Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sermon for July 24, 2016: Teach us to Pray

This sermon was preached by Rev. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA on July 24

, 2016.

Luke 11:1-13
1 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples." 2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial." 5 And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.' 7 And he answers from within, "Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs. 9 "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
Over my life, Ive spent quite a few hours on driving ranges at a wide variety of golf courses. I must admit, that in addition to getting some practice in, it can also be a good place to people watch, or more appropriately, people listen. I often overhear one person trying to teach another to golf, a person mind you, that has no business giving such a lesson.

For example, an extreme example, I once was on the range at a course in Rochester, Minnesota, when a young girl, probably 11 or 12, and what must have been her grandparents show up. Im sure the grandparents were very well-intentioned, and thought golf would be a great activity to share with their granddaughter.and it would be. But after about 10 minutes of trying to hit a golf ball, and the grandparents giving her about 7500 different instructions, this girl was standing over her ball frustrated and in tears, and I would guess her life on the links was over before it started. This was certainly not the way to introduce someone to golf.

This had been a demonstration in how not to teach.

Recently, for the second year in a row, Ive been taking Charlie to swimming lessons, at Lake Winthrop. Now, teaching someone to swim is a little different than teaching someone to golf. This young girl may have had a promising golf career someday, but the poor teaching she received probably didnt do a lot of harm. On the other hand, teaching someone to swim bears with it a much greater deal of responsibility, as you have that persons life in your hands. As a parent, you certainly want the person who is teaching your child to be trustworthy. As for the people teaching Charlie, I dont personally know them, but the red swimming suits and other items of clothing that say Lifeguard, are a reassurance to me that these young people have been trained, and are responsible enough to grasp the importance of what they are doing. In other words, I trust them.

The main thing that these lifeguards have to teach the children is not a set of skills or certain strokes, but first and foremost, it is in getting them to feel comfortable in the water, to trust that by and large, their bodies will float and they will not drown. The ability of the children to swim goes up the more that their trust grows, and the more that they are able to let-go of keeping their feet on the ground and start to float. These lessons are very important for children,
not only so that they can enjoy the water, but so that they can learn to be safe in it, especially as they grow and become more independent, and out of the eye of watchful parents.

It's easy to see the trust thats needed to swim from these children as they learn. You watch them as they try to float on their backs, supported by the lifeguard or a kickboard, you see them actually float for a moment or two, and then when they realize the strange feeling, the loss of control, the uncertainty of not touching the bottom; they begin to flail and put their feet back into a position they are used to. Thankfully, these lessons are learned in the shallow places, where the children can touch the bottom while keeping their heads above water, otherwise, even more, dangerous panic would incur.

Learning to trust, to be comfortable in the water, is the basic foundation to swimming, and then learning to enjoy the water more and more. The whole process takes trust. Trust in the lifeguard, trust in the water, and trust in ones self.

This morning, we read from Lukes Gospel, about a disciple, who approaches Jesus because he had seen him praying. This is a disciple who trusted in what he saw, that Jesus in deed knew how to pray, and more importantly, he trusted in Jesus as his disciple, as one whod followed him around, who knew him, and learned from him. This disciple said to Jesus, Lord, teach us to pray. Jesus responds to the disciple not by charging him a couple of bucks, or by rolling out a certificate of his prayer credentialsJesus Christ: Son of God, #1 Prayerno, Jesus just teaches them how to pray. Jesus teaches them the Lords Prayer. Jesus simply hands over this gift, this prayer that he has.

To this day, Jesus also gives us this gift, the gift of the Lords Prayer. This prayer that Jesus continues to teach us isnt about some sort of skill set, nor is it a group of magic words. Its not a way of asking God and then getting anything we want. What Jesus hands over to us in this prayer is the gift of trust. Trust in God, trust in the Son of God, trust in the relationship that God has with all things.

The Lords Prayer that Jesus gave to his disciples and gives to us, disciples ourselves, is gift given to us so that we may grasp ahold to the promises that our God gives to us.

It is given to us so that we can grasp on to the promise that the Lord is GOOD, that the Lords name will forever be holy, or hallowed; that we can depend upon it.

We are given this prayer to grasp onto the promise that our Lords Kingdom, the Heavenly Kingdom, has been established and given to us and is with us right here and now; and this Kingdom cannot be taken away from us.

