Saturday, May 23, 2020

Father Riley's homily for May 24, 2020


[Remember, you may follow Evening Prayer each day from Church of the Holy Cross at 6pm. 
Go to https://www.facebook.com/holycrossdowntown and look for the day's EP.  On Sundays, Bishop Jake Owensby offers Morning Prayer at 10am at https://www.facebook.com/epiwla/ and Holy Cross offers MP Sundays at 11am.  Each of these services may be viewed as they premier or after the initial service time.]


ASCENSION SUNDAY - A - 20                    LUKE 24, 44-53

Contained within the Calendar of the Church Year are Principal Feasts, Holy Days, Major Feasts and Fast Days. Ascension Day is a Principal Feast of the Church. Principal Feasts take precedence of any other day or observance (BCP, p.15).

The Ascension of Jesus took place forty days after Easter and falls on a Thursday. Because of it’s importance it can be transferred to the Sunday following. The Propers for the Day as well as the following Sunday speak of this significant event in the life of Jesus and the Church. What makes it important to us today?

Christ’ ascension into heaven marks the completion of his earthly ministry and his glorification. At his Incarnation Christ brought his divine nature to our human nature. At his Ascension, he has taken our human nature into heaven.

Jesus is our first Advocate that now sits at the right hand of God and intercedes on our behalf. At the Ascension, he instructed his disciples to wait for the second Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to carry on His mission of bringing God to man and man to God.

Jesus’ commissioning of the Apostles and the promise of the coming Holy Spirit are the last words of Jesus on earth. The Apostles are to be witnesses of his glorification as well as his earthly life and resurrection as they proclaim the gospel. They are united to the ascended Jesus by the promised Spirit.

In his last earthly words to his followers, as recorded by St. Luke, Jesus opened the eyes of their hearts to understand the scriptures concerning him and God’s plan for the salvation of the world as he had previously done for the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus on the evening of his resurrection.

Luke/Acts contain accounts of the ascension but they also record the fact that the disciples were still in the dark about the true purpose of Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Despite all they had witnessed to this point, they ask an earthly question; “will you at this time restore dominion to Israel?”

What they want to hear Jesus say is “now is the time for Him to really get down to business, the kind of business they had expected Messiah to conduct all along?” That is, to restore the fortunes of Israel and for Him to lead God’s people like David. They still do not as yet understand what God is up to in Christ.

They do not understand what God’s plan of reconciliation means or of the role of Christ in their bringing it to fulfillment. They were not expecting him to depart in such a dramatic fashion. They still have questions. Their faith is incomplete. They have not yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Then, according to Luke, Jesus led them out as far as Bethany and blessed them. As he did so, he ascended into heaven and out of their sight. Like the women who stood stunned as they looked into the empty tomb, the disciples stood there gazing into heaven.

Two angels appear, as they did to the women at the tomb, and move them along to take up the task they have been commissioned to do, to be witnesses of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, to preach the gospel and to make disciples of all nations.

After having seen Jesus ascend into heaven, the disciples make their way back to the Holy City to wait. The “eyes of their hearts” were not yet opened to understanding all that Jesus had done and said, and what their role would be in continuing His mission. The promised Spirit would take care of that.

The disciples had been filled with fear by his death on the cross, and their faith in the resurrection had been hesitant, but now they gained such great strength from seeing the truth, that when the Lord went up to heaven, far from feeling sadness they experienced a great joy.

Why was the Ascension so important to the disciples and the early church and why does it remain important to us today?

At the Ascension Jesus commissioned his disciples to be Apostles, eyewitnesses of his “true person” (St. Leo The Great) that he “was truly born of the Virgin, truly suffered and died, and was now recognized as risen.”

At the Ascension, Jesus gave his disciples the promise of the coming Spirit that would lead them into all truth, strengthen them and encourage them to carry on his mission of reconciliation. The Holy Spirit would complete their faith and empower them to be the witnesses of all things concerning the Christ and God’s plan of salvation.

The Ascension of Jesus is just as important to us today as it was the early Church. The disciples would be baptized with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. That is what they were waiting for. We who have been baptized into Jesus’ death and raised to new life in him through the waters of holy baptism have been sealed with the same Holy Spirit and empowered to continue the mission.

