Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Year A 2017 - 17th Sunday after Pentecost - Text Matthew 21:23-32 – By what authority?

Sermon 1st October 2017
Text: Matthew 21:23-32 – By what authority?

There is not much doubt that the church has little to no authority in today’s modern world.
In Luther’s time the church was very powerful.
The Pope was a person with great authority not only in the church but also in the world.
Luther actually challenged the worldly power of the church when he taught his doctrine on the 2 kingdoms.
According to Luther the world consists of 2 Kingdoms.
The Kingdom of the Right and the Kingdom of the Left.
This has nothing to do with the realms of politics with the Left and the Right leanings.
Luther believed that the entire world belonged to God but God ruled it by different means when it came to Church and State.
He believed that God has established worldly governments to rule the Kingdom of the Left.
And so we have Law and Order – police, judges, politicians and similar authorities to keep the world in order.
But it still belongs under God’s overall authority as Jesus reminds Pilate when he says, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. (John 19:11)
The authorities of God’s Left Hand kingdom are doing his job.
And that includes teachers, parents, anyone with authority, and we are called to obey and respect them just as we are respecting God according to the 4th Commandment of honouring our mother and father.
But it’s the Kingdom of the Right Hand of God that causes confusion because it is an authority that is not seen or understood outside of the church.
This is a heavenly authority that has been given to the church as Jesus explained to Peter when he said: I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18,19)
So the authority that the church has is in regards to forgiving sins to assure people of their home in heaven so when judgment day comes they will have no fear but know that the sins they have had forgiven here on earth have been forgiven in heaven.
Confusion arises for the church when we don’t properly understand what our authority is.
And when we mingle earthly authority and heavenly authority we end up losing both.
When the church protests against worldly situations we are told that’s not our business and that we have no right to interfere.
We are seeing this at present in the marriage survey.
Those in favour of Same Sex Marriage are criticising the church for holding back society and that we have no right or authority to say who should be allowed to marry.
It’s interesting that the church is blamed considering only 52% identified as Christian in the latest census – a good percentage of which would not go to church – and of those who went to church not all disagree with Same Sex Marriage.
Things do get confusing when there is a crossover area.
In matters of ethics it’s difficult because there’s a lot of crossover such as in the marriage debate, the laws being introduced on euthanasia and abortion and it makes it very difficult when laws are introduced in the world, the Left Kingdom which we do not agree with in the Church, the Right Kingdom, but we are impacted by them.
And that’s where we need to use discernment.
St Paul gives instructions to the church when it comes to the world and the Kingdom of the Left:
He says: I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
And perhaps maybe that’s where we are failing as a church – in our prayer life for the world.
It’s so easy to move away from our position as God’s Holy People and join the fight.
Remember when Peter couldn’t agree with Jesus when he said that he would go to Jerusalem and be arrested and put to death.
Peter said NO – this will never happen to you.
He moved away from his post and Jesus put him back – get behind me Satan for you have in mind the things of the world not the things of God.
Notice Jesus’ distinction between the things of God and the things of the world.
Peter had taken up arms in the world and neglected his place in the church.
Likewise, when Jesus was arrested Peter pulls out his sword and cuts of Jesus’ attacker’s ear.
Jesus says to put it away.
Those who live by the sword (the world) die by the sword (Matthew 26:52,53)
If that were the way God wanted to fight against the world he could call 12 legions of angels.
God has equipped the church with spiritual weapons.
Our struggle, as St Paul says, is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
God has given us the keys to heaven to pronounce forgiveness of sins.
That’s our authority.
We may win a battle here and there in the world but something else will rear its head and we’ll fight that one too and we’ll be taken away from what we have been asked to do – to administer the Gospel.
Like most people I get disheartened at the way the world is going.
I have at times become outspoken, and I have gotten angry and then I realise, that’s not what God wants me to do.
In fact we can neglect our duty as the priesthood of God praying for the world as we end up fighting against the world.
