Sunday, January 28, 1996

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany - Year A - 1996

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in
heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy
people, and in our time grant us thy peace; through Jesus
Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Preface of the Epiphany, or of the Lord's Day

A reading from the book of the prophet Micah Micah 6:1-8
1 Hear what the LORD says: Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the LORD has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 "O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the LORD." 6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
The Word of the Lord.

37 Noli aemulari Psalm 37, verses 1-6(1-18), page 633

1 Do not fret yourself because of evildoers; *
do not be jealous of those who do wrong.
2 For they shall soon wither like the grass, *
and like the green grass fade away.
3 Put your trust in the LORD and do good; *
dwell in the land and feed on its riches.
4 Take delight in the LORD, *
and he shall give you your heart's desire.
5 Commit your way to the LORD and put your trust in him, *
and he will bring it to pass.
6 He will make your righteousness as clear as the light *
and your just dealing as the noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD *
and wait patiently for him.
8 Do not fret yourself over the one who prospers, *
the one who succeeds in evil schemes.
9 Refrain from anger, leave rage alone; *
do not fret yourself; it leads only to evil.
10 For evildoers shall be cut off, *
but those who wait upon the LORD shall possess the land.
11 In a little while the wicked shall be no more; *
you shall search out their place, but they will not be there.
12 But the lowly shall possess the land; *
they will delight in abundance of peace.
13 The wicked plot against the righteous *
and gnash at them with their teeth.
14 The Lord laughs at the wicked, *
because he sees that their day will come.
15 The wicked draw their sword and bend their bow
to strike down the poor and needy, *
to slaughter those who are upright in their ways.
16 Their sword shall go through their own heart, *
and their bow shall be broken.
17 The little that the righteous has *
is better than great riches of the wicked.
18 For the power of the wicked shall be broken, *
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

A reading from the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:(18-25),26-31
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart." 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; 27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord."
The Word of the Lord.

The Holy Gospel is written in the 5th chapter of Matthew,
beginning at the 1st verse.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Matthew 5:1-12
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Gospel of the Lord.

Epiphany 4 - Year A

Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

When ever I read the Beatitudes that we heard in our Gospel lesson this morning, I feel a little robbed. In the very last blessing, Jesus tells us that those who are reviled and persecuted on his account are blessed. I want all of the blessings that Christ has to give us--perhaps that is gluttony on my part, but I want them all, and in this country, at this time, persecution for what I believe is simply not a realistic expectation.

Granted, if there ever was a mixed blessing, persecution would be it, and there is a sense of relief in knowing that we are gathered together to do this morning has no physical threat associated with it. But, I still feel cheated.

But the Christians upon whose martyrdom our faith was secured, had something in that blessing of persecution that we do not. They had a commitment that is difficult for us to equal because they had paid a price.

Last week, I had a conversation with Fr. Twyman and some others about tithing. We were discussing stewardship and Fr. Twyman mentioned something that I had never heard. He said that the Episcopal Church could try what some protestant churches and even some synagogues have done, and that is require a tithe to be considered a member of the congregation.

While I was thinking about how extreme that sounded, somebody else asked the question that was forming in my mind, they said, "What would that do to attendance?" Father said that those congregations that required a tithe were packed. Again I was trying to reason out why this would be when he said, it was for the same reasons that the Ancient Church, under persecution was filled with people risking their lives to attend every service.

Can you imagine what it would be like to go to Church and know that if you were seen by the wrong people--you may have been arrested by the state? Can you imagine having to sneak out of your house, under cover of darkness, to slink off to a Church held in cave outside of town--just so you could receive the sacrament and hear the Word preached? Can you imagine having to hide your faith from your business associates, and even friends, while looking for the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with anyone you thought might not turn you over to the authorities?

If you can imagine yourself in that situation, could you then imagine NOT taking advantage of any opportunity to worship, NOT going to every service in the Church, NOT attending every Sunday? Thousands upon thousands of Christians have risked their lives just to attend the Eucharist, and thousands upon thousands have given their lives, just to attend a Eucharist.

They had a commitment. They had paid a price.

If you have paid for something in advance, that something is going to be more important to you. I wish I was going to the Superbowl in Arizona today. Theoretically, I could hop on a plane, and (if I had enough money to pay a scalper), I could buy tickets and get in. Strange how I keep coming up with football examples lately!

However, as it is, I'm going to go with our youth group to see a movie right after Church this morning, and be back in time to settle in and watch the game on television. But what if I had a plane ticket already, and had already purchased my superbowl tickets. If that were the case, you would not be surprised if I were absent this morning.

