Posts Tagged ‘Change’

Things Change 7-8-18

In this sermon, based on Mark 6:1-13, I explore the rejection that Jesus faces in his hometown. Often our tendency to resist change blinds us to the invitation that God offers into a new reality.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Just a couple of weeks ago, my hometown of Graettinger celebrated their 125th anniversary. I wasn’t able to make it back to town, but I heard about many of the different things that went on…one of which included an all-school reunion. Now granted, I’m not sure how many of the 24 members of the Graettinger class of 1997 attended…I’m guessing a few…but I was thinking about that…and about the fact that my class hasn’t done an overly great job of having reunions.  We missed the 5 year…I skipped the 10 year. We missed the 15 year…and I think since our 20th was just last year everyone probably thought “let’s just wait till the all school next year.”

And so, with that track-record…I have yet to attend any of my class reunions…but I have been to one…and it gave me the opportunity to take an objective look back in time, as I tagged along to the 15 year reunion of the Manson Northwest Webster graduating class of 1997…my wife’s class. She and I road-tripped towards the booming metropolis of Manson, IA. And after a bit of driving around town, which is a small town about the same size as Underwood, and giving her the chance to see her old neighborhood, we parked the car and walked into the local bowling alley which was serving as the sight of the reunion.

Now, I should mention the fact that I did not know anyone that was going to be there. So this is where the objective part came in for me. We walked in, being one of the first to arrive…and over the course of the next half hour approximately 25 members of my wife’s class along with some of their spouses came through the door. And for the most part I just sat back and went into people watching mode for the duration of the evening.

It was fascinating. Some had stayed put in this small town, never leaving. Others had spread out a little ways but were still easily in driving distance, others had moved across the country, but then ended up “moving back home.” And a few, my wife included, have completely relocated to another region, but managed to make it back for the reunion.

But regardless of where members of the class put down roots…they all seemed to share a bit of a common trait…in my “objective” observational opinion…they never left high school. Everyone fell into the old cliques pretty quickly…gravitating towards those that they were comfortable with in school…mostly ignoring everyone outside of those old social circles beyond the polite greetings initially offered up upon arriving.  I can’t help but think at the 15 year mark, there’s a lot of truth that old saying that “some things never change.” (pause)

But you know what…I also can’t help but think that saying is wrong…because things do change. We might not notice it when we’re in the midst of it…but changes do happen…they happen in communities…and they happen in the lives of individuals.

The only problem is that we tend to forget this fact, until something or someone comes along that brings us face to face with it. And its possible that the best example of this is when someone “comes home” after years of being away…and we just can’t see them in a new role…but we think they are still the same person that they were when we knew them.

Now I can speak to this from personal experience…because if you had asked 20 years ago about a wise cracking blond kid from the class of 97, no one in my hometown would have anticipated that I would become a pastor…and when I bump into people at synod events, I still hear comments to that effect…and it would seem that I’ve got this in common with Jesus in today’s story.

He comes back to his hometown….and he finds himself bogged down in old expectations.  Granted…maybe its understandable. Nazareth, where Jesus spent most of his formative years…was tiny…I’ve seen the remains and the whole town is all of about 100 feet across. They estimate that the population was probably only a few hundred people…I’m guessing everyone knew each other.

Now imagine yourselves in first century Israel. There’s not a ton of excitement going on…but word is spreading around the region that there’s this new rabbi on the scene. He’s traveling around…hitting all the towns. He’s teaching, he’s even healing and casting out demons. There’s even rumors of miracles that the guy is performing.  And then you hear he’s coming your way…that he’s gonna be teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath…probably worth checking out.

And so, as Jesus makes his way into town along with his entourage of disciples…pops into the synagogue and starts teaching…people start squawking. (pause) WAIT A SEC…THIS IS THE GUY? That’s Jesus…known him for years. I remember when he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Dude’s a carpenter…learned it from Joseph. He helped put the roof on my house a few years back. That’s his mom right there…his brothers too.  (pause)

Now we hear that the people are in awe of what Jesus is up to…maybe in a good way or maybe not so good…but it seems, based on this whole deal, that they can’t quite wrap their heads around things…around the amazing stories that they’ve heard. About the miracles and the radical teachings about the kingdom of heaven coming near that Jesus has been embodying up to this point…I don’t know if the stories that had spread around had called Jesus by name, so that when the source comes strolling back into town they’re shocked to find it’s the young man who grew up playing in their neighborhood…or on the flip side if they had heard it and couldn’t quite believe it was him until he showed up again…but clearly something’s going on…and we hear that they took offence at him. That they were scandalized by it…you can even say they were tripped up at this new reality that Jesus was bringing about right here in their midst.