Our desire, like God’s is that all people be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
If it were God’s desire to fight against the world then he would be doing that.
Sometimes we may have to take a stand however.
We may need to stand up for what we believe.
And that may mean loss of some type.
And when we become disheartened about what is happening in the world we need to remember that the world and its leaders will need to give an account to God for how they have lived their lives and exercised their God given authority.
As Paul said in our 2nd reading: at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,  in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,  to the glory of God the Father.
What we are to do is to pray for those who do not yet call Jesus Christ their Lord and be there to forgive.
There are times when we want to take action now –when we want God to take action now – but it’s not about creating the perfect life now – it’s about ensuring people are part of God’s perfect life in heaven.
And that’s why Peter says; The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
The leaders questioned Jesus’ authority in the same way that the world questions our authority.
We may not have the authority we once had in the world, but we have  a much greater authority.
The authority to forgive sins and assure salvation.
The authority of the keys to heaven which the world cannot question or take away from us.
Not even the gates of hell will overcome it unless we step away from the authority given to us.
It can be disheartening at times when we look at the church’s decreasing authority in the world but we need to remember that our authority is a hidden authority that will be revealed when Jesus returns and all people will bow the knee and confess Jesus Christ as Lord.
And then, when Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
So stay strong in the Lord and keep near to where Jesus has promised to be – in his Word, in your Baptism and in his Body and Blood as neither the world nor all the powers of hell can remove them and their authority.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Year A 2017 - 16th Sunday after Pentecost - Text Matthew 20:1-16 – Is God Unfair?

Sermon 24th September 2017
Text Matthew 20:1-16 – Is God Unfair?

Sometimes life just isn't fair?
It's one of the hard realities we learn early on.
You can learn it in kindergarten when that child won’t share with you.
You can learn it in primary school when the other children won’t play with you or you’re not invited to a birthday party.
You can learn it in high school when the bully keeps picking on you.
You can learn it in the work place when you miss out on that job, on that promotion or one day you find out your job is no longer there.
Sometimes life just isn't fair.
Sometimes we see things as unfair but it’s not that they are unfair but not how we like it, which is highlighted in today’s parable.
The landowner was not being unfair at all.
Those who complained received exactly what they had agreed to.
They thought it was unfair that the one who came in later got the same as them.
And so sometimes we say things are unfair but really it’s to do with our own feelings.
When we read the papers and see criminals receiving what we believe to be light sentences or they receive a suspended sentence we may believe it’s unfair even though it has nothing to do with us.
We weren’t affected by their actions but we believe they should have been punished more.
Sometimes life doesn’t seem fair.
In our world, particularly in our First World Society, what we deem as unfair is seen by Third World Countries as abundance.
We complain about slow food service – while starving countries get no food.
We feel an injustice when our WIFI drops out or when our favourite TV show starts late and we have to wait.
We complain about all the reality TV shows when for many countries war and starvation is their reality.
We worry about our fashions while children lie naked and exposed to the elements.
For some life works pretty well for much of the time.
Then life deals a blow and our entire life seems unfair.
It seems particular unfair when bad things happen to good people while the wicked sometimes live long and seemingly happy lives;
Sometimes life is so unfair and there just are no answers.
Job’s friends tried desperately to find a reason for his suffering but couldn’t.
They kept insisting with Job to search deeper – surely life could not be that unfair if he hadn’t done anything wrong.
Sometimes life is so unfair we can't begin to understand it.
And that's when we begin to question not just the fairness of life, but the fairness of God, which is what the labourers in the vineyard did.
In fact, there are plenty of people in the bible who express their unfairness to God.
Jeremiah was one: Cursed be the day I was born! Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? (Jeremiah 20:14-18)
I know people who feel like that – maybe you do too.
It’s part of the reason why many are pushing for euthanasia laws to end life before it gets to that.
Or there’s Habakkuk in the very first verses:  How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?  (Habakkuk 1:2)
But there are others treated unfair who do not complain, like Joseph in the Old Testament dumped in the pit and sold into slavery by his brothers.