If I already had the tickets, I would have done a lot to make sure I could use them. But merely having the opportunity to buy a ticket is not enough to make me want to go to the trouble nor the expense. While football and the church are not the same, human nature is.

We will be found doing that which is important to us, and the more options that are available merely make our selection more difficult, but if something has cost us something--it automatically becomes perceived by us as more important than other things.

My parents just got back from a trip to England. They love the culture, they love the people, they love the countryside and they love the Church. For those reasons, they were outraged to have read in a paper over there that less than 4% of the people in England bothered to go to Church during Christmas.

People died so that the Christianity could be in England. English people died to insure that the church would continue. But now that it is a state Church, no one is required to pay a price. The result is that the Church is perceived as something of a low priority. It didn't cost them anything, so why should they bother? Why should they bother to celebrate with the body of Christ the Incarnation of the Son of God? Why should they bother to join with others and give thanks and praise for the salvation which God has offered us?

Did you know that you don't actually have to believe anything, but can force the local parish in England to baptize your baby? They are required by law to agree to baptism and marriage and burials of the people who live near. They are often seen as an instrument of the state, but not often seen as the Body of Christ.

In those blessings, the beatitudes, that Jesus spoke, we hear of od several other blessings. None of which are easy to gain and all of which cost us something. To be meek, we must put others above ourselves. To be a peacemaker, we must feel the pain when peace is lacking. To be able to mourn, we must first learn to love, and then, to know loss.

Blessing come at a cost. Eternal life came at the ultimate cost--the death of the Son of God who had become man for that purpose. To accept the gift of eternal life, we must begin to die to this world, so that we can life in the next. Our priorities must change. Despite the opportunities and choices we have available to us, the most precious is that of worshiping God and becoming sons and daughters of the Most High.

I remember with mixed feeling a time when I was in Junior High School. I had a wonderful circle of friends and we were together every weekend. We went to movies together, and went to each other's houses, and celebrated each other's birthdays, and became very close. We remained close in our first year of high school. But one day, one of the group, a girl named June made a point to speak to each of the group privately. She told me, as she told the others, that she could no longer have anything to do with us. She explained that she was Jewish, and that she felt it was important to associate only with other Jews.

I tried to reason with her, wanting her to remain my friend, but the fact was that reason was on her side. Her faith was more important to her than even her friends. God, was more important to her than anything else. A few years later the synagogue that she attended was attacked several times, the windows broken on one occasion, horrible threats spray painted on the walls, and once partially burned.

While I feared for her safety and the safety of others that I knew who worshiped God there, I also realized that had a commitment that was stronger than mine. They had been forced to pay a price for what they believed.

But through it all, there was no demonstration of outrage, but rather meekness. There was no demanding of vindication, but rather a thirst for righteousness that can only come from God. There were no threats from the people of that synagogue, but rather a desire for peace. Their sorrow was private, not displayed for the media.

I never heard a word about it from any of my friends. But a year or so later the news media ran a piece that told of how they had rebuilt, and how they had grown since the attacks on their place of worship.

Those people did not attend the synagogue because they deserved to attend their or because they had a right to attend there, but because they were willing and even desirous to pay a price for their faith.

Our faith must cost us something if it is to have meaning to us. Moreover, our faith must cost us something if it is to have meaning to others.

If we wish to having the blessing given to the meek, then we will be about the business of becoming meek. If we desire the blessing of being merciful, then we will be about the business of practicing mercy. If we are desirous of being Christians, then we will be about the business of being Christians.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Copyright © 1996 W. Crews Giles

Sunday, January 14, 1996

Second Sunday after the Epiphany - Year A - 1996

Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light
of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word
and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's
glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the
ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one
God, now and for ever. Amen.

Preface of the Epiphany, or of the Lord's Day

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah Isaiah 49:1-7
1 Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. 3 And he said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified." 4 But I said, "I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God." 5 And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength-- 6 he says: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth." 7 Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
The Word of the Lord.

40 Expectans, expectavi (verses 1-10) page 640

1 I waited patiently upon the LORD; *
he stooped to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; *
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God; *
many shall see, and stand in awe,
and put their trust in the LORD.
4 Happy are they who trust in the LORD! *
they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods.
5 Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!
how great your wonders and your plans for us! *
there is none who can be compared with you.
6 Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! *
but they are more than I can count.
7 In sacrifice and offering you take no pleasure *
(you have given me ears to hear you);
8 Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required, *
and so I said, "Behold, I come.
9 In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: *
'I love to do your will, O my God;
your law is deep in my heart."'
10 I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; *
behold, I did not restrain my lips;
and that, O LORD, you know.

A reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
1 Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge-- 6 even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you-- 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Word of the Lord.

The Holy Gospel is written in the first chapter of John
Beginning at the 29th verse.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John John 1:29-41
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" And they said to him, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?" 39 He said to them, "Come and see." They came and saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 40 One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ).
The Gospel of the Lord.

Epiphany 2 - Year A

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!." The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

In this morning's Gospel, Jesus only speaks seven words, and the first four are in the form of a question. He sees Andrew and the other Apostle (probably John), following him after they hear John refer to our Lord as the Lamb of God. Jesus asks them, "What do you seek?"

If Jesus were to ask me this question, I am not sure I would know how to answer. Apparently, while they met with Jesus, Andrew found the answer to Jesus' question, because we are then told that he ran to his brother, Peter, telling him that they had found the Messiah -- the Christ.

What Andrew and the other disciple were seeking was the Messiah, and that is who they found. But it was a strange matter that started their search. They had merely heard the words, "Behold the Lamb of God!" and decided to follow the man who John the Baptist had pointed out to them.

"Behold, the Lamb of God!" is a strange expression. It comes from a strange man who is somewhat infamous for his style of dress and, in particular, his eating habits. Neither the message nor the messenger would suggest that two searchers would be wise to take much notice.

I checked, and the term "Lamb of God" does not occur even once in the Old Testament. If it had, it might have made more sense for the Baptizer to have used it, and for the disciples to have headed it, but as it stands it would have been nearly non-sensical to a Jew in 30 AD.

Every significant reference to a lamb in the Old Testament relates to the idea of sacrifice and atonement. For example, the passover lamb which was to be eaten prior to the Exodus, it's blood sprinkled on the door post to protect the inhabitants from the death and judgement; and the sacrificial lamb, slain to purify sinners and transgressors of the law. Some of the other words used in connection with Old Testament references to a lamb are: offering, redemption, purification, sanctification.

So what was John the Baptist thinking? In hindsight, it is obvious that this must be a reference to the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross for our sins, but isn't it odd that John would be thinking in those terms before the fact? It is even odder that Andrew and the Apostle John would hear those words and follow Jesus.

As for John the Baptist, his whole message dealt with sin, and the ugliness of man's state. Perhaps he knew, as prophets sometimes do, a bit of what kind of nasty solution that God was intending. A nasty solution is required for a nasty problem, and our sins are definitely a nasty problem. John was not looking for a solution to the economic problems of the national economy, nor a way to end wars, lower taxes, balance the budget, save the whales -- or fill in your own favorite cause; rather, he was looking for the solution to the only problem that follows a man into the grave namely, how to get out of that grave once you are in it.

Easter is Glorious. Clean white linens, new life, and a happy ending. But, I have heard it said, you cannot have easter without the crucifixion. Ah, but we could have had! We could have had Jesus die a pleasant death -- going peacefully in his sleep, with no pain, no blood, no suffering. The kind of death that we all would like to have. The kind of death the antisemitists wanted our Lord to have. They blame the Jews for our Lord's suffering, and believe that without that suffering we would have been better off. But what would Easter have proved by itself?

Without the nasty death by being nailed to a piece of wood, without the sacrifice of the unspotted lamb without blemish, what would we have had? We would have had God's Incarnate Son inviting us to join Him in eternal life in Heaven without any hope of ever being able to accept the invitation.

Heaven is a very exclusive place, they don't let just anybody in there. For example, anyone with the stain of sin is barred at the door. And for Jesus to have simply died and been raised again, he would have gained admittance for himself only, being the only one to have achieved death without sinning. We on the other hand, each and every one of us -- dark with the stain of sin -- simply could not get in without first being cleansed of that stain. And the only method by which we can be cleansed is the nasty one -- sacrifice. We needed a Sacrificial Lamb. It was our only hope.

John the Baptists knew this, and the saints knew this too. It isn't a coincidence that any good book on prayer instructs one to first recognize one's sins, failures, imperfections, and complete and utter hopelessness before trying to speak or listen to God in prayer.

It is only reasonable that we must try to see where we stand in relationship to God if we are to be able to communicate with him. We are only righteous in as much as he has declared us to be righteous, but we have no righteousness of our own without Him. And even with that, we continue to sin, and thus still need the stain of sin removed.

