Archive for May 2013
The Holy Trinity, May 26th 2013
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16: 12-15
The Holy Trinity
I disagreed with the first statement on the commentary this time: that this Sunday is devoted to a church doctrine, that of the Trinity. I believe that the Holy Trinity is a reality or better yet, the source of all realities. “In God we live, move, and have our being.” And I have come to this belief not in the sense that it is a doctrine that true Christians have to believe and only unorthodox ones do not. When we use power to enforce beliefs, we no longer have our Christian freedom. That gets into using force, which belongs to the state, but not the church. So I want only to convince you of the truth of the Trinity.
Remember that in, with, and under my words you receive the Word of God, you can hear your God speaking to you. You have to have a critical mind. Always ask, “Is it really so?”
My father used to berate and deride free thinkers. He of course was reacting to those who were anti-church, atheistic, and wanting to believe nothing without evidence. But we need freedom. We need to have the freedom to think for ourselves while reading our bibles, while exploring our Christian faith, and considering our experience while following Christ – and in having such freedom to think, the Holy Spirit will guide us into the truth. The Holy Spirit will come into our hearts and lead you and me on the path of truth.
Friedrich Schleiermacher, (1786-1834) one of the great 19th century theologians who rewrote theology for the church to make it respond to the criticism of the Enlightenment, wrote his whole book and forgot about the Trinity. He merely tagged about twenty pages about it at the end of his massive book of theology as an afterthought. Meanwhile George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831) as a philosopher taught that all realities emerged out of the Trinity, evolved in a threefold way (his dialectic of a thesis, antithesis, and synthesis) throughout the whole creation and finished their course issuing back into the Trinity. But he wanted to replace the church with the state! Can you imagine that! The church thinker had no use for the Trinity, while a thinker for the state made it the center of his philosophy! But no state can claim to be the realm of peace ruled by our Lord Jesus Christ and all states will be judged God’s heavenly of kingdom.
We speak about the Holy Trinity because we believe that the Word of God; that means the Son of God became a human being, Jesus Christ. People would tell Christians that they believed in more than one God. “No,” Christians said. “In Jesus Christ, the one and only God visited us and sent the Holy Spirit to remain with us and all three Persons or ways of being God are one God.”
There are many ways to explain the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Remember how St. Patrick picked up a shamrock, we would call it a three leaf clover, and explained that it had three leaves, but it was one plant, the three leaf clover. He would have been unlucky if he had looked over a four leaf clover! But he got one with three leaves. Matter can be solid, liquid or gas, but it is still matter. Water for example can be ice, have the form of a liquid, or be water vapor. It’s steam when it’s a gas. But of course none of these explanations take away from the mystery of God. The more we know the more we know we don’t know. On the other hand, the less we know the more we think we know, but really don’t. Have you heard of the parent who had five theories about how to bring up children, but no children? Then she had five children and no theories. When we have just a little knowledge, then everything seems clear-cut and self-evident. When we begin to learn a whole lot more, we realize how many questions there are that we can’t answer, how uncertain some knowledge is, and how we would do better to listen at times than to talk and talk. There’s a German saying, “If you had kept quiet, people would still think you were a professor.” “Hättest du geschwiegen wärst du Professor geblieben.”
But foolishly, I will still try to say more about the Trinity. Dorothy Sayers is a mystery book writer, but she wrote one book about the Holy Trinity, called The Mind of the Maker. In it she compared the Trinity with authoring a book. The author’s idea for the book is the Father, the concrete book we have in our hands and read is the Son, and the idea of the book that we all receive from it is the Holy Spirit, but it is one book. Her way of thinking about the Trinity comes from St. Augustine, but of course, the eternal Three-in-One and the majestic One-in Three of the ever-living God remains a mystery. No explanation can take the mystery away, because God is beyond number, living not in time but eternity, which is incomprehensible to us.
Psalm 8 puts our awe and wonder into words: when we look at the heavens, this incredible universe with it galaxies full of stars swirling around black holes, with even the galaxies too numerous to number, who are we that God should be mindful of us or care about us?
