rest for your souls

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

For every great summer vacation that we savor for years afterwards, there are probably just as many vacation fails, the ones where everything seemed to go wrong: the cars that break down on the highway, the child who gets the flu on day one of a beach week, the restorative hike through the woods that results in a broken ankle. It’s those vacations that are so restful that all you want to do is get back to work and experience some normal stress for a change.

These remind us that just as “time off” is not the same thing as sabbath, vacation is not the same thing as the deep, restorative rest that we find in God. We need all these things…we need time off and we need vacation, but we also need sabbath, we also need to let go the things that we are carrying, and rest in Jesus.  We need to play, to be like children again, we need to uncover what recreation means. I used to hear recreation as a formal word for leisure, for those things we do when we’re simply not working. But the word of course means re-creation, to create anew, to be filled with the energy and inspiration of new life. That is what happens when we can put down our burdens and find that perfect rest in Jesus.

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. You will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The truth is, we are all carrying burdens. Some of us are carrying terrible burdens, and the worst are the ones we feel we can’t speak of.  Actually, the worst ones are the ones that weigh us down but are so cleverly disguised that we don’t see them for what they are at all. That’s why naming our burdens can be the most powerful agent of healing and grace that we can know.

What weighs on you today?  Is it the suffering of a loved one…or your own struggle with self-destructive behavior?  Is it a toxic work environment, or a stack of unpaid bills?  Is it the sadness of seeing so many suffer needlessly, the grief of loss or loneliness, or simply feelings of unworthiness or shame?

In his writings, Lancelot Andrewes (a 16th-century priest with pretty much the best English name ever) pointed towards the goal of the Christian life as the interiorization of the revealed Christian mystery[i]. He didn’t mean it in the nice frozen-chosen way that we might think. If the mystery of Christ finds its way to the heart of our being, that means we’re going to be more joyful, more effusive in our love for God, more playful, more able, quite frankly, to let it all go come the sabbath day and rest completely in Christ. This is the heart of re-creation.

But we can also think of this beautiful interiorisation of Christ’s love as the perfect and complete release of the burdens we carry. Restfulness in God is the opposite of the weariness that comes from carrying those impossible loads. Some of those things, of course, are external, the systems where you can’t get ahead, the troubled family member, the brokenness of a community.

But many burdens are effective because we’ve internalized them, made them our own, and are working on fooling others into carrying them with us. Those are the feelings of guilt and shame. But those can also be feelings of superiority and judgment – ego and pride are burdens too. As one very tender example, we can look at something like bigotry not just as a sin, but as a burden as well.

But which of these burdens – the ones that are external, the ones that we’ve internalized, the ones I have named and the many burdens that I haven’t – came into the world with us when we were born? The answer I’m looking for here is, none of them. Not a single one.  To quote John Donahue, we don’t come into this great world carrying a whole basket of burdens.[ii] That is the miracle of birth, and one of the reasons we’re so drawn to a child in the first months of her life. Who wouldn’t want to hold a baby and be reminded of the moment when we, too, were without the heaviness and the weariness of our lives?

But we must do some work before we can get to the recreation.  Perhaps the first task is to see the burdens for what they are, and then with an open heart and a critical mind begin to practice a bit of burden management. Think like a gatekeeper. When your cousin drops that little racist joke, when someone says something to hurt you or to bait you, or simply to diminish you, you don’t have to be defensive or judgmental. You can simply realize that that’s someone else’s burden. You can say: that’s yours, I don’t want, you can keep it. I’ll be praying for you.

But when Jesus says, come to me and I will give you rest, he isn’t talking about coming for a day at the spa, either. He says that my yoke is easy and my burden is light.  Easy and light, but you may notice that it is still a yoke, it is still a burden. That’s because this perfect rest and refreshment is a part of discipleship, not just of letting go but of aligning our whole lives with the life and message of Jesus.  Discipleship demands a lot of us, for it means giving our whole selves – all we are, and all we have – to God.

But there’s something very different about that burden, isn’t there?

