Monday, April 29, 2013

A New Earth Would Be Good

Revelation 21: 1-6
When we read from the Revelation to John it reads like bombs bursting in air over and over again, its one remarkable image after another.  Seals and trumpets, visions and apocalypse, angels and creatures, harvest and plagues, lambs and beasts, fasten your seat belts folks because when you read Revelation, it’s a bumpy flight into your past, your present, and your future.

Just prior to where we pick up our reading, John sees an angel with the key to the bottomless pit who then proceeds to throw the devil into it.  He sees souls; previously beheaded for their testimony to Christ, rise to life again to reign for 1,000 years.  After this Satan is released but felled into the lake of fire, the books are opened, one for the righteous and one for the less fortunate.  It’s fiery, it’s chaos, and it’s mayhem.

And then” says John, “I saw a new heaven…..

…..and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. 
He will dwell with them; 
 they will be his peoples, 
 and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

This passage burst open with peace after a fiery scenario; it is like the quiet after the storm, the stillness after violent winds, it is security after uncertain endings like when a child has tantrumed for hours only to climb in your lap for your loving touch and rest for her weary soul, or it might be like the renewal of a tattered relationship with someone you care very deeply about or the cessation of pain.  After you have turned the corner of turbulence you feel peace.  I think that we have all perhaps experienced this feeling.  It brings relief.  You feel lighter as if you are ready to begin anew.

In all of this mayhem in Revelation we get an apocalypse, a vision of a better existence, a new heaven and a new earth.  It is a vision of newness, freshness, of shalom.  It is God granting us a new creation, a new garden for our lives to dwell in.  And how blessed we are to be given vision into what a new heaven would be like.  But how grand it s to think about a new earth for surely that is what is at hand for us; that’s the reality in which we live and love.

Phil Connors, in the move Groundhog Day, was stuck in the same day.  Over and over and over again he repeated the same day literally, same activities, you could see the distress in his face as he work up, only to know that he was going to relive the day before.  He was stuck in a time warp that prevented the clock and calendar to move forward.
Now Phil was not a nice man.  He was condescending and self-absorbed in his materialist world.  He hurt people, stepped on people and when he finally realized that he could change his behavior to affect the outcome of each day that is when his transformation began, his new day, and his new earth.  At the end of the movie when six am flips over on the alarm clock once again and it really was a new day, things were different, he could start again at it was a RELIEF.  He hopped out of bed with a heightened awareness of himself, life around him, and the world.  He got a second chance at life.

What would that image look like or feel like for you?  That new day?  John, in Revelation, dared to record his visions, do you?  We often dream that our lives would be different don’t we?  That somehow if we could just start over, things might be a little more peaceful and serene.  A slower pace, less financial pressures to worry about, less time on the cell or on email and more time face to face with those whom we love, more abundance, and I don’t mean material things, but abundance of good and hope, laughter and joy in your life.  What is your vision for a new earth for you?

It could be a simple change of attitude that will allow you to live more fully into your life or your faith.  It might be cashing in one mode of behavior for another that will help you to see differently the enormous possibility born each day. 

Unlike Phil, in Groundhog Day, we don’t have to make a new day happen on our own, we’ve got help.  Our passage goes on to tell us that God dwells with us, among mortals, here in Orange, in our church, in your homes, in your life.  God will wipe away our tears and make all things new, make things better, heal the wounds that life has inflicted upon us – each day, every day – relax into it.  When that happens we can start over again.  The storm has passed and it is calm.  Shalom reigns, wholeness for our lives.

I believe that it is God’s hand guiding us and helping us to experience this new existence, these turnings of the clock when it becomes a new day, a new place, and a second chance.  God is there in the muck of our existence, and with God we will be pulled through to the other side met with promises of hope and transformation.  It is true; there is a new heaven and a new earth, with the God of everlasting hope.

