Because of the Father

“Because of the Father”

1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14       John 6:51-58


          Solomon asked for wisdom.  He got it.  A gift from the Father…God.

The Jewish leaders argued among themselves because they didn’t believe…or couldn’t understand…the one who had been sent…as a gift…by the very same Father.

Not understanding the gifts from the Father happens…in unexpected places.  Today’s gospel lesson from John is one of them.   The language and ideas may seem quite strange.  But to those who heard it first it spoke to familiar ideas and activities.

The words and ideas that John attributed to Jesus would have been quite normal and familiar to anyone who understood the rituals of sacrifice.  The animal that was sacrificed was seldom burned entirely…even though the whole animal was offered to the god.  Part of the flesh was given to the priests and part to the worshiper who made a feast for himself and his friends within the temple area.  They all believed that the god was with them as part of the feast.

Also…once the flesh was offered to the god, it was believed that the god had entered into the flesh.  Therefore when the worshiper ate the flesh he also ate the god.  When they left the feast the people went out believing they were god-filled.  We may think it was wrong…idolatry…but the people left believing they had a new vitality because their god was in them.

The people of that day would know about the experience of union with the gods.  They understood the language that John used.

Let us remember what John was doing when he wrote this gospel.  He was not giving…or trying to give…the actual words of Jesus.  John had been thinking for seventy years about what Jesus had said.  Led by the Holy Spirit…John wrote his gospel to show the inner significance of Jesus’ words.  It is not a simple recording of words…but the essential meaning of the words that John wrote…guided by the Holy Spirit…the words and thoughts a gift of the Father.

John wrote that Jesus talked about eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  Jesus’ flesh was his total humanity.  In his first letter John said that every person who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh is the antichrist.  John insisted that Jesus was the mind and heart of God become a person who walked the earth…and lived as normal people lived.  This means that in Jesus we see God taking human life upon him…facing our human situations…struggling with our human problems…battling with our human temptations…working out our human relationships.

It’s just as if Jesus said, “Feed your heart, feed your mind, and feed your soul on the thought of my manhood.  When you are discouraged and in despair, when you are beaten to your knees and disgusted with life and living…remember I took that life of yours and the struggles of yours on me.”  When we do we will see that our life is filled with glory because it is touched with God…it is of the Father.  To eat Christ’s body is to feed on the thought of his person-hood until we are strengthened and cleansed and purified by him.

Jesus said we must drink his blood.  In Jewish thought the blood stands for life.  What Jesus was saying is that we must take his life into the very center of our being…and that his life is the life which belongs to God.  When Jesus said we must drink his blood he meant that we must take his life into the very core of our hearts.

Think of it this way.  There in a bookcase is a book which you have never read.  Maybe it’s something by Shakespeare…one of the world’s classics.  As long as it sits on the shelf…remains unread…it is apart from you…it is unknown.  But…one day you take it down from the shelf and read it.  It thrills and fascinates you….moves you.  The story sticks with you…the great lines and characters remain in your memory…now you can take that out of yourself…think about it and feed your heart and mind on it.  Once that book was outside you…now it is inside you and you can feed upon it.   It is that way with any great experience in life.  It is apart from us until we take it in… experience it…make it internal.  Then…instead of being apart from us…it is a part of us.

It is the same with Jesus.  As long as he remains a figure in a book…someone who performed miracles and taught a couple thousand years ago…someone we worship…he is apart from us.  When he enters into us we can feed on the life…the strength…the vitality he gives us.  He becomes a part of us.  Jesus said that we must drink his blood.  He said, “You must stop thinking of me as the subject for theological debate.  You must take me into you.  You must come into me.   Then you will have real life.”

Maybe…like me…you’ve seen the movie “Rush.”  It’s the story of the two men who were competing for the 1976 Formula One auto racing world championship.  In that movie the producers were able to create video that was very realistic…just like the viewer was in the seat driving the automobile…just like the viewer was looking outside the auto to see the wheels of his opponent coming within a fraction of an inch of his car’s wheels…just like the viewer was inside the vehicle as it crashed and rolled down the side of the race track.  That movie’s video put the lives of the drivers inside me.

Jesus wants to do the same.

When the view from your driver’s seat is rushing past you at 200 miles an hour…or seems like the chaos of a pit stop…Jesus wants to be in you…seeing it too…a part of you.

