God is with us

And they shall name him Emmanuel, which means, “God is with us.”

In the northern hemisphere the days are short and the light is dwindling. In this part of the northern hemisphere, it is cold, as well as, dwindling light. Advent is dark and the hope of those 4 candles ready to be lit seems so small. 4 small lights flickering in the darkness. 4 small lights telling us that there is a light shining in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.

Our candles on Payne Ave are battery operated. They sit on a piece of blue, glittery felt, next to a box of coffee cups and creamer. Coffee cups waiting to be filled from the giant pot next to the box. The sidewalk is our chancel area. It is our nave. It is our fellowship hall. It is our sacristy. It is all things to us.

On our chancel sit boxes of hats and mittens. There are quilts made by good lutheran ladies in church basements all over the Twin Cities. There are piles of snow and ice. The noise of the street covers our voices as we pray and read scripture together.

And, God is with us.

God is with us as we express our solidarity with our brothers and sisters who sleep outside year round. God is with us as we wonder at the neighbors who stop to eat with us. God is with us as we give someone their first communion. He asks, “What is this?” We say, “It is God’s promise to love you.” He says, “I want that.”

God is with Mary as she awaits a surprise baby. God is with Joseph as he wonders at becoming a step father. God is at work in this family blending them together. God is at work showing us that traditional relationships aren’t always where God shows up.

And sometimes, it feels like the darkness is overcoming. We read of the cease fire in Aleppo that is not an actual cease fire. We read of increased hate crimes in this time between presidents. We read of gun violence in our neighborhoods. We wonder if God is with us.

And then, we light the candles. We light 1, and then 2, and then 3, and then the 4th. A tangible reminder that the light is coming. A reminder that we didn’t start without light. There is always some light. The darkness never fully overcomes. God is with us and God is in the mess that is our world. God chose a messy family to be born into. God does not leave us in the dark. God carries us through the dark days to days of justice and righteousness. God is with us. God is with you.

Keep hope alive!

Advertisements

The Good Samaritan in Minnesota

This is the sermon that I preached in some form on both Thursday, July 7, 2016 and Sunday, July 10, 2016.

Luke 10:25-37

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “what is written in the law? What do you read there?” The Lawyer answered, “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him, “you have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

But wanting to look smart, the lawyer asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied:

A man was going from St Paul to Falcon Heights. His car had a taillight out, so the authorities pulled him over. They threatened him and shot him. They left him for dead. Now, there was back up that came to the scene. When these authorities got there, they asked the weeping woman what had happened. They avoided the man left for dead.

An unexpected neighbor showed up. He saw the suffering of this little family. And his reaction was a visceral, gut wrenching response. He brought drinks and food to the weeping woman. He brought comfort to the frightened child. He offered to stay with them as they grieved.

Usually we don’t know the name of the man left to the side of the road. Luke doesn’t give us a name. Only that this man has been severely beaten and taken advantage of. He was treated as less than human. We don’t even know the names of the bystanders. We only know that two of them had immense power in the Jewish community. A priest and a levite. They were authority figures. They could have made a difference.

The samaritan, the samaritan is unnamed. Only identified by ethnicity. Only identified as the person outside of community. the one not expected to show up.

This portion of the story feels real. Doesn’t it? I read this on Thursday on the street. I knew leading up to the moment of preaching that it felt real. As I read this, I was overcome by the spirit. I was overcome by the power of God’s words on the street. And I wept as I read the gospel. I wept as the Spirit showed me Philando Castile left for dead in Jesus’ story. I still can hardly take in the magnitude of God’s words in this world.

Too often on the streets of St Paul, the stories found in scripture feel real. The hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness is real.

Before Wednesday, I had thought the key to this story from Jesus was verse 27. “The lawyer answered, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’”

Your neighbor as yourself.

We hate ourselves, don’t we?

We loathe ourselves.

We can’t remember that we have been called beloved in this world and that so have our brothers and sisters.

At times, I am asked by well meaning people, “don’t you just want to change folks?” you see, I spend my days with folks who struggle in this world. Folks who have been left for dead in so many ways. The death of poverty, addiction, racism, mental illness, sexism. I show up, not to bring change to those left for dead, but to bring the good news of life in Christ.