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ God says, ‘the beginning and the end’, the Genesis, our beginning and the revelation of things to come.   You need not ask for more.  Our hope for a new day, a new earth is here among us.  Trust in the process someone once told me, so too, here we trust that our tomorrow’s will be better than our today’s and that God’s peace and renewal will follow the storms of our lives.  This is all we need. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

From Tears to Triumph

Acts 9: 36-43
We are continuing our reflection in the Book of Acts, the 9th chapter.  What begins with the conversion of Saul, later known as Paul, concludes with a story about Peter and a woman most commonly known as Dorcas.  Here now the word of the Lord as recorded to us by Luke in the book of Acts…

Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.

Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, ‘Please come to us without delay.’ So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, ‘Tabitha, get up.’ Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

It started out like a typical bereavement call.  Peter, one of the leaders of the Way near Joppa was called to the home of Dorcas, a poor widow who had just died.  When he arrived her friends, her “church” community, was already there preparing her body, weeping and mourning the loss of their friend.  They did what any close knit community does when they suffer the loss of someone; they come together in their sorrow, to share stories about their friend and to lift up all of the good things that Dorcas did in her lifetime. 

Then Peter, utilizing all of his pastoral skills asks the mourners to leave him alone with Dorcas and in that moment of prayer and invocation of the Spirit he took her hand and raised her back to life.  This is another remarkable story of resurrection and hope.  Of life overcoming death, of light outshining the darkness.  It is appropriate that we speak to this today, of all days, after the week we have all been through.

But Dorcas being raised from the dead is not exactly what I want to talk with you about today.  We know that Dorcas, nor Peter lived forever, that in their humanity they eventually succumbed to death as will all of us someday.  We know that they left a community of friends behind who grieved and mourned their loss and that life did go on and that Christianity spread.

What I want to talk with you about today is spiritual health during times of crisis and the role in which the community can play because we know that crisis and stress can play games with our minds and our souls and it can leave you bewildered, beleaguered, fraught with fear and maybe even a little less believing in a God of love.

The events of this week have weighed heavily in my heart and caused me great concern, and fear, and sadness.

o   I am beleaguered by the fact the Boston Marathon, an American institution, a dream for many was so violently interrupted by the intentionally heartless acts of violence of two men – runners and men who had only the future before them. 

o   I am baffled and angry that our elected officials did not pass some sort of gun legislation merely two days after the bombings in Boston. Granted a bomb is not a gun.  But killing is killing, the loss of life and limb is the loss of life and limb. 

o   I am saddened by the plant explosion in West, Texas where fourteen people have died and the devastation to the plant and homes is great.

o   And then yet, in the same week I was riveted to the television and radio with sadness and relief at the death and then apprehension of the two suspects of the Boston Marathon and the officers who lost their life.

o   All of this in just one week’s time and in the shadows of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the blizzard, Hurricanes Sandy and Irene.  It has been a rollar coaster ride mostly downhill.  I am tired and feeling beat up.  It is too much.

Finding and offering community to other people in times of crisis is what we can do to heal the wounds of affliction.  The friends of Dorcas came together to share in their sorrow, their fears, the apprehensions and then they moved from that place to one of healing and hope.  They had witnessed with their own eyes the miraculous love and grace of God in the middle of death.  They joined their spirits together and acknowledged that there was a larger force at work and in doing so began their own healing.

It is challenging at the least to live in resurrection light when the darkness of the tomb is all around us.  When the friends of Dorcas were in the deepest, darkest, most dank valley they didn’t recede into the depth of isolation.  They chose to honor life and walk through that valley together.  And we can too.

We can grab another person’s hand and say ‘let’s get out of here’, there is another way out.  Spiritual healing is not an impossible task.  It takes time with every step we take and it takes being in community, it takes each other like the Beatles say, ‘I get by with a little help with my friends’. 

We were created to be relational; that is, we live in relationship to one another and we use those relationships to know ourselves, and our greatest capacity.  Acknowledging this then it is possible to say that we can heal in relation to and with one another.  We can come together as a community bound by the vision of hope, perseverance and strength.  We can talk.  We can acknowledge fear and disappointment.  We can cry tears of sadness until there are no tears left.  It is in this relationship with one another that we can carry each other’s burdens and work toward resolution and healing.

