Sunday, June 17, 2018

"Seeds of Faith and Hope." A sermon from Littlefield Presbyterian Church.

"Seeds of Faith and Hope"

Mark 4:26-34; Ezekiel 17:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-17

            “The Kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.  The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.  But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest is come.”
            Karoline Lewis suggests that our lives are full of parables.  I think she’s right when she says that Jesus knew this, which is why he told parables to his followers.
            “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?”
            Parables are a way to try to make sense of things in life, as we struggle for a way to be in the world.
            Jesus has announced the arrival of God’s kingdom, but to skeptical eyes, it seems that nothing has changed.
            Mark uses Jesus’ parable of the growing seed to encourage those in charge of the early church.   Some of these congregations were planted under adverse—even dangerous—conditions. 
            Most scholars agree that Mark’s gospel was the earliest written of the four gospels.  It was probably written around 70 C.E., shortly after the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem, toward the end of the reign of the Emperor Nero.  It reflects a time of imminent persecution for those who professed the Christian faith, and Christians in Rome suffered particularly. 
            Mark’s gospel was written in a time of high anxiety.  Church leaders felt vulnerable and helpless.  So, it must have sounded like good news to be reminded that seeds are small and vulnerable, but can sprout and grow even in tough times.
            Chapter four in Mark has a series of seed parables, which teach us that God’s rule is something hidden… indirect… and surprising.   They tell us that the kingdom is near and breaking into the ordinary world where we live.   Mark wants us to know that God’s purposes—though hidden—are still present.  We need to move toward them—live into them with confidence.

            Mark gathers Jesus’ seed metaphors to help us discern God’s presence and work in small, surprising places.  In the parable of the growing seed, the seeds are a good image for how growth can happen in ways that are beyond our control or comprehension.
            In the parable of the mustard seed, a tiny mustard seed is contrasted with the size of the final tree.  Now, the fact is that a mustard seed doesn’t really grow into a tree.  The mustard plant is an annual herb that normally grows no more than six feet in height and would be considered a shrub, rather than a tree.  It’s in the imagination of the parable that a mustard seed can produce a tree with branches…and be similar to the imperial trees that symbolize kingdoms.   
            The people in the crowd gathered that day in Palestine thousands of years ago were likely familiar with the Ezekiel passage we heard today, in which images of tall, majestic cedar trees are symbols used to encourage people of Israel’s future greatness.  This would have been a comfort to Ezekiel’s original audience, in exile in Babylon.  The image of the noble cedar would have served to help encourage an oppressed people.
            In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus makes an allusion to Ezekiel’s message and other Old Testament tree of life images, in which birds of the air nest in its branches, but re-works it. In Jesus’ parable, God’s promised action comes after everything worldly that claims and seems to be of great promise has failed. 
            The humble mustard seed that grows into a scruffy shrub may seem like an odd image for Jesus to have chosen, when he could have used the majestic cedar to make his point.  But Jesus wants us to know that things are different in the kingdom of God when it breaks into our ordinary daily lives.  The kingdom of God has its own time… and its own rate of growth… and happens in unexpected, surprising ways. 
            The mustard seed was a common image in ancient Palestine for “the smallest thing.”  Like the humble mustard seed that grows into a scruffy shrub, the followers of Jesus are a bunch of ragged folk-- full of doubts and fears, unable to comprehend much of what Jesus says or does. 

