may make better movie scripts.  A soldier named Francis returned to his hometown of Assisi after being held as a prisoner of war.  Unsurprisingly, he showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.  Fortunately for him, his father was rich and he could take time wandering around the countryside to recover a sense of peace and it was in the course of one of those long walks that he heard the voice of Jesus speak to him.  In 1736, a missionary named Wesley had had a really bad breakup with a woman named Sophie Hopkey.  She was the niece of the governor of Georgia, which was where they had met, and before it was over Wesley had to leave Savannah at night in a canoe and travel to South Carolina to get a ship back to London before it got any worse.  Back in London, he was a mess and questioned what he was doing with his life, when a friend dragged him along to a Bible study one night, and he had an experience of Jesus speaking to his heart about how we don’t live by anything but God’s grace and that that is enough.

            Those are great examples.  They’re not my story, though.  Me?  I heard about Jesus at Sunday School from a lady named Kitty Sakers and a bunch of her friends whose names escape me.  I saw the people around me take food to the South Side Center in Chester because people there needed it.  My friends and I talked about religion and faith as well as about “Mork and Mindy” and school.  At Pocono Plateau, I remember a campfire where we were invited to take Jesus more seriously and to stick around afterward and pray about it with the counselors if we wanted to.  I had a good teacher for confirmation class and in high school when we had a Sunday School teacher who was not so good, they found us another who helped us think for ourselves.  In college, I made some good friends who had similar backgrounds and we learned from each other.  Not very exciting, huh?  All the same, I can tell you that it convinced me that God’s grace is all around and that Jesus’ love is real, and that his life could not be bottled up in a grave.

            Your story: what is it?  Maybe there’s someone who needs to hear that Jesus is around for people whose troubles and challenges are those that everybody faces.  I suspect that it is utterly important to be a witness to the way that he helps out everyday people in everyday situations.  Jesus showed his followers that he was not a ghost.  The life that he helps us lead is not the life of ghosts, either, but the life of flesh-and-bones people.

            Those people have to be you and me.  There is no other way.  Jesus said,

“You are witnesses of these things.”  [Luke 24:48]

We have to be open enough to say, “I had to make a really hard decision at work today, and I’m not sure I made the best choice, but I prayed about it first.”  We have to be humble enough to admit, “I really messed things up at home last week, but my family understood.  I can only imagine what God goes through with me.”  We have to be confident enough to say, “This may sound crazy, but I have a feeling there’s something that God is asking me to do.”  We have to be aware enough of the people around us to say to someone hurting, “Hey, this is what helped me when I was in a similar place.”

            Rachel Held Evans writes about her faith life and those of her friends, and emphasizes that what matters is not packaging, but substance.  She puts it in terms of young adults, but it really applies across the board.  She says,

“… I’m often asked to speak to my fellow evangelical leaders about why millennials are leaving the church.
     Armed with the latest surveys, along with personal testimonies from friends and readers, I explain how young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
     I point to research that shows young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness.
     I talk about how the evangelical obsession with sex can make Christian living seem like little more than sticking to a list of rules, and how millennials long for faith communities in which they are safe asking tough questions and wrestling with doubt.
     Invariably, after I’ve finished my presentation and opened the floor to questions, a pastor raises his hand and says, ‘So what you’re saying is we need hipper worship bands. …’
And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.”[1]

Sharing our faith is more than being trendy or polished or doctrinally exact.  It is more, too, than being on the right side of controversial issues or the cutting edge of social action.  It is being forthright about what Jesus has done for us, and open about the ways that he’s still working with us. 

“You are witnesses of these things.”

Saturday, April 11, 2015

"Believing Thomas" - April 12, 2015

John 20:19-31

            When someone gets a nickname, it usually comes from something that distinguishes them from the majority of other people.  How many times have you heard of anyone called “Righty”?  I’ve known a couple of people called “Reds” and one called “Blondy” but I’ve never met anyone called “Browns”.  This passage from John’s gospel gives us the nickname by which one of Jesus’ disciples has become known, a nickname that’s not in the Bible at all but which we’ve all heard: “Doubting Thomas”.  That strikes me as backward, in a way, because what really matters about his story and sets him apart isn’t that he has his doubts, but that they are overcome.  He probably should be called “Believing Thomas” instead.

            A lot of people have their doubts about Jesus’ resurrection.  I don’t know why that should be so surprising.  If it were normal for the dead to rise again, Easter morning would not have been such a startling day.  The women would have gone to the tomb, found it empty, and said, “Okay, I guess we’ll see him around.”  It didn’t work that way.

            When Thomas, who had not been with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them, heard them say,
“We have seen the Lord,” [John 20:25]

his response of not believing them was normal and sensible.  So was laying out his reasons that basically amounted to saying that he knew what had happened.  When the Romans killed someone, they were thorough.  John’s account of Jesus’ execution includes how they made sure he was dead.
“Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out.”  [John 19:32-34]
That was the wound in his corpse that Thomas was talking about when he told the other disciples,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” [John 20:25]
So, when he had the opportunity to do just that, that is exactly what changed him into Believing Thomas.  Unbelief is not unusual.  What turns it around, and not only for Thomas, is the two-part recognition of a wounded and scarred Jesus and the startling discovery that God has raised him up again.

