Proper 17B: Beloved

Grass and Sky (DTF301137)OLD TESTAMENT: Song of Solomon 2: 8-13

Read the Old Testament Lectionary passage

This week we are continuing our theme of wisdom by looking at one of the Wisdom Writings. The writing known as the Song of Solomon, or the Hebrew title the Song of Songs, is not the usual fare for Scripture. Essentially, it is a love song between lovers full of what can be characterized as erotic imagery and many are surprised that it is included in the Bible at all. In fact, the language could almost be considered secular, with no mention of God at all. Its inclusion in the canon produced what could be considered a great debate among rabbis in the first century. Some considered it little more than a drinking song. The matter was settled by Rabbi Akiba, the great teacher and mystic, who said, “The whole world is not worth the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel, for all the Scriptures are holy, but the Song of Songs is the Holy of Holies.” (Mishnah Yadayim 3: 5)

Because while modern scholars often view the writing as a celebration of sexual love between a man and a woman, both Jewish and Christian theologians of previous centuries claimed that it described the deep and abiding mutual love between God and Israel or Christ and the Church. Mystics illustrate the power of the book to shape our understanding of our life with God—a deep yearning that knows only the language of intimate communion.

This week’s passage is the only text from the writing that is in the Lectionary. It describes a love marked by fidelity and mutuality. The lovers are faithful to each other. They have eyes for no one else. The love is one that is mutual and equal. (In fact, the woman speaks more than the man! She is in no way passive or submissive.) Commentator Ellen Davis argues that in a reversal of the punishment of Eve in Genesis 3 (“your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you.”), the woman in the song declares “I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me.” She says that there is an abiding mutuality that repairs the rupture and places the lovers (and love) back in the Garden.

Human love and Divine love are not mutually exclusive. They are not unrelated. Human love, at its best, is a reflection of God’s love. So, before my grandmother becomes offended at the implication that there is a part of the Holy Bible that is part of the tradition of erotica, remember that we are dealing with a God in Christ whose love for us is both shocking to our sensibilities and seeking to shock us out of all the ties to the ways of death, including our own prejudices and our own “proper” ways. We are called not only to love God but to be “in love” with God. Implicit in this poem is a sort of pining absence, a longing so deep that the poet cannot be complete without the One that is loved. I think that’s the way we’re called to be. I mean, think about it, we were created in the image of God, made with a shape and a sense into which only God fits. And we struggle. We struggle to find what fits into that shape. And in the absence, in the longing, we finally find that Presence of God, we finally find that One in whom we are destined to fall in love. Seventeenth century mathematician, Blaise Pascal spoke of it as a “God-shaped vacuum” in every human, a hole that only God could fill. It’s like being in love.

Perhaps it is the language that makes us bristle, that makes us squirm a bit in our pews. Perhaps we are even a bit uncomfortable with a God who is so intimate, so a part of us, that falling in love is all we can do. Perhaps we really haven’t thought through what it means to be created in the image of someone else. It means that we have to let ourselves go, that we have to become who God called us to be, that we have to realize that there is something more, that WE are something more, that we are created in the image of our Beloved, that we are created to fall in love with God. It is about completion; it is about wholeness; it is about being who we were created to be. It is about falling in love with God and falling into God.

Our lectionary does not include the rest of the poem. I want to read the next four verses. Here’s how they go:

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch us the foxes, the little foxes, that ruin the vineyards— for our vineyards are in blossom.”   My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.  Until the day breathes and the shadows flee, turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle or a young stag on the cleft mountains.

We know that God transforms.  We know that Jesus Christ redeems.   We know the Holy Spirit walks with us each and every day.  Do we know what that means?  Do we understand that that depicts the most intimate relationship imaginable?  It is more than loving God.  It is rather understanding that we are called to fill ourselves with God, to fill that God-shaped hole in our being with the very Spirit, the very One in which we live and move and have our being.  We are  not just called to love and support and figure God out in this endeavor but rather to fall in love with God.