            We look at the news and we see images of children being torn away from their parents, children in cages.  We hear government officials quoting a scripture verse to defend policies of arresting people who are fleeing violence and danger and separating families at the border.
            We listen to the stories of people impacted by poverty and hear what it’s like to live without running water in your home and what it’s like to try to get or hold a job in Detroit if you can’t afford a car and insurance. 
            Some of you have told me you struggle with despair and have a hard time seeing the hope. Maybe some of us can relate to what Rev. Jill Duffield wrote in The Presbyterian Outlook: “What kind of people have we become?" We are doomed. I am living in a dystopian novel.”[1]
            But the scripture texts the lectionary gives us for this Sunday tell us that God does not see things as we do. They say that God looks upon the heart, not outward appearances. They say: “We walk by faith and not by sight.”  They say: “We are always confident.” The texts say: “The love of Christ urges us on. We don’t live to ourselves. We regard no one from a human point of view. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.” The texts say: “The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, tiny, insignificant, vulnerable--but explosive, with the potential and promise to nurture, shade, hide, protect the birds of the air and the beasts of the land…”
            So, I’m with Jill Duffield when she says, “I refuse to live as if I am a character in a dystopian novel. I won’t give up that easily. The texts won’t let me.”[2]
            There’s a tiny mustard seed of faith that won’t give up, that keeps sprouting through the cracks of our fatigue and doubt and cynicism and fear and hard-heartedness.
            This past week, we heard several powerful people invoking Romans 13 to say the Bible commands us to “obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” and then we heard from many parts of the faith community in response.[3]  Since then, for those with “ears to hear,” it’s been like a Bible study on social media.
            We heard from biblical scholars who explained how the verse from Romans was distorted when it was taken out of context. The Rev. Dr. Margaret Aymer Oget and other scholars reminded us that we need to consider the verse in the larger context, in which the apostle Paul argued that all commandments are summed up in the teaching “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)[4]   The scholars have been reminding us that Paul continued, saying, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:10) 
            Biblical scholars and others have been telling us that the first two verses of Romans 13 that say, “Let everyone be subject to the government authorities” have been quoted out of context over history to support laws and policies we now consider to be unjust and inhumane.
            At various times, very unjust and inhumane policies were the law of the land. For example, chattel slavery was the law of the land, and fugitive slave laws required people to return refugees from slavery as property to their "owners." People of faith and principle who provided assistance to them were breaking the law.  In the 1980’s, the same verses were used as proof texts against the end of Apartheid in South Africa.

            The issue of immigration in our country is complicated and requires the rigorous debate in which we are now engaged. Those who wish to invoke a biblical ethic need to be guided by this test of love. There is nothing loving about prying children from their parents’ arms when families are at their most vulnerable.
            Over the past few days, we have heard from various parts of the church.  The Catholic Bishops and others have been saying you can’t be pro-life and against immigrant children.[5]  We’ve heard from Evangelicals and mainline denominations and the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals, denouncing the separation of families and speaking for just immigration policies.[6]
            These voices from around the church have also been reminding us that the Bible shouldn’t--and can’t--be used to argue against immigration. Passages from Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and the prophets teach us to care for the stranger and the immigrant: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you. You shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”[7][8] That’s just one reference, from Leviticus 19, but there are plenty of others.[9]
            Like Jill Duffield, like a lot of you, I don’t want to live as if I’m a character in a dystopian novel.  I want to live in faith and hope. So, I want to trust that the reign of God is bursting into history and resting on us.
            In the parables we heard today, Jesus once again lifts up the grace and power of God taking the smallest seed and transforming it into a great plant that provides shelter and sustenance for all. 
            I’ve been amazed and encouraged to read and hear the conversations about what the scriptures and our faith traditions teach us about immigration and how we are called to live. [If you’ve missed this and want to check it out, you could do a Google search of Romans 13 and find all kinds of commentary.  Also, I shared links to a number of the articles on Facebook and, just now, in the footnotes to this sermon.]
            I’ve been encouraged by all the interest in looking at immigration and some other issues through the eyes of faith.