Their apparent reaction is so extreme that it Jesus compares his reception with that of the Old Testament prophets, and how they were often ignored or worse…and its even to the point where miracles aren’t happening…and it all seems to boil down what Mark calls their Unbelief.

That’s actually a pretty good description…its literally the opposite of believing…apistis in case you want a little Greek…Jesus is amazed…and probably not overly happy…at their lack of faith.

But if that’s the case…then just what is it that they are supposed to believe?  That he is who he says he is? That maybe, just maybe there’s something divine at work within this man that they thought they knew?  That maybe when he says the kingdom of heaven has come near…that it has done so in the flesh of this person that they’re scoffing at?  That maybe just maybe that which is divine and so utterly other than we are has made the choice to come among us…AS ONE OF US…that the divine will be found amongst and even within the human?

Maybe that is kind of a tall tale…but what if its true? Just what does that mean for those people on that day…or even for us today….that we might turn from unbelief to belief…from a lack of faith in the good news that Jesus has brought forth into faith….and not only that, but just how might that happen?

I think that’s a big question right there…especially for us in the church now in the 21st century…as we continue to look forward into an unknown future, within a society that doesn’t really seem to care if we’re around or not…with individuals who have either been burned by the church…or they’ve got zero experience with it…or perhaps worse yet, the only things they hear are the judgmental wrath that tends to get spewed around on social media or on the news by people who seem to have missed the utter magnitude of just what the gospel really means. (pause)

I think we all wrestle with that don’t we? How can we make this make sense to someone else…something that is so meaningful to us…something that has changed our lives….its changed our perspectives…this idea…or this concept…or maybe we just call it the truth of our own existence that there is something out there…we call it God…that takes so much love and delight in us as individuals who exist bearing the divine image of that thing we call God, that we are chosen and claimed as children even in the midst of the brokenness that is a part of us…that’s the gospel…while we were sinners, Christ died for us.

That’s it.  And it seems so simple…and it just kinda makes sense doesn’t it…and I don’t know about you…but this mind blowing truth of God’s grace changes everything…and once you’ve have seen you can’t unsee…once you have heard you can’t unhear.

But perhaps the biggest problem that we face is the desire that we have to MAKE others see and hear that which we have experienced…to somehow force them to have the same experience with the divine that we have had…because if we can make that happen…well then their faith will be the same as ours. (pause)

But that’s not how this works is it? How many of us can “make” someone else believe?  How’s your track record? How many people have you willed into believing this stuff? How many can you claim on your evangelism scoreboard?  (pause) I’ll be honest…if you say any number larger than zero, you’re lying to yourself…because we can’t do it…and in fact I believe we can’t even do it for ourselves. Others will disagree with me on this and you are entitled to…but I believe that faith…that believing in Jesus…that trusting God’s love is for you now as you are…it’s a gift…its not of you…and we find this if we explore the only other time that the idea of “unbelief” comes up in Mark’s Gospel.

There’s a story, its in chapter 9, when man comes up to Jesus, utterly desperate for someone to help his son who is possessed by a demon. And he asks Jesus for help…Jesus tells him, all things are possible for those who believe…and the man responds “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

That guy gets it…that the reality of the kingdom of heaven is WAY bigger than we can comprehend…and that even when we come face to face with it, it might be too big for us to handle…and so we look to the one who is able to do something it…for the Lord is the source of belief…God is the source of faith…not us.

That’s the beauty…all of this stems from God. Its not of us. The promise comes from God. The claim on our lives and our souls comes from God.  Through Christ the good news from God LITERALLY came among us…and just as Jesus sent out the disciples 2 by 2 in the back half of today’s story, to share their experience with this life changing news, we’ve been given the same authority and the same command to do the exact same thing.

