It's startling every time I read it—this list of the disciples whom Jesus calls, and, amazingly, sends out to fulfill his mission. Let’s see, we’ve got Peter who denies him 3 times, and gets just about everything about the kingdom wrong; there’s Judas, who betrays Jesus, always looking to make a buck on the side. We’ve got James and John, with their fiery tempers, who love jockeying for power. Their fishermen’s muscles hide their insecurity. There’s Matthew, the tax collector who supports the Roman oppressor, and then there’s Simon at the opposite end of the spectrum, a Zealot, working for the rebellion to overthrow Rome. When he first heard about Jesus, Bartholomew questioned if anything good could come of out Nazareth. Thomas was stubborn, Andrew disappeared in Peter’s shadow, and one hopes that of the little we know of the others, someone had a level head and was not always shooting off at the mouth with their own plans and agenda. I have a hard time imagining it though. The glimpse the bible gives us, shows them all as so very…. Oh, what’s the word…. human… so very human.
Which is why it is so stunning to read verse 1 of chapter 10: Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them, and to cure every disease and every sickness. Really? These guys?
The last part of the instructions makes more sense—stick close to home while you’re trying this out—don’t make us look bad in front of other nations—the mission to the whole world comes later. No wonder the Gospel-writers mention that some women who traveled with them—someone had to keep these clowns in line!
But Jesus does give theses disciples his power to heal, and to bring liberation from whatever bound people up, be it demons, illness, leprosy, incapacity, addictions, or broken relationships. Why does he do this? Jesus wants to expand the good news of the kingdom and he needs more hands on deck: Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Jesus could only be in one place at a time when he was in human form. To spread the healing and liberation of the kingdom, he needed “apostles” – who are the “sent ones” – on the move, with his power, to encounter and touch to those who were sick or in need.
And guess what? His disciples already knew what it was like to feel harassed and helpless—they felt this way themselves before Jesus came into their lives. The disciples were all harassed and helpless when Jesus called them to follow him. Their lives were not working any better than anyone else’s. They had been like sheep without a shepherd—
• struggling to make ends meet,
• feeling trapped under the weight of oppression,
• wrestling with their own demons and misery,
• experiencing uncontrolled emotions, destructive patterns of behavior and broken relationships.
This is why they are such human characters—because they knew what it felt like to be harassed and helpless and to receive Jesus’ compassion and healing. The disciples themselves had experienced Jesus’ healing and liberating power in their own heart and soul! This is what made them great apostles—they had a Jesus-story to tell already! It is why Peter did not want Jesus to die and became such a mess when he did. It is why James and John want the top position at Jesus’s right and left hands—they could not imagine life without Jesus. Each one of the disciples had an encounter with Jesus that changed them.
It did not make them perfect, but it did make them whole. It released them from shame. Their encounter with Jesus filled them with Jesus’ presence and power and love—enough to overflow into other people’s lives.
Jesus gave them something to share. They were a living example of what it looked like to go
• from harassed to healed;
• from helpless to helpful,
• from confused to clear-headed;
• from fiery to faithful.
For where the spirit of Jesus is, there is healing and liberation. Imagine these apostles going out in all their humanness, filled with Jesus’ spirit, to share their own Jesus-story of healing and liberation. Each one had their own story, making connections with the community in different ways.
Maybe James and John discovered the face of God in the children who climbed their big arms like a jungle gym. I imagine healing little ones became their special gift with kids running to them for piggyback rides as they brought Jesus’ healing and liberation to families like theirs.
Perhaps Peter, always full of bluster, saw the face of God in the elderly who also shared their wisdom as Peter and Andrew brought Jesus’ healing and liberation to widows and widowers. In their presence, Peter learned how to let Andrew shine.
Maybe Matthew saw the face of God in the poor whom he was called to heal and in so doing, made amends, like Zacchaeus, for the taxes he overcharged, and Jesus’ healing and liberation became multi-layered.
Perhaps Simon saw the face of God in fellow zealots injured by violent acts of rebellion, as he brought healing, liberation and a new way of life in the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed.
Maybe Thomas and Bartholomew saw the face of God in those who were outcast as the healing and liberation of Jesus worked through them to bring good things to lives that had been restored.
And what about you? The power of Jesus’s healing spirit resides in you. What is your Jesus-story? You are an apostle of Jesus Christ, sent to people who are harassed and in need of healing, who are hopeless and in need of the liberating love of Jesus.
People need to be freed from whatever oppresses, binds, or holds them back from wholeness. You have your own story of how your encounter with God in Jesus Christ has changed your life—how a worship service, or a person, a ministry, the people in this church, or how God showed up and shared the love of Jesus Christ with you and helped change your life. That is your Jesus-story. Part of being a disciple of Jesus is sharing your Jesus-story, your good news with someone who is harassed, helpless and hopeless to give them faith that God is with them, that Jesus loves them, that healing and freedom and wholeness are possible. Being open and noticing who Jesus wants you to serve and to heal--that is where we seek God’s face in discipleship.
And do not worry, for you are not called to be a disciple to everyone or every person you see or know—I know I am not! I learned early on that I am not everyone’s cup of tea. Over the years, people have told me to my face they do not like my energy, or they don’t think women should be pastors, or they hear me lead worship, and their like, I’m outta here.
Fine! (Ok, that was not my first reaction when I was younger!) Jesus has somebody else for you other than me. Why do you think Jesus called a wildly diverse group of disciples? Because each of them was going to reach different people. You have an opportunity to reach someone I will never reach, or never cross paths with.
I have discovered that God uses our experience and our story to help people who will relate to us. God keeps putting people with cancer in my path, particularly women with breast cancer—but not just them—and most of whom are not members of the church. I don’t talk with them because I am pastor—but because I am a disciple of Jesus. Jesus sends me to them and asks me to share love, and to be a witness of healing and liberation in the kingdom of heaven.
God has people to send you to—to share your story, to witness to how your life is changed because of your relationship with Jesus, to share the spirit and love of God that brings healing and freedom. God has someone who is ready and hoping for someone like you, that they can relate to with good news of God’s love.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to seek God’s face in discipleship. Who is God putting in your path that you are supposed to help, to encourage, to share your Jesus-story, to bless with healing love?
Ask God this week to show you who is this person God is sending you to? I do not know how they will show up—
• someone may call, and ask you to talk to a friend;
• someone in need may come right across your path,
• it may be a new conversation with someone you have known a long time,
• or it may happen some other way entirely.
• Pray for an open spirit and for God to let you know with whom you are called to be a witness.
If Jesus can grow the whole entire Christian church over the last 2,000 years starting out with this ragtag group of very human disciples, then surely Jesus can do much more than we can ever ask or imagine through the disciples of St. Luke’s Lutheran church!
When comedian and Actor Groucho Marx resigned from a club in New York he said “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member.” I wonder if that’s what Matthew, the toll booth collector thought when Jesus came up to him and asked this sinner to follow him.
Matthew was not on the list of the town’s favorite people. He sat at a sheltered counting booth placed strategically near the road out of Galilee where fishermen would transport their catch, collecting fees for the Roman empire. The upcharges he exacted were his way of making a profit, no doubt a handsome livelihood, while also economically supporting Rome, Israel’s oppressor.
But, unlike Marx, Matthew jumped at the chance to follow this itinerant preacher healer—maybe he would have a chance to redeem himself. Matthew celebrated by throwing a party to show off his new best friend, Jesus, to all the other sinners. No one else would let them into their clubs, so they had to stick together. Imagine, a whole house full of tax collectors, prostitutes, people living out of wedlock, widows trying to get by, hustlers and sinners of one kind or another who were having a great time with the new miracle worker in their midst.
But the religious leaders? They did not want to be part of any club that would let tax collectors and sinners accepted as members. But, they could hear Jesus’ wisdom in his teaching; they could see Jesus’ power in his healing. They wanted to be in the Jesus’ club—could they convince him of stricter membership rules? They could not see God’s face in those who were so different from them.
Jesus responded to the religious leaders by saying he came to be with those in need of love, healing, and hope. Then he gave them a homework assignment. Study the book of Hosea, particularly chapter 6, verse 6. I desire mercy, not sacrifice. Or as we read in our Confession today, I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
In other words, in today's language:
• Your prayers and worship in here, don’t mean anything, if you cannot love people in need, or whom you judge, or who make you uncomfortable, out there.
• I desire mercy, not empty rituals; I desire steadfast love, not offerings to appease a guilty conscience. You must walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
Now the stage is set to discover who will join this all-inclusive club. Jesus begins to embody the very thing he asks of the religious leaders and the themes of the passage start reversing as we see people desperately seek God’s face in Jesus.
First a leader of the synagogue, a member of the group Jesus was essentially scolding for being exclusive, asks Jesus to come and heal his daughter who has died. This is no small ask—it is not a healing, it is a resurrection.
The leader of the synagogue reverses course from his colleagues—he breaks with peer pressure and skepticism. Out of desperation, as a father who adores his daughter, this synagogue leader begs Jesus to restore her to life. Quite suddenly, he is happy to be part of the Jesus club with all kinds of tax collectors and sinners if it might bring his daughter back to him.
When we begin to lose the one thing which is most precious to us, our time and energy for judging others, maintaining our status, and identifying our differences suddenly does not matter at all. This father and leader of the synagogue did not give one whit who’s house he had to go to find Jesus, nor who he was hanging out with, if he would just come and lay hands on his daughter who has ceased to breathe.
This religious leader now sees himself as just as needy as the rest of the outcasts. Maybe he is willing to be part of a club that would have him and the sinners, as members together. He can begin to see God’s face where he did not before.
What about Jesus? Given that he was just criticized by leaders of the synagogue, it would have been tempting for Jesus to rebuff him. But Jesus does not hold a grudge against the synagogue leader for not welcoming tax collectors and sinners into worship, for upholding the purity laws and rituals, for that was part of their job according to Leviticus.
No, Jesus responds immediately to this man’s pain. “For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” I have come to offer love and healing to those who are hurting and broken regardless of who they are. God desires mercy and steadfast love, and that is what Jesus shows this man of leadership and high standing. Jesus sees God’s face in this man’s pain.
Jesus gets up from the party at Matthew’s house, and then the second reversal happens: Jesus, who just called Matthew to follow Him, now becomes the follower. Jesus follows the leader of the synagogue to his home to show him mercy and steadfast love, comfort and hope, by bringing his daughter back to life. The Lord of All comes to serve.
The One who calls us all to follow him, in turn follows each one of us into our darkest valleys, into the shadow of death. Perhaps as the father walked with Jesus behind him, leading him to the bedside of his lifeless daughter, he could hear the words of Psalm 23 echoing in his mind, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
The girl grips Jesus’ hand and rises to new life. She see God’s face in the hand that grips hers.
There is one more reversal in this story. On the way to see the young girl, a woman with a hemorrhage for 12 years follows behind Jesus. She is just as desperate for healing as the man with the deceased daughter. Jesus does not even see the woman. But like the father, she trusts in Jesus’ divine power to heal –so much so that she believes there is a healing fountain in the fringe of his cloak. She does not even need to touch Jesus—she seeks God’s face in the fringe of his clothes! When she touched his garment, she was completely healed.
But it is against the Temple purity rules for Jesus to have this woman with the flow of blood touch him, or for Jesus to touch the hand of anyone who had died. This would normally make him unclean, but God’s steadfast love and mercy are at work here. So, instead of Jesus becoming unclean through these interactions, the movement is reversed: Jesus’ purity and cleanliness spreads to the woman and the girl, and his healing makes them whole.
The ritual restrictions disappear for everyone—that is grace! The Temple doors fling wide, the community opens its arms. It is like the Apostle Paul describes in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
The community can see God’s face in those who were rejected who are now brought into the fold. That is why all the tax collectors and sinners—everyone is welcome in the club—even if you are not sure you want to come if we’ll have you—there’s no meritocracy, no hierarchy, no us or them, there’s just all of us together, whom God made, and Jesus loves and heals. No one is barred from seeking God’s face, not the arrogant or the unsure, not the sinner or the outcast. Everyone is washed clean by God’s steadfast love and mercy.
