Monday, June 29, 2015

Waiting for the Word

The Rev. Joshua Rodriguez-Hobbs
Proper 8, Year B
Mark 5:21-43
Psalm 130

My soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning; *
      more than watchmen for the morning.

When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, there was a great crowd waiting for him. And in that crowd were Jairus, the synagogue official with the sick twelve-year-old daughter, and an unnamed woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. We don’t know who else was waiting for Jesus, but Mark tells us those two were waiting. I wonder what that waiting was like? I wonder if Jairus and the unnamed sick woman thought of Psalm 130 while they waited?

Psalm 130 is a waiting psalm, after all.

Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice;
      let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
If you, Lord, were to note what is done amiss,
      O Lord, who could stand?
For there is forgiveness with you;
      therefore you shall be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits for him;
      in his word is my hope.

Those are the words of someone who has waited for a word from the Lord. Have you ever done that? Waited for a word from the Lord, I mean. I have. Have you? I was waiting for a word from the Lord a little over three years ago, when I got on a plane in Hartford headed to Baltimore, a city that I only knew from changing planes in BWI. I was coming here for a final interview with Arianne and to meet with some of you for the first time. At that time, I had no idea what the Lord’s word was going to be, whether I was going to be called as your curate or not, but I knew that I was waiting for it. Before the weekend was over, I was longing for it, in fact, more than watchmen for the morning. More than watchmen for the morning. Have you ever been in a situation like that, waiting for a word from the Lord?

As the lectionary would have it, these are the exact texts I was supposed to preach on my first Sunday here. I say supposed to because, if you’ll remember, my first Sunday at Good Shepherd wasn’t a typical Sunday. Literally as I was finishing typing my sermon, most of us lost power in the derecho that hit Baltimore at the end of June 2012. On Saturday, the church didn’t have power, and Arianne warned me that I needed to be ready to preach something short, off the cuff, in case we ended up worshipping outside, which we did. I looked that that unpreached sermon this past week, and I’m glad I never preached it. It was a decent sermon, the sort of earnest thing that you preach when you’re fresh out of seminary. It was all about explaining why some people are healed when others aren’t. Why Jesus heals the unnamed woman and Jairus’ daughter but doesn’t always heal those loved ones for whom we pray. But the truth is, I can’t explain that. Coming back to this gospel text, three years later, I’m much less confident in my ability to explain everything neatly to you. The truth is that I can’t. Those words from God that we all wait for aren’t always easy to understand, are they? Today, I’m much less concerned with explaining Jesus to you than I am with you meeting him.

Because that’s what Jairus, his daughter, and the unnamed woman do. They meet Jesus. They come to know him personally, and in knowing him, they find the plenteous redemption and mercy that they need. That I need. That we all need. What I need, what we all need, isn’t an explanation; it’s a relationship. And relationships, as wonderful as they are, change us. That’s, I think, why there’s that odd line in our Psalm this morning: For there is forgiveness with you; therefore you shall be feared. Forgiveness is a scary thing. It makes us vulnerable, both when we forgive and when we are forgiven. Both require us to let go of control. Both change us. Forgiveness goes hand in hand with repentance, and repentance means changing.

But that’s what Jesus did; he changed people. He changed Jairus, his daughter, and the unnamed woman in our reading this morning. They were changed for the better, but I wonder if that change cost them anything? It cost the unnamed woman less than the doctors had, at least monetarily, but I wonder if there were other costs? Jesus certainly changed Peter and the other disciples, and there were costs. The fearful Peter of the Gospels because the fearless leader in the Acts of the Apostles, and Peter died a martyr’s death. Those words we are waiting on from the Lord can be immensely comforting, but they can also be, at the very same time, immensely threatening.

But they occur within a conversation, within a relationship, within our Psalm’s promise that with the Lord there is mercy, plenteous redemption, and forgiveness of sins. That’s why we wait for them so eagerly.