When those who might cause you harm are within a hair of success…when their tires are about to rub against yours…Jesus wants to be a part of you…taking you through the right kind of evasive action.

When you are crashing and burning…and you see the ground coming up to meet you…the sky coming down upon you…and a ball of flame surrounding you…Jesus wants to be in you to take you safely away from that crash and burn.

When Jesus told us to eat his flesh and drink his blood…he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on his humanity…and to revitalize our lives until we are filled with the life of God…a daily life where Jesus is no longer apart from us…Jesus is a part of us.

As you leave the sanctuary today…do not leave that hunger for Jesus’ flesh and blood and humanity…in the pew…take it with you…show Jesus your hunger in your words and deeds…tell Jesus of your hunger in prayers and conversation with him.

Because of the love of the Father…the gift of the Father…your hunger will be fulfilled.




Acts 17:22-31    John 14:15-21


            Live and in living color!  That’s how Paul did it.  Right there!  Among the non-believers!  One day…he encountered the resurrected living Christ on the road to Damascus.  From that day forward Paul would share the good news with everyone he encountered…even those in the Areopagus.  Paul’s witnessing is an example for us…Christ’s disciples today.

Paul wasn’t speaking to what could be described as a friendly crowd…nor was it a crowd of antagonists…people ready to hurt him.  The Areopagus was the main administrative body and the chief court of Athens.  It was a body of intelligent people…but people who had not yet learned the good news of Jesus Christ…people like you and I meet every day.  The way Paul presented the story to them…the way he witnessed…is a model for you and me.

You see…just as Paul witnessed…just as Wesley and the Methodists throughout history have witnessed…today we need people who will witness to Jews…Muslims…believers or nonbelievers…as well as those who are Christian in name only.

He didn’t do it by writing laws enforced by a government.  There are some who would have us do that today.

He didn’t do it with violence or threats of violence.  You’ve probably seen that tactic, also.

He didn’t do it by avoiding them.  There are those who effectively do that today by interacting only with people known to be of the same belief…or by hiding in monasteries, convents or their own homes.

He didn’t do it with ridicule and anonymous comments…comments that were negative innuendo or bordered on lies.

Paul confronted them with love…just as the early Christians did wherever they went.  The common gathering place in those days was known as the agora…the marketplace.  John R. W. Stott…a British leader of the evangelical movement in the last century…said this….”The equivalent of the agora will vary in different parts of the world.  It may be a park…city square or street corner…a shopping mall or market place…a ’pub’… neighborhood bar…café…discotheque or student cafeteria…wherever people meet when they are at leisure.”

As we think of Paul’s model…allow me to ask you…”Where is your agora?”  Is it Hardee’s or another stop for coffee?  Is it one of the shopping areas?  Could it be the car or shoe repair shop?  Could it be along your routine daily walk?  Could it be among those with whom you walk?  Paul’s model will work in any of those places…and many more.

Many of us put on a uniform years ago and swore to defend the right of the street corner preacher to do what street corner preachers do.  In our democracy we still support their right to do so.  But…their screaming hellfire and damnation to those walking by them is not effective.   Paul knew that.

Paul was made angry by the sight of so many idols in Athens.  There are estimates that at the time there were as many as 30-thousand idols in Athens…a city of only about ten-thousand residents.  Despite his anger Paul was restrained.  You see…the Gentiles to whom Paul was speaking had not yet been influenced by God’s special revelation.  They had to be presented God’s message.  Anger…or some other negative response…would have ruined the opportunity.  Toward the end he did call the people to repent…but he did it without thundering accusations or hate and judgment.

Paul also knew enough about their beliefs that he could recognize those things with which he could agree.  If we are to be successful in reaching people of other faiths we must study their religions…along with the study of Christianity.  That’s best done by reading their own writers…observing their practices…and talking with those who practice those religions.  Did you notice that in his presentation Paul quoted a Greek writer whose work was popular at the time.  He used it as a point of contact.  He didn’t say he agreed with the man’s writing.  Additionally we might want to learn from those who are called Christian apologists.  They are not people who say “I’m sorry about Christianity.”  They are people who use some great logic to explain Christianity.  One of the best known is C. S. Lewis.  His works are readily available at the library or any bookstore.  There are many others.

Paul did a good job of what is called contextualization.  That’s a really big word meaning he put his thoughts and ideas in the words and phrases of the people to whom he was speaking.  He quoted from their own writers and philosophers.  Paul explained this tactic in First Corinthians (9:19-23)…”I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”  The Christian who goes where the sinners… idolaters…and non-believers are…is a Christian following in Jesus’…Paul’s…and Wesley’s footsteps.   Sometimes Paul’s message was misunderstood.  But…he continued to meet the people where they were and talk with them in their language…just as Jesus did.  What is most important is to faithfully proclaim the gospel.  We should look hard for points of contact but remember that the gospel is primary.

The message of the gospel that Paul shared in the Areopagus is one that we can share if we follow Paul’s model.  It’s this.  God is not made or controlled by humans.  He cannot be worshiped by anything made by the hands of humans…no idols.  God has guided history…and He continues to guide.  God has made humans in such a way that they instinctively long for God and search for God especially in their darkness.  The days of looking for God are truly gone.  The day of judgment is coming.  The proof that Christ is Lord is in his resurrection.

That’s the simple message…to put in the setting and language of those with whom we speak…wherever we encounter them…just as Jesus did…just as Paul did…just as Wesley did.

Paul did not begin by beating them over the head with scripture or condemnation.  He began by building the case for the one true God using examples and words the men of the Areopagus knew and understood.  Then he established common ground by establishing what they agreed on about God.  Finally…Paul moved his message to the person of Jesus Christ…and centered on his resurrection.

Two Christian leaders living today have given us simple…yet universal messages to remind us of the substance of the message of Christ…as we share Him with others.

The title of the latest book from Pope Francis says it all.  “The Name of God is Mercy.”  In the first few pages the pope wrote, The church…”does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors, she looks for them on the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, she takes care of them, she makes them feel loved.”

And…the archbishop of Philadelphia…Rev. Charles J. Chaput…in his book entitled…”Strangers in a Strange Land”…reminds us with these words…”What the world needs from believers is a witness of love and truth, not approval.  And that requires from all of us—clergy and laypersons alike—a much greater confidence in the Word of God, the power of grace, and the ability of people to actually model and take joy in what the Church believes.”

I recommend the reading of these two books to anyone who wants to know their role as a Christian in today’s challenging world.  These books are readily available at the library or your favorite book store.

Pope Francis and Archbishop Chaput gave us pointed reminders.

Jesus…Paul…and Wesley gave us the model.

The Holy Spirit gives us everything else we might need.

We don’t have to speak to large assemblies…as Paul did at the Areopagus…though we have all we need should the opportunity arise.

Just like Jesus…Paul…and Wesley…all we need to do is witness in mercy…truth and love.

We have in hand…at our beck and call…all the resources we need.  Those who need mercy…truth and love…are just outside the door.  We don’t have to drag or entice them into this building with embarrassment…guilt…music…food or some other inducement…though those tools are useful and effective in some cases.

Instead…as Christ did…as Paul did…as Wesley did…let’s meet them live…where they are…reach out and embrace them with Christian mercy…truth and love….

The hungry.

The homeless.

The shut-in.

The imprisoned

The non-believers.

The children.

The elderly.

The unemployed.

The believers of other faiths.

The wounded.

As Jesus commanded…as Paul and Wesley demonstrated…as the pope and archbishop remind us…worshiping and studying…showing up each time the church door is opened…and writing a check…are not enough…in this challenging and constantly changing world how are we challenging ourselves…individually and collectively to change and to use the resources God has entrusted to us to steward…not horde…to reach out in mercy…truth and love?

That’s the task of this church.

That’s the task of each of us who call ourselves Christians.

Greater Works

“Greater Works”


Acts 7:55-60                John 14:1-14



          We often hear the words from John’s Scripture at funerals.  They are words of great comfort even when tears of grief are flowing and hearts are breaking with hurt for the one who has just been lost and for those who remain behind.  They are certainly appropriate for the occasion.

But…Jesus didn’t offer them at a funeral.  It was at the Last Supper…right after he told his disciples that he would be killed.  They were comforting words surely…words intended to brace the disciples for the eventful days ahead.

He did that for Stephen, too.  As Stephen was going through his crisis…Jesus who was seated at the right hand of God…stood up…opened his arms…and prepared to be the advocate for Stephen before God.  Stephen was so reassured that he accepted his fate…and…asked God to forgive those who were ending his life on earth.