We can rejoice in the good that humanity is doing when that gets overshadowed by the pervasive violence.  The youth and adults who arrived safely back last night from the Virginia mission trip worked together to combat the violence of homelessness by building hope and security for another family.  Let’s do more.  We can search for and work diligently toward the roots of systemic violence and apathy by coming together in conversation like the Interfaith Clergy group is doing on Tuesday night, come and be a part of this important conversation.  Creative endeavors like this is where our greatest potential lies for resolution and hope.

There is so much that we, as a faithful community can do.  We know the ways of Christ, now let’s embody them together and in doing so our spiritual healing will regenerate itself and begin anew. 

“Therefore, (brothers and sisters,) since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Converted for Good

Acts 9: 1-20
Damascus, back in the day, was a hotbed of spiritual activity it seems according to our scripture because the road to Damascus is where Saul, later to become known as Paul had his conversion experience.  All you need do is a Google Search to find out the iconic status the Damascus Road experience has become.  Today we will consider Luke’s account of the conversion of Saul, the 9th chapter.
He Qui, The Calling of Saint Paul
Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were travelling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.

Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ He answered, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’

But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’

So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’

Conversion can, at times, take on a very bad connotation.  In the Christian context particularly we have placed heavy emphasis on the act of conversion, I believe, without thought, without consideration, without regard to God’s part in all this.  When did you become a Christian?  How did you become a Christian?  What were you doing when you knew that you were saved?  For some, statistics are of value when counting how many lives have been saved, it’s sort of like McDonalds who touts on their billboards ‘over one billion served’.

I remember many years ago when the father of my son’s friend asked me if I ‘was saved’.  Sean, being a ‘born again’ Christian, wanted to know a specific time and date when I received Jesus into my life.  When had I truly converted or transformed my life.  I was at somewhat of a loss for words since I had never known myself to be anything other than Christian[i], and a practicing one at that! 

I suppose I could have pulled out the church bulletin from the day I was baptized, December 28, 1952, which I still have but I don’t think that would have assuaged Sean’s deepest desire to know if I was REALLY saved.  We both went away that day uneasy with the conversation and unsatisfied.  He, because he couldn’t add another ‘saved life’ to his tally and me feeling rather incompetent since I have never had a flashy, light-blinding ordeal like Saul of Tarsus.  Conversion is a very personal experience and not something that we can use a formula on or even try to invoke ourselves.

When you hear the story of Saul’s Damascus Road experience it really leaves you feeling a bit inadequate if you have not had that sort of experience.  His is rather blatant.  Flashes of light, a voice from heaven.  Blindness, hunger and thirst, he had to be led into Damascus rather than find his way himself.  His conversion was a life changing experience that took three days to complete.  And when Ananias finally laid hands on Saul, then and only then did the scales fall from his eyes and he could see.

What did he see?  He saw the disciples in a new light; he saw the world around him in a different way.  His old habits had been altered to make ready for the new.  He saw that rather than being a persecutor of the followers of Jesus he could become a believer and proclaimer of the Word and the Way.  And we know that he did!  That is some major turnaround.  His life was changed for the good.

And Ananias?  He also needed a change of heart in order to lay hands on Saul.  He balked at the thought of touching Saul but it was God who said to him, ‘Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings…’.   So Ananias then laid his hands on Saul, he trusted that what God was doing was the right thing to do.  He compassionately called Saul brother.  Saul was no longer the enemy.  Ananias’ heart was transformed for the good.

Yes, conversions, changes of heart, transformations, altered states, however you name it, can happen in any way shape or form because it is God who chooses to enlighten us and do a new thing with us and for us.  When we are converted whether in the blink of an eye or with razz a matazz, or over a lifetime we are converted for God’s good that is for the betterment of our lives and those around us. 