  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. What is your understanding of the relationship between God and us that is represented here?
  3. What does it mean for you to “fall in love” with God?
  4. Why do we have such a hard time understanding that type of love in terms of our relationship with God?



NEW TESTAMENT: James 1: 17-27

Read the New Testament Lectionary passage

The book of James was once called the “epistle of straw” by Martin Luther. Apparently he did not like it. But the letter offers driving questions concerning the shape of the Christian life. The author is aware that people sometimes limit their understanding of faith to a simple set of claims. For the writer, this is inadequate. Here, the faith that counts is the faith that is active in one’s life, the faith that shapes one’s life and brings one closer to God.

The verses for this week first explore the question, “Who is God?” For the writer, God is identified by what God gives. Every perfect gift comes from God. Every perfect truth is of God. The second question is, “Who are you?” The writer speaks of a lack of connection and correspondence between hearing and doing, between what one should be and what one does. For me, I think the main word here is “be”. We are not just called to listen; we are not just called to do; we are called to “be”.

The passage calls us to look at our lives, to look at ourselves in light of this God of Lights who has shone a light of illumination as to who we are called to be. This is where we see ourselves. This is how God creates us to be. Why do we miss that? This epistle is often seen as a sort of “Christian Wisdom letter”. Faith and works are not opposed to each other, as Luther claimed. They’re not even disconnected. The truly wise will live the way they believe. In the understanding of the writer of James, that is “pure”religion.

As Eugene Peterson puts it, “Wisdom is not primarily knowing the truth, although it certainly includes that; it is skill in living. For what good is a truth if we don’t know how to live it? What good is an intention if we can’t sustain it?” True holiness is not so much an absence of bad things. It is presence of compassion. It is about the way we treat others, the way we treat Creation, the way we live our lives.

You know, the church could do worse than be an “inner beauty” shop–a place where love is shared and truth is told and the beauty of becoming is the work of the community.  For plain old mirrors are incredibly unreliable witnesses and companions–we can get stuck all by ourselves like Narcissus.  Or like the person in James, we can look in the mirror by ourselves and then rush away and forget not just what we look like but who we are.  For when we look into the mirror by ourselves, we don’t see us.  Not the real me or the real you–who are so much deeper and more interesting and real and eternal than what we can see by ourselves in even the clearest light with the finest silvered glass.  To know and to love the real me and the real you–we need each other–to look into the Christ mirror of human being and say when I see you, I see power.  I see compassion, creativity, bravery, humor, loyalty, endurance, forgiveness, wisdom, abundance.  I see potential.  When I look with you in the mirror of Christ, I see the beauty of our belovedness beyond the telling. When is the last time you looked in a mirror?  Do you remember who you saw?  Do you need someone to look with you?  I do. (From “Looking in the Mirror”, by Rev. Martha Sterne, August 30, 2009, available at, accessed 29 August, 2012)

Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, it no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless on their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. (Eugene Peterson, The Message / Remix”, p. 2206.)



  1. How does this passage speak to you?
  2. Why is it so hard for us to keep “hearing” and “doing” connected?
  3. How do we typically understand truth and what does that say about our faith?
  4. What does this passage say to you about wisdom?
  5. What does this passage say to you about who you are and what you are called to be?

GOSPEL: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Read the Lectionary Gospel passage

This passage gives us a look at how Jesus dealt with the predominant culture in which he lived. The issue of what is clean and unclean and how such uncleanness is passed on, of course has its roots in the Old Testament. The objection was probably not born out of a concern about hygiene but, rather, “following the rules”. The assumption was that if unclean hands touched liquid, the liquid became unclean. So, then, if the liquid touched the food, it would become impure. If the person ate the food, the person became unclean. To guard against this, there were groups that ritually washed hands before a meal.

This was rather an extreme view, even for this time. The writer of Mark implied that this was only an “outward” observance, rather than a mark of true faith. For the writer, this really made no sense at all. The writer of Mark is encouraging readers to rethink the commandments posed in Scripture through the lens of our hearts, the lens of faith. Discerning what practices actually embody God’s will are more often learned from getting things wrong than from getting things right.