We need to meet Jesus this morning. I need to meet Jesus this morning. I don’t know what word you’re waiting on from the Lord this morning. I don’t know what the answer will be. But I know for me, singing helps. So let’s step out on a limb this morning and end in song:

Out of the deep I call
unto thee, O Lord.
Consider well my plea,
and my longing soul.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Giants Underneath the Deep Waters

1 Samuel 17: 32-49; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

As Fred Craddock once said in a sermon about John the Baptist, what made John the Baptist intriguing was that his preaching brought people right into the presence of God which, as Craddock put it, “Is what everybody wants, and what nobody wants.”1

We have a very familiar story in 1 Samuel this morning - David and Goliath story – the classic underdog tale.  But at its essence it’s a story about the power and presence of God – God that everybody wants and nobody wants…

Two Sundays ago, we started this story.  You’ll remember, it started when the elders of Israel came to Samuel – who was their priest and prophet, ordained by God to lead them – and said – we don’t want you anymore.  You’re old.  We don’t like your sons.  This trying to follow the ways of God stuff is too hard – and besides – it’s odd, it’s not how everyone else does it.  We want a king – like everyone else!  We don’t want to be chosen, figuring out for ourselves how God’s ways translate into the nitty gritty of living – we just want to be told what to do.

Poor Samuel,he brought this to God feeling rejected and feeling like a failure.  But God – infinitely patient, merciful and present God said to him – it’s not you Samuel – it’s me.  They are rejecting my ways – they are rejecting me as God.  They want me, but only when I do what they want.  They, themselves, don’t want to change.  So, let’s give them what they want – but be sure to let them know what they’ll get.  Kings are all about power – so they can expect to be exploited and enslaved.  But if they’d rather be in that type of relationship – as opposed to relationships of mutuality and self-awareness grounded in love – then by all means – let’s let them have it.

So Samuel anoints Saul as king – and that’s an interesting story we don’t have time for.  But Saul doesn’t do too well.  Perhaps he couldn’t handle the pressure.  And since you can never please all the people, Saul also had his detractors.  And eventually – Samuel says – and God says – that was a mistake, ok you’re not king anymore – which Saul doesn’t accept readily.

So last week we heard how God sends Samuel to Jesse the Bethlehemite saying there is a king among his sons.  And 7 of Jesse’s sons stand before Samuel – but none of them are it.  Samuel hears God say,   Do not look on the boy’s appearance or the height of his stature – that’s not how God makes decisions – for God doesn’t see as mortals see – the Lord looks on the heart.

And finally the dad says – well there is one more kid out back – but he’s just the shepherd, you don’t want him.  Go get him – Samuel says – and of course, that’s David.

So here we are on the battlefield.  Surrounded by a line of the Israelites over there – and a line of the fierce Philistines over there.  And Saul, who as I mentioned is struggling to let go of power says – you can’t do this David!  You’re a shepherd not a warrior.  But, I guess if you’re gonna try, wear this armor and helmut and carry this sword and spear.  And David’s like, no – I don’t need that!  And besides I can’t even walk in this stuff.

God’s given me my talents and my abilities and I have complete trust in God’s help.  The point isn’t me – the point is that we will see the presence of God, all of this assembly will know that the LORD does not save by sword and spear; for all of it is in the Lord's hands.

And again the people, like it or not, are brought into the presence of God and witness a miracle.  And again the people have the opportunity to just celebrate a one-time defeat over a giant – or take on the harder battle of changing the ways of their hearts….

So this sermon went down one direction earlier in the week, but then, life – and death – in a church happened.  And I don’t know what else there is to do as we come together in a church except to try and open our hearts and listen for God as we absorb a horrific event that has happened in our country – again - faithful worshipers in a black church being brutally murdered by a white person out of hate. And it just seems giant – the heartbreaking tragedy, and what lies beneath it.  And we don’t want to label this Goliath with certain words – because that starts giant arguments between giant political parties and giant media outlets.

And it’s just so big and so horrible.  And besides, aren’t these the battles for the kings, the leaders, the political process – issues like gun control, racism, issues like police brutality, like poverty, mental illness, drug addiction?  We hear the echoes of those Israelites, expecting and wanting the “leaders” or the political system to solve these giant problems.  They are too big for any one of us to really take on.

This letter Paul writes to the Corinthians we hear every year on Ash Wednesday.  The day we’re invited to take a long hard look on our hearts – and to repent – and turn back to God.   I love the passage – but the words never resonate with me on a personal level – because I’ve never been persecuted for being Christian.  But hearing those words and thinking of those Christians on Wednesday night at that particular church, suddenly these words – hardships, calamities, beatings, riots, sleepless nights – have meaning.  And when I listen to testimony of their family members in court just two days later – responding with purity, knowledge, patience, kindness and holiness of heart express words of forgiveness and mercy.