I think of it as the difference between a burden that is oppressive and grinding, and one that is productive. Imagine a yoke that is so heavy that it destroys the bodies of one animal after the next. That is exploitative, and that’s how we experience so many of the things that weigh us down. We’re not growing, we’re being used up. That’s what a grinding burden looks like, and when we carry enough of those we forget entirely how to rest in God, or how to rest at all. The off switch stops working.

But the field still has to be worked, right? And that’s what I mean by a productive burden, that by carrying Jesus as we go, living by his gentleness and humility, aligning our lives with his love for the world, we’re still working, maybe even harder than before, but our souls are being restored. Our souls rest when the work we do is good, and meaningful, and life-giving. Our souls rest when we know we are with Jesus. This is when we experience re-creation.

Come to me, all you that are weary, and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  We carry terrible burdens. Instead of unloading, we learn to get better at carrying them (or so we think), which means that we just keep adding to the load until we finally collapse under the weight of it all.  That’s when we break down and realize that we need help.

Thank God there’s another way, and it comes not from figuring it all out but in simply coming to Jesus, resting there with him, and reimagining the work of our lives. That’s when we see just how much our souls need rest. Our souls need the rest and restoration that comes from reconnecting to God.  We find that rest that in Jesus, in humility and gentleness, in the prayerful (and playful) work of re-creation.

Homily for July 9, 2017, The Rev. Bernard J. Owens, Year A, Proper 9, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Greensboro, North Carolina.

[i] A.M. Allchin, Anglican Spirituality, Stephen Sykes, John Booty & Jonathan Knight, Eds., The Study of Anglicanism, (London: Fortress Press, 1988). 355.

[ii] O’Donohue, The Invisible World: Wisdom from the Celtic World. Audiobook, published by Sounds True. Chapter 3.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the reward of a prophet

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.

After Jesus shared with his disciples a little of what they could expect as they go from village to village, he turned it around and reminded them to be open and receptive to those from outside their circle who would be bringing them the gospel. Imagine that…at this very moment, most of the people who even know about Jesus are right there in that little circle. How on earth could others carry the message to them?

Jesus said to them, whoever welcomes you, welcome me. But they too would find new evangelists and unfamiliar prophets in their midst, and if they weren’t ready receive them properly, then they would miss out on something important. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous, and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.

Along the journey of your life, whether on your way to another village or here in your home town, you will encounter people who are truly righteous: you are to recognize that wonderful grace and integrity in them, and endeavor to pattern your life after that. You will encounter prophets as well, and they will question everything you fear; they will challenge everything you hold dear. How you receive those prophets is how you receive me.

So keep on your toes. The charge we are given is to “welcome the prophet in the name of a prophet,” which really just means recognizing a prophet for who he or she is, and realizing that prophets are part of how God keeps the community true. We need the challenging word, we need the witness of these meddlesome voices lest we become a static, closed, self-satisfied bunch. The Christian life is a continuous process of refinement and reform, and we need those outside voices who disrupt our comfort to keep our faith authentic and alive.

Before the prophets came on the scene, the people could only look to their priests and to their kings to understand what God was up to.  Kings, they often thought, were divinely appointed, and priests offered sacrifices in hopes of a fruitful harvest. But just like today, kings and priests had a curious way of getting into cahoots with one another. I think the modern word would be “enmeshed” but frankly I like the word cahoots better.

But in the Hebrew tradition, there was another voice, a shrill voice crying out in the wilderness, a voice that no one in power or with privilege wanted to hear. Yet they spoke with a distinct authority. The commandments of God resonated through the words of these troublemakers. They spoke out not just because the Kings had become power-hungry while the people cried out….they spoke because just about everyone had lost their way.

When the very possibility of living righteously came under the assault of the empire, when their commitments to their neighbors became forgotten, de-prioritized, or simply made “quaint,” the prophets spoke up. When those who held power, or just quietly benefited from it, began to re-calibrate the moral thermometer down to their own comfort zones, it was the prophets who called them back.

Jesus said, receive these prophets as bearers of the Gospel, too.

If you want to learn about the prophets and what they were up to, then Walter Brueggemann is the guy to read. In 1978 he wrote The Prophetic Imagination, where he argued that the Hebrew prophet’s job was to imagine and proclaim the alternative community to which the faithful are called. The more we listen to the prophets, the less we trust the world we’re supposed to take for granted.