But that is precisely what the Good News is about. That One, the source of all that is, whose wisdom created something where there was nothing, who has such a glorious name above anything to be imagined on earth – that God loves us and sent the Word, the Logos, God’s only Son to come to earth to become a Human being, Jesus Christ, to show us the way of salvation.
I always love to present the Holy Trinity with the icon drawn by André Rublëv who lived from about 1360 or 70 to 1430. We do not so much look at icons, the Orthodox say, as much as the icons look at us. Rublëv depicts the Trinity with the three angels that visited Abraham when he sat under the oaks of Mamre. The three men or angels promised him and Sarah the son of promise. (Genesis 18) Sarah did give birth to Isaac then in her old age, but for the real son of promise humanity had to wait for Jesus.
Note: if you would like to see Rublëv’s icon on Trinity for the link.
For a detail study click on Trinity in Detail for the link.
Rublëv’s whole painting is based on three circles, because circles have no beginning and no end. The bodies of the angels or Persons form the largest circle to depict their unity; the outward rim of the chalice forms the second circle; and the wine, forms the third. The Father is on the left under the house has many mansions, while the Son is in the middle under the branch of Jesse, while the Holy Spirit is either under a mountain bent to be circular, or a wave or perhaps a tongue. Perhaps the stem of Jesse could also double for Jesus as the Tree of Life. Each angel has a circular halo and each a reed for a scepter and each have golden wings. The Son has the human color of the earth and the divine blue of heaven; the Father has transparent yellow or green over blue for heaven; and the Holy Spirit on the right has blue for heaven and translucent green for growth. Notice the light yellow color for heaven and the way the Holy Spirit forms a blessing with his fingers to the earth, all in green below. There are three Persons, triangles, three rectangles, three halos, scepters, and sets of wings. The wine is in the chalice, while I think the feet s in the foreground look like bread and perhaps even the hairdos. Even though the Son is behind the table, all three Persons are on the one plane. As one God all three persons are really identical as well and they don’t prescribe a gender.
The Father is bidding the Son to be the sacrifice and go down and save us. The Father does this with infinite grief on His face, and the Son is accepting this mission, while the Father and the Son shape their fingers into the blessing (two fingers straight and three bent) of the loving communion that will require the blood of Christ to fill the chalice. The three circles bring the whole focus to the blood in the chalice. Rublëv was painting the verse John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The heart of this icon puts the whole Gospel into a nutshell. The Father sends his Son to be Our Redeemer, to purchase us not with silver and gold, that is, money; but with his own precious blood so that we now belong to God. So we no longer live or die to ourselves; but if we die we die to the Lord and if we live we live to the Lord; so then whether we live or whether we die, we [now] belong to the Lord. (Rom 14:7-8)
We could also still bring up the way the Three Persons almost dance for joy to shoulder and bear each other’s burdens. We could talk about perichoresis. We could also bring up the immanent Trinity and the economic Trinity, (I once wrote a 200 page unpublished book on the Trinity.), but in the words of the Gospel: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” Amen.
The Day of Pentecost May 19th 2013
Acts 2:1-21 Psalm 104:24-34 Romans 8:14-17 John 14:8-17 (25-27)
Pentecost is one of the three major Christian festivals. In German there is a one song that has verses for all three. Le4t me sing it for you:
Oh you blessed and life-giving Pentecost
light our lives with holy fire
Take away confusion
Give us new communion
Holy Spirit, Holy God,
Our hearts inspire.
Oh you blessed, gentle, gracious Pentecost
earthquake, wind, and holy fire
Shake our old foundations
With joyful new elations
Holy Spirit, Holy God,
our lives inspire.
O Du fröhliche, O Du selige
gnaden bringende Pfingsten Zeit.
Christus unser Meister
Heiligt die Geister
Freue Dich, O freue Dich, O Christenheid.
Today is the day of Pentecost. Since Easter we have had a full week of weeks in which we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ; that means 7 times 7 or 49 days, so today is the fiftieth day. Pentecost means fifty in Greek. On this day the promised Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles in the house in which they were staying. Perhaps it was the temple, because 120 people were present from many different countries. Many others then must have gathered around the disciples.
