Sunday, February 23, 2014

Guest Preacher -- Matt Harding, February 23, 2014

We were overjoyed to welcome Mr. Matt Harding, Director of The Shepherd's Door, to our pulpit this morning.  Listen to his message below:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Come and Meet Matt Harding, Director of The Shepherd's Door This Sunday!

Matt Harding will tell us about his faith journey and his call to serve our community through the mission and ministry of The Shepherd's Door, a 501.3c non-profit based in Bellevue.  Here's a description of The Shepherd Door's work:

Vision:  The North Boroughs will be communities where people are not conformed by the patterns of this world, but are radically transformed through the power of Jesus Christ.

Mission:  To engage, empower and equip the least of these so they may live out God’s plans to prosper and have a future.

Engage- Equip- Empower
We ENGAGE people through programs and events that meet needs and help us develop relationships.
We EMPOWER people through self-discovery of God’s plan for their life.

We EQUIP people with the support system needed to live out God’s plan.



A ministry of presence.
Nobody should ever feel alone or unloved in this world.  At The Shepherd’s Door we aim to provide that presence in our community that lets everybody know they are loved and important.

A light in the darkness.
There is hope in every situation and at The Shepherd’s Door we aim to be that light no matter how dark the world and life may seem.  Through our service, words and actions we will shine in our communities and beyond.

Meeting people where they are.
It’s not about where you came from or where you are, but where you are going that is important.  At The Shepherd’s Door we don’t focus on the past but meet people where they are, having compassion on them, and walking beside them in their path towards restoration.

Cultivating loving relationships.
Our communities will be transformed when we serve one another because we love one another.  At The Shepherd’s Door we look to build relationships with those we meet, not simply offer services.

Building bridges to care.
Unable to do everything, we will do anything we can to help find and connect individuals to the appropriate resources to meet their needs. Whether it is through our own programs and services or others, we do our best at making sure everybody is receiving the love and support they need.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ordinary 6 A, February 16, 2014

As If Your Life Depended On It

 “No Exit.” New York Times, 2006.
Audio here:

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Matthew 5:21-37

21“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. 31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Jean Paul Sartre, the famous existentialist, is perhaps most well known for his one-act play, “No Exit,” in which the three main characters have been sentenced to hell.  And for Sartre, hell is not some hot place with devils and demons or lakes of fire.  Sartre’s version of hell is spending all of eternity in a locked room with three incredibly annoying people.  Ever since I read that play in high school, I have always found that scenario far more frightening than hellfire and brimstone.  And after some long family  road trips when the kids were little, I feel as if I’ve experienced it.

Sartre’s play has one very famous line: “Hell is other people.”  Now, even though Sartre was a confirmed atheist, it seems like he might have some understanding of how Jesus interprets Torah law. Because Jesus’ interpretation seems couched in the clear recognition that one of the most difficult parts of being a human being is having to deal with other human beings.  Or, to use the line we always used to use back when I was in advertising, “This would be such a great business if it weren’t for the clients.”  Or, as I have heard church people say, “This would be such a nice church if it weren’t for the people.”  Of course, when you get right down to it, even though healthy relationships seems to be the whole point of being human, it’s easy to forget that when we run into the inevitable conflicts of life together in families, in workplaces and in the church.  Life together can be messy.  And conflict can indeed, feel hellish.

So in today’s text, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount, we hear Jesus’ interpretation of Torah law.  Although we often think of the law or the 10 Commandments as rules for right behavior, Jesus’ reinterpretation seems designed to get us thinking about right relationships.  Even if the language about tearing out eyeballs and chopping off our hands makes us uneasy, these are words that demand our attention because they communicate how passionately God cares about our relationships with other human beings.

These verses today from Matthew contain four of the six “antitheses” used by Jesus to interpret the law.  The structure is pretty consistent and it will probably sound  familiar to you.  Here they are:

You have it heard it said, “You shall not murder.” 
You have heard it said, “You shall not commit adultery.” 
You have heard it said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.” 
You have heard it said, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.” 
And then in verses 38-48 which come follow today’s lectionary passage, there are two more antitheses:
You have heard it said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” 
You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” 

Jesus takes each of these laws and looks at the old ways in new ways that were probably pretty stunning for his Jewish audience. He cuts through the religious smog so that the light of truth can shine.  Jesus doesn’t dispute the law, but he does puts flesh on it, placing the laws in the context of our real lives and our struggles to be honest in our relationships and in doing so, exposes our fierce resistance to love.