Breuggemmann wrote that “the task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish and evoke … an alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us.”[i]  That means that the prophet makes all of us angry because he or she isn’t here to tweak the system, to make the same, only fairer, but to disrupt entirely a world that is fundamentally lacking in justice and righteousness. And that, in so many ways, is what Jesus was doing. As Cynthia Bourgeault said, Jesus wasn’t here to download an upgrade, but to switch us to a different operating system entirely. [ii]

Maybe that’s hard to hear, or maybe it’s liberating, but the important piece for us is that Jesus told us to listen to those who bear that difficult message, because to welcome them is to welcome him.

The good news is, we get a reward!  Whoever welcomes the prophet, receives the prophet’s reward.  That sounds nice at first, until we think about what prophets tend to get rewarded with. At worst, true prophets are met with violence. Or – as anyone who’s spoken out before knows – they get alienation and ridicule.  Or they simply get managed.

But the reward is richer than you might think. One more thought from Brueggemann: the prophet does two distinct things in calling forth an alternative consciousness.  One, of course, is to criticize and dismantle the powers that be. But their work doesn’t stop there, because the next task is to energize the new community by guiding it towards what God envisions for them. [iii]

The reward of the prophet, then, is the energy of new life!  The rewards come in the form of hope, and imagination, a wholehearted life, an awakened heart. The rewards come as a lively compassion – and to prove that these are not just words, Jesus speaks of the cup of cold water given to one who thirsts as a tangible, almost sacramental, sign of a righteous life. The rewards are this incredible relationship with God, one founded on deep fidelity and true joy. The reward of the prophet is life itself.

Whoever welcomes you, welcomes me. And when you welcome the righteous, the prophets, the little ones seeking a cold cup of water, you welcome me as well. Your reward will be the community that God has envisioned for you. Your reward will be holiness and grace.

Homily for July 2, 2017, The Rev. Bernard J. Owens, Year A, Proper 8, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Greensboro, North Carolina.

[i] Brueggemann, Walter, The Prophetic Imagination. (Minneapolis: Fortress, Press, 1978). 3.

[ii] Bourgeault, Cynthia, The Wisdom Jesus. (Boston: Shambala,  2008).33.

[iii] Brueggemann, Walter. The Prophetic Imagination. 3.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

there’s no Pentecost in Margaritaville

I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

Not so long ago Jimmy Buffet was in town to promote his new line of themed retirement communities called “Margaritaville.” I’m not kidding about this. Does everybody here know who Jimmy Buffet is? I’m sure you know the song: Wasting away again in Margaritaville/ Looking for my lost shaker of salt…

Well, you, too, can live Margaritaville (but I can’t). It’s targeted towards folks who are (quote) “55 and better” seeking an “active adult community” in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is from its website: “Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of Jimmy Buffett, your new home in paradise features exciting recreation, unmatched dining and FINtastic nightlife.” It’s a $1 billion project; 7,000 homes have been built. 10,000 applications have come in. This is a real thing.

This seems to me like a bad idea. A great business venture, sure, but a bad idea nonetheless. Oh, let me count the ways. First of all – and can I get some love from my friends in recovery – does this sound like a wise and healthy way to structure one’s life? And then, I can’t help but think of the poor soul who gets to be the rector of Christ Church Margaritaville. That’s going to be a tough gig. You know that a preacher’s mission is to comfort the afflicted & afflict the comfortable; church is about the last place in America now where that might actually happen. Well, good luck with challenging someone who’s just bought a mortgage in paradise.

But the real concern I have is that we see here a drive towards places of incredible same-ness, a desire to live our lives comfortably nestled in a theme of our choosing. My real concern isn’t Margaritaville itself…it’s that this little village is the logical end of how our society has arranged itself, in tightly-knit bubbles of familiarity and nostalgia, where we will never be challenged, because there’s nobody left inside who doesn’t talk like us.

Now, you may think I’m judging a lifestyle…but if you just changed the theme and the location, perhaps dropping it right in the middle of New York City, oh I’d sign up for this too.

