Singing Up the Sun: A Prayer for the Church

Christians in the Reformed tradition have long recognized the dual nature of our life together as a faith community.  On the one hand, you have churches that exist as religious institutions.  On the other hand, you have the Church that lives as the Body of Christ, the spiritual fellowship of God’s covenant people.

Heinrich Bullinger, writing in 1561, observed:

Again, not all that are reckoned in the number of the Church are saints, and living and true members of the Church. For there are many hypocrites, who outwardly hear the Word of God, and publicly receive the sacraments, and seem to pray to God through Christ alone, to confess Christ to be their only righteousness, and to worship God, and to exercise the duties of charity, and for a time to endure with patience in misfortune. And yet they are inwardly destitute of true illumination of the Spirit, of faith and sincerity of heart, and of perseverance to the end… And therefore the Church of God is rightly compared to a net which catches fish of all kinds, and to a field, in which both wheat and tares are found (Matt. 13:24 ff., 47 ff.).

The Westminster divines identified this duality by referring to the visible church, which is “a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children” and the invisible church, which is “the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.”

Writing over three centuries later, the authors of the Confession of 1967 noted,

The church in its mission encounters other religions and in that encounter becomes conscious of its own human character as a religion… The Christian religion, as distinct from God’s self-revelation, has been shaped throughout its history by the cultural forms of its environment… But the reconciling word of the gospel is God’s judgment upon all forms of religion, including the Christian.

Earlier today, as I was praying for my church, the image of an egg came to mind.  When people glance at an egg, they tend to notice the hard and plain exterior shell.  Most people don’t think about the baby chick inside.  They just see an egg.  But if they could somehow get inside, they would immediately notice the disparate chick-to-shell ratio.  There’s a lot more bird than egg in there!

As cracks start to appear, many throw up their hands in mourning (or celebration) that the egg is now broken, ruined, and not long for this world.  In one sense, they may be right.  However, I wonder whether those who focus exclusively on this fact might be forgetting about the amazing new life that lurks just beneath the surface.  The cracks signify, not the failure, but the success of life that has grown too big for its shell.  The cracks mean that the shell has done its job and life is now ready to burst forth into the world.

I think the church is like that egg.  It looks rather rigid, plain, and fragile from the outside.  The cracks in our institutional shell are obvious and appear at both congregational and denominational levels.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Lackluster theology
  • Biblical illiteracy
  • Indifference to social justice
  • Cliques
  • Power-plays
  • Denominational schisms
  • Liberal/conservative conspiracy theories (take your pick)
  • Not enough/too much inclusivity (take your pick)
  • Worship is too traditional/contemporary (take your pick)
  • Obsession with church property
  • Dwindling financial resources
  • Declining membership
  • I could keep going…

With all these cracks, it looks like our egg is falling apart.  That’s because it is falling apart.  It’s supposed to fall apart.  Ecclesia reforma, semper reformanda.  Our ancestors gave us this shell in order to safeguard the precious treasure of life within it.  Just as they hatched from their own institutional shells (think Calvin during the Reformation), life dictates that we must hatch from ours.  What’s more is that we will most likely hand our spiritual progeny another shell from which they too will one day break.  The shell’s job is to protect and nurture life.  Its breakage during times of change is a sign of success not failure.

There’s a lot more bird than egg in our church.  There is new life waiting to be born.  The future will not look like the past.  The decline of mainline Protestant churches doesn’t bother me.  I think God is coaxing our churches out of their collective shell so that we can take up the prophetic mantle once again.  We are not dying; we are being born.

For some this will mean questioning “the way we’ve always done it” and reforming our denominational or congregational structures from within.  For others it will mean abandoning traditional denominations or congregations altogether.  Whatever new thing they come up with will not be the end-all/be-all perfect solution forever.  It will one day be broken and discarded by their descendants.  As Jesus warned his disciples, “Not one stone will be left on top of another.”

Whatever path we feel called to follow, let’s let our focus be on the new life that God is bringing to birth from within the cracking shell of our churches.  Let’s be open to the vibrant and prophetic future into which we are being led.  Let’s move forward in faith, not fear.  For some of us, the chicks hatching from our eggs will be hens who produce new eggs with shells that will nurture and protect the next generation until those chicks are ready to break out.  For others of us, the chicks hatching from our eggs will be roosters who climb to the rooftops and sing up sun, announcing the arrival of a new dawn.