Moreover, the Ascension of Jesus has exalted our human nature into heaven. “For in the vast company of the blessed, human nature was exalted, passing beyond the realm of the angels to receive an elevation that would have no limit until it was admitted into the eternal Father’s dwelling, to share the glorious throne of Him whose nature it had been united in the person of the Son.”(St. Leo the Great)

At His Ascension, Jesus promised to be with us always, even to the end of the ages. “Just as Jesus ascended without leaving us, so too we are already with him in heaven, although his promises have not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.” (St. Augustine) Faith, Hope and Love unite us to Him.

Early icons of Jesus’ ascension are depicted in such a way that one cannot tell whether he is going into heaven or coming again to earth. The large stain glass window over the altar at Christ Church, St. Joseph is an example of this. This captures the profound truth that we are already living under His reign while awaiting his return.

Jesus came down from heaven, and it is He alone who has ascended into heaven, who now sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. Until He comes again and exalts us to that place where He Himself has gone, we, as Church are to remain rooted in scripture and active in mission for the sake of the gospel and to the glory of His name. AMEN+



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Father Riley's homily for May 17, 2020


EASTER VI - A - 20                         JOHN 14. 15-21

How often I have heard it said over the forty years of my ordination, the anniversary of which I celebrated this week, thanks be to God. “If I had only been around in Jesus’ day. It would have been much easier to understand what he was saying and teaching.”

However, the gospels say otherwise. Just last week our gospel reading had two of Jesus’ own disciples asking questions because they did not understand him.

Thomas didn‘t understand what Jesus meant by being the “way.” How can we know the way, he asked. Phillip did not understand what Jesus meant when he said he and the father were one. He wanted Jesus to show him the father then he would be satisfied.

“He was compelling,” as N.T. Wright, says in reference to Jesus, “but puzzling. Some even thought he was out of his mind.” Today’s gospel is yet another example of Jesus being misunderstood by those closest to him as he continues his final discourse to his disciples prior to the hour of his arrest.

He again makes several promises that were intended to give his friends hope in the light of his impending crucifixion. He promised to be around with his people from that day to this. He promised not to leave them comfortless but would send them the Spirit of truth. He told them they would do even greater works than he himself had done. All they had to do was to Love Him.

How is he around now? What are the greater works we are supposed to do? What does the Spirit have to do with it? What does Love have to do with it?

Because of the promised spirit, that is, the spirit of Jesus himself, Christians now are in a better situation than the followers of Jesus in his lifetime. They were sometimes able to do remarkable things even then; Jesus gave them the power.

But mostly they were following him in some perplexity, and when he wasn’t there, they couldn’t do very much (Mk. 8. 18, 28-29). Perhaps it was because the disciples were hearing all of this in the context of his impending death that they could not take it all in. Perhaps that is why they so easily misunderstood the meaning of his words.

Perhaps it was because they had not yet received the Holy Spirit. We see that after Pentecost, when the Spirit descended upon them, that they were able from that time forward to continue Jesus’ mission unimpeded and without fear. The Spirit has a lot to do with it as does Love.

“If you love me…” Jesus begins today‘s passage, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another helper, that he may abide with you forever, the Spirit of Truth. He who loves me will be loved by my father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

The last three verses of today’s gospel present a wonderful circle of promises that are ours because of Jesus being with us by the Spirit. We will see him, plain to the eyes of faith. We live the new life because he lives in us and through the spirit; we know that he and the father are in each other, and that we are in him and he in us.

We are bound to Jesus and the Father by an unbreakable bond of Love. The Spirit teaches us the truth about the inner life of the father and the son, a truth, which turns to fire and love and invites us to warm ourselves with this inmost circle that cannot be broken.

The disciples heard these promises of Christ within the context of his telling them that he was about to be taken from them, handed over to evil men, and be crucified. It was a desolate time for them. As it currently is for many throughout the world today in the face of the deadly pandemic that continues to plague us.

Liturgically speaking, we are still in the great 50 days of Easter celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and the Hope of new life our belief in Him who died and rose again brings. We are Easter people. We live by Faith, Hope, and Love in the promises of God made manifest in Jesus.