And how in that posture of reconciliation they are standing their ground against a giant.  And modeling – what Paul describes – as opening wide our hearts, no restrictions.  Do we believe that acting in that way is significant?  Do we believe those are the stones that chip away at the walls of giant problems?

This whole Christianity movement starts by Jesus taking 12 guys in a boat to get to the other side!  The miracle in this story isn’t that Jesus saves everyone from drowning.  Just like the miracle on that battlefield wasn’t the Israelites being saved from the Philistines.  Miracles aren’t about quick fixes.  Miracles put us in the presence of the Almighty – giving us the choice to change our ways, or not.

I do think it’s significant that this happens out on the water.  I mean Jesus could have stilled a storm on land too, right?  But water – you don’t get to freedom anywhere in scripture without going through some mighty deep waters.  And the metaphor is even broader.  The deep waters of the past that’s always beneath our present. The deep waters of our own individual stories that are always below the surface. Somehow it’s only by crossing and navigating the deep waters that the disciples can really start their journey with God.

Desmond Tutu who knows more than a thing or two about politics and reconciliation – says that true reconciliation cannot avoid a proper confrontation.  If differences are merely glossed over, the arguments never cease, but usually grow more violent.2  

Charleston is far away, or is it?  Do you or I believe there are connections between the violence there this week – and the violence in our city just a few months ago? You know our Outreach committee which is engaged in relational ministry, partnerships not just financial support - at our Outreach committee meetings I’ve shared that it seems to me we need something like what Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela offered in South Africa to deal with their giant problem – a way in which people from all the different sides can come together and navigate the deep waters of our story.  Listening with open hearts to one another’s truths in postures of reconciliation.

Paul asks those of us who work with Christ to not accept the grace of God in vain.  And there is no time like the present!  Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation.  Be as the quote says – the change you want to see in the world – instead of depending on others who are “in charge.”  Acting as if the presence of God is right here, now.  Salvation is thy kingdom come, thy will be done – on earth, right now – as it is in heaven.

Where are we being called to navigate the deep waters, trusting God is at the helm?  Where are you being called to show holiness of heart and use words of truthful speech?  In each all of our communities where are you called to stand your ground in a posture of reconciliation?  What sides do we need to cross in our community and in ourselves to open wide our hearts?  Do we believe that God is the God of all and that there are no giants – inside or out – that we, with God’s help, cannot overcome?  Amen.

The Rev. Arianne R. Weeks

1.  Thanks to -


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

On Sunday, instead of a traditional sermon, Josh presented a Godly Play lesson on the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Godly Play is a Montessori-influenced curriculum for presenting the Bible to young children.

Watch a video of the lesson below.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

At Home with Jesus' Family

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, calling, O sinners, come home.

Come home.  Today we hear about Jesus coming home.  We never really hear about him at home – he wasn’t even born at home.  He’s usually on the road with the disciples, doing the teaching, healing, miracles thing.  But this morning, he’s home; and of course bringing all the people with him.

Now wouldn’t you maybe think that his parents and siblings would be happy to see him?  He’s JESUS!  Hindsight is 20/20 isn’t it though, because to us he’s JESUS – but to them – he’s just Jesus.  Jesus who’s hanging out with the wrong crowd.  Jesus who’s bringing all those people with him everywhere.  Jesus who acts in ways that that make people uncomfortable and embarrass his family.

Do you think that maybe when he wasn’t at home – which we can assume was pretty often – his mother and brothers and sisters would talk about him – like when is Jesus gonna get his act together?  When is he going to get a real job and start thinking about starting a family?  When is he going to settle down – and start ACTING like a member of this family?

They must have been saying something to that effect when Jesus was out doing his thing – because no one from his family rushes to greet him with open arms when he stops in for a bite to eat.  Instead they are embarrassed?  They are frustrated?  Angry?  What tone do you think his family hits when they see Jesus and his disciples and these crowds of followers and exclaim – someone get out there and do something.  He has gone out of his mind!