            I believe Jesus is looking for hungry hearts, for people for whom the world’s answers aren’t satisfying, those who are willing to keep our imaginations open.  Jesus calls us to follow, and
promises: “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God.”
            Jesus wants us to know that we can trust the forces of God’s mercy and grace and love to bring in the kingdom of God.  Don’t be discouraged by the size of the beginning… or by drought or bad weather.  The kingdom of God will come.
            God’s Kingdom of grace and mercy will come, because God creates and gives it. The kingdom of God grows in hidden, mysterious ways.  We can trust God to produce the harvest—in God’s time and God’s ways.
            As disciples of Christ, we are called to make a difference in order for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.  With a bit of courage—and a lot of imagination, “looking twice” at the world around us—we can trust that God is at work growing the kingdom in the midst of our ordinary lives—even when we can’t see it. 
            We are invited to live mustard seed lives until all the birds of the air have a place to make a nest, until every nation cares for the poor, until nobody goes to bed hungry, until there is a lovely shaded place for all to live.
            We have been given the secret of the reign of God.  This is the Good News of the gospel. 

Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
June 17, 2018

[1] Jill Duffield, “Looking Into the Lectionary,” in The Presbyterian Outlook.
[2] Jill Duffield, “Looking Into the Lectionary.

[7] Leviticus 19:33-34

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"Crazy Talk?" A Sermon on Mark 3:20-35 from Littlefield Presbyterian Church

"Crazy Talk?"

Mark 3:20-35

         “Out of his mind.”  That’s what people were saying about Jesus, and his own family seems have to have bought into it.  They went out to restrain him. The way the Contemporary English Version translates it, “When Jesus’ family heard what he was doing they thought he was crazy and went to get him under control.”[1]

            Just a few chapters into Mark’s gospel, those around him are saying he’s crazy and want to get him under control.

            Now, saying someone is “crazy” or “out of his mind” is strong language. It can be a way to discredit people, to dismiss their views and actions, to limit or destroy their credibility.
            Karoline Lewis suggests that accusing Jesus of being “out of his mind” could have made sense, because a life following Jesus, a life lived for the sake of the Kingdom of God, a life committed to a Gospel way of being   doesn’t make sense” in the eyes of the world.  In the context of first century Palestine, how do you understand a life that seems to be counter to societal norms, the standards of religious righteousness and piety, and political orientation.
            So, what would it take for you to say somebody is out of his mind?  What if they hold very different beliefs from you? Or are at the other end of the political spectrum than you are? Do they behave in ways that are hard for you to understand?
            Jesus has been healing people and casting out demons and even doing these things on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees are accusing Jesus of breaking the Sabbath. The scribes are interpreting Jesus’ behavior as proof that he’s possessed by a demon, which in ancient times was often thought to be the cause of insanity.
            In the ancient world, people who were possessed by a demon, or born with some physical or mental illness or defect, were often assumed to be cursed or to have sinned. Jesus has been challenging norms about who’s in and who’s outside the realm of God’s grace.  He’s been forgiving and healing all who are in need. Everyone. No exceptions.  
            In an age when family was everything, Jesus was even re-defining the meaning of family. Those who do the will of God are his true brothers and sisters and mother.
            Jesus has been shaking up the people around him, and even his own family is trying to get him under control.
            Trying to get Jesus “under control” is exactly the problem. In The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky warns us that the Church and we Christians have often tried to tame Jesus.  As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry writes, “We want to manage the Messiah. But this Messiah won’t be managed.”[2]   Or, as Richard Holloway, former Primate of Scotland, once wrote, “Jesus goes on breaking out of all the tombs to which we have consigned him.”
            Now, before we’re too quick to judge Jesus’ family, we need to consider their reasons for being concerned, and the kinds of things Jesus was teaching and doing.  We know from the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus was in the habit of saying things like “Don’t resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”[3]  “The greatest among you will be your servant.”[4]
            What the world calls wretched, Jesus calls blessed. Blessed are the poor and the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who are merciful and compassionate. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst that God’s righteous justice might prevail. Blessed are those who work for peace. Blessed are you who are persecuted for trying to love and do what is good.[5]  To a lot of people, these ideas sound crazy! Some others might say, these are nice ideas, but they’re impractical or impossible.
            And yet, Jesus calls us to pick up our cross and follow. Be crazy enough to love like Jesus, to give like Jesus, to forgive like Jesus, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God--like Jesus.  As Bishop Curry says, we need some Christians who are “crazy enough to dare to change the world from the nightmare it often is into something closer to the dream that God dreams for it.”[6]
            Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in 1811 into a devout family committed to the gospel of Jesus and to helping transform the world. She is best known for her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which depicts the harsh conditions for enslaved African Americans. The book reached millions as a novel and as a play. It became influential in the United States and Great Britain, and energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South.
            Beecher Stowe once explained her anti-slavery writing this way: “I wrote what I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrow and injustice I saw; because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity; because as a lover of my country, I trembled at the coming day of wrath.[7]  So, she did what she could to set the captives free.[8]
            In her fictional book, Harriet Beecher Stowe told the truth.  She told the story of how chattel slavery afflicted a family, of real people. She told the truth of the brutality, the injustice, the inhumanity of the institution of chattel slavery. Her book did what YouTube and Facebook videos of injustices and brutalities do today. Today, we’d say Uncle Tom’s Cabin “went viral.” It rallied abolitionists and enraged those with vested interests in slavery.
            Was Harriet Beecher Stowe crazy? A woman of her social standing was supposed to marry well, raise well-mannered, successful children, and participate in a few charitable endeavors, along with managing the household.  A woman of her time was supposed to write nice stories-- not stories that would disturb the conscience of a nation.