Let’s also pray for the Holy Spirit today. In Aramaic, Christians prayed, “Maranatha Come Holy Spirit!” Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit to come; that the Spirit of truth come like the sound of the rush of a mighty wind, that divided tongues appear amongst us, as if made of fire, so that they alight upon our heads and give us the power to preach the Gospel in other tongues and languages.
But considering Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, does the church calendar have to jive with the actual experience? Is Christ born in our hearts only on Christmas? Not really. Christ is born in our hearts when we believe and are baptized, while we celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas. We celebrate the resurrection on Easter. Are we ourselves raised on Easter? Not really. We are raised up after we die. It is also possible that we are spiritually dead and we can become raised up into the newness of life, which is much like having Christ be born in us. God works with each one of us in a unique way so that God’s acts happen to us in God’s good time at certain points in the journey of our lives. Our being raised does not have to jive with Easter on our calendar. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter.
That the Holy Spirit filled the apostles back there on that Day of Pentecost is what we celebrate today and it may not happen to us today, but we pray that we too experience what those first apostles did, experience the sound of that rushing and mighty wind, the fiery tongues, and speaking different languages. Languages are now no barrier because Christ has drawn all the different people of the world into one family, who hear and are overcome by the Good News of God’s love for us; of God’s willingness to be our Father so that we are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, children of God and fellow heirs of all the wonderful promises.
But what good is the old story if it does not become our story? Luther said, “What good is it if Christ was born 1,000 times way back in Bethlehem, if he has not been born in your heart or mine? What good is the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ to us, if we do not suffer and are not raised up with him? What good is the Day of Pentecost, if we do not receive the Comforter, Counselor, the Advocate and Helper ourselves to teach us everything and remind us of all that Jesus said through his disciples to us and throughout our lives?
Just because Jesus ascended back into heaven to be at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, does not mean we are left like orphans. With the Holy Spirit Christ is still really present with us. Christ promised that the Holy Spirit will continue to be with us, abiding in us and in us witnessing to Jesus in our hearts. In them God’s heavenly tongue brings about the birth of Christ in us, raises us up from the dead places in our lives, nurtures and brings us up to grow and mature into the full stature of Christ, and guides and directs our church to bring about the renewal of our society, lifts up this fallen world into the world enveloped in God’s love; with the Holy Spirit renewing the face of the earth.
It is striking that the world does not know what to do with Pentecost, the way it has done its number on Christmas and Easter. There’s no Santa Clause, no Easter bunny. Jesus explains why: for Pentecost we have “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. [But] you know him, because the [Holy Spirit] abides with you and will be in and among you.” (14:17) We cannot see the Holy Spirit, who is like the air. Wave your hands through it. You cannot see the air, but you feel it. The Holy Spirit is the breath of God. Πνευμα the word for spirit in Greek means both breath and wind, but spirit as well. So it was the Spirit of God, the Ruach Elohim in Hebrew, who hovered above the waters in creation. We usually take feeble breaths. God’s breath is the mighty wind. Take a deep breath and pray for it to be the breath of Christ, the Spirit that we breathe. Breathe in the Spirit to bring life into our blood, life into our body so that we become the body and blood of Christ.
God breathed the same breath into Adam and Eve and they became living beings. But they fell down. Jesus lifts us up with the breath of life, allowing us to eat from the fruit of the tree of life, because the old Adam and Eve have died in our baptisms, and now the Holy Spirit has enlivened, enlightened, and raised us up with Christ to be part of God’ new creation, God’s continuous creation, making all things new.
In his Small Catechism, Luther says: “[Baptism] means that our old sinful self, with all its evil deeds and desires, should be drowned through daily repentance; and that day after day a new self should arise to live with God in righteousness and purity forever.” And further, “We were buried with him by Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too might walk in the newness of life.” The breath of God, the Holy Spirit makes us into a new species, for the old Adam and Eve have passed away, and we have become the children of God, who worship God in spirit and truth.
