Matthew 17:1-9

The Transfiguration

17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I[a] will make three dwellings[b] here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”



transform into something more beautiful or elevated.

“the world is made luminous and is transfigured”

synonyms:transformtransmutechangealtermetamorphose informaltransmogrify “the glow of the sunrise transfigured the whole landscape”

It’s interesting to note that the transfiguration in today’s lectionary passage happened on a mountain top…I guess that’s where we get the phrase “mountain top experience”.

What are some of your mountain top experiences?  How have those changed you?

I can point to many “literal” mountain top experiences…I love to climb mountains!  But, I’d have to say, the past few weeks, and then the retreat this past weekend, have been mountain top experiences…as well as the 36 or so hours I spent at the Abbey of Gethsemane earlier this week…Some of those experiences can even be described as “dazzling”!  

Let’s dig a bit deeper:

  • What does it mean to be “dazzled”?  What would it look like for you to be “transfigured”?  What about Fleming Road?  This neigbhorhood, your neigbhorhood?

The transfiguration story in our gospel lesson takes up 6 days after a series of events where Jesus is going around sharing the good news of God’s Presence, a message that was about bringing about much anticipated change.  At one point in previous stories, Jesus is asking what others were saying about him.  Some said that he was Elijah, John the Baptist.   Peter said that He was the Messiah though…he had also healed some folks, one story right before this was a healing from blindness.  He’s also beginning to share some hard things about his own suffering that was soon to come, that he would experience deep pain, and that he would die and rise again.  Crowds were following him, I’m sure it was hard for them to understand, and even harder for Jesus to convey this message.  

Then we come to today’s passage where Jesus is getting away from the crowds, as he often did.  He went up to a mountain with three of his friends.  These were good guys I’m sure, but not always on top of things, and they had some serious issues.  Peter was anxiety ridden and prone to making big statements, only to not be able to back them up.  He denied even knowing Jesus during his darkest hour a short time later.  James and John were concerned with greatness and arguing about who would sit where in eternity.  They seemed to be way more concerned by another life other than the one they were living.  They seemed consumed with theological discussions and fantasies on power rather than helping those around them.  Jesus had a few words for the how the disciples were to be servants at their expense a while later as well.  Yet, through it all, through their anxieties, image issues, and failures, Jesus counted them as friends and believed in them.  He invited them into events and life experiences with him that were transformative and meaningful.  

This event, this mountain top experience had a profound impact on the Peter, James, and John.  They saw before them Jesus, their friend, changed, transfigured, beautiful.  How did they react?   Well, they were overwhelmed, but they were glad to be there, they knew they wanted to be there.  Peter was so caught up in the moment, that he wanted to create three dwellings or set up tents for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses.  Somehow he wanted to contain that moment.  He was terrified, as they all were.  They didn’t know where to go or what to do, yet, they knew that things had changed.

Then, the clouds came.  Things got foggy, hard to see. Maybe that’s to say that things aren’t always clear.  Yet, God says, this is my son, part of me, I love him, LISTEN to him.  

Then, they left the mountain.  But, notice that Jesus is with them.  He’s not distant.  Jesus told them not to tell anyone, they don’t have to validate themselves, just wait, there’s more to the story.  Jesus would die, but he’d rise again.  

I think that this story has a lot to say about us as persons and as a church.  We are being changed, all of us.  We experience change throughout our lives.  It’s inevitable.  Sometimes that change can be terrifying.  It can be confusing and also exciting.  We know we want change and need it.  When it comes, we’re not sure how to respond or the way for us may not be clear.    But God says that we are not alone, that he’s with us, going through change with us, and to listen to his son.   This Jesus is also rising up within us.  He is alive and is working in and through us, calling us to have confidence in ourselves as his friends.  

That Son lives in us and his Spirit is moving all around us.  I sense that in this church and community.  And, we have to pray for eyes and ears to see and hear God’s flow, God’s Spirit, God’s presence…and that takes patience.  I know we all want to see certain kinds of change that we think we want.  For me, I often feel like I want to see change happen yesterday, I can be impatient, yet God has been whispering into my ear a lot lately to not follow the example of Martha and work excessively for things that are fleeting, but to be like Mary and sit and Jesus’ feet and hear words of love, invitation to deeper life, and relationship….words that are so encouraging…words that lead to my hearing God say that I’m beloved…and words that ultimately lead to a personal and corporate transfiguration. 

Friends, I believe that Fleming Road UCC is going through a transfiguration.  We are being changed into something beautiful.  We are inviting in conversation partners to help us see through the clouds of what that change will bring, we are practicing listening skills to each other, our community, and the word of God.  I know I’m listening.  

I want to see this church filled with people of all sorts of ages, color, economic backgrounds, thoughts, beliefs.  Folks all being called to live life together in the way of Jesus and folks seeking out a Jesus who is pursuing them.  I hope to see all of us living into Jesus, a Jesus who was changed before the eyes of his disciples where they could see him in even deeper ways.  It will take time, hard work, and some suffering, but it will also be dazzling, encouraging, and wonderful.  We will be changed, and we will be glad to be on the mountaintop as that change happens.  We won’t change overnight more than likely, and we will grow over time together.  It is good to be with you as we go to the mountaintop together and hear God’s voice telling us, I love you, I’m with you, I am present.  


Matthew 5:21-37

Concerning Anger

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.’ 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister,[a] you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult[b] a brother or sister,[c] you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell[d] of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister[e] has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,[f] and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court[g] 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. 26 Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

Concerning Adultery

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If 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.[h]30 And 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.[i]

Concerning Divorce

31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But 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.

Concerning Oaths

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.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

The past couple of weeks we’ve been talking about the ethos, or the characteristics that we may have that lead us towards blessing.  This morning, our gospel lectionary continues that theme of blessing, or even happiness in some passages.  Whenever this particular passage comes around, it seems kind of harsh, usually preachers run to the other lectionary passages to preach on instead of this one! Yet, as we dig deeper into it and the context in which it was written, we begin to see some pretty radical comments on building relationships of equality and quality.  

Jesus is using rabbinic tradition to drive home a point.  “You’ve heard it said long ago…”   First of all, let’s remember what we’ve said the past couple of weeks, Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, or “fill it in”, to make it whole.  Secondly, the phrase:  “this is what you’ve always been told”, Jesus is using it to the heart of the issue.  You can make changes, try not to do outward actions that are wrong or wicked, but where’s your heart?  And, are you seeing things in a deeper way, not just on the surface. Are we willing to look deep into the mirror of our lives, and not be afraid of what we see, but to actually embrace our lives in order for growth to happen.  

Jesus is telling us that the principles or ethos of being an active participant in the Kingdom of God is more about who we are at our core.  There are some strong statements, it’s not just an act of going to your friends or enemies and asking them for forgiveness before the sun goes down, but it’s an action of vulnerability that is necessary for your growth as a human being.  If you don’t, you become bitter, you build up walls within yourself.  You separate yourself from the blessing of potential relationship.  

Jesus says that when our hearts towards out brothers and sister are not right, or we put them down, or hold something against them, then that will tear at us.  Thinking ourselves as superior to others leads us towards a kind of death or an experiencing some type of hell.  As I understand scripture, hell is not a good existence…yet, we have opportunity to look deep within and to allow God’s love to be heard deeper in our lives bringing growth, change, and maturity.  And, remember, hell is not simply some location separated from God…God is everywhere, working to show deep love towards all of us, nothing can separate us from the love of God, remember?  But, we often choose paths that lead to something else that can feel like separation or hell.  

Essentially, this whole passage about treating your brother and sister in a wrong way, adultery, murder, divorce, or swearing or really symptoms of how we’ve lived fragmented lives.  Jesus is calling us towards living a better way, that we have grace to move to some better places of “being”.  We can’t do it on our own either, we need one another, we need God’s flow moving in and through our relationships.  

It’s also a social statement for women in the time of Jesus.  The statement on adultery is to simply not objectify someone sexually.  When we objectify someone, we do not take into account their whole person.  Jesus is calling us to not look with lust on the outside appearances, but to look deeper at the whole person.  As we look at the #metoo movement, we know that this message of Jesus still resonates!  We have to be able to honor the entire person, not just treat them as objects.  

In terms of divorce, this was a strong statement as divorce was seen as an almost entirely male privilege at the time of Jesus.  All that was needed to divorce was a statement from the male.  What Jesus is saying is that women have full rights in any relationship and they must be treated with respect.  Notice that Jesus is addressing men almost entirely in these statements, its as if he’s trying to do a social cultural correction.

Neither of these statements are condemning statements, these are not commentaries on decisions that we’ve made or haven’t made, these are social justice statements asking more from us in terms of how we honor those in our lives…and we need to listen and hear them deeply.  

In scripture, the motif of having ears to hear and eyes to see are actions that God does for us.  In Psalm 40:6, it says that God has opened up our ears.  In Hebrew, the translation is literally “digging out our ear”.  

God digs deep within us, into our very core being to speak to us God’s love.  In that passage, it says that God does not desire sacrifice or offerings, we cannot earn God’s love, but there is still work on our part…we have to have our ears dug out…and that can be painful.  We have to risk being vulnerable, letting go of the way we’ve done things or found our being, we have to go to others and ask for their forgiveness, yield to one another, and pray for ears to be dug deep within our souls.

Really, at it’s core of this morning’s passage, we sense that Jesus is reminding us that we can’t just make surface changes in our lives, we can’t just stop wanting to put someone down, lust after what we don’t have or think we want, or whatever we struggle with…we need a deeper sense of digging deeper in our lives and in the lives of others…as we do that, as we practice loving ourselves, others, God, we find a deeper rhythm at work, we hear and sense God’s voice and work of love moving and flowing and we begin to see ourselves and humanity in a much more inclusive and beautiful way…and in so doing, we are transformed.

Pslam 42 says that “deep calls into deep”, the depth of God calling into the depths of who we are and vice versa.  God calls us into deeper consciousness and awareness of God’s relational flow. God demonstrates to us that God’s creative imagination gave us life, that our identity is not what others may say, but our identity is wrapped up in Jesus who has identified with us in his humanity.  The flow of God’s love and presence through God’s Spirit binds us to Jesus and to each other…gives us awareness of the blessing and happiness of walking with God as it says in another lectionary passage from Pslam 119 this morning…and to live deeper lives of honoring and loving…we need to cultivate an understanding and awareness of Jesus’ carrying us and forgiving us and simply loving us towards being the people we’ve always wanted to be.  

If we do this, we can move into real transformation, real change and growth.  Often we simply make technical changes.  Technical changes can be as simple as changing the light bulbs or rearranging the furniture.  But, we really need adaptive change in our lives and in the church.  Adaptive change means looking at things and people differently and being creative in our approach.  We have to adapt to a new way of being that can bring more life and growth than we thought possible.  But, it takes courage, it takes digging deeper into our ears to hear, it takes a desire to love life and to live it well..to not just survive, but thrive…which is what God is calling us towards.  

Friends, we have community and we have a God who’s made community with us, YOU have said “YES” to a new way of being church and to the transformation of our lives that is ongoing in God’s loving flow…you have done good work for several years, and now we are on this new chapter together.  It’s only fitting that in a couple of weeks we celebrate Lent, and begin a time of preparation for God’s self giving of God’s self to us through Jesus…Let us be the church and the people God has called us into being as we listen to God’s heart beat for us and hear God’s voice for us and desire for us to honor ourselves, one another through God’s love flowing all around us!


Matthew 5:13-20

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. 15 No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

The Law and the Prophets

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter,[a] not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks[b] one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Lampstands are great!  That’s why they are elevated.  Either on a table or on a pole like the one in my office.  

Love my reading, contemplating, studying corner…and, no, I haven’t taken too many naps there!  I don’t hav a TV in my office…which is what I usually fall asleep in front of…

Our passage this morning comes on the heals of the sermon on the mount.  If you remember last week’s message, we talked about the beatitudes meaning blessing and that if you had an ethos, or a characteristic, that points towards inclusive and welcoming love of self, others, and God…then you are blessed.  That inclusive and welcoming love flows from the dynamic of God’s being into us, and through us.  The characteristics or ethos are like the flavors that we give off as we are transformed, converted, changed through our awareness and relationship with God.  It is the light shining in and through us to the world around us.  

Now, God doesn’t give up on us, God doesn’t discard us…that’s not God’s character.  God’s characteristic or ethos is intense fidelity, commitment, loyalty and faith to us.  But, God does want us to be salt and light in this life, and if we aren’t willing to be salt and light, then God will simply work in other ways.  For us to be salt and light, we have to be willing to practice love and giving ourselves away in order to be the salt that the world hopes for the church, or the body of Christ, to be…and needs it to be.

As we know, salt by itself is useless, it eventually goes bad…we have to apply the salt, the spice of God deep into our lives, into the recesses and pores of very being.  We should not be afraid to let the light illuminate all things, even things that may be dark to us.  What happens when you turn on a light in a dark room?  It exposes everything.  That requires first a recognition that we cannot live this life on our own, we need God and we need community with one another.  We cannot pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make changes…we have to recognize our need for conversion and that we can’t foster conversion or change on our own.

Jesus reminds us also in this passage that God’s light is shining in and through us, let it flow through us and be a light into the world!!!  Don’t hide it, let light do its thing, expose the darkness.

Being a light, means having the light enter into our lives, exposing what we need to work on out in the open.  Being vulnerable is hard…letting go isn’t easy, but it’s a crucial step towards growth.  We have to be willing to be accountable to one another through vulnerable and authentic relationships built on grace and mutual growth.  Accountability in the way of Christ doesn’t mean punishing someone, it means being able to live into grace filled lives filled with mutual encouragement towards living abundantly as God intended.

How do we move towards being salt and light in the world, experiencing conversion and growth and live abundantly, being illuminating presences, in a world that seems to focus more on fear and scarcity?  By letting go of our ego.  

In a small way, I’ve seen so many folks here and in other places, have an honest approach at trying do this in the church.

On my drive to Pittsburgh Seminary for my Doctorate in Ministry cohort in January, I had a great conversation with my good friend Mary Lasoncysk.  She has let go of the anxiety on whether our church will grow numerically or not, which has freed her up to love the church as it is!  She isn’t worried about whether the church will exist in the future or not.  She knows that it will in some form. It was a fun conversation full of salt and light as we talked about the possibilities, imagination, and work towards a faithful presence.  She further commented that she did not think we would have come this far in our understanding of what it means to grow together two years ago.  She remarked how amazing it is to be where we are.  She is not ruling out numeric growth, just that that is not the aim.

Personally, over the years, I know that I’ve had to let go of many of the ways that I have done “church” and practiced ministry as well.  I’ve had to let go of my vision of the church, and I think many of you are in that process as well, and allowing God to give us light and direction towards a common, shared vision.  In this space, we become a bit vulnerable and trust and relationship become the fruit of that work of letting go.  This is an important part of our journey together, in letting go and listening intently to where God’s Spirit is flowing and taking us.  

When we begin that process of letting go…and starting out is the hardest part, we begin to see God’s expansive love work it’s way into our lives, like salt into meat or light into darkness.  It preserves us and it gives us a good taste in lives and illuminates our way forward.  We begin to practice being salt and light by loving each other…as well as our neighbors.  We find ourselves being peacemakers, practicing justice, standing up for those on the margins, being merciful and graceful, as we live into the commitment and bonds of friendship within community and with God. 

Jesus goes on to say in this morning’s scripture that he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  Jesus didn’t necessarily have a problem with rules or laws or church polity, but Jesus also said that being so focused on those rules than the bigger picture of God’s love. That can lead us being more about the process than the relationship, and we lose our saltiness, we put our light under a bushel.  Those rules, the commandments, were given to us to show us how to be in relationship, and to remind us that we fall short and need grace to truly live life as it was meant to be lived.

Jesus fulfills the law by being the embodiment of the law as a person…the characteristics/ethos of the law in right relationship is Jesus.  And our relationship with Jesus, which brings out our true selves, means that we are also called to apply Jesus righteousness, which we possess, in our relationships with others…which leads to being light in a dark world, speaking up for the oppressed, the marginalized, the refugee…for justice and mercy or any opposing principles or ethos of this world which are often based on small ego.

Being a Jesus follower means moving towards a higher level of consciousness, of awareness….going beyond a literal observance of laws and rituals to a radical openness to relationship with God and others that is very much fluid and  requires faithfulness, trust, and even risk and marked by radical love and illuminating that love for the world to see…a love that permeates into the lives others, preserving life, and giving it some spice!  So, friends, let’s keep on being salt and light!!!  


Matthew 5:1-12New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Beatitudes

When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely[b] on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ethos is an interesting word.  

It simply means the characteristic of a culture, a person, or an organization.  What are the things that guide us? 


  • What is a guiding characteristic of our culture?
  • What is a personal guiding characteristic that you try to live by?
  • What about an organization that you belong to?
  • What about Fleming Road UCC?

These are all interesting characteristics.  I would also say that we can present an ethos or character statements in our lives or in our church that can help guide us and give us meaning and purpose.  

For example, my friends at Oasis have five ethos statements that define what they value and how they operate: 

  • a passion to include everyone
  • a desire to treat everyone equally, respecting differences
  • a commitment to healthy and open relationships
  • a deep sense of hope that things can change and be transformed
  • a sense of perseverance to keep going for the long haul 

Our gospel lesson this morning also gives us the ethos of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  We call them the beatitudes.  The word beatitude means blessing.  One of the things about reading the beatitudes is to understand that these are not commandments.  They are an ethos or a characteristic of what it means to live in the Kingdom of God, the Presence or reality that this is God’s world and we are God’s and we are called to follow God.

So, if you are a peacemaker, you are blessed.  If you show mercy, you are blessed, if you are meek, you are blessed and will inherit the earth.  If you mourn, you are blessed and you will find comfort.  If you are persecuted, you are blessed because of righteousness…in other words, because you have lived in right relationships with others, worked on making those relationships good, then when persecution comes, when the bullies do their thing, you are blessed and your right relationships always works towards kingdom values and kingdom awareness…and, bullies or the unrighteous actions of others eventually simply waste away to nothing…like chafe in the wind.  They don’t have lasting meaning.

Now, what the beatitudes aren’t asking for is moral perfection.  When scripture says to be perfect as God is perfect, we tend to put our cultural ethos of doing things right or being right into this statement…we think as the Greeks did or in a dualistic way.  But, in Hebrew and Aramaic, it is odd to speak of God as morally perfect.  Dr. Glen Stassen and Dr. David Gushee in their book, Kingdom Ethics, state that the word perfect in biblical sense means to be complete or all-inclusive in your love…especially in your love for enemies.  

It’s easy to love your friends, but to go out of your way to bless and love your enemies.  That’s truly counter cultural.  Yet, that’s the message of Jesus throughout the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus isn’t teaching impossible moral ideals, Jesus is teaching an ethos of all inclusive and committed love that perseveres through all circumstances.  That’s a hard teaching for many, but when you can move towards that, things shift in your life in the lives of others.

Ghandi understood that, Martin Luther King understood that, Nelson Mandela also…the great changes in history happened as folks followed the way of Jesus.  Even Ghandi modeled his non-violent protests in many ways on the life of Jesus.  Living in the way of Jesus does come at a cost, you have to move from comfort to courage in life, but it gives you the peace you long for in your own life, and it can bring peace to others…it can even usher an awareness of the Kingdom of God.

David Gushee and Glen Stassen also go on to say that there is a threefold pattern in Jesus’ teachings on the Mount.  There is a teaching on what it means to be in right relationship, a vicious cycle meant to tell the listeners that one can’t settle for the way they’ve always lived, and a transforming initiative that says if you live in a characteristic or ethos of authentic love, you’ll be aware of God’s presence and that will change you and give you the growth you desire.

People in this world are craving for this kind of teaching, because it not only cultivates a relationship with God, but also action and an ethos that is worth living into.  We can see that in Jesus’ time, crowds came to hear this teaching.  The early disciples experienced amazing growth that changed the course of history through this teaching.  Folks today are leaving the church in droves because we’ve gone away from this ethos, but my bet is that if we taught this and lived this, people would want to embrace again the teachings of Jesus and want to see real change in all aspects of our personal lives and in the lives we live together in our church, community, our city, and our country.  In many ways, many of us here at Fleming Road UCC are already are already living into this Kingdom ethos as a church, it’s simply a matter of naming it and living into it.  As our church goes through some strategic visioning this year, defining our ‘ethos’ and how we live into that will be a central part of our discussions.  

God has been pleading with us to live this way throughout history, our old testament lesson today in Micah says that God has a “controversy with” God’s people…God simply requires us to live good by honoring God and others by doing justice, and loving kindness, and to walking humbly with your God.  And our passage in Psalms tells us that those who practice this will abide in God’s big and expansive tent!    

God has made God’s tent with us and walks with us, all of us.  May we recognize God’s walking with us, beside us, before us, behind us, and walk in humility with God and God’s loving ethos for us, all of us.   We cannot turn our backs on the refugee, on persons of different skin color, sexual orientation, economic status, or whether they are new or old to our country or our church.  What’s amazing is that Fleming Road UCC honestly strives to do this, it’s been a part of the ethos of this congregation in many ways throughout it’s history I believe.  We can live into the ethos that God has given us with the opportunities right at our doorstep.  We can be a blessing and be blessed, or we can live drifting from one distraction to another, and miss out on the goodness that God has created within us and around us.  But, I believe that’s not us at our core, we want to move boldly and with courage to the future God has for us!