Yet we don’t always understand Him. How does Jesus make himself known to us in times like these?

The answer is in our prayers, our obedience to God’s will, our trust in His providence, and in our love for God and neighbor put into action. The Church is the Body of Christ. We are his hands and feet. As St. Paul preached at Athens, “God does not dwell in temples made with hands.”  We are Church.

Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which was given to each of us at our Baptism, we have the power to do the things God has given us to do…to make disciples, to baptize, to teach, and observe all that Christ taught.

Although we are unable at this time to assemble as the people of God, we can continue to “work” through prayer. By His grace, we can remain faithful and show forth our love for Him by keeping his commandments.

The resurrection of Jesus is the great sign of Hope and Life in the midst of desolation and despair.  It was then. It is now. As Peter wrote, “He who was put to death in the flesh is alive in the Spirit."

It is the Spirit of Truth that prays for us and in us causing the words of Christ to come alive for us. Christ’s words bring us to God, into the circle of love that is the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because He lives, we who believe in Him live also.

The Risen Christ, the living spirit of Jesus, visits us in our desolation again and again, and lifts us up out of the darkness into the light of His presence. It is His presence that continues to encourage us to live the new life to which we have been called in fellowship with one another and in communion with our God.

We live, then, as Easter people by Faith, Hope, and Love, learning to love God in all things and above all things, so that we may obtain the promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. For God has prepared for those who love Him such good things that surpass our understanding.  AMEN+


Saturday, May 9, 2020

Father Riley's homily for May 10, 2020

EASTER V - A - 20                                  JOHN 14. 1-14

The opening words of today’s gospel sound very familiar do they not. They should, as they come from one of the choices for the gospel reading that is often chosen as part of the burial office.

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples in the upper room following the institution of the Eucharist and prior to his arrest in the garden. They are part of his farewell discourse and were meant to be words of encouragement and hope in light of the fact that he would soon to be taken from them.

They contain the promise that his going away is to their benefit. “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go… I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you might be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

This time it is Thomas, and not Peter, that raises the question. Thomas asks Jesus “how can we know the way?” Once again, as he often does in John’s gospel, Christ responds with an “I am” answer.

“I Am” is the name of God the Jews of Jesus’ time would never utter. It was simply too sacred. You may recall when Moses stood looking at the burning bush God spoke to him telling him that he was to go for God and demand from Pharaoh that he set God’s people free. Moses asks God “Who should I say sent me?”

God answered, “Tell them I Am sent you.” Jesus’ response to Thomas’ that he is the Way, Truth and the Life is because he is the way to God, who is truth and life. Access to God is solely through Christ. For Jesus to use the “I Am” in reference to himself is to say that he and the Father are one.

However, Thomas is not the only disciple to raise a concern in today’s passage. Phillip asks to see the Father, and then he says he will be satisfied. Jesus cannot believe Phillip is making such a request. “I have been with you so long and yet you do not know me Phillip?” “Whoever has seen me,” Christ tells him, “has seen the Father.”

Finally, Jesus tells Phillip if you cannot believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me, then, believe the works you have seen me do. The works, which Christ does, is a valid witness to his person and mission.

Knowledge of God is solely through the works, words, and person of Jesus Christ. Our response to Christ determines our relationship to the Father. To know Christ is to achieve the goal of all those religious seekers whom Phillip represents.

The last verse of today’s gospel reading also contains a promise. However, many of us today who profess our belief in Jesus as the Son of God misunderstand what he says here about prayer in his name.

“I will do whatever you ask in my name,” Jesus tells them, “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask for anything, I will do it.” The key to this verse is “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

One can only begin to imagine all of the things that are asked of God on a daily basis. Think about how many millions of people throughout the world today must be praying for the end to the virus, for example. Think about the things you have asked of God, not only in recent days, or in the present moment, but also over the years.

How many of them did you ask so that God would be glorified? Let’s face it most of us pray selfishly.  We pray for what we want, for what we perceive that we need.

Sometimes we add a petition or two for the needs of others, usually those closest to us. However, generally we pray for ourselves without giving any thought to what God wants.