Rules and order and doctrine are not bad things. They help us make sense of it all. But when they themselves become the objects of “worship”, the “sacred cows”, then we cease to be who we are called to be. Reverence belongs to God rather than those things that point toward God.


Reverence stands in awe of something—something that dwarfs the self, that allows human beings to sense the full extent of our limits—so that we can begin to see one another more reverently as well.  An irreverent soul who is unable to feel awe in the presence of things higher than the self is also unable to feel respect in the presence of things as it sees as lower than the self…Reverence requires a certain pace.  It requires a willingness to take detours, even side trips, which are not part of the original plan. (Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World:  A Geography of Faith, p. 21, 24.)


So, all these rules and dogmas and liturgy and theology that make up our religion are not our faith journey, but they lead us through it. I think an authentic faith is one that weaves the two together. It is not that they are always evenly distributed, but they are always connected in some way. I guess if I were to put it simply in the context of my own Christian faith tradition, I would say that “religion without spirituality” is practicing the religion about Jesus. It sounds good, but it doesn’t have any depth, no engagement. And “spirituality without religion” has a good possibility of becoming the religion about myself. I think they need to come together—both spiritual religion and religious spirituality. Then one will have the opportunity to practice the religion of Jesus. I think that is the way we get out of ourselves and become one with God in a real and authentic way. (But that’s just my take.)

I think that we all have the responsibility to look at both our religion and our spirituality with a critical eye. We need to see what works and what doesn’t. What is it that brings us closer to God? What is it that provides a vehicle for us to be an instrument to bring others closer to God and to experience God in their lives? It is always a struggle; that, too, is a means of grace. Joan Chittister says that “religion is about transcendence, and spirituality is about finding meaning in the mundane.” (Joan Chittister, In Search of Belief, 8) Maybe that’s the point that Jesus was trying to make.


  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. Are there things that our own society does that it views as religious ritual that are perhaps unnecessary or exclusive?
  3. What does this say about “God’s will” and how that relates to our faith?
  4. What does this say to us about wisdom?



Some Quotes for Further Reflection:


There is only one Love.  (Teresa of Avila, Spanish mystic and Carmelite nun, 16th century)


The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always. (Willa Sibert Cather, American author, 1873-1947)


Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. (G.K. Chesterton, English writer, 1874-1936)





Now I love thee alone. Thee alone do I follow. Thee alone do I seek. Thee alone am I ready to serve. For thou alone hast just dominion. Under thy sway I long to be. Amen.

(Saint Augustine, from An African Prayer Book, 137)


Proper 25A: Legacy

promisedland2528dtf_78232825291OLD TESTAMENT: Deuteronomy 34: 1-12

To read the Old Testament Lectionary passage, click here

We begin this week’s passage with Moses looking out over the horizon toward the Promised Land. It says he was one hundred twenty years old. Now, putting aside the fact that our current calendar and our current way of tabulating age was not in place, I think we at least get the message that Moses was nearing the end of his life. And as he looked out over the land, he reflected on the Divine Promise that had been so much a part of his life.

The Israelites are about to enter the Promised Land. They have wandered for forty years. (We skipped a lot of chapters in the Lectionary!) Most of the original generation is gone. Moses has been their leader; really, the only leader that they’ve ever known. And I’m sure they are getting concerned about who would replace him. How could they go on? But look how Moses responds to their concerns. He knows it’s not about him. (THAT is what is probably the mark of a great leader, when you come to think about it! Think about all of those leaders in our history that were instruments of vision and change but that never experienced that change themselves. They’re called prophets. ) He reminds them of the promise. Look, see there…everything for which we’ve worked, everything toward which we’ve journeyed, everything for which we’ve dreamed…there it is. It was a sort of sermon, a calling to belief, a reminder to the people of who and whose they were. This is Moses’ legacy.

