Sermons and Readings
August 27, 2023: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost Readings and Sermon
Sermon for All Saints’ Ivoryton, August 27 th 2023
Who do we all think Jesus is?
Matthew’s Gospel quotes “the people” giving answers to the question which fall
in line with Jewish tradition. Jesus must occupy a place in the sequence of the
prophets. There seems to be a belief that prophetic figures may be resurrected,
or reappear in the form of another person, or like Elijah, simply reappear after
being carried up into heaven.
But Peter then says, blurts out almost, that Jesus is the Messiah, the one anointed
of God to save the people. The “Messiah” is also a profoundly Jewish concept,
built into Jewish cosmology and beliefs about the final goal of history. But to
make that claim means that Jesus occupies a unique place in the history of Israel.
He is more than just a resuscitated or reappearing prophet.
But we have to make our own answer, from our own tradition and experience.
One of the problems about this question, for me as a historian of the Church, is
that for a very long time Christian thinkers were preoccupied (and some still are)
with a different question. They have asked, instead:
What do we think Jesus is? What kind of being is he / was he?
Down the ages many and various answers have been proposed and argued for as
answers to this question.
Trying to make sense of the proposed answers brings us into a subject area called
metaphysics. Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy which tries to make rational
sense of statements about what it means for something to exist, especially
regarding spiritual existence.
Please note: there is not, in ancient Christianity, much of an impulse to say “it is a
mystery beyond our understanding, and we should believe without thinking too
hard”. On the contrary, the history of the Church is that people did think through,
maybe over-think, these questions, and often argued bitterly over the answers.
Some early movements could not accept the idea that Jesus had a material
existence. Physical body was nasty, smelly, and unpleasant, and a philosophical
person wanted to live in the spirit. Hence a “heresy” arose, known as Docetism,
which claimed that Jesus only “seemed” to have a physical body, but that in
reality he could not have eaten and drunk, been maltreated by the Romans, been
crucified and died. This idea did terrible violence to the idea of incarnation.
That “heresy” was discredited fairly early in late antiquity. Thereafter, the
majority view was that Jesus was both fully human, and also fully divine. The next
bitterly divisive question was how the divine Jesus and the human Jesus related
one to another. Various answers were proposed, and angrily debated, in the early
One idea, associated with Nestorius of Constantiople, was that Jesus had two
distinct and separable natures, divine and human.
In violent reaction against Nestorius, another group argued that Jesus had one
single nature, which in some way contained divine and human aspects. These
believers became known as “Miaphysites” which means “people who believe in
In the year 451 a Church Council held at Chalcedon, in an area which is now an
outer suburb of Istanbul, adopted a formula whereby Jesus had two natures,
which were indivisibly linked, but were nonetheless separate and should not be
confused with one another. The formula of Chalcedon was accepted by the main
Eastern Orthodox Churches and throughout the West, but was (and still is)
rejected by the Coptic, Armenian, Syrian, and Ethiopian churches.
Perhaps absurdly, perhaps terrifyingly, these differences in understanding Jesus’s
natures still keep these “Miaphysite” churches separate from the rest of Eastern
Christianity. A few years ago, a highly educated physician who was also a Coptic
Orthodox Christian explained how important those divisions were to him.
Then, about a hundred years ago, an enormously influential German Protestant
theologian called Adolf Harnack said that this obsession with the metaphysics of
Jesus’s being had, in fact, been a terrible distraction and a mistake. It drew people
away from what Jesus taught to an unhealthy preoccupation with what Jesus
In some modern Western traditions, there is a tendency to go to the opposite
extreme. Some radical progressive Christians stress not only the humanity, but
the political engagement of the human Jesus. In this way of thinking, Jesus was a
friend and supporter of the oppressed poor in Roman-dominated Galilee and
Judaea. He identified with those who were desperately poor, and proposed a set
of values and a way of life that was subtly (and sometimes not subtly) critical of
the imperial structures of the time. “Empire-critical” analysis is extremely popular
at the moment among New Testament scholars. (I sometimes wonder if it is
dangerous if I express skepticism about it to my Union colleagues.)
My problem with this way of thinking is that focusing on the material, political
Jesus involves setting aside, not only the whole history of the Church after the
early decades post-Pentecost: it also involves setting aside most of the New
Testament. There were plenty of political-economic rebels against Rome in the
first two centuries of our era, and we know who they were. Nothing about their
movements lived after them. Jesus was mysteriously and vitally different.
However, it is a legitimate question whether we have been asking the wrong
question, “what” was Jesus, rather than the question he asked Peter and the
other disciples, “who do you say that I am”?
Who is the person, Jesus? The oldest Gospel, that of Mark, begins with the very
blunt statement “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
(Confusingly, some early manuscripts do not have the words “son of God”, but
many scholars believe that the words are nevertheless authentic.)
Most of us would, I think, say that in Jesus we are given a unique insight into the
mind and purposes of a God who is, otherwise, utterly beyond our limited
understanding. That is the message and the wonder of incarnation.
At one and the same time, Jesus brings good news, and in a sense is the good
news. He invites us to trust in the message which he brings, and to believe in who
We need always to hold these things – Jesus’s message and his core being – in
balance. The first three Gospels (especially) tell us a great deal about what Jesus
taught and did. The Fourth Gospel and all the writings of Paul focus more on the
meaning of who Jesus was, and what his ministry achieved. Yet there is plenty of
overlap: one aspect never entirely pushes out the other.
Jesus as a teacher makes claims that are, to the wisdom of the world, wildly
implausible and contrary to our expectations (think of the Beatitudes)
He says that those who suffer – not just from poverty or oppression, but
also from grief, loss, or lack of confidence – have a special place in the love
of God and can trust in that divine love for them.
He says that the forces of power – of money, of state-sponsored violence,
of the arrogance of those in authority, of the terrifying entitlement which
sucks people into its orbit and exploits them – may seem to rule the world,
but in the last analysis they do not.
He says that those who hold positions of religious prestige may not be
those who are closest to God, especially if they make their religious status a
matter of outward show.
How is Jesus in a position to make these counter-cultural and frankly implausible
claims? Because of who he is, shown by his ministry, his speaking “with
authority”, and the conviction, that grew among his friends after his post-
resurrection appearances, that he occupied a unique place in the very being of
Nowadays many of us would not wish to argue that faith in Jesus is the only valid
revelation of God, but would affirm the divine insights of other traditions as well.