Whether Andrew was thinking about any of this I cannot say. But something clicked with him. Something drove him to follow Jesus. Something clicked with Andrew, and suddenly he knew that he had found what he was looking for. We have all experienced this 'click' ourselves in various ways. We don't know how we know something, we just know that we do in fact, know.

Being a native Texan, I love football, and I have watched a lot of it in my day--and I have a gift, of sorts, for being able to predict when one team is about to take the ball away from the other team. The teams will be lined up and about to hike the ball and I suddenly know that the ball is going to be intercepted or fumbled on that play, or the next. I have even leaned over to the one next to me and commented that there is going to be a turn over. Probably nine times out of ten, it happens. This is not a gift from God, nor am I psychic, and I don't know exactly what it is that I see that causes this click, but the click happens every now and then.

I have a theory, however. You see, when I was five years old, my parents bought season tickets to the Cowboy games, and I faithfully attended each home game for nearly twenty years. I watched the games on television, I watched the coach's shows, I read about football, talked about football and even played a little football. It was important to me and so I learned everything that I could about the game. Then, in the middle of a game I would see something wrong that the offense was doing or something right that the defense was doing I don't know which, and knew ahead of time that the defense was going to take away the ball from the offense.

The point is that I was able to see something that few, if any, others saw; and furthermore, I believe that I had this ability because of the amount of time I spent studying and watching the sport.

Andrew, as a Jew, had been waiting for the Messiah. He had studied and watched for His coming, he knew the prophesies, and was ready when that small and almost imperceptible something caused everything to click.

Unlike most of those who encountered Jesus as he walked the earth nearly two thousand years ago, Andrew recognized that the Messiah the Christ was the one that would be Sacrificed and offered to atone for our sins and to bring about our sanctification.

Most expected a worldly king, greater than even David, but very much a king of this world like David had been. These were the ones who felt justified in their rejecting Jesus when our Lord was nailed to the cross and died.

The Magi brought gold, for a Christ the King, but Andrew was not looking for just a king. They brought frankincense for Christ the Great High Priest, but Andrew was not looking for just a priest, the ultimate of which Jesus Christ is. They also brought myrrh, which symbolized and foreshadowed the Death of Christ. It was this, the sacrifice -- the inevitable and blessed death that Jesus was to suffer -- that Andrew recognized in his (and our) Savior.

It is a revelation of sorts, but one that was conditioned by Andrew's (and the other Jews') waiting and searching for the Messiah. Once they had seen him, they recognized him.

So what are we, as Christians, waiting for? What is it that we have studied and watched for? To quote our Lord, "WHAT DO YOU SEEK?"

Paul tells us, in our Epistle today, that the Church in Corinth was waiting "for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ". Yet he also says of the Church in Corinth that:

They were Sanctified in Christ Jesus, They were called to be saints, They were given the grace of God, They were in every way enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge The testimony to Christ was confirmed in them, They were not lacking in any spiritual gift, and that they were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

And this was Paul's "problem Church"! It seems they had everything. Yet, Paul says that they were waiting. Waiting for the "revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ;" he says, "who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."

As I studied and watched football and found that click that something big was about to happen, and moreover, as Andrew studied Scripture and watched for the coming of the Messiah, which he recognized with the click of the words, "Behold the Lamb of God!", we must be studying and watching for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The mere fact that you are sitting in this church right now is unarguable proof that you too have been called to be saints. You have been given the grace of God, and to a person you have most, if not all, of the seven attributes with which Paul credited the Corinthians. But, like those -- we must still wait, watch and study.

Our work is not done to have the testimony of Christ confirmed in us. Andrew, as a Jew, could not rest even though he was one of God's chosen even after he recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Christ, Andrew still watched. We are told that he, with Peter, James and John ask Jesus about the end of the world so that they might be ready when it comes.

We have the revealing our Lord Jesus in the Four Gospels, and we find more revealed of him in the rest of the New Testament, yet we are still awaiting his revelation. It is in the Word of God, the Scripture, which tells us that Jesus is not finished revealing himself to us, and it is there that we must focus our study and watchfulness; and it is also in His Church that we must study and watch, so that when he does choose to reveal himself to us again, we will be ready for that click.

The Sunday temple that I faithfully attended in my youth sat seventy five thousand people. Nearly every seat was filled because what went on there was important to us. It was our way of life, and we knew the game.

We are in another Sunday Temple and we are, each of us, charged to make this our way of life, and we cannot do that unless we know the game. We must watch, we must study and we must wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to reveal himself to us, and if we do, Paul tells us that we "will be sustained to the end, guiltless".

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Copyright © 1996 W. Crews Giles