Sermon: Joseph

The podcast can be found here.


Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant and since they were not yet married, he decided to put her away quietly, but the angel of the Lord came to him in a dream: “‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’… When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.”

From here, we have a few other accounts of Joseph: the manger, when Jesus was presented in the temple as a baby, the flight to Egypt when they were fleeing Herod, and our scene today, when Jesus became separated from him and Mary during the festival in Jerusalem. Outside of these events we know very little of Joseph, the one who was called on by God the Father, to raise his one and only son. If you think your kids got/get into mischief, what do you think it would have been like raising the Son of God?

We’ve talked about the “Infancy Gospels” before. These are writings outside the canon of Scripture, which – although fun to read – are not considered God inspired, and many are classified heretical, one of which is The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. It is not the Bible, but it is fun and the stories tell of Jesus as a boy. Here’s a taste:

“On the first of the week, when Jesus was playing with the children on the roof of a certain house, it happened that one of the children pushed another down from the roof to the ground, and he was killed. And the parents of the dead boy, who had not seen this, cried out against Joseph and Mary, saying: Your son has thrown our son down to the ground, and he is dead. But Jesus was silent, and answered them nothing. And Joseph and Mary came in haste to Jesus; and His mother asked Him, saying: My lord, tell me if thou didst throw him down. And immediately Jesus went down from the roof to the ground, and called the boy by his name, Zeno. And he answered Him: My lord. And Jesus said to him: Was it I that threw thee down from the roof to the ground? And he said: No, my lord. And the parents of the boy who had been dead wondered, and honoured Jesus for the miracle that had been wrought.”

The boy falls off the roof and dies, so in order to defend himself, Jesus raises the boy from the dead and asked him for the truth. True or false? I don’t know (the church would have me tell you, “No.”), but regardless can you imagine what it must have been like to raise Jesus? However, just as God the Father knew who to select as his mother, God the Father also knew the perfect man to select as his earthly father: a humble carpenter, named Joseph.

In the shadow of Jesus, Mary, the disciples and the others, Joseph is almost forgotten by us, but as the head of the Holy Family, his role is significant.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux writes: “St. Joseph was chosen among all men, to be the protector and guardian of the Virgin Mother of God; the defender and foster-father of the Infant-God, and the only co-operator upon earth, the one confidant of the secret of God in the work of the redemption of mankind.”

There is no doubt that Jesus called Joseph father. Therefore, there is no reason why we shouldn’t call on him as well. He is one that responds in faith and protects not only the Son of God and Mother of God, but us also, the sons and daughters of God as well.

Sermon: Lent 5 RCL B – “Divine Purpose”

The podcast can be found here.


Boudreaux was stopped by a game warden in South Louisiana recently with two ice chests of fish, leaving a bayou well known for its fishing. The game warden asked Boudreax, “Do you have a license to catch those fish?” “Naw, ma fren, I ain’t got none of dem, no. Dese here are my pet fish.” “Pet fish?” “Ya. Avery night I take dese here fish down to de bayou and let dem swim around for a while. Den I whistle and dey jump rat back inta dis here ice chest and I take dem home.”

“That’s a bunch of hooey! Fish can’t do that!” Boudreaux looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, “It’s de truth ma’ fren. I’ll show you. It really works.” “Okay, I’ve GOT to see this!” Boudreaux poured the fish into the bayou and stood and waited. After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, “Well?” “Well, what?” Said Boudreaux. “When are you going to call them back?” “Call who back?” “The FISH!” “What fish?”

The Bible has several very good fishing stories in it. It begins with the creation chronology when on the fifth day God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures” and the fish were created. Then we have such wonderful stories as the miraculous catch of fish with the disciples and the time that Peter caught a fish with a coin in its mouth, but the biggest fish story in scripture is the one of Jonah and the whale. It’s a story that you hear as a kid in Sunday school, but after that it gets pushed to the side for what some would probably consider to be more intellectual teachings, but seeing as how I’m still 12 at heart, let’s review it.

Jonah had been called on by the Lord to go to Nineveh and to preach against the people for their wickedness, but Jonah did not want to go. He was very well aware of the wickedness of Nineveh and he would rather see the Lord destroy them as opposed to saving them. So, instead of going to Nineveh, he fled. Finally coming to the coast, he caught a boat in hopes of sailing away. However, due to his disobedience the Lord caused a great storm. All aboard were afraid for their lives and when they discovered that Jonah’s disobedience was the cause of the storm, they threw him overboard. Enter the big fish who swallowed him up. Scripture says that Jonah remained in the belly of the beast for three days, after which it vomited him up onto dry land.

