Proper 22B: When The Journey Gets a Little Unfamiliar

Unfamiliar JourneyOLD TESTAMENT: Job 1: 1, 2: 1-10

Read from the Book of Job

The Book of Job is anonymous and it’s not really known when it was written, although historical Biblical scholars place it between the seventh and fourth centuries bce. Its purpose is not really known either, although it has a great deal to do with the way we see life and how our faith speaks through our lives. Contrary to what we may desire, Job offers no answers to the life’s suffering or life’s heartaches except faith. It takes all of those contrived images of God and shakes them at their core leaving nothing for us but a relationship with God instead. God is not here to “fix things” or to reward us or to punish us. God is here to welcome and love us.

In the beginning of our passage, Job is characterized as righteous and good, a man who sought God and turned away from those things that separated him from God. The passages following this depict his family as the same—righteous, blessed, and wealthy. Everything is perfect.

In the next part of our reading, the Lord and Satan have what is actually the second discussion before the heavenly court. Note that “satan” is actually the literal translation of the Hebrew hassatan and is not Satan, the devil of later times, but a member of the heavenly assembly. His task evidently is to inquire into the behavior of the human race and to bring back word to God. Ha-satan is considered more of an office or a function. Think of him as the accuser, the adversary; more of a prosecuting attorney but one who is operating on God’s behalf.

The satan has tested Job and Job has passed the test. It has been proven that Job’s integrity was not because of his prosperity and blessing; Job’s integrity is intact. Essentially, God can now say, “I told you so!”. But the satan claims that Job would give all of this for his life. He proposes a “skin for skin” challenge—what would Job do if YHWH attacks Job’s very life? (From Jewish midrash) In the bargain with Satan God outwitted that trickster with the command that Job’s life must be spared whatever else happened. This put a terrible pressure on the Adversary, since the command was like saying, “You may break the wine bottle, but you must not let the wine spill.” (Williams, 76)

So the satan afflicts Job with the disease of the sixth plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:9-11), foul boils that cloak his entire body. Keep in mind that this was more than just uncomfortable. Those with repulsive skin diseases were separated from the community and often found themselves living among the garbage. Job’s famous ash heap may be the ancient equivalent of a modern landfill, with its ripe smells and continuous burning. Into the scene, steps Job’s wife, urging him to let go of his integrity, already, and curse God. But Job remains steadfast.

The idea that God blesses the faithful, rewarding the righteous with what they deserve, and that the opposite, trials and tribulation, are signs of being out of sync with God—apparently the prosperity gospel is nothing new under the sun—is rejected outright by Job. It is rejected in the portrayal of the struggles of a genuinely “blameless and upright” man, and in Job’s response—both to his wife and to his situation.  Job comes to us as a warning against believing in a God who rewards piety and virtue with prosperity and success.  Job is us and with his story is a reminder that God never promised us ease and plenty but rather Presence and Grace and a Love more incredible than we can ever fathom—now, tomorrow, and every tomorrow thereafter.  Isn’t that better than worrying about whether or not we’ll be rewarded or punished in the future?

Back in the early 5th century, St. Augustine distinguished two kinds of love, in Latin, uti and frui. Uti love is love of use. I love money — not because I particularly enjoy looking at it or feeling it. I love money because I can use it to get something else I want. Uti. Now, frui love is different. I love — I’m not sure that’s a strong enough word — I love chocolate, not because of what I use it for, which really isn’t all that good. I get fatter, cholesterol count goes up. But it doesn’t matter. I just love chocolate. I’ll do anything to get it. Frui.

Augustine said we have this bad habit of loving God with uti love. We love God because we hope to get God to help us get whatever it is we want (blessing, prosperity, even eternal life). Lord, I’m after the good life, a better job, this or that success: so, bless me! But God prefers not to be used. God wants us to love God with frui love. We just love God, not because of what we get out of it, but just because God is God, and we would do anything for God. As the Westminster Confession put it, the chief end of humanity is to love God and enjoy [God] forever. (From “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People”, by Rev. Dr. James C. Howell, available at, accessed 22 September, 2009.)

  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. What does this say to you about God?
  3. What does this say to you about righteousness or faith?
  4. How does this speak to our own world?
  5. If we can no longer ask the question, “what has God done for me?”, what question should we then ask?
  6. What does that mean to you to love God just for loving God?