You and I may not have the opportunity…as the disciples did…to walk with Jesus in the flesh.  We may not see him as Stephen did.  There are times when you and I have to believe where we cannot prove with physical evidence.  We have to be able to accept what we can’t understand.  This is what Jesus was telling his disciples.

Let’s look at his message this way.  Just as a teacher does before the end of the semester exam…Jesus was recapping his time on earth and his teaching for the disciples.  A review might be good in these days of great personal, church,  community, state, national and international challenges.

If in the darkest hours of life we believe that somehow there is a purpose in life and that purpose is love…then even the unbearable becomes bearable.  Even in the darkness there is a glimmer of light.  Jesus is the proof that God loves us so much.  God gave us everything He had to give.

Just like the teacher in the classroom…Jesus also reminded them to trust that he was telling the truth to them.  “If it were not so, I would have told you.”  Jesus was always honest and did not try to bribe any person with promises of an easy way.

There’s always someone in the classroom who challenges the teacher with questions…someone like Thomas.  “How can we know the way? Thomas asked.  Jesus said I am the way.  It’s like this.  Suppose you’re in a strange place and you ask for directions.  The person you’re asking responds with words about a right turn here and a left turn there and three traffic signals and so on.  Pretty soon you’re lost in the words.

Now suppose a person took you by the hand and said come with me.  That’s what Jesus does.  He not only gives advice and directions.  He takes us by the hand.          He strengthens us and guides us personally every day.  He does not tell us about the way.  He is the Way.  Life with Jesus is life indeed.

Jesus is the only way to God.  No one gets to the Father except through him.  It is in Jesus alone that we see what God is like.  It is Jesus alone who can lead us to God’s presence…to our room in God’s house…without shame…without fear…without obstacles that can’t be overcome.

From the apostles came another challenge.  Show us the Father.  That will be enough.

After nearly three years…Phillip still did not get it.  He had been looking at the Father all of this time.  Jesus said that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father.  That was a pretty bold statement to make in those days.  People like Phillip thought God was different…that God was distant.  Phillip…and the people of the day would never have thought they could see God.  If you want to see God…Jesus said…look at me.

God…through Jesus…participated in the most intimate parts of lives.  God entered into an ordinary home and into an ordinary family…perhaps like ours.  He was born the son of a carpenter…and lived most of His life in a carpenter’s home.  Through Jesus God sanctified human birth and the humble home of ordinary people like you and me.

God was okay doing the work of a human.  Jesus learned the carpentry trade.  He knew all the difficulty of living in an ordinary home…in a family…and every problem that comes to those who work every day.  Though the Old Testament might have made us believe that work is a curse…the New Testament tells us that work has glory in that it was touched by the hand of God.

God knows what it’s like to be tempted.  Jesus showed us a God who goes through the struggle that we also undergo.  Make this note Phillip…and everyone else…God is not like a commander who leads from behind the lines.  God knows the firing line of life.

Jesus shows us God loving.  In Jesus we see God caring intensely…yearning over people…feeling for them and with them…loving them until he bore the wounds of love on His heart and all over His body.

Jesus made two promises that night.

First, he told them they would do great works….greater works than he had done.

Through the disciples a great many converts joined the church.  The number continues to grow…and there is potential to grow even more.  The disciples and those who followed to this day carried the gospel out of Palestine to the entire world.   It is still spreading.  Jesus couldn’t do that alone while on earth.  In his human form He was confined to Palestine.

Jesus also promised that any prayer offered in his name would be granted.  He didn’t say all prayers would be granted…just prayers made in his name.  The test of any prayer is whether it can be made in Jesus’ name.  When we pray we should always ask, “Can I honestly make this prayer in the name of Jesus?”  It’s not about prayers for revenge…or for personal ambition or gain…or for some unworthy object.  Many of us who listened to 1960s rock ‘n’ roll heard Janis Joplin sing, “Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz.”  That’s not the kind of prayer said in Jesus’ name.  The prayer which can honestly be made in Jesus’ name…and which in the end says “Thy will be done” is the prayer that will always be answered…in God’s way and in God’s time.  A prayer based on self will not.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled”…Jesus said.  Not just words for comfort at a funeral…these are words that prepare you for every crisis in life…and words that should prepare you for every day in life…on earth and in heaven.

