Category: luther

Freedom

Sermon


Reformation Day
Sunday October 31st, 2010


 

John 8:31-36

Freedom




A man’s worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes. Thomas Huxley, “Address on University Education,” Collected Essays, 1902, III, p. 236.

Friends, it is interesting that the gospel word for Reformation Day is this part of John’s gospel. It is part of a long and very heated exchange between those who believed they were absolutely right with God and a Rabbi who said they were absolutely in bondage to sin in their belief! You can see why it was heated! This whole conversation eventually ends up with the Jewish leaders present picking up some big stones to throw at this Rabbi Jesus!

Hopefully there will be no stone throwing today as we hear some confronting words from Jesus, at least at first.

This would be an offensive word from Jesus to us if we replaced the word “”Jews” with “Christians”.

“To the Christians who had believed in him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are REALLY my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“What, you mean there are Christians who have believed in God’s existence and gracious love, but are not REALLY disciples, and not truly free from being bound up in sin?” the “Jews” and we might ask? Well, it seems so, according to Jesus.



“Is he saying I am not really free and not really following?” Maybe….


As he made this charge against them, those in his hearing rolled out the truth they always returned to. “We are free. We are not slaves to anyone. We know this because we are Jewish. We are of the family line, the community, the history of Abraham – the father of all – the father of God’s promised acceptance”.


We might respond the same way. “I am not a slave to anything or anyone. I am free. I am a Christian. I have connection, belonging and history with the church. I have believed in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour’.

“I tell you the truth” says Jesus, “everyone who sins is a slave to sin and a slave has no permanent place in the family….”

Now there is a dent in the pride! Jesus seems to be laying a big axe right at the roots of our faith and saying that we are not a free as we think we are. He suggests that we are not permanently in God’s family. We can fall out of the family. And then even deeper; the fact that we rebel and disobey God and say and do wrong shows that we are still entangled with this sin problem.



Now that is difficult to take. In fact, many Christian folks do their very best to minimize this reality of bondage to which Jesus refers. “You Lutherans are always talking about being “sinners”, people say. “Why can’t you be more positive!? God loves people and is gracious and Jesus has already died for our sin and it is a past reality. Got over the sin talk and stick with God’s grace……”


Well folks, therein lies the seeds of a shallow and unfaithful life. If sin really is no big deal, and we are not slaves to it, then what do we do with the reality we find when we look within and around us? And once we admit that we have issues, and the world has issues, then where do we turn for justifying ourselves before others and God?


For the Jews that Jesus addressed, it was family/national pride (really themselves). They were children of Abraham, don’t you know. They were free. They we were above all other nations and peoples.


For us Christians – we belong to the church, don’t you know. I am fourth generation Christian or my grandfather was a minister, or my name is Schultz (for Lutherans) or I am a moral person and I do not deliberately sin. I am trying my best, you know!” we might say. Really it is the same place we return to – ourselves.

But the truth that will be the beginning of our real freedom is that our words and actions confirm our status.

Surely, as we reflect honestly on our life and relationships, we are entangled in many “unfree” things – words, actions, inner wounds and the addictions, idols and harm they bring, lack of understanding, lack of attention to God and his Word, envy, greed, just plain weakness and doubt about Jesus and his presence in my life….and so it goes.



These things tell us that sin is a present reality – a “clear and present danger” as one Harrison Ford movie was called back in the 80’s.

When one accepts this reality check of being still entangled with all that is offensive and unfaithful to God, then one just cannot rely on family heritage, church history, someone else’s faith in God or anything else – except one thing.


When the reality of my sin is brought to my attention – by the Holy Spirit, by the way, “who convicts the world of sin” (John 16:8), I am led by the Spirit to the only source of true freedom, and therefore, true following and true reward.

“A slave has no permanent place in the family, but a Son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, then you will be free indeed”
The Son is the permanent freedom for all slaves. Jesus is the permanent source and giver of complete freedom. Seeking him for our justification is true freedom.