NEW TESTAMENT: Hebrews 1: 1-4, 2: 5-12

Read the Scripture from Hebrews

Even though it’s called an epistle, Hebrews is not really written in the form of a letter but is rather a sort of address to which notes have been attached. We really have no idea who the writer was or in what setting he or she actually delivered the sermon. It is evident, though, that the future mattered and the author depicts God’s speaking through first the prophets in the past and now the Son (or Jesus Christ) in the present. Both of these points toward the future of what is to come.

The message of Christ is not so much in what Jesus said but in what he did and who he was. This is why the author goes right into the idea of Christ’s self-offering and his ascent to sit at God’s right hand. The idea of forgiveness of sins and the ongoing support that Christ offers is of paramount importance. The author is asserting that, despite the older claim that Jesus was a Messiah-King, Christ is instead above all imaginable powers. The ancients believed that angels were the invisible powers, usually good, but not always, who hovered above the world and had the power to determine destiny. You can see evidence of wisdom thought here in the depiction of Christ as the one more powerful than all other powers, the one through whom all power exists.

The second section asserts that not only is Christ above all other powers, but that he got there by traveling the same road on which we journey. Christ was human and, yet, was enthroned above the angels. Christ was the one who was just like us and experienced the same kind of vulnerability, temptation, and suffering and yet was placed “above the angels”, above all powers that be.

This is a message from a pastor urging his or her congregation to stay true to Christ. It affirms that wherever we may find ourselves, God speaks to us “at many times and in various ways”. (Perhaps it followed our reading from Job as their first reading that day!) Ultimately, though, God most fully reveals who God is and what God is feeling,, thinking, and doing in Jesus Christ: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of [God’s] being.” To demonstrate the deepest heart of God, Jesus shared humanity’s flesh and blood, was made like us in every respect, suffered like we do, prayed with “loud cries and tears,” died a violent death, “tasted death for everyone,” and in some mysterious way by his death “destroyed death itself.

In an interview with Anne Lamott, who is no stranger to pain, Linda Buturian asked her what she most wanted to convey to her son Sam about God. “I want to convey that we get to be human,” Lamott answered. “We get to make awful mistakes and fall short of who we hope we’re going to turn out to be. That we don’t have to be what anybody else tries to get us to be, so they could feel better about who they were. We get to screw up right and left. We get to keep finding our way back home to goodness and kindness and compassion. . . I want him to know that no matter what happens, he’s never going to have to walk alone. . . That’s what I’m trying to convey to Sam.” (From Shouts and Whispers: Twenty-One Writers Speak about Their Writing and Their Faith, Jennifer L. Holberg, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s, 2006), quoted in “We Get to Be Human”, by Dan Clendenin, October 2, 2006, available at, accessed 23 September, 2009.)

  1. How does this passage speak to you?
  2. What does it mean for you that Christ is above all powers?
  3. What does it mean for you that Christ was human?
  4. What does it mean for you that we get to “be human”?
  5. What stands in the way of our being “human”?

GOSPEL: Mark 10: 2-16

Read the Gospel passage

To be honest, the first readers of this version of the Gospel probably found Jesus’ statements about divorce and remarriage as challenging and counter-cultural as we do.  Divorce in the first century was a generally accepted part of life, both among Jews and perhaps more so within wider Greco-Roman culture. Some writers and public leaders spoke against divorce as bad for society, but for the most part people debated only details of its legal basis. Among Jewish legal experts, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was a key text, one that assumes divorce will occur and prescribes procedures for carrying it out.  So the Pharisees who ask Jesus about divorce do so “to test” him. As for the Pharisees’ intentions, they might hope their question will expose Jesus as dangerous to families and their society.

Jesus, however, turns the conversation with the Pharisees away from the legal foundation for divorce to God’s design for marriage. That is, he dismisses the law as a concession to human weakness and offers a different perspective rooted in creation. His brief argument describes marriage as a strong and unifying bond between two people. It is because he sees marriage in such a way that he speaks against divorce as he does.

