Good Shepherds

I got pulled over by a Sheriff’s deputy last week. Yep, it happens. It was an unexpected encounter in many ways. First, when he put his flashy blue lights in my rear view mirror, I seriously thought he was trying to get around me to go bust a heroin ring or chase down a gunman. We were on a narrow, twisty, curvy two-lane road on the island where I live where passing is nigh impossible. So when this good citizen saw the lights go on, I assumed I was being asked to do my duty in cooperating with whatever chase he was about to start and get out of his way.

Turns out he was chasing me.

I pulled into a convenient side road and was startled when he pulled in behind me. I had checked my speedometer when the lights went on by reflex, and I had been driving 34 in a 35 MPH zone. What the heck!?!

We exchanged pleasantries through the open window and I still wasn’t sure why we were having such a lovely chat. Turns out that I had been doing 34 in a 25 MPH speed zone. This is what happens when you aren’t paying attention to which part of the curves you are traveling on. Most of the road is 35, except that small portion of extreme curviness where he caught me.

I deserved a ticket.

Our passage is a very familiar one from John which talks about the Jesus being the Good Shepherd. I want you to read this differently today and focus on the function of the sheep pen:

John 10 ( The Message)

11-13 “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He’s only in it for the money. The sheep don’t matter to him.

14-18 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own sheep and my own sheep know me. In the same way, the Father knows me and I know the Father. I put the sheep before myself, sacrificing myself if necessary. You need to know that I have other sheep in addition to those in this pen. I need to gather and bring them, too.

The sheep pen is a place of safety, just like speed limits. When we stay inside them, we are kept from harm. Just like playgrounds have fences, things that are designed to “contain” us are meant to be places where ravaging wolves and traffic accidents can’t threaten us. Jesus not only wants to keep us safe in his “pen” of commandments, he wants those who live outside the pen to come in.

They’ll also recognize my voice. Then it will be one flock, one Shepherd. This is why the Father loves me: because I freely lay down my life. And so I am free to take it up again. No one takes it from me. I lay it down of my own free will. I have the right to lay it down; I also have the right to take it up again. I received this authority personally from my Father.”

Our Good Shepherd acts completely for the good of the one flock. He is willing to freely lay down his life for the sheep…which in fact he did.

My encounter with the deputy reminded me that this man is also willing to lay down his life for my safety. All first responders do. They race into places where harm is happening, without any thought to their own safety. I am grateful for that.

I am also grateful that Officer Long did not give me a ticket or even a written warning that day. I deserved it, but he showed me some grace. He was my Good Shepherd on the road, and I am humbled to know that he is out there keeping my community safe.

Remember to pray for the first responders in your community. They need the protection of their Good Shepherd, too.

Slow Curves

True Love

At what point in your life do you think you really began to understand love? Love is introduced to us by our parents, if we have good ones. The love of family is a foundation upon which children grow in their understanding of love. But a child’s love is selfish and limited. It isn’t what it will be when they mature.

Now think about the first time you thought you were “in love.” Maybe you ended up with that person, or maybe that was just a test run for the real thing when it came along.

Loving someone in a long term, committed relationship probably comes closer to the real thing. I have been tremendously blessed to be totally in love with the same guy for over 40 years. And as good as that is, there is another love that I have experienced that is closer yet to true love…when I became a mother.

Parental love is sacrificial, whole-hearted, life-long, and often exhausting. You never stop worrying about your children and you know you would do anything for their happiness.

Parental love is what God feels for you. You are his blessed child, and he would do anything for your happiness…even send his only son to die on a cross for you. His love for you is true love.

1 John 3 (The Message)

16-17 This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

Love is real when it is given away without any thought of recompense, return, or cost. Love is real when someone else’s needs trump your own. Love is real when it looks like Jesus.

When We Practice Real Love

18-20 My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

John challenges us to practice REAL LOVE by giving ourselves away just as Jesus gave himself. Just talking about love won’t cut it. Doing love-in-action is the true measure of our love for Jesus. When you live sacrificially for those around you, you are truly living in God’s reality.

21-24 And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command.