Friends, the great and complete freedom we already have to live truly free – in love and compassion and faith and confidence is only found in the grace of God poured out in the person and word of Jesus.
May we find that great release from bondage and the freedom it brings that Luther and millions

 of others have found – God has done a new thing that is deeper and more far reaching than mere family tradition, church tradition or national pride – he has done something in the heart of a human being that changed a person from within – beyond family ties, or national boundaries.

God has poured out his undeserved gifts of faith and love and grace in the giving of his Son and surely taken all human sin into himself in his Son’s death and resurrection and created the environment for true freedom now.

We are free only in the Son. We are truly free from sin by faith in this grace of God given in the Son. Our faith rests on nothing else – our moral purity, our efforts to be Christian, our church going, our efforts
 to be above reproach, to be better than anyone else, our intellectual understanding of Christian faith, our knowledge of the bible even.

Our true freedom from all the sin and evil which still so easily entangles has its source in the Son – Jesus Christ and his dying and rising and his word speaking now.



“I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)


Now that is complete freedom – freedom even from death and its shadow over us. That is freedom that re-forms the church into a living, active, gracious, community of faithful followers of Jesus’ Way.

The freedom from sin and death that Jesus gives in our baptism and ever since is that which transforms the community into a community centred on the truth of things – and the ability to speak the truth in love and forgive and restore each other – in all truth and with all love.

Friends, the new deal has been made, God has done his new thing and is calling us to find freedom in his Son. Lt’s not justify ourselves or rely on anything less than the grace of God freely given in the Son, Jesus Christ – and let’s follow where he leads us.

The Low Place


Sermon:
Pentecost 14C
Sunday August 29, 2010.
Ocean Forest

Proverbs 25:6-7/Luke 14:1, 7-14

The Low place

A couple who were making wedding plans, and went to an expensive hotel to plan their reception – a dinner of finest food, using the best china, plants, big band, the works, laid out $30,000. Then the groom got cold feet, and called the wedding off. The would-be bride was furious!

She went to cancel the party not to be consoled but told, “You signed a contract. You can either give up the money or go ahead and have a party.” The woman thought about it, and decided, having once been homeless and down on her luck, to have that party. She sent her invitations to all the homeless shelters and mission places in Boston and they partied with the tuxedoed waiters and everything.

The only change she made? She changed the meat to boneless chicken in honor of the groom. (Phillip Yancey)

It must be very disappointing to have to cancel the grand plans for a wedding reception! Still, when they happen they are great fun.

In my line of work, I get to go to a few wedding receptions. They can be interesting. One stands out as my most interesting reception experience. I was invited to marry a Maori couple in Auckland some years ago now. The couple was lovely and all was well with their relationship. I was looking forward to being at their wedding but was very unsure about what it would be like.

It was to be at a local house. I did not know what the customs were and whether or not I was meant to stay for the reception meal or just leave after the ceremony.

I had two choices: Either I go in cocky and confident and be the “holy man” and take the best seat and revel in it and hope that this was the way to go. Past experience with Maori people was that they had deep respect for priests and would expect a certain aire of confidence or even arrogance from the padre. Maybe they had got that a lot!
The other choice was to start low, listen, learn and only do what you are invited to do. I took that approach. This is the one the wise man of Proverbs and Jesus recommends in our word for today.

Proverbs 25:6-7
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

We finished the marriage ceremony in the back yard underneath a beautifully flower decorated gazebo. During the short message I got to experience that great southern American kind of response to my preaching. Big Maori boys at the back were nodding heads, calling out, “preach it” and “Amen bro”…. It was fun. Not sure how genuine it was – but God does…
I was not sure what to do – whether to go or stay. So I employed the wise approach as outlined by Jesus and the wise man and stayed low and only went where I was invited to go.
Within 5 minutes it was obvious I was going to be at this wedding for a while. I was invited into the garage. It was beautifully set up for a large wedding meal. To my surprise, I was ushered to sit quite close to the head of the table where the wedding party, the parents, the grandparents and other “elders’ were seated.

I happened to be right next to this massive Maori man with a biker look, tats and dark sunglasses on (inside). You should have seen him cracking into his oysters kilpatrick! I had to duck for cover a couple of times!

What a privilege it was to be invited to the high seat, to pray at the meal, to be honoured even though a complete stranger to everyone except the bride and groom.

I remember a quote about his from Luther…
“We need to do good works because our neighbor needs them.” (Martin Luther)
In that unfamiliar and therefore uncomfortable environment, I needed the good work of a family. Their kindness opened up for me a whole world of experience which has actually broadened my view of the church, Christians, family and God’s grace.

Isn’t this meant to be the heart motivation for all we are and do as Christians among a non-Christian world? We are what we are and we live the way we do because the world needs it. People’s needs are the focus of our witness to Jesus’ grace and love.

Of course, it is often other things that seem to become the goal of our church life. Maybe we become far too much like the leading Pharisee who invited Jesus to this meal in his home. We become interested in reaching people with Jesus’ love for reasons other than Jesus’ love!
Evangelism becomes about “saving the church” as in institution. It becomes about getting back that “winning feeling” for a congregation. It becomes about Christians wanting to be seen to be the moral guardians of society or even seen to be a powerful force in society.

Ask a Pharisee why he is so interested in society and one might find these motivations. Of course with these motivations of “winning”, power, influence, morality and etc any perceived threat to effectiveness in these pursuits needs to be nullified. Jesus is the threat.
He does not seem to be at all concerned with winning as human beings see winning. He does not seem to be interested in being seen as powerful or influential or a moral guardian. He turns up at a big man’s house with all the other big men waiting to trap him, assert power over him, find and expose his weaknesses and does not respond to that in kind. He takes the lowest seat and suggests that these men need to learn to do that too.

If they could learn another way different to winning, morality, power and influence they would be able to be real forces for God’s good in their world. If they could understand that ‘Not because we have value we are loved, but because we are loved, we have value’ (William Sloane Coffin), they could be released from keeping up appearances, human arrogance and callousness and actually be a person who can truly make God’s difference to people in need.

We are the same, friends We need to take the low road and take God’s invite to share who we know Jesus not to tell people what to do, to gain power over people, to get that winning feeling or to “save the church” and get people to church. No, we need to be in the love of Jesus to be the love of Jesus and Jesus love will bind his people together until the final day. He is with us always. We baptize, we teach, we take the low seat and remain open to people and respond to their invitations to come closer to what they view as important and be ourselves. In this way “We do good works because our neighbor needs them.” (Martin Luther)

As Thomas Merton said once, “A tree glorifies God by being a tree.” We glorify God be being us.

Our goal is two-fold;
To be ourselves as risen and forgiven people of Christ giving our life up for the thanks and praise of God and bearing witness to Jesus’ love because people need his love – and no other prime reason.

Let’s not exalt ourselves to the status of moral guardians or powerful people or winning people as the world sees these things. Let’s do what we do here and be who God has created us to be here on the low road of service, honesty, practical conversations and actions of love and let God exalt us in the end. His exaltation is the only thing that really matters anyway.

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Amen

The straw and the wheat


Sermon
Pentecost 11C
Sunday August 15, 2010.

The straw and the wheat
Fire and Hammer
Jeremiah 23:23-29

As you probably know, I am a bit of a “culture watcher”. As I read various people’s comments on how things are today in the spiritual arena of life, there is this unanimous opinion that we are living in times in which anything goes and it is very much about the individual.

God calls out to people seeking spiritual connection and declares that he is more than any human spiritual seeking or dreaming.

Am I a God nearby, says the LORD, and not a God far off?
Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.

God interrupts the human search for spiritual connection and meaning in all kinds of places these days, with a striking truth. He, the beginning of all things is very close and yet, in the same breath, very far beyond. He is minute and massive at the same time – intimately aware of me and yet far beyond me. (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

In the days of Jeremiah, when the nation was under the pump economically, politically and even militarily, the people who once believed that God was indeed beyond and close gave this up and satisfied their anxiety, doubt and fear by seeking other things. They sought the visions and dreams of each other, or of the people judged to be “spiritually connected” or wise or gifted in the mysterious world of dreaming and seeing things.

When you think about it, this is easier in a way. If I seek God, he might tell me what I don’t want to here. If I seek a dream or vision of a guru – even a Christian guru, then I can more easily take my pick among the dreamers and hear what I think I need and want to hear anyway.