We are given this prayer so that we can grasp on to the promise that God does indeed give us our daily bread. Furthermore, as we say this prayer and hold onto this promise, we are shown an image of what is wrong with us as humans. For, if the Lord has given us this abundance, as we proclaim and put our trust in, then we are challenged to see that the hunger and poverty in this world are not Gods doing but ours. We are confronted with the fact that not everyone has been given their daily bread, because some of us, ourselves included, have much more than we need or could even use.

We grasp onto the promise of this prayer, we learn to trust in its words and to trust in God, and the goodness of God by holding firm to the promise of Gods forgiveness, just as we have forgiven others. We are enriched by this promise, constantly seeing how this forgiveness of each other, this forgiveness of God, this grace, and nothing else, is what gives us life and holds us together.

Jesus has given us this prayer, the Lords Prayer, to grasp on to these promises, and to grasp on most fully to the promise of Gods goodness. The promise that God didnt give us this life to challenge us, to make things hard on us; to cause bad things to happen or to perhaps see how good we can be before we win Gods approval. God didnt give us this life as a trial. Instead, God gave us this life as one to enjoy, and to be lived in relationship, life giving relationship, with God and with each other.
Jesus gave his disciples this prayer, this prayer of trust, and he most surely gives it to us today.

The life of faith, the one that we pray for, is a life kind of like swimming in water, baptismal water perhaps. It is a life that is about letting go, so that we can float, and rely on Gods grace to carry us. So that we may learn how to trust and move in those waters. And we do this trusting in the sure promise of Jesus. The sure promise of his life broken and poured out for, the sure promise of his love rescuing us time and time again. The sure promise of his salvation, from the sin and death that overwhelm and drowns us, the promise of his salvation when we get into those dark waters by accident, or being careless, or just by being destructive. Jesus saves us, he brings us back to the waters of faith, and helps us to swim freely in them, where the goodness of God gives us life without end.

2016 is our year of prayer here at CtK, and we have Jesus continuing to teach us how to pray, and that prayer continues to be the same. So far, a little over half way through this year, I havent received any great step-by-step guides to what happens next. There is still plenty of violence and tragedy going on in the word. Yet, my faith, my trust; and I believe our trust continues to grow. It has grown not necessarily in what we can do, but in learning to let go of our own control, and allowing Jesus to be the one that holds us up and together, the one to give us his grace, the one who gives us his life, the one who gives us an abundance.

May our prayers continue to help us to trust in Jesus, and the waters of faith he gives to us; so much so that we invite others to these waters, with our lives, our words, and our deeds. May God continue to hold us, comfort us, and call us to learn to trust in him, and his promise.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sermon for July 10, 2016: Memory Roads of Hope

This sermon was preached by Rev. Mark T. Peterson at Christ the King Lutheran Church, Holliston, MA on July 10, 2016.

Luke 10:25-37
25Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
 29But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Greetings to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,

As many of you probably know, I was on vacation last week, going back to Minnesota, where we stayed with my sister, in southeast Minnesota for most of the time we were there. As anyone who has ever journeyed back to where they are from can attest to, when you drive on the old roads you grew-up on, many memories start coming back. One particular afternoon, my brother and I, along with Charlie and our nephew, drove down County Rd. 10. We remembered all of our neighbors who lived in each house, and we drove by the house I grew-up in; reminiscing the whole time. As we drove further down that road, the four miles into the small town of Dover, I told the kids about the time my friends and I rode our bikes to our middle school, on the last day of school. As we proceeded to cross the treacherous Highway 14, my brother and I both agreed we'd never allow our kids to do that today...it was a different time then! We continued though, driving along the back road into Eyota, by the "new" elementary that was built over 20 years ago. We stopped at Dover-Eyota High School, to see the pavers and bricks that had recently been laid there, especially the one we as a family bought and dedicated to my mom, who was a teacher in the district. Being back on the roads of my youth brought back a lot of memories and it was great to be "home" for awhile. 

Today, as we read Jesus' parable known as the Good Samaritan, it's sort of like a Biblical memory road for us. It is a story we are very familiar with, it's even a part of our culture..if someone does a good deed for someone they don't know or who is different then them, we often call that person a "Good Samaritan." And, this memorable story takes place on a road, a road from Jerusalem to Jericho. We may not be real familiar with this particular road, but we have strong memories of what happened on it, a violent act, an act that left a man robbed, beaten, and broken. We also remember the people, the "holy" ones, a Levite and a priest, and we remember we don't want to be like these people, who pass by the injured man rather then help him. We remember that we want to be like the Samaritan, the one who was a neighbor to that person in need. The parable of the Good Samaritan, is a very much a part of our memories. 