In essence, Jesus DOES disapprove of divorce, not because it is against religious rules, but because it is destructive, because it affects relationships and peoples’ lives.  Keep in mind that the in the ancient world, marriage was primarily a means of ensuring economic stability and social privilege.  A woman’s sexuality was the property of first her father and then her husband.  (Hence, the old language in the marriage ceremony about “giving away” the bride, which has since been removed from our Book of Worship.) Divorce could happen just because a man finds something objectionable about his wife, leaving her penniless, destitute, and shunned from society with no recourse.  Jesus seems to be speaking specifically against the custom of a man leaving his partner for another woman.  Jesus’ point is that divorce, even if allowed by Mosaic law, was not created to justify adultery or to satisfy one’s desires or ambitions.  Jesus is giving women a greater equality in the marital relationship.

There are obviously cultural differences for us today, to be sure.  Marriage is less about economics and more about people seeking mutual fulfillment.  Jesus describes marriage as something that transcends contracts, as something rooted in identity. Perhaps that is the message that we should take—not that divorce is wrong, necessarily, but that any relationship should be rooted in identity and treated with the seriousness that entails.  I don’t think the concern here is right or wrong but rather to heighten our awareness of our connectedness.  Relationships and commitment and love are not and should not be conditional.  They are part of who we are.  And when a relationship ends, there is an offering of healing and return to wholeness in a new and recreated way.

As for the last part, remember that children were treated like women.  They were not protected, they were not honored, and no one was concerned with them at all.  But while the disciples were listening to Jesus haggling with the Pharisees over the “legalities” of marriage, these bothersome children were shooed away.  But not only did Jesus welcome the children, he said that we should be like them, we should be curious enough to explore and vulnerable enough to depend on someone else.  We should be open to imagining what we do not know and trusting enough to rest ourselves in God.  After all, isn’t that what matters?  Jesus was both welcoming the unwelcomed and reminding us to open our lives to God.

Perhaps this whole sort of discombobulated passage that we read today is more about not following the rules and following Christ.  Jesus didn’t care about rules; he cared about showing us the way to God. He cared about showing how to relate to each other, how to relate to God, and even how to relate to ourselves.  We were never promised that it would be easy or that things would always come out alright.  We were just promised that we would be loved and welcomed and always have somewhere to go.  We were promised something new—we just have to open ourselves enough to imagine it.

  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What, then, does this say about relationships? About wholeness?
  3. What does this say about the “rules” that we create?
  4. What does it mean to become like a child for you?


Some Quotes for Further Reflection:

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. (G.K. Chesterton)

Where the heart does not reside whole, there is only duty, not fidelity. (Joan Chittister)

My ego is like a fortress. I have built its walls stone by stone. To hold out the invasion of the love of God. But I have stayed here long enough. There is light over the barriers. O my God…I let go of the past, I withdraw my grasping hand from the future, And in the great silence of the moment, I alertly rest my soul. (Howard Thurman)





This Sunday is World Communion Sunday.  It is the day that the whole world remembers, renews, and is recreated and refashioned into something new.  As the time zones click through the orbit of the earth, there is table seating after table seating after table seating until all of us are seated together.  THIS, my friends, is the Kingdom of God.  It is something that we must imagine.  The Eucharist gives us that glimpse if only we will allow ourselves to imagine it and see it. (Invite persons to go around the room saying what they envision, what it is that they glimpse, that is God’s Kingdom. Close with “THIS, my friends, is the Kingdom of God.”  And all the people said…Amen.)


Proper 21B: Salt for All

SaltOLD TESTAMENT: Esther 7: 1-6, 9-10, 9: 20-22

Read the Passage from The Book of Esther (#1/2)

Read the Passage from the Book of Esther (#2/2)

The Book of Esther is a strange and difficult book for several reasons, first and foremost because it seems to be non-theological. (I suppose it also doesn’t help that it’s usually not in our pew Bibles!) There is no mention of God or God’s Presence. There is no praying or worship. But the book is very important to Jews because it records the deeds of a woman who was prepared to risk everything to save her people from the threat of genocide. She is a heroine and her story is the basis for the Festival of Purim, at which time the whole book is read in the synagogue. Celebrated in the 12th month of the Jewish year, it is the one Jewish holiday which centers on fun—costumes, prizes, noisemakers, and treats, including special holiday treats called hamantashan (which means “Haman’s pockets).