Thanks be to God!

Holding Onto Hope

I lectured on William James in yesterday’s class.  Here’s a passage of his that I like:

Most religious men believe (or ‘know,’ if they be mystical) that not only they themselves, but the whole universe of beings to whom the God is present, are secure in his parental hands.  There is a sense, a dimension, they are sure, in which we are all saved, in spite of the gates of hell and all adverse terrestrial appearances.  God’s existence is the guarantee of an ideal order that shall be permanently preserved.  This world may indeed, as science tells us, some day burn up or freeze; but if it is part of his order, the old ideals are sure to be brought elsewhere to fruition, so that where God is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and shipwreck and dissolution are not the absolutely final things.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902

Evolutionary Thoughts: Future

It is time to outgrow…

our own tendency to exonerate the past with certainty and security, to dogmatize its definitive, unchanging nature, often turning tradition into an unwieldy ideology of oppression and encrustation.

It is time to embrace…

the future thrust of evolution toward increased complexity and renewed creativity, a future endowed with hope and promise as new possibilities unfold unceasingly and the innate mystery becomes more transparent to human intelligence.

Diarmuid O’Murchu, Evolutionary Faith, p.36-37

“Stay Thirsty, My Friends”

The Most Interesting Man in the World

This week’s sermon from First Pres, Boonville.

The text is Mark 13:24-37 with reference to Daniel 7:9-14.

Click here to listen to this sermon at fpcboonville.org

It’s almost always a dangerous thing to mention presidential politics from the pulpit.  At no time in recent history has this been truer than it is right now, when sanity and civility are so conspicuously absent from all ends of the political spectrum in our country.  I sometimes fear that our centuries-old commitment to a democratic government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” is quickly degenerating into a spectator sport where each side cheers for their favorite team and boos at the other side whenever they score a goal.  Accordingly, I will choose my words carefully.  I begin with a disclaimer: this is not a sermon about presidential politics, nor is it a political speech that should be misconstrued as an endorsement or denouncement of any particular party or candidate.  I’ll be using some of the buzzwords that factored highly in the last presidential election, but I do so in order to draw attention to the words themselves, not to the people with whom those words were associated.

Now, with that awkward business aside, the buzzwords to which I want to draw your attention are hope and change.  We heard a lot about hope and change in 2008.  Some people got really excited about those words.  They liked the idea that things could somehow be different (i.e. better) than they already were in this country.  In the years since then, some of the people who were initially excited have begun to feel frustrated because things still seem to be pretty much the same as they were before.  We’re still living in the same country with the same old problems.  This frustration has led other public figures to ask (cynically), “Hey America, how’s all that hopey-changey stuff working out for you?”  The hard lesson that people are (re)learning is this: without real change there is no real hope.  And the change necessary to inspire hope is beyond that which any political candidate, party, or ideology can offer.

In the absence of real hope, there are basically two responses that people can make.  First, they can jump on board the bandwagon with whatever big idea comes along next with flashy presentation and inspirational rhetoric.  Like bumblebees, they float from flower to flower, collecting whatever small grains of hope they can find to sustain their meager faith in the system.  Second, people can give up hope entirely.  They can sit back and cynically fold their arms saying, “Nothing ever changes.  Just give me what is rightfully mine and then leave me alone.”  I would argue that neither of these responses is wholly adequate to ease the pain we feel when our hopes are frustrated (in life as well as politics).  There has to be another way to preserve hope, even when our favorite human institutions have failed us.

The earliest Christians, just as much as (if not more so than) us, lived in a time of extreme political tension and unfulfilled hopes.  The land of Judea was occupied by the Roman Empire.  The people longed for some sign of hope that things might someday be different, but they were divided amongst themselves over what that hope should look like.  Some Jews, like the Zealots, picked up swords and sought to take back their homeland with divinely inspired military might.  Other Jews, like the Sadducees, worked with the Roman government to maintain order and preserve whatever religious and cultural freedoms they could.