Although Christ knew his destiny, while in the garden prior to his arrest, he prayed that it might not have to be, that the cup of His passion might pass him by yet, he concluded his prayer with not my will but God’s be done. In other words, not what I want but what God wants.

His sacrifice on the cross glorified God and in doing so glorified him.
God’s will was done that day we call “good” not man’s and not the evil one.
To pray in Christ’ name does not simply mean to attach the phrase “in Jesus’ name we pray” to the end of the prayers expecting that in all times and in all places we will receive exactly what we ask.

Rather, to pray in his name means to pray according to his will.
Just as an emissary of a king can only speak in the king’s name if he says what the king would want him to say, so also we can only be said to be praying in the name of Christ when we pray according to what he wants.

The purpose here is not to get God to do our will, but for us to learn to pray properly, according to God’s will (Matt. 6.10).

How often do our prayers glorify God? I would dare say not often enough. As I would dare say that the millions who are praying for the end to the virus today are not praying to glorify God but for their own welfare and the welfare of those whom they love, perhaps for even more selfish reasons.

However, if we all prayed for the end of the world’s current crisis and asked God to end it for the glory of His name and in accordance with His will. Would he do it? Could He do it? The answer is a resounding yes!

He sent His Son Jesus into the world because He loved it and to bring salvation to all trust in Him. God loves it yet. He has no desire to see us suffer any grief or sorrow.

Rather his desire is that we learn to live in accordance with His will trusting Him in all things and living the new life to which we have been called in His Son, Jesus.

May God teach us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to pray in all things for His will to be done, on earth as it already is in heaven, and done for the glory of His name alone.

Moreover, by His grace, may we be given the courage to faithfully follow in the footsteps of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, even Jesus Christ our Savior, who died and rose again that we might have life and have it more abundantly. AMEN+

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Father Riley's homily for May 3, 2020


EASTER IV - A - 20                      JOHN 10. 1-10

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally referred to as “Good Shepherd” Sunday for the gospel reading is taken from the 10th chapter of Saint John, where Jesus proclaims himself as the “Good Shepherd.”

The chapter opens with Jesus engaged in a lengthy dialogue with the Pharisees over his true identity. He has just given the man born blind his sight. Nowhere in Israel’s history has anyone born blind been given his or her sight.

That is something only God could do, something the prophet Isaiah had predicted that Messiah would do.  Thus, the Pharisees are puzzled. Who is this Jesus and where does he come from?

Jesus concludes the miracle with the words “for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may be made blind.” The Pharisees ask him “Are we blind also?”

The Pharisees take offense at him for they now know that he is speaking of them. They are blind to who he really is and his purpose for having been sent by God. This previous exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees leads into today’s gospel passage where Jesus speaks of sheepfolds, gates, and shepherds.

Jesus lived in an agrarian society. Most people lived off the land - tending crops, orchards, vineyards, sheep and goats. In Judea in and around Jerusalem, the soil was rocky and not suitable for crops. However, sheep could be raised on such land if shepherds were willing to live nomadically and to take care that the sheep did not wander into danger.

Jesus often used agrarian language, especially metaphors about sheep and goats to explain theological ideas but it appears that his audience this day did not understand him. It is hard for some of us to get the picture if you will, for most of us do not relate to sheep and sheepfolds. I admit I did not for a long time. Then I traveled to the “mother-land” - Ireland!

Southwest Ireland, for example, is rocky and hilly. There is not much tillable land, however sheep are abundant and so are rocks. The countryside is littered with sheepfolds constructed by stacking the plentiful stones in such a way as to construct walls high enough to keep sheep from jumping over them.

Some are rectangular while others are somewhat square. What they all have in common is a gate that allows the shepherd to let the sheep in and out to go to pasture and when closed keeps the sheep safe and sound from all danger.

In these first ten verses of John’s tenth chapter Jesus is contrasting his leadership to that of God’s appointed leaders. They were to be the shepherds of God’s people but failed in their pasturing. Pastor comes from the Latin word for shepherd.

They were leading the people of God in the wrong direction and away from the things, God intended for His people to be and do. Their leadership has been marked by deceit and pride, and has lacked compassion. Christ on the other hand fulfills all virtue.