Oh family.  I’m not all that surprised we don’t hear a lot of stories with Jesus home with his family.

Jesus says a couple of things about family, but they’re not all that good.  At the end of this passage he says – who are my family?  Who are my brothers and sisters?  Those who do the will of God – that’s who my family is!  Implied is that his blood relations don’t necessarily fall into that category, right?

On the cross in John’s gospel as the beloved disciple and his mother stand there he says – woman, behold your son. And looking at the disciples says – behold your mother.  We can assume they are not related – by blood – but through Jesus they are now family.

And chapter 10 in Matthew he says – Peace?  You think I came to bring peace?  I came to bring a sword.  For I have come to set man against father, and daughter against mother – and ones enemies will be members of one’s own family!

Doesn’t sound to me like Jesus has a lot of great things to say about family – does it?  Why do you think that is?

Ye who are weary come home, come home – that hymn goes.  Family can sometimes make us very weary.  It’s something that hasn’t changed all that much since Jesus’ time in many ways – an idea that’s cross-cultural I’d say.  I’m talking this notion, this tradition we have that family is everything.

Jesus’ family thinks he is crazy because Jesus doesn’t buy that, doesn’t live like that, in terms of our surname family, is everything.  Jesus believes – and wants us to believe, accept and live out – the good news that God’s family is bigger than Weeks, or Smith or Thomas.  That the waters of baptism are stronger than the ties, the blood, of family.

Ye who are weary come home. You know the first time I heard that hymn was at a Baptist church in Durham, NC.  When I was associate rector there I was involved with our J2A group going on a pilgrimage to Greece.  Just like our teens are about to go on their J2A pilgrimage to the Grand Tetons in a couple of weeks.

You know sometimes folks in churches think pilgrimages are over the top – like how is a pilgrimage relevant to a teenager learning about the Christian faith.  Well, in my experience – and I’ll bet if you ask the leaders of our J2A and teens that have been involved – a theme that would emerge – would be family.  Not the family your born into but the family that gets created in community – that is not of your choosing, but God’s.

Anyway on this pilgrimage to Greece on of our teens, Ed – his mother was very ill – she was dying.  His parents didn’t come to church.  Ed had come once from a sleepover and yes, the activities of the youth group and the pilgrimage were the primary reason he came to church.  His parents were divorced.  I talked with the dad – his mom was Baptist.  Ed’s mom was so ill at this point we waited until the last possible minute to even see if Ed would go – but in the end, he decided he would.

Day three of the pilgrimage – we’re in Thessaloniki – as in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians – and his dad calls my cell phone.  His mother is dying – really dying.  As always when it comes to these situations you can’t set a time and day.  His father is beside himself on the phone with me – he doesn’t know what to do.  He feels horrible about making Ed leave.  He feels guilty about the costs of getting Ed home early (the church would be covering much of that).  And he doesn’t know if this is really it – really the end.  She’s been sick for so long what if it’s just another incident?

This man wasn’t a member of my family.  I didn’t even really have a relationship with him through church. He was sobbing – sobbing with me on the phone asking over and over again – what should I do?

What your heart tells you to do.  There is no right answer.  There is your gut.  There is your heart.

At 3am that morning I sat in the lobby with Ed waiting for a cab to drive him to the airport so he could catch his flight back home.

Before the kids went to bed that night we all sat around and talked – and everything shifted.  Everyone was family – when families are at their best.  Listening, supporting, crying, laughing.

During the pilgrimage the kids got Ed souvenirs and sent him postcards. They wanted Ed to be as much a part of their pilgrimage experience as possible. And a few weeks after we got home, his mother died.  His family was small and was hurting and didn't fill that big Baptist church. I can't tell you how powerful it was when all 16 kids, their parents and their leaders and me – were at that funeral - singing that hymn. There was a church family there for Ed, which believe me, he needed – a family of peers, of friends – whom God had brought together.

We were a sign of love and support.  We were living into Jesus’ definition of family – whoever does the will of God is my family, he said.  And we are brought into this family through what?  Through baptism – that’s how we mark it anyway – often on behalf of children before they even know it.