Eventually, these tensions came to a head in the year 66 when war broke out between the Jewish people and the Roman Empire.  The government dedicated itself to crushing this rebellion and eventually did so with its might as a military superpower.  The ultimate symbol of Jewish defeat came in the year 70 when the Roman forces invaded Jerusalem and their sacred temple, the ultimate symbol of their national and religious life, was burned to the ground.

It was around this same time that Mark’s gospel was first written.  The Christian Church was just emerging as an independent movement within Judaism.  Christians wondered among themselves, “What should we do?  Should we fight the Romans or try to work with them?  Should we put our hope in each new self-proclaimed revolutionary leader that comes along or throw our hands up and admit that nothing (not even God) can defeat military juggernaut of the Roman Empire?”

The author of Mark’s gospel saw both of these options as deficient.  Neither the false hope of revolution nor the cynicism of collaboration embodied a faithful response to the very real hope that was made manifest by God in Christ.  So the author of Mark’s gospel made sure to include in chapter 13 of this book a particular story about Jesus that might provide some helpful guidance for the Christian Church in that day.

It begins as Jesus and his disciples were walking out of the great Jewish temple one day.  One of the disciples stopped to admire the architecture of the building.  Jesus responded in words that would ring eerily true to the Christians in Mark’s day, who would see this very thing happen in their own lifetime: “Do you see these great buildings?”  Jesus said, “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

He was speaking of the temple of course, the cultural icon and center of religious devotion.  Jesus’ own ancestors had fought and died to preserve everything for which it stood.  How could he, a Jew, speak so glibly about its destruction?  He didn’t stop there either.  He went on to speak so insightfully about the coming crisis that some later regarded his words as a prophetic prediction.  Instead of glorious victory and freedom, he spoke of war, earthquake, famine, and persecution.  What’s even worse is that Jesus then told his followers to do the exact opposite thing that their brave and faithful ancestors had done when Israel was threatened.  “[W]hen you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be,” he said, “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.”  In other words, Jesus ordered them to run and hide rather than stand and fight to protect that which their nation held most dear.

How could Jesus be so offensive toward his patriotic Jewish audience?  The answer lies in verse 26 of the passage we read this morning.  He makes reference to “’the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.”  This would have been a familiar image to his educated Jewish audience.  This phrase is taken from the book of the prophet Daniel.  In 7:13, Daniel describes “one like a human being (i.e. ‘son of man’) coming with the clouds of heaven.”  According to the vision, God would one day take the corrupt and destructive empires of this world and place them under the authority of this human being (son of man).  The powers that be would be divinely transformed and made to serve real human interests rather than their own animal-like greed.  Real change was bound to happen in this world, not because of violent revolution or political cunning, but because God wills it.  God will establish true “liberty and justice for all” regardless of what goes on in the halls of power.  The temple could be destroyed and the battle lost and God would still see this vision through to its fulfillment.  This is the source of Jesus’ hope.  It is a prophetic vision embedded deep within his Jewish heritage.  It transcends ideology, victory, even history itself.  Prophets and visionaries in every age have held onto this inexorable and eternal vision.  Many have laid down their very lives because of its promise.  Dr. Martin Luther King reiterated its core principle when he said, “The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.”  Archbishop Oscar Romero proclaimed, “If they kill me I shall rise again in the Salvadoran people.”  Jesus himself willing went to his cross while trusting in the final victory of God’s vision over the powers that be.

Change is coming, therefore there is hope.  Real change, lasting change, God’s change.  It won’t come through any particular candidate, party, or ideology.  It won’t come through military might or violent revolution.  It won’t come about through our diligent plans or valiant efforts.  God’s kingdom will come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  We pray for this and proclaim our faith in this vision every Sunday.  Jesus had faith in this vision.  He was willing to stake his life on it.  That’s why the thought of Jewish defeat or the temple’s destruction didn’t bother him that much.