This is the story that I tell.

Mark 1:9-11

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Mark 9:2-7

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!’

Dearly beloved, we are not here to change the most vulnerable among us. We are called to listen to God when God calls out that we are baptized into the life of Christ and called to live as beloved.

You are called beloved and nothing can change that. Philando was and is called beloved of God. Alton was and is called, beloved of God.  Lorne, Michael, Patrick, Brent and Michael, were and are called beloved of God. Nothing can ever take that reality away.

Nothing.

Not poverty, not addiction, not racism, not mental illness, not sexism. None of this can take away the reality of God’s love.

But, it feels like it can.

Because, we don’t listen. We don’t listen to God calling down at every baptism at every birth announcing the joyful arrival of a new part of the body of Christ. We don’t listen to God saying I am so incredibly delighted in this creation. We don’t listen when the lawyer recites from memory his confirmation verse, “ ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’”

We don’t listen when Jesus says, go and do this. Go, love the people. Love them as you love yourself. Go, value their lives as you value your own. For the samaritan’s life matters. The black life matters, the queer life matters, the latino life matters.

For, your life matters.

Dearly beloved, we are called to resist the urge to cross the street when our guts are moved by the deep pain and suffering we see. We are called out into this world to wade into the suffering and remember that we are called beloved and so is our neighbor. We are called to BELIEVE that we are beloved and so is our neighbor.

Go. Go out into this world and proclaim the belovedness of each and every person you meet. Go out and remind each other to listen to those words of transfiguration. The words that makes us shine with God’s love in this world. You are beloved. Go. Go and proclaim this.

Amen.

Visitors

Happy Epiphany!

I’m not sure what made this year’s advent, christmas, and epiphany readings feel different, but they do. Of course, that is the beauty of God’s word. It meets us in new ways as we grow and mature.

For whatever reason, all I can imagine is Mary receiving visitors having just given birth. Perhaps I am finally far enough from the postpartum experience that  I can imagine the experience of Mary.

If you read the mommy blogs, there are often lists of the “top ten things not to do when visiting a new mom.” I am pretty sure the three wisemen totally broke the rules.

The first 3 months postpartum have been referred to as the “4th trimester.” It is a time in which the baby is not really ready to be on the outside, but no longer can fit on the inside. Baby believes it is still attached to mom and it feels like it. For the new mother, it is a time of hormone regulation, eyes only for the child and physical recovery. No one tells you that because your blood volume increases during pregnancy that all the fluid has to go someplace. You sweat, you bleed, you leak milk, you cry.

I imagine Mary in the very beginning of this ‘4th trimester.’ She is learning how to nurse her baby. She is learning what keeps baby calm. She is learning what makes him cry. She is learning when he likes to sleep. She is learning how to trust her skills as a mother. She is learning how to be a partner to Joseph while also being a mother.

And then these crazy looking guys from a far away place come with gifts. Now, it is possible that the visit happened much later than those first days postpartum, but I have always imagined it as being shortly after birth.

These men came with gifts. Frankincense, gold, and Myrrh. Myrrh was an oil utilized at death. Can you imagine, a new mother receiving embalming fluid as she snuggles her new born in the hospital room? I am pretty sure I would have thrown those visitors out of my room. No thanks.

Mary has trusted God through out pregnancy and trusts through out this strange visit.

And then I wonder:

Did the wisemen tell Mary that King Herod wanted her son dead? Did she know so soon that her child was to die? Did she know how quickly she would be fleeing for safety?

There is an organization that is donating baby carriers to refugee families from Syria as they arrive in Europe. The families will walk miles and stand in many lines. It is a way to provide a small gift that will make life just a bit easier.

There was a story of a family that was approached. They were clearly carrying a young baby. It became clear that the baby was less than a week old. They had fled their home and given birth while traveling to safety. During the precious new born time, they were looking for new life. During this time they were dependent on so many others for their safety.

The family was approached with a gift. The wisemen found them in their inn.