Yesterday morning, we had a baptism here.  I want you all to know about a new member of this family – Sophia Hendrickson, granddaughter to John and Elizabeth Hendrickson. Now as you know, typically we do baptisms together as a church family as a part of Sunday Eucharist.  Because those two sacraments – Baptism and Eucharist are the core of our identity as a family and meant to be in community.  But occasionally – and for pastoral reasons – we will do baptism outside of Sunday.  And I will say – it was wonderful because it wasn’t a small gathering but y’all brought a contingent, many of who had connections already to Good Shepherd.  And best of all – lots of kids who could participate and allow me the opportunity to explain the why of what we’re doing.  I’m explaining it to the kids – but truth be told it’s the adults who need to understand that a baptism isn’t special mojo being bestowed – it’s symbolic of the grace of God that has already entered their life – and they have a responsibility as parents and godparents to remember that grace for their child and for themselves.

There’s this thing with baptism I’ve been thinking about doing for well over a year – but I’m scared.  It’s one of those things were you all might think to yourself – uh oh, Arianne’s gone out of her mind.  Its called open baptism – so before the baptism when I say, the candidates will now be presented – I also say – if there is anyone here who feels the love of Jesus Christ and is moved to make a commitment to proclaim the good news of God please come forward.  Is there anyone here who desires to be baptized?

So I’m scared I’ll look foolish, because would anyone come forward.  But what’s even more terrifying – what if someone does come forward?

Bishop Doyle of Texas tells a story – because he practices open baptism – so whenever he does a visitation – he includes this invitation – our version of an altar call.  He says the majority of the time – the response is the sound of crickets.  But one time he was at a church, he invited, there was silence and then a man stood up in the back and said – I want to, but I’m a sinner.  And the bishop immediately replied – that’s ok, because I am too!  And as that man walked forward – 20 people, 20 adults followed in behind – and all were welcomed into the family – all felt the waters of forgiveness that day.

Look.  I’m not saying the Christian family is better than any other.  In fact, we struggle with all the same problems as any other family – spend enough time in church – read the news of our diocese this past year – and you know our family is like any other.  But, Jesus is the reason we have been brought together.  When you and I are a part of families that we’ve chosen – or that we’ve been brought into – where we practice the healthy, life-giving ways of God – the ways of acceptance, the ways of loving detachment, the ways of right speech, the ways of pulling out the logs in our own eyes before we try to pluck the speck from our neighbors – the ways of humility, mercy, and steadfastness – when we practice the attributes that God brings before us in Christ – we get better at bringing those practices into our families.

I know there are people sitting here who are struggling in their families.  I know there are people sitting here who have been carrying the hurts inflicted on them – or the hurts they have inflicted on members of their family for a long time.  This morning we hear Jesus say – come home – calling O sinner – come home.  There is a wonderful image Jesus uses for family – in the gospel of Luke – as he looks out over all Jerusalem and cries – and through his tears says – O Jerusalem – you crazy family who hurt the ones who bring God’s ways into your midst – how I long to gather you like a mother hen gathers her brood underneath her wings.

Renew yourself day by day, come home.  Let Jesus gather you into God's family and practice the ways of Jesus for yourself, and for your family.  Amen.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Opposite of Easy, Quick Solutions

Trinity Sunday
The Rev. Joshua Rodriguez-Hobbs

Today is Trinity Sunday, the only day in the entire liturgical year that is devoted to a doctrine, rather than set aside to commemorate an event in the great story of God’s love for us. Our readings this morning, I’m sorry to say, are not much help. None of them is about the Trinity, because the word “trinity” never occurs in the Bible. Not once. Our Gospel reading comes as close as any passage of scripture does, mentioning God, the Son, and the Spirit. But that doesn’t spell out the doctrine we proclaim this morning, that God is Three in One and One in Three, inseparable, and yet distinct.

Honestly, most of us are much more attached to stories than doctrine, aren't we? We haven’t gathered here this morning because we have logically accepted propositions about God’s existence as true, we are here because we feel God’s presence in our lives. It’s about story, about relationship, not about dogma, isn't it?

Our Bible study group is currently gathering on Tuesday mornings to discuss The Shack, a book about the Trinity. This past Tuesday, in part because I was preparing this sermon, we discussed how we felt about the idea of God as Trinity. You know what people said? No one talked about how meaningful the Trinity was. People talked about God as Father, as Son, and as Spirit and how the relationship those names described was meaningful to them. But even if the Church says that the Trinity is so important that it deserves an entire Sunday devoted to it, it's hard to feel that importance in our lives, isn’t it?