Jonah got the point and went to Nineveh. The city was large: 120,000 people lived there and it is reported that it took three days to walk from one edge to the other. His message from God to the people was simple, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” What happened next was exactly what Jonah feared – the people repented of their wickedness and God relented. The people were saved, but Jonah went away angry and pouting. He wanted all 120,000 of them to get their due, but as the Sovereign Lord declares to the Prophet Ezekiel, “I take no pleasure in the death of anyone… Repent and live!”

What is interesting is that God did not ask Jonah for his opinion of Nineveh nor did he ask Jonah to go to the great city. The Lord didn’t say, “Jonah – buddy – if it’s not asking too much and if you feel like it, and by the way I’ll really make it worth your while, would you go to Nineveh.. and you know.. tell them to get their act together.” No. The Lord said in the first verse of Jonah, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it.” The Lord had a divine purpose for Jonah and the Lord was not concerned with whether or not Jonah wanted to participate in it or endure it or like it or even be happy about it. Why? Because that divine purpose was not about what Jonah wanted. It was about what God wanted. Jonah’s responsibility was limited to the submitting to and fulfillment of that purpose.

I was reminded of this story of Jonah after reading our Gospel. Jesus has made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and there are some Greeks who have heard about this Jesus and want to meet him, so they say to Philip, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip tells Andrew and then the two of them tell Jesus, “Hey, Jesus, there’s a couple of fellas here to see you.” However, for Jesus, the days of meeting and teaching are over, his hour has come. Instead of saying, “Bring them to me,” he replies, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say— `Father, save me from this hour’?—“Heck yeah! Let’s catch the next boat out of this two bit town and go to Hawaii.” No. Jesus said, “It is for this reason that I have come to this hour.”

Like Jonah, Jesus had a divine purpose and that purpose was the salvation of souls. But unlike Jonah, Jesus immediately submitted to his Father’s will without complaint. The suffering that Jesus was to endure was not anything to be happy about, it was going to be painful: spiritually, emotionally, and physically, but there was no anger in Jesus, no pouting, no running away. He was being obedient to the suffering to come, so that the world would be saved and so that his Father would be glorified.

Jesus had a divine purpose. Jonah had a divine purpose. So let me ask you this? Do you think you are going to escape without being called into God’s purposes? No. Like Jesus and like Jonah and like so many others, you have a divine purpose. Do you want to know what it is? I’ll tell you. It is the same as Jesus’ and Jonah’s. Your divine purpose is to be obedient to God and to glorify His Name. Like Jesus and Jonah the fulfillment of that purpose might not be easy. It might not be something you enjoy or even want to do. It may involve suffering, but we must remember that the divine purpose we have been given is not about us, it’s about God. For to God, there is a world out there that is crying out, “We would see Jesus.” We would see our salvation. And we are his instruments, the tools of his hands, that would make His Son known.

In the fulfillment of our purpose we may find ourselves repeating the words of Jesus, “Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—`Father, save me from this hour’?” And, like everyone – including Jesus – how you answer is up to you. It truly is your choice. You can say, “Yes.” You can submit and be obedient to God’s will and bring glory to His Name. Or you can say, “No.” You can run away, complain, pout, cry out, “O woe is me!” But I’ll tell you a little secret, like Jonah, in the end, you will fulfill God’s purpose. As the Lord says through the Prophet Isaiah:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

There are times when our lives seem to be spinning out of control… are spinning out of control. Like Jonah, the world may seem to be nothing but a storm and we are in the belly of the beast, but instead of becoming bitter and angry with God, take into consideration that the endurance of this storm might just be your divine purpose. Through that trial, by enduring, being obedient and submitting to God, your life becomes a testament to the work of God and you, through this strength bring glory to Our Father’s Name and show Jesus to the world, so that all people may be drawn to Him.

If, in the midst of that storm and your obedient submission you find yourself afraid, that’s OK. Even Jesus was distressed to the point of sweating blood and crying out to his Father. But instead of running, say with Jesus, “Father, glorify your name,” and know that not only will his name be glorified, but you will be as well, for as St. Paul teaches us, “When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”

Fulfill you divine purpose. Glorify the Father.