The world does not know how to co-opt Pentecost and the Holy Spirit. We can see trees moving in the wind, but we cannot see the wind. We can only know the Spirit of truth by believing, by participating, and becoming involved in the cause of Christ. It’s not possible by unbelief and detachment; by refusing commitment, by indifference to the Father’s plan of salvation; nor by being unwilling to believe in the Father, who sent Jesus to show us the way of life.
When we receive the Holy Spirit, like trees in the wind, the breath of God becomes the wind in our sails. This little ship, called Our Redeemer’s with its new Pastor John Kuehner, will sail into the wonderful promises of God. One of those promises is also the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we have to go even further than speaking about the wind in our sails. We have to be that leaf blowing in the wind of the Holy Spirit. Our whole being needs to surrender to wherever the Holy Spirit takes us. Remember that the Holy Spirit contains the intelligence of God and as high as the heavens are above the earth, so much higher are God’s thoughts over our own. That is where the metaphor of the wind breaks down, because it will blow you right into something. The Holy Spirit will guide and direct you doing God’s will on the way of life.
With the coming of the Holy Spirit, we also celebrate the birth of the Church. When Peter in the temple raised his voice to preach, moved by the Holy Spirit, 3,000 people were added to the number of believers. The Holy Spirit brings about the birth, but also the growth of the Church.
Pentecost was the Old Testament Festival of the Booths, the joyous Harvest festival of Israel. The people were out in the harvest living in booths made of green branches and they were bringing in the sheaves, the bundles of wheat. Thus Jesus looked out over the crowds and saw them to be ready to harvest and prayed that God send laborers into the harvest to gather the people in. Israel also began to see this festival as God’s gathering in the nations into the reign of God. What an ingathering happened on that first Day of Pentecost, when the promised Holy Spirit rushed in upon the apostles!
Let’s pray for the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, while he prophesied that Jesus would baptize believers with fire and the spirit. Thus the disciples were staying in Jerusalem because Christ commanded them not to leave until they had received the promise of the Father, which was their baptism in the Holy Spirit, their Comforter, Counselor, Advocate, and Helper.
When we receive the Holy Spirit, our whole selves are moved. We are not divided into body, mind, and spirit. The Holy Spirit reorients our whole selves, our whole person, our whole being toward God rather than away from God. The spirit orients our body, mind, and soul toward God and what’s more, it does the same with this whole world. It orients this whole world toward God bringing it back from its rebellion against God.
So the birthday of the Church is completely for the sake of turning around this world and the people in it. It makes us one with the purposes of God once more and makes all the people of the world have one heart and soul together again. So that no language separates us, indeed, nothing separates us from the love of God.
But we have to pray for God’s Spirit. We are far away yet. When we are led by the spirit of God we become children of God, according to St. Paul. We did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but have received the spirit of adoption. No longer only the Jews, but we Gentiles have also become the family of God sitting around the table of the Lord and there is nothing higher nor more noble to be attained here on earth. And so we cry “Abba! Father! It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, children and heirs with Christ standing to receive all the heavenly promises and the gifts of the Spirit.
But we have to pray. In Acts, it says when the disciples returned to Jerusalem, they were constantly devoting themselves to prayer. (Acts 1:14) In Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Oakland, there was an emphasis on prayer. Sometimes they prayed starting on Saturday morning, through the whole night, and until the Sunday morning worship, so that the service would ride on all those prayers and be lifted up on the wings of the Holy Spirit.
Remember that the heavenly promises are not for us, in the sense of making us privileged. We receive them for the sake of the lost, all those whom the Lord loves and wants to enfold and gather into this renewal of creation. “Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth!” So we pray for the Holy Spirit, whose sighs are too deep for words, and who will bring us home together on the wings of the Comforter, Advocate, Counselor, Helper, lifting us, bearing us up and carrying us on eagles’ wings. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! Come Holy Spirit and save your lost creation! Amen.
 Composed for Pentecost at St. John’s Lutheran Church of Oakland, CA May 18, 1997 by Peter Krey.
Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 5th 2013
Acts 16:9-15 Psalm 67 Revelations 21:10, 22-22:5 John 14: 23-29
When the Church Converts the Nations
I’ll again use the prayer of the day to organize my sermon:
Bountiful God, you gather your people into your realm, and you promise us food from the tree of life. Nourish us with your word, that empowered by your Spirit we may love one another and the world you have made.
What does the prayer say? You gather the nations of the world into your kingdom. The food from the tree of life that you promise us is grace filling us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You nourish us with your word in order to awaken the life of our minds, so that we receive the mind of Jesus and become filled with your love.
We are sent to gather the people of this world back into the realm of the love and light of God. Whenever the Risen Lord appeared to his disciples, it was for the sake of sending them: for Mary Magdalene: to tell the other disciples that he was ascending to his Father and our Father; to the women who had come to his tomb, to tell them and Peter to meet him in Galilee; to all the disciples at the end of Matthew: go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; to go to Damascus and await instructions there, that in the case of Paul, who would become the missionary to the Gentiles, the one sent to gather the Gentiles into the realm of God’s love and light.
“Mission” merely means “sending,” and missio Dei means the mission of God. Think of the word “missile.” When I was a student teacher, kids would shoot missiles, that is, spitballs up at me in front of the class, and I was so uptight, I couldn’t even see them. Seriously, we send missiles with nuclear warheads or scud missiles, in the case of the Palestinians that now can be shot down. We have to be missiles that God send to others with heads filled with the Word of God and hearts full of love for one another and for this world that God has made. Perhaps a better comparative word would have been a “missal” as used in the Catholic Church containing their liturgy and prayers for their mass. The other missile is fired between the nations of this world to threaten each other with death, while the missiles that God sends are people with hearts full of love and who with the Holy Spirit spread the abundant life that God intended for us. How do we convince people to follow Christ, who invites us into God’s wonderful realm, not with threats of death but with promises of abundant life? The church stands on these promises of God and is based on spreading life, love, and hope as opposed to the nations that seem to be causing more and more death. To convert the nations is the Church’s mission and if only they would diminish and the church could go into high gear and spread the realm of God and continue to invite more and more people into it!
With the Holy Spirit our mission could bring about the peace that Jesus tells his disciples about. It is not the peace that the world gives, “Let not your hearts be troubled, do not let them be afraid.” Jesus is speaking in the time of the Pax Romana, which means, the peace that Rome brought to the world. In the words of Tacitus, “They create a wasteland; they make a desolation of a place, and call it peace.”
St. Paul was on that mission, which is still ours today, if only our Church would become revived and awaken to its mission today. In Paul’s dream he saw a Macedonian, up there in northern Greece, where Alexander the Great came from, calling for the missionaries to come and help them. Their itinerary is then described as they immediately go there to proclaim the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ, the lamb of God who reigns by ushering in the real peace of God, as opposed to someone like Alexander who killed, plundered, and conquered countries and called that an empire. Meanwhile, St. Paul, Silas and Timothy went to Philippi, a Roman colony in Macedonia, like sheep in the midst of wolves to gather and win people for Christ. They carried no sword, had no armor, no chariots, and armies, but the Word of the Lord, the Good News of Jesus, the lamb of God, and the Holy Spirit that let them point to the tree of life, the nourishment of the word, and the love of one another and of God’s world that Christ brings.
They were people of the way, the way of life that Jesus taught. Jesus’ followers were not yet called Christians. And they went to a place outside the gate of the city by the river, where they supposed it to be a place of prayer and sat down and talked to the women gathered there. (What prevents you and me from doing the same thing? Perhaps in a Laundromat or on a playground with other mothers; there we could also invite people into God’s realm of peace and love.) It was in that place where Lydia listened to them. The name Lydia means the noble, beautiful one. She is described as a worshiper of God, meaning that she believed in one God like the Jews, but she did not follow all the Jewish laws, because she was Greek. She not only worshiped one God, but she was also a business woman, a dealer in purple cloth. Purple is the favorite color for the royal robes of the nobility in the West, while the Arabs prefer white. Nobles and aristocrats may have been her customers. It says that “The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.” And she and her household were baptized making her the first convert to Christ in Europe. After their baptism she urged Paul, Timothy, and Silas to come and stay at her home. “And she prevailed upon us.” They report.