Obviously, his hearers on this occasion do not belong to his sheep for they are not listening to him and obeying his voice. They are certainly not committing themselves to follow him. Jesus first speaks of himself as the gate, or the door. Meaning, he is the way to God, the way to enter the kingdom.

Others have come claiming to be the way but were not. Others have come proclaiming another way, but their way was false. Through Jesus Christ, we have access to eternal life. In him alone is our salvation.

Among the sundry and manifold chatter of the world we sometimes find it hard to hear Christ’ voice above the others. There are so many voices out there that call to us, that beckon to us, that tempt us to follow in their way that we often find ourselves on the wrong path. For some of us it takes following the wrong path before we realize the true one.

We only have to reflect on the current crisis that is facing our world today to see that this is true. There is a lot of noise out there, a lot of chatter.  What are we too believe? What is the truth? Whom should we be listening too?

So many voices, some saying one thing and another saying something different. Many of us are waiting for things to return to normal. Others are taking their chances stepping out and trying to continue business as usual.

It was something like that in time of Jesus. God’s people found themselves in somewhat of a crisis. There was no virus keeping them down, but the Romans. Their religious leadership, their supposed shepherds, was divided over the right way to live under such circumstances.

The Pharisees said one thing, the Sadducees another. Then there were the revolutionaries who offered a different way out. None of which was the way Jesus proposed. He was not radical enough or militant enough for the rowdies. He did not possess the proper theological credentials as far as the Pharisees and Sadducees were concerned.

He just did not measure up in the eyes of those who believed that they were in the know. Yet, the fact that people chose to follow Jesus, to listen to his voice, gives substance to the claim that he is of God, Israel’s chosen king. The sign of the true shepherd is the response that comes from the heart, when people hear his voice and, in love and trust, follow him.

We do not like to think about ourselves as being sheep. For that connotation in the modern world tends to lend itself to one who is led, one who is unable to fend for himself, one who has no sense of direction. But when we listen to Christ’ words describing himself as the “good shepherd” the one who will lead us, protect us, watch over us and give us, through His life, death and resurrection, the true life God intended for us to live, then our response is to give him our heart, and in love and trust, follow Him.

The call to us today, as Jesus’ true sheep, is to listen for his voice, and to find in him and him alone the life that is overflowing. As our door into the dominion of God, Jesus is our shepherd, and the guardian of our soul. He alone opens to us the door of God’s mercy, and flings wide the portal of the hospitality of God. In Him alone is our Hope and our Salvation. AMEN+

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Father Riley's homily for April 26, 2020


EASTER III - A - 20                      LUKE 24. 13-35

In last week’s gospel account from St. John of Jesus’ second resurrection appearance to the disciples it was Thomas who made the journey from doubt to faith by refusing to believe in the risen Lord unless he could see for himself the marks of the crucifixion.

In today’s account from St. Luke, two other disciples of Jesus make the journey from bitterness and despair to belief in the Risen Lord, as He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Luke’s account follows the Easter Day discovery of the empty tomb by the women who had gone there to properly complete the burial of Jesus. They make their report to the disciples in the upper room. They are not believed. Rather their report is dismissed as idle chatter.

Obviously, these two disciples in today’s account were present when the women reported what they had seen and heard at the tomb. Saddened and dismayed at the recent events concerning Jesus, and now the women’s report that even the body of Jesus was gone, they make their way back to Emmaus talking about these things as they go.

A stranger, that being Jesus approaches and joins them as they walk. Their eyes are kept from recognizing him. He asks what they are discussing and why they seem so sad. They are amazed that he does not seem to be aware of what has happened in Jerusalem.

They share their bitterness and their disappointment. We had hoped, they tell him, that this Jesus was the one who would redeem Israel. Not only was he crucified, and buried, but also today, we learned that even his body is nowhere to be found.

Moreover, the women who had gone to the tomb this morning said they saw a vision of angels that told them he was alive! However, no one has seen him. Jesus said to them, why are you so slow of heart to believe?  Then he opened their hearts to the scriptures concerning God’s plan from the time of Moses and the Prophets that the Christ should suffer.  Their hearts burned as he spoke to them of these things. It was now late, and Jesus appeared to be going further. The disciples were home and invited him to stay with them. Jesus accepts their invitation.