On that holiday, the story is told of a beautiful young Jewish woman in Persia named Esther and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Now the king has divorced his queen, Vashti, and wants to take a new virgin bride. Esther was taken to the King’s house to become part of the harem, where she was loved more than any other woman by the king and made his queen, because he did not know that she was a Jew. The villain is Haman, an arrogant advisor to the king, who plots to destroy the Jewish people because Mordecai will not bow to him.

Mordecai persuades Esther to intercede for the Jewish people with the king even though this was very dangerous for her. Esther fasts for three days to prepare herself and then goes to the King. The Jewish people were ultimately saved and Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. The word Purim means “lots” and refers to the lottery that Haman used to choose the date for the massacre. When the Megillah, or scroll, of Esther is read, it is customary in the synagogue to boo, hiss, stamp feet, and rattle noisemakers whenever the name of Haman is mentioned. Chapter 7, from which most of our reading comes, depicts Esther as very clever, a model of courage. She has taken the time to set the scene and has thought out what to do.

The Book of Esther is well known for the fact that it does not mention God at all in the text. There is no real religious motivation for anything that the characters do. But there is the presence of religious practice, such as fasting and the very character of Esther lends us to connect that to her own faith and spiritual foundation. And when it all comes down to it, Esther embodied the voice of God as it counteracted cultural authority, something we all struggle with even today.

So what do we do with those passages where God is not mentioned, where there seems to be no lesson from God, where in an odd sort of way, God is not? You know, for the last several weeks, we’ve been reading about wisdom, that elusive, hard-to-nail-down thing that we are told is of God, perhaps even that it IS God. And yet, it’s not obvious. In fact, sometimes, God’s presence seems downright elusive.

The truth is that God probably was not missing from this book at all; rather, God’s Spirit and God’s way of moving us to be who God envisions us to be is sometimes not as obvious as wind or fire but is rather embodied in the very Creation, the very humanity that God shaped into the image of the Godself. It is, then, a story of God, embodied. God is always and forever still God but maybe this story is a reminder that God does not control the world with seemingly robotic movement but rather breathes a piece of the Godself into each of us. Perhaps, then, the will of God has nothing to do with fate or plans or some sort of pre-ordained destiny that is laid before us and on which we must tread but is instead handed to us for such a time as this. Perhaps those places where it seems that God is not are the places where we are called to be.

Hebrew scholar Richard Elliott Friedman has written a book called The Disappearance of God. In it he chronicles what Barbara Brown Taylor calls the “divine recession.” “Working his way from Genesis to the minor prophets, he paints a portrait of God that fades as it goes. Divine features that were distinct at the beginning of the story grow blurry as God withdraws, stepping back from human beings so that they have room to step forward.” (From When God is Silent, by Barbara Brown Taylor, p. 53.

Room to step forward…maybe that’s the whole point. Maybe that’s what the Book of Esther is about—the story of one who responded to the room God made to step forward, to act not upon our individual understanding of God but rather to respond to who God envisions God to be. There is so much work to be done. God never envisioned doing it for us; otherwise, we would have been mere robots in the world and God would have instead sat there as some sort of divine programmer. Instead, God created time and space such that we are experiencing now and called us to fill it with God’s love and God’s grace and the piece of the Godself that we are called to show to the world. For such a time as this, we are grateful. For, this, my friends, is the very Presence of God.


  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. How does this speak to courage or to faith?
  3. What could be learned for us today in the society in which we live?
  4. What stands in the way of our being true to our faith and standing up for others against the culture in which we live?
  5. What does it mean for you that God’s name is not mentioned?
  6. What do you think of the whole notion of God providing us space enough to step forward?



NEW TESTAMENT: James 5: 13-20

Read from The Letter of James

The author of James has told the readers that what they pray for they will receive, unless they ask with wrong motives. Now, in his conclusion to the book (probably a sermon), he treats prayer more extensively. Whether you suffer or are “cheerful” – pray! If any be seriously ill call upon those in official positions in the church to “pray over them” and anoint them, symbolizing Christ’s healing presence and power.