            The Savior that we worship is not someone who skipped, whistling, through life.  He took his knocks in every way.  He also warned his followers that they would not have an easy time of it, either.  That’s why you have to look out for false versions of Christianity that promise everything will be just fine all the time.  They take Jesus’ reassurance that God will care for our needs and turn it into the claim that if you believe sincerely in your heart that God wants to bless you, then you can and will have anything you want.  Start writing your wish list.  I picked a random site from the web that expresses it pretty well, complete with italics and boldface type:

“Sowing the seeds of prosperity means planting the needed ‘seeds’ to achieve prosperity. Prosperity, by definition, is the condition of ENJOYING wealth, success, or good fortune.
Prosperity does not happen by accident. We have been given instructions on how to secure success, prosperity and victory over every adversary in our life. It is an achievement that may take some effort but in time, you will press through. Throughout this website my hope is to give you many keys that will encourage you and maybe push you along the way. You can have or be whatever you want. ‘We’ are the ones putting limits on ourselves. The plan layed [sic] before us is quite amazing. It may take some time to understand who you actually are and what you are allowed to ‘have’ but, it will be time well spent.”[1]

Interestingly enough, most pages on this site link to its “Prosperity Store” where you can buy books and videos and discover “Work from Home” opportunities.  Don’t get me started.

            Jesus never made that kind of claim.  He invited people to risk their lives, and to put everything on the line, and said that his followers would lose everything, in worldly terms, not that they would have sore shoulders from carrying sacks of money to the bank.

            The people who, like Thomas, have responded to him as “My Lord and my God” [John 20:28] have been the people who recognize that he has the same woundedness that they do, and that because God has restored his life, their life is also restored.  There’s a legend that Thomas ended up going to India to preach the gospel there, so I’ll use an example from that country. 

You’ve probably heard of the caste system that is part of Hinduism, where there are the Brahmins on the top and all the way at the bottom are the Dalits, the “untouchables”.  They are the ones who are assigned the ugliest jobs and are considered to be, in themselves, ritually impure.  A Brahmin should not even be touched by a Dalit’s shadow.  Since they are considered almost less than humans, they are subject to terrible abuse.  According to the World Council of Churches,

“Although Indian law prohibits discrimination and violence against Dalit people, in reality atrocities are a daily occurrence.
·         13 Dalits are murdered each week. 
·         5 Dalit homes are burnt each week.
·         6 Dalit people are kidnapped or abducted each week. 
·         21 Dalit women raped each week.   
It is estimated that a crime is committed against a Dalit person every 18 minutes. The problem not the law but the lack of political will, at local and national levels, to apply these laws. In 2006, the official conviction rate for Dalit atrocity cases was just 5.3%.”[2]

There is one other statistic worth noting.  According to some estimates about 70% to 80% of Christians in India today are Dalit.[3]  I am unsure whether this figure refers to specific converts or includes Christians descended from earlier Dalit converts.  What is clear, though, is that it is those who are most deeply wounded by their own society who respond to the news of a Savior who set aside his power and prestige to be among people.  It is those who are untouchable who respond to a Savior who said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”  [John 20:28]
            The story of Believing Thomas comes at the end of the gospel of John, but John ends by reminding us that his experience is not the end of the story.  It is an example of the many, many ways in which the risen Christ continues to be at work among all kinds of people in all kinds of ways. 
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.’  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” [John 20:29-31]
If it were written today, your chapter could come next.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

"Jesus: The Lord" - April 5, 2015 (Easter)

John 20:1-18

            We had to memorize a poem in fifth grade that was probably one of the least appropriate for anyone that age.  When you’re in fifth grade, you are told what to eat and when.  You’re told when you need to be in bed and when to get up.  Sometimes you are directed what clothes to wear.  Often you are told what you will or will not like.  Fifth graders used to have their handwriting corrected on a regular basis, not only their spelling.  Just ask them about it.  They have to answer.  They have no choice.  Anyway, Mrs. Boyer’s fifth-grade class at Sabold Elementary School were required to learn and recite perfectly the following poem.

“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll:
I am the master of my fate:
I am captain of my soul.”[1]

“Very good, Tommy!  Good job, Suzy!  Now finish your sandwiches and run out to recess.”

            I would like to think that we achieve mastery of more as we grow older.  In fact, we have more choice and more competence.  I’m not sure we really have more control, though.  Again, think of the areas where you might be called the one in charge. 

Dog owners used to be called their “masters”.  I’m glad we’ve gotten away from that, not least because anybody who has a dog knows it isn’t true.  Even the best-trained dog does not always do as told, and a puppy is sure to learn very early that little trick of responding to her name and running up just close enough for the human to lean over and then darting out of reach – again and again and again.  I won’t even suggest what a cat owner goes through. 