As was the custom of the day, the guest was asked to bless the food. He took the bread, blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew it was the risen Lord. Suddenly he was gone from their sight. They realized it was Jesus who had made the journey with them and had resurrected their faith in Him by his teaching and appearance.

They got up from the table and made the return journey to the Holy City. There they shared their story of the things that had happened on the road, and how He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread, only to be surprised to learn that Peter had seen him as well.

Today’s gospel can be seen as a blueprint for celebrating the Christian life as an Easter people. Cleopas and his companion, some say it was Luke himself, engaged in a faith journey. And it began for them in the throes of hurt, disappointment and, perhaps, bitterness.

It was not until Christ interpreted for them the meaning of his death in the larger picture that they could see the realities of human living in the context of a saving faith. All of us as Christians, like the two in today’s story, must walk the journey of faith, knowing, first of all, that our daily walk will not be exempt from the sometime harsh realities of our personal and societal lives.

Meaning, there is no escape for those who believe from the problems of loneliness, despair, violence and threats to our well being like the current crisis. “Some would say, “The Lord is asleep while the storm is unleashed. He seems to abandon us to the waves of doubt and fear. We are tempted to lose confidence.”

These are the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in his most recent book entitled “From the Depths of our Hearts.” He is writing to the priests of the Church to encourage them to stand fast in the faith that brought them to say “yes” to the priesthood, to say yes to God, to surrender themselves totally to Him and to trust in Him above all else.

They could have been easily written yesterday or today to all of us who profess ourselves as Christians in the face of the current universal crisis. We must stay on the right path. We must remember that we walk not alone. Jesus walks with us in our lack of understanding, our pain, our fear, our sense of isolation, and even our bitterness.

As Christians, we will encounter the evils of life. God’s invitation is that we surrender our doubt and our fear, our lack of understanding, and place our trust into the crucified hands of Christ who is always near to console, and heal.

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus embraced what it means to be human. He embraced the fear of death, the abandonment of the cross, the frailty of our human nature and the weakness of our faith so that we might have life as God intended, and have it more abundantly.

It is a new life Christ offers us through the power of His resurrection. In our “yes” to Him, we discover it and claim it for ourselves in both Word and Sacrament. It is the sacrament of new birth (Baptism) which sets us on the road to new life. It is in the sacrament of Christ’ Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist that we are fed and nourished with His presence as we continue the journey.

Scripture and Sacrament are joined tightly together. “Take scripture away and the sacrament becomes magic. Take the sacrament away, and scripture becomes an intellectual or emotional exercise, detached from real life. Put them together, and you have the center of Christian living, as Luke understands it.” (N.T. Wright)

As Peter wrote in today’s second lesson, “you have been born anew, not of the perishable but of the imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.”(1 Peter 1.17-23) Though Jesus is no longer physically present, we can discover Him living with and in us through the Holy Eucharist.

All who commune with the Lord in His risen Body in faith have their eyes opened to know Him, for the Lord is known most perfectly in the breaking of the bread.

May God grant us the grace to always give Him our “yes” as we continue the journey, and may our hearts burn in the conviction that the promise of God in Christ is True, that one day we shall see Him as He really is and share in His glory. AMEN+

Forward Day by Day Meditation for April 25, 2020

SATURDAY, April 25                           Saint Mark

Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.”
Weeds are paved over because they aren’t flowers—worthless because they lack blooms. Yet even the weeds feel the electricity of God’s love in their roots and so believe their way by faith up through the cracks in the sidewalk.
Weeds push up toward the light with more concrete resolve than the sidewalk meant to crush it. Weeds don’t heed the voices telling them to stop. These weeds have more inner beauty than any rose that has ever opened its petals. The sun gives its light freely to the weeds, and the rain keeps them quenched.
Sometimes, I kneel down and touch the weeds. I feel their light pushing up through the pavement toward the sun, and I am encouraged to do the same. Thanks be to God.
MOVING FORWARD: Spend at least thirty minutes outside today.

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