When we commit acts of love in Jesus’ name, we are doing what pleases him. He told us to love one another. This is his greatest command.

As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us.

So go out today and commit an act of true, unconditional, and sacrificial love for someone who needs love. Just as you live deeply in Jesus, so he lives in you. Go and be Jesus today!

Love in Bloom

Dead to Me

If I told you I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately, would you think I’m morbid? Or just a pastor? Our community has suffered several unexpected deaths in recent weeks. A colleague’s mother was killed in a horrific car accident, a lovely man with Down’s Syndrome finally succumbed to death, and a beloved gentleman died suddenly in his garden. Funeral preparations have blunted the joy of Easter and we are doing what we do as we prepare to bid farewell to these joyful people. Ministry is hard.

But in the midst of writing funeral liturgies and selecting scripture passages, this comes along:

Romans 6 (Common English Bible)

Or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore, we were buried together with him through baptism into his death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too can walk in newness of life. 

Easter is nothing if not a proclamation of the newness of life. This passage reminds us that we don’t just celebrate Christ’s resurrection, we actually participate in it ourselves. John Donne, the 17th century poet, scholar, and Church of England cleric, says this about the impact of the resurrection upon humankind: “The Resurrection is an enormous answer to the problem of death. The idea is that the Christian goes with Christ through death to everlasting life. Death becomes an event, like birth, that is lived through.”

Death is just an event. It is a passageway, not a final destination. Think of it! Rather than being an ending, it is something that is lived through as we continue life in a new location.

If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. 

So the question for us today is this: have you really died to self so that you might live with Christ? This is a question about the newness of life. When we accept Christ, we begin life anew as followers of his Way. Are you faithful in your daily walk with Jesus, or have you slipped off his path?

We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. 10 He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life. 11 In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus.

May we commit to being truly alive for God in Christ Jesus.

Just a Closer Walk by Kathy Schumacher

Time to Change

Can you think of a time in your life when you absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt knew you had to make a change? Perhaps it was deciding to quit smoking, leave an abusive relationship, commit to a healthy diet, lose weight, quit your job, start exercising….what was it for you? What was different that time over all the other failed attempts?

Sometimes, it just clicks. We know we can’t go another week with the old way and we finally find the courage to commit to the new way. Then it takes weeks to live into the new way. Psychologists will tell you that you need to allow six to eight weeks of disciplined repetition before an old habit can be dropped in favor of a new habit. Most of us give up before that happens.

In the third chapter of Acts, Peter has attracted a congregation and he begins to preach. He recounts the events of the crucifixion and the resurrection, reminding the crowd that they preferred a murderer to be freed over Jesus. He lays out the prophetic words that pointed to Jesus’ messiahship and then chastises the listeners for missing what had been so obvious.

Finally, he calls for change:

Acts 3 (The Message)

19-23 “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.

This is the gospel in a nutshell. Turn to face God so that he can 1. Wipe away your sins. 2. Pour out showers of blessing on you. 3. Send you the Messiah, whose name is Jesus. There is so much goodness packed into that one sentence. Imagine hearing this right after the horrific events of the crucifixion and the miraculous events of the resurrection. Surely they must have thought, “WAIT. You mean we get a second chance??”

Peter goes on to explain what will happen next.

For the time being he must remain out of sight in heaven until everything is restored to order again just the way God, through the preaching of his holy prophets of old, said it would be. Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.

Peter cleverly plays the “Moses card,” reminding them of their well-beloved and revered founder, and then finishes off with a warning: if you refuse to listen to that prophet, you’ll be wiped out.

As you meditate on this passage today, think of what changes God is calling you to make in your life. Chances are he is waiting to pour out showers of blessing on you, too.

Is it time for a change?

Showers of Blessing by Michelle Robertson

Safety Nets

“Mommy, look!” “Daddy, watch me!” “Nana, why does your elbow look like that?” “Papa, play Hungry Hippos with me!” Children need and demand constant attention and interaction from the adults in their presence. As much as we love it, all of the energy that they require can take a toll. A young mother recently posted that she had an amazing day at the beach. Her husband and her two older children sufficiently entertained themselves and the two little ones to the extent that she ACTUALLY READ A FULL CHAPTER in her book! It was like a Christmas miracle! Raise your hand if you’ve been there.