The problem is that it’s hard to find an example of what the Trinity is like. Jesus could tell parable about how the Kingdom of Heaven is like this or that, a shepherd or a seed or a woman seeking a lost coin. When you try to do that with the Trinity, you get in trouble. Scott and Joe Morales taught our middle school Sunday School class this past year—what is generally a pretty thankless job—and more than that, they taught them theology. Last fall, Scott was preparing to lead the lesson on the Trinity. We were sitting on the couch in our living room, and he turned to me and said, “I’ve got the best illustration for the Trinity. I promised the class ice cream, and I’m going to bring Neapolitan ice cream.” He wasn’t expecting me to give him a horrified look in response and to say, “You can’t do that! That’s modalism!” That lead to a discussion about what modalism, an ancient heresy, is. Modalism misunderstands the Trinity because it separates the inseparable Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—into three distinct modes through which God interacts with the world. God as Father created. God as Son redeemed. And God as Spirit is sustaining. But modalism says they do these things one at a time. There’s only ever one active mode of God. Just like you can separate the chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla parts of Neapolitan ice cream, modalism separates God.

Eventually, I helped Scott find an ice cream recipe that had three ingredients, which would become inseparable, and that the internet assured us could easily be made in a ziplock bag. It wasn’t perfect as an illustration, but it was pretty good. Everything seemed like it would go well on Sunday. I even planned to stop by at the end of class to see how it went. When I did, I found Scott and four middle schoolers washing their hands. “How was the ice cream?” I asked. “We don’t know. The bag broke before it made,” one of them told me.

“The bag broke” is actually a pretty good explanation of the Trinity, even if it wasn’t particularly appreciated by the middle school Sunday School class. Augustine of Hippo wrote a very, very long book explaining the Trinity. He concluded it this way, “I have spoken much, and yet come short. When, therefore, we shall come to Thee, these very many things that we speak, and yet come short, will cease; and Thou, as One, wilt remain ‘all in all.’”[1] In other words, the bag broke. No matter how hard we try, we can never explain the Trinity. We can only experience it.

That's disappointing, because we live in a world of quick fixes and next big things. Honestly, I’m always looking for that new thing that will completely transform my life. Last weekend, a friend told me about a new organizational technique called “Konmari,” which was founded by a Japanese woman named Marie Kondo. I am a sucker for books on organization. Marie Kondo promises that none of her clients have ever gone back to being cluttered people. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

The fact is, that I want an easy, quick solution. I want three-ingredient ice cream in a bag. But the Trinity is the opposite of easy, quick solutions. It’s hard, and it’s incomprehensible, and, frankly, it doesn’t the emotional appeal of a brand-new, life-changing, can’t-fail Japanese organizational system. That’s why it’s important. That’s why I need to hear it.

In the Trinity, God reveals to us that the essence of God’s nature is relationship. When we are told that we are created in God’s image and likeness, that refers to our own capacity to enter into relationships with others. But relationships—real relationships—are hard. They’re messy. They’re complicated. Shortly before Scott and I got married, Jack and Doris Zimmerman took us out to dinner and gave us some wonderful advice: “The two of you are going to have a huge fight over something small like toothpaste. That is normal. That is okay.” And you know what? Two weeks after we got married, we had a huge fight over laundry detergent. And you know what? It was messy, it was complicated, but it was okay.

None of our human relationships are like the perfect relationship that is the Trinity, but they do all participate in that greater reality. God uses our relationships to help us grow in love, grace, and holiness. God, who is perfect, self-giving love, is revealed to us as Three in One and One in Three to remind us that there are no easy fixes, no quick solutions. We are imperfect, but we are loved. In the waters of baptism, we weren’t promised an easy answer or a magical charm that would make everything okay. We were promised a relationship, with all the difficulties that implies on this side of heaven. We were promised grace to see us through. There are no quick fixes. There are only broken ziplock bags. There are only relationships, imperfect reflections of that great relationship that is God, in whose love we find our truest selves. There is only grace, and that is enough.


[1] Augustine of Hippo, On the Trinity XV.28.