I don’t know about you, but I find it a relief to know that all I’ve been called to do is to share what I’ve experienced…to share what I’ve found to be true despite my shortcomings.  God will handle the rest. Things change…and I thank God that its possible…and that through Christ, its not only possible…it is a reality. That, is what I have experienced. Amen.

Different is Shocking 10-29-17


In this Reformation Sunday sermon, I explore John 8:31-36 as Jesus reminds us that the boxes that we create for ourselves are insufficient for salvation.

You can listen the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Patterns are a wonderful thing…and they bring a sense of familiarity and often, predictability along with them. An example is the tendency for certain people to show up here in the church at predictable times. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but one of the things that I’ve come to recognize is that on Thursday afternoons…usually right about the same time that I’m getting ready to head out and get my kids at school, our very own Julie Larson is going to show up for some light altar guild duties…namely…she’s here to tend to the altar candles. Sometimes we overlap, sometimes I’m already out the door…but it happens often enough that I hear the front door open as I’m sitting in my office and I know who it is…and that about 10 seconds after I hear the front door, Julie will poke her head around and say hi as she’s walking into the sanctuary.

This, of course, was the case this past Thursday. Julie walked in as I was wrapping up…and she was still in the process of candles when I left…and so…when I walked into the office on Friday morning…and did my customary glance through the Sanctuary windows…I did a double take…I was shocked to see the change from the green paraments over the red for today.

Now any time the paraments change it catches my attention…but this time its probably safe to say that it shocked me a little more than normal…because they haven’t changed in a really long time. We’ve been in the season on Pentecost…which features the color green…and is also the longest season of the church year…and so there’s been no change in color since the beginning of June…almost half a year has gone by…no wonder I did a double take when things looked differently in here…I said it a minute ago, and I think it’s a good way to describe my reaction to the change…shocking.

Now…today is of course…Reformation Sunday, that’s why everything is red…and its big one isn’t it. This year is 500 years…we celebrate today on the last Sunday of October as we always do…and the actually anniversary is in just a couple days…we’ve been talking about it all year…but really, its safe to say that our tradition gives the Reformation a lot of emphasis…we even named ourselves after the guy who started it with a hammer and nail and 95 ideas for reforming the church.

Now that event in itself, was shocking enough…and the ripples have spread across the world over the course of the past 5 centuries…now for us its old hat…old news…familiar…but just think about how shocking it must have been for those who were alive at that time…that this upstart professor from backwater Germany was pushing back against Rome and the pope…that he dared challenge the authority…that he challenged the way things have ALWAYS been done.

Interestingly enough…Luther’s experience…and perhaps, the basis for his important work…well it stemmed from a shocking experience as well…and no I don’t mean the fact that he was almost struck by lightning in his younger years, though that would certainly be shocking…pardon the pun…but rather…in his study of the scriptures…Luther’s mind was blown…his world was rocked…when he stumbled across the passage from Romans that we shared a moment ago…and the verse “the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”  His view of a judgmental God that was waiting to strike us all down for our sins was blown out of the water as he recognized the free gift of God’s grace through Christ…shocking for him to say the least…and something that I think served as his metaphorical, or perhaps, spiritual 2×4 upside the head.

Change is shocking isn’t it? A change in decorations or color like here in the sanctuary. A change in tradition like Luther instigated through the Reformation…and also, the apparent shock that comes around when Jesus challenges the thought process of his audience in today’s gospel. (pause)

Now this brief reading out of John 8 is featured every year on Reformation Sunday…as Jesus reminds us about the importance of continuing in his word…or sometimes we hear remaining…or abiding…a common theme in John’s gospel…one that we hear many different times and in different settings.

And interestingly enough…the setting of this exchange between Jesus and some of the Jewish elite is a perfect example…but we’ve got to back up to the beginning of chapter 7 for things to start making sense…and as we look back, we learn that Jesus is in Jerusalem in order to celebrate one of the Jewish festivals…something that they did multiple times a year in their tradition…and this particular time, its for the festival of booths.