            You may remember that after the death of Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple, an old commercial from the 1990’s went viral on the internet. In the commercial they showed a collage of photographs and film footage of people who have invented and inspired, created and sacrificed to make a difference in the world. As the images roll by, a voice reads the poem that begins, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes….[9]

            We could paraphrase the poem to say that the Christians who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.  I agree with Bishop Curry when he says we need some crazy Christians like Harriet Beecher Stowe. “Christians crazy enough to believe that God is real and that Jesus lives. Crazy enough to follow the radical way of the gospel. Crazy enough to believe that the love of God is greater than all the powers of evil and death.”

            Back in 1990, in my third year at Princeton Seminary, I was part of the touring choir that visited South Korea for ten days during spring break. Both of the Sundays we were there, we sang at four different worship services. On one of the Sundays, we sang at a 6:00 a.m. service. Mercifully, it was the second service of the day. The first one started at 5:00 a.m. 
            Following the service, our host church had planned a big breakfast for us. One of the church elders at our table grinned at us and said, “You must think we’re crazy to come to God’s house this early.”  Being a bit sleepy and wanting to be polite, I assured him that I didn’t think they were crazy. But that was the wrong answer. 
            This Korean Presbyterian elder said, “We are crazy!  Crazy for God!

            To a lot of people, it’s crazy to say that God loves everyone the same, because this just isn’t how the world works.
            To a lot of people, it’s crazy to priotize the integrity of families--all families, even immigrant and refugee families-- above “border security.” To a lot of people, it’s crazy to think we could have enough food and decent housing and safe water and adequate health care for everyone-- enough for everyone.

            God’s dream inspired the Hebrew prophets who proclaimed “Thus says the Lord” when they spoke truth to power and courageously challenged injustice and mistreatment of the poor.
            The Bible and our Christian faith point beyond themselves to the vision, the purposes, and the desire of God.  Jesus talked about the kingdom or reign of God as the realization of God’s loving dream and vision for the whole human family and all of God’s creation. 
            I believe when we actually study the scriptures and listen for and hear God’s word to us, we will begin dreaming God’s dream, and maybe some of us will be crazy enough to trust in the dream and stake our lives on it.
            Then we can live into God’s dream for all of us. Imagine it: a world where no child ever goes to bed hungry again.  A world where everyone has a safe place to call home. A world in which poverty is truly history, a thing of the past. A world in which every person is treated and valued equally as a beloved child of God.  A world where we lay down our swords and shields and guns and bombs, to “study war no more.”  A world reconciled to our God and to one another, as children of God and brothers and sisters of one another.[10]