All of this is hard. The deep desire of a parent to provide safety for a child. The deep desire for relationship with God. And in the midst of all the pain and suffering, God came as a tiny baby. This is the incarnation, God became flesh and dwelt among us.

But, you know, I find Mary more convincing of God incarnate. She bled, sweated, leaked, and cried. She was hormonal and new to mothering. She was raw and vulnerable as only a new mother can be. God showed up. God showed up for her to nurture God in all God’s vulnerability.

I can only imagine Mary as a messy, postpartum mama. It gives me courage that God knows what it means to be human. God was cuddled, nursed, sung to, and cried over by a human mother.

God came to a mama who would need to flee to safety. God came to a mama who would receive strange visitors. God came to a mama who was poor.

God came and sat in her lap. That is the incarnation.

God comes to you in your mess too.

Keep hope alive!

Sermon from December 6, 2015

 

The world has been a messy place and I have spent time wondering about this. Here is a sermon preached at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Shoreview, MN. It sums up much of what I have pondered.

Luke 3:1-6

Malachi 3:1-4

Phil 1:3-11

Advent 2

Year C

Grace to you and Peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

In the 7th year of the reign of President Obama, when Mark Dayton was the governor of Minnesota and Betsy Hodges the mayor of Minneapolis and Chris Coleman the mayor of St Paul, and during the service of Bishop Elizabeth Eaton, the word of God came to the people in the wilderness.

I was struck when reading the texts appointed for this week at the placement of the story of Jesus in the midst of all the problems of the empire. And struck again, by how familiar it sounded.

I visited the folks down at the 4th precinct in North Minneapolis the day after the shooting by the white supremacists. I wasn’t sure what I would find, but felt obligated by the promises I made at my ordination to show up. I promised to show up and be with God’s people. I went with my friend and colleague from Humble Walk, another little mission start. Always nice to have a protest buddy.

When we arrived, we were offered food almost immediately. And then again, offered food. We were offered food and water and warmth near the fires. The hospitality and generosity was striking. As was the anger. We were welcomed warmly in and invited to feast with our brothers and sisters on the Northside.

It is a hope filled thing to show up. We stop showing up when we lose all hope. When we  stop trusting in the promises of God that we are beloved, we stay home.

And the voice of one in the wilderness cries out “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth and all the flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

And the voices of God’s people in the wilderness, hungering and thirsting for justice will cry out. They will cry out and remind all people that the empire is not God’s final word.

Here what Malachi says, “ 1 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.”

“He will purify the descendants of levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the lord in righteousness.”

Do you remember who the levites were?

The priests. The priests in a culture where they were also the civil law. They were the ones determining guilt and who was a part of the community and who was not.

“And they will be refined until they present offerings to the lord in righteousness.”

The leaders will be refined. The people cry out and the power that belongs to earth will be called into right relationship with God. They will be called into the beloved community, but it will be painful.

The word of God is hard to hear. I certainly don’t want to hear it. Sometimes, I get up the courage to trust the word and trust that God’s way is straight, despite my wanderings. I don’t like listening to the one in the wilderness. And then, I do.

I wandered a bit, before Shobi’s Table and even once I was called to Shobi’s Table. And then, the spirit began to move and I finally paid attention. I heard that the people were struggling with food and transportation.  I heard that the people were struggling to find good work and good community. I heard God’s people hungering for something better, something different.

So, I trusted. I followed the path that felt like it was in the wilderness. I followed it and tried to get off the path several times. I followed the voice. And here is what happened.

We have a food truck church. We gather as God’s people on Thursday mornings and cook calzones. Beautiful dough, filled with yummy ingredients. All made with the love of God. We bring that meal to the street on the East Side of St Paul. We gather with our neighbors and eat lunch. We gather our neighbors together to worship God on the street. We read our scriptures, say our prayers and share that most holy of meals.

And do you know, it is so good.

It is a bit like what I found on the north side.

People who are struggling, but desperately want to be in community. People who are angry about the system, but want to experience kindness and generosity. People who want the opportunity to be loved and to love and don’t always have a way to do it.