When I read the first line of Psalm 4, it occurred to me that we pretty much sound just like that to God. Read the first verse:

Psalm 4 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!

This made me laugh out loud. ANSWER ME WHEN I CALL!! Our children demand that of us when they are younger and then there is a reversal. As they age and become more independent, we make that demand of them. When your teenager leaves the house for the evening with car keys in her hand, this is what you say to her. Answer your cell when I call! I want to keep track of you. I want to know you’re safe. I need reassurance.

Our demand that God answer us when we call comes from a place of faith, not fear. When we make this request, we are counting on God to help us as he did in the past. David expresses both his need for God to hear him and his frustration with his people’s inability to remain steadfast in their walk. Wicked men have slandered David, and he is weary of waiting for retribution.

You gave me room when I was in distress.
    Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?
    How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?

But the word of assurance comes…God hears the faithful.

But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

When you are disturbed, do not sin;
    ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
    and put your trust in the Lord.

So David encourages us to trust that God will come with the answer. We only need to wait in silence for our deliverance.

There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
    Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
You have put gladness in my heart
    more than when their grain and wine abound.

Just as we crave knowing that our children are safe from harm, God needs to provide that safety for us. He is our loving parent who waits up by the phone until we are safely home. Only in him can we sleep in peace, for it is only in him that we can be truly safe.

I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
    for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

Are there places in your life where you feel unsafe? Are there relationships, situations, activities, or behaviors that you, or people around you, engage in that make you feel in danger? It is not God’s will for you to live that way. If this is your situation, get help. There is some person or agency that is capable of being a safety net for you.

David promises us that God makes us lie down and sleep in peace. If you don’t experience this, please talk to someone.

God Hears by Michelle Robertson

Leftover Fish

Have you ever had something incredible happen and nobody believed you when you told them? Very few things are as frustrating as telling the truth and not being believed. I wonder if that is how our Lord felt after the resurrection. He had a hard time convincing people that what he had been saying all along had actually happened just as he said.

We continue our post-resurrection appearances stories today as Luke records an encounter with the risen Jesus and the Eleven. They were in Jerusalem trying to figure out what has happened, and they did not believe the women’s account of an empty tomb. Meanwhile, Jesus met two men on the road to Emmaus and revealed himself to them. These men hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples, when all of a sudden this happened:

Luke 24 (The Message)

36-41 While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, “Don’t be upset, and don’t let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it’s really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn’t have muscle and bone like this.” As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.

The disciples didn’t believe the women. They didn’t believe the two Emmaus witnesses. Now they couldn’t believe their own eyes. Then, something simple and earth-shattering happened: Jesus ate.

41-43 He asked, “Do you have any food here?” They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.

Somehow it was in this little act of asking for something to eat that the disciples started realizing that this indeed WAS Jesus…their Jesus. It was not a ghost or a fraud. It was truly him. It is interesting to note that just a few verses earlier, the two men on the road to Emmaus talked to him for quite a while, but only recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread when they sat around a table together.

There is something to be learned here. Perhaps it is in the sharing of life-giving essentials such as food and water that we come to know Jesus. Perhaps the simple act of sitting together and passing bread around the table is our best way to explain to doubters and non-believers who the Bread of Life really is. (Maybe we Methodists, with our love of potluck suppers, have been onto something for two hundred years!)

Who do you know that is hungry for Truth? Who in your family or neighborhood needs the sustenance of the Bread of Life and the Living Water?

It has probably been a while since most of us sat down to dinner around a table and shared our faith with someone. Maybe that should be job number one when the pandemic is over. Sharing our witness over a plate of home-cooked food might just be our greatest opportunity for evangelism to folks who don’t know Jesus.

You’re the Witnesses

44 Then he said, “Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled.”

45-49 He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, “You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem!

You’re the first to hear and see it. You’re the witnesses.

We are the witnesses! So let’s go and tell….and eat!

Fishers of Men by MIchelle Robertson

God’s Children

A mother listens to the baby monitor in her three-year-old’s room during “nap” time. Her daughter is engaged in an elaborate tea party. The special guest at the table is her one-year-old cousin who lives and is currently located in another state. The mother smiles as she hears the conversation between “Baby Layne” and “Nor-Nor.” In the little girl’s mind, this is real. The imagination is strong with this one!

It is delightful to enter the mind of a child. There is so much hope, innocence, wonder, and magic there. The purity of a child’s heart is something to behold.

In 1st John, we see the idea of the purity of children used as a metaphor for how we change when we become followers of the Father. We become God’s children. This means that when he appears, we shall see him as his is. Our hope purifies us, as Christ is pure. With the confident innocence of a child, we can approach the throne of God.

1 John 3 (Common English Bible)

 See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, and that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves even as he is pure.

That purity is in jeopardy when it comes to sin. Sin will be received by the Father as an act of rebellion. Sin separates us from his presence and stains our souls. Thankfully, we know that he appeared to take away our sins.

Every person who practices sin commits an act of rebellion, and sin is rebellion. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. Every person who remains in relationship to him does not sin. Any person who sins has not seen him or known him.

Little children, make sure no one deceives you. The person who practices righteousness is righteous, in the same way that Jesus is righteous.

John reminds us not to fall into deception. Righteousness is the way of the children of God. It is the life Jesus calls us to live. We are called God’s children, and that is what we are!

See What Kind of Love by Michelle Robertson

Shrouds Enshrouding

Our lectionary today takes us to Isaiah, where we will read some of the most powerful words of hope that have ever been written. It comes at a time when it is easy for us to feel hopeless. We are facing surges in new variants of the coronavirus, devastating storms that have wiped out entire towns, hate crimes filling the news, and unrest that seems to never end.

We need some good news today.

I think that the current state of things is represented in this passage as a veil or shroud over God’s people. We aren’t meant to live this way. We aren’t supposed to feel the crushing weight of fear, anger, disunity, and despair. God created an Eden for us, but in our sinfulness we preferred the temptations of the evil one…and prefer them to this day.

But there will come a time, says Isaiah, when God will swallow up the veil that is veiling all peoples and the shroud that is enshrouding all nations. Our darkness will be lifted and we will be able to see clearly again and experience what God intended all along.

It starts with a rich feast.

Isaiah 25 (Common English Bible)

On this mountain,
    the Lord of heavenly forces will prepare for all peoples
        a rich feast, a feast of choice wines,
        of select foods rich in flavor,
        of choice wines well refined.
He will swallow up on this mountain the veil that is veiling all peoples,
    the shroud enshrouding all nations.

Imagine a heavenly force that will enable us to sit at the table with our enemies and feast on rich foods and choice wines! Then our swords will be turned to plowshares and wars will cease. Harmony will be the rule and sorrowing will end forever.

He will swallow up death forever.
The Lord God will wipe tears from every face;
    he will remove his people’s disgrace from off the whole earth,
        for the Lord has spoken.

God’s word assures us that this day will come. Isaiah foretold it and Jesus unfolded it. God has saved us!

They will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
    for whom we have waited—
    and he has saved us!
This is the Lord, for whom we have waited;
    let’s be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”

So no matter what worries you are carrying in your back pocket today, no matter how heavy your sorrow bucket is, or how deep your anxiety runs, remember this: this is the Lord, for whom we have waited. He has arrived in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Death is swallowed up forever and God wipes the tears from our eyes.

The veil is lifted.

Sun-fire Window Reflections

Peace Be

There is a classic Dionne Warwick song that says “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” This is biblical. This will preach. This is a timeless reminder that God is love, and the world needs him now more that ever. Fight me on this.

But I also contend that what the world needs now is peace. Peace is a by-product of love, of course, and so it follows that if we have love, we can find peace. But warring countries can agree to peace without loving each other. Warring spouses can find peace when love is thin. Warring siblings can set aside ego and unmet needs in the name of peace. You can have peace without love, because peace is a choice. It’s an attitude. It’s a relinquishing of self for a greater good.

Now we are going to talk about a well-known and well-loved passage without focusing on the person in the story. This borders on the blasphemous, but hang in there with me. This is the story of ”doubting Thomas” and he deserves the spotlight.

But today, I want us to focus on what Jesus says…three times. Once to introduce the idea, the second for repetition, and the third to drive home the point in case you missed it the first two times. Can you spot what Jesus says three times?

John 20 (Common English Bible)

19 It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 

20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.

As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”

Jesus appears to Thomas and the disciples

24 Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”

26 After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 

Peace be with you. That was the message Jesus drove home above and beyond the message of doubt vs. faith, miraculous signs, Thomas’ awakening, and believing without seeing. Those are important teachings, there is no doubt. But why do you suppose Jesus repeats, “Peace be with you” three times?

He understood then and understands now that his absence brings a lack of peace. He knows that in those days when the disciples were locked behind a door, unsure of what had happened and scared to death, they would have no peace.

Neither do we, when we are locked behind doors of addiction, betrayal, abandonment, depression, grief, frustrations, and hardship. In the absence of alleluias, in the void that his departure created, in the confusion of life without him, there is no peace.

It is the same for us. When we turn our backs on our faith and wander away into oblivions of our own making, we notice the absence of any form of peace in our minds.

But Christ calls us back

He invites us to touch, see, and feel him. He invites us to enter into his presence. He challenges us to believe, even when we can’t see the blessing of his presence in our situation.

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”

28 Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”

30 Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. 31 But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.

We are invited to have life in Jesus’ name. It is the only way to have hope, salvation, eternity in heaven, and peace on earth.

What changes do you need to make to have peace? Where is God calling you to lay down “self” and embrace his Son? Can you believe without seeing?

Peace be with you.

Saltwater Lace by Michelle Robertson

As One

Both the Old and New Testaments have a lot to say on the subject of unity. A study of this topic reveals that it is part of God’s design for his creation that his people will live together in harmony. He designed us to need each other. When you explore spiritual gifts as outlined in Romans 12, you can see his big plan…each one of us is a part of a greater whole. Each must do his part for the entire body to function well. This requires that we work together toward the mission that God has given us.

God also made each one of us to be unique. Our diversity can be our greatest strength, yet it is often our diversity that tears us apart. Free will affords us the opportunity to think differently, read differently, interpret differently, respond differently, and form different opinions and passions than our fellow believers.

Many think that in our current culture, unity is impossible to achieve. I disagree.

My cockeyed optimism leads me to hope that we can celebrate our differences as we work toward a mutual goal. Sometimes that requires people to focus on the singular mission and lay down the differences that separate us.

Other times that requires a clean and healthy separation of groups so that different-leaning sides might each prosper toward the singular goal, in a “divide and conquer” kind of way.

Psalm 133 elevates the unity of families. Living together as one is likened to expensive oil lavished upon a leader’s head…so lavish that it drips even down to the collar.

Psalm 133 (Common English Bible)

Look at how good and pleasing it is
    when families live together as one!
It is like expensive oil poured over the head,
    running down onto the beard—
        Aaron’s beard!—
    which extended over the collar of his robes.

This ability to live together as one is as pleasing as a refreshing dew streaming on a mountain, and forecasts the blessing of eternal life.

It is like the dew on Mount Hermon
    streaming down onto the mountains of Zion,
    because it is there that the Lord has commanded the blessing:
        everlasting life.

Living together as one does not imply robotic thinking of a singular hive-mentality. It is presumed that within the camp there will be different needs, different graces, different opinions, and different abilities. But when the families commit to finding the oneness of a common goal, it is pleasing and good.

All believers share a common goal: to proclaim Christ crucified. Every camp is called to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We are all tasked with baptizing, teaching his commandments, and telling everything we know about his salvation.

God so loved the WORLD (in all of its diversity) that he gave his only Son. That is our story and our mission. May we learn to set our differences aside as we focus on the unity of our calling.

That the World Through Him Might be Saved by Michelle Robertson