It is our memories that help connect us, now in the present, across the time and space of our lives, and it is our memories that bridge us to the future. 

On my last day in Minnesota, we had moved our base of operations to the Twin Cities, and in the morning I went to have breakfast with my friend, J. As we started talking, J asked me if I had heard what happened the night before on  yet another road, a road that I had lived next to, and driven on often. He started telling me about events that had happened on Larpenteur Avenue, very close to its intersection with Snelling Avenue. He told me that a young man, Philando Castile, had been pulled-over there, and that his life had violently ended, that there was video up on social media, and I was a bit shocked, as I remembered that I had worked at a restaurant that was right next to where this awful and violent tragedy took place. I remembered being in the area, and driving up and down that road many times, and never once feeling any sort of danger. 

As we reflected on what happened, other memories came back as well. Memories of the "Oh No!" kind. Memories of all the similar events that have happened so recently, (and probably occurred at the same rate in the past, when we weren't as connected with technology), and a memory of such a similar event that had happened in Baton Rouge, where Alton Sterling's life had ended so suddenly and violently. Memories that keep piling up, memories that cause grief and unrest, memories that you don't wish upon anyone. 
Still trying to make sense of the conflicting memories I had, of working and living in a place that was so safe for me, but not someone else, I was wondering how such a thing could happen there. And how such a thing could keep happening in our society. Then, on the very next day, the violent events of Dallas happened, where 5 officers violently have their lives taken from them, with others wounded, and so much fear all around. 

As we read this parable, about the Good Samaritan, taking place on that road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a road that I believe you can travel on today if you visit that area, a road that whether we've been there or not continues to play in our collective memory. Today, we all have different roads in our life and culture, that we've traveled on either metaphorically or literally, but it seems as if our collective, virtual road, the one that we travel on together as a society is a lot bigger and more connected than in the past. Over the past week, and even over the past weeks, this road has been filled with violence, pain, and suffering, things that tear us apart as a society, things that cause us to question what it is we base our lives on, what it is we know and don't know. 

In weaving together the story of the Good Samaritan and recent events, we want to become like that Good Samaritan, we want to do something to help, and we certainly don't want to be like the Levite and priest, who leave the man to suffer. In my own memorable reflections on this parable, trying to be like the Good Samaritan has always been what has been impressed upon me. Yet, in times like these, it can be hard to be the one, the Good Samaritan we are supposed to be. Maybe, it's because we don't always know what to do, or what is right. Or, perhaps, it's hard because the world, and its violence can seem so overwhelming, and there's so much going wrong with it. Perhaps, we just feel so far away from all of this violence, even something that happened so close to where I once lived and worked. How do you be the Good Samaritan, as painful memories keep being made, memories that don't provide a bridge to the future, but cause it to be so uncertain? 

We ask, how do we be the Good Samaritan, but this morning, let's try a little different take-away from this memorable story. Rather than ourselves as the Good Samaritan, let's replace him with Jesus, and instead of the Good Samaritan, how about we recognize ourselves, as human beings, as being like the man who is by the side of the road; robbed, beaten, broken, and in need of help. The man who now must certainly distrust this world, who fears it, the one wondering where our help will come from. As we make Jesus into the Good Samaritan, we remember what motivated him, we remember that this man was moved by his pity, or compassion, for the one who was left for dead, the one who was not only a stranger, but a Jew, the arch-enemy of the Samaritans. When we start to view Jesus as our Good Samaritan, we see our Lord, our God, who is moved by compassion for us, a God who feels our pain and brokenness, our despondency and despair, our injustice and anxiety; the things that are a part of our lives and society and which leave us in need of help. We know that our Lord, who feels such compassion for us don't just pass us by on the side of the road, but is moved to come to us, and give us his life, his love, his healing, and his HOPE. This is the hope that doesn't wait for the road to be safe, or for the time to be right, but is a hope that is shown to us on a cross. A hope that makes the time right, that makes our lives filled. This is the hope, the compassionate hope that is given to us, and the hope that will enliven us once again. This is the hope that indeed shows us the mercy of God, the hope that springs forth from the merciful actions of a Good Samaritan. 