In the wake of what we’re dealing with as a nation, of a politics that is just a mess, where we quite literally have lost the ability to speak with people with whom we disagree, I have been reading a book by Bill Bishop called The Big Sort: Why the Clustering America is Tearing us Apart. It’s helped me understand a little of how we got to this point.[i]

Now, the book is absolutely neutral, so I’ll call it safe…though it’s really not safe because it will challenge your belief that you are as right as you think, that you and the choices you make are above the cultural fray. In the last decades, though our political races are often very tight in the final count, something below the surface has changed dramatically. Not so long ago, in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, people voted differently from their own peers, even within their neighborhoods & communities. But as the decades rolled on, increasingly those same neighborhoods were each going one way or another, cities and counties were going one way or another, churches were going one way or another. So the aggregate stayed the same, but more and more districts were decided by landslides. Do you see the difference? We now live in pockets like-mindedness, insulated against difference.

Bishop points to our prosperity as a primary culprit: we’ve simply had the means and the ability to choose where we go, and with each move, with each church we’ve joined, with each house or car we’ve bought, tight, monolithic communities have formed. So now, when you drive through a neighborhood looking for a house, you’re checking signals: What signs are in the yard? What cars…Prius or Tahoe, and what church magnets are on the back? And frankly the same thing has happened in churches….words like biblical and inclusive are both clearly good words, but in their cultural context each has a powerful sorting influence. And that is not good for the body of Christ.

But if you’re like me, you want to say, what about the true places, the cities that have evolved over time and are organically diverse, living places of creativity and energy, where everybody is welcome? Well, it turns out that these places have also become well-sorted, the same way that each of our neighborhoods have gradually become homogeneous. And worse…those wonderful, diverse, often urban places where supposedly folk are above the sort? Well, first of all, those who don’t live there would disagree, but they are also far and away the most economically segregated places in our country. That’s largely because people with means have sorted in, the middle class has sorted out, and poorer folk are stuck in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.

As it turns out, we have all moved to Margaritaville. Yet something profound is missing. There is an emptiness in this place, a desperation, a sadness, as if we really were just wasting away.

You see, there can be no Pentecost in Margaritaville. We’re too well-buffered, too focused on ourselves. That day in Jerusalem, when the disciples were gathered together, a mighty wind came from heaven, loud as a tornado, and blew all through the house, leaving it its wake tongues of fire. This was the gift of the Holy Spirit. And the gift was not complete without its proper reception, and that meant carrying it…communicating it…to the scores of people who stood outside the door – the people from all throughout the Mediterranean basin.

There was no culture of same-ness here. They were from all over the known world, and unintelligible to one another. But they weren’t all that different either…they were all Jews, gathering for the festival of the Harvest. And when the disciples spoke – it wasn’t in a universal gibberish but in each’s own language: Egyptians, Cappadocians, Romans, Asians, Libyans all heard the gospel in their language. Conjugated properly, in their vernacular, perhaps in their own regional accents. If a North Carolinian had been there, she’d have heard the gospel in phrases like “ya’ll” and “might could.”

The day of Pentecost had a wonderful complexity to it, but we’ve worked of late to boil that complexity right out of the mix, because we’re frightened by anything we can’t control. But you can’t have binary left v. right arguments with 25 people all of whom speak different languages. There is nothing to spin there, because it’s a communication breakdown of a whole different order.

Yet the gospel carried. The message of Jesus found its way across those impossible boundaries. The spirit spread because as different as they were, they were just close enough for the fire to catch. The tight-knit circle of disciples kindled and tended the fire with their prayers. The people of many nations caught on simply because they were drawn out of their homelands to a holy place. (They just thought they were coming for something else.)

Pentecost is the giving of the Holy Spirit, the living breath of the church. The holy spirit will take us places we cannot imagine. But without that spirit, without Pentecost, the church is dead on arrival, it is an empty husk, a broken pot. A broken pot can make a lot of noise, but it can’t cook a meal.

The Holy Spirit cannot break into Margaritaville. It cannot. If we stay in our enclaves, convinced of our right-ness, sneering disdainfully at those beyond our gates, we will remain stuck. Even as we speak words of truth and justice that need to be spoken, we must also ask, are we giving voice to the spirit, or to the sort?