But because Joseph saw everything from God he was able to forgive.
So many people reject their faith or refuse to believe when they see the unfairness in the world and even within the church:
What kind of God is this?
It's just not fair!
Life isn’t fair if you start with the premise that we deserve everything – which is the way modern society has become.
We need to hear again and again the words of Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
Saying life isn't fair does not mean God isn't fair.
And that’s because God's fairness doesn't work the way ours does.
The lives we live are lives that God has given to us; the breath, the clothes on our backs, the food on our table, our health in its varying degrees – are all given by God.
But all that fades into insignificance when we consider the amazing grace given to us through Jesus Christ that is beyond all imagination.
Even when life seems so unfair we remember Pauls words: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
No one deserves God’s grace – which is why we call it grace – an undeserved gift of God.
Everything God gives is pure grace.
And because God makes the sun to shine on the righteous and the unrighteous does not make God unfair when he only shines it on the unrighteous.
We shouldn't think of God's love lavished on those we think are undeserving as unfair because God's justice doesn't work the way the world's justice works.
When the laborers cried out “unfair”, the master answered the outcry with a reminder of the justice they received. "Look, you got paid what we agreed on!
No matter how unfair the world sometimes seems, God is always fair."
God has promised us eternal life and that is what we will receive through Jesus Christ.
But there are still so many that are standing idle like those in the market place at the 11th hour.
And God is making his 11th hour bid and sometimes God’s grace to the undeserving seems unfair.
But we remember, we too are undeserving but have been enlightened by grace.
God is more loving than we can imagine anyone being.
God looks at the workers and says, “I love you regardless of what time you showed up for work, I’m just glad you showed up.”
God’s love is not conditional on our behaviour, God just wants us to be in heaven with him.
It is a reminder that we need to be grateful for what God has given us, regardless of what he is doing in the lives of other people in order to lead them to eternal life.
The work of God is about love to the world and finding ways to love others even if they don’t agree with us, look like us, or behave in a way we disagree with.
One of the best ways we can be signs of love in the world is to say thank you to God and be examples of gratitude.
Gratitude is an expression of love that can be a witness to others.
Gratitude in life is extraordinarily important because it is how we understand the goodness of God —but also, it is easy to forget to be grateful and to grumble about what we don’t have rather than be grateful for what we have received.
Third world countries are becoming the church of the future and the future of our church because they know what it is to have nothing and when they receive anything they give thanks to God.
The point of this parable is that we will become blind to the goodness and the fairness of God with a jealous eye.
God's grace is pure grace.
It is the same for everybody.
Sadly to some it doesn't mean as much as we have become comfortable with our affluent lifestyles.
To others who have little or nothing God's grace means a lot more.
But the gift of grace is all the same.
Sometimes it may seem unfair, but God is never unfair.
God took all the unfairness of our lives and our troubled world and placed them on Jesus who suffered the unfairness of death on a cross that we might have life.
Jesus died for all so we are not to consider who does or doesn’t seem to deserve God’s grace.
Remember that, except for God's grace in Christ, neither do we deserve anything from God.
The kingdom of heaven is a gift.
And in Christ it's never too late to come home to God – just ask the thief on the cross.

And that is what God is working hard to do – to bring others into the Kingdom by extending his love and grace – the same love and grace that we have received.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Year A 2017 - 15th Sunday after Pentecost - Text: Matthew 18:21-35 – Forgive us our sins

Sermon 17th September 2017
Text: Matthew 18:21-35 – Forgive us our sins

On the first Tuesday of every month many Australians nervously await the announcement from the Reserve Bank regarding what they are doing about interest rates.
Our nation’s debt is so high that even a small rise of .25% will send many mortgages into default and households with huge credit card debts into arrears.
The latest figures reveal that our average debt to income is 212%.
This means that for every dollar we earn we spend more than double.