This prayer made in faith will restore health—maybe not always physical or emotional health like we often imagine it, but certainly a wholeness, a unity with God that might not have been there before. Anointing with prayer will also restore to spiritual health any who have intentionally deviated from God’s ways. Sins should be mutually confessed, to attain integrity with God; “pray for one another”. Prayer is “powerful and effective”. Then if anyone strays from integrity with God (“the truth”) and is brought back to oneness with God through the prayer of “another” member of the community, either the one who has drifted away or the one who prays will be saved from spiritual “death” and will receive extensive forgiveness. In other words, rather than sit in judgment of each others’ wrongs, we should help each other, guide each other back to a connection with God and to a wholeness of mind and spirit. The wisdom of James leaves the door open for the return of the prodigal.

The writer of James is not blurring the lines between those who believe in Christ and those who don’t; rather, he is displaying and commanding a generous openness to those who are doing power deeds in the name of God in a way that is not within the body of Christian believers. There is a hopefulness and an optimism about these outsiders. There is no exclusion.

In the final words of his epistle James has something to say about this. It is not that the writer is soft on sin. He has unequivocally asserted the interconnection between Christian believing and Christian practice. He has castigated the rich, the verbose, the hypocrites and the self-sufficient, who seek to conduct their affairs outside the scope of God’s care. James is hardly indifferent to believers’ tendencies to wander into sin. It is important to recognize, though, that he is not eager to exclude believers when they do wander into sin. Rather, the final (and most important) task for believers is to bring back those who wander away. The aim of Jesus’ generosity toward those on the margins of the group seems to be to draw them in closer. Once drawn by the generosity of Jesus inside the circle of disciples, believers must not allow each other to wander away.

Further, James calls us to display a profound level of compassion for our sisters and brothers in Christ. Should believers wander into any of the sins James has incisively analyzed in the body of his letter, it falls to their sisters and brothers to seek them out and turn them around. The degree to which James imagines believers to be dependent upon each other is staggering. Essentially, the writer of James is saying that the state of our souls depends on the compassion that we show toward others as well as the compassion that they show toward us.

Back to the idea of prayer, God obviously does not need to be persuaded to care about us. The language of prayer, like the symbolic oil and the symbolic touch, engages us (rather than God) in compassionate outreach. It reminds us that we are connected to each other and that we need each other as well as God. We are here for each other—to pray, to comfort, to cry for, to cry with, to laugh, to stand up for, to reprimand, to understand, to welcome back, and to love. God can do all that, but God calls us to be the vehicle through which it is done.

Another spin on this is told by Mary Hinkle Shore in her essay “Being Church”:

Is there any congregation in the whole Christian church on earth that you don’t have to leave when you are having a problem that you can’t hide? Think about the people who have disappeared in the last six months from the pews you know best. What’s going on? Illness? Job loss? Divorce? Hardly anyone leaves church because things are going well for them.

And to those of us still in the pews, have you ever heard yourself lying when asked at church how things are after your recent loss, or how you’re holding up while someone close to you looks for a job, or how your kids are doing? What would it take for Christians to tell the truth to each other?

James envisions a community of people who can do just that. If we had started this reading just one verse sooner, we would hear James say, “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” It’s a call to the simplest (not to say easiest) truth telling. (From Mary Hinkle Shore, “Being Church”, available at, accessed 22 September)

  1. How does this passage speak to you?
  2. What meaning does this shed on prayer for you?
  3. What does it mean for us to be connected to each other, to have compassion for each other and to stand up for each other? What does it mean to welcome back?  What does it mean to love?
  4. What would that mean in our society?
  5. What keeps us from doing that for each other?
  6. What does it mean for you to “be church”?

GOSPEL: Mark 9: 38-50

Read from the Lectionary Gospel passage

The disciples have previously argued over who of them is the greatest. Jesus has told them not to seek position or prestige. Now he rebukes them for attempting to stop an exorcist curing in his name. Jesus explains his tolerance: such a person will be slow to speak ill of him. God does work through those who are not followers of Jesus. The writer of Mark emphasizes this by using a proverb. For him, the “reward” is entry into the Kingdom and the state of union with God awaiting us there. Those who treat Jesus’ followers with kindness will be so rewarded.

