The Sending of the 70, Again
A reflection on Luke 10 for St. David of Wales, July 3, 2022
Three years ago, I had the opportunity to preach on this gospel passage. It was my fourth message for St. David’s, and I must admit, reading back on what I shared with you then as I tried to imagine myself in the shoes of the 70 sent out by Jesus, I was a little obsessed with not being able to take my giant purse and all its creature comforts, as well as how I was going to eat when people were going to try to poison me with gluten.
Three years later, believe it or not, this is my 34th message at St. David’s. In those three years I’ve come to know this faith community better; I’ve come to know our wider community better; and my faith has continued to grow as I deepen my relationship to the Episcopal faith and to this beloved community.
When I preached on this originally, I approached it from the context of a modern-day believer reading literally, trying to figure out what all these instructions meant for me in the 21st century. I don't know if I failed to consult a commentary or any other resources to get some biblical background information or if I just followed my mind down a rabbit hole.
But I read commentaries now, and do historical research, and the good news is that I could probably take my phone, sunscreen, and a map, just not my family and a trunk full of luggage when I go out for Jesus. Also, I wouldn’t have to eat anything I’m allergic to; I’m just supposed to choose being a good guest over religious dietary preference.
Back then, our homes were built so differently than they are now. People were clustered in villages behind walls to provide community identity and protection, not behind individual gates and private driveways. Homes then were intergenerational and housed more than a nuclear family. Wealthier families housed servants. Courtyards in front of homes were semi-public spaces where cooking would occur, where animals would be kept, and other chores would take place.
Visitors and strangers coming through town would automatically stop and enter a courtyard to ask for or be offered a drink of water or a meal, which might have a led to an invitation to stay a night, or longer. Guests would sleep on the roof in hot weather, and those roofs would have railings so they wouldn’t roll off in their sleep. Those were the rules of hospitality.
And so, finding two strangers in your yard wouldn't be the shock that it is now, especially with COVID, where even the Jehovah’s Witnesses have stopped showing up unannounced on my doorstep and have turned to the USPS to deliver their Watchtowers.
Back in Jesus’ day a conversation might lead to an invitation inside the house itself, to get out of the sun and heat, and to hear more about these interesting new people who had come to town and news of a wider world they brought. People were hungry for story.
People are still hungry for story and the sharing of our lives those stories bring. I think about meeting someone at church, a retreat, or conference, and something about them draws me to want to know more about their lives and how they see the world. Through their sharing, I am given a glimpse of their dedication to vocation, or how they have come through pain and suffering, or the faith that led them to make decisions that seem so bold and frightening to a timid introvert like me. That’s hospitality.
Earlier in Luke's gospel, Jesus sent out the 12. Now he sends out 70. Commentators say that the 70 represent the 70 nations that were believed to exist in the world at the time. The 70 also shows us that Jesus’ reach has already gone far beyond the 12 closest to him.
When Jesus sends these 70 out in groups of two, they head to many different towns and villages acting much like an advance team for Jesus who plans to visit all those places on his way to Jerusalem, where he knows his earthly ministry will end.
Jesus sends out these 70 free of material possessions in the manner of his own ministry. This lack also brings freedom from the burden that material possessions can bring—keeping them safe and functional. And when Jesus tells them not to greet anyone on the road, he doesn't mean to literally keep your head down and act like you don't see another human saying hello. What he means is don't enter a courtyard in a town not on your itinerary and don’t get sidetracked from your mission.
Jesus had no illusions about converting everyone. He told the 70 that they would fail; that some would not listen. Not only would some not listen, but some would also threaten them, as Jesus had already experienced. When met with closed hearts and minds, Jesus told his followers to move on, rather than stay where they weren’t welcome. Their time and energy were precious and should be spent wisely. Good words for us as well.
Jesus knew he did not have years spread out before him for a long leisurely ministry. He sent those 70 out with a sense of urgency that we find difficult to replicate today when time seems to unspool before us without the second coming of Christ in sight.
Jesus sends out the 70 prepared to not only to receive hospitality, but to offer hospitality as well. The followers received the hospitality of food and drink and lodging. And they provided the hospitality of story, and of healing.
They come not with the word “repent” like John the Baptist. They come not with formulas that must be followed for salvation. They come saying, “peace to your house,” and “peace be with you.” And they must know a little by now of the peace Jesus brought to their own lives, and how that peace can infuse a life filled with worry and fear and offer an alternative that the empire oppressing them and even the religion they practiced, could not and would not offer.