With house prices increasing at record rates it means people are going to go further and further into debt to purchase that valuable asset.
Our housing debt is around 1.7 trillion dollars
Credit card debt is around 47 billion dollars – so you can understand why so many people are nervous.
So many factors can cause a collapse – a crash in house prices – a sickness – a job loss – an unexpected pregnancy – could cause a massive change in circumstances because of our reliance on debt.
Jesus talks about an impossible debt today as an example of the huge debt that humanity owes to God because of our sin.
He talks about a servant whose debt was ten thousand talents.
A talent was a weight used to determine gold and it was estimated that 1 talent was worth around 16 year’s salary.
The servant owed 10,000 talents – 10,000 times an average year’s wage which in Australia is $80,000, times 16 would be around 13 billion dollars that he owed.
The king demands he repay it and until it is repaid he ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions.
The servant begged for mercy and the king granted it to him.
What amazing generosity as there is no way that debt could ever have been repaid.
But unfortunately the servant didn’t quite grasp the generosity or soon forgot about it.
And that’s where we too fall down.
We very quickly forget just how much God has sacrificed for us to clear our debt.
The forgiven servant came upon one of his own servants who owed him a miniscule amount compared to what he owed the king.
He owed him a hundred denarii.
A denarii was a day’s wage – so 100 denarii was roughly $35,000.
Still a lot of money but nothing compared to the 13 billion dollars he had just been forgiven.
And so he demands repayment.
The 2nd servant pleads for mercy, just as the first servant had to the king, but he refused and he threw him into prison.
Jesus told this story as an explanation of where things are at with us and God.
It’s a difficult thing for us to understand and a difficult thing to explain to people that we owe a debt to God.
But that is how the sin is defined.
St Paul uses that terminology too when he says – the wages of sin is death.
As Christians we know that Jesus Christ has fully paid for our debt by his own death which paid the wages of our sin – as St Paul so beautifully puts it - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus’ death paid the wage of death for sin, but since he himself had no sin he was able to pay our debt in full.
So the impossible debt has been paid.
We have been freed from the debt to sin.
But it’s that 2nd part of the story that is the difficult teaching.
After having been forgiven of his impossible debt he went back to his daily living and forgot about what had happened.
He saw one of his own servants indebted to him but refused to show him the same mercy.
As a result of his refusal to show mercy, the King reversed his decision to forgive the first servant’s debt and imprisoned him until the impossible debt was repaid.
Basically if follows the principal of Jesus’ teaching: For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2)
Jesus follows up the action by the king with a warning:
In anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Wow – that is one massive warning by Jesus.
But rather than focusing on the punishment, I believe that Jesus is wanting us to see, firstly the severity of our sin to God in that it is an unpayable debt.
And secondly he wants us to understand the enormity of grace that God has bestowed upon us by the cross of Christ.
Jesus is not trying to frighten us into forgiving – that would not be true forgiveness.
It would be like God forcing us to love him.
He gives us free will to love him or reject him.
But what he is trying to remind us is about God’s unlimited forgiveness that should prevent us from limiting or forgiveness.
Peter had tried to limit forgiveness.
He asks Jesus – how often should I forgive someone who sins against me?
Seven times?
A somewhat generous offer by Peter considering Jewish law only required 2 times and on the 3rd time you were not obliged to forgive.
Now that’s going to be an important distinction later on for Peter who denies Jesus 3 times.
Will Jesus forgive him for the 3rd denial?
Peter has doubled it and added one for good luck – a bit like a “bakers’s dozen”.
But Jesus is warning Peter that if that is what he thinks about forgiving others – what does he think about God forgiving him?
If he limits how much he forgives others, will he be in danger of wondering whether God has forgiven him.
What if Peter sins against God 8 times – will God still forgive him?
Does he want that uncertainty?
Especially with what is about to happen to Peter and his denial of Jesus when he is arrested – Jesus wants Peter to know that God will forgive him
Otherwise he will be in danger of thinking like Judas who could not take the guilt of having betrayed Jesus and took his own life.