This may well have become the house-church to which Paul sent his letter to the Philippians. It took Lydia, a woman, who had become a business woman, a dealer in purple cloth, in a very patriarchal Roman colony, to understand and take full commitment to becoming a follower of Jesus on the way to peace.
When we keep God’s Word in our heads and in our hearts, then the Father and the Son will also make their home with us. How about that for a promise! St. Paul’s missionary entourage entered the home of Lydia, but with them went the Holy Spirit to remind them all of everything Jesus had taught them. The Holy Spirit helps us keep God’s Word.
How can our mission make the church overtake the nation in significance and lead the nations on the way of peace once again? Whenever religions start conflict and make war, whether Christian, Moslem, Hindu, whatever, it is usually because they want the kind of political power to “Lord it over others” in the way of the nations. That kind of power gives us the edge to gain the upper hand and attain wealth, where following the lamb, we lose it. We can love our country, but we need to see that our country also has to become converted to the Lord Christ.
We really don’t know how that will come about yet. The Church has failed miserably in leading the nations on the way to peace. My father was attending seminary in Germany when he was drafted into World War I and he became head of a machine gun company of eleven men. Machine guns were large and heavy in those days and had to be dismantled and reassembled in a new position in battle by a company of men. They were all indoctrinated to say how honored they’d be to give up their lives for the Kaiser and their fatherland. My father told his soldiers, it would be much more honorable to make it off these battle fields and out of the war alive. Soldiers died like flies in the carnage of World War I. It was the industrialization of death. The Germans called the British troops the Tommy. He would be firing his machine gun and the Tommy would be lying out on the battle field wounded and he heard them scream out the name, Jesus, as they lay dying. My father said, “I am a follower of Jesus and so is the Tommy and here I am killing fellow Christians just because I am German and they are British!”
What is wrong with this picture? Our Christianity takes a completely second place to our nationality? The mission of Jesus’ love and peace needs to turn that around, even if we do not yet know how.
Then the vision in the Book of Revelation will come true! Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God. Brian Stoffregen in his online commentary asks people to substitute their own city for Jerusalem: South San Francisco will come down out of heaven from God. Berkeley will come down out of heaven from God. (You can name your city.) Jerusalem will come down out of heaven from God and the glory of the Lord will be its light and the Lamb of God will be the lamp shining to give it light. Nations will walk in the light of the Lamb and the kings of the world will bring their glory into the realm of God, the realm of peace, into which Christ gathers us.
And there will be a river flowing through the midst of that city, whose waters make glad the city of God, because in it will flow the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And the tree of life will stand on either side of the river, producing twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month, and the leaves of the tree will heal the nations from the way of death, conflict, violence, and war to the peace that comes from God that will not in any way trouble us, the way what the world calls peace does.
In our Sierra Pacific synod assembly yesterday, Pr. Susan Briehl, who led our bible study, interpreted this 21st chapter of the Revelation of John. The tree of life stands here at the very end of the bible the way it stands at the very beginning as well, along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It stood in the midst of the Garden of Eden and in the holy city of Jerusalem. She went from one tree to another in the stories of the bible, the trees becoming the forest of the scripture. Not only, however, did a tree stand in the very beginning and at the very end, but also in the middle of scripture: the tree of the cross upon which our Savior died for us. So the tree of life stands in the very center of scripture as well: Jesus himself is our tree of life. And through Jesus we too become trees of righteousness “planted by the rivers of water whose leaves do not wither and who bring forth our fruit in due season.” Would that this holy forest might spread through our world!
And God will provide us with light, the light in which we see light, because when we don’t know the way of peace, the sun, moon, and stars may shine but we still walk in darkness. We may have eyes with 20/20 vision, but we are still blind. We still remain the takers of life, rather than givers, those that bring the life of Christ and him crucified, whose life is stronger than death, and who provides us with the love for each other and the love of the world that God made which will transfigure this world and the people and nations in it into the Kingdom of God, the beloved community, in which the light of Christ will shine brighter than the sun. Amen.