The leaders of Israel were hearing the guru’s say that everything will be alright. Everything will be fine. We can get ourselves out of these troubled times ourselves. Do some deals. Make some relationships, take some shortcuts to power and even spiritual experience – consult a medium, see a seer – everything will be alright….

The cost of course was ‘minor’. Just a few Ashoreh poles to worship things of stone and wood. That is no big deal is it?

Jeremiah finds himself totally marginalized by proclaiming that faithfulness to the Lord’s word is the ONLY thing that matters, and the only thing that will keep the community united and strong.

And like now, that word was an unpopular word. God dares to suggest that the only way a human being can find the only spiritual connection that really counts and that can really make all the difference to ones present and future well-being is his speaking, not human striving or even dreaming.

I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!”
Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the LORD.
Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:25-29)

The “weeds and the wheat”. The weeds which are here today and gone tomorrow with no lasting value to human beings are the dreams, visions, and mystic experiences of human beings. The wheat is the solid, already spoken word of God which is the lasting thing, the thing of great benefit to people because it is truth and it actually gives life to human beings.

We know this. We have heard it and thought about it countless times. For many reasons, not the least of which being that we are products of our own individualistic and “anything goes” culture, we don’t know how to hear God’s spoken word much or don’t actually think we need to.

For this reason God uses his Word like a hammer. God’s word is a hammer. It needs to be in order to crack open our stone hearts at times. Stone, because we are busy, we are focused on ourselves, because we are faithless at times.
We are unsure, wounded, angry, hurt, and a million other conditions! But maybe the worst “condition” we have is our self-righteousness. We have this ability to revel in our own goodness. As someone once said, it is not until we repent of pride in our own good deeds that we will experience the joy of Jesus’ forgiveness. We all expect to confess our bad bits, but what about our pride in our good bits? God speaks his word of Law to our stone hearts, says Luther…

Hence God says through Jeremiah (23:29): “My Word is a hammer which breaks the rock in pieces.” For as long as the presumption of righteousness remains in a man, there remain immense pride, self-trust, smugness, hate of God, contempt of grace and mercy, ignorance of the promises and of Christ. The proclamation of free grace and the forgiveness of sins does not enter his heart and understanding, because that huge rock and solid wall, namely, the presumption of righteousness by which the heart itself is surrounded, prevents this from happening.

Therefore this presumption of righteousness is a huge and a horrible monster. To break and crush it, God needs a large and powerful hammer, that is, the Law, which is the hammer of death, the thunder of hell, and the lightning of divine wrath. To what purpose? To attack the presumption of righteousness, which is a rebellious, stubborn, and stiff-necked beast. And so when the Law accuses and terrifies the conscience—“You must do this or that! You have not done so! Then the heart is crushed to the point of despair.

Therefore the Law is a hammer that crushes rocks, a fire, a wind, and a great and mighty earthquake that overturns mountains. (Luther’s Works, vol 26, 19)

If anyone felt the crack of a hammer in the body and in the heart it was Jesus of Nazareth in his “baptism of fire”, as Luke records in the gospel word for today.
49″I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Luke 12:49

He was distressed and he completed it for you and me! The hammer of God’s law struck him and he bled, until enough human blood had been spilled. But it was not his self-righteousness and sin that was being struck. It was mine. It was yours. He took the hammer of God’s Law in full and the Law was completely fulfilled in the perfect and innocent human being – the close and yet mighty Son of God. As that beaten body rose in joy from the Law’s end – death, the harvest began and it still going.

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”, says Jesus the King. If this God is my God and this Jesus is the One that has taken the consequences of my self-righteousness and in its place given me a home where I belong, in God’s family and made God’s beloved friend, then I must know him.

The truth is that I can know him because his Word is here for me. It is the wheat. Speculation, dreams, visions, may be part of our journey, but nothing comes close to the Word of Jesus in that thing we have been gifted, the Bible.

It is him here and now. We could do a lot of seeking in the dreams, visions, opinions and lives of others and still only come up with an all together too small God, or an altogether too big God. Either way it would not be the only living God. We could, on the other hand, seek our spiritual connection where God promises to be heard – in the wheat, the hammer and the fire of his given word.

Let the hammer fall, O God. Break this stone heart of mine. Take my self-righteousness into yourself and grace ne with you love and kindness that I may live and move and have my being in you and find my rest in you. Amen.

Asking for Bread and Smarties


Sermon
Pentecost 9C
Sunday July 25th, 2010.
Ocean Forest

Luke 11:1-13
Asking for Bread and Smarties

Two men were talking together. The first challenged the other, “If you are so religious, let’s hear you quote the Lord’s Prayer. I bet you $10.00 you can’t.”
The second responded, “Now I lay my down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten dollar bill, muttering, “I didn’t think you could do it!”

I’m not sure if there is anything else in the Christian life that when mentioned can strike immediate questions, sense of inadequacy and guilt into the heart as that thing we call, “prayer”.

I have noticed that many are scared of praying – particularly out loud in a group. I suspect people are often scared to pray out loud in private too. Many struggle to pray out loud even when surrounded by other people doing that very thing in worship.
Maybe we are fearful of trying to pray because we think we are not good enough at it. We might say the wrong thing. We might cheese God off or just fail in some way at it. Maybe we are not even sure how we might fail. We just feel as though we can’t do it…. and so, we don’t really delve into prayer and what it might become for us in our spiritual life.

Of course, it is even worse when we come across someone who seems confident in praying. It is intimidating to come across someone who can pray a prayer at a single spiritual bound and hold back evil like holding back a speeding automotive train by a prayer!

So, I have noticed that a lot of Christian men and women just give up the “prayer thing” and leave it to the “professionals”, or the ‘spiritual people” – the pastor…..
Can you imagine that s
mall band of blokes wondering about Jesus’ pattern of prayer? They saw him often sitting in silence. They saw him head off into the night and not return to morning. When they asked him where he had been he said “I was praying”.

That must have been quite new for them. They had some experience of prayer. At home when growing up they prayed the Psalms and other parts of the Torah. These were done by the head of the house in a particular way for particular times.

Prayer was what happened when the family went to the synagogue each week and the leaders of the synagogue led the ancient prayers of God’s people (Psalms, Prophets, Wise men). Here, only the professionals were suitably qualified to choose and speak these prayers.

It was even more that way when on the 2 or 3 occasions the family went down to the city for the big public holy days at the Temple. There the priests were in full garb and full swing – offering ritual sacrifices, singing the psalms, leading the liturgy and “praying”. The people had bits to say, but the show was definitely put on by the professionals. They knew what and how to pray. We all just watched and wondered.

But here is Jesus, this admired and authoritative man “praying” differently. Surely the BIG difference about Jesus praying was in the way he spoke to God and also in the length of time engaged in this thing called prayer.Jesus called God, “Father”, and he seemed to mean it when he said it. He called the great, “I AM”, “Papa”, “Abba”.

That was bold. God is to be called Elohim. Only the professionals can call God his special name, Yahweh” or “I AM”, and only then under strict regulations and conditions once a year on the day of Atonement – the greatest holy day of the year. For Jesus, prayer seemed to be quite intimate and personal. Prayer was not only for “the professionals”.

And then there were those “all nighters”. Prayer for Jesus seemed to be more than praying the right words or even asking for things from God. Prayer must have been about just being with God, whom he called his Father. How else could you spend a whole night “in prayer”? Prayer must have been more about being with, than speaking at. His praying seemed to be about wanting his Father’s company more than or at least as much as wanting what his Father could give him.

Are we a little scared of praying because see it in very narrow terms? Are we sacred to we will use the wrong words? Are we sure that we are not good enough at it to offer a prayer out loud? Do we leave the whole prayer thing to the proferssionals because we have not been able to find a way to pray at a deeper or evem bolder level?
Well, for us who may struggle to pray in Jesus way, Jesus does not hold all the secrets of his prayer to himself. When asked by his close firnds how on earth to pray he immediately responds with a great gifts that is very practical that anyone can use to get going and keep going in prayer.

