Baptism of Christ A: From the Water

“Baptism of Jesus” (Bonnell)

OLD TESTAMENT:  Isaiah 42: 1-9

Read the passage from Isaiah

We are used to reading this passage and immediately going to the context of Christ.  In the preceding chapter, though (verses 8-9), the name “servant” refers to the Jacob-Israel-Abraham covenantal relationship with God.  This means that the “servant” is not only the ancestors but also the nations that derived and benefited from that covenantal relationship. (the “nations” to which justice shall be brought forth.).  So, in its original context, the “servant” is thought to be Israel or the prophet as a representative Israelite.

The main purpose of this passage, though, is to draw attention to the One God who is theirs (over and above other “gods”).  This passage is the first of the four “servant songs” from Second Isaiah.  (Remember that Second Isaiah encompasses chapters 40-55 and was probably written at the end of the exile, perhaps about 540 BCE.)  The other “servant songs” are 49:1-6, 50: 4-11, and 52:13-53:12.  These were first isolated in the 19th century as one literary unit.  The thinking was that they were from a hand later than the original author.  But it’s still important to think of them as set within the other writings.

Yahweh presents the servant as his chosen agent.  Gifted with the Spirit, the servant will execute the divine plan for the world and bring forth justice to the nations.  It is interesting to note that God does not openly “delight” in just anything according to the Scripture.  But God delights in the created world, the creation of humans and now, the Servant.  So the whole idea of how the Servant delights God is something that we should consider.  What does it mean to “delight”?

In verse 5, God is identified as Creator and the one who empowers the people.  On this basis, God calls and protects the servant, which has social consequences in the opening of blind eyes and liberating of prisoners.  Verse 8 is an affirmation of the one true God against all the other deities who were being presented to Israel during the Babylonian exile.  At the end of the passage, God announces that what was promised before has already happened and now new things are being promised.  In essence, the “servant” introduces a new way of looking at God and our relationship with God.  The traditional image of God as a “warrior” becomes the image of God as one who is birthing something new.

Now remember that the people to whom this was directed had never actually seen the Judean Promised Land.  They had heard about it from their grandparents and parents but they themselves had spent a lifetime living in what was essentially a sort of Judean ghetto in the midst of Babylon.  They were used to living within the worship of the Babylonian god Marduk and it seemed more and more that YHWH had been defeated and was long gone.  So, the idea of God bringing comfort was indeed something new.  It was always good to remember the past and to bask in it, but God is calling us to step forward into newness.

These servant songs, and probably this one in particular, have had much to do with the shaping of our own development of who we as Christians think Jesus Christ is.  Remember that they were not necessarily written with the intent of prophesying the birth of Christ, although we have sort of “usurped” them with that meaning.  But the idea of one who brings comfort and justice and a new way of being is exactly what we got.  Whoever the servant is, God uses this one to bring justice and righteousness and peace and newness into a hurting world.


  1. What comes to mind for you in reading this passage?
  2. What does the use of the term “servant” mean for us?
  3. What does it mean for us that the “servant” delights God?
  4. If we look upon the “servant” as Israel and Israel’s ancestors, what does that mean for us?
  5. How does this passage speak to us today?
  6. What does this vision of a just world mean for us today?



NEW TESTAMENT:  Acts 10: 34-43

Read the passage from Acts

Even though it is sparsely used in the weekly lectionary readings, the writing known to us as The Acts of the Apostles is important for us.  It began as a written conversation between a storyteller (Luke) and his story’s first reader (Theophilus).  But it is essentially an anonymous book.  The traditions assert that the evangelist Luke wrote both the Third Gospel and Acts, but that is not definitely known.  But the fact that we are not given definitive information as to who the author was (or even exactly when the work was written) indicates that the focus is (and should be) on the story rather than the writer’s identity.

Theophilus, the first reader of Acts, is otherwise unknown to us.  Evidently, Theophilus is a new, although socially prominent, believer.  His name, in Greek, means “dear to God”, leading some to speculate that the name is the writer’s clever metaphor for every new Christian seeking theological instruction.  (Not unlike the use of the “servant” as a metaphor for all of God’s followers.)

Acts was apparently written with several focuses in mind:  (1) To bring unity and reconciliation to faith communities, (2) To challenge idolatry and other theological crises, (3) To underscore the authority and importance of faith traditions for the future of the church, (4) To guide the church in its evangelistic mission. (Go make of all disciples.), and, probably most importantly, (5) To deepen the faith of new believers.  The passage that we read begins with the realization that the mission of God is inclusive.  But the Biblical principle of divine impartiality comes with a critical aspect:  Although God does not discriminate by ethnic group or nationality, God does indeed single out those “in every nation…who hear him and do what is right.”

The passage recounts the message of God’s perfect peace as coming first to Israel and is then spread through Judea and then throughout the world.  Essentially, God is Lord over all.  Peter’s witness to the resurrected Jesus presumes a special relationship with him and a privileged knowledge of him, which obligates him “to testify”.  Those believers who count themselves among God’s “elect” are often including the notion that God has not chosen anyone else who disagrees with their beliefs and their customs.  Yet what became crystal clear to Peter is that to do so is not our prerogative.  It is God alone who judges the living and the dead.  One of the most surprising features of Acts is the diversity of people God calls to be included among God’s people.  God has no favorites.  God delights in what is right and just.  Essentially, it is not about us.  Rev. Rev. Bill Long said that “we miss more than half of the message of the resurrection of Christ if we view it as a story of our own personal salvation.”  Perhaps our spiritual walk is not so much about doing what we think God wants us to do as it is about being awakened to the way God is leading us through our life.


  1. What does this passage mean for you?
  2. This seems to debuke the idea of God choosing a specific group of people. What does that mean for you?
  3. What does it mean to think of the Gospel as something more than a personal salvation story?



GOSPEL:  Matthew 3: 13-17

Read the Gospel passage

This passage is pretty interesting the way it begins.  Think about it…we’ve heard the birth story.  We’ve lived with mangers and shepherds and magi for the last several weeks now.  But then, the story seems to stop, suspended for thirty years while Jesus grew and matured (with the exception of the eleven-verse glimpse that Luke gives us with the story of a twelve-year old Jesus going into the temple.)  And then…look at the way it begins.  Then…as if now was the time.  As if now Jesus is finally ready.  As if, finally, the world has room.  Then…

Thirty years was the traditional time for a rabbi to wait to commit himself to God.  Jesus would have been caring for his mother, making a living, and preparing himself for ministry.  I don’t really think that, contrary to what some may say, Jesus was confused about these roles.  He was always serving God.  But now…then…the time had come.  And as eternity dawns, Jesus is ready to begin.  And so he goes to John at the Jordan to be baptized and for a very short amount of time was then actually a disciple, a follower, of John’s.  Then…Jesus is ready to begin.  Eternity dawns.

John was used to baptizing people as a sort of ritual cleansing of those who had repented, who had turned their lives around. Cleansing was usual throughout the Old Testament. (“Create in me a clean heart”…”Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity.”)  But that was a action of John’s.  So you can understand why he was so uncomfortable.  But Jesus reassures him.  And as Jesus is baptized, the action shifts.  Then…the heavens open up and spill into the earth and the Spirit emerges.  And we hear what all of Creation has strained to hear:  “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  The work has begun.

In her book, Calling: A Song for the Baptized, Caroline Westerhoff says that “at baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s body, infused with Christ’s character, and empowered to be Christ’s presence in the world.  Ministry is not something in particular that we do.  It is what we are about in everything we do.”  In other words, our own Baptism sweeps us into that dawn that Jesus’ baptism began.  Westerhoff also refers to our baptism as our “ordination” to ministry.

When God calls, people respond in a variety of ways.  Some pursue ordination and others put pillows over their heads, but the vast majority seek to answer God by changing how they live their more or less ordinary lives.  It can be a frustrating experience, because deciding what is called for means nothing less than deciding what it means to be a Christian in a post-Christian world.  Is it a matter of changing who you are—becoming a kinder, more spiritual person?  Or is it a matter of changing what you do—looking for a new job, becoming more involved at church, or witnessing to the neighbors?  What does God want from us, and how can we comply? (Barbara Brown Taylor, in The Preaching Life, p. 26.)

This story of Jesus’ Baptism calls us to remember our own.  It, too, is our beginning as the gift of God’s grace washes away those things that impede our relationship with God and gives us new birth, new life.  It is our own beginning, as we are named “Christian”, begin our own journey toward God, and become who God intends us to be.  And for each of us, whether or not we noticed it, the heavens opened up and the Spirit emerged.  And we, too, were conferred with a title.  “This is my child, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

“Remember your Baptism”.  Martin Luther said that “A truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism once begun and ever to be continued.”  It is remembering every single day who we are, whose we are, and how beloved we are.  God has made something new.  But we have to be willing to let go of the old.  Nelle Morton said that “you are destined to fly, but that cocoon has got to go.”  So, let go.  Then…the journey begins.  You are part of something beyond yourself, beyond what you know, and beyond what you can remember.  Rainer Maria Rilke once said that “the future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.”  And from the water, our future happens and we are made into something new, and once and for all, we see that we are truly a beloved son or daughter of God, with whom God is well pleased.  From the water, we become who we were meant to be.



  1. What meaning does this passage hold for you?
  2. What meaning does this bring to the remembrance of your own baptism?
  3. What does the notion of your being “ordained” to ministry mean for you?
  4. In what ways do we as a community fall short of realizing that?



Some Quotes for Further Reflection:

The desire to find God and to see God and to love God is the one thing that matters. (Thomas Merton)

Later, after the angels, after the stable, after the Child, they went back…as we always must, back to the world that doesn’t understand our talk of angels and stars and especially not the Child.  We go back complaining that it doesn’t’ last.  They went back singing praises to God!  We do have to go back, but we can still sing the alleluias!  (From “Later”, in Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems, 86)

What we are looking for on earth and in earth and in our lives is the process that can unlock for us the mystery of meaningfulness in our daily lives.  It has been the best-kept secret down through the ages because it is so simple.  Truly, the last place it would ever occur to most of us to find the sacred would be in the commonplace of our everyday lives and all about us in nature and in simple things.   (Alice O. Howell, The Dove in the Stone)





Think about it…Jesus was still wet with water after John had baptized him when he stood to enter his ministry in full submission to God.  As he stood in the Jordan and the heavens spilled into the earth, all of humanity stood with him.  We now stand, wet with those same waters, as we, too, are called into ministry in the name of Christ.  As we emerge, we feel a cool refreshing breeze of new life.  Breathe in.  It will be with you always.  Then…it is up to you to finish the story.  Then…the journey begins.  So remember who and whose you are.  Remember your baptism and be thankful for it is who you are.


“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so for now, for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.”  Then he consented.  And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

More than once today I have thrown down my notebook, my pen, and finally myself onto this bed.  Jordan springs from either eye, and it may look like I am weeping from this wrestling, but really I am standing at the water, looking for the one who will pull me under and holler out my name. (“Jordan”, in In Wisdom’s Path, by Jan Richardson, 36

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)