The onlookers sneer at the new believers, saying that they are filled “with new wine.” But that may have been exactly the right thing to call it. They were absolutely filled with a kind of new wine: the wine of charity, of beloved-ness, of grace, of new life. This wasn’t an intellectual knowing; it was a sacred warming. It was new wine! Compare this new wine to the frozen concoction that helps us hang on. That is the wine of nostalgia and escapism. That’s old wine – but it’s not the good kind.

Pentecost isn’t just the coming of the Holy Spirit….it’s the celebration of the giftedness of the church. God has given us something incredible. And my friends, the world hungers for it. They are there just beyond those doors, living their lives, in their own languages, but ready to taste this new wine. The question is not, are they ready to receive it? The question is,

Are we?

 

Homily for The Day of Pentecost, The Rev. Bernard J. Owens, Year A, June 4 2017, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Greensboro, North Carolina.

[i] Bishop, Bill: The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing us Apart. Mariner: New York, 2008.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

feasting together

Can you name the seven Principal Feasts of the Christian year? Before we take that quiz, I should probably say a bit about what it means to be a Principal feast.  Those are particular days on which we celebrate the most important parts of our faith: the incarnation of Jesus, the Resurrection, the communion of saints, the ministry and glorification of Jesus. They are called Feasts for a reason: that’s exactly what we’re supposed to do on those holy days.

But when we use that word “feast” do we mean liturgically, with Holy Communion, or an actual feast? I think we should look to history to answer this question: how, over time, has the church marked important days? Did they gather around the altar to celebrate Eucharist? Or did they come together as a community for a grand feast…a great party, if you will?

The answer is: both!  Many of the great Feasts of the year evolved as exactly that: a time to come together as a community to share in fellowship and celebration. But drawing on the tradition of the church through the ages, the Book of Common Prayer tells us that the proper way to mark those days is with a celebration of the Eucharist.

OK, back to the quiz: what are the seven Principal Feasts of the Christian Year? The first three are easy: Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost. The next two are also pretty intuitive since one is always on a Sunday and the other is often celebrated on the nearest Sunday:  Trinity Sunday and All Saint’s Day. We round out the list with The Epiphany (January 6th) and Ascension Day (the 40th Day of the Easter season.)

This year Ascension falls on May 25th (it’s always on a  Thursday) and we’ll celebrate this Feast with a parish feast of our own.  We’ll grill chickens (and veggie burgers) and eat at 6 p.m., then celebrate the  Holy Eucharist at 7:30 p.m. Our guest preacher will be the Rev. George Adamik, the rector of St. Paul’s, Cary and a recent candidate for the 12th Bishop of North Carolina.

In May we’ll be selling tickets for the dinner. You can purchase tickets at church or online.

Worshiping (and feasting) at all the Principal Feasts of the year binds us to a rich tradition of liturgical life. But there are other moments in the life of a church  – and a diocese – when we celebrate the saints among us and our ties to the wider life of the church. We mark the most important moments of our religious lives with worship and with fellowship.

On May 4th, our diocese will gather here at St. Andrew’s to celebrate the life of Bishop Chip Marble, who died a few weeks ago. Bishop Marble was the Bishop of Mississippi, then after his retirement came to serve as an Assisting Bishop here in North Carolina. Based in Greensboro, Bishop Marble’s community work proved vital in building up an ecumenical movement among the faithful to work for justice and reconciliation in our city.  The service at St. Andrew’s will actually be Chip’s third service: his funeral will be in Mississippi, and an interfaith memorial service will be held on May 1 at New Light Baptist Church. But the service at St. Andrew’s will be primarily for the people of the Diocese of North Carolina to celebrate Chip’s life and ministry among us.

In breaking bread together – in worship and in fellowship afterwards – we bear witness to the Resurrection as we honor the life of a saint among us.  In this, our feasts connect us to something far beyond our immediate community. We celebrate our connections to the faithful in other dioceses: we are a church with a larger fellowship  than just our city, or our state. We connect through Bishop Marble’s witness to the ongoing work of justice in Greensboro.