Therefor, as we look upon our world today, we see a world that is as filled; filled with sin as it was 10 years ago, or 100, or even 1000 years ago, a world that is filled with fear and hatred, filled with injustice, filled with uncertainty. In such a world, it is hard to be that Good Samaritan that is a part of our memory, indeed, what are we to do? Called by the Holy Spirit, we are to come together to dine on the life of our Good Samaritan, to be filled with his compassion, to taste and see his mercy, so that we can give this mercy to others. We are called together to pray, to pray to this compassionate Lord, to be moved by the compassion which so moves him, so that the world may have hope, so that the world may know mercy. 

As we continue to come together, to KNOW of this mercy more and more, as we GROW in our prayers to a God who acts in such a way towards us, we see that this compassionate love, that this mercy, that this healing and health and life is for all people, no matter what. We see this mercy, and by it we GROW, being transformed to give this abundant mercy that has been given to us. This is the mercy of the Good Samaritan, the mercy which fills us so much, that it overflows onto others. This is the mercy that isn't passive, that doesn't sit on the sidelines. Rather, this mercy is active, it goes to those who are hurting, those who have been marred by injustice simply because of what they look like, those who are filled with fear and anxiety over their loved ones who spend their lives working to keep others safe, those who are just confused or lost. This mercy of God is active, it gives us life, it gives us love, it gives us hope. Today, God is here once again, to fill us with this mercy, with this love, with this life, so that we may go and do likewise. For this we give thanks!

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 3, A Sermon from Al Jesness

This sermon was preached by CtK Council President, Al Jesness on July 3, 2016 at Christ the King Lutheran Church. It is the last in a sermon series on Galatians called, TO KNOW and TO GROW:

 Galatians 6:1-16

1My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5For all must carry their own loads.
  6Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
  7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
  11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Our worship is made up of different components which is called liturgy.  This liturgical worship follows a sequence as it has for hundreds of years.  We begin with the gathering continue with the word, have the meal-communion and close with the sending, that is the flow of a liturgical worship.  As our young people learn in their preparation for Confirmation, Liturgy is defined as “the work of the people.”  Liturgy is prayer, song, reading and communion.  While we won’t have communion today, the other components, prayer, song and reading are present and God is no more or no less present.   It isn’t about the pastor, or in today’s case, me; but it is all of us, gathered by the Holy Spirit to experience Jesus Christ together.  Worship and Liturgy are about Jesus Christ.    
Worship is nourishment, we need nourishment to grow.  Worship is our exercise, that helps us grow strong.  Today we gather here to worship.  We hear, we think and we know.  We exercise, get nourished and we grow.  That is the vision Pastor Mark has been communicating, his wish and his call for us to Know and to Grow.
Children’s sermon. 
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. 
Do they have a Fourth of July in other countries than the United States? 
If Yes, you are pretty smart, many of these people older than you would say “No” because they think of the 4th of July as the celebration of Independence Day…but every country has a fourth of July, they just don’t celebrate it as Independence Day as we do. 
If No, what day is on the calendar between July 3 and July 5?  The question is tricky because when we think of the Fourth of July, we think of it as the 4th of July holiday and the celebrations, parades, picnics and fireworks.
My next question:  What is Independence Day?  Yes, it a movie that just came out.  What else is it?  It is a day that we celebrate because our country became free over 200 years ago, that is what independent means.  We became independent or free from being ruled by a King in another country and not by a president as we are now.  You’ll learn more about in school so I’ll skip the details of that today.

I want to think of Independence Day another way.  Every Sunday we celebrate Independence Day.  God has made us free.  God brought Jesus to us so we can be free.  We are free from worry about God’s love, we know he loves us so we celebrate that every day, but not necessarily with fireworks.  We are free from sin, we know that when we do something wrong, God forgives us. 
So every Sunday you can celebrate independence day, but not the 4th of July.
(Thought, get some red-white and blue pinwheels at Ocean State Job lot or Christmas Tree shop and give each child one.   They can spin it in the wind as they leave, and then celebrate every Sunday.) 
god -wind

Message – “sermon”
Two Greek words, Theos and Logos, mean “God’s Word.”  Theos and logos may sound familiar, or if you see it in writing, my point may be more clear.  Theos Logos, God’s Word, is what we today call Theology.
Rather than frighten everyone and have your eyes glaze over thinking we’ll be here until sundown talking theology, we’ll make it simple, this part of worship is based on and is – God’s Word.

