Archive for April, 2022

“Love with skin on it,” (Easter 2 2022)

Scriptural citation:

John 20: 19-31

Last week for Easter I mentioned that Mary Magdalene had “leveled up,” and that this week we would talk about the same thing happening with Jesus’s disciples.

And we will, but first I wanted to tell you about a conversation I had with Christine Killen. Christine is a member of the St. Brigid’s community who serves on our steering committee.

One of the things I appreciate most about Christine is that she asks clear and concise questions and makes clear and concise statements. As we talked, one of the things she said changed her faith was that she “needed love with skin on it.”

I need to confess [to you, dear sister] that I missed the next few words because my mind was blown by the beauty and honesty of that statement.

I needed love with skin on it.

It’s not just about getting past a faith that’s bloodless and digging into one that has real substance. It’s about making something abstract into something particular. Something not just with weight and sinews but with moles and freckles, with quirky mannerisms, with a smell all its own.

Love with skin on it.

This is what the disciples lost. Oh sure, Jesus told them he would love them to the end. But that’s not what we mourn when we mourn someone who has died. We don’t mourn their abstract love. We mourn their physical body. We are forced into a solitude we did not choose. This is why we get so angry at platitudes when we’re grieving: “Everything happens for a reason.” “He’s in heaven now.” “He wouldn’t want you to be sad.” Whether you believe those things or not, they tear up the particularities of grief and try to re-assemble them into something universal, and that just reminds us ever more of what we’ve lost, because it’s the particularities we miss the most.

Thomas isn’t with the disciples when they first see Jesus, who despite passing through locked doors is clearly still solid. He invites them to explore his solidity, showing them his hands and his side. They rejoice when they see it. The invisible holes within them he is filling up again, even as he returns with holes and scars himself. But there’s an added beauty to this which I don’t know that the disciples quite understand as yet – not until Thomas, who I argue is the hero of this story, points it out.

It’s not just that Jesus returns to them in that solid form which heals the hurt of his absence. The scars are also a sign of his complete forgiveness. He has not erased the horror left by his death. He can’t because this is the only way the disciples can truly be forgiven for their betrayal. Forgiveness comes when we bear witness to the harm we have caused. The disciples are confronted with it, and yet Jesus sends them peace.

But Thomas isn’t there. We don’t know why. Sometimes I wonder if he was doing his best to just get on with life, or maybe it was too painful to be with his friends, particularly since Thomas was a deeply devoted disciple before, stirring up the disciples to return to Bethany for Lazarus even if it meant death, and asking for details on how they could know the way Jesus was going. Maybe he was angry with his friends for betraying the one he loved. And yet here they come claiming Jesus has returned offering total forgiveness.

Of course Thomas wanted to see the wounds. He wants to know that his friend isn’t offering cheap grace. Under the old order, Jesus would come in a brand-new sparkly body with no scars, no signs of what had happened to him under the brutal hammer of the state. He might have looked like a totally different person or creature – an angel or some idealized Adonis. Heck, maybe he wouldn’t have been embodied at all; just a voice or a light. All sunshine and rainbows, no change.

No acknowledgement of the love the disciples had had for that particular body, that particular voice, that particular physical presence.

No sign of what had happened on the Cross, nothing that allows those who harmed to understand the depth of the harm they had caused and thereby facilitate true forgiveness.

Thomas says, “Nope. I need love with skin on it. If I can’t put my hands into the scars, I won’t believe. A ghost, an abstraction, a philosophical concept can’t save us. Only love can save us.”

That’s mind-blowing enough, but guess what? There’s yet another layer here, a layer we don’t talk about enough in Church, a layer of true incarnation that makes Thomas more than a hero – that makes him a prophet.

And that’s the layer that theologian Nancy Eiesland shares with us.

Nancy Eiesland was a professor at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. Born with a congenital bone defect, she was angry with the way her Church demeaned her experiences by patronizing her, assuming she had hidden sins which led to her disability, or saying suffering made her virtuous in the eyes of God, or that she would be whole in heaven. And yet in the disability activism spaces where she also moved, the people around her rejected the Church for these wholly understandable reasons. In a sense, they continued to impose a solitude on her as a Christian, replicating the forced individualism society continues to place on disabled people.