How does a more inclusive, interfaith approach affect our understanding of Jesus?
The revelation of Jesus can be added to the other ways that God has made God’s
nature known. It needs not to be rigorously exclusive; but for us who are called to
the Christian way, it will be for us the best and highest way that God is revealed.
In the end, let me offer a very Episcopalian answer. To the extent that we feel
that liturgical repetition of the creed of the Council of Nicea expresses our beliefs,
let us feel fully justified in holding on to that. And if one embraces, in addition,
one’s own personal set of questions? Let us trust that Jesus welcomes and
cherishes the fact that we actually care enough, to try to answer that same
question that Peter answered nearly two thousand years ago.
Who do you say that I am?
submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
August 6, 2023: The Transfiguration Readings and Sermon
Sermon for August 6th, 2023: Feast of the Transfiguration
Why are we celebrating this commemoration on this date? Most years, we mark the Sunday of the Transfiguration at the end of the Epiphany season before the Sunday in Lent, where in a sense it “belongs” in the way that we tell the story of Jesus’s journey towards his Passion.
Essentially, we mark this day because there has been a historic commemoration of the Transfiguration at this time for many centuries. In the Western Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration was definitely assigned to 6th August in 1456. Pope Callixtus III elevated it to a Feast day in that year, when the news arrived that the Ottoman siege of Belgrade had been lifted by the Hungarian Janos Hunyadi. This was just a few years after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. There was a real fear in the West that all Christendom might be overrun, so any setbacks to that advance were seen as providential (however problematic we might find that attitude).
It was not a strong tradition in the early history of the Church of England, but was reintroduced to Anglicanism by the 1892 revision of the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church, and remains there.
It is only celebrated on a Sunday if 6th August happens to fall on a Sunday, otherwise it would be marked in the daily office. According to the BCP, three feasts, appointed on fixed days, take precedence of a Sunday: The Holy Name, The Presentation, The Transfiguration.
So, it is a special day in the way that we organize our worship life.
Right, that’s the liturgical geekery out of the way.
From the time of Origen in the 3rd century, the Transfiguration is believed to have taken place on Mount Tabor, a 1,900 foot mountain in the plain of Jezreel 11 miles west of the Sea of Galilee. There are Franciscan and Orthodox monasteries on its summit.
Four accounts of the experience survive in Scripture: three in the Synoptic Gospels and one in the letter of Peter which we just heard. Our Gospel account for today comes from Luke. Each Gospel includes slightly different details and emphases although the basic story is the same.
Let us focus on the essential message first. By even the standards of Scripture, the event we know as the transfiguration (a Latin word invented to express the Greek word metamorphosis) was an extraordinary experience. Jesus was still in the midst of his Galilean ministry, though according to some accounts he
was reaching the end of that phase and beginning to turn his attention to Jerusalem.
This miraculous event, we are told, gave divine witness to Jesus’s unique status as the beloved son of God. Jesus is transformed – Luke’s Gospel does not say “transfigured” or “metamorphosed” but rather “became different” and glows with his own internal light.
The contrast with Moses’s appearance on the mountain when he received the Law is deliberate and emphatic. Moses’s face shone because he had been in the presence of God, and the glow on his face was so extreme that it was uncomfortable for people to look upon.
(Forgive a little digression. For centuries the passage in Exodus about Moses’s face “shining” was mistranslated in the Latin Bible used in the Western Church. The Hebrew word that our bibles translate as “shining” can be read two different ways in Hebrew. Jerome, the 4th-century translator of the Latin Bible, read it in the other possible way in verses 29 and 35, as “horned” rather than “shining”. That is why, in many medieval and Renaissance works of art – including a famous sculpture by Michelangelo –Moses is shown with little horns on his head.)
Back to the point. Moses shone with reflected light; in contrast, the glow that came from Jesus came from within. God was present, but the divine light issued from the body of the incarnate Jesus himself.
Let’s not waste time thinking how this was supposed to happen, or what the apostles and evangelists might “really” have seen. As always, focus on the meaning of the story.
Jesus embodies the power of God within his very self. And he appears accompanied by Moses, who represents the tradition of the Law, and Elijah, who represents the tradition of the prophets. In Luke’s Gospel, and only there, we read that the Moses and Elijah also appeared “in glory”.
The message is familiar. As the Gospels keep saying, Jesus taught that he was the fulfilment and culmination of the Hebrew tradition.
This insight is then confirmed by a heavenly voice. The principal other point at which such a voice is recorded is at the time of Jesus’s baptism by John the Baptist, where we read in 3:17:
“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’”
Only in John’s Gospel do we read of divine voices at other points in the story of Jesus. In the first three Gospels, God speaks and identifies Jesus as God’s own, at two critical moments in Jesus’s mission. Even so, the disciples are confused about who he really is; the rest of the world is reluctant or disbelieving.
Jesus is revealed in glory only to a select few, and even they don’t quite understand what is happening. In his ordinary ministry, Jesus teaches and heals, and calls on people to learn and draw their own conclusions. The transfiguration is there as a reassurance, but it does not take away the daily struggle of mission and proclamation.
The Gospels are true to our experience. We may experience moments of sudden enlightenment which reassure us of God’s loving presence in our lives. Those moments may come in encounter with the Bible, with the sacraments, with each other, or indeed with the creation. There are many ways in which we can be made to “glow” with the reflected light of God’s presence. But those moments do not last, and they are not meant to last. Some Christians try to stay on the mountain top: mystics and saints who have spent long lives in prayer and contemplation. Jesus prayed, profoundly and often; but he also descended from his secret places of prayer to teach, to challenge, to confront evil forces.
Blazing light can be – as it was in these Gospel stories – a symbol of the powerful presence of a loving God. It can also be morally neutral: uncountable stars across the universe blaze with light, because it is their physical nature to do so. And sometimes, blazing light can signify destruction. 72 years ago on this day, the first of two atomic bombs exploded over Japan, in attacks which brought about the surrender of an otherwise stubbornly resolute military regime.