The whole setting of this festival is interesting…it lasts 8 days…with a Sabbath day at the beginning as everyone collectively rests…and then there’s another big Sabbath day at the end…and throughout the course of the entire festival…everyone is living in a booth…or a little tent that they’ve constructed in and around the city. The purpose of this festival was two-fold…first to celebrate the harvest in the fall…not unlike our Harvest Festival in November…but then as with all of the Jewish festivals…there was a sense of remembering the past…and in this case, God had instructed the Jewish culture to have this celebration every year to remember the 40 years of wandering as their ancestors lived out these years living in their tents…and not only that…but to remember that during that entire time of wandering…God dwelled among them…God, abided in their midst.

This is the festival that has JUST happened prior to today’s reading. One night has passed and Jesus is still in the city…hanging out in the temple courts…teaching and preaching as he often does. And because of his words…because of the truth that he’s been laying out…we hear that many of the Jews in his audience have come to believe in him…and with that, we hear his instruction of abiding in his words…and how this truth will set them free.

Cue the shocked look on the faces of these brand new believers…Wait a sec Jesus…we WILL be free? We’re descendants of Abraham…we’ve never been servants to anyone…what do you mean we will be free? (pause)
Now I can’t help but chuckle at this, because apparently these individuals…who are all members of a culture that places ultimate value on their history and their cultural identity which is tied intimately into past events…they seem to have forgotten that the vast majority of their history found them conquered and controlled by one ultimate political power of the day…the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians and Greeks and Romans.

These people seem to forget all of that history because they are completely stuck in the connection that they hold as descendants of Abraham…and the promise of God’s covenant made so many years before. For them…this is the ultimate distinction…and the thing that they place all of their stock in…as if to say that there’s a box…and if you fall in that box you’re good to go…but if not then you’ll somehow be found lacking. (pause)
I can’t help but find this almost laughable…they’ve just been celebrating God abiding among his people in a spiritual sense…but yet they fail to fully recognize that God has chosen to abide among his people in the physical sense…and even more specifically, that this God in human form…this Word of God made flesh was standing right in front of them talking to them.

Because to fully recognize this…and to fully accept his word and his teaching is to say that the box they had created…the connection to Abraham…their culture…to recognize that this distinction isn’t good enough…that’s downright shocking…it seems to be a tripping point for them that they just can’t get past.

And as I consider this, I can only think that its serves as an example for us as well…that somehow, someway every single one of us will come face to face with a tripping point…with a stumbling block, at some point in our lives…even in the midst of our lives of faith…perhaps even because of it.

Jesus says if you abide in my word you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.  It seems that on that day, for these particular people…the truth that was revealed was that their cultural identity earned them zero points as far as justification goes. Their Jewish distinction got them nowhere…and it blew their minds to the point of being unable to continue following Jesus…which we hear if we continue on through the narrative.

And I find myself asking the same question…when we come face to face with the ultimate truth of God made flesh in Jesus Christ…what misconceptions…what falsehoods that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking give us the edge, will be brought to light for us to see?

Will it be the distinction of our American freedom?  Will it be our upper European Lutheran heritage that we celebrate today on Reformation Sunday…that idea that we’ve got all this theology and tradition figured out and everyone else has it wrong? Will it be our insistance that we don’t actually need God and that we alone are in control?

What is it that is revealed with THE LIGHT shines in our darkness? (pause) I can only think that when we face whatever truth shocks our fragile illusions, we will be left as bare as those individuals who couldn’t get past their cultural identity.  And when we come face to face with a truth that shocks us beyond measure…our only hope is to cling to the words of Christ…to remain there…to abide there in the midst of the promises that he has made…and here’s the thing…he promises us that if the Son makes you free…you are free indeed…and that because of what God has done through the death and resurrection of Christ…because of the proclamation that He has claimed you as his beloved child…the promise is yours that you will abide in his house forever.  (pause)
Here in the Lutheran church…we’ve spent a lot of time looking backwards at the last 500 years…clinging to our culture and tradition…and this is not a bad thing…but we must learn the same lesson that Jesus revealed to the Jews who were stuck in the same state…that now things have changed, and let us seek out how to live into the unknown future as we cling to the hope of God’s promises for each of us…let us remember the importance of what God has said about us…as we move into the next 500. And not just that but as we move past the last 2000 years, and not only that but as we move past all the years that have come and gone since time began and remember that God’s promise is to love us and claim us today and tomorrow and forever. And that this is true for us despite the brokenness that we all feel, shocking though it might be…let us abide in that. Amen

Do We Expect the Spirit 10-15-17


In this sermon, based on Matthew 22:1-14, I explore the parable of the wedding banquet. Do we expect to be changed when we encounter God? Maybe we should.