I believe that we are converted because God wants and needs us for SOME reason, which may or may not be made known to us.  “Live the questions”, says poet Ranier Maria Rilke[ii].  We are God’s instruments, chosen and beloved to bring God’s presence before each person or each circumstance that we encounter.  And what that means is that we are to speak justice, love kindly and to live each and every day lifting up God’s presence and trusting that tomorrow will be a better day.  Otherwise, what is the point of conversion if we do not live into the hope of Jesus the Christ?

I have no doubt that one, some, or all of the youth and adults who have gone on the mission that left just yesterday will come back changed, converted in a way.  It might be through the hard work that they will be doing or the encounter with the homeowner, or even a moment between friends, a proverbial ‘light bulb’ will go on and they will experience the profound love and awesome nature of God.   They will understand that to help another person is the Gospel at work.  Herein lies the conversion; it is a conversion of the heart to a new way of seeing and living, doing and being.

What happened on the Damascus Road so long ago to Saul happens today.  He was blinded and then was made to see again, but with fresh vision.  He witnessed of God’s redemptive love for you and me and then told others who also might just need a lift. 

Every person’s got a story to tell of how God has lifted them up from despair to hope, from ruin to growth, from really abhorrent behavior to decent, ethical living and then moved them on to help out this sorry world. How it happened, that’s not the most important point.  The point is that it did happen.

Conversion is not just a 10-letter word, or a tally sheet, or flashing lights on a dusty distant road.  It is an ongoing witness of love for others to see and hear.  God calls.  God converts.  Now go!  We are God’s instruments to bring peace. 


[i] This concept is derived from the book ‘Christian Nurture’ by Horace Bushnell, c. 1847.
[ii] From the book, “Letters to a Young Poet” by Ranier Maria Rilke.

Monday, April 1, 2013

An Easter Lens

John 20: 1-18
We are faithful witnesses to the resurrection because we have come here today seeking to hear and experience the joy and excitement of a story that is over 2,000 years old.  And, each year, the story does not disappoint us.  Our alleluia’s ring out, lilies dot the communion table, the children are dressed in their pastel finery, a bonnet or two still emerges and the scent of chocolate bunnies and Peeps are in the air!  Christ has risen, and we witness that miracle once again today. 

Our denomination, the United Church of Christ has a slogan that reads,  “Our Faith is over 2,000 years old, our thinking is not.”  Excellent point because what good is an irrelevant faith?  What purpose would it serve if this resurrection story was just ‘an idle tale’ as the apostles in Luke’s Gospel first believed it to be? (Luke 24:11)
 It’s not that there is nothing new to say about the resurrection story that makes it irrelevant for our lives, this 2,000 year plus story, it’s that’s there’s everything to say about the resurrection of Jesus.  So much so that first Paul records it and then all of the Gospels record it.  Matthew, Mark and Luke were cohorts in their recounting of the resurrection but John, he goes maverick and writes a very human and endearing story for us to tell and retell each year.

Let us now place ourselves in the Gospel of John, the 20th chapter and witness what happened on that first Easter morning…

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, (ra-BO-nai) “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Just like the beloved birth narratives of Jesus that we so adore with the wise men and shepherds, the stars, angels, manger, we love to proclaim Jesus’ resurrection story over and over and over again because this story, even more than Jesus’ birth is the heart, the nucleus, and the genesis with a small g of our Christian faith.  We read into Jesus’ birth excitement and wonder because we know the end of the story.  And the end of the story is today, Easter Sunday.  Although, we know it’s really not THE end, it’s only the beginning. 

Mary from Magdala awakens early; it was still dark.  She takes oils to anoint Jesus’ body, she wanted to complete what she wasn’t able to accomplish on Friday because it was the Sabbath.  When she arrives at the tomb she sees that it’s empty.  You can imagine the fear, the unknowing, the sadness, the panic all funneled into that one little second when she sees that Jesus was not there.  She wastes no time and runs back to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the beloved one to tell them the news, or rather exclaim to them that someone has taken Jesus away.