What about machines?  Don’t they always do what they are built to do?  When you turn the key in the ignition, doesn’t your car always start?  When you turn on your computer, doesn’t it always open right up, and doesn’t your browser always go directly to the address you type in?

Maybe I might at least be master of my own words.  Maybe I may never speak too soon or use the wrong expression.  Maybe I will never let anger draw something out of my mouth that I will regret later.  Maybe I will never tell a joke that will be taken the wrong way.  Even better, maybe I will always know exactly what to say when someone is hurting or grieving or scared.

Forget the notion of being in control of my thoughts.  Have you never been in a situation where you saw something as funny and couldn’t keep from giggling?  It was always fun to watch the old Carol Burnett Show because Tim Conway and Harvey Korman were always making each other crack up and you could watch them struggling to go on with a sketch once the laughter began to build up.  They just couldn’t help it.

            The point I’m trying to make in all of this is that there isn’t much that we truly control.  There is little that we could be said to master.  There is even less of which we could be said to be “lord”.

            Jesus’ experience was no different.  His life began when he was born in a stable because there was no room for his parents in the inn.  By the time he was two, King Herod was trying to kill him and his family was forced to become refugees in Egypt, and could only return when Herod died.  Then that Herod was followed by another, and when he finally got hold of Jesus (who had been confronting the ugly ways that Herod had been exerting power to control the people), Herod got together with the Romans (who were manipulating Herod in their own ways) and they had Jesus tortured and executed.  Could Jesus have escaped all this?  Yes, he could have.  He said,

“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.” [John 10:17-18]

Despite having the power to avoid the powerlessness that we go through, and the troubles that come with it, he chose to remain in complete and utter solidarity with us.  He was like the captain who chooses to remain on the sinking ship so that the passengers can escape, even though he will go down to the depths in their place.  In the moment that he did that, he alone of all human beings really and truly became “master of his fate” and “captain of his soul”.  In that moment it became clear that he really and truly could be called, “Lord”.

            Three days later, the full meaning of that began to dawn on his followers.  If there is one part of life where we don’t even get to pretend we have a say, it is our mortality.  Jesus, however, carried through with what he had said would happen.  He rose.

            He rose from the dead.  When they went to find his body, it was gone.

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.”  [John 20:1-7] 

He had become “Lord”.  He had mastered human life, and now he had mastered death.  And he let his followers know that he would be moving on to even greater glory.

“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” [John 20:17]

            Hear the good news: from there he continues to exercise lordship over life and death, not on his own behalf, but on ours.  The life that he lives, we also can live.  The troubles that he overcame in his life: poverty and fear and temptation and sorrow and pain and all of that, we, too, can overcome because of his power at work within us.  The dying that he faced with faith, even when he felt abandoned by God, we can face with confidence because he is Lord over the world in its entirety, and the eternal life that is open to all people is open because of him and through him, because he is Lord of life.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  [John 3:16]

            Thank the Lord!  Amen.

[1] “Invictus” by William Ernest Hensley.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Eat, Drink, and Proclaim" - April 2, 2015 (Maundy Thursday)

I Corinthians 11:23-26

There are many ways to say important things without using words.

[Gestures follow:

Thumbs-up.                 Holding your stomach.
Rocking a baby.          Drawing a heart.
Pointing to eyes.         Shrugging.
Cupping an ear.           Pointing to wrist.

            This evening we gather to repeat together one of those important messages that comes to us not only in words but enacted.

[Break bread.             Pour juice.]

Do you see?  What do you see?  Bread?  Juice?  Or do you see the act as well as the thing: bread being broken, juice being poured out?

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” [I Corinthians 11:23-26]

It isn’t just the bread that speaks to us.  It’s the act of bread being broken, torn apart like a body that suffers terrible abuse, and it speaks of Jesus’ arrest and trial and mocking and torture.  It isn’t just the dark liquid in the cup that signifies, it is the way that it has been poured out, like Jesus’ blood that stained the wood of the cross.  It’s the being here, the gathering, the actions, the sharing, that proclaim the Lord’s death.

            One thing further, though.  He didn’t stop with tearing the bread and pouring the wine.  He told his disciples to eat and drink.  He told them to make the signs of his death something that would sustain their lives.  We need food and we need liquid to survive.  By taking part in this meal, and not just sitting back as spectators, we ourselves make a gesture for the world to see.  We show that his death has, by God’s grace, become the source of life to us.  His self-giving is something that we depend upon.  He said,

“The bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world,” [John 6:33]

and went on to say,

“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”  [John 6:35]

When we eat and drink, we proclaim what he has done, and also proclaim what he continues to do, which is bring life to our souls.

            It matters very much that we do these things.  It is a message for the world that in him we have been given all that we need, and all that they need is also found in his life.  It is an invitation to share in the very life of God.