            Friends, are we crazy enough to catch a glimpse of the transforming, life-changing vision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?     Jesus invites us to follow him…to witness to God’s amazing, inclusive love, and to work with him to fulfill God’s dream for all people and all creation.  
            We have Christ’s promise that he will be with us always. We can trust that God’s goodness is stronger than evil and that and God’s love will eventually conquer all.
            Thanks be to God!
Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
June 10, 2018 

[1] Contemporary English Version (CEV), 1995.
[2] Bishop Michael B. Curry, “We Need Some Crazy Christians,” in Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus. Morehouse Publishing, 2013.  (Kindle edition, Loc 166)
[3] Matthew 5:39
[4] Matthew 23:11
[5] Matthew 5:44
[6] Bishop Michael B. Curry, in “We Need More Crazy Christians.”
[8] Luke 4:18
[10] I am very indebted to Bishop Michael B. Curry for his articulation in Crazy Christians of some of the deepest longings of my life and faith.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

"Sabbath for the Sake of Life." A sermon on Mark 2:23 - 3:6 from Littlefield Presbyterian Church

"Sabbath for the Sake of Life"

Mark 2:23 - 3:6; Deuteronomy 5:12-15

Mark’s Gospel moves at a fast pace. In the first chapter, Jesus is baptized, tempted, announces his ministry, calls his disciples, casts out an unclean spirit, heals many people, goes out preaching the gospel, and cleanses a leper. People are coming to him from all over.
            Then, we see the beginnings of controversy. When the scribes of the Pharisees see that he’s eating with sinners and tax collectors, they question his disciples about who Jesus is associating with. People question why Jesus’ disciples aren’t fasting.

            In today’s gospel lesson, Jesus is going through the grain fields, and his disciples begin to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees say to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 
            Jesus doesn’t deny the accusation. Instead, he appeals to a historical precedent, saying, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food?” He refers to a time when King David did something sacrilegious-- eating the bread of the Presence, that only priests were permitted to eat. This historical precedent doesn’t have anything to do with keeping the Sabbath, but seems to justify the idea that law gives way to need.

            At the synagogue, people were watching to see if Jesus would heal the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, so they could frame a charge against him. Jesus asks, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath, or to do evil?”  To save life or to kill?”
            Mark tells us that Jesus was deeply upset at their hard-heartedness, and looked around at them angrily. Then he healed the man’s hand. The Pharisees went out right away and began to plot with the Herodians against Jesus, trying to find a way to destroy him.
            Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for humankind-- not humankind for the Sabbath.”
            As theologian William Placher points out, Jesus wasn’t breaking with Judaism, but could have been quoting a number of rabbinic texts. The line of division here runs not between Christians and Jews-- but between those in any tradition who lose sight of the point of the laws.[1]
            This is where these stories reach beyond their original first-century context to speak to us all.

            My grandmother grew up in a time when many practicing Christians didn’t do non-essential work on Sundays. Their farm family would milk the cows and feed the livestock, but they wouldn’t have worked in the field or the garden. When she was older, Grammy decided that she could do fancy needlework on Sunday, because it was relaxing for her. But she wouldn’t mend clothes on Sunday, because that was real work.
            Some of us who are old enough probably remember a time when there were “Blue Laws” that set Sundays apart by limiting what was legal to do on Sundays. Stores were closed on Sundays, and a lot of gas stations, so you planned to buy your milk and bread and gas before Sunday came.  Movie theaters were closed on Sundays.  You weren’t supposed to play cards. In many states, you couldn’t buy liquor.