Moses never actually entered the Promised Land. He would die here in Moab and be buried somewhere in this valley. There are some that would think that a shame that Moses would come all this way and then never see his dream to fruition. Maybe that was the whole point. This was Moses’ calling. He was to lead the journey. He was to lead the people into seeing what the Promise held, what the covenant meant in their lives. Moses did not need completion—just faith. Moses was entrusted with the vision to hand off to the people. And just before his death, Moses got something that he probably never dreamed he would even receive—a glimpse, just a glimpse of the Promised Land.

The Israelites mourned his death with the deep and profound grief that one would mourn a family member, a patriarch, one who had led them through so much in their lives, and who had been such an instrumental part in the change that they had experienced. After the period of mourning, they would embrace their new leader, Joshua, the son of Nun, who Moses had hand-picked. The text says that Moses had “laid his hands on Joshua”. It was an anointing of sorts. We Methodists might call it his ordination. “Go now and take thou authority…” Moses would never be forgotten but it was time to move from this place and carry that legacy that he had left them with them into the Promised Land.

We are given glimpses all the time of the Divine Promise. Most of us just spend too much time trying to figure out how to see it all through. When will that Promise, that cherished glimpse of the holy and the sacred be enough? When we will realize that God’s vision transcends us all?

 This saga of exodus and wilderness wandering is well known to us. It shaped our lives, formed our attitudes, made a deep imprint on our feelings. We cannot talk about freedom in the Western world without remembering this event. Promise, hope, and expectancy grew out of that exodus movement and wilderness experience.

The parallel of this wilderness promise to our time is obvious. In a real sense, we must now move through a wilderness as real as the Sinai wastes and ever more threatening. Ours is a perilous journey through the uncharted and unexplored reaches of a new age, a newcoming millennium.

Consider for a moment the wilderness in which we have wandered the past forty years, rebellion against leadership, cold wars and hot wars, natural disasters, ethnic cleansings. Unbridled lawlessness and senseless violence in city, town, and country has produced a jungle where no life is safe and no home secure. In these desert times, the old visions have faded in too many lives and the new vision isn’t clear. We build idols like the golden calf to enshrine some forgotten memory while we forget the God of our fathers and mothers and create new gods to our liking.

How do we state clearly what we believe? What quality will mark the 21st-century Christian life? Where does the church go now? We’ve traveled through the broad, howling desert of the late 20th century and strange to say, like the ancient Hebrews, we stand now on the edge of promise. There lies before us a choice of despair or hope, hypnotic fear or energizing courage.

The 20th century has produced a number of leaders in the likeness of Moses–Ghandi in India, Martin Luther King, Jr., in America, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, among others.

  1. King’s leadership in the non-violent movement for racial equality and human dignity is seen by many as a 20th-century expression which parallels in microcosm that of Moses. In King’s final sermon, “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top,” he said, “God has allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
  2. King, like Moses, was denied the chance to enter a hoped-for promised land of freedom and justice for all. The day following his last sermon on a balcony outside his hotel room the crack of a rifle and an assassin’s bullet tragically ended King’s life and stilled his eloquent voice. But the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr., is not dead. His life and witness will remain forever a testament as one of the greatest of the 20th century.

We have moved through generations of racial tension and conflict, a wilderness of disruption and discord. Yet we stand now at the edge of God’s promise. At the end of the wilderness journey lies the promised land. I pray we shall not turn back into the desert lest we face another generation of terror or aimlessness, of fear and despair.

God invites us to enter a promised land where there is mutual acceptance, peace as a way of life, religion as encounter with a God who loves city and suburbs which move from jungle to neighborhood. Can we now begin to claim God’s promise? (From “Through the Wilderness to Promise”, a sermon by Rev. Dr. William K. Quick, available at, accessed 15 October, 2011.)

  1. What is your response to this passage?
  2. How would you reflect on Moses’ leadership?
  3. How would you reflect on Moses’ faith?
  4. What does this passage say about God?
  5. How does this passage speak to our world today?