Nancy wanted a God who understood her, and after a lot of work talking with other disabled folks, she found Them. In her beautiful book The Disabled God, she writes,

“The foundation of Christian theology is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet seldom is the resurrected Christ recognized as a deity whose hands, feet, and side bear the marks of profound physical impairment. The resurrected Christ of Christian tradition is a disabled God. This disabled God…called for justice not from the distant reaches of principle but by virtue of God’s incarnation and ultimate knowledge of human contingency. …If Christ resurrected still participated fully in the experience of human life – including mysteriously the experience of impairment, we must be scandalized by our theological tendencies to perpetuate the myth of bodily perfection in our defense of heavenly (or, indeed, earthly) perfection. The disabled God nails the lie in our belief in a paradise in which we are “released” from the truth of worldly and bodily existence. That which God has called good, and in which God has participated through the incarnation, cannot be simply viewed as a temporary “evil” which we repudiate in order to participate in the promised fullness of life.”

Talk about love with skin on it.

Despite how others try to domesticate this story and use “Doubting Thomas” as a slur, Thomas, in a profound and prophetic act of questioning, shows not just how far forgiveness goes, but how far the incarnation goes. He asks Jesus, “Is everything, every morsel and facet of the human experience, really redeemed and made holy in the resurrection?”

And what is Jesus’s answer?

“Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”

Don’t doubt forgiveness. Don’t doubt my incarnation. Don’t doubt that I am here, all of me, and because I am, you are here too, caught up in my net of new life.

All of you. Every possible way you could be in the world, I put on like a royal garment. I am love with skin on it.

Of course Thomas responds with “My Lord and my God!” We don’t even know if he does put his hands into the marks, because he doesn’t need to.

And even now it’s not the end of things, for then we hear:

“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Blessed are we who have not seen the marks with our own eyes, and yet have come to believe that no part of our identity is rejected.

Blessed indeed am I when I look out at you and see the Body of Christ. Disabled and able-bodied. Black, brown, and white. Queer and hetero. Trans and cisgender. Child and adult. Poor and wealthy. Mortal and eternal.

Sermon begins at 26:15

“Level up,” (Sermon Easter 2022)

Scriptural citation:

John 20: 1-18

So come out, you have been waiting long enough

You’re done with all the talk, talk, talk with nothing on the table

It’s time to come on out; there will be no sign from above

You’ll only hear the knock, knock, knock of your own heart, a signal

The artist Vienna Teng released her song Level Up in 2013. The music video for this remarkable piece begins with a couple embracing in front of their home, which is in ruins. It transitions to a man with a prosthetic leg standing at a set of parallel bars, with a physical therapist standing at the other end, then to a person sitting on the ground in a dark alleyway, then to a couple (one of whom is Teng) in a bedroom, who look like they’ve just had a fight. Teng slowly rises, goes to stand before her partner, and they begin to dance, mirroring each other’s movements. The walls of the room then fold back and show all of the other locations – the alleyway, the room with the parallel bars, the destroyed home – and Teng walks through, engaging each of the other characters in dance.

After a moment, a brilliant white portal opens up before each of them, and they walk forward with reverence.

If you are afraid, come out

If you are awake, come out

Come out and level up.

Mary Magdalene, the home of her heart in ruins, feeling the earth-shattering loss of her teacher, totally alone and spent after a quarrel with the state where she and her people all came out the losers, went looking for a dead man, in the dark of early morning.

Afraid, because now what was she supposed to do with her life? Awake, because she surely didn’t sleep.

There was no sign from above. She went to weep, went to anoint, knowing she only had so many chances to be with him before the dear body would no longer be recognizable.

Little did she know, her entire worldview was about to level up.

Because the stone’s been rolled away.

She could not have imagined a good or joyful reason for this state of affairs. What could possibly be at work here but the most brutal mischief? She runs to her friends, panicking, and they come with her and find the shattered remains of Love’s great Exodus, but only one of them gets it, and seems not to want to explain it to the others.

Why? The text has no clues. If we’re going to take this metaphor all the way, maybe for this unnamed Beloved disciple, the little rainbow ball is still spinning, the little hourglass is still turning, the loading screen is still doing its silent work: Leveling up. Please stand by.

Takes time to level up from “Everything dies and everything dies for good” to “Your experience may differ.”