Page 1
Pastor Mark’s messages over the past five weeks and now the message today, have their focus on Paul’s letter to the Galatians, and the theme “to know and to grow.”
In the first week of this series, the reading was from the first chapter of Galatians.  Refreshing your memory (as I did in preparing with Pastor Mark for this message today) a key point in that reading was, “as the people of God, are we seeking human approval or God’s approval?”
Things that we seek human approval for lead to emptiness. In the human approval I am actually seeking self approval.  God gives us abundance, but then I see I don't have enough. I want more, I want the things that I think make me feel good and give me approval of others. When we seek to serve ourselves we isolate ourselves, we cut ourselves off from God and from each other. What does human approval get us?  For example, if we can't see the abundance that God has given us and we get tied up in wanting more, where are we?  Do we really feel fulfilled?
We already have God's approval; we don't really need to seek it; we need to accept it. We already have God's love. We must trust in the approval we've been given.
We know and grow when we just consider this question of approval, even though we don't have it answered. If we had all the answers we wouldn’t need to trust in God. The one answer we've been given is Jesus Christ. This tells us about God's love and his approval.
Our second week is where Paul speaks about God's approval, his mercy and grace, and how far it can go. Paul was once Saul and was a horrible person. He was called, just as we are. Like Paul, we are all sinners but we are also the people of God.
How do we know we are a part of God's people? The sign of our baptism is where we physically acknowledge his love for us. Our call is to share that message with others. That leads us to our third week.
The gospel message here is we are justified by faith and not good works. Paul tells us this and Martin Luther was all over this one. That is one of the areas where he wanted reform and here in Galatians is his basis. 
Paul shared his faith, his life and the love that Jesus has for us. Our faith is defined by this, it is what we are called to believe and trust in. To know that our faith is not about how we act but how we are loved. We know our faith is not about how we act but about how are loved by God and his grace.
The fourth week continues to emphasize faith. We are all children of God because of his love for us. Think about someone evil or who hurt you. Is God's love any different for them? Are we really any different from them? 
I want to put these two questions aside for now and take a moment here for a mental exercise. In your bulletin is a one-page reference sheet for today's message. For weeks we have repeatedly heard the word faith. Take a moment and write down what you think or how you define what faith is.
Now turn to someone, preferably other than a family member, and share with each other what you just wrote. 
Page 2
At the beginning of today's service I defined worship and liturgy, and said that liturgy is “the work of the people.”  So now we’re going to do a little work. As good Lutherans, we are timid, shy, and not boastful. So the work I'm going ask you to do is to share what someone else said is their definition of faith.  We don’t need to know who said it, just what they said.
Thank you for that exercise. As I said at the start of today’s service, worship is nourishment (to know) and exercise (helps us grow.) In the past few moments we received a little snack and you got little exercise. This is what “to know and to grow”  is about.
You had and shared great examples of how you define faith. In our series Paul defines faith as “trusting the promise of God.” We know that, and because we know that, we grow.
Because we have faith, we know that even as sinners, we are accepted by God, we have his approval.
When differences or conflict arise, our calling in faith is to love rather than our human nature which is to win and to get human approval. Our calling to love is how we live, knowing that we have God's approval.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” was a clear message in our fifth week. A moment ago I said our calling is to love. Loving our neighbor can be hard work. The fruits of that hard work are love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, and gentleness.  What more could we want or need?  Worship is where we are nourished with these rewards. When we leave worship, whatever our lives or feelings are at the moment we know that God loves us, we know we are a part of the promise God gave Abraham, we know we have grace and Jesus Christ, and our faith in trusting the promise of God is how we know and grow.
In this final week it is summed up in two of the verses Dave read, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, we will reap at harvest time if we do not give up. So then whenever we have an opportunity let us work for the good of all and especially for those of the family of faith.”  In other words, let’s not get tired of receiving God’s love, and as a result, in doing the work of the liturgy, the work of the people.
Today we are here, called to worship, to be nourished and to grow.  We know God's grace, and because of his grace we are people of God. We know of God's approval.  That answers our question of approval in chapter one.  We know that this work is not just for us, but for all.  by this work we know of God’s approval, not just for us but for all people and all creation. 
As we leave here today we know this grace, may we grow in our trust of this grace, and by faith may we be united under that grace as people of God.