“You have it heard it said, ‘You shall not murder.’”  Jesus says that anger and bitterness destroy relationships as surely as murder.  I’m pretty sure that there are not a lot of murderers among us today, but I would guess that most of us sitting here are currently ticked off with at least one person.   And Jesus is having any of that, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me” business.  Our words can injure as deeply as a knife or a bullet.  Inflicting emotional harm by calling someone names or refusing to forgive them is the same as inflicting physical violence.

“You have heard it said, “You shall not commit adultery.’”  Jesus says that looking at another person as a sexual object is the same as actually using that person as a sexual object.  And being exploited in such a way was not merely a question of morality, but in fact a dangerous situation for women in the first century.   Women in Jesus’ time were dependent upon fathers or husbands, and to be used and discarded for another’s sexual desires had sometimes deadly repercussions. A woman who had been seduced brought great shame upon her family. A woman who had been raped was considered damaged goods. For young women, the ability to marry well would be jeopardized. For those who were married, there would be the threat of divorce or worse.  

You have heard it said, “Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.”  Jesus says that divorce is a terrible idea because it puts women in a vulnerable position.  Wives in that time could be cast aside for ridiculous reasons, including burning bread.   Far from merely seeing women as property to be coveted by men, Jesus’ teaching on adultery and divorce reinforces the dignity of women and warns against a culture of male privilege.  I suspect that Jesus’ teaching warns us against treating any person as disposable.  And when divorce is inevitable, as it often is, we need to still honor one another and be certain that vulnerable people are not harmed in the process, especially children.

You have heard it said, “You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.”  Jesus says, we should speak and act with such integrity that we don’t need to make oaths at all.   Imagine that, politicians and lawyers.

You have heard it said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”  Jesus says, turn the other cheek, give up your coat and your cloak, go the extra mile, and give to everyone and don’t refuse to lend to anyone who asks.  So much for the military and banks.

You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”  Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Well, Jesus has pretty much gotten all of us on that one, hasn’t he?

And then the rest of it – about tearing out our eyeballs, or cutting off our hand and burning in hell – all of that hyperbole reinforces God’s deep interest in how we conduct our relationships.  They matter to God more than we realize.  Because the way in which we treat one another has quite a lot to do not just with where we will end up in the next.  The quality of our relationships determine how well we live the life we are in right now.  
Jesus’ interpretation invites us to imagine what it would be like to live in a world where we honor each and every person as blessed and beloved of God.  And I believe that most people really do want to live in a world where people treat one another with gentleness and respect.  The big question is given where we are, how do we get to that place that seems so very far away?

At our presbytery meeting this week, a group of pastors attempted to guide a conversation about racism among the elders and ministers gathered for the meeting.  In that large suburban sanctuary filled with mostly white Christians, you could just feel the tension in the air almost instantly.  Talking about race in public is not something we do well as Americans, and we sure don’t do it very well or very comfortably as white mainline Presbyterians.  As our presbytery’s general minister Sheldon Sorge pointed out, not much has changed in our churches since Martin Luther King, Jr. observed that Sunday morning at 11 a.m. is the most segregated hour of the week in American.  A half-century later, the majority of Presbyterian churches do not come close to resembling King’s “beloved community” or John’s vision in Revelations of people “from every tribe and nation” united in chorus around the throne of God.  And the church is very far away from fulfilling our constant prayer of, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Sheldon suggested conversations about race are hard for us because they require us to confess our own brokenness, embrace people we’ve been taught to keep at arm’s length, and trust people who we have been conditioned to see as our enemy.  It is so much easier to not have those conversations and I suspect that the majority of people at the presbytery meeting would have been much more comfortable to talk about property or money for an hour instead. 

If we want to participate in the kingdom building work of Jesus Christ, I think we have got to take seriously what Jesus is teaching in Matthew and begin the incredibly hard work of having difficult conversations about how we can get better at loving our brothers and sisters as if our own lives depended on it.  Jesus suggests that this is serious, life-saving business.  Loving one another is the primary mission of Christ’s church.  In fact, love is the only mission of the church.  Our mission is not to protect ourselves or maintain our institutions.  Not to save our own lives, but to lay down our lives for one another.  To outdo each other in honoring and lifting up one another. 

Loving as if our life depends upon it means we stand up not just for the prevention of murder, but for the dignity, health and well-being of all God’s children.  It means that we strive to seek understanding instead of giving in to anger.  It means that we stop holding onto grudges that we secretly enjoy holding, but are in fact poison to our souls. 

Loving as if our life depends upon it means that are faithful to the covenants that we have make, particularly in our most intimate relationships.  It means that we teach our children about the God’s incredible gift of sexuality and the awesome responsibility that comes with it.  It means that we should reject those who objectify and exploit other people, and call out sexism that demeans people. 

But loving as if our life depends upon it also means we honor the institution of marriage and family without turning it into an idol.  It means that we acknowledge the reality that some brokenness that cannot be repaired.  Relationships sometimes must come to an end and do come to an end, but they must end in a manner that provides wholeness and healing for everyone involved, especially the most vulnerable. 

Loving as if our life depends upon it means that we must say what we mean and mean what we say.  We must strive to be honest.  Trustworthy.  Transparent in our dealings.  Our yes must mean yes, but our no must also mean no. 

Loving as if our life depends upon it means that we have to be ridiculously generous.  Ridiculously forgiving.  Ridiculously kind.  Ridiculously vulnerable.  And we have to do all of this as if our lives depend upon it. 

Jesus won’t let us keep our religious lives in one box and our real lives in another.  God requires our whole lives.  Not our actions alone, but our thoughts, our intentions, our words, our very being. 

In our text from Deuteronomy this morning, Moses knows he is about to die.  The Israelites are at the Jordon River about to enter the promised land.  In his final words to the people he has led through the wilderness, Moses lays out their future:  “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you.” 

We choose life when we choose to love.  To forgive.  To let go of anger. To fight for justice.  To care for the hurting.  To treat others fairly.  To celebrate sex with the one we honor and cherish.  To sleep well at night because we have chosen truthfulness.  And to wake up each morning feeling blessed again by our hunger and thirst for righteousness, which are gifts of the Spirit for us as God’s chosen people. 

Wow.  You know what that sounds like?  Not just a good life, but a little bit of heaven on earth.   May it be so for you, for me, for all creation.

Thanks be to God.  Amen.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ordinary 5A -- February 9, 2014

No Earthly Sense

Listen along to the audio by clicking this link:

1 Corinthians 2:1-12

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

6Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.           

There once was a preacher named Clarence Jordan, who was invited to participate in a revival service at a Baptist church in segregated South Carolina in the 1950’s.  And Clarence couldn’t believe what he saw when he walked into the Baptist church one sultry summer evening.  What he saw were black people.  And white people.  And they were not in separate sections, but were sitting right together, next to each other, all around the sanctuary.  In the 1950’s!  In South Carolina!  Well, Clarence was astonished and when the revival service was over, he couldn’t wait to have a conversation with the old redneck, hillbilly preacher who was the pastor of this congregation.

Clarence said to the old pastor, “You’ve got an unusual situation here.  Black and white people worshiping together at your church.  That is unusual down here in South Carolina.  It’s unusual anywhere.  Tell me how you got that way.”

Well, the old hillbilly pastor smiled and said, “Well this church was down to a handful when the last preacher died.  It was such a small congregation; they couldn’t get a new preacher no how.  They went on for a couple of months without anybody to give any sermons, so one Sunday I said to the head of the deacons that if they couldn’t get a preacher, I’d be willing to preach.  So he let me!  When I got in the pulpit, I just opened the Bible and put my finger down.  It landed on that verse where Paul tells us that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female.  And so I preached about how Jesus makes us one and how once we’re in Christ, there should be no racial divisions between us.  When the service was over, the deacons took me in the backroom and they told me that they didn’t want to hear that kind of preaching no more.”

Clarence looked at the preacher and asked, “What did you do then?”

The old preacher answered, “I FIRED them deacons.”

“How come they didn’t fire you?” asked Clarence.

“Well, they couldn’t fire me since they never hired me,” the old preacher responded. 

Good point.

He went on to say, “Once I found out what bothered them people, I just preached the same message every Sunday.  It didn’t take much time before I had that church preached down to four!”  The hillbilly preacher said this in a way that suggested he was happy, maybe even proud of this negative church growth.

But the church survived and even began to grow, with the same hillbilly preacher in the pulpit.    The church was filled with exactly what Clarence saw that night – black and white people worshiping together.

Later that night, Clarence talked to a member of the church -- a young English professor from the University of South Carolina – and he was astonished to discover that the professor drove 70 miles to attend the old hillbilly preacher’s church every single Sunday.  Clarence asked him, “Why do you go to that church?  You’re a student of the English language, and that old preacher can’t utter a sentence without making a grammatical error.  Why would you travel all this distance just to hear him?”

The English professor stood up straight and said, sternly, “Sir!  I go to that church because that man preaches the gospel!”[1]

I thought of that story while I was thinking about this text today from 1Corinthians.  Because the apostle Paul was not a very polished preacher. In fact, we know from Acts that Paul sort of stunk when it came to debating philosophers or other educated people.  By the time he got to Corinth, Paul had given up on engaging in philosophical debates because he knew he couldn’t win.   In fact, Paul tells us he wasn’t trying to impress anyone with his wisdom or polished sermons.  Paul decided to just preach the gospel without worrying about appearing foolish or not sufficiently intellectual.  

What Paul preached was as simple and as complicated as this:  “… Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  Jesus Christ and him crucified.  Paul recognized that “Jesus Christ and him crucified” IS the heart of the gospel story.  Jesus Christ and him crucified is THE story of God’s intervention into this age through the fully human Jesus Christ to bring the kingdom of God near.  “Jesus Christ and him crucified” is THE story of God’s incredible love made real to us by Jesus throughout his ministry, a love which culminated in Christ taking on the worst the world could do to him to free everyone from fear and death.  Jesus suffered not only for the virtuous, or even philosophical white people.  Christ went to the cross for everyone.  Even for the rulers of the age who put him there, not knowing what they were doing.

That kind of preaching made Paul as popular as that old hillbilly preacher. Which is to say, not very popular at all.  Don’t get me wrong.  Paul was a good apostle.  Paul was a great pastor.  In reading his letters, you can feel how deeply Paul loved the communities he gathered in cities like Corinth.  Paul advised them and prayed for them but the truth of the matter is that Paul BOTHERED a lot of people.   Paul made people mad.   Paul’s insistence on preaching a crucified Messiah alienated many, many people because it just didn’t make sense.  Not to the Jewish members of the community who wanted a powerful Messiah.  It made no sense to the Greek mind, who expected the Messiah to be reasonable.  Nothing about Jesus Christ and him crucified made sense at all to many Corinthians.  Nothing about a crucified Christ fit into the ususal categories of power, success and intelligence. 

You look at the cross and what do you see if you are a rational, reasonable person?  You see a loser.  You see a man hanging naked in the hot sun, executed by a superior imperial force.  Everything about Christ crucified challenged the conventional wisdom of Paul time and the gospel continues to challenge our notions of what winning and losing looks like. 

I thought about Paul when I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Friday night.  During the parade of nations, I was struck by how many times the commentators said, “Well, that athlete from Malta or Napal isn’t going to win a medal, but look how happy they are to just be here!”   As if the athletes from places like Zimbabwe and Tonga were to be pitied because they did not have the longest shot at winning anything. 

Winning and medal counts are what the Olympics are all about, right?  The Olympics are about winners like American athlete Shawn White who said he only marched in the parade of nations because he had done so the last two times he won gold medals in snowboarding and he didn’t want to jinx himself out of another win.

But is winning what we are supposed to be about? When we think of Jesus Christ crucified, the word “winning” just doesn’t fit. In the eyes of the world, in that moment when Jesus was dying on a cross, those around him, even his most ardent followers, would not have called him a winner. Yes, I know Jesus conquered death, but he surely doesn’t fit the model of winning with which our world seems so infatuated. Jesus continually taught that the last will be first and the first will be last, that the meek shall inherit the earth.  Doesn’t sound like a gold medal strategy to me. 
If we use the Olympic analogy, Jesus seems more like the Jamaican bobsled team -- a little bit ridiculous and rather incompetent.  How could the crucified Christ ever be considered a winner?
But that is the gospel that Paul preaches to the Corinthians.  Christ crucified, Christ weak and vulnerable, the very image of self-emptying love.  Preached without lofty words and wisdom.  And Paul’s preaching makes no earthly sense.  The gospel challenges every assumption about power and what it means to win.  It is the kind of gospel that stands on the side of the Jamaican bobsledders of this world, not the Shawn Whites with their multi-million dollar clothing line at Target and American Express commercials.
When people feel uncomfortable and challenged by the gospel of Christ crucified, what do they do?  Well, sometimes they just get up and leave like the hillbilly pastor’s congregation in South Carolina.  Or, they do what the Corinthians did.   They argue among themselves about what the rules for membership ought to be and who ought to be excluded, with different groups claiming a higher knowledge or a deeper insight.  Which is exactly what Paul is addressing in these letters to Corinth.