The 70 return exuberant about all they have done in Jesus’ name. But the reward, Jesus reminds them, is not the great things we do when we invoke his name, but the relationship we have with the holy when we choose to follow. When the 70 offer God’s peace to those they encounter, just as they are, following the generosity and hospitality Jesus dictated, they bring more people into communion with Christ than any threat of God’s judgement and condemnation ever could.
We are hungry for hospitality, for generosity, for story. We are hungry for hope, hungry for the invitation to come closer to those bearing the good news. For the past 2000 years we have been hearing the message not necessarily from Jesus himself, but from those who wrote his stories for us, and the 70 he first sent out and the 70 after that and the 70 after that, on and on into the thousands and into the millions, to this very time at St. David’s to those gathered to worship in person and on screens this morning.
And in turn, we are each called to be one of those sent to offer God’s peace to one another, sharing how our faith has shaped and changed us. And we’re meant to do so in partnership, upholding and reminding each other when we falter.
It seems that God is always more interested in right relationships than right beliefs. Right relationships change the world. Right relationships bring about God’s peace. May we both receive and offer that peace in the many ways it is revealed to us.
A message for the community of St. David of Wales, June 2022.
I used to love Pentecost and the images of fire, the tongues of flame hovering over the disciples’ heads. I wrote poetry about the hot breath of God on our faces, the spirit scorching our hair and singeing off our eyebrows and throwing us into the street chased by tongues of flame.
Back then, I was a stay-at-home mom, a classroom volunteer, a Sunday school teacher with a tiny life and small circle of influence, who had just felt a call from God to write as a form of ministry. I found myself on fire for God in ways that burned up all my earlier doubts and fears about being the right kind of believer. And the idea of Pentecost coming to set us on fire, to clean us to bone and sinew, felt absolutely right as I opened myself up to new bold ways of being in the world.
That was more than twenty years ago, when the worst thing I could imagine happening to my children in their classrooms was contracting head lice, not being fired upon. That was decades before COVID trapped us all in our own houses for months, long before I understood systemic racism and my privilege as a white woman.
And it was well before the summer of 2020 when wildfire consumed much of California, including 900 homes in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains I called home for 25 years. Before the fire burned both of my sister-in-laws’ homes to the ground, and before they both died without wills, leaving my husband and I to figure out how to move forward in the aftermath.
When the CZU Lighting Complex fire struck, flames for me became personal and destructive, and I could no longer think of fire as a beautiful and inspiring metaphor for the Holy Spirit.
But I still love Pentecost. I still love the birthday of the church. I still love the idea of everyone being gathered in one place together, and regardless of language and ethnicity and places they’ve lived, and gods they’ve worshipped, being able to hear and to know, and to feel deep, deep in their hearts that absolute truth of God’s spirit swirling through them convicting and convincing them. And I love the words from Diana Butler Bass that Pentecost is bigger than just the birth of the church, it’s “the birth of a new humanity, a new creation.”
The symbol of the United Methodist Church is a cross and flame—the flame representing John Wesley’s experience of the Holy Spirit and having his “heart strangely warmed.” And I felt my own sense of Pentecost when I used to attend the California-Nevada United Methodist Annual Conference, first as a lay person, and then as a pastor. Two thousand of us gathered in the Sacramento Convention Center for almost a week each June. We laid hands on pastors and prayed for them as their next appointments were announced. We sang along with choirs from our Tongan and Filipino congregations, supported ministry to Africa University, and emergency relief after hurricanes and earthquakes. All of us from desert to mountain to bay and ocean, from urban to rural to suburban, from liberal to conservative, from White to Black to Asian to Pacific Islander to Latino to Native American, came together. And the Spirit danced and whirled among us who dedicated ourselves to being the church in that time and place.
Now that I’m officially Episcopalian, without the cross and flame symbol, and now that I’m woman coping with the aftermath of fire, I need to expand my metaphor for the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
I need to remind myself that there are more images for Spirit than just fire, flame, and burning. In his message two weeks ago, after the first of too many mass shootings in recent days, Fr. Joe spoke of the Spirit as The Comforter. Not too long before that, Sky called our church community “the beleaguered beloved,” an image that stayed with me.
With the death of so many beloved church members in the past few years, followed by Fr. Steve’s death, with the violence and division that seems irreparable in our country, and in the many moving parts of my own life, I am feeling more beleaguered than beloved, and could certainly use comfort right now, and you could certainly use comfort right now.
And so, I imagine for us the Holy Spirit as Comforter, who if personified would offer us a cup of tea, slippers, a blanket, and Kleenex. A Comforter who would hold our hands and sits with us in our grief and our fear and our uncertainty, who would listen as long as we needed to talk, who would sit with us in the silence when words fail. A Holy Spirit that comforts us after fire in its many forms has scorched through our lives and calms us when the powers that be require us to complete mountains of paperwork in the midst of our pain and sorrow. A Holy Spirit of comfort that walks with us when safety and certainty have been destroyed; when atrocities and violence shake the very core of our communities; when our bodies and minds are plagued with illness; when those we love most have been taken from us.
We need The Comforter when we must live through circumstances that we could have never imagined possible; The Comforter to stand with us when we must enter that unimaginable place and inhabit it. We need the Comforter’s presence and assurance as we live in chaos and grief until the first steps toward the future emerge and a way through brokenness to healing finally becomes imaginable.
Jesus promised he would send that Spirit. And that Spirit didn’t come when the disciples were hunkered down, frightened and alone. When the Spirit first came and those tongues of flame hovered over the heads of the disciples, they were all together in one room, frightened and hunkered down, trying to figure out what to do next. And the answer became obvious, the answer became undeniable, the answer came through wind, and flame. It came in a flash of understanding and empowerment that emboldened them to run from their hiding place into the streets, shouting the ancient and ongoing promise of God never to forsake us, never to abandon us, never to leave us orphaned and bereft. And they knew they spoke the truth, as though it had been branded on their skin by flame.
In the gospel lesson today, Jesus speaks of the spirit coming as the Spirit of Truth, a spirit that comes and brings us peace. Jesus says his peace is not the peace of the world, and he’s talking to people who are oppressed by Roman rule, who live under the thumb of the Empire, who have no peace in the world. And that is good news for all of us, because if we aren’t among the powerful and privileged, what sort of peace does the world give? And even when we have power and privilege, can the world really offer us any real or lasting peace?
In my experience, the answer is no. A world that promises peace through wealth, or peace through achievement, or peace through force, or peace through popularity, or peace through political power, offers only fleeting and false security masquerading as peace.
Back in the decade before the Great Recession, my husband was a corporate executive and we had stock options that glittered like a shining paradise in the future. “Golden handcuffs,” my husband called them. If he just stayed with his job in that tech company and kept investing all his brilliance and ingenuity and time, then one day that long promised reward would come in, and we would cash out those stock options, and we would be so rich that we could fund a foundation to do good work in the world, send our daughters to college without taking out loans, support all our needy relations, and cruise around the world.
On paper, our potential wealth was so impressive that our financial planner wrote a “predator clause” in our family trust just in case I was widowed and had men lining up with marriage proposals trying to steal the family fortune out from under me and our daughters.
And then the economy crashed and our house, and thousands of other houses, were worth just a fraction of what we’d paid for them. And my husband’s job vanished like thousands of other jobs, and we left our home to start all over in a new place where the cost of living was less, but where we knew no one and had no jobs. The world gave us nothing but uncertainty and anxiety.
But the Spirit of Truth reminded us that nothing could separate us from the love of God. And filled with that Spirit, we felt a strange peace that emboldened us to step into the unknown with faith that God would accompany us in whatever came next.
Our life has been a rollercoaster since then. One worldly success followed by another worldly setback, on what feels like an infinite loop. Sometimes I’d like to step off the rollercoaster and take a nice tram ride instead, slow, steady, stable.
It’s such a hard truth to know that there is no escape from being human. There is no escape from our mortality, and the ways we destroy our earthly home and even each other, as we act out of our greed, fear, and woundedness. There is no time when the world is going to give us peace that lasts more than a moment.
When I’m shaken up, thrown off balance, blown and battered like a house in a tornado, when being human feels overwhelming, that’s when I most need to remember that Jesus delivered on his promise to send the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth to abide with us, and not just with us, but in us. The Holy Spirit tethers us, centers, and grounds us, fills the God-shaped hole in the center of ourselves.
We are intertwined with the divine. That gives me hope. That truth abides marrow deep when I might otherwise collapse under the weight of the world.
The Spirit of Truth helps me remember that there’s a truth so much bigger than “my truth” or experience. And that spirit reminds me not to believe everything I read, or everything I hear, or everything I think, or even everything I say.
When I’m living as a disciple, I remember to look beyond myself, and to check my assumptions and actions against the deeper truer guidance of the spirit Christ has sent to dwell alongside and within us. That spirit desires to bring us into the full humanity and abundant life Jesus offers.
Jesus’s disciples stood in the ashes of death on wobbly legs until the Holy Spirit filled them with power, until they could stand firm, preach to the crowds, and eventually even dance with joy as they spread his commandments to love God and each other. The Spirit came to them as a community, and so it comes to us, that we might hear one another in languages new to us. That we might understand one another in new ways, despite our differences.
I can find the Holy Spirit here with you in this building on Sunday mornings when I can’t find it anywhere else during the week. It doesn’t matter if we don’t know each other’s employment history, or political affiliation, zip code, or even name. As we pray the Lord’s Prayer, as our voices soar in song, as we kneel alongside one another at the altar, the Spirit is here. It’s here in our silence as we listen to the bells peal 34 times after they chime 10:30. Here in a smile and nod, the squeeze of a hand, in a hug. Here whenever two or three are gathered.
The Spirit will carry us through fires and floods and losses and grief and death. It will carry us all through all the ways the world will burn us down and eat us up, use us up and spit us out.
Jesus longs to bind up our broken world, to bring about true peace and justice, to calm our troubled hearts, to quell our fears. And so, he sent the Holy Spirit. It came like wind. It came like tongues of fire, not to destroy, but to warm, light, inspire, and empower us, as it did the disciples, to spread God’s love through our presence and our witness, our words, and our actions. It came for us offer hope and healing and the peace of Christ to a world so desperately in need. May it be so.
I've Never Called This Day Good
A message for the community of St. David of Wales on Good Friday, April 15, 2022.
I confess that I have never wanted to call this day “good,” that the crucifixion leaves me heartbroken, despite knowing what comes next. I have imagined, time and again, a different story that didn’t require death.
Each year as our Holy Week journey takes us closer to the cross, I have hoped against hope that just this once, events would unfold differently, that history would be rewritten, that the powers of church and state would surrender themselves to the radical power of love that Jesus professed and embodied.
I have wanted alternative scriptures where, having fully instituted God’s will on earth as in heaven, Jesus retires to Galilee, resumes carpentry, marries, raises a family, and lives to a ripe old age.
I have wanted all this because I wanted to believe that if only enlightened twenty-first century believers, like me and you had been around back then, the loud Hosannas on Sunday would not have turned into shouts of “crucify him” come Friday. I’ve wanted to believe that we, unlike the disciples who travelled with Jesus, would’ve been able to influence leaders and crowds and even Jesus to broker a death-free outcome.
Like the disciples, I have wanted to tell Jesus to stop talking about his imminent death, to stay away from Jerusalem, to fight back, to win. And every year I find myself alongside the disciples, having failed to keep Jesus safe, and having failed to walk boldly alongside him to death.
And as if the Reverend Nadia Bolz Weber had read my mind, she wrote this in her Palm Sunday email:
[N]o amount of improved humanity could have stopped it. No good intentions, no nobility, no sin avoidance, no piety. Nothing could have stopped this Paschal mystery of God and humanity. No amount of super-good discipleship or wisdom or woke-ness would make a lick of difference to God’s determination to draw all people to God’s self.
Every year, I have come to this broken-hearted Friday filled with the shame of being a self-centered and small-minded human, wrestling with my own complicity in Jesus’ death. Sounding like Peter, I say, “How can I be responsible? I don’t know him. I’ve never met him.” Except I have, within each of us, every day.
I can’t bear to be the cause of Jesus’ willing walk to execution, as though it happens over again every sorrowful Friday. I can’t stand to watch him suffer. I want to deny that he knew his death was necessary and that he chose to allow it. But the gospels are heavy with Jesus’ own foretelling of his death.
I want to protest that even if Jesus had to die back then, his choice wasn’t necessary to open the way for my, and our, reconciliation with God. That it’s all ancient history. But what do I know?
In her email Rev. Bolz-Weber reminds me, “It would have happened like this even if the Jesus event were happening now instead of then. Even if we knew everything in advance.”
She writes: God did not become human and dwell among us as Jesus to save only an improved, doesn’t-make-the-wrong-choices kind of people. There is no improved version of humanity that could have done any differently. Because we, as we are and not as some improved version of ourselves… are [who] God came to save from ourselves.”
Using her words as a lens to examine my desires for an alternate reality, I find that my fantasy only serves to keep me distant from God.
It is only when I acknowledge the pain of separation from God, and my utter helplessness to control life and death, that I can allow myself to experience the grief this day brings. The grief Jesus carries as he surrenders his spirit is a grief that radiates from the cross and encompasses all that has been broken in God’s creation. How could he possibly bear it? How can we?
In German, this holy day is “Karfreitag,” which translates to Suffering or Sorrowful Friday. And on this suffering and sorrowful Friday we’re asked, for just one day, to witness and not turn away. We’re asked to find faith and love and hope where it seems absent. I can only call this day “good” when I gather the courage to sit in the full weight of my sorrow.
Only then can I, can we, embrace the love of God which knows no bounds.
A Message on Luke 15: The Parable of the Prodigal Son for the community at St. David of Wales, March 27, 2022
In the New International Version, and many others, this morning’s lesson from Luke is titled “The Story of the Lost Son.” In the Expanded Bible it’s “The Son Who Left Home.” The New Testament for Everyone labels it, “The Parable of the Prodigal: The Father and the Younger Son.” In the Contemporary English Version, the title reads “Two Sons.” And finally, the New Revised Standard Version follows suit with “The Parable of the Prodigal and His Brother.”
No matter how we refer to it, this longest of Jesus’ parables which appears only in Luke’s gospel, has resonated deeply over the centuries, perhaps more than any other story Jesus told. And it still speaks to us in circles far beyond the church. Even as a secular child, I’d heard of the prodigal son—and even without knowing that the word prodigal (it’s something like recklessly wasteful), I knew the son was up to no good.
I’m sure I encountered the parable as a Sunday School teacher and parishioner in my twenties, and thirties, but the first time I remember reading it, it came to me on a photocopied sheet of paper as the final assignment in the first creative writing class I took at community college as a mom of pre-teens back in the fall of 2000. The parable was titled simply, “A Story,” and after reading it aloud, my instructor had this to say:
“In my view, this famous story fails in almost every aspect of writing that we have been discussing this semester: lousy motivation and poor character development, way too much summary narration at crucial points, very little detail, and an unbelievable ending. We’ll discuss these issues and what it would take to make this story work in contemporary terms. Then, with these considerations in mind, you write your version.”
This was my first invitation to enter the Bible imaginatively, to use the words of scripture not just as a study guide for living a moral life, but as a source of inspiration and creativity. I was given free reign to inhabit the parable, to invent new characters and new situations in order to understand and amplify Jesus’ message.
Every family seems to have a prodigal someone. A cheater, addict, or opportunist who makes life altering mistakes and then runs away, or who runs away and then screws up. A person whose schemes leave them destitute, unemployed, and evicted, with no other choice than to return home. So, it wasn’t difficult for me to imagine a prodigal daughter.
Though the mother forgave the daughter I’d written, the prodigal still had to live out the consequences of her actions, and trust had to be earned. The story revealed a belief I held but hadn’t quite grasped: That offering and accepting complete forgiveness was fine, for God. The rest of us had to deserve it. But there was no way to calculate deservedness. The deep belief that forgiveness demands an accounting is a character trait consistent with the older brother in Jesus’ parable—a character I managed to leave out of my story completely.
Six months later, in June 2001, I had the opportunity to preach this parable on Father’s Day. In my sermon preparation, I came upon Dutch priest Henri Nouwen’s 1992 book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, an account of how Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son’s return shaped his life.
Nouwen, who left his home in the Netherlands for life in the U.S. wrote about his initial identification with the prodigal, but he came to realize that though he was geographically distant, he was not the greedy and callous younger son who said essentially, “You’re dead to me, Dad. Hand over the cash.”
As a priest and college professor bound to formal institutions, Nouwen came to see that as a church man, he was much more like the older son who refuses to join the celebration, standing by in judgement as God welcomed others home. As I read about his identification with the older brother, I saw myself clearly in that role as well.
The literal oldest child, the rule follower who stays behind to keep things running, the one who must be perfect because everyone else is unreliable.
Like the prodigal who refers to his own brother as “that son of yours,” I identified with the wary, weary, resentful son, afraid of being sucked back in by the prodigal’s false promises. The unforgiving son who sees the father as unappreciative and unfair, and weak and foolish for being manipulated.
Fast forward twenty years and I’m gifted with the opportunity to immerse myself in this passage, Nouwen’s book, and Rembrandt’s painting once again. This time I approach with return as a 60-year-old who has launched children into the world, uprooted an entire life, rebuilt a new one in a new state, lost more dear ones than I want to count, and reconciled relationships I never thought possible.
This time around, it is the father who now shimmers before me, standing in a pool of light as he does in Rembrandt’s painting.
As a young man, Rembrandt painted himself as “The Prodigal Son in the Tavern,” and “The Prodigal Son in the Brothel,” seemingly celebrating the carefree carousing life.
“The Return of the Prodigal Son,” is one of Rembrandt’s final paintings, completed shortly before his death in 1669. In the work, Rembrandt, who outlived all five of his children, and both his wives, portrays himself as the father, frail and nearly blind, a man who has known great suffering, and extends a compassionate loving, embrace.
Nouwen writes of a spiritual journey that led him to examine his life through the lens of each character in the parable, and he calls us to do the same.
First like the younger son, we’re challenged to recognize our need for repentance, for confessing, accepting, and basking in the joy of being welcomed by God after wandering and failure.
Then we are called to set aside any bitterness and resentment that separates us, as it does the older brother, from one another and from God.
We’re called to accept and embrace our belonging.
And finally, once we are secure in the knowledge of God’s love for us, we are called to become like the father. We are called to create space in our lives and hearts where others may come to experience God's forgiveness and reconciliation.
As I read Nouwen’s book a second time, part of me thought, “What a beautiful and glorious insight,” while another part of me thought, “Act like God? That’s never going to happen.”
Our journey with Jesus in the Lenten season brings into sharp distinction the clash between his message, and that of the religious and political authorities of his time. And it highlights that we still live in the tension between our hope for the wide-open all-encompassing just-and-generous love of God to govern all of life, and the reality of man-made systems that dehumanize and oppress many for the benefit of the few.
Living in that tension, I’m thankful for the artistic expression scripture inspires, like Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son.
In it I see two unnamed women in the shadows, and wonder who they are—wife, mother, daughter—and how they’ve influenced the scene.
I see the older son standing inside the house. And though he is not inside the father’s embrace, I see light on his face and wistful longing in his eyes, as if soon he will step into his father’s arms.
I see the exhausted and contrite younger son reuniting with his family, moved beyond words with gratitude, tears flowing.
And I see in the father a love generous enough to have let go and allow both sons to live their choices. I see the grief that letting go exacts, and the hard-won equanimity and wisdom of accepting what cannot be changed.
I see in the father a gaze softened by circumstance, the bone-deep relief and joy in the reunion never thought possible. I feel the heart-deep compassion for all that has been suffered, and the assurance love that endures all things.
And looking closely at the father’s embrace, I see the hands Rembrandt has rendered. One aged, wide, firm. One soft, smooth, tender. This father is more than father. This father is not bound to time. Though wounded like Jesus, this father is wholly human while radiating divinity.
In these past two years, the pandemic has taken the lives of those we love. It has kept us apart. Care for each other’s safety has unintentionally isolated us. Pastoral transition has shifted the stability we crave in a worshipping community. And now war threatens our peace of mind, feeling helpless feeds our anxiety.
Yet in the midst of all this, we found new ways to gather. We found new ways to honor the departed and celebrate the milestones of living. We found new ways to worship and pray for and with one another. And we’re finding ways to support those who feed the hungry and house refugees.
Because of our history, together and apart, because of our circumstances and choices now and long ago, because of all that we have loved, and all that we have suffered, and all that we have believed and all that we have doubted, because of our resilience, and our faith, however fragile, I see each one of us becoming that father-mother-creator-comforter.
Like the father in Rembrandt’s painting, we gleam with God’s light, and hold out our arms to another hurting human desperate for belonging. We offer love and forgiveness, without condition. We speak forgiveness with a touch, with a tear, with a word if it comes.
May you and I embody that father, if only for a moment. And may that moment carry us as far and long, delivering us, finally to God’s eternal embrace.
I began blogging about "This or Something Better" in 2011 when my husband and I were discerning what came next in our lives, which turned out to be relocating to Puget Sound from our Native California. My older posts can be found here.