As you consume today’s news…or walk the streets of our community…or interact with your neighbor…do not let your hearts be troubled…let your hearts be touched.

Filled with the love and reassurance of Jesus Christ…not troubled.

Empowered with the desire…strength…and ability to reach out as Christ would do…not troubled.

Lovingly sharing the peace…joy and hope that comes with knowing Jesus Christ.

You have been commanded and enabled to do the greater works that Jesus promised could be done through him.

For you and I are among his disciples to whom he said…”Do not let your hearts be troubled.”



Acts 10:44-48    John 15:9-17


          There are those among us who view strangers with unwarranted fear and suspicion.  This one’s for you…to share…with them…with love.          

On this Day…the Lord’s Day…let’s start with a fairy tale…a fairy tale that tells us what mother and God both taught us.

We all know how the fairy tale begins…once upon a time…there was a frog…but he really wasn’t a frog.  He was a handsome prince.  He only looked and felt like a frog.  A spell had been cast over him by the wicked witch.  Only the kiss of a beautiful maiden could save him.  Oh, sure, since when do beautiful maidens kiss a frog?  It’s tough enough for a guy like me to get a kiss from a beautiful maiden.  So…he sat there…this handsome un-kissed prince…who looked like a frog.  But…miracles do happen.  One day a beautiful maiden came along and gave him a great big kiss.  Zap! Crash! Boom!

Suddenly…she found that she was next to a handsome prince.  You know how the story ends.  They lived happily ever after.

You ask…what is it that this fairy tale teaches us…that our mothers taught us….that God taught us?  The answer…as Christians our task is kissing frogs…and allowing ourselves to be kissed…sometimes by frogs.

Isn’t that what Jesus said when he told the disciples to love one another?  Didn’t your mother tell you the same thing?  Those disciples weren’t all handsome princes.  Everyone you and I have met isn’t a handsome prince or a lovely princess.  But…our task is to kiss all of them…even those who look like frogs.  Now, I don’t mean this literally.  Love one another is what Jesus said.  Truly love one another…not just tolerate…love…that’s what I mean by kissing frogs.

Jesus said more as they traveled to Gethsemane that day during Passion Week.

Jesus told them of the useless branches.  Those branches came in three kinds.  The Jews of the day who refused to accept Jesus were among the withered and useless branches to be pruned and thrown in the bonfire.  There are those today who refuse to believe.  Yet…before throwing them in the bonfire remember they are among the frogs to be kissed with your Christian love.   It’s not our job to throw anyone into the bonfire.

Jesus was also thinking of Christians who professed but did nothing more; people of words …people without deeds.  Love is an action word…not just something that is felt in the heart or head.  If you’re unwilling to kiss a frog you could be a frog yourself.

And there were those who heard the message and fell away.  They…too…were included among the branches to be thrown in the bonfire.  Sometimes we’ve got to kiss that frog more than once…even after he’s been turned into the handsome prince or lovely princess who claims to believe.

Over and over again the New Testament teaches that uselessness invites disaster.  As Jesus told the disciples the fruitless branch is on the way to destruction.  The frog who is never kissed…has no chance to become the handsome prince.  The one who never kisses a frog is likewise a useless branch…likely to never find the handsome prince or lovely princess.

One of the major characteristics of the life of Jesus was his contact with God.  Again and again he withdrew into a solitary place to meet God.  Likewise, you and I must keep contact with God.  We cannot do that unless we deliberately take steps to do it.  There are two things about a good disciple…about someone who kisses frogs…and who allows himself to be kissed…someone who truly produces fruit.

First, that person enriches their own life with contact with God through prayer, meditation, journaling…direct contact with Jesus that makes them a fruitful branch.  Second, they bring glory to God.  The sight of that person’s life turns other people’s thoughts to the God who made the person like that.  God is glorified, when we bear much fruit and show love as disciples of Jesus.  The greatest glory of the Christian life is that by our life and conduct we can bring glory to God…and bring God to others…and bring others to God.

Before we get a little anxious…and say we do not choose to kiss frogs…or to be kissed…let us remember who started this whole choosing and kissing thing.  It was not we who chose God…but God… who in his grace… approached us with a call and with an offer made…an offer made because of his love.  God chose to send his son to us and for us…so that we might be kissed…and that we might be among those kissing the frogs.  One of the greatest gifts God gave us is free will…the ability to choose Jesus without anyone or any thing forcing us to do so.

So…what has God chosen us for…called us for?  Why should we kiss frogs?

We are chosen for joy.  However hard the Christian way is…both as we travel and in the final destination…it is the way of joy.  There is always a joy in doing the right thing.  The Christian is the person of joy…the laughing knight of Christ.  A gloomy Christian is a contradiction in terms.  It is true that the Christian is a sinner… a redeemed sinner.  In that gift of redemption…a gift
God chose to offer to us…lies the joy.  How can any person fail to be happy when that person walks the biways of life with Jesus?

We are chosen for love.  We are sent out into this world to love one another.  Sometimes we live as if we were sent into the world to compete with one another…or to dispute with one another…or to quarrel with one another…or to oppress one another…or to dwell on differences.  But the Christian is to live in such a way that he shows…demonstrates… what is meant by loving others….yes…we do kiss frogs.

It is here that Jesus makes another of his great claims.  If we ask him: What gives you the right to demand that we love one another?  His answer is: “No man can show greater love than to lay down his life for his friends—and…by the way… I did that.”  Jesus did that…chose to do that…for you and me.  There are many who tell people to love each other…yet their whole life is a demonstration that that is the last thing they do themselves.  Jesus gave us a commandment that he had himself first fulfilled.

I’m told that while leading his church’s lay leadership through the process of determining their position on the issue of same-gender marriage, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenville told them that on his judgment day he would rather be judged as loving too much than judged as closing the door to God for some people.

Jesus called us to be his friends.  He told the disciples that he did not call them slaves any more.  He called them friends.  In those days the slave of God was a title of honor.  The greatest men in the past had been proud to be called the slaves of God.  Jesus offered them something greater.  Jesus offered them an intimacy with God which not even the greatest men knew before Jesus came into the world.  It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar.  We are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter in the presence of the master.  We are not like a crowd whose only glimpse of the king is in his passing in a parade on some grand holiday.  Jesus gave us this intimacy with God…so that he is no longer a distant stranger… but our close friend.

Jesus not only chose us for privileges.  He chose us to be his partners.  The slave could never be a partner.  Jesus said “I have told you everything; what I am trying to do, and why I am trying to do it.  I have told you everything which God told me.”  He has shared his mind with us.  He has opened his heart to us.  Just as Jesus kissed…with forgiveness…the frog who was the thief on another cross on Calvary with him that day…we are to partner with Jesus…kissing more frogs.

Jesus chose us to be ambassadors.  He did not choose us to live a life separate from the world.  He chose us to represent him in the world.  Jesus chose us first to come close to him.  Then he chose us to go out into the world…where those frogs are.  That should be our daily practice.

Jesus chose us to be living advertisements.  He chose us to go out to bear fruit…fruit that will stand the test of time.  The way to spread Christianity is to be Christian…in all we say and do.  When Henry M. Stanley returned from exploration of the jungles of Africa with David Livingstone he said that Livingstone never spoke to him of Christianity…but Stanley could tell by the way Livingstone lived that he was truly Christian.  The way to bring others into the Christian faith is to show them the fruit of the Christian life.  Jesus sends us out…not to argue others into Christianity…nor to threaten or scare them into it…nor to use the power of government to coerce them into believing…but to love them into it.  Jesus has chosen us to live such that the fruits of Christianity may be so wonderful that others will desire them for themselves.

Jesus chose us to be privileged members of the family of God.  He chose us so that whatever we ask in Jesus’ name the Father will give to us.  We can and must take everything to God in prayer; but when we have done so we must accept the answer which God in his perfect wisdom and perfect love sends to us.  And the more we love God…and love one another…the easier it will be to do that.

Love one another…as we have been loved…that’s how we produce the fruits of Christianity in ourselves and in others…the fruits that Paul described to the church at Galatia… love…joy…peace…patience…kindness…goodness…faithfulness…gentleness and self-control….” (Gal. 5:22-23)

Given the state of the world in which we live today…no matter how big or how small your slice of the world…I’d say there are a lot more frogs to kiss…before these fruits are abundant and universal.

After we come to the Lord’s table this morning…with brothers and sisters whom we love… remembering our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…whose love for us was sacrificial…

Let’s go kiss some frogs!