It is not our task here to reflect on the morality of the use of these terrible weapons. At multiple times in our lifetime, these weapons came dangerously close to destroying life on our world. You and I have spent quite a lot of our lives on what, in purely human terms, has felt like a knife-edge.
And a loving God took human form, and embodied forever the sacrificial love that God shows towards all creation. That cannot change.
But as we descend from the mountain into the messy realities of life, we must always struggle to share the message of love with those who are reluctant, confused, or stubborn. There are a lot of false Messiahs out there. Some of the greatest tragedies of the past century or so arose when would-be-leaders persuaded other human beings to join a movement based on the hatred of one group of people for another – on aggressive division and difference. We see just how fallible humanity is, when so many people trust their identities and their security to utterly unworthy leader-figures.
The real threat to life lies not in our weapons of destruction in themselves (though they are bad enough) but in the shaky quality of those who might use them. Frail egos and needy self-images, among those in power, can all too easily sacrifice human life to their own self-importance.
As people of faith, of hope, and of love, we must speak, and above all we must act, so as to dissuade those around us from the reckless pursuit of security at the expense of others. We must live as though the love of God encompasses everyone, and threatens no-one. We must pray, work, and live for a more equal sharing of resources, care for the creation, and the breaking down of barriers between one people and another.
It is not easy. It was not easy for the apostles and the early Church. But the experience of Jesus transfigured, glowing with his own and God’s light, reassured them, and it is there to reassure us. As the author of 2 Peter wrote, “we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed … be attentive to this as
to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
Submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
July 30, 2023: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost Readings and Sermon
Sermon for July 30th 2023, Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 12)
We have now reached the stage in Matthew’s account of Jesus’s teaching where Jesus describes, in a series of compact and rather graphic images, the “kingdom of heaven” (which other evangelists, and Matthew himself at times, also call the “kingdom of God”.) There is no real difference between these two expressions: speaking of “heaven” when one means “God and God’s realm” was a bit like referring to “the White House” as an entity, when one means the office of the President.
But that introduces our first problem. Kings: I have one and mostly, you don’t (save for any Commonwealth passport-holders, or citizens of the European constitutional monarchies amongst us). The image of “king” can be at least as problematical, if not more so, than the image of “father”, given that the world’s experience of kings has not always, or even very much, been a good one. And relating to the imagery of kingship, when your whole political culture rests on repudiating that idea, may seem really quite a challenge.
Yet we persistently assign the title of “king” to Jesus, even though when his followers tried to make him a king in the conventional sense, Jesus ducked and dodged. Being accused of aspiring to kingship in the Roman Empire put one’s life in imminent danger.
The term “kingdom of God” was already known to some late ancient Jewish teachers and rabbis, and even in Scripture itself. According to the Wisdom of Solomon chapter 10, personified Wisdom showed a righteous man “the kingdom of God”. However, while scholars have been able to trace divine kingship in the writings of the time before Jesus, there is no doubt that Jesus, (i) used the expression “the kingdom” of heaven, or of God, far more often than anyone before him; and (ii) that he completely transformed its meaning into something very personal and very special.
Let’s take a moment to reflect on what “kingship” would have meant for the Jewish people of Jesus’s time. First, kingship was something which the Jewish people had been given, and had lost. Above all it was the kingship of David, who was believed to have created a unified and expanded Israel by his military skill; and of his son Solomon, the one of legendary wisdom and discernment, and the founder of the Temple. Then it had all gone wrong: the kingdom had been divided, and one half was picked off by the Assyrians and the other a century or so later by the Babylonians. Ever since then the royal rulers of Judaea had been outsiders.
Kingship also meant priesthood. In a particular sense the king was the intermediary between the people and their God. In the later history of Judaea there had been a kind of overlap between political and religious leadership in the persons of the Hasmonean high priests.
Then there was the kingship of the Messiah. For many Jewish believers, kingship was tied up with their hope and expectation that God would give the people a powerful and godly leader who would restore kingship, autonomy, self-government and respect to the people and the nation.
When people heard the expression “the kingdom of God”, it was almost impossible for them not to think of a worldly, political restoration of the nation, either within time, or at the end of history through God’s direct action.
That was a huge burden of expectation for Jesus to take on through his preaching; and yet, rather than avoiding it entirely because of the persistent risk of being misunderstood, he embraced the talk of the “kingdom” and transformed it.
For John the Baptist, and Jesus after him, the “kingdom” was breaking into the world. It was close; it was near at hand; it was waiting to be discovered; it was, in a sense, already among us. It just needed to be recognized.
And in parables, as I have suggested many times, Jesus intends to provoke thought, to challenge, to use powerful and often bewildering imagery to make people reflect, to get them out of their familiar thought-spaces.
What message do our Gospel passages send about the kingdom?
God’s new order seems insignificant in itself, but when it establishes itself in a place where it can grow, it will grow spectacularly, and have influence far beyond itself.
God’s new order is of unimaginable worth; the person who discovers it will feel that it exceeds in value anything else that they own.
God’s new order welcomes everyone, although, sadly, it seems that not everyone will have the grace to receive it.
God’s new order does not supersede or replace God’s former promises, but it does build on them. Teachers trained for the kingdom of heaven bring from their treasure what is new and what is old.
Here Jesus is preaching about nothing less than his own mission and his own message. The “kingdom of heaven” is what the world looks like, when it lives in the way that God intends for it to do.
That means that there are some questions that are not worth asking about the kingdom of God, because seeking answers to them leads one off in the wrong direction.
Don’t ask “where is it?” because it is not some institutional structure which has a headquarters and borders.
Don’t ask “when is it coming?” because it will not come with pomp and ceremony, like the procession of a worldly monarch, and attract everyone’s attention. It will grow silently and unnoticed.
Don’t ask “who is included?” because it is not the special property of any one group of people.
But do ask “how will it transform my life, and how can I (and more importantly, we) be ready to receive it?”
Because it rests on images and parables, there are plenty of sincere people around who try for one reason or another to reduce the kingdom of God to something easier to comprehend.
There are still those who believe that Jesus was fundamentally an insurrectionary leader seeking to free the people of Judaea from Roman imperial control. Even those who do not buy entirely into the Jesus-as-zealot interpretation still make a great deal of what they call “empire-critical” interpretations of scripture. In this view, Jesus’s kingship was an intentional challenge to the Roman emperors who claimed to be divine beings (Vespasian’s “O dear, I think I’m becoming a god!”)