Neither do Simon Peter and the other disciple waste any time.  They run also to the tomb, passing each other but the beloved one reaches the tomb first.  He looked in and saw the linen’s.  Then Peter arrives only seconds later and goes directly into the tomb and also sees the linen’s and the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.  It was rolled up neatly and laying aside.  The beloved also now enters the tomb.  And it is recorded that he believed, right then and there.

But Mary.  Faithful Mary.  Loving Mary.  Grieved Mary begins to weep.  She peers once again into the empty tomb only this time she sees angels gently sitting in the place where Jesus should have been. 

Her tears flowed, but then she hears a voice, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?”  She didn’t turn around to see who had just spoken to her.  She was fixated on the cavernous void of the tomb.  In between the tears she said, “They’ve taken my Lord away and I don’t know where.”   She thought he was the gardener and pleaded with him to tell her where he had taken Jesus’ body.

“Mary”, Jesus says.  She turns. “Teacher,” she says.  At that moment, that very tender moment, she knew.  She probably didn’t understand but she knew that Jesus was no longer dead but alive.  She knew at that point that she was not left alone in this garden but had Jesus beside her.

In this moment the tectonic plates of the world shifted and it has never been the same since.  You cannot deny that the resurrection did not cast a different light in this world.  Out of the tomb came life.  He who was tortured and maimed was now made whole. He who was once dead was now alive.  Indeed, if you believe, then it has the power to transform your life in ways that you can’t even image.

You’re probably thinking, ‘come on preacher, the world really hasn’t changed’.  The Romans probably got up the next morning without remorse and prepared the crosses for a new set of criminals and troublemakers.  Wars have commenced, hatred and injustice remain, people starve as the eyes of the indifferent gaze at them.  What in the world has changed since the first Easter morning? 

The question is not what has changed.  The question is who has changed?  My question is, have I changed?  Your question is, have you changed? Theologian Peter Gomes once said, “Easter is not just about Jesus; it is about you.  He has already claimed his new life; now it’s your chance to claim yours.”[i]  How will you proclaim your new life?  How can Easter possibly change you? 

It gives you new vision with which to see.
An Easter lens is like a kaleidoscope.  You look through the view finder and witness the most beautiful arrangement of jeweled fragments.  And then at the twist of the other end you have another exquisite configuration enfolding before your eyes.  Each twist is different, unique and beautiful. 

All the while what you are really gazing at might be, in reality, without the lens of the kaleidoscope, a trash heap.   But there can be beauty that arises out of despicable places.  Who among us at one time or another in our lives have not been able to see hope?  Who among us has not been able to envision the next minute yet alone the next few years?  Who among us has not been in the cold dark tomb, just like Jesus?  I suspect I am not the only one in this sanctuary.

The apostles moved out of their place of fear and sorrow and carried on witnessing to God’s great love and living accordingly.  You can too. You can be changed by the twist of your lens because the resurrection has given you new life too.  The apostle Paul says, ‘anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.  The past is forgotten and everything is new.’ (2 Cor 5:17) 

Today the tomb could not hold Jesus in death’s dark grips and neither can it do that to you.  Beauty from ugliness.  Hope from despair.  Life from death.  Easter proclaims the mighty and redemptive love of God when we can no longer see it for ourselves.
This is our proclamation today.

“Hold firmly”, Paul says, “to the message that I have proclaimed to you….If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain.” (1 Cor 15:2,13). 

There is no tomb dark enough or deep enough that we cannot climb out of and overcome because Christ has claimed that victory for us.  Hold firmly to it.

The lens of Easter through which we look at today is how we shall view all that happens to us in our lifetime.  This is no idle tale.  Hold firmly to it. 
We are reinvented, reborn, renewed, we have got a second chance at life because our vision now has been recast through the miracle of resurrection.   Wendell Berry ends his poem, “Manifesto: The Mad-Farmer Liberation Front” with a two word, prophetic sentence.  ‘Practice resurrection’.

Let us witness resurrection today and then practice it each day of our life.   

And you thought the resurrection was just a story! 

[i] Gomes, Peter, ‘Strength for the Journey’ from his sermon, ‘Starting Over’, p. 264