On the other hand, putting an obstacle in the way of immature Christians (“little ones”), will lead to condemnation in our own lives. Anyone who shakes the faith of others (“causes you to stumble”) is a danger to the community of faith. Then the use of the illustration of salt is sort of strangely tacked on the end. Stephen Fowl says this about it:


If you are reading this column hoping to get some insight into Mark 9:49-50, you can stop now. These verses are intensely obscure; the commentaries offer little help; neither I nor anyone I know has received a special revelation explaining the text. Let us simply agree to move on to other matters.  (From Stephen Fowl, “Search and Restore”, from The Christian Century, September 19, 2006, available at, accessed 22 September, 2009.)

But, think about it. Salt has a multitude of meanings—it purifies, it seasons, it preserves. It is a nutrient that the body needs but cannot produce and an antiseptic. It can remove stains and add support and buoyancy. (Remember that ships float higher in salt water than in fresh water.) So, what does it mean to be called to be salt, to have salt in yourselves, as the Scripture says?   I mean, as we’ve said, salt has many uses. So maybe we are called to be multi-faceted, to not just walk one road toward that Presence of God that we think we have identified and nailed down in our lives, but to rather open ourselves to the notion that God appears when we least expect it. And we are called to be ready, to be open, to do whatever it is that God calls us to do in that moment. For such a time as this, we are called to be salt.

That’s still odd to us. Salt? But we need to remember that in the ancient world, the Greeks called salt divine. There were times when Roman soldiers would even receive their salaries in salt. In fact, the Latin word for “salt” is the root for “salary.” For the ancients, the two most important things in life were “sol” and “sal”, Sun and salt. Even today in Africa, workers often receive a portion of their pay in salt. When one is presented to a chief, it is expected that you would bring a gift of salt. Nelson Mandela once said, “Let there be work, bread, water, and salt for all.” So, to really understand this passage, we need to have an African view of salt. When we are told that we are salt, we are told that we are of great use and value in society. We must add flavor to everything we touch.

And yet, we all know that there is often something to be said for too much of a good thing.   Like salt, we are not to overwhelm the world but to bring out the goodness, or preserve the goodness, that is already there. But remember salt is of no use to salt. We are part of a community. “Being salt” means that we are called to become that embodied Presence of God in the world and for the world and, rather than making everyone and everything into what reflects our own personal image of God, we are rather called to season what we touch so that the flavor that is God comes through. I

t’s important to note the use of the word “whoever”. The disciples probably thought that Jesus meant whoever of them, but Jesus left it open—whoever—anyone. He draws the circle wider. Once again, the disciples have missed the point. It is said that you can divide the world into two groups—those who think you can divide the world into two groups and those who don’t. Jesus never preached an “us and them” mentality. His message was much broader. Essentially, Jesus is saying that those who envision themselves aligned with him, supposedly working for the Kingdom “in his name” are kidding themselves. Unless one understands the Christian mission as the mission of Christ, one cannot claim to be acting in alignment with Jesus. Jesus was apparently not writing anyone off. He was not affirming that those around him had exclusive rights to the Gospel. Rather, he was calling us to nurture and nourish them in the faith and bring them into the fold (and possibly that the “fold” itself might look different than we figured out it should be).

  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What “stumbling blocks” are present in our world? In particular, what are “stumbling blocks” to others that are put up by Christians in the name of Christ?
  3. What stands in the way of our welcoming others in this way?
  4. What, for you, does the salt imagery mean in your Christian walk? What does it mean to be salt to the world?



Some Quotes for Further Reflection:

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls. (Elizabeth Cady Stanton)

If I cannot find the face of Jesus in the face of those who are my enemies, if I cannot find him in the unbeautiful, if I cannot find him in those who have the “wrong ideas,” if I cannot find him in the poor and the defeated, how will I find him in the bread and wine, or in the life after death? If I do not reach out in this world to those with whom he has identified himself, why do I imagine that I will want to be with him, and them, in heaven? Why would I want to be for all eternity in the company of those I avoided every day of my life? (Jim Forest)

“The purpose of life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others. Only then have we ourselves become true human beings.” (Albert Schweitzer)






God, God bless our contradictions, those parts of us which seem out of character. Let us be boldly and gladly out of character. Let us be creatures of paradox and variety: creatures of contrast; of light and shade: creatures of faith. God be our constant. Let us step out of character into the unknown, to struggle and love and do what we will. Amen  

(Michael Luenig)