So they go back home, leaving Mary behind in a white-hot fury of grief, but suddenly…something changes. The tomb which was empty now has two figures in it, who speak to her, but she can’t make heads or tails of them.

Begin again; dynamite the dam on the flow

Your body feels the tock, tock, tock of time as it hammers

Lord, we are all cinders from a fire burning long ago

But here it is the knock, knock, knock of your own heart that matters

And she turns, and here is someone else…someone who asks her a loaded question: “Who are you looking for?”

This means so much more than what’s on the surface. This is a question for a disciple – or, in this case, an Apostle.

Who are you looking for?

A Teacher. A Beloved. A Conqueror of the Grave. A Resurrected One.

But Mary is still grappling with that end boss, that old worldview. Death is final. I’m looking for a Beloved, but he’s a corpse. I’m looking for him so I can provide his husk with the proper rituals. It’s what we do. What else is left? I care for him because his work is over. I thought, I prayed, I hoped that it would never end – but it did, horribly.

I’m here with the bitter herbs of my sorrow. I’m here with the salt of my pain, and all there is to do is anoint and cry because it is over.

And he speaks her name: Mary.

She stares, stares for a thousand years. Here comes the loading screen.

If you are afraid, come forth

If you are alone, come forth now

Everybody here has loved and lost

So level up, and love again

He’s here, but he’s also not here. She calls him Teacher, and that is what he is – as he said only a few days ago. But he’s also not that, not anymore. That’s why he says, “Don’t hold onto me.”

He has become what Rumi, Hafez, and Attar call The Friend, capital F. And Mary emerges, leveled up, and goes to do her business.

Call it any name you need

Call it your 2.0, your rebirth, whatever

So long as you can feel it all

So long as all your doors are flung wide

Call it your day #1 in the rest of forever

Day #1 in the rest of forever is sharing with the others. But it appears like they need time to level up too, which we’ll get into next week when we tell the story of Thomas. We don’t know what happens to Mary after she makes her proclamation to the disciples. Our ancestors had many stories of the people she met and the things she did, including miraculous deeds of power, even resurrection. But perhaps like so many mystics and lovers before her she just disappeared in the glory of what she had witnessed. Perhaps, through Love, all division between her and the Beloved was erased. This, after all, seems to have been what happened to Mary of Bethany, who washed Jesus’s feet.

And it is we, like her brothers, who are left – we who have not seen, but have come to believe. We who remain after generations of storytellers and believers, workers of good and evil, all ages, all colours, all genders, all bodies, all orientations, builders of an upside-down kingdom.

If you are afraid, give more

If you are alive, give more now

Everybody here has seams and scars

So what? Level up!

The legacy Mary Magdalene leaves to us is not one of unquenchable faith, or matchless strength, or boundless patience, or the gift of powerful speech. It’s a legacy of solidarity with the suffering – standing at the foot of the Cross, alongside all those who are still being crucified, day after day.

It’s a legacy of seeking: inelegant, desperate, blubbering seeking. 

It’s a legacy of accepting when the old way no longer fits, and leveling up.

It’s a legacy of filling up with love until you’re empty, of letting love rewrite the story not just of you but of everything.

Even the things you were told were non-negotiable like who’s allowed to have power over you, like who you’re allowed to love, like who you’re allowed to be.

Let your faith die

Bring your wonder

Yes, you are only one

No, it is not enough

But if you lift your eyes, I am your brother

I am. In this kingdom, I belong to you and you belong to me. We’re siblings in that we didn’t choose each other – Jesus did. We’re friends in that our bond is deeper than one shared by blood.

And now that we have found each other, what shall we do? Our master carpenter took a sledgehammer to the gates of death. The work is done. Whether your faith is an oak tree or a mustardseed, you are counted among those who stand in the rubble of all that’s been burned away in the fire of new life to dance. To sing. To shout, “Alleluia.”

What else can we do?

We are the lovers. We are the resurrected.

And this is all we need

And this is where we start

This is the day we greet

This is the day, no other

Sermon begins at 24:45

“Jesus on a donkey,” (Sermon, Palm Sunday 2022)

Scriptural citation:

Luke 19:28-40

On June 27th, 2015, ten days after a white supremacist I won’t name gunned down nine African Americans at Bible study in a Charleston church, activist Bree Newsome approached the flag pole of the South Carolina statehouse. At the top of that thirty-foot pole flew a Confederate battle flag.