In a different way, an earnest and sincere Lutheran student submitted a dissertation in which she proposed with, I thought, rather too much confidence, that Jesus’s kingdom was a sort of agricultural collective, where the poor of the land could live self-sufficiently away, from the demands of the wealthy landowning classes.
Now, there is nothing wrong in criticizing the lust for power that suffuses so much of the world’s politics, or in seeking to help the poor to lead decent and self-sufficient lives, away from the demands of those who would oppress them. But these good things will ultimately happen, if we first understand how to grow into the kingdom of God.
Jesus’s kingdom does not necessarily entail subverting or destroying the existing political order, nor does it mean escaping to a utopian community outside the normal social order.
It means something bolder: transforming from within the societies we all live in. It means, among many things, being the tiny amount of yeast which transforms the flour in the whole large loaf that is human life.
The kingdom exists in and alongside the social systems and structures that the world lives by. It is something which happens when faithful people gather together and live for each other. When we meet together in the name and in the service of Jesus Christ, we become a part of the kingdom. We become
some of the yeast in the dough.
Finally, the kingdom is a gift, not an achievement. It is the work of the God who took human form and lived among us. The kingdom is the living embodiment of that continuing gift and blessing. So we don’t design a kingdom for God all by ourselves. We receive it as a gift of grace. We proclaim it, we live for it, we make it visible through the love that we show to each other and a needy, hurting world.
Submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
March 12, 2023: Third Week of Lent
Throughout history and in every culture I know the role of women has certainly not been one of equality. However, it has changed at different times. When tribes, societies or nations feel fear, or stress or threats, the rights of people tend to be limited; minorities become suspects, authority more centralized. In such circumstances, women lose the few rights they have. So, while women are in a lesser role, when societies feel threatened, these are diminished, and societies tend to become even more controlling and oppressive.
November 20, 2022: Last Sunday after Pentecost
Groups of people in our Country claim that the U.S. is a Christian Nation and should be governed according to Christian values. I wonder if they have read Luke’s Gospel. One thing to learn from reading Luke is that Jesus could never be elected to any office in this country. “Love your enemies”; if one slaps you on one cheek, turn the other. Whenever offended, forgive. Welcome the foreigner, seek the outcasts, all human beings are equally offered God’s love.” Some of those may not be a quote but they do reflect what Jesus said and did. And in today’s Gospel Jesus forgives those killing him, even as they mock him. I think the Jesus of the Gospels would be considered a weak, misguided, unrealistic candidate if he was standing for election.
But that’s the point. Jesus spoke about establishing a kingdom, but not a kingdom “in this world”. That includes “not of the values of this world”. If a Christian king wanted to establish a Christian nation, people would have to be forced to live a certain way. That in itself would be contrary to making a Christian nation. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world because it is not possible to create a Christian kingdom in this world. So how can we address Jesus as we did in today's Opening Prayer as King of kings and Lord of lords?
In general, scripture is not favorably disposed toward Kings. Jeremiah begins our readings today saying, “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep”. Shepherds are the rulers, including kings who betray the Covenant and oppress the people. Power and control are goals of rulers and Jeremiah, and Jesus are not proponents of power and control.
David is, of course, an exception for many scripture writers. Despite his many faults, he was, for many, a model for future leaders. He was “messiah” the “anointed” one. Mainly this is because he was a successful warrior who extended Israel’s boundaries so that it could be called a Kingdom. But in Mark’s Gospel we see Jesus unwilling to accept the title ‘Messiah” because it would be misunderstood. He was not the “long expected messiah”.
Today is also called Christ the King Sunday, or even more recently “The Solemnity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, King of the universe.” The feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. It was a time when many nations were moving toward authoritative, strong leaders, and away from more democratic rule. It proclaimed Jesus as the ultimate power, beyond any human ruler. But power for Jesus was the power to love, to see the dignity of every human being. No ruler would be following Jesus if that ruler demanded all live the Gospel values. No ruler would be elected by us if that was the platform.
It is the individual disciple who is called to do so. If one does justice and embraces compassion, if one forgives, respects the dignity of all, loves others as one loves self, then the reign, the kingdom of God becomes present in the here and now. However, in doing so, one will need the quality Paul writes about to the community in Rome: patient endurance. However, that is a way many will find strange, even silly.
Today, we find Jesus on the cross, still being asked “are you a King?” Seems ridiculous considering the circumstances. But there are signs, even as he hangs on the cross, of the kingship Jesus embraces. “Father forgive them”; “today you shall be with me in Paradise”. A love without limit and without end are what make Jesus “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Jesus began his ministry by calling disciples to come, follow. On the journey he reveals a vision that leads to abundant life. It is a vision in which all are invited, a vision that tells us to beware of too many possessions, a call to forgive all who do us wrong, a vison that embrace the poor the outcasts the foreigner, a vision that relies on frequent prayer and trust that God’s Spirit is with us, always. It is not an easy journey. It is a journey we can’t take alone. That is why we have each other, And so, this week we celebrate a National feast of Thanksgiving. I often quote the Jewish Theologian, Abraham Heschel: “Gratitude is the only fitting response to the inconceivable surprise of living”. Gratitude is a fitting response to the gift of each other – Sisters and brothers supporting one another as we strive to follow Jesus to abundant life.
Submitted The Rev. Brendan McCormick
October 16, 2022: Nineteenth Week after Pentecost
Pentecost 19: October 16, 2022
Around the year 1120, a very elaborately and beautifully carved column was made to stand between the two halves of the portal at the western entrance to the abbey church of St Marie de Souillac, in south-western France. Nearly 500 years later, France endured a period of chaos during what became known as the “wars of religion”, and after the abbey church was damaged, this delicately carved column, known in French as a trumeau, was taken inside the church for its protection and placed against the inside west wall. It remains there to this day.
The trumeau is a masterpiece of Romanesque stone carving. On the front are intricately carved interlocking animal figures. On the left side, there is a carved representation of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, in three scenes designed to be read from the bottom to the top.
When in 2008 Ruth and I visited the abbey at Souillac as part of a Columbia University vacation trip for alums (I was one of the travelling lecturers), we were shown the trumeau. Our guide explained to us that while the left-hand side of the column was easily understood, no art historian had so far explained the wrestling figures on the right-hand side of the column.
With the naïve goofiness of which only an academic is capable, I said to the tour guide “but surely that side of the column depicts Jacob wrestling with the angel, or mysterious human figure, at the ford of the Jabbok in the book of Genesis?”
The tour guide who, unusually for a Frenchwoman of her generation, knew what I was talking about, reacted with wide-eyed amazement. “You’re a genius!” she exclaimed. No, I thought, I’m just a seminary professor who happens to know his Bible, a little bit …
Ever since then, I have been unable to think about this scripture passage without also thinking about that incident in the Dordogne region of France fourteen years ago. And one thinks, inevitably, about how many kinds of struggle, of wrestling with circumstances, are built into that story.
Jacob is about to meet his brother Esau, for the first time after he dispossessed him by trickery many years previously. He seriously fears that Esau will take his revenge and kill his entire family. He struggles with what to do, and has this mysterious and very dramatic encounter at the ford.
Some scholars have remarked that the story of the struggle at the ford may have roots in a very primitive tale of nocturnal spirit-creatures guarding crossing points, like the troll guarding a bridge in the Norse folk-tale of the three billy-goats. Somehow this tale became grafted into the book of Genesis, to become one of two stories (one in chapter 32, one in chapter 35) of how Jacob acquired the name “Israel”, the one who “struggles with God”.
Then there were struggles over the faith, which saw this carving in a French abbey attacked, possibly damaged, and then taken inside the church for safe keeping. Finally, there were the struggles of students of medieval art to retrieve its meaning.
Life is about struggle. Sometimes it seems that we are struggling with God’s very self as we attempt to make sense of the challenges of our lives. And that, says scripture, may be just how it is. Even the great heroic figures of the faith, the founders of their people, have had to wrestle with their circumstances.
Jesus knew about struggle too. Our Gospel passage contains a parable, which on the face of it seems more obvious, perhaps less intriguing than some of Jesus’s other parables.
The Gospel passage appears in a section of Jesus’s teaching in Luke, where some Pharisees challenge Jesus about when the kingdom of God should happen, should become visible. His answer is, in part, to say that it is not something spectacular to be observed, rather that it is “within you.” Jesus’s interrogators, we may presume, found the restrictions imposed on their faith and their culture by a foreign occupier to be unbearable, and wanted to know when things would change.
But as we know, Jesus’s sayings were remembered long before the Gospels were written. It is probably better to take the parable on its own, rather than assuming that Luke put it in the context where it was intended to be heard.
Jesus tells the story of a widow who believes that she has been wronged. She believes that she is entitled to redress. We do not hear what the dispute was about; we do not even know for certain that the woman was in the right. We only know that she really, really wanted to be heard, and believed that she had a case.
But the law was corruptly administered, and the judge was lazy. So, the woman decides to make such a nuisance of herself, that the judge will decide that the way of least resistance is to give her a hearing, rather than to continue to ignore her. Thus, she gets a hearing.
Jesus is absolutely not telling us that we are like the insistent and strident litigating woman; nor is he saying that God is like a corrupt judge. He is making the same kind of argument that I discussed four weeks ago, the argument that if this is true, “how much more” is something else true.
If an utterly corrupt and lazy human administrator will eventually do the right thing when pushed sufficiently loud, hard and often to do so, how much more will God, who is all-loving, make things better for those who pray unceasingly to God. Jesus does not measure our devotion by the number and length of our prayers: he said that explicitly. What he asks of us is not the length of our prayers, but the intensity of our prayer, and the depth of our trust in God’s love for us.
That, I suggest, lies behind that rather mysterious last sentence. “And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Prayer, offered in the midst of struggle, proceeds from trust. If we trust in a God who loves us and desires our good, then our prayer will indeed be in faith.
That, however, is where we get to a hard place. We know that prayer is not always answered in the way that we might ask for, as our first choice. The injustices and inequities of our country and our world will not be remedied nearly as fast as we wish them to be. The illnesses and frailties that our human bodies suffer from will not vanish overnight. Loved ones whom we passionately wish to be healed cannot always be healed in this life.
So how are we to pray? I have two suggestions.
First, there is still plenty that we can pray to God for in hope and trust. We can pray for a greater spirit of mutual trust and good will among peoples, communities. and nations. We can model that in our own lives as individuals, families, and communities. We can pray for better care for the created world, so that we hand on to the generations to come a world that is still habitable. And we can model that hope through the choices that we make, and the way that we use our own resources.
So, we can pray for strength to do even more of the things that we already know are good. But there is more.
Sometimes, when we simply do not see a way forward, when we do not know just what to pray for, we are called simply to offer our concerns, our griefs, and our hopes before God, asking for help, sustenance, and support even when we do not know what to ask. Sometimes all we can do is offer our profound confusion and helplessness to one who loves us with unimaginable depth and power. We don’t even have to be polite to God. God can cope with the honest expression of our feelings.
And then, in the trust that is of the essence of faith, we may recognize that even as we struggle, our prayer in faith is answered in the very fact that we do struggle on. As John Henry Newman wrote in his hymn “Lead, kindly light”, we may ask, not to see all that lies before us, but for God to shed light on each step at a time in our journey. For the saviour who endured struggle and suffering for us, will walk with us through our dark places and enlighten them as we go forward.
Submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
July 17, 2022: Sixth Week after Pentecost
Five Pentecost, July 17, 2022
Hospitality is a sacred duty in many traditional cultures. Where travelling was a dangerous
activity, and there was no support mechanism for those on long journeys, caring for the
stranger at one’s gate was a duty and a responsibility. One might need the same generous
support oneself one day.
Besides, one never knew who one’s guest might be. The story of Abraham and Sarah at the
oaks of Mamre is a classic tale of entertaining the representatives of God unawares. In the
narrative in Genesis 18, the three men speak, but “the Lord” joins in the conversation. The
three men make the promise that Sarah, in her age and past childbearing, will bear a son. The
Lord ponders whether to warn Abraham about the fate waiting for Sodom and Gomorrah, while
he walks with the three men.