 NEW TESTAMENT: 1 Thessalonians 2: 1-8

To read the Lectionary Epistle passage, click here

First Thessalonians is thought by most scholars to be the oldest epistle in the New Testament. So, there’s sort of an underlying question of what exactly it means to be an apostle, to be a member of this Christ community, that seems to be working itself out. These were not easy times. The early Christians were being shunned and mistreated throughout the region. Paul was trying desperately to get them to hold onto their newfound faith even in the face of such fierce opposition. And he was citing his own ministry and the courage that he had had before God. He affirms the people in their ministry as those “approved by God”. It is a way of reminding the people that they are called to be God’s people even in light of the difficulties that this world might bring.

The idea of God “testing our hearts” is probably difficult for many of us. Does that mean that what these first century hearers were enduring and the difficulties that we may have are a “test”? But remember that testing is a theme that we see over and over in the Hebrew tradition. And again, maybe testing is more like a “chemical test”—a mode of change–rather than a math test. It’s not that there is a right or wrong answer, per se. But this is God’s way of building us up, of changing us into the people that we are called to be. I don’t think God sends us suffering—God just helps us journey through it to the promise at the end.

Paul goes on to remind people that he and his followers were not seeking honor or flattery. In other words, contrary to some of the “false preachers” of that day (and ours!), they were not in it for money or fame or status. Rather, Paul uses the image of a compassionate nurse who is caring toward everyone. But toward his or her own children, the nurse’s caring goes even beyond the expected. It is such a deep and profound sense of compassion and tenderness that the nurse is willing to do absolutely anything for that child. It is THAT level of compassion and caring that Paul felt for these new believers. This was not a “right or wrong” answer for which they were being tested. Paul was so called to help them be who God was calling them to be that he was willing to walk through anything with them to see that that happened.

Paul did not just start a Christian community and then leave them to their own devices. He loved them. He wanted to see them become who they were called to be. And as Christians, we are all called to be like that toward each other. This is not an individual “test” or “race” that we are trying to complete. It is the vision of God that we are called to show to all. We are one body—the Body of Christ. We are interconnected at a deeper level than any of us can probably even fathom. We are called to care for one another. But we are also called to encourage one another, to lead one another, and to be with one another through the journey.

The truth is that this life of living and witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a difficult life. We were never promised an easy road. Like Moses, our journey is one that meanders and winds as we strain through perilous mountains and morose valleys, sometimes having to cross even treacherous gulfs. Paul knows this. He has lived it. And he is reminding the believers in Thessalonica of that very thing. Because if we just persevere on the journey, the glimpse of the Promised Land is always in sight.


  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What insights do you have about the notion of God “testing our hearts”?
  3. How are Paul’s words relevant today?
  4. What does this say about the faith community and what, as a community, it is called to be?
  5. How does this passage speak to leadership?


 GOSPEL: Matthew 22: 34-46

This passage comes as part of a long dispute between Jesus and what seems to be everyone else—Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, chief priests, and even the disciples. The question that the lawyer poses to Jesus is, of course, to test him. After all, Jesus was a teacher, a rabbi. He should be able to give the right answer. This was one of the final challenges to his authority. In the context of the Gospel by the writer known as Matthew, this is Jesus’ last encounter with those who saw it as their role to protect the tradition of the first century Jewish religion. After this, the Gospel moves into the judgment of Jesus and then on toward the Passion and Resurrection of Christ. In a way, this was the final test, sort of a pop quiz that they thought would surely trip Jesus up once and for all. (So, is that your FINAL answer?)

The lawyer who stepped forward could be considered the expert on the Torah, the professional theologian and the resident authority on all things of the faith tradition. And his purpose was to test Jesus, to trap him into giving an answer that would finally prove that Jesus was not who he had made himself out to be. For the writer of Matthew, this was a test of the kingdoms pitted against each other—the Kingdom of God against the powers that were in play on earth. The rabbinic tradition had counted a total of 613 commandments in the Torah, the “Law”. And even though it was acceptable for rabbis to give summaries of the Law itself, the view was that each one of these commandments held equally important value. By asking Jesus which law was the greatest, the lawyer was setting a trap. If Jesus singled out any one law above the other, it would be like dismissing the other 612. It would be a violation of the Law of Torah. It would be his final answer, indeed.

But Jesus, in true Jesus fashion has an answer that they were not expecting. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The first commandment that Jesus cites is known in Judaism as the Shema, the central prayer of the Jewish faith. It would be hard to refute. Found in Deuteronomy (6: 4-9), the commandment that Jesus gives is part of what is found in a mezuzah, the holy parchment affixed to the doorframes of Jewish homes. It declares not only the belief in the One and Only God but also calls us to a deep and abiding relationship with God. We are called to love God with our whole heart, a pure and absolute devotion to God as our one and only maker and redeemer. We are called to love God with our souls, to long for a passionate and engaged love for the One who nurtures and sustains us. We are called to love God with our minds, not a blind and uninformed faith but one that questions, and learns, and grows into what God envisions us to be. And we are called to love God with all our strength, every fiber of our being, a full and engaged life lived in the name of Christ our Lord.

But then Jesus comes back and tells us that we “shall love our neighbor as ourself.” In essence, it seems that Jesus was asked for one commandment and responded with two. But the writer of Matthew’s Gospel depicts the second as “like” the first. The Greek word for this does not mean merely similar; it means, rather, that is of equal importance and inseparable from the first. The great command to love God has as its inseparable counterpart the command to love neighbor.   One cannot understand true and abiding love without a loving relationship with God. But one cannot realize that relationship with God without loving one’s brothers and sisters and realizing that we are all children of God. From this standpoint, our mutual and shared humanity becomes part of our relationship with God, as we are swept into the coming of the Kingdom of God for all of Creation. We are called to love our neighbor as deeply as we love ourselves, to meet our neighbor’s needs as readily as we meet our own, and to seek to understand our neighbor’s dreams and passions just as we vie for what we believe. We are called to love our neighbor because we love God. The two commandments are intrinsically intertwined, inescapably linked to one another. They become reflections of each other in true Trinitarian mutual relationship. They are of one essence and being. Our love and compassion for others gives visibility to our love and compassion of God.

So, the point is that Jesus was not giving us two answers. And, contrary to what those learned and educated first century theologians may have wanted or tried to assume, I don’t think it was Jesus’ intention to dismiss the other 611 Laws of Torah. The answer that Jesus gave was what all of Torah was about. The answer that Jesus gave is what we are all about. Love of God and Love of neighbor—that is what the Kingdom of God is and when we get to the point where we understand what it means to live into that full and abiding love, then we will understand what living in God’s Kingdom is about. Edward Markquart calls these two-in-one commandments the hinges of a door. A door cannot work properly with only one hinge, only one range of motion. It takes both—love of God and love of neighbor working together in one continuous and fluid motion to open the door to the Kingdom of God.

After this, Jesus poses them a question. Here you go…if the Messiah is the son of the Psalmist David, then how and why would David call him Lord? No one had an answer. After all, Jesus had already turned them completely on end with the previous dialogue. Maybe there were afraid to speak up and be quashed again. Maybe they were just trying to figure it all out. Or maybe this was the moment when they actually got it. The controversies come to an end. The words stop. And at this point in the Scripture, the drumbeats in Jerusalem begin.


  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What does the “great commandment” mean for you?
  3. How does this speak to our world today?
  4. Why is this so difficult to put these together?



Some Quotes for Further Reflection:


Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. (From “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”, a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 3, 1968. King was assassinated the next day.)


Fools and fanatics are so sure of themselves but wise souls are so full of doubt.(Russell Bertrand)


The rare moment is not the moment when there is something worth looking at, but the moment when we are capable of seeing. (Joseph Wood Krutch)





Thou who art over us,

Thou who art one of us,

Thou who art;

Give me a pure heart, that I may see thee;

A humble heart, that I may hear thee;

A heart of love, that I may serve thee;

A heart of faith, that I may abide in thee. Amen .

(Dag Hammerskjold, 20th cent., UMH # 392)