You can listen to the audio of the sermon here:

You can also follow along with the text of the sermon here:

Grace and peace to you in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Many of you are familiar with the fact that in my former life, or the time before I became a pastor…that I started off my career managing golf courses. During that season of my life, I was employed on the maintenance crew at 2 different courses…the first through my college years, and the second for about 2 years after graduating.

Now as is the case with most things…different golf courses are going to be managed in different ways. The first was larger with a bigger crew, the second had a smaller crew…and this became most evident on the weekends.  Pretty much every course that I am aware of works an abridge schedule on the weekends. It’s the busy time for the course, so the workers show up, perhaps a touch earlier than on a weekday…they do the bare minimum, which is usually mowing the greens and raking the bunkers…and then they get out of the way. This was actually the case at both of those courses. The difference emerged when we looked at when crew members were on weekend duty. The first course offered a rotation…and we were pretty much on duty every other weekend, both Saturday and Sunday…but the second was a little different. A couple guys worked Saturday morning, and a couple of us worked Sunday morning…me included.

Now my boss there knew that I was a church-goer…and given every possibility that I wanted to make it to worship…and typically that worked ok…we’d get done what we needed and I’d have to time to get home, get cleaned up and head to church.

But there was one time that things were a little different…and it happened to occur on the day that one of my nieces was going to be baptized a couple towns over. Long story short…the service would take place earlier than I normally needed to be at church…and we had some extra going on workwise…and I got out, with just enough time to make the mental decision about either stopping off at home to try and clean up…or to show up for the baptism in my grubby clothes. (pause) Long story short, that day I set the record for the fastest I’ve ever gotten ready. In the door, shower, dressed in a full suit, and out the door again in 6 minutes…Now I easily could have shown up for the baptismal service grubby, and no one probably would have cared…but I felt like I needed to be a little more presentable. (pause)

Now that very idea brings me around to the gospel. Another parable…another story told by Jesus to illustrate the importance of our response to the invitation of the Lord into the Kingdom of Heaven…and its an interesting one.

A king is throwing a banquet for his son’s wedding. The invitations have already gone out to the king’s chosen guest list…but for whatever reason…once everything is ready and the king sends his messengers off with the call to show up…everyone on the guest list declines…some offer excuses…some get riled up and literally killed the messengers…the king in turn…he gets all riled up as well, sends out his soldiers to kill the perpetrators and burn down their city…which is lovely to say the least. But then the king tells his servants, go out…and anyone you find, invite them in because this banquet honoring my son…it will be filled…and this is precisely what happens.  And you know its interesting…the king doesn’t discriminate does he…bring them in…the good and the bad. And the wedding is filled.

Now here’s the thing…how many of those people out walking the streets…or working in the fields…how many of them do you suppose were carrying a wedding robe at the time?  (pause) Think about it? Why would they…there’s no reason for them to think on this particular day that the king was going to invite them into a banquet…but if a representative of the king grabs you and says “come to his banquet” you go…period…right then and there…there would be no option of stopping off at home for a 6 minute clean up session so they could arrive with a suit on.

But apparently there are robes aren’t there? There must be…because, as we hear…there’s an issue on this basis…one we’ll talk a bit more about momentarily…and so…it raises the question of just where are they getting the robes?

It stands to reason that the host provides them…that as they come in…they follow social decorum…knowing they need to accept the robe…and the host knows he needs to provide them…and everyone follows decorum…and the party gets going…and the king does a walk through and everything is peachy…until the king lays eyes on this one guy…this guy who has the audacity to NOT…be wearing a wedding robe.