He gives us the prayer he himself prays to his own Father in heaven. He gives us what we now call “The Lord’s Prayer”. What a prayer it is. It covers all of the essential things we need for the day and for life in general – forgiveness, food on the table, help in hard testing, protection from the Evil One….

He says, “Pray this. It is what I pray to my Abba. You can too”. Is this a place to start again in prayer for you? Pray the Lord’s Prayer in its form, in your own way, broken up or all together through the day? As we do, it will begin to shape our day and our prayer and we will be talking with God and most of all being with our Father all the day.

Jesus also then gives another gift of how we can use this prayer or in what spirit we can pray to our Father….

Jesus tells them this story…
Late one evening an unexpected visitor came to a certain man’s home. Now this home owner was certainly glad to see his unexpected guest but, as he welcomed him at the door, we can imagine him thinking, “How am going to feed this bloke! The homeowner is out of bread.

He has to act. So, he goes next door and does the extremely unorthodox thing of yelling out at the front door to his sleeping neighbour, “Hey, mate! My friend has just arrived and I can’t feed him, can you give me three loaves of bread?” He doesn’t want just one loaf but three!But his neighbour says, “No way fella. It’s midnight and I and my family are asleep”. “Go away!”

But then Jesus ends the little story by saying, “I tell you, even though the sleeping neighbour will at first not get up and give the bread, he will get up and give the homeowner what he needs because of the man’s persistence.

Actually, in the original language, the word for “persistence” here is more like “shamlesness”. The sleeping neighbour will give the homeowner what he needs because of the homeowner shamelessness – his shameless asking for what he needs.
What’s Jesus’ point about prayer?

Speak to God about all the movements and needs of the day and of life, and do it often and even quite shamelessly is necessary. If human beings would give another person three loaves of bread at midnight, or if we would give something to someone that really cost us a lot of money and time and effort, then we can be sure that our Father in heaven would give us what we need 10X more, because he is our Father and we his children. He knows our need and he hears our requests and he loves to respond because we are his own children.

And therein lies the nub of the whole word of Jesus this morning to us.
Prayer is simply asking our heavenly Father for what we need.
Prayer is speaking with – being with our Father in Jesus’ name.
Prayer is trusting his grace and not our own resources.

Will you have another go? Start with that prayer of Jesus. Speak it out loud in the morning, at midday and at bed time. Get the Catechism out and see how Luther breaks it down. Pray it broken up in some way through your day. Find yourself “praying” again.

“The fewer the words, the better the prayer”.
Pray as if everything depends on God, then work as if everything depends on you.
If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.
When I cannot pray I always sing.

Martin Luther.

I’m hearing that we here need to much more like the 3-year-old boy went to the supermarket with his mother…. Before they entered the shop, she had certain instructions for the little tike: “Now you’re not going to get any Smarties, so don’t even ask.”
She put him in the child’s seat and off they went up and down the aisles. He was doing just fine until they came to the confectionary section. Seeing the Smarties he said, “Mum, can I have some Smarties?” She said, “I told you not even to ask. You’re not going to get any at all.”
They continued down the aisles, but in their search for certain items she had to back track and they ended up in the confectionary aisle again. “Mum, can I please have some Smarties?” She said, “I told you that you can’t have any. Now sit down and be quiet.”
Finally, they arrived at the checkout. The little boy sensed that the end was in sight, that this might be his last chance. He stood up on the seat and shouted in his loudest voice, “In the name of Jesus, may I have a box of Smarties?!”
Everyone in the checkout lanes could not help but be impressed! “In the name of Jesus…!”. They applauded the young lad and pitched in for several boxes of Smarties. He left a very happy little fellow.

The little guy was persistent in his asking. The little guy threw away social conventions, political correctness, fear of being looked upon with shame and asked anyway!

We are that three year old asking for Smarties throughout the day from the our heavenly Father – Jesus, his Son says, ask, seek knock again and again, without fearing shame or what people might say. Ask, Seek, Knock –. You can because he is your heavenly Father.

Let’s pray….
Our Father in heaven, help us to ask you for everything and persist in prayer for what we need and for what other people need. Amen.