The author of Mark’s gospel was impressed with Jesus’ faith in God’s ultimate vision.  The early Christians needed that faith as well.  The Church needed an anchor that would hold them steady while the storms of war and persecution blew over the deck of their boat.  If they cut the line, they would drift and drown with their neighbors.  So it was that the early Christians took these words to heart and refused to fight in defense of Jerusalem or the temple.  They ran for the hills when the invasion came.  This was an unforgivable sin to their Jewish neighbors.  Christians were branded as cowards and traitors within the Jewish community.  Relations had been strained up to that point, but from then on, Christianity was cut off from the rest of Judaism.

As we meditate on these events this morning, we find ourselves at the first Sunday of Advent.  Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed and so we now begin our preparations for Christmas.  For most people, this takes on a decidedly nostalgic tone as Bing Crosby dominates the radio waves.  There is a lot of talk about “peace on earth”, “the light of the world”, and “hope”.  But we start this season on an intentionally apocalyptic note.  We know that hope cannot exist without change, yet we know that change is coming, therefore we have hope.  None of the powers that be in Washington or on Wall Street can claim to be the fulfillment of God’s vision, yet neither can they stop God’s vision from being fulfilled.

In the absence of real hope, people tend to embrace false hopes or else bitter cynicism.  I believe that Jesus offers us a third way.  We can hold onto hope that transcends the fleeting promises of ideology and history.  We can live as prophets of hope in a hopeless world.  Like Jesus, we can look deep into the heritage of our faith and cling to God’s vision of a world that can be changed… that will be changed.

There is currently a beer commercial on TV that features “the most interesting man in the world”.  At the end of the advert he looks into the camera and says, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”  As he said to them, so I say to you: Stay thirsty, my friends.  I can think of no better way to sum up the call to action that arises from Jesus’ vision of hope and change.  While other people are dying of their thirst for hope and cursing the sky in cynicism, I say to you, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”  While others around you are desperately trying to slake their thirst for hope with things that will only lead to more despair, I say to you, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”  Stay thirsty for hope.  Stay thirsty for change.  It’s coming.  God will not let us down.  “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Children of Light

Here is this week’s sermon from First Presbyterian, Boonville.

The text is I Thessalonians 5:1-11.

I preached from an outline instead of a manuscript this week, but you can click here to listen to the sermon or download the mp3 at fpcboonville.org:

http://fpcboonville.org/2011/11/13/33rd-sunday-in-ordinary-time/

Click here for a copy of my sermon notes in .docx format

In the sermon, I mention the old Civil Defense Drill Films that were shown to kids.  Here is one famous example:

Farting My Way Toward Hope

I was having a conversation with someone after worship last night.  This friend is a longtime worker for peace and justice in this country.  We were celebrating the passage of marriage equality in New York state and simultaneously mourning our governor’s immediate turnaround to lift the ban on hydrofracking.

I’m enough of a Calvinist that I believe there will always be something wrong with this world.  We’ll never get it totally right.  There will always be one more reason to march on the capitol, call your senator, write an editorial, or practice civil disobedience.  That’s what “total depravity” means to me.

On the other hand, I also believe that victory is inevitable for the cause of goodness and right.

Why do I believe this?

  • Not because I “have faith in people”.  I don’t.  Trying to make a left-hand turn without a stoplight onto Black River Boulevard during rush hour will destroy that for anyone.
  • Not because I trust the spineless Democrats or the heartless Republicans.  I don’t.
  • Not because I “believe in America”.  I don’t.  It’s a country like any other.  There are some wonderful things about it and some horrible things.  If you want to know what happens when people uncritically “believe in their country”, just look at the Third Reich.

I believe the final victory of goodness and right is inevitable because I believe in God.  With my Christian coreligionists (among others), I accept the biblical tenet that “God is love” (that’s 1 John 4:16, in case anybody wants to look it up).  This means that love is the “Ground of all Being”, to borrow a phrase from Paul Tillich.  Love sits at the center of the universe.  Love is the source of the Big Bang and all subsequent nebulae, quasars, galaxies, and planets.  The “invisible hand” of the cosmic economy is love (apologies to Adam Smith).

If this is true, then all that is not love is destined to dissipate into nothingness.  This goes for all ego-centricity, injustice, exploitation, prejudice, and death-dealing.  The Jewish prophet Isaiah sang his Dylanesque folk song: “They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the whole earth will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh (lit. “The One Who Is”) as the waters cover the sea.”