Bree scaled the pole, reciting Psalm 27 and the Lord’s prayer, and snatched the flag from it. A photograph taken that day shows her about a foot from the top, with the offending flag flowing from her hand.

When police shouted for her to come down, she shouted back, “You come against me with hatred, oppression, and violence. I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today.”

Asked in an interview with Vox how it felt to hold that flag in her hand, Bree said, “The only word that can come to mind for me is triumph. …[A]t that moment I really did symbolize the struggle. Like it wasn’t just Bree Newsome scaling the flagpole.”

Bree was then arrested, charged with defacing monuments on capital grounds, and imprisoned for about seven hours. In the same interview she said, 

“By the time we had been processed we’d already gotten word that the flag was back up and so at that point I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know how much of an impact it will make that we took this flag down but we took the flag down.’ In jail they had the TV on but they didn’t have the news on so we didn’t have any way to know what was going on. It really didn’t occur to me how much of an impact it had had until word started trickling through the guard.”

The photo and the story had gone viral.

Bree is one face in a sea of saints and prophets who engaged in direct action, civil disobedience, and performance art to call oppressors to account. None of us can deny the power of an image. Bree on a flag pole. Amanda on her knees before police with an eagle feather in her hand. Rosa on a bus seat. 

Jesus on a donkey.

Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday. It’s a strange story. I mean, a lot of the stories we tell about Jesus are strange, but this one is particularly odd. He gives instructions to his disciples, so he clearly planned this in advance. For what purpose? Why did people spread their cloaks on the road? Why did they recite Psalm 118? Why do the Pharisees tell Jesus to stop?

If it was just an ordinary day in Jerusalem, why did Jesus do this?

Well, it wasn’t.

It wasn’t the only grand entry into Jerusalem that day. From the western side of the city, a different entourage was processing: the governor, Pontius Pilate, and his imperial troops. Governors always came to Jerusalem during Jewish festivals like the upcoming Passover, just in case there was “trouble.”

This was not just a political affair – it had theological implications as well. Roman emperors during the time of Jesus were viewed as living gods. Inscriptions from the time imparted familiar titles to the emperors: “Lord,” “Saviour,” even “Son of God.”

So, Jesus knew what he was doing. He had a co-conspirator in the city who let him take the colt. It had to be a colt, because of the prophet Zechariah: a king would come to Jerusalem riding the foal of a donkey. And that king would “cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations.”

Sometimes the Scriptures seem to suggest that the prophets predicted things that happened in the Jesus story. But this robs Jesus not just of his Jewishness but his agency. He did this to make a point.

And the people picked up what he was laying down. They spread their cloaks on the road, as they would for a king, and waved palm branches, symbols of royalty and victory.

And they sing passages from Psalm 118, which my Jewish Study Bible calls a victory song “possibly reformulated to celebrate the return from exile and the rebuilding of the Temple,” a song where only the righteous may enter the Temple, a song which contains a reversal of expectations: the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

Bree on a flagpole. Amanda on her knees with the eagle feather. Rosa on a bus seat. Jesus on a donkey.

Images that struck matches and set old orders on fire.

The Jewish playwright David Mamet says that the human creature injects drama into everything, even things as impersonal as the weather, to make sense of the world. What we find especially alluring are stories with a three-act structure which throws the hero into struggle from which they emerge victorious. This allows us to feel the thrill of anxiety, romance, even anger, within a safe space. They also allow us to feel a sense of superiority – even godhood – for knowing what’s going to happen. But melodrama, romance, and even smarter issue-driven works discussing themes do not ultimately satisfy us, because we know, even unconsciously, that we are not superior. In fact, we are flawed and anxious creatures. We may tremendously enjoy those stories, but they don’t stick with us long-term, and they often breed resentment, because even subconsciously we know we’re being manipulated.

In his book Three Uses of the Knife, Mamet writes,

“Myth, religion, and tragedy approach our insecurity somewhat differently. They awaken awe. They do not deny our powerlessness, but through its avowal they free us of the burden of its repression.”