The king asks him why…he of course has no good answer and is standing there silenced out of his guilt in the face of the king and host…and as we hear…there are consequences. (pause)
Now I’ve run over this in my head time after time…and I’ve wondered…what’s up with this guy. He knows the expectations…he walked in with everyone else…he showed up at the party…but when he reached the door and one of the servants offered him the robe…I can only think that he looked at them…checked out his own attire and thought… “Nah…I’m good.” (pause) But considering what ultimately happens…it would seem that no, he’s not good as is…and the change was expected. (pause)
So what’s that mean for us today? What’s this robe? What’s this wedding banquet? What are these expectations that Jesus is trying to broadcast for us? (Pause) I’ve wrestled with these questions quite a bit…because to talk about banquet in the scriptures seems like a pretty obvious reference to the heavenly banquet that we’ve been invited to…and if we proclaim, over and over again…that God invites as we are…and yes I believe that to be true…then what are we supposed to learn from the guy who takes a look at the robe offered by the host and thinks “Nah I’m good.”

Maybe the only conclusion that we can reach is that simply showing up at the banquet isn’t enough…maybe its insufficient to think that we can just be here and then walk out the same as when we walked in.

What are the “clothes” that we might need to change? What are the practices or understandings or ways of thinking that we might be called to set aside? What things might God ask us to take off and set down, so that we might emerge different than when we came in? (pause)

As I think along these lines, I find myself asking an important question…do we, as believers in Christ, enter into situations where God is present expecting to see change? What do we expect? Do we anticipate the Holy Spirit to be active…to blow through and change us? Or do we think that we can just be present for the event…whatever it is…and then walk away as if nothing significant has happened?

Now there are a lot of different events or situations that we could consider…but perhaps the easiest one to think about is worship…do we show up here at 10:15 on Sunday morning with the expectation that there will be something different about us when we walk out at 11:30? Because if we don’t, we are selling the Holy Spirit short in a big bad way. (pause)
There’s something that I do every week that perhaps you’ve noticed…and I’ve been asked about it before…at the end of worship, in the midst of the final hymn…once the acolyte walks out, I step out of my pew and stand in the front of the aisle for just a brief moment…and as I do I say a prayer thanking God for whatever the Spirit accomplished during this worship time…but there’s another thing I do that no one probably notices…at the beginning of worship, right after the organist makes eye contact with me and I’m about to walk up the aisle, I ask for the Spirit to show up…and we never know how that will happen do we?

Sometimes the Spirit shows up when a child asks the perfectly timed question during the children’s sermon…sometimes the Spirit shows up when I sing Jesus Loves Me and the music for offering happens to be the same song…sometimes the Spirit shows up when I’m sermonating about God talking to us in many ways and someone’s phone rings.

These are just a few ways that have happened in this sanctuary…and there are many others, some that are blatantly apparent and some that perhaps we fail to recognize…but I return to the question…what do we expect of the Spirit when we enter into a situation…and do we come with the expectation that we will be changed in the midst of it?

The apostle Paul tells us that if we are in Christ we are new creation…and this isn’t something that we merely pay lip service to…but we need to think of this in the same way that Paul does in the original language…because they way he writes it implies some pretty serious astonishment at play…if anyone is in Christ…NEW CREATION!!!!!!

And we can rest assured that is what the parable is trying to tell us…because throughout the New Testament we continue to hear imagery of clothing ourselves…to be clothed in righteousness…to be clothed in Christ…and my friends this is very sacramental when think about it…for to put on Christ happens in the waters of our baptism when we are empowered with the Holy Spirit…and we are joined together with the body of Christ. And interestingly enough, the last time I preached on this passage one of our blessed children was being baptized in this font.

But this is not to say that the “wedding robe” that we put on only happens once in our lives…but we must remember that every single day…each and every moment we are called to embody the reality of death and new life…something that is literally happening in our very bodies every moment. (pause)

Did you know that in your body…in any given moment about 300 million cells die…and in that same moment, your body gives rise to 300 million new ones to replace them? You are literally dying and rising again during every single instant of your lifetime…and even more amazing…you were intentionally made that way by the one who has made new life possible through the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (pause)
God created us to quite literally, become new every moment…so let us live out every day, every moment, every situation in a way that reflects this…let us live our lives in a way that reflects the change that comes upon us through the presence of the Holy Spirit…the presence of God in us and around us.

We cannot expect to remain the same…for to try and remain the same is to deny the very being that God has made us in the first place. Amen.