Your invitation today depends on where you are spiritually and this story reveals three responses of faith:
• The father comes at any cost and becomes part of a new community with those he formerly judged. Jesus invites you to seek God’s face in those who cause you who discomfort. The synagogue leader and father trusts in the Lord, the Good Shepherd who follows him into the valley of the shadow of death and brings healing. Jesus invites you to trust that our Lord not only leads you, but follows you with you goodness and mercy, even when the shadows lead you next to those who cause you discomfort.
• The girl clings to Jesus’ hand as she rises to new life. Jesus invites you today to cling to his hand when you are in a day of darkest trouble. He will not let you go, and will bring you to renewed life. She did nothing but cling and receive. Maybe today, all you can do is cling and receive. For Jesus that’s enough. Seek God’s face by clinging to Jesus.
• The woman with the flow of blood trusts in Jesus’ power that only the slightest touch is enough. Jesus invites you to bring one of your deepest needs, perhaps one you have not prayed about before, and seek God’s face for your healing. Trust that even the slightest turning toward to him, the smallest whisper for help will be heard.
After you receive Communion, you can come up the side steps to the altar or stand by the Baptismal font and ask for an individual prayer as you seek God’s face for whatever healing or wholeness in your own life. This morning we heard our VBS children sing with joy that God is with us when we are up, when we are down and when we turn around--so come before God with that same kind of trust and hope.
Image: Photo of Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ by Larry Wecsler, member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
The Apostle Paul ends his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church with these words, which we hear almost every Sunday in worship; but do we ever stop and consider what they really mean for us?
Every time we celebrate the wonderful joy of Baptism, we do so using beautiful words we also repeat often in worship—blessing and baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…but how often do we really pause to deeply reflect on how One God showing up in three different ways has an impact at all in our daily existence?
Today, I would like to do something a little different, which is to invite you to reflect on some of your own experiences. You can jot a few notes on your bulletin insert as we move along.
We will begin by remembering a time when you had a meaningful experience in nature—it could have been on vacation or at a camp or in your own backyard. Where were you? Who were you with? What did you see? How did you feel—peace, awe, humility, wonder—? Once you have captured that moment, pick any circle on your insert and jot down a few words about the experience and how you felt. Dale is going to play some background music for a minute to give you time to ponder (Morning has Broken)
Now I encourage you to think about a time when you were down and out, struggling in some way, needing help, and someone showed up for you. It could have been soup when you were sick, words of support that came at just the right time, or even financial help. What did you need and who showed up to help bring you through to a better day? Pick another circle and jot down a few notes, and how you felt receiving what you needed—maybe you felt seen, heard, loved, or a sense of relief. (Background music, What A Friend we Have in Jesus).
Before we do our last circle, I want to say that if you have a circle where you cannot remember an experience right now, that’s ok—one might occur to you later. It just means you did not use this language to describe your experience. This are designed for you to continue to reflect on how when throughout the day we notice these moments.
In the last circle, I invite you to think about time when you experienced an Aha moment—a time of insight, clarity, when the pieces suddenly all fit together. It could have been a new idea, an inspiration or relationship giving you a surge of energy, new life, hobby, or a new love. What was happening in one of these inspired moments and how did you feel?—perhaps passionate, excited, renewed. (Background music, Spirit of the Living God).
It is easy to forget that all of us every day are experiencing God—we just have not been taught to name our daily experiences as sacred. In the circle with your experience of nature, write Creator—God the Creator is in all your experiences of nature—the creation itself is God’s first Incarnation. One of my spiritual mentors in St. Louis, Darlene, who is now in the company of saints, used to say to me, God is creating you moment by moment, breath by breath. Every breath is God with you, choosing to recreate you momently, as God is doing in all things.
In the circle where someone showed up when you need help, support, or encouragement—write Jesus who is God with skin on. God is always showing up for us in the hands, the feet, and the faces of other people.
That leaves the third circle of inspiration, energy, clarity, imagination, where you can write, Holy Spirit. Jesus promises in Matthew that he is with us always to the end of age—he does this through the Spirit living inside each of us and binding us together in community.
It is not just in these bigger moments, which are easier to identity, but God is with us in these same ways in every moment— watching the cardinal outside our window, bedtime stories, a conversation with a friend, deciding to let it go after a disagreement.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ through other people, the love of God which surrounds us in Creation, the Communion of the Holy Spirit who is in constant communion within our own heart and soul and binds us together as a community is with you all, now and always. God as three persons is not so much a doctrine as it is our human experience.
Today, dedicate our new playground—
• it is a gift of being blessed by God in creation
• a gift of playing with friends and family who are Jesus to us, and we are Jesus to them
• and it is a gift where the Holy Spirit moves to build community, energy, imagination, and joy in life together.
I invite you, not just this week, but this summer, as schedules open up, and trips are planned, to pay closer attention to these God moments—
• How do you experience the Creator in your backyard, in your garden,walking your dog in the neighborhood, on your vacation?
• How do you see Jesus in your family members, the people you meet on your trips, and in your friends, children, or grandchildren?
• When do you notice inspiration, energy, peace, community, and newness of life?
Then share what you notice—with each other, with your family members or spiritual friends, so we can also see and experience God how you do. In fact you can try it today at our potluck and share with each other one moment on your insert if want to—I personally would love to hear about every single circle you have!
Sharing our faith stories builds everybody’s faith that our Trinitarian God is alive and active everywhere, in all of our lives. And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
It turns out that human beings love barriers. Most institutions and organizations—even ones that intentionally try not to, erect and enforce barriers to access their privileges and rights thereunto. We love barriers so we can control who is in and who is out—especially when we are the ones who are in.
The church has been in the business of erecting barriers for millennia: women couldn’t be in leadership, LGBTQ+ people weren’t welcome, you had to give a certain amount of offering, or go to confession, or affirm this doctrine, or to join this congregation you had to live within a geographic boundary, or be from a certain ethnic group, or speak a specific language. The church I served in St. Louis was the first English-speaking congregation west of the Mississippi in that region. It has taken a long time to undue these barriers.
Often in organizations, even if it’s not official policy, enforce barriers and norms with which we are most comfortable with stares and cliques, with gossip and unspoken expectations around who should be in leadership, what race or gender are included, what people should wear, how they should talk, how old they should be—old enough, but not too old, and how tolerant—not welcoming—but tolerant we will be of those who are outliers from our comfort zone.
We live in a time when there are efforts toward erecting even more barriers to access things like healthcare for women, for trans teens, access to voting. We already have an epidemic of loneliness in our country, so regardless of your views on these issues, I am concerned as a pastor that those affected by additional barriers experience even more isolation, loneliness, disconnection, and lack of value in our shared community life. We as human beings have a very difficult time not erecting barriers around what makes us feel comfortable and in control.
Pentecost, however, is not about erecting barriers, it is about obliterating them. Pentecost is about breaking down barriers so that no one is blocked from receiving God’s love and power, and being in relationship in Christian community.
We do not normally think of a violent wind and flames of fire as good news—but on Pentecost day in the marvelous cacophony of Acts that we just heard, when so many Jews are gathered in Jerusalem, a dramatic entry is required for such a barrier-breaking message. People from all over the Mediterranean world made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Festival of Shavuot. This festival commemorates the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai 50 days after Passover. People also brought the offering of their first fruits from their spring harvest to the Temple, so it is a time of abundance and gratitude and celebration.
As the rush of a mighty wind swoops in, everyone recalls the parting of the Red Sea where God removes the barrier of the water and leads the people of Israel from slavery to freedom. As flames appear above the disciple’s heads, the disciples recall the burning bush that announced God’s presence and call to Moses; the tongues of fire recall the pillar of fire that led the Israelites through the wilderness –both experiences removing the barrier that God was far-off, only at a distance.
On Pentecost, we see this barrier-breaking God already had Jewish believers in diaspora all over the Mediterranean world speaking a diversity of languages and living in a multiplicity of cultures—some living in Jerusalem, some having arrived after a pilgrimage for the festival. God’s been working on diversity and inclusion for as long as humans have been putting up barriers! As the Spirit blows and the tongues of fire give the disciples power to speak in all the languages present, our barrier-breaking God, completes the vision that there will be nothing to block anyone’s access God, to experiencing love, to knowing hope, to feeling God’s deeds of power in your life. Every culture is embraced and God’s love and presence is heard and experienced by every person and language present!
Peter preaches the full vision which has been given long ago by the prophet Joel—which is that there are no barriers—the old and young alike shall receive the visions and dreams of God; men and women--all genders shall prophecy; people of every class—whether you are upper crust or on the bottom –slaves or free—they shall all receive the Spirit of God. The Spirit makes no distinction—all barriers are removed with the Spirit at Pentecost –the mission is full inclusion across every spectrum. I shall pour out my Spirit on ALL FLESH- no exceptions, no barriers, no exclusions. The Spirit makes no distinction.
The Spirit’s mission is to break down every barrier to God’s love and salvation in Jesus Christ—and the Christian community is called to embody this! But we are not totally there yet, are we? This story with these words has been in the Scripture for centuries, and in 2023, Christians, say nothing about this country, are still splitting up and fighting about who is in and who is out. Which makes our mission, here at St. Luke’s – to love serve, and welcome all in order to fulfill our vision to be inclusive community where spirits come alive as disciples of Jesus all the more important. Because we do not have to think about who is in or out. Everyone is in. We may need to make some accommodations—we do not worship in diverse languages every week, for example (there is technology for this though!), but we are committed to finding a way for everyone to be included.
We do not have to understand or agree with someone or even like them in order to love them as Christ loves us. Yes, that is hard spiritual work. But, following the Pentecost Spirit is to believe everyone belongs to God no matter what—and then to break down the barriers so they can experience inclusion, Jesus’ love, and forgiveness for them at this table, in this community.
When I first experienced God calling me to pastoral ministry through a campus pastor, I had never even seen a woman in the pulpit. I never did hear a woman preach until I got seminary. About 40% of my seminary classmates were women—but they were pretty different from me. I had a much more “out there” personality—I’ve mellowed a lot over the years, if you can believe that. I wore big earrings, I had bigger 80’s hair, I loved to dance, I had a smart mouth and a brassy personality. And I thought God was making a big mistake calling me to be a pastor. We worked in local churches, called “teaching parishes” and it was time for me to preach my 2nd sermon there. I was trying to write it and I just felt sick to my stomach. Preaching once was fun, but a second time meant I was doing this for my future. I was really questioning why God would want somebody like me as a pastor. I was nothing like any pastor I had ever met, and I was certainly not as sweet and demure as some of the women in my class. I remember closing my eyes and trying to calm my roiling stomach and I asked God what he was thinking—is this real—are you sure you want me to be a pastor? This was the first time I ever had the experience of the Spirit speaking to me, and this is what I heard: “You show a different face of God to the world, people need it, more will feel included.” My stomachache went away, I finished writing my sermon, and I didn’t look back. I got it. Just my presence in the church would help break barriers for other people who needed to see someone like them, or simply someone different.
When the Spirit blew in on Pentecost, the disciples each became the face and voice of God for someone different-- for a particular people in their own language—breaking the barrier for them to receive God’s love in Jesus Christ. And the same is true for you—you present a different face of God, and your presence will help break barriers for others who need to see someone like you to feel included. Your personality, your story, your invitation to this community will help others feel welcome and remove a barrier to being seen and loved by God. You work and live and go to school, and hang out, and talk with people where I do not, and most pastors never will. So, you are the face of God for people around you—you are the one who is there. When people learn you are part of an inclusive church, that will help break down the barrier for them to come and join you. People experiencing increased barriers in other parts of life need to know there’s an inclusive community here.
We are all priests by nature of our baptism—all anointed with the Spirit of Pentecost and given a unique face of God that gives another hope—to remove barriers to believe God loves them. Since God loves you, then God also loves them. Because Jesus forgives you, Jesus also forgives them. Because this community loves you, we can certainly love your friend, your neighbor, your co-worker, your cousin. We saw a wonderful example of this last week with Crystal and Bryan’s testimony—how many barriers have come down for people who heard their story in person or on-line who now feel God can forgive and transform their life?
What face of God do you show to the world? Who in our community will feel included and touched by God’s love and Jesus’ forgiveness when they get to know the face of God that is you? This week I invite you to pray about with whom in your circle of influence, can you share the God’s love. Is this someone you can invite to the playground dedication next week and the potluck luncheon after church? Continue to ask God’s blessings as you shine your unique face of inclusive love to the world, inviting people into this community where everyone is welcome and spirits come alive as followers of Jesus!