Bree, Amanda, and Rosa did not do what they did imagining they would achieve personal glory. Bree knew the power of the image, so she said yes. Rosa was an activist for years before the bus incident, and yet it’s what we remember her for. With Amanda, I had to look up her name, because the image of her, which was taken from behind, was all I knew. The power came from that image being made into art across the world, and she’s actually fine with it.

The task of the writer, Mamet says, is to craft narratives that do not conform to satisfactory conclusions; that waste no time in trying to convince us that we are gods. This is the only way to be respectful of one’s audience.

He then broadens this to apply to leaders of all kinds. A leader, he says, resists.

Rather than claiming the end justifies the means, a true leader says, “There is no end and even though it may cost me…I’m not going to give them what they want if what they want is a lie.”’

Jesus offers a counter-narrative in his entrance to Jerusalem, knowing that despite his best efforts, his people will still want him to conform to the old narrative: The Messiah dashing the Romans with a mighty arm and liberating through violence. But that’s just another version of Rome. Jesus knew that narrative was a lie.

This is we celebrate Palm Sunday this way, by waving branches, and reading the account of Jesus’s betrayal, arrest, and death, as though we are there with him, active in his betrayal and lynching. It seems odd to mark it with this sense of festivity, considering what we know is to come. Are we having a party at the foot of the gallows? But Jesus knew that true freedom comes from embracing powerlessness. That is what he offers us.

From Mamet again, 

“Tragedy is a celebration not of our eventual triumph but of the truth – it is not a victory but a resignation. Much of its calamative power comes, again, from that operation described by Shakespeare: when remedy is exhausted, so is grief.”

That Shakespeare reference is to a line from his play Othello. Only a few verses later in that monologue, we get:

    “The robbed that smiles steals something from the thief.”

And so, we wave our branches, we sing our songs, we celebrate, and we even openly admit our complicity in corrupt systems, because we, like Jesus, are free.

Free to be daring, free to be human, free like Bree, like Amanda, like Rosa, to come against Empire in the name of God.

Sermon starts at 31:02

“The Rose Within,” (Sermon, Passiontide 2022)

Scriptural citation:

John 12:1-8

“Slowly blooms the rose within / Slowly blooms the rose within.”

A long time ago, we had a curate here at the Cathedral whose name was Chris Dierkes, a former Jesuit. He had connections in the Christian Contemplative movement, and in 2011, he invited the wonderful Cynthia Bourgeault to join us in Holy Week.

Cynthia Bourgeault is an Episcopal priest and writer currently living in New Mexico. She was a student of Father Thomas Keating, a Catholic monk who re-developed the Christian practice of Centering Prayer. Cynthia went on to found The Contemplative Society on Salt Spring Island in the 1990s, where she taught Christians how to reconnect with ancient Christian practices of prayer: the nurturing of silence and the re-learning of Wisdom literature from non-canonical Scriptural texts such as the Gospel of Thomas.

Being fascinated by her work, I attended her Holy Week service. It was held on the Monday in the evening. Four people sat on this platform behind me: Cynthia, a musician whose name I have sadly forgotten, Chris, and Chela Davison, a female friend of Chris’s. The musician began to play a harmonium, which filled the air of the church with a sad, reedy moan. After we listened for some time, we realized she was playing the Easter hymn, “Now the green blade rises.” And I broke out into gooseflesh as, totally unprompted, the entire congregation began to hum along.

The contemplative ritual that followed focused on the Gospel story we just heard. Cynthia explained to us that the woman who anoints Jesus, named here as Mary of Bethany but unnamed in other Gospels, was a forgotten Holy Week figure, the only one who really understands what’s about to happen to Jesus, unlike his disciples. In this ritual, based on one Cynthia witnessed in a French monastery, we’d reflect on how the anointing of Jesus by a woman bookends Holy Week – here, and later with the three who come to anoint his body after death. By washing his disciples’ feet on Maundy Thursday, Jesus follows her example. We would also reflect on the beautiful synchronicity of the anointing with the Song of Songs from the Hebrew Bible.

The musician began to play again, singing this song:

“Slowly blooms the rose within / Slowly blooms the rose within.”