I shared this idea with my friend, who continues to struggle with this faith.  She lamented the fact that, for the moment, evil seems so present and powerful.  How do we know it won’t win or last forever?  In a flash of T.M.I. insight, I thought of a helpful (if gross) analogy:

Have you ever been in a closed room when somebody ripped a really really smelly fart?  It’s over-powering.  You can’t even think straight.  You feel like you’re going to die.  But what happens when you crack a window or step outside?  The smell goes away.  In the context of the larger scheme of things, the fart has less substance and less reality than the world around it.  So it is with the evil we see in this world.  If love exists at the center of the universe, then all that is not love is destined to disperse into nothingness once somebody opens a window.

We can even get biblical with this.  Here’s a line from Psalm 68.  When I read this, I interpret “enemies” and “wicked” to mean “evil itself” rather than individual human beings.  As it says in the New Testament, the struggle of faith is not against “enemies of blood and flesh” but against “spiritual forces of evil”.  Disclaimer aside, read on:

“O God, arise, and let your enemies be scattered; let those who hate you flee before you.  Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; as wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.  But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; let them also be merry and joyful.”

It Gets Better

Today’s Sermon from First Presbyterian, Boonville.  We celebrated Ascension Sunday and Youth Sunday.  Today also happens to be More Light Sunday for some churches in the PC(USA).  Visit www.mlp.org to find out more.

My text is Ephesians 1:15-23.

Billy Lucas, Cody Barker, Seth Walsh, Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Harrison Chase Brown, Raymond Chase, Felix Sacco, and Caleb Nolt.  These nine names belong to nine teenagers who took their own lives during the month of September 2010.  Nine youths in a single month.  What’s even more shocking is that each one of these nine people were driven to suicide by the same thing: each of them was being bullied and tormented by classmates, roommates, and peers because of their sexual orientation.

This rash of suicides last fall received a lot of attention in the media.  Many people were wondering what caused such a sudden spike in such tragedy.  Personally, I wonder if it was happening around us all along, but we just weren’t paying attention until then.  Whatever the case, the events of last September caught the attention of a journalist named Dan Savage who decided to do something about it.  He launched a video campaign on YouTube to reach out toward other teenagers who might be considering suicide for the same reason.

Dan wanted to send a message of hope to these kids.  He wanted them to see videos of adults who persevered through the bullying and went on to find happiness, health, success, and love in their lives.  The message of the project is that, no matter how hard life might seem right now, it gets better.  In fact, that’s what the project is called: ‘It Gets Better’.

‘It Gets Better’ has been a huge success.  200 volunteers had uploaded videos by the end of the first week, telling their stories and offering their lives as an example of hope.  By the end of the second week, they had already reached the 650 video limit imposed by YouTube, so they had to open their own website.  Since then, over 10,000 videos have been produced and submitted.

Most of the videos are posted by regular people who have firsthand experience with being bullied for their orientation; others come from people who simply want to voice support as allies.  People from all walks of life have contributed: students, artists, police officers, soldiers, clergy (including the pastor of this church).  Pretty soon even community organizations and churches were jumping on board.  There are several famous household names who have volunteered as well: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, the Boston Red Sox, Dane Cook, Tom Hanks, Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Love Hewitt, even the President of the United States contributed a video!

The message of ‘It Gets Better’ is all about hope, which is the same thing we’re talking about today, on Ascension Sunday.  The Ascension is not just a neat magic trick that Jesus did once.  It’s an event that has significance for us all.  Whenever we recite the Apostles’ or Nicene creeds together, we affirm that the resurrected Jesus “ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”

In today’s epistle reading from the book of Ephesians, the author talks a lot about what the Ascension of Christ means for believers today.  It starts with a prayer.  The author prays that God will give people “a spirit of wisdom and revelation” so that, with “the eyes of [our] heart enlightened”, we might come to believe in the power of hope.

The author looks to Christ’s Ascension as the basis for that hope.  By virtue of the Ascension, Christ holds dominion “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.”  In other words, all of the powers-that-be in this world bow down to Christ as the Ruler of the Universe.  This would be incredible good news for Christians in the first century.