            There weren’t a lot of other things competing for our time on Sundays. I remember going to church on Sunday morning, and then packing a picnic into the car, or visiting relatives. Sunday evenings, we had youth group at church.
            For many people, the Blue Laws seemed restrictive and burdensome, and they eventually were discontinued.
            A lot has changed since that time. Some families are so stressed with working long hours that they’ll tell you Sunday is the only time they have to do the laundry or shop for groceries.  Others are busy with a round of various activities.
            I don’t think many of us would want to go back to a time when there were laws dictating what we can do on Sundays. But I think our scripture texts invite us to take a fresh look at keeping the Sabbath.
            As Walter Brueggemann wrote, “It is unfortunate that in U.S. society, largely out of a misunderstood Puritan heritage, Sabbath has gotten enmeshed in legalism and moralism and blue laws and life-denying practices that contradict the freedom-bestowing intention of Sabbath.”[2]

            Keeping the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments, and it was reinforced by the prophets and by Jewish teaching. It was one of the things that made Jews distinctive from their neighbors. It was a sign that they belonged to the true God, the Creator of the world, who had rested on the seventh day.
            “Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. You shall not do any work--you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slaves may rest as well as you. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.  Therefore, the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”[3]

            When Israel arrived at Mount Sinai after Moses led them out of slavery in Pharaoh’s Egypt, they were in the process of what Walter Brueggemann calls “regime change.”   The people needed to accept the new rules of governance, to commit themselves to “love God” and to “love neighbor.”
            The Ten Commandments begin with the Exodus from Egypt: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.[4]
            The people remembered that Egypt’s socioeconomic power was organized like a pyramid, with a work force producing wealth, all of which flowed upward to the power elite and eventually to Pharaoh.
            When they heard the commandment to observe the Sabbath, they would have remembered that there had been no Sabbath in Egypt, no rest from work for slaves, no rest for anybody in the Egyptian system, because frantic productivity drove the entire system. In the commandment to keep the Sabbath, YHWH abolishes the entire system of anxious production.
            As Brueggemann says, “there are limits to how much and how long slaves must produce bricks. There are limits to how much Pharaoh can store and consume and administer. The limit is set by the weekly work pause that breaks the production cycle. And those who participate in the Sabbath break the anxiety cycle. They are invited to awareness that life does not consist in frantic production and consumption that reduces everyone else to threat and competitor.”  As the Sabbath permits a waning of anxiety, so energy is redeployed to the neighborhood.”[5]
            “The odd insistence of the God of Sinai is to counter anxious productivity with committed neighborliness.”  This creates a culture of security and respect and dignity. [6]
            The commandment to observe the Sabbath, to carve out a time of rest for the community, can be transformative.  It’s no wonder, then, that Jesus invited his disciples out of the system of anxiety: “I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”[7]
            The good news is that Jesus offers us an antidote to anxiety. The antidote is abundance, the outpouring of generosity of the creator God.
            We need the Sabbath for our own personal well-being    and for the abundant life of our neighbors. If we keep the Sabbath, we don’t get to overlook neighbors whose lives are being threatened on a daily basis. If we keep the Sabbath, we don’t get to ignore how the lives of neighbors are being stripped of their dignity and worth. 
            God invites us to Sabbath rest because it is life-oriented and life-giving, and because it can create a Sabbath-shaped way of looking at all of life.

            When we come to the Table, we hear again Jesus’ story of abundance. We who follow Jesus have decided that this story is true. The four great verbs: he took, he blessed, he broke, he gave.  This is the true story of our lives.
            So, come to the Table to be fed by Christ.  Taste his bread and drink his wine.  Know that God is good! Amen!

Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
June 3, 2018

[1]William Placher, Mark: Belief, A Theological Commentary on the Bible.  Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.  Kindle Edition.
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath As Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now. Westminster John Knox Press, 2014.  Kindle Edition.
[3] Deuteronomy 5:12-15

[4] Exodus 20:2
[5] Walter Brueggemann, Sabbath As Resistance. Kindle Edition (28%)
[6] Brueggemann, Sabbath Resistance.
[7] Matthew 6:25-31