Chris and Chela then read parts of the Song of Songs as a dialogue, which is how it is supposed to be read. The energy of the room shifted dramatically. Chris and Chela sat in their chairs perfectly still without touching or even looking at one another, with calm and quiet voices, but the experience of that reading was still powerfully erotic. I have NEVER felt that way in church!

I actually reached out to Chris to ask about the details of this service, which were blurry in my mind, and he linked me to a written reflection Chela had done after the experience of reading. She writes,

“All that was required of me was to open in love. …[I]n order to open as love, I needed to open to every other arising experience. …So anxiety arose and I opened. Fear arose and I opened. Cynicism arose and I opened. I could feel layer upon layer, shells and callouses giving way and falling from my heart. …It was the first time that I have felt so fully, so deeply that there was nothing to do but love and for no other reason than for love itself.”

After reading the Gospel passage, Chela anointed Chris’s feet. The congregation was then given the chance to anoint one another’s hands with fragrant oil, which was passed across the rows of chairs. All of us were transported into the Gospel story as the whole church filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Why am I telling this Holy Week story before Holy Week? Well, partly because today we observe the beginning of Passiontide, which begins this Sunday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Passiontide is one of our lesser-known traditions, and includes things like veiling crucifixes until Good Friday. The venerable Wikipedia tells us that this is a reference to John 8:46-59, in which Jesus “hid himself” from the people.

We are preparing, of course, to move into the most sacred time of year for Christians. Not to yuck anyone’s yum, but Christmas ain’t got nothing on this. As radical as it is to imagine the Creator of the stars of night entering a poor brown baby living in occupied territory, imagine proclaiming that that very Creator is lynched by the state only to overturn that old order in a conflagration of resurrection – not just before breakfast but even before the kids are awake to hunt for their eggs.

We’re on the threshold of something brand new. God is preparing us for great wonders in this shining moment where Truth is veiled for a short time. Mighty waters, symbols of chaos and changeability, will part to show us the way toward new life, a way built on solid ground. Chariot and horse, symbols of empire and oppression, will be extinguished, quenched like a wick. Freedom will be poured out abundantly like water – freedom from bondage, freedom from sin, freedom from Empire, freedom even from the fear of death.

But not yet. These are just whispers in a room full of fragrance, as we veil our crosses in remembrance and humility, recognizing that the things God will accomplish through Jesus are too incredible for us to fully understand, and so we fall into wordless sign-acts of anointing and veiling, a visible marker of the way we forego saying “Alleluia” during the season of Lent, while the rose of expectation blooms in our hearts:

“Slowly blooms the rose within / Slowly blooms the rose within.”

Holy Week is special because it is filled with these wordless sign-acts that point to truths which can’t be revealed through words alone. 

Today, we veil. But next Sunday, this place will be decked out in red as though festooned with fire. There will be palms and joyful singing, and yet what a strange joy, because we are heralding Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, the place of his execution. 

Why should we be joyful? Because we know what awaits at the end. We know the story. We trust the story.

And then we continue with smaller revelations. 

We’ll have our own, less elaborate contemplative service of song and anointing on Monday evening: Anointed, hosted by Lauren and me.

Holden Evening Prayer with the Rev. Matthew Senf will be held on Tuesday. 

The incredible music and light-filled service of Tenebrae, one of my favourite Holy Week services, will be held on Wednesday. 

And finally the Triduum, the Three Great Days, filled with drama, as we remember hour by hour the story of Jesus’s last days, and re-enact them, because we need to remember how it feels, in our bodies as well as in our minds, because Anglicans are a holistic people who like to re-member things physically as well as intellectually.

Like children, we are playing a game together, but this game is no frivolous undertaking. Playing is an important part of development. We all hold multiple identities within us, and your soul is a precious child that needs play to integrate and learn deeper wisdom. And this year, we get to be together again, in our own space, what our dear children and family minister Lauren calls “the prayground.” 

If you’ve never acted in the drama of this week before, you’ve got to try it. If you’ve done it before, but not with us, you’ve got to try it. If you’ve done it before with us, many times, you’ve got to try it.

Come on, try it with me. I’ve done it here before but never with you.

Even if you may get bored hearing the same story over and over, your soul is a child, and children never get tired of hearing the same stories.

It happened once, generations ago, but it’s also only just beginning.

“Slowly blooms the rose within / Slowly blooms the rose within.”

Sermon begins at 20:00