The three guests are messengers of God. In Christian tradition, this story was taken to mean
that the three guests were the three persons of the Trinity. You may know the famous icon
painted by the fifteenth-century Russian artist Andrei Rublev, where three identical figures,
sitting to eat their meal, are depicted with angels’ wings. That icon is also known as “The
Trinity” and became the acceptable way to represent the trinity in the Russian Orthodox
tradition. Countless reproductions of Rublev’s icon continue to be made and sold as devotional
pieces, greetings cards, or art prints.
Hospitality was just as critical to the world of the New Testament. Jesus’s ministry depended on
hospitality. Jesus accepted invitations to dinner with Levi the tax collector and a Pharisee called
Simon alike (Luke 5, 7, also 11). He used his presence as a guest to make moral and pastoral
points. He gave advice: be a humble guest, and you will encourage your host to raise you to a
higher place at table. Two weeks ago, we heard how Jesus sent out the seventy missionaries:
they were to accept hospitality from whoever welcomed them and stay in their homes.
In the light of all these stories, there is something slightly jarring about the story of Mary and
Martha. And when something jars in the Bible, you can be sure that something important is
This story of Martha and Mary occurs only in Luke’s Gospel, and it is not assigned to a particular
place, only to “a certain village”. You will of course recall that in John’s Gospel, Martha and
Mary are the sisters of Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus raises from the dead. The two stories
do not seem to have much in common – except for the very different personalities of the two
sisters. In both Gospels, Martha is the practical one, the one who speaks her mind and gets
things done – the ordinary, necessary things.
In John 12 Jesus goes to Bethany, some time after the raising of Lazarus: Martha serves the
meal, while Mary pours costly perfume over Jesus’s feet. Again, Mary gets into trouble; again,
Jesus defends her.
You may well feel sympathy for Martha. She knows what hospitality is about. There is work to
be done, and it will be done better and more quickly if everyone takes their share. And there is
Mary (the younger sister, the dreamer, dare we suppose?) sitting at the feet of the teacher.
You may even feel sympathy for both sisters. Each is trying to do the right thing, and each is a
reproach to the other. Many of us have to perform both roles in our lives: the practical things
have to get done, but the spiritual things must also not be forgotten. (Tell me about it.)
So what is going on in this challenging story? At least two messages are calling out for our
First, at this point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus puts enormous emphasis on getting the word out
about the appearing kingdom. The word must be heard. There are never enough people to
share the word; there is barely enough time to spread it. At his transfiguration, a voice was
heard saying ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’ [Luke 9:35] That was in the chapter
immediately preceding this one.
The urgent priority was for people to listen to what Jesus had to say. Mary was obeying that
call. As the Greek original says, she listened to Jesus’s Word, his logos: the Word that brings the
world into being and the Word that transforms it from its broken state. Jesus taught what
Martin Luther King Jr would later refer to as “the fierce urgency of now”: indeed, Dr King’s
sense of the urgency of racial and economic justice was surely rooted in his knowledge of
Second point: the world of the first century was very gendered. Usually, the men talked and the
women served. Discussion, especially about God and God’s law, was usually a male activity. In
the early Church, it would largely become a male activity once again. But not for Jesus. Lurking
in the New Testament are passages which repeatedly tell how women are not only the friends
and supporters of Jesus and the disciples: they are messengers of the word, examples of faith,
of loyalty and commitment. Women stay with Jesus when his male disciples desert him. The
message of his resurrection is given first to a woman.
A highly esteemed feminist theologian suggested that this passage in Luke described Martha as
representing early [female] leadership role in the early church, being replaced by a more
passive role represented by Mary. Jesus’s praise of Mary would be the voice of the early church
praising women who engaged in silent listening to the word, rather than practical organizing.
Martha is being criticized for the sake of a male church. That seems to me a problematic way to
read the text (and I say that not just because I had a difficult encounter with that feminist
theologian at Harvard over 20 years ago). The text does not say that Mary listened passively;
Jesus taught by asking questions, by engaging in dialogue.
However, we should always listen to the stories of Jesus’s ministry with two other eras in mind:
the era when the Gospels were written down, and our own time as we read and hear them.
Early in its story, the Church had to do lots of Martha-like things. Luke knew that best of all the
evangelists. The Church organized the sharing of goods to benefit the poor; it organized
communal meals; it organized the mutual support of one congregation for another. As I said
two weeks ago, this process of growing structures was absolutely unavoidable, then as now.
The household of faith is a household, and there is household stuff to be done in it. Luke, most
of all, knew that well and took it seriously.
But, as the Gospel says, Martha was “distracted by her many tasks”: in the Greek original, she
was “turned around this way and that” by “much service”, much “diakonia”. This same caring
for the needs of the community prompted the establishing of the order of deacons in the Book
of Acts. This “diakonia” wasn’t a bad thing in itself. In fact, it was essential. Without a meal
there would be no opportunity for conversation.
I sincerely hope that, in the coming months, we shall be able to retrieve more and more of the
sharing of food and company with each other that was such a vital part of our common life
before the pandemic. There is no doubt that more shared food and companionship would
strengthen those of us who are already gathered, and help to bring new friends to join us.
However, it is important not to make the diakonia, the “tasks”, the primary object of our
common life. If one begins with the diakonia, one mistakes what is secondary for what is
primary. We do not serve in order to hear and believe: we serve because we heard and
Our primary purpose is to hear the Word of God’s love for the world, a love that calls us in turn
to a life of mutual love and service. The Word nurtures faith, and faith then becomes active in
service. We did not cease to be the Church of God, even when we could not safely gather in
person and had to meet online. We do not cease to be a community of the sacraments, even
when we are not (quite yet) able to share the common cup of Jesus’s blessing at our Eucharist.
The story of Mary tells us something vital about hearing the Word. It is for everyone in the life
of the community that lives by Jesus’s Word. The Church is not divided up into hearers of the
Word and those who just help things along. Hearing, reflecting, sharing and above all living the
Word is for all of us. That is “the better part, which will not be taken away from us”. All of us.
1 Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), 57-68.
Submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
July 3, 2022: Fourth Week after Pentecost
Click here for Today's Readings
Four Pentecost, July 3, 2022
How do you create a movement?
The spontaneous way in which Jesus here calls and sends out the seventy (or the seventy-two,
depending on which source we read) reminds me of conversations that one often hears about churches,
and also about seminaries of theological education, where I have been involved for the last twenty
One sometimes hears planners and administrators say that “the Church needs to be less of an
institution, and more of a movement”. The implication is that we ought to spend less time worrying
about maintaining buildings, growing endowments, or deciding what exact administrative structure we
need – and more time thinking about how to expand the message of the Gospel, to grow the numbers
of people whom the Gospel reaches, and to energize those who are already in the family of faith to be
active in the world.
It's a seductive argument, and one can see why church leaders and administrators appeal to it. It can be
a way of short-circuiting the conversations that parishes feel that they (that is, we) most need to have.
However, any religious historian will tell you several general points about movements. First, they rarely
happen because the leaders of an institution tell them to happen. It is much more common for them to
grow spontaneously, even randomly, when someone on the margins of, or entirely outside the religious
establishment, appears with a new message.
Secondly, they will be disruptive. Any church administrators who call for a new movement need to be
very careful what they wish for – though that of itself is not to say that disruption is always a bad thing.
Thirdly, movements have a kind of half-life. Almost by definition, they don’t last long in that form. They
either grow into a more stable form – more like an institution, in fact – or they die away. The many (far
too many) separate branches of the Christian Church that we see across the world testify to as many
“movements”, which constructed institutions to perpetuate themselves. Even the movement which
inspired the push for independence in this country 250 years ago led, very rapidly, to the creating of a
On the other hand, two and three hundred years ago, here in New England and across the colonized
parts of this country, there were two waves of revivals known as the First and Second Great Awakenings.
These movements, led by a succession of charismatic preachers, swept through the churches of their
day. And the question then was, what do we do after the whirlwind of the revival is past? When you
have been “revived”, what do you do on Monday morning?
What then does this Gospel story of the early “Jesus movement” have to tell us now?
The un-named seventy apostles did not achieve their appointment as missionaries of the kingdom of
God. They filled in no application forms; they underwent no background checks; they passed through no
process of discernment. Jesus called them and sent them out with very simple instructions: “eat what is
set before you; cure the sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”
And we hear that they were astonishingly successful. When they return to Jesus (who, in this part of
Luke, is on his long march through Samaria and Judaea to Jerusalem) he sees their mission as a triumph.
He has a vision of Satan falling from heaven, since even the seventy missionaries have power to cast out
evil spirits. In effect, Jesus says “see how the evil in this world can be conquered by the power of the
Spirit, working through quite ordinary people”.
Jesus seems to have believed, as many of his followers did before and after his death and resurrection,
that there was a fierce urgency about spreading the news, that time was short. Maybe the call to the
seventy can be regarded as an exceptional moment, provoked by the urgency of the moment. And yet
the evangelist we know as Luke wrote this account some fifty to sixty years later, when the sense of
urgency had been, shall we say, stretched a bit.
Have you ever wondered what became of the seventy? They are not mentioned again in the Gospels.
Post-biblical tradition, including a work attributed to Hippolytus of Rome around the early 200s, gave
names for all of them, as did other works written in the Eastern Church in the Middle Ages. In fact,
considerably more than seventy names have been proposed for them in total.
The lists of names are questionable. First, there are not nearly enough women among them (maybe two
or three) whereas we know that women played important roles in Jesus’s mission. Even more strangely,
most of the names are Greek or Roman, rather than Hebrew or Aramaic. Most if not all of the seventy,
the lists tell us, went on to become apostles, martyrs, or indeed bishops, to one of the dispersed
congregations of the early church.
In other words, as it tried to remember the seventy, the early Church was already becoming
institutionalized, and adapted to its host culture: more settled, more Graeco-Roman and more male.
The names of the seventy are not authentic, and it is better to keep them nameless.
Why is that so? What would it feel like to form part of one of the greatest and most important missions
in the history of the world, and to have no-one, absolutely no-one, know your name years afterwards?
We are familiar with the leaders of movements who make a name for themselves. Maybe they even
have, against their will, a church named after them: Lutheran, Wesleyan.
But most of us who participate in the life of Christ’s church will not make a famous name for ourselves in
the world. Most of us will not have charismatic gifts of spiritual power. We shall, instead, bear witness to
the love of God in the way that we live together and support each other. We shall show the world that
there is a better way than one based on endless acquisitiveness, competitively pushing past others, or
But Jesus said something very important to the nameless seventy apostles. ‘Do not rejoice at this, that
the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’
Being numbered among the beloved of God counts for more even than the power to cast down evil
spirits. Because God chose those who had no outstanding abilities, we learn something important about
God’s sovereignty in this world and beyond it.
There is no hierarchy in the love of God. There is no course of promotion or progress in the love of God.
One does not ascend to a higher level of God’s love, either by one’s own efforts or by spiritual gifts. That
includes the rather disturbing, but absolutely crucial thought that we cannot make God love us more by
our religious activities.
None of us loses anything because others, whom we maybe are tempted to think are less deserving, are
also found to be among the beloved children of God. (That was the lesson for the prodigal son’s brother,
and for the labourers who started working in the vineyard at the first hour of the day. We can see just
how important Jesus thought it was to put this particular message across.)
We do not need to build a movement. It is already among us; we just need to recognize and respond to
it. The love of God is already present with us, and there is literally nothing greater than we can hope for.
When we feel called to work for the kingdom of God, to share the love of God among those with whom
we live – whether in a church community, or in our workplaces, in our families, in our neighborhoods –
all we have to do, in a sense, is go with the flow of the Spirit that is pulling us along. But don’t resist it.
Don’t contaminate the Spirit with any sense of achievement, of status, of progress in living more deeply
into the love of God. Because we are already there.
The un-named seventy do not represent the exceptional apostles. They do not represent those uniquely
and especially close to Jesus. They represent all of us.
‘Rejoice that your names are written in heaven’.
Submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron
June 5, 2022: Pentecost
Pentecost Sunday, June 5, 2022
Welcome to the Feast of Pentecost. As Acts makes clear, this day was already a festival in the
Jewish tradition. It took place fifty days after Passover, and was also known as the “Feast of
Weeks”, since it occurred seven weeks after Passover, if one counts inclusively.
In Christian tradition, Pentecost, like the Easter Vigil, was traditionally celebrated by baptism of
candidates who had been prepared by instruction in the faith. In our Book of Common Prayer, it
is one of four Sundays at which baptism should preferably be performed. Recognizing that this
is one of these baptismal Sundays, we shall read the reaffirmation of baptismal vows in place of
the Nicene Creed this morning.
Only Luke-Acts preserves the story that Jesus left his disciples after 40 days of post-resurrection
ministry, and that the disciples received the gift of the Spirit after another ten days. John’s
Gospel does not assign the gift of the Spirit to a precise time (if anything it is at the Last Supper,
but not only there).
However one tells it, this story from Scripture is about a gift: a gift both of communication, but
also of confidence: having the message of Christ within one, but also having the courage and
confidence of Christ to utter that message.
The Jews of the scattering, or diaspora, were dispersed to the limits of the Middle Eastern and
Mediterranean worlds. They had retained their faith, but had absorbed the languages, and
many of the cultural habits, of the peoples where they settled. The disciples were miraculously
able to be heard in all the languages which these scattered communities spoke.
The story is symbolic: the confusion of tongues, which took place as the Tower of Babel was
being built, is now reversed. The dispersed were being brought together again. (Never mind
that most of these people would have understood Greek, at least as a second language.)
But how does this once-in-a-lifetime event translate into something which becomes the
everyday principle of sharing the faith to all peoples of all languages?
Peter explains it in a long quotation from the prophecy of Joel, where the prophet spoke of God
pouring out God’s spirit on all people, as part of the restoration of the people of Israel, probably
after the exile. (Peter adds only the reference to the “last days”, which is not in the original
prophecy, but speaks to how the early Church understood Jesus.)
Deeply embedded in the Jewish heritage of the first disciples was the belief that God could and
would give inspiration to God’s followers: sometimes to particular chosen prophets and
leaders, but sometimes – as in this case – to all devout believers indiscriminately.
John, who does not preserve the story of the gift at Pentecost, nevertheless says a great deal
about the spirit of God being given to Jesus’s followers.
He gives that Spirit a special name, paraclétos, or “Paraclete” as some Christian poetry and
hymns preserve it, rendered by “advocate” in today’s reading. It’s an unusual word in the Bible,
found only in the writings associated with John in the New Testament.
Paraclétos, literally “one called alongside”, was originally an advocate or spokesperson in court.
It does not mean someone who intercedes for us with God: rather, it is the one who gives the
disciples voice, so that they can proclaim God’s message to the world, faithfully and in
confidence. (The word “comforter”, found in older versions, is a mistranslation.)
In the Middle Ages, a Dominican Friar called John Bromyard told the story of a village shepherd
who was asked about his faith. Did he know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost? He replied
that “he knew the Father and the Son, because he tended their sheep; he knew not that third
fellow: there was no-one of that name in his village”.
Neglecting to think at all about the Spirit is one risk. At the opposite extreme, there is also the
risk of claiming too much acquaintance with the Holy Spirit, even of trying to control it.
When I was an undergraduate at Oxford in the 1970s, evangelical students often asked each
other “when did you become a Christian”? I gradually learned that, in the theology of
evangelical Anglicanism, it was expected that one should have an experience of inner
conversion, with a sudden dramatic sense of the presence of the Spirit.
In some communities, it has even become the custom to pray at specific times and places for
the imposition of the Spirit. In our former parish in England, the vicar led a program of adult
education, which was intended to conclude with prayers in the Church for the gift of the Spirit.
Instinctively I found myself deeply uncomfortable with this practice, and wondered why.
My discomfort may have been based on two things: first, the Spirit does not follow human
rules. It appears on God’s schedule, not on ours. Sometimes it arrives early, as in the house of
Cornelius; sometimes it arrives late. Second, the Spirit is not about an individual’s journey, but
about the life of a community. It speaks where people are gathered together in the name of
Jesus. It binds a loving group of fellow-believers together; it does not create elites.
The spirit, the “advocate”, does just what Luke described in Acts 2. It gives us voice, and
enables us to communicate something which is too extraordinary and wonderful for human
language. The Spirit helps the Church to express the message in the language of the people who
are being addressed. That means, so that different cultures and groups of people can hear it.
The spirit does not nail down the presence of God to particular forms of words; it finds the
words that the circumstances need. The Spirit is always missional, and always ecumenical.
But before we speak, we must listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, and pass on the message:
we are not devising our own message, but listening to the message of the risen and ever-
present Christ. What is the message that we need to hear for these times?
The example of Jesus teaches us, very clearly and repeatedly, that it is important both to speak
out against the wrongs in our world, and also to love those with whom we disagree. That is not
easy; because cultural conflict breeds, and feeds on, fear and distrust between one group of
people and another.
It is fear – the conviction that others do not affirm one’s right to exist – which leads people to
accumulate and then defend their holding of absurd numbers of weapons, whether that is
private ownership of handguns and rifles, or a nation’s accumulation of unimaginable quantities
Fear of an aggressor, often imagined more than real, lies behind the unprovoked invasion of
Ukraine. It also leads to many of the mass killings in this country, made all too easy by the
chronic and either irrational, or politically cynical, fear aroused in some quarters when sensible
regulation and control of weapons are discussed.
The Gospel has a response to this paroxysm of fear, distrust and alienation.
The Spirit offers a particular, very special kind of peace, which Jesus described in the last verses
of our Gospel. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world
gives.” Not the peace that consists simply of the absence of conflict; certainly not the peace
that comes as a result of victory in conflict, as the Roman Empire understood it.
Jesus’s Jewish heritage taught a particular way of understanding peace. Peace, Shalom, was not
the mere absence of conflict, or the aftermath of victory and conquest. Shalom existed when
the community lived together in mutual respect, in harmony with each other, with nature and
In the Christian adaptation of Shalom, the community could find peace even in the midst of
conflict, or of persecution. By living together in mutual love and support, one could know the
peace of God, even when all around one was fear and hatred.
In the gift of the Spirit, I pray that we may together find the words to express the love of God,
and to share it with those around us who need it so very much, in these most troubled times.
Pentecost blessings to you all.
submitted by the Reverend Doctor Euan Cameron