Let us pray:
O God Father, may everything we do begin with Your inspiration,
continue with Your Help,
and reach perfection under Your Guidance.
With Your loving care guide us in our daily actions.
Help us to persevere with love and sincerity.
Teach us to judge wisely the things of earth
and to love the things of Heaven.
Keep us in Your presence
and never let us be separated from You.
Your Spirit made us Your children,
confident to call You Father.
Make Your Love the foundation of our lives.
Teach us to long for Heaven.
May its promise and hope guide our ways on earth
until we reach eternal life with You.

Sermon: Gregory the Great

The podcast can be found here.


Saint Gregory the Great by José de Ribera

Dr. Roy DeLamotte was an author, Methodist minister, and chaplain at Paine College in Georgia. While there, he preached the shortest sermon in the college’s history. However, he did have a rather long topic: “What does Christ Answer When We Ask, ‘Lord, What’s in Religion for Me?’” The sermon consisted of only one word: “Nothing.” He later explained that the one-word sermon was meant for people brought up on the ‘gimme-gimme’ gospel. He was asked how long it took him to prepare such lengthy sermon. He responded, “Twenty years.”

Gregory the Great, who we celebrate today, was elected Pope in the year 590 and is only one of two Popes to have been given the title “Great”, the other being Leo the First (although John Paul II is at times referred to as John Paul the Great – and rightly so!). Gregory accomplished much in his ministry, but significant to us is the fact that he sent Augustine, who would become the first Archbishop of Canterbury, on a mission to the Anglo-Saxons in the year 595. This act led the Venerable Bede to name Augustine, the Apostle to the English.

In addition to his other work, he was also a prolific writer. Perhaps one of his best known is the Book of Pastoral Rule, which provides instruction to clergy on how to guide their flocks. As Pope he considered himself to be the “servant of the servants of God,” so it is no wonder that much of this work speaks to the service and instruction that the clergy are to provide to those in their care. A passage that struck me states, “Therefore, it should be said to the humble that whenever they lower themselves, they ascend to the likeness of God. At the same time, it should be said to the proud that whenever they take pride in themselves, they fall into imitation of the apostate angel. And what could be worse than pride, which by holding itself above everything so unwinds itself from the stature of true greatness? And what is more sublime than humility, which by lowering itself unites with the Creator, who is above all things?”

Gregory speaks on humility and pride, but he also speaks to how we are to serve one another. When we humble ourselves in service to one another, we take on the likeness of our Savior. But when we serve others, we are not to ask that question that Dr. DeLamotte included in his topic: “Lord, what’s in it for me?” If, when we serve, we seek to gain something for ourselves or somehow gain a hand over the other person, then we are not serving them, we are serving ourselves. Remember what Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.  If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.  But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High.” Jesus said in our Gospel, “Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.” These are the ideas that Gregory had in mind when he referred to his roll as Pope as being the “servant of the servants of God,” and it is our calling as well.

You and I are called to be humble servants to one another, as Jesus was to us. When you serve, serve sacrificially.

One of my favorite prayers by St. Ignatius of Loyola:
Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do your will.

Sermon: Lent 4 RCL B – “With Fear and Trembling”

The podcast can be found here.


Some rather interesting news came out of Alabama in 1992: The article says that the Rev. Glenn Summerford, the former pastor at the Church of Jesus with Signs Following is “currently a guest of the state correctional authorities. Pastor Summerford was convicted in the 1991 attempted murder of his wife, Darlene.” What did he do to his beloved? Records indicate, “he forced [her to hold] her hand in a box full of rattlesnakes until she was bitten.” Rev. Glenn Summerford contended that he was innocent and that the only reason his wife was bitten was because “her faith wavered.”

Another rather interesting article came out in 1998: The Rev. John Wayne “Punkin” Brown Jr., 34, of Parrottsville, Tennessee, died after being bitten by a four-foot timber rattlesnake that he had been handling while preaching. The article stated, “On Saturday, “Punkin” was clutching the snake in his right hand when it bit him on the middle finger of his left, between the knuckle and first joint. The Rev. Gene Sherbert, of Temple, Georgia, was next to Brown when this happened and reported that, “He looked at me and I knowed he was bit and I put it (the snake) back in the box.” The Rev. “Punkin” died a few minutes later. He might have made it, but he kept on preaching another quarter hour after being bitten. FYI: the Rev. “Punkin” is cousin to the Rev. Summerford who tried to kill his wife.

“Why?” do you ask would they be handling snakes? Simple: the Bible says so, Mark 16:17-18: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.” I think the one thing these good folks forgot was that Scripture also says, “Thou shall not put the Lord thy God to the test.”

I believe that it was in John Grisham’s novel, The Last Juror, that one of the characters recommends, if attending a snake handling church, it’s best to sit on the front row. It seems that the snakes are kept on ice in a box, and those on the first row handle them while they’re still in a state of hibernation; however, by the time the snake reaches the back of the church – wide awake!

This is one we discussed a few weeks ago: the folks in the day of Moses had a healthy understanding of the issue of snakes. It was best to stay away from them because the ones wandering in the desert were killers. It happened on one particular day that the Israelites began to complain once more against God, so God sent them a plague of snakes and many people perished. This drove them to repent of their murmurings, but the snakes were still there, so they asked Moses to help and God told Moses to make the snake out of bronze, Nahushtan, and then to place it on a pole. When the people were bitten, if they would look at the bronze snake, they would be saved.

The people had spoken against God, so God sent the snakes as a judgment. In order to be spared the death that came from the snakes, the people were told to look upon the bronze snake. The people were called to look upon their judgment. Because you disobeyed God, because you spoke against Him, you must look upon the consequence of your disobedience, in order to be saved.

Leading up to our Gospel reading, Nicodemus, who is a Pharisee, comes to Jesus at night. He comes at night because he is afraid to be seen by others visiting with this rabble-rouser, Jesus. Even so, Nicodemus believes the signs that Jesus has been performing. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born from above in order to be saved. Nicodemus fails to understand what Jesus is saying, so Jesus responds by saying to him, “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

The Israelites in the wilderness were required to look upon their judgment – the bronze serpent – in order to be saved. Jesus is saying, in a similar manner, Nicodemus must also look upon his judgment and believe, in order to be saved. Nicodemus must look upon the judgment for his disobedience to God. And what is the judgment for disobedience toward God, for sin? Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin – the consequence of sin – the judgment of sin is death.” Nicodemus must look upon death in order to be saved, but not just anybody’s death. He must look upon the death, the judgment of the Son of God, of Jesus in order to be saved. He must look upon Christ crucified and believe that it is through Jesus’ death that he will receive his salvation.

The message to us is no different. We too must look upon the judgment of our sins – death – and believe that it is through that judgment – in the person of Christ Jesus crucified – that we are saved. We must recognize that our sins lead to eternal death yet, God so loved the world – so loved us – that he gave his only Son to suffer death for us, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.

Believe and have eternal life. Sounds like foolishness to many and to many others it is too simple. God wouldn’t simply give salvation away so freely. We must earn that right to get into heaven. We must follow the rules. Sit, stand, kneel, bow when we are supposed to. We must live the perfect boring Christian life. We must be able to handle snakes without our faith failing for even a moment. Put one toe out of line and you will be bitten, you will be hell bound. We apply this way of thinking to others and to ourselves, and we end up echoing Paul’s question, “Who then can be saved?” In our logic we answer, “No one… not even ourselves.” To any who think in such a way, I would remind them of the day that Jesus was crucified between the two thieves:

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Did the thief follow all the rules? Did he get all the answers right? Did he lead a perfect life in the eyes of God? Was he able to handle the snakes without getting bitten? Or… did he simply look upon his own judgment and see his salvation?

St. Paul writes to the Philippians: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. With fear and trembling, look upon Christ Jesus and him crucified and see in him your own crucifixion, your own death, and then look again and see your salvation, and then… believe.

Let us pray: O Jesus, it is not the heavenly reward You have promised which impels us to love You; neither is it the threat of hell that keeps us from offending You. It is You O Lord, it is the sight of You affixed to the Cross and suffering insults; it is the sight of Your broken body, as well as Your pains and Your death. There is nothing You can give us to make us love You. For even if there were no heaven and no hell we would still love you as we do! Amen.

Sermon: Gregory of Nyssa

The podcast can be found here.


The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste; ivory relief panel; Constantinople, 10th century AD.

St. Basil tells the story of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste who’s feast day is Saturday. Their death occurred in the year 313 during one of the many persecutions of Christians.

According to Basil, these martyrs were Roman soldiers who refused to renounce their faith, so they were stripped naked and led out onto a frozen pond. Nearby, a hot bath was setup as a temptation and the naked soldiers were told that if they renounced, they would be brought to the bath and allowed to warm and return to the ranks. Of the forty, one renounced (he dropped dead immediately after crossing the threshold of the bath); however, one of the soldiers sent to guard them, Aggias, saw a miraculous sight: a brilliant glowing crown appeared over the heads of the thirty-nine who remained. Seeing this, he understood that it was God, so waking the other guards, he stripped his clothes off and said to them, “I too am a Christian,” then he prayed, “Lord God, I believe in You, in Whom these soldiers believe. Add me to their number, and make me worthy to suffer with Your servants.” Immediately, the fortieth crown appeared over Aggias and he froze to death with the others.

Now, our saint for today, Gregory of Nyssa, some fifty years later was planning a hiking/camping trip with some of his friends, but his mother convinced him to stay the night and attend the celebration of these Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. He was a Christian and agreed. The service began at sundown and it was long. As it was the beginning of summer and there were many people crowded into the church, it became very warm and Gregory became drowsy and eventually fell asleep and dreamed. He dreamed that he was still in the church, but that it was empty, when suddenly the doors of the church opened and forty naked men who were blue, as from the cold, came walking in, each carrying a wooden rod. As these men began to surround him, Gregory understood who they were – the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste who had frozen to death. After they had gathered around, they began to beat him with the rods and shouted at him:

“We died for love of Christ,” said one of the men. The voice was dull and hollow, filled with sorrow.

“You sleep through the prayers to God,” said another.

“Wake and give thanks that you may pray in peace, unafraid of the torment we suffered gladly,” said a third.

“Give glory to the Maker of all, and remember our example. Give your life to God, live for him and serve him all the days you live and breathe!” exclaimed another.

“I will, I will!” Gregory cried. “Stop, please. I will serve God, I will keep your memory fresh and I will honour you all my life for your steadfast faith!”

The men stopped beating him, vanished, and then Gregory woke up, back in the church with the service still going. Let’s just say that he rejoined the celebration with a renewed fervency and went onto serve God faithfully as he had promised.

We can let Gregory be a reminder to us that we should not become bored or complacent in our faith and in our worship. We must not take our freedom to worship for granted, because in doing so, we take God for granted.

Jesus said, “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” Allow that same Spirit to fill you with a holy fire and then worship Him with a renewed zeal.

Sermon: George Herbert

The podcast can be found here.


John Houseman was a producer for CBS Radio. He made the following comments regarding a program that played live in 1938: “The following hours were a nightmare. The building was suddenly full of people and dark-blue uniforms. Hustled out of the studio, we were locked into a small back office on another floor. Here we sat incommunicado while network employees were busily collecting, destroying, or locking up all scripts and records of the broadcast. Finally, the Press was let loose upon us, ravening for horror. How many deaths had we heard of? (Implying they knew of thousands.) What did we know of the fatal stampede in a Jersey hall? (Implying it was one of many.) What traffic deaths? (The ditches must be choked with corpses.) The suicides? (Haven’t you heard about the one on Riverside Drive?) It is all quite vague in my memory and quite terrible.” What was the program? Orson Welles’ version of H.G. Wells’, War of the Worlds.

Perhaps the world’s first major case of “fake news,” but nonetheless, words that had the masses running scared.

If you have the right words, lined up in the proper order, spoken with the right amount of inflection here, a little pause there, and an increase or decrease in volume at the correct moment, then you can convince many to do both great and terrible things. Words can also inspire and teach, and this is where our saint for today, George Herbert, a 16th century Anglican priest, excelled, particularly in writing poetry. He described his poems as “a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed betwixt God and my soul, before I could submit mine to the will of Jesus my Master; in whose service I have found perfect freedom.”

If you enjoy poetry, then I can recommend to you the collection of his poems titled, The Temple, which was published posthumously. It is a lyrical walk through the church, the church year, and Herbert’s joys and challenges.

One of my favorite Herbert poems is “The Call.” It is also number 487 in our hymnal.

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way, as gives us breath:
Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
Such a Life, as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a Light, as shows a feast:
Such a Feast, as mends in length:
Such a Strength, as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a Joy, as none can move:
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joyes in love.

As meaningful as those words are, there are others that were spoken 1,500 years prior. Words, that to this day, continue to inspire, challenge, and move individuals to great faith and works:

“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…

Blessed. Those words of our Savior upended everything we thought we knew about God and literally changed the world forever.

Today, instead of making a theological point about the words of Jesus or Herbert, I invite you to consider your own words. The words we speak have the ability to tear down, enrage, discourage, to end the good; or our words can create unity and relationships, give hope, extend peace, express love…

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” And after you have thought about these things, then allow them to form the words you speak to others, because our words have the ability to say to a hurting world, blessed are you, you are God’s own people. This is something that George Herbert understood and practiced. I pray that we will also practice this gift, this grace from God.