Judas tried to pay back his debt of sin but it would never be enough.
Jesus wants Peter to know that God is not going to forgive him only 7 times – but he is going to keep forgiving him without number.
For God there is no number because when God forgives he forgets our sin – as the writer to the Hebrews says: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more." (Hebrews 10:17).
If there were a limit then we could never be sure if we’ve gone over.
And if we limit how much we forgive then we have not understood what forgiveness is and what it means that God has forgiven us.
And that’s Jesus point.
Not that God WON’T forgive us but that we have not really understood our own forgiveness and that’s what Jesus is wanting to avoid for us.
Debt enslaves and obligates us to the creditor.
Interest paid on the debt keeps us in debt.
There is no escape unless the debt is paid in full and in Jesus parable he clearly states that our debt of sin is too much for us to pay – but Jesus has paid it in full.
And now Jesus wants us to forgive so we can be freed from the consequences of unforgiveness which includes:
Human relationships are broken between friends, in the home, in marriages.
A person who does not forgive harbors bitterness, hatred, and resentment in the heart.
This keeps God's forgiveness out and the person is too full of negative feelings to experience the love and peace of God's forgiveness.
A person who does not forgive is usually an unhappy and experiences loneliness.
Sadly forgiveness is often seen as a sign of weakness – giving in.
But it is the most powerful thing to do.
It is easy to fight back, to hold a grudge – but it takes real power to forgive.
Satan uses our hurt to keep us hating and holding a grudge.
He reminds us of our sins so we don’t experience God’s freeing forgiveness and he reminds us of other people’s sin against us so we withhold our forgiveness of them.
God wants us to forgive, not because he withholds his forgiveness unless we forgive – no, otherwise it’s not grace.
God wants us to forgive so we can open our hearts to know and experience his forgiveness of us.
There is no better feeling of having the weight of hate and bitterness released and living in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
So may God give you the strength to forgive others as God has forgiven you.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Year A 2017 - 14th Sunday after Pentecost - Text: Matthew 18:15-20 – Christian Conflict Resolution

Sermon 10th September 2017
Text: Matthew 18:15-20 – Christian Conflict Resolution

Jesus deals with a very sensitive topic today – the topic of conflict within the church.
Conflict doesn’t have to be a negative experience in the church or in any form of relationship.
Rather it can be an opportunity to delve deeper into a relationship.
Jesus provides advice for resolving conflicts among church members which can also be used outside of the church as we deal with others in our families, in our marriage, in our workplace.
The world is confused when they hear that churches can sometimes have conflicts.
Don't tell me Christians can't get along with each other!!!
What hypocrites!!!
It goes to show they are not true followers of Jesus!
We know that’s not true.
Conflicts can occur in even the strongest congregations and relationships.
A conflict even arose amongst Jesus’ disciples when James and John requested to be seated in places of honour in heaven:
When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. (Mark 10:35-41)
The earliest church community had a major conflict when Paul and Barnabas had to go their separate ways over a conflict as to whether or not to bring Mark along with them (Acts 15:36-41).
Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians because of a conflict that had occurred in one of the very first churches.
Conflicts will always arise because of human nature but it’s how we deal with those conflicts that sets us apart as Christians rather than being a church without conflict.
Harm will come to a church community when if refuses to deal with conflicts.
Conflicts do not need to break down churches.
Dealing with conflict in a proper way that uses confession and forgiveness can in fact build a church up.
Jesus knows this and gives instructions for dealing with conflict among Christians.
His first instruction is - If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.
Our human nature has a tendency to deal differently when we are hurt.
Our instant reaction is to hurt back – to even up the hurt.
We find others to support us – we create a division – whose side are you on – we begin to gossip about the other person.
It becomes a shouting match and we become in danger of saying hurtful words – words we regret – words we cannot take back.
That never resolves a conflict but inflicts more and more hurt.
Or we become defensive when someone points out our fault.
We make excuses or we may avoid the conflict by leaving.
It becomes a swapping of accusations – what about the time you did …
St Paul says that this not how love is shown when he says – love keeps no record of wrongs.
And that’s probably the difference between conflict resolution with a Christian understanding and how the world deals with conflict - forgiveness.
Christian conflict resolution reflects God’s conflict resolution with us.
God did not look for us to make the first move or to even up the hurt we caused.
St Paul says: God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)
And there is the challenge for us – will we be the ones who seek reconciliation even if we are the ones who have been hurt?
Jesus understands that human nature gets in the way of our ability to reconcile conflict so he says:
If you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you and If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church;
Jesus provides a process for healing from conflict and it does not include blame or retribution.
Jesus recognises that sometimes in a conflict we need to listen to others.
Sometimes it’s too difficult because of the hurt to be able to work through the matter ourselves so we ask the church for help.
In a conflict sometimes both parties believe they have been wronged and instead of healing there is more hurt created.
Sometimes we are so hurt that we cannot see how we have contributed to the conflict or we are so hurt that we just cannot forgive.
How often don’t we hear – I could never forgive that person for what they have done.
Words we will never hear God say!
And so Jesus also understands that sometimes it’s just so hard to forgive.
It’s just so hard to overlook the hurt that has been caused.
In those cases we need our church community – not to take sides or work out who is right and who is wrong – but to support and bring healing.
Conflict resolution is not about working out who is right and who is wrong – it is about forgiveness and reconciliation.
Jesus finally says: if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let that person be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Sadly we have at times misunderstood what Jesus is saying here.
We have used that as a reason to excommunicate someone.
We have used it to withhold communion from that person.
But again we need to look to Jesus and the example he set in treating Gentiles and Tax Collectors.
Jesus sat down and ate with them.
Jesus spent time with them.
Jesus loved and cared for them.
While the religious leaders criticised Jesus for eating with Tax Collector Zacchaeus, it was Jesus’ love that changed his heart and brought healing.
While the disciples questioned Jesus’ time spent with the Canaanite woman and the Samaritan woman at the well, it was that time that produced great faith and even spread the word by the Samaritan woman to her people.
It was Jesus acceptance of a Samaritan Leper that caused him to turn back and worship Jesus.
Whereas conflict is a painful experience to go through, it is a joy as you work through that conflict and grow deeper in your understanding – deeper in your love – deeper in your relationship with that person.
As the Psalm says: How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
But even more than that it brings you deeper into your relationship with God as you begin to understand the pain that God went through as his people rejected him – rejected his son – and went after other gods.
Life is too short to remain in conflict.
How often I have seen a person who has regretted last words said to a person who has died and realised they can no longer take back those words.
Paul reminds us of that shortness of time and how important it is in the church as our concern should be to get the Gospel out into the world.
So often the Gospel is hindered because of our conflicts.
Paul reminds us that salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in quarreling and jealousy. (Romans 13:13)
Conflict is never easy but it becomes an inevitable part of any relationship.
It doesn’t mean the relationship is over or in trouble but has reached a point where understanding and learning is needed.
It is an opportunity to grow deeper in love and understanding of each other.
Just think how God grew deeper in his relationship with us as he dealt with his conflict with us;
He began by destroying the human race he regretted creating with a flood.
He introduced a system of sacrifice where his people would acknowledge and pay for their sin through daily complicated sacrifice.
He exiled them out of his land but his love brought them back.
And then his deepest love for us would be shown as he sacrificed is one and only Son to fully reconcile us for all time.
Conflict resolution takes sacrifice but leads to deeper and rich blessings.
We are thankful that God treats us as Jesus treated pagans and tax collectors.
He invites us to sit with him at his table and receive again the cost of his conflict resolution – the body and blood of his Son.

May we too reflect that sacrifice in our relationships, here in church, and in our daily lives as we reflect God’s love and reconciliation with others.