As followers of Jesus, we mark all these with a feast. So, feast with us on May 4 as we celebrate the remarkable life and witness of Bishop Marble. Then, feast with us on May 25 as we celebrate the glorification of Jesus that we mark on Ascension Day. I can think of few better ways to celebrate the season of Easter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

what to give when you can’t give much

The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a Kate Spade Gravy Boat.

Imagine Ashley, invited to attend the wedding of her closest friend. Ashley is in her late twenties and has a good job, but because of a perfect storm of student loan debt, preschool expenses and the breakup of her marriage her finances are about as tight as can be. Actually, they’re worse than tight: she has to borrow money from family, depend on gifts from friends and is frustrated that she can’t pay her bills without help.

But she won’t miss her friend’s wedding.   She finds someone to keep her kids and manages to scrape together enough money to make the trip but before she heads out she goes online to purchase a wedding gift.  A good southern girl, her friend has a registry that promises a well-appointed house, with 1000 thread-count sheets and pieces of fine china that will be used somewhere between twice and thrice over the course of the marriage.

Thankfully, there are also some items at the low-end of the registry, and while this pains Ashley but she knows that this is her price range right now. She has always been generous and giving with her friends. She wanted nothing more than to buy a whole set of the Kate Spade china but instead clicks on the $45 gravy boat (with $45 that she technically doesn’t have) and then goes to finish packing.

Last week a friend read give 10, save 10, and live on the rest  and had a question for me. “That’s great,” she wrote, “but what about those of us who simply cannot do that? What about those who want to give generously and save intentionally but are really struggling right now just to (literally) keep our kids fed and dressed? ”

My question wasn’t just about whether each of us could carve out a substantial amount for giving and savings. Rather, I wanted to invite us to consider how much our whole communities would change if we could all take this on as a shared value. It’s a little utopian to pretend that everyone would jump on board, but the point was to consider what might happen if a great many did.

My friend’s point is really important though. The reality is that a whole lot of people genuinely struggle. Many of those folks really want to give more but simply can’t.  My friend asked, “What would you say to us?”

Frankly, I’m a bit humbled by the question. I am not a financial planner and I am certainly not a prosperity preacher. I think it’s irresponsible to give away college savings while praying that that Uncle Leroy (who you’ve never heard of) will leave you a gazillion dollars and a very slightly used Mercedes.

I do like what the people on the personal finance shows say when (invariably) asked by listeners who are really broke what do to about savings. “Start small, and just do what you can. Can you set aside $25 a month? Start there. Can’t do that? Do $10.” The same is true for giving. The Widow’s Mite tells us, among other things, that God knows when we’re really struggling. God has a special affection for us when we’re in that place, and is less enamored with the posh folks who make a show of big gifts.

But let’s get back to the Parable of the Wedding Registry.  Does Ashley’s friend care that she can’t afford a sumptuous gift? Unless Ashley’s friend is a total asshole, the answer is no. She wouldn’t care is Ashley skipped the gift altogether. All she cares about is that Ashley comes to the wedding, to be there, to give the toast, to share the moment with her friend.

What can Ashley give? Far more than the people with money, as it turns out.  She can’t afford the KitchenAid, but plenty of other people can. Ashley’s presence is far more important. Her friend need her, not what she can give.

If we aren’t giving as much as we’d like, it’s important think about the long run and to set a goal. But it can take years and some major life changes to get there.  The path of giving is a lifelong one, and sometimes we simply need to be as patient with ourselves as God is with us.

In the meantime, there are things beyond money that folks can give. A church (and any institution, really) needs the presence of people committed to the mission of the place even more than we need cash. Oh, we need money too, but in an age when a social media “like” can almost pass as real participation, actual presence goes an incredibly long way. So give what you can, but more importantly pitch in where you can. Come to church every week, or even most weeks. That’s more valuable than money.

The fact is, church wouldn’t be complete without Ashley: her stories, her struggles, her hopes, and the unique gifts that she brings. If the church didn’t make space for folks at every stage as life to come together as equals, then it simply wouldn’t be much of a church at all.

A part of Treasure & Ash, a series of short essays about money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment