Falling Up

This sermon was first delivered on July 5, 2009, at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Yesterday we celebrated our two-hundred-thirty-third year of independence. Today, at the end of the service, we will sing a hymn that could easily be mistaken for our national anthem. The words are an unabashed expression of love for a country characterized by “spacious skies,” “purple mountain majesties” and “alabaster cities.” Quite frankly—and with no offense to Francis Scott Key—I prefer it to “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Having traveled and lived abroad for a few years, I hope I’ve developed a relatively mature appreciation of everything our country has to offer, both politically and culturally. And judging from recent world events, we have many reasons to feel proud of, and grateful for, our democratic tradition.

But to tell you the truth, July Fourth has never been one of my favorite holidays. It’s not the holiday itself—yesterday, in fact, I read the Declaration of Independence and listened to Ray Charles’ rendition of “America, the Beautiful.” No, it’s the pomp and circumstance with which we tend to celebrate our birthday. I’ve just never been one for marching bands, boisterous crowds and loud fireworks. My paternal grandfather, on the other hand, loved Independence Day. He delighted in the grand parade that each sultry July would work its way down Temple Avenue in Ocean Park, Maine. A former chaplain from World War II, he sometimes wept at the sight of the American flag, especially when a miniature version was being waved about by his exuberant grandson. Gramps was a lifelong Republican and member of the Kiwanis Club; he had served as a town councilman after his retirement. The summer before he died, he was invited by the town leaders to ride on the fire engine in the annual parade. I’ll never forget how happy he looked that day; his body may have been weakened by a heart attack, but his spirit soared.

I do respect how my grandfather chose to honor July Fourth. I am just less comfortable with very public displays of patriotism, especially if they inspire an unwavering belief that we are somehow the best, and the only, nation that God has blessed. For me, the challenge is to feel grateful and respectful, while maintaining humility and a sense of connection with something larger than our national identity. So during a weekend when we celebrate both our independence as a country and our individualism as Americans, I would also like to affirm our interdependence as human beings.

We each have our own journey in this life, but none of us is truly alone. You and I have each other—when we allow ourselves to be brave enough to give, and vulnerable enough to receive.

When I volunteered to be a lay preacher several months ago, I did so out of a sense of stewardship, excitement, and to be honest, with a degree of hubris. I felt sure of my ability to ascend the pulpit, stand here in front of all of you and fill the sanctuary with elegant, upbeat pronouncements of my faith. After all, I had survived a year of teaching antsy teenagers in confirmation class. How hard could it be to talk to a group of reasonable adults for a few minutes?

But then something happened. On May 28, I became one of the many people contributing to the current 9.5% U.S. unemployment rate. One day, I was the cool copywriter at a local ad agency; the next day, I was just another laid-off American. One day, a confident wage-earner for my family; the next day, just another middle-aged white-collar worker in need of a job.

Now of course, I was still in much better shape than many folks. But an impoverished spirit can cut across socioeconomic lines.

So when it came time to begin thinking about this sermon, instead of feeling the words flow right onto my computer screen, I suffered some of the worst writer’s block I can remember. Not quite as bad as my college days, when I had procrastinating down to an art form, but pretty darn close.

You see, it’s hard to feel God’s presence when you’ve been stripped of your familiar routine, are unsure of the next opportunity and anxious about financial responsibilities.

It’s hard to experience such a huge loss of control. It’s scary, shocking and disorienting. It’s a real ego killer, alright. Not since my divorce more than a decade ago did I feel so exposed and helpless. I told one friend I felt like I was in the midst of a career free fall.

Yet even as my pride was adjusting to the surreal nature of having nowhere to go each morning, I was moved by something more powerful than my own self-consciousness and fear: the compassion and empathy of so many people. Some of these folks—a few of them are here right now—know me quite well and others, not well at all. They inundated me with advice, offers of help and words of comfort. I am still overwhelmed by their generosity of spirit.

There I was, experiencing anew something I had taken great pains to explain to a few dubious kids in the confirmation class: the force and beauty of God’s love, as manifested in the actions of others.

Friends, the Holy Spirit is not just inside us, but around us. Indeed, God’s infinite, immeasurable love works through each of us—and between us. It’s a force so real and expansive, I believe it can flourish between Christian and Christian, Christian and Jew, Jew and Muslim, “believer” and “nonbeliever.” You and me. God’s power and love are felt in our relationships with each other.

So out of this crisis has come clarity. A renewed sense of what really matters, and how much we matter to each other. William Sloane Coffin writes: “Many of us overvalue autonomy, the strength to stand alone, the capacity to act independently. Far too few of us pay attention to the virtues of dependence and interdependence, and especially to the capacity to be vulnerable.”

Today’s New Testament reading is an excerpt from one of Paul’s letters to the church leaders in Corinth. It’s not the familiar passage about faith, hope and love that we all know from 1 Corinthians, but rather, a more abstruse passage from the apostle’s second letter. I had to read it several times to plumb its depths. It’s one of those scriptures that remind me just how much I don’t know, how much I still need to learn.

Let me try to summarize. Paul has been writing to the early Christian leaders, who have called him out for not demonstrating powers suitable for an apostle. Referring to himself in the third person, Paul uses the rhetoric of a “fool’s speech” to highlight just the opposite of what the Corinthians are stressing. His glimpse of paradise represents the most sublime of personal experiences; his mention of the persistent thorn in his flesh denotes the cruelest. Paul gives us a very dramatic description of the highs and lows of our human condition, reassuring us that through God’s grace we find strength.

Now it’s important to consider what boasting of weakness does not mean. By admitting our weakness, we are not abdicating our responsibility to keep trying and to do our best. In fact, it would be all too easy to wallow in our imperfect state, never trying to improve ourselves or change destructive patterns. The trick, I think, is to acknowledge our limitations without losing perspective and succumbing to despair. We can never let the status quo crush the potential for hope, and positive, healthy change. In fact, to do so would be to indulge in spiritual passivity or even laziness.

Remember what Paul is telling the Corinthians: “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” The language may be melodramatic, but his message is clear: his suffering is ultimately what saves him.

One Christian scholar puts it this way:

2 Corinthians fills much the same place in the New Testament as does the book of Job in the Old. It is a letter written by one whose heart has been broken by the many intolerable burdens heaped on him… If in Romans and Galatians we see the apostle [Paul] ‘proclaiming’ the cross with might and main, in 2 Corinthians we see him ‘bearing’ the cross, and bearing it triumphantly.

Have you noticed that this sanctuary has no American flag? I think that’s a good thing. The purest symbol for us, as Christians in worship, is the cross. There can be no other. God is not a Republican or a Democrat. God is not an American. God does not belong to usWe, as children of the world, belong to God. And it was through the life and death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, his son and our Lord and Savior, that God’s promise of love and salvation was fully revealed.

So there is the cross—the perfect symbol of strength in weakness, the ultimate symbol of God’s love. And in a few moments, we will share in the Lord’s Supper, another poignant reminder of God’s grace.

Are we attentive enough to recognize it? Mature enough to receive it? Humble enough to accept it? Strong enough to live it, each and every day?

I know I don’t always feel so strong. On more days than I care to admit, I falter—especially these days, when I don’t know where I’m going, let alone how I’ll get there. But I do know this: I am not alone. You are not alone. We are not alone.

We have each other, and we have the promise of grace. And even when we try to keep God at arm’s length or shut God out completely, God has us.

So during this time of fireworks and barbecues, celebration and reflection, fear and hope, I would like to reaffirm not just our dependence on each other, but also our ultimate dependence on God.

I am reminded of a childhood friend who died five years ago. Diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 33, he ended up living several months past his doctor’s expectations. He spent much of that time enjoying his family and reconnecting with friends. In the last email message I got from him before he went to hospice, my friend wrote: “One great thing to come of all this. I’m drawing closer to God and realizing that, in the end, that’s all that really matters.”

In a time of uncertainty, it’s natural to feel lost, angry, sad, out of control, terrified. But even life’s most unsettling free fall can become a gift that brings us closer to God.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” the apostle writes.

What better way to find our faith than to lay ourselves bare, embracing our humanity while allowing God’s grace to flow in and through us?

We will stumble and we will fall in this life. Often. And sometimes the drop will feel endless and almost unbearable. But not impossible. For when we find ourselves in a truly vulnerable position, I think the best way to fall—perhaps the only way—is up.

Based on the New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:2-10

“For everything there is a season…”

Meditation on Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

I wrote this nearly four years ago, a few weeks before driving my daughter to college. Today she’s no longer a child or even a teen, but a 21-year-old about to enter the real world of adult dreams and responsibilities. I suspect I’ll have some new thoughts to write down as graduation day gets nearer. But for now, here’s a flashback to my final lay sermon, which I delivered in August of 2013.

To borrow a song lyric from Jerry Garcia, “Lately it occurs to me, what a long, strange trip it’s been.” By “trip,” I’m talking about the odyssey I’ve been on for the past 17 years and eight months –- one that’s about to change its course quite dramatically.

As many of you know, I’m the mother of a high-school graduate who, in just a matter of days, will embark on her own adult journey as a college freshman. She’s not here this morning; I suspect she knew that our current transition would be the jumping-off point for my message to you now. I can just imagine the eye-roll and hear her soft moan. “Oh, Mom…

Letting my child go off on her own, truly, for the first time, is a huge step for both of us. It’s one of the trickiest things I’ve ever had to do. Nonetheless, it’s in the job description of Parent. For the past four months or so, I’ve made a concerted effort to ease us both into the climactic moment when, having moved her safely into the dorms, I will hug her tight, give her a peck on the cheek (or more, if she’ll let me), and drive away, leaving her to her own devices on a 125-year-old college campus in North Carolina.

About midway through this past year, I stopped giving Hanna a weekend curfew. Instead of a strict deadline for her arrival home after an evening out with friends, I gave her a strongly recommended time, then a suggested time, then a range, and finally, the freedom and responsibility to use her best judgment about when to come home. Eventually, I got to a point where I could fall asleep without having to hear her key unlock the front door. You see, at some point — maybe it was in March — I’d had an epiphany. In less than a year, she’d be away on a campus far from home, with no more rules or requests from Mom to constrain or to protect her. Why not let her practice this burgeoning autonomy close to home, by cutting her some slack and in some instances, giving her just enough rope with which to hang herself? I assure you I did not completely unplug — that’s why I love our family cell-phone plan — nor have I ever really stopped worrying. Even when I’m able to sleep soundly through the night, the first thing I look for when I wake up is her set of keys dangling from the hook by the front door — or a text message letting me know she’d decided to stay at a friend’s house.

Standing here before you this morning, I can tell you that this “long, strange trip” has given birth to a kaleidoscope of emotions: joy, sadness, pride, nostalgia, denial, grief, hope, faith. And gratitude.

Like the African proverb says, it does take a village. And as members of this congregation -– this church family — you have been part of the village that raised my daughter. I am grateful.

From the time Hanna was very little and attending Sunday School taught by so many terrific adults, I liked to remind her that there was a love even greater and stronger than my own maternal love for her — God’s love. That the phrase “child of God” is not simply a figure of speech. “See what love the Creator has given us, that we should be called the children of God — and we are.”

Even without the prospect of a family member leaving home, the final weeks of summer have always made me wistful. By mid-August, the days have grown a little shorter, the air has become a little cooler, and the pace has quickened, just a bit, in anticipation of the new year. I work at a school, so September, not January, marks the start of a new year.

Every August I’m also reminded of the summers of my own youth, spent on the coast of Maine in a close-knit community called Ocean Park.The family ritual went like this: In June, just after school let out, my dad would drive my mom, siblings and me to his parents’ cottage. Within a few days, Dad would head back to Buffalo to teach summer courses at Niagara University. The rest of us spent a long and leisurely vacation. I can vividly recall playing in the cold Atlantic with my mom, collecting seashells with my brother, biking to Camp Ellis with my sister, reading the Anne of Green Gables books with my grandmother, and eating the juicy, well-done hamburgers my grandfather would cook for us on the outdoor grill.

Dad would rejoin us in late August, and spend a few days in Ocean Park before we all headed home to Buffalo just before Labor Day. Unlike our morning treks to the beach with Gramps, my father’s pilgrimages to the ocean occurred in the late afternoon or even at dusk. One reason for this was very practical — he had inherited his mother’s fair skin and easily burned under the hot sun. But I also think the dreamer (and the world-weary cynic) in him preferred the sunset over the midday sun. Dad favored a rather secluded part of the beach that had many sandbars and very few tourists, which he nicknamed, appropriately enough, The Quiet Waters. I suspect it was one of his favorite places to reflect and to feel a deep connection with the Almighty at a time when he was growing in his adult faith.

Today’s reading, often attributed to Solomon, was written by a teacher living in Jerusalem several hundred years before Christ’s birth. It’s one of my favorite passages from the Old Testament because it deals quite pointedly, and poignantly, with the human condition – expressing the gamut of raw and conflicting emotions tucked deeply and neatly inside calming, rhythmic verse.

For everything there is a season…

Theologian Paul Tillich wrote that the author’s “description of the human situation is truer than any poetry glorifying man and his destiny. His honesty opens our eyes…”

Indeed, many folks might be put off by Ecclesiastes’ fatalistic outlook. Some may rightfully question its usefulness within the larger context of choosing hope over despair.

Is it possible to have an appreciation for the nihilism of Ecclesiastes, while still believing in a higher purpose and meaning, as demanded by a Christian life?

I say yes.

For me, the poem from Ecclesiastes reaffirms the mystery of God amid the beautiful, banal, tragic, harsh, and sometimes baffling realities of our daily existence. To me, it’s not bleak. It’s life-affirming. The candid affirmations of random circumstance and human limitation create a space in my head and more importantly, my heart, for a deeper, more powerful message: one that speaks of grace and salvation.

Here’s Tillich again: “Only if we accept an honest view of the human situation, of man’s old reality, can we understand the message that in Christ a new reality has appeared.”

Ecclesiastes inspired folksinger Pete Seeger to write a song in the late 1950s, which became a hit for the pop-rock group, the Byrds, in 1965, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Have I got the tune stuck in your head yet? The mid-sixties was a time when, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, so much was changing in our society. As laws supporting racism were being challenged here at home, our involvement in a war on the other side of the world was escalating.

“A time to love, and a time to hate. A time for war, and a time for peace. I swear it’s not too late.” Seeger’s song was popular in the last century, but the words remain relevant. Like the original verses, they are timeless. Think about the political tensions throughout our country, and the continuing bloodshed in Egypt.

For the past several years, I’ve had the privilege of helping Mark Aquino and Debbie Katz with Westminster’s confirmation class. We lead the kids in two culminating exercises a few weeks before they are to be confirmed during worship. Each confirmand is asked to produce an individual faith statement. The entire class, working with the three of us, also creates a corporate faith statement. Depending on the individuals, not to mention group dynamics, one exercise can be harder than the other.

For their individual faith statement, most of the confirmands follow a familiar approach: they write a couple of sentences or a few paragraphs, and they often write several drafts. I remember the experience of three students from my very first year as a co-teacher.

The first one, a boy, didn’t want to write his faith statement. Instead, he chose to create a PowerPoint filled with photos of a camping trip with his dad. The slideshow he put together using his own images of the sky, the mountains, the trees, the water, and rocks became a visual prayer of praise to God the Creator. Another confirmand wasn’t so sure she could commit anything to paper. She needed some answers before she could begin to write. So we sat together one afternoon, poring over the passage from Acts about the Holy Spirit coming down at Pentecost. This girl, both blessed and burdened by her keen intellect, wanted definitions and concrete examples, not a description of the supernatural. Her faith statement ended up acknowledging the role of healthy doubt as part of an evolving, authentic faith. The third student was a girl whose mother had died of cancer just a few months before confirmation. The eighth grader was heartbroken — and furious with God. Several passionate questions were scattered throughout the final version of her faith statement.

Even though it’s usually offered as comfort, I don’t subscribe to the blithely dismissive saying that “everything happens for a reason.” Everything? As a child, I spent too much time in the hospital surrounded by vivid examples of the pervasive unfairness of life. I don’t believe in a cynical or sadistic God that metes out suffering to keep us in line or teach us a lesson. I also don’t believe in a Santa Claus God or a genie God that will grant us our every wish.

We can’t control events or predict the future, despite our most fervent prayers. But that we pray, how we speak to God and what we do still matter. Our motives and actions in accordance with God’s purpose for our lives together still matter.

Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote: “Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love.”

If I passed out some paper and pens right now, what would your faith statement be? How has it changed since you were confirmed? How will it change as you keep on living?

For me, at this moment in time — as a mother who is both excited and anxious to send her child out into a human world that doesn’t always make sense — I can share this: God is Love, the teachings of Jesus the Christ affirm this Love, and I believe in Love. In joy and in sorrow and even in death, Love endures. By the grace of God.

Thoughts on a Sunday

Lay sermon delivered on June 27, 2010, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, NY

“’I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.” ~ Exodus 3:6

“You will know them by their fruits.” ~ Matthew 7:16

When I learned that I would be giving the sermon today, I was excited. And then within a few days, I had a vivid dream. I was up here in this very pulpit, all ready to go. After looking out at the congregation, I looked down, only to discover that the papers I was holding were not a sermon, but a handful of cartoons from The New Yorker magazine.

Now, maybe my dream was telling me that I tend to take things too seriously and I need to lighten up. I’ve certainly heard this advice from many friends, not to mention my own daughter.

But in all honesty, I believe my dream was a clear reflection of a deeper hesitation, an ambivalence, about being here today. Yes, I was excited and honored. And I remain humbled and sincerely grateful to Reverend Yorty and the Worship Music & Arts Committee for inviting me to preach a second time. But with equal intensity, I’ve been reluctant about embracing this moment. I’m not sure why exactly. It hasn’t just been a sense of feeling ill-prepared to deliver a sermon, but a sense of feeling unworthy to deliver one. Especially on a day as important as this, when we gather not only to worship, but also to commission our Maine travelers.

My own faith journey has been a bumpy road, at best. It has taken me a long time to learn how to bow my head, for one thing, and I don’t just mean physically. When I was 10 years old, I wrote a letter to God and left it under my pillow at bedtime. The next morning, when I found it was still there, I was miffed. “See! He doesn’t exist.” God had failed my clever test. As a teenager, I was the least enthusiastic family member when Sunday morning rolled around. I still recall, with excruciating detail, the weekly battles with my mother over going to church. She wasn’t shy about yanking the covers as I lay in bed, and you can bet I wasn’t shy about raising my voice in bitter protest.

In the heat of our emotional exchanges, she would confidently say: “I don’t care what you say you don’t believe. God will never let you go.” It annoyed me to no end, to be going up against this woman who seemed so resolute. Yet deep down, I think I knew all along I was somehow never going to win the larger argument. It just took me 25 years to concede.

At the same time, this business of faith can get more complicated, not less, the more we talk about it. The more we try to pin it down, wrap it up neatly, the more elusive it can be. And maybe that’s just as it should be. God, after all, is not some genie we can capture in a bottle, and then let out when we want our next wish granted. God doesn’t belong to us; we belong to God. And God is far bigger than our human brains can imagine.

Moreover, faith is not just about figuring out what we believe, and how to proclaim it within the safe confines of a church. That’s only one part. Faith is also about living in the real world, being in tune with what feels right, and doing what we believe – even when our choice is unpopular. I also believe that faith is about carrying on with the task of listening, being kind and making the world a better place, even when we’re not quite sure if we believe anything at all.

In today’s Old Testament reading, Moses is confronted by the curious sight of a burning bush. God could have used something much more dramatic to get his attention – another flood, perhaps – but he uses an ordinary bush, which just happens to be burning from the inside. If Moses had been a less observant man, he might not have noticed the flame and passed right by. But he does notice, and he stops. God calls Moses by name, and Moses shows appropriate reverence and takes off his sandals. When God identifies Himself to the Israelite, what does Moses do? He covers his face. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

The tension continues, as God explains to Moses what He wants him to do – and Moses responds by insisting he is not up to the task. God chooses a man who is not ready to be a disciple, let alone the leader of the people of Israel. A man who has plenty of excuses. A man who is initially a very reluctant disciple.

Aren’t we all like that at times? Scared, reluctant children of God, eager to offer up an excuse when He calls us.

Reinhold Niebuhr, a preeminent theologian of the 20th century, is perhaps best-known for writing the Prayer of Serenity. I first discovered him my freshman year in college through a course on religion and ethics. His book, Moral Man and Immoral Society, was one of many assigned texts. Away from home for the first time in my life, I was questioning many things about my life, including my religious upbringing here at Westminster. But even with all the doubt I felt inside, Niebuhr made sense. To me, he was one of those rare religious people who could cultivate a thoughtful faith by keeping an open mind.

I recently stumbled upon a 1958 TV interview featuring Niebuhr. Believe it or not, a link to it came across my Twitter feed, a most unlikely source if you ask me. The interviewer is a young Mike Wallace of “Sixty Minutes” fame. During a 30-minute exchange, the two men talk about Catholicism, Protestantism, anti-Semitism, nuclear war, communism – this was during the height of the Cold War, after all – and the separation of church and state.

Toward the end, Wallace asks Niebuhr to explain his opinion on atheism. “What is your personal attitude toward atheists?” he says. Without missing a beat, the theologian invokes Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Matthew – familiar words like Judge not lest ye be judged… By their fruits ye shall know them.

Niebuhr tells Wallace that in the grand scheme of things, it makes little difference to him if a person considers himself a believer or a nonbeliever. Niebuhr says, “I wouldn’t judge a man by the presuppositions of his life, but only by the fruits of his life.” In other words, our actions can speak louder than not only our words, but even our deepest thoughts.

Young people, tomorrow you, along with your adult advisors, will embark on another Maine mission trip. You will continue a Westminster tradition that began more than 30 years ago. I’ve heard stories from my daughter, who went last year for the first time, about being tossed into the lake, walking along the beach, eating lobster, and checking out the store in Freeport on the way home. I’ve also heard about the many projects that are as exhilarating as they are exhausting: chopping wood, hammering, scraping, painting, installing windows, replacing doors, fixing a ramp so a place is accessible to those in wheelchairs. That’s good, clean, honest work in the truest sense of the word, and it’s ample reason to feel tired – and proud.

Yet even as you pack up all your clothes, sleeping bags and bug spray, and look forward to a time of fellowship and fun, I suspect you’ll feel a few butterflies.

For a week you’ll be in a rural place that has no Wi-Fi and poor, if any, cell-phone connection. And there’s no Starbucks! The only creature comforts of home you will have will be each other. I think that’s pretty cool.

In preparing my sermon, I asked your advisors about some of the anxieties they might be feeling, based on past Maine trips. Debbie Katz responded: “I’m always aware of the responsibility of taking care of someone else’s child. I’ve learned more about ticks than I want to. Sharing the same living space with a group of senior highs and college kids is a challenge. Sleeping in a church and sharing kitchen and bathroom space and waiting to use one of the three showers in the public school requires an adjustment as we become a community.”

One of my Facebook friends, Marta Rummenie King, went on 16 Maine mission trips, and she says each time, she still felt nervous about getting lost during the drive there and back.

I also asked what your advisors most appreciate. Becca Ballard responded: “I have been impressed overall by the way the kids work, and work together. When given the opportunity, they rise to the occasion. This is the body of Christ and this is the body of Christ in action.”

The body of Christ in action. By their fruits you shall know them.

When you were confirmed, you each had to write a faith statement. Do you remember? I hope you also remember your teachers telling you that confirmation was not an end to something, but the first step in the lifelong journey of your adult faith. To that end, I think the most meaningful “faith statement” you can ever write contains no words at all. Rather, your statement of faith is reflected in the actions of your everyday life. This includes how you will serve the people of East Sumner, Maine, and how you will take care of each other in the week ahead.

Scripture says:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you’

Jesus replies, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Have fun and work hard. Take care of each other. We can’t wait to hear all about this part of your journey when you return. And thank you for representing Westminster.