And Paul insists, “Jesus Christ and him crucified” is the interpretive lens for how he sees – well – everything.  Everything! The crucified Christ is the lens through which Paul views the Corinthian community.  Everything he knows – from the meaning of the Jewish scriptures to the wisdom of the community’s best thinkers to the status of various individuals in the community.  Paul views every part of his ministry through the lens of Jesus Christ crucified. 

It’s the kind of lens that can do strange things to your vision.  Paul says that when you look through the lens of the crucified Christ, you see things that are not at all apparent to other people.  You see the need for reconciliation that no other eye has seen.  You hear the possibility for forgiveness no ear has heard.  You experience the kind of deep love no heart has conceived.  You see the blessedness of the weak and lost and broken of the world.  It is a way of understanding the world that comes only as a gift of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit upon whom Paul depends upon to help him slog though his mission and ministry, and all the joy and misery it brought him.

One of the things I always have to remind myself when I get impatient with Paul – and I often do get impatient with Paul – is that be did not ask for this aggravation.  He never set out to be an apostle.  In fact, you might say that God pretty much dragged Paul kicking and screaming into the job of starting all these new churches and traveling all over the Roman Empire at a time when being a Christian was a really hard and dangerous thing to be.

And I sometimes wonder what God was thinking because Paul seems like the worst possible choice for the job.  He was tactless and prone to losing his temper.  And he was constantly arguing or in trouble with somebody.  He was thrown in jail on a regular basis.  And all of this happened to Paul because just wouldn’t see both sides of a situation.  He couldn’t appreciate multiple points of view.  Paul had only one point of view…that of Jesus Christ and him crucified.  All the other definitions and distinctions – Jew/Greek, strong/weak, wise/foolish – none of them worked in this new post-resurrection creation.  Those historic and reliable distinctions and traditions and categories no longer existed for Paul.  “Everything old has passed away, see everything has become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:7).  

It is also somewhat comforting for me to realize that Paul himself felt utterly inadequate for the task God forced upon him.  He was unpolished and impolite, but the message Paul preached got through.  And because Paul was so acutely aware of his own shortcomings, he knew that it had to be God’s Spirit and God’s power that moved through him.  It was entirely clear to Paul that the life of faith is a response to God’s power -- not the result of some fancy theological or philosophical footwork.  Paul could look the lens of Jesus and see God’s spirit, working below the surface where things get kind of murky until God finally gets around to giving us a clue about what’s going on underneath, in the depths of God.   Paul knew all about seeing through a glass darkly, but it didn’t stop him from peering through the lens of Jesus, and point his congregation in Corinth toward wisdom deeper than the world’s wisdom and a truth more powerful than the world’s power.

And I hate that.  I do.  Because it means I can’t rely on my theological education to answer the hard questions about what God is up to in my life or in your life or in the life of this congregation.  Don’t get me wrong.  That education and training is important.  The gospel isn’t irrational or anti-intellectual.  It just operates on a different level.  The gospel has its own wisdom beyond our wisdom. Which means we cannot expect that the Spirit will give us answers that feel comfortable or reasonable and or even natural.  In fact, the Spirit’s poking and prodding can often keep us up at night or feeling a little sick to our stomach as we step with fear and trembling into a place that is entirely new and unexpected. 

All we can do is keep holding up that lens – for ourselves, for each another – so we can see who Jesus is and what Jesus did and what Jesus is still doing through the power of the Spirit.   And we can trust that the Spirit will in the fullness of time will drag us –  sometimes kicking and screaming like Paul -- into all truth. 

Thanks be to God.  Amen.

[1] Tony Compolo, Let Me Tell You A Story. Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000. 117-119.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Happy Midwinter Wednesday!

Here's a joyful noise to bring you cheer as we all endure another day of ice and snow in Southwestern PA.

1. Come! live in the light!
Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord!
We are called to be light for the kingdom,
to live in the freedom of the city of God!

Refrain: We are called to act with justice.
We are called to love tenderly.
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.

2. Come! Open your heart!
Show your mercy to all those in fear!
We are called to be hope for the hopeless,
so all hatred and blindness will be no more!

3. Sing! Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign and we'll walk with each other as sisters and brothers united in love!