We see mostly the same people each week. And what I find are people hungry to be known. Hungry to be seen as beloved of the creator. What I saw at the 4th precinct were people demanding to be known as beloved. People who remembered their beloved-ness and demanded that people in power remember this too.

John came proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism calls us into God’s beloved community. Baptism calls us into accountability to one another. Baptism brings us to the powers and tells them they don’t own us. Baptism calls us to remember daily that we belong to God. Baptism calls us into a forgiven life. We can get sidetracked into the crooked paths, we can find the wilderness daunting and still, God calls us forgiven.

Hear these words of Luke chapter one:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. 78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

“The oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.”

This, dearly beloved is the promise. We do not need to fear. God is calling us out of death into new life. God is calling us into beloved community. God is calling us into our baptismal promise that the paths will be made straight and all shall see the salvation of God. And all God’s people said Amen.

Grace and Peace

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Paul starts his letters in this way. I take a nod from him, like so many preachers, and use these words to open a sermon. It sets the stage for the words of Good News.

Grace and peace.

I have been pretty quiet on the events that have occurred recently. So much has been written, I’m not sure I would add much to the discussion.

I will tell you what I believe.

I believe in grace and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that this grace and peace can only be received in community. I believe that we can only change what happens in our communities through the everyday interactions we have with one another.

We didn’t get to our current location on Payne Ave until a few months into the food truck church adventure. It was about June when we settled on that spot.

Over the first weeks and months, people didn’t smile. They didn’t really talk to us much. This is understandable. Too often, there are strings attached to meals and community on the street. Trust takes time to be earned.

It also takes time to earn trust when you are a white woman in a clergy shirt in an area that has a large African American population.

And then, over time, something happens.

“Pastor! I’m so glad to see you, God is so good and please pray with me.”

“Pastor! My son is going to jail, please, pray with me.”

“Pastor! I’m going to the doctor today, please pray with me.”

And then, this moment,

“Hey, pastor, I saw you walking down the street. I wanted to say “hi”, but I wasn’t sure if I should.”

“You can always say “hi” to me! I would be happy to see you!”

“Really? Thank you.”

Thank you.

Let me tell you, I don’t think the thank you was simply for the food. It was a thank you for relationship.
And let me tell you this, relationships are work. It takes time and energy to get to know one another. It takes time and energy to remember that God is at work in each person we meet. And it takes time and energy to respond in grace and peace.
But the pay off is this: the smiles we see each Thursday weren’t there the first weeks we parked the truck. They were earned over time as we consistently and lovingly showed up.

I believe the horrible things change when we show up in love and we consistently show up.

You see, Jesus showed up. Alot. He was always showing up in places that needed some love. Sometimes it was tough love, but he showed up. And, he called us out and said, ‘you need to show up, too.’

Our job is to respond to God’s call to show up and live in love. Our job is to do the work of relationships with one another.

This is what I believe. This is what being on the street for a year has taught me. Showing up is much of the work. And the grace and peace comes when we show up.

Keep hope alive, dearly beloved!

Baltimore

I’m not sure that I can add anything particularly insightful or new to the conversation taking place right now.

Baltimore is suffering.

But Baltimore and many other places have been suffering for a long time.

I am called to speak hope into suffering.
It is not a hope that denies pain and suffering. It is the hope that recognizes how bad this is, but trusts that a new reality is possible and coming.

The lectionary reading for this coming Sunday is John 15:1-8.
To refresh your memory:

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

I am reading:Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John, by Jean Vanier. He started the L’arche communities in France. Communities in which people of all abilities were given opportunities for meaningful work and meaningful relationships.

He writes:

Jesus tells us that he is the Vine;
he is not separate from the Vine.
He is not separated from the people of God, but is part of them,
one with them.
Now that the Word has become flesh, he is one of us and we are one with him.
We are of the same human race.
he is the first-born of creation.
All life flows from him and through him
and then through us, the little braces, to bear fruit,
just as the sap runs through the vine,
through the braces to produce grapes.

Imagine what it would be like if we lived like we believed this? What would happen if we believed that we are a part of the vine? We are a part of God’s vine. We are God’s. What would happen if we believed that our neighbors were also a part of God’s vine? They are a part of God’s vine too. They are God’s.

I don’t pretend that this is easy.
I do know that we are called to be in relationship with God and through that relationship with one another.

The second reading is from 1 John 4:7-21.

7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

I choose to believe this radical idea that I must love my brothers and sisters in order to love God. It is so simple. It is so hard.

I believe that change can only come through love.
And hear me when I say this:
Love does not mean condoning negative behaviors. It does not mean that there are no consequences for damaged relationships. It does not mean we aren’t angry about injustice. It does not mean we ignore violence against the most vulnerable.
Trust me when I say it isn’t those things. There is a biblical narrative to back that up. I will spare you the citations.

Acting in love is trusting God’s presence in our midst.
I am going to do my best to act out of love. I hope you will join me.

Keep hope in God’s abiding love alive!

One year done, hopefully more to go.

A year.
Last week was the liturgical one year anniversary (Maundy Thursday) of Shobi’s Table the food truck. Next week is the calendrical one year anniversary of Shobi’s Table the food truck.

The lead up to those first weeks on the street were petrifying. I spent evenings at home wondering with my family if I was insane and if I could run away from the holy spirit. I was told emphatically, that no, I could not.

I should have known that all good things start with snow in April. I was married in April and it snowed. We launched a food truck in April and it snowed. All good things need a little dusting of snow.

In this year, we have given nearly 4000 meals away on the street. It doesn’t feel like it, but we have between 50-100 people each week visit us. Most are the same people each week. We have learned who are neighbors are and what is going on in their lives. We have prayed with women, men and children. We have worshipped on the streets regularly. We have given the Lord’s Supper to folks who haven’t been to Jesus’ table in decades. We have made friends with lutherans (and a few episcopalians and presbyterians) throughout our synod.

It has been a full and good year.

We follow the revised common lectionary at Shobi’s Table. There is a three year rotation and we started with the rotation that uses the gospel of Matthew as its anchor. I wasn’t feeling the legality of Matthew near the end of the cycle in November. I was ready for the new church year to begin in Advent.

We began reading in the gospel of Mark for this lectionary cycle in Advent. I had not intended to do one of those fancy sermon series based on a topic, but it appears God was calling us into a long term conversation about being beloved.

Mark’s gospel is short and to the point. It is an intense reading and Jesus’ ministry is about immediate action. Immediately, Jesus is baptized. There is no recounting of genealogy or fancy story of Mary and Joseph. Jesus is baptized. As Jesus is baptized, the spirit descends and a voice calls out, “you are my beloved son, I am pleased with you.” Immediately, Jesus heads into the wilderness and then immediately after that, he heads off to do ministry.

We learn about Jesus’ ministry through out the next several chapters. In chapter 9, we get the weird event referred to as the “Transfiguration of Jesus”. Jesus glows on a mountaintop with Elijah and Moses. As he glows, a voice calls out, “this is my beloved son, listen to him!”

Here is where the sermon series begins.

I finally connected the dots between the first chapter of Mark and the ninth chapter of Mark.
I realized two things.
When we are baptized, we are baptized into the death and life of Christ. If we are called into this baptism, then we also hear at our baptism, “this is my beloved child, I am pleased with them.”
And, when Jesus is transfigured, we hear again, the call of belovedness, but we also hear a command. We are commanded to listen to this beloved son of God.

We are commanded to listen.
And this is how we have the preaching theme for Shobi’s Table.

Here is a taste of it:
Dearly beloved of God, listen to Jesus! He has called you by name from the tomb. He has called you and said you are good enough. He has called and asked you to trust in the belovedness of your baptism.

Dearly beloved, listen!

Listen and you will hear the call to life. You will hear the call to community. You will hear the call to wholeness.

At Shobi’s Table, we don’t try to change people. We invite people to listen. Listen to the voice of God naming and claiming God’s people. Listen to the voice calling for every beloved child’s transfiguration. For baptism is transfiguring. You, too, can get your sparkle on and have a mountaintop experience. All you have to do, is listen and trust that God has named and claimed you.

Keep hope alive and listen!