As many of us already know, Christians were hunted and killed during the first centuries of their existence.  The Roman Empire branded Christians as terrorists (because they refused to worship the emperor) and atheists (because they had no statues of gods).  It was a dangerous thing to “come out of the closet” as a Christian in those days because one could face the death penalty for doing so.  It seemed like the powerful Roman Empire was bound to eliminate this radical new Christian movement from the face of the earth.  The situation was utterly hopeless.

But the author of Ephesians has a different perspective on the matter.  All the guts and the glory of the Roman Empire was like a drop in the bucket.  As an international superpower, Rome was one of the “powers that be” in the world system of that day.  All “authority, power, and dominion” led back to Rome (and the house of Caesar).  But Ephesians sees Rome as just another pawn in God’s big chess-game of the universe.  According to Ephesians, the entire Roman Empire existed “under [Christ’s] feet.” Even the great Rome was accountable to a higher authority.

This means that Rome would not have the last laugh.  They could hunt Christians all day long (which they did), but they would be unable to bring a stop to the work of redemption that God completed in Christ.  The bad guys could not win.  The battle was already won.

The problem is that it didn’t look that way to the average person in the street.  For them, the Empire looked stronger than ever and was stepping up its ferocity in hunting believers.  Any logical analysis of the situation would lead a rational person to believe that the Christian church at that time was on its way out of existence and would amount to a footnote in some distant history book.

You and I, as people who live on this end of history, know full well that this didn’t happen.  In fact, it was the Roman Empire that faded away while the Christian Church has survived and thrived in almost every part of the world.  But how, we might ask, could the author of Ephesians be so sure that this would be the future of the Church?

The answer, of course, is that the author didn’t know for sure.  The power of hope is something that can’t be proved.  It has to be believed in.  So, when it comes to inspiring hope in these persecuted Christians, the author doesn’t construct a rational argument, but instead prays that “the eyes of [their] heart [would be] enlightened”.

That’s how hope works.  I have days sometimes when I feel really bitter and cynical about my life or the world.  What brings me out of that funk is usually some story or song that speaks to my heart more than my head.  There’s this inner voice that speaks without words from somewhere between the notes of the music.  When it happens, it feels like a hunch or a gut instinct.  If I were to try and put the voice into actual words, they would probably sound something like this: “It’s okay.  You’re going to be alright.  You’re not alone.”  Personally, I believe that’s the voice of God, speaking light into the darkness of my heart and inspiring hope.  I try to hold onto that feeling, even though I might not have a logical reason for believing in the power of hope.  I believe this is what it means in Ephesians when it says,

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which [God] has called you.

This kind of hope is what the contributors to the ‘It Gets Better’ project are trying to inspire in the hearts of bullied teenagers who might feel so frustrated with their circumstances that they’re considering suicide, which is really just a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  As they make these videos, they’re praying that maybe some teenager who already has one hand on that gun, that bottle of pills, or that rope might stumble across one of these videos online and sense the eyes of their heart being enlightened by the power of hope.  And maybe they’ll put down that gun, those pills, or that rope and decide to live.

“Hope” is what comes to my mind when I say that I believe in the risen Christ, who ascended to the right hand of God, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”.  To me it means that the power of hope inspired by Jesus is stronger than all the powers that be in this world.  Stronger than the forces of injustice and inequality.  Stronger than hate.  Stronger than the bullies.  Stronger than that voice inside your head that says, “You’re no good” and “Nobody loves you” and “Life isn’t worth living”.

I don’t know your circumstances this morning.  Maybe you too are being bullied because of your sexual orientation.  Maybe you’re facing a crisis in your job, family, or relationship.  Maybe the headlines of TV news are making you feel cynical about the future.  Maybe you’re even considering a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  The still, small voice of hope might just sound like a silly little hunch or whisper, but listen to it!  Believe in it!  That voice has the power to transform your world.  It’s the voice of the Creator God, speaking again into the darkness and chaos, saying, “Let there be light”, “I love you”, and “It gets better”.

This is a video of the choir at Immanuel Presbyterian Church performing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles for the ‘It Gets Better’ project:

This video is my humble contribution to ‘It Gets Better’: