Messages, Meditations, and Musings on the Life of Faith by Rev. Dr. Scott E. Olson, Pastor, Grace Lutheran Church, Mankato, MN

Sunday, December 4, 2016

"Heart Rending Peace" - Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent

Heart Rending Peace
Advent 2 – Narrative Lectionary 3
December 4, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
Joel 2.12-13, 28-29

Have noticed how many times the word “peace” appears in our worship service? “In peace let us pray to the Lord…” and “For the peace from above and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord” are from the Kyrie. “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth is from the Hymn of Praise. I begin my sermons with, “Grace, mercy and peace from God our father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and end them with “May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep and guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ our Lord.” After the Creed and the Prayers we say, “The peace of the Lord be with you always as we engage in the Sharing of the Peace. After Holy Communion we’ll occasionally sing, “Now, Lord let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled” in what’s known as the Nunc Dimittis.

Then near the end of the service the presiding minister declares, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you with grace and mercy; and the Lord look upon you with favor and give you his peace” in the Benediction or Blessing. Finally, the last word is one of peace as well: “Go in peace and through God’s abundant love, live and work to serve others as we are dismissed for mission and ministry in the world. Do you think peace is important? It is second only to love in occurrence among the Advent themes that also includes hope and joy.

Our reading from Joel doesn’t mention peace, but I want to put peace and today’s scripture reading in conversation with each other. We don’t know when Joel was written or the context but scholars make some good guesses. The setting is probably the post-exile when the Judeans are trying to rebuild their lives after returning from their Babylonian captivity, around 400 BCE. So busy are they trying to rebuild their lives that they are neglecting the God who freed them from that captivity, particularly regarding worship. They are newly beset by enemies that Joel describes as a swarm of locusts. Through these horrific events Joel says that this is God trying to get their attention, inviting them to return to God in fasting and other acts of repentance.

In doing so, Joel uses a powerful and important image: the rending of hearts. He transfers the typical practice of rending garments, a costly practice, with a costlier one. It took months to make a garment and they were very expensive, which means most people only had one set of clothing. To rend, or rip, once clothing was an extreme act to say the least. Therefore, rending ones heart was a dramatic gesture. God, through Joel, invites them to a restored relationship with him by opening their hearts to him. It’s a very intimate image and one that asks God’s people to become vulnerable and risk their selves. In fact, as we know from sociologist BrenĂ© Brown’s work on vulnerability and connection, it takes great courage to do so. She notes the word courage literally means to “speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” That’s an important way to understand courage in relationships.

One person notes that Advent is a strange mixture of moving away from God and moving toward God. Consumerism, secular celebrations, and stress tend to move us away from God while Christmas pageants, the singing of carols, and worshiping on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day move us toward God. As I think about Advent’s strange mixture, I think it also includes a mixture of grief and sadness as well as joy and celebration. And in the midst of this mixed bag, God’s voice beckons us to return home, a home that includes peace. The peace God invites us to experience is found in restored relationships.

So, today on the Second Sunday of Advent, I wonder: can I risk being vulnerable for a chance to restore peace to my closest and most important relationships? Do I have the courage to open up my heart, to God and to others, to bring some semblance of harmony into my life? We may not be able to do much about world peace, but we can do something about peace with others. In the end, however, it’s not as much about us and what we do as it is about what God in Christ, the Prince of Peace, does in, with and through us. Whatever we are able to do comes to us through the grace of God who is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Here is God’s peaceful Advent invitation: return to God, open your hearts, and seek peace. Amen.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Hope Incarnate" - Sermon for the First Sunday of Advent

Hope Incarnate
Advent 1 – Narrative Lectionary 3
November 27, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
Daniel 6.6-27

This past Monday I met with our Eucharistic Ministers, a silent almost invisible ministry of the congregation. Eucharistic Ministers visit and bring Communion to our members who are shut in and can’t get to church otherwise. During the meeting, we shared some of our experiences almost all of them positive and uplifting. We also talked through some of the challenges we meet. As in many ministries, I got the sense that they were blessed as much as being a blessing to those they visit. I think that’s true for most ministries of the church. Because I was thinking about Daniel and the theme of hope, I asked the Eucharistic Ministers to help me define it. We toss around a lot of loaded words in the church, but we rarely take the time to unpack them. So, I asked for their help.

Daniel seems to be in a hopeless situation, the targeted victim of political intrigue and insider bullying. To understand the book of Daniel, we need to know its context. Daniel is set in the period of the exile when Jews were conquered and moved to Babylon. The temple was destroyed and everyone who was anyone was expatriated. They are in a foreign land with enormous pressure to assimilate into the local culture, especially religiously. So, at heart the book of Daniel is “resistance literature,” much like the book of Revelation. The book claims that God is sovereign, not empire. Furthermore, to interpret Daniel correctly, we must engage in a mildly willingly suspension of disbelief at some of the aspects of the story. As one observer notes, it is easier to believe Daniel escaped from the lions than such a law was passed in the first place. Even so, the book of Daniel speaks to us in the Advent themes of expectation, hope and the coming of a savior.

The Eucharistic Ministers gave me rich feedback about hope, only some of which I’m able to share with you this morning. One person described hope as “trembling anticipation” and I pictured a dog at the dinner table looking for any scrap that might fall or be tossed its way. But they all said that hope is not just wishful thinking; hope has a foundation or anchor in which it is based. Yet, in the next breath they said something counterintuitive, that hope is not set in stone. Rather, hope is dynamic, and other words were offered: flexible, malleable, and fluid came to mind. I was reminded of theologian Rob Bell’s metaphor for the life of faith. Faith is not a wall made up of bricks such that when one is removed the wall crumbles. Faith is more like the springs on a trampoline that allows us to jump. Finally, the Eucharistic Ministers indicated that hope has to be real; in my words, I said that hope has to be incarnate. It has to have flesh and bones.

The story of Daniel seems to embody this multi-faceted understanding of hope. King Darius, for all his spinelessness, is like that dog at the dinner table in trembling anticipation, hoping against hope that Daniel’s God can save him. He rushes to the lions’ den knowing it’s over but not knowing what has happened. It’s like going to bed while your favorite sports team is playing and waking up the next day not know who won. Or, for a more recent analogy, it’s like going to bed while the presidential election was raging and waking up wondering the same thing. An interesting side note: the king didn’t spend the night with Daniel, preferring to stay away. However, hope still became incarnate later as he arrived at the lion’s den. It would be easy to mock Darius’ version of hope against Daniel’s steadfast one, yet most of us would probably admit that we hope more like Darius than we do like Daniel.

Many of us are facing lions of one sort or another that are threatening to overwhelm us. The season of Advent is a reminder that the God we claim continues to claim us. This God became Incarnate Hope in Jesus Christ: Darkness-Shattering Light and Lion Tamer in the flesh. The really marvelous result of the coming of Jesus is that we are made Incarnate Hope for others. The Eucharistic Ministers, you all by your subversive act of worship and presence with one another, are concrete, tangible signs of hope to a world beset by lions. Thank you for embodying hope and may God bless you as you serve as incarnate hope in a hurting world that needs to know God loves them and cares for them. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"A New Thing" - Sermon for Christ the King Sunday

A New Thing
Christ the King – Narrative Lectionary 3
November 20, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
Jeremiah 36.1-8, 21-23, 27-28; 31.31-34

We love new things and one proof of that are the hundreds or even thousands of people who line up for the newest gadgets. Of course, next week will be the official start of the rush to buy, though newness knows no season. And it’s not just new technology that attracts us; we love “new and improved” everything no matter what it is. However, we learn quickly in life that new doesn’t always mean better, even in the church.

Jeremiah talks about a new thing that God is doing. Jeremiah is a prophet, and a prophet brings a word from God to God’s people. In this instance, it is a people who are feeling anxious and threatened. Overall, it’s not a happy word that Jeremiah brings, for the people have relied on their attendance at temple worship, not the following of Torah, God’s law, to make them right with God and each other. Yet, in the midst of these words of judgment, God has Jeremiah speak a word of hope to the people. Jeremiah tells them that God is doing a new thing. But when God does new things it isn’t change; it’s transformation. There’s a difference.

I’ve thought long and deeply this week about how God transforms us by writing on our hearts. Here are some thoughts. When I was going through my agnostic period as I doubted the existence of God, God used a coworker to invite me to a young adults group where I was welcomed and accepted. It was these young adults who wrote God’s love on my heart. Then God did a new thing in me through a short-haired blonde that I met in that same group, not the long-haired brunette I sought my life until that point.

This same blond became my wife and the new things God was doing continued. I was informed that we’d be tithers (ten percenters) and in that new thing God transformed me from thinking that I was doing something for God through my generosity where in reality it was God doing something new in me. A number of years later, God did a new thing by calling me to seminary, writing courage on my heart through sister and other people.

God did a new thing calling me to a doctoral program, writing on my heart through colleagues who had the audacity to use prayer in doing so! When I told God he’d have to help me pay for it, God did a new thing by telling me I’d have to learn to ask for money and God wrote on my heart through many generous people who graciously agreed to help. God did a new thing bringing me to Grace, but instead of me transforming this place it is you who have transformed me, writing on my heart through your faithfulness and nerve.

The new things God was doing through us continued: moving from two services on Sunday to one; having all of our faith formation on Wednesday nights; serving a community meal where all are welcome; serving Holy Communion where all are welcome regardless of age or ability; buying empty lots and using them for a Community Garden; thinking of faith formation for all ages not just youth; calling a carpenter, John Odegard, with no formal education to lead that effort; a Stewardship team that believes we can increase ministry by $50,000 and in giving 25% of that away; thinking about how we can renovate for the future, not just us but for our community; and using you, Kris Block, Diane Norland and Pr. Craig Breimhorst to write on my heart what it means to be trusting, generous people.

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about being Rooted in Love, Growing in Grace. Today we are invited to make a commitment to do so as we support God’s mission and ministry in, with and through this place. At the end of the service, we’ll make our commitments for the next year. However, please know that whatever you write down as your intention, all gifts whatever size are appreciated and will be used wisely. God is always doing a new thing, slogging away in showing us his love and mercy. Where is God writing on your hearts today? What is the new thing God is doing in your life? Jeremiah tells us that God is doing it, pointing to Jesus Christ who makes all things new. Amen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

"St. Jonah the Reluctant" - Sermon for All Saints Sunday

St. Jonah the Reluctant
All Saints Sunday – Narrative Lectionary 3
November 6, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
Jonah 1.1-17; 3.1-10; 4.1-11

Today is All Saints Sunday, the time we set aside to remember those who have died in the past year. We’ll also take time to remember all of our loved ones who have gone before us in the lighting of candles. As I mentioned with the children, we use the term saint in many ways. It has many aspects like a multi-faceted jewel. We call saints those who have died and those who are good. We use the word saint particularly for those who bore witness to the faith and maybe died for it. The early church used the word saint for those who were baptized into Christ just as “St.” Louis was today.

But there’s another use of saint not apparent in English. In Greek the word saint is the same word that is used for holy. Saints are holy ones. However, we don’t necessarily mean that these people were holy in and of themselves. Holy things in the Bible were only holy because of being set aside by God for God’s purposes.

It’s this last definition of saint that makes the reading from Jonah a good one for today. The story of Jonah is an extraordinary one. Someone had noted that, with tongue firmly in cheek, the claim Jonah was in the belly of a fish for three days is the most believable aspect of the narrative. We could (and perhaps should) mine this story in several sermons, but today I’ll make three brief points.

First, like Jonah, God calls us to surprising and often ridiculous things. The Ninevites were mortal enemies of Northern Israel and committed horrific and unspeakable acts against them. For Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevites is as if a Jew was told to preach to the Nazis during the Holocaust of World War II. The Ninevites were that evil.

Though hardly a comparison, the things that God has done through Grace these past five years has been surprising and, if we had been told beforehand, ridiculous. Furthermore, it may seem ridiculous to some that we are engaging in ambitious stewardship and building programs, but that’s what God is calling us to do.

That brings us to the second point: God journeys with us even in our rebellion and stubbornness. Jonah thought he could run and hide from the God who made heaven and earth and the seas. Even the Gentile sailors with Jonah knew better than he did that you can’t run from the Lord. You can’t out-stubborn God and God will work, in with and through you in spite of you. Yet, even more importantly, God was present no matter where Jonah went. God was present on the boat. God was present when Jonah was in the belly of the fish. God was present when Jonah preached in Nineveh. And God was present even in the midst of his whiny snit. I have personal experience trying to run from God and believe me, it’s not possible. I believe God is present with us on our journey, both in our individual walks and as church.

Most importantly, the story of both Jonah and All Saints is about God’s extraordinary love. The grace that God gives to us who have been made saints through baptism is extended to all people. There really are no exceptions to God’s love and this is a vital message in today’s political and cultural environment. This extraordinary live is also why we are stepping out in faith in our Stewardship and building appeals. The purpose of these appeals is not about us but rather what God is doing in, with and through us for the sake of the world. I continue to be in awe how you welcome everyone who shows up here and how you continually give yourselves away and I look forward to continuing that journey in God’s love with you.

Like St. Jonah, God calls us to surprising and audacious ministry. God promises to be with us every step of the way, just as promised to St. Louis in his baptism today and all the saints remembered this morning. God’s extraordinary love is out-poured to all through Jesus into whom we have been baptized. May that astonishing love continue to strengthen you, reluctant saints all. Amen.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

"Semper Reformanda" - Sermon for Reformation Sunday

Semper Reformanda
Reformation Sunday – Narrative Lectionary 3
October 30, 2016
Redeemer, Good Thunder, MN
1 Kings 17.1-24

Almost 499 years ago Martin Luther posted 95 theses, or articles of debate, on door of the castle church in Wittenberg Germany. The act was widely regarded as the official start of the Protestant Reformation, called Protestant because of the protests against abuses in the church. The Reformation would bring massive renewal. Luther courageously questioned some practices of the church and did so at great peril to himself. The Reformation brought sweeping changes, not only for churches but civically and politically as well. As we celebrate the Reformation, we must be wary of complacency and recognize that the Reformation was not a “one and done” event. The fact is that God is constantly on the move, shaking things up and breathing new life. Karl Barth, a 20th century Swiss theologian, captured this in a nifty little Latin phrase: Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda. In English: the Church of the Reformation is always reforming.

At first blush, it might be difficult to see how today’s text in 1 Kings connects with Reformation Sunday. But, bear with me as I give some background to today’s reading. Since last week, when God promised David he would make of him a “house,” where there would always be a king on the throne, David’s Solomon ascended the throne and succeeded in consolidating the 12 tribes into one nation. However, Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, isn’t so wise and takes some bad advice. His actions result in Israel being split in two, the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

There are two things that important about this split: The first is that the northern kingdom has kings that are not of David’s line and therefore are outside of God’s promise of steadfast love. The second thing to know is that they are all wicked kings. For each of them, the Bible says, “They did evil in the sight of the Lord.” None of them is more evil than Ahab, the king Elijah will battle. At the end of chapter 16 we hear how Ahab marries Jezebel, and non-Israelite Baal worshiper. Now, Baal was thought to be the god who provided rain for the fertility of the land. Jezebel converts Ahab to a Baal worshipper, which incenses God, and prompts God to raise up Elijah.

To show Ahab and Israel who is in control, God brings a drought upon Israel and places north, but takes care to provide for Elijah. Down the road, God is going to use Elijah in a major confrontation with Ahab, Jezebel and the prophets of Baal. But first, God does some pre-season training of Elijah to get him ready for the big game. Through the three vignettes, Elijah progresses in agency. In the initial story where he is fed by the ravens, Elijah is dependent and passive. In the next act, God sends him to a widow and, although God provides what he needs, Elijah must ask and make promises based on his trust in God. In the final segment, Elijah takes matters into his hands and demands that God bring life back into the widow’s son. Through it all, God continues to provide, not just for Elijah but the widow and son as well.

So, in connecting Reformation to 1 Kings 17, it seems that both Martin Luther and Elijah were called upon to stand up to the powers of the day. And, although the story is outside today’s text, both of them will fear for their lives and flee from danger. Both of them will go through bouts of deep anxiety, yet will learn to trust in God. And both will see God’s continual working and renewing in ways they didn’t expect. Notice how God’s provision for Elijah at first and then God’s provisions for Elijah and the widow her son are not promised forever. The way God provides may change, but that God provides doesn’t.

Though Elijah lived 2900 years ago and Luther 500 years ago, these stories are just as fresh for us today as they were for them. It is still true that our God is a hands-on, active God who is intimately involved in our lives and world. This God is constantly bringing renewal and inviting us to trust in unexpected ways. I’m excited about this new partnership between Redeemer and Grace, the opportunities Vicar John has to serve and the ways we can grow together, both corporately and individually. I look forward to seeing what God is going to be doing in, with and through us in the years ahead. So, hold on to your Small Catechisms: God is on the move. Semper Reformanda, always reforming. Amen

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Ask Not" - Sermon for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Ask Not
Pentecost 23 – Narrative Lectionary 3
October 23, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
2 Samuel 7.1-17

Almost 56 years ago John F. Kennedy uttered words that would quickly define him as a president and us as a nation. On January 20, 1961 in his inauguration speech, Kennedy sought to unite the American people. It was a speech that could just have easily been given today, and perhaps it should, except that it was sprinkled liberally with references to God. Perhaps anticipating the potential dangers of a “nanny state,” which seeks to take inordinate interest in its citizen’s lives or our propensity for such, Kennedy made famous these words: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Our text from 2 Samuel seems to turn that phrase on its head and even backwards: “Ask not what you can do for God — ask what God can do for you.” Last week, in the story of Samuel’s remarkable birth to barren Hannah, we learned that story was prelude to the central concern of the Samuel corpus: the monarchy in general and David in particular. The Israelites wanted a monarchy for the most understandable of reasons: because everyone else had one. However, their first attempt ended in disaster and civil war. Their first king, Saul, fell out of favor with God and was eventually deposed in favor of the shepherd boy who would become warrior.

Winning fame by killing Goliath and avoiding Saul’s desire to kill him, David prevails. He is anointed king of both parts of the kingdom and seeking to consolidate the kingdom further, names Jerusalem as its capital and brings the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. With something of a breather at hand, he looks around and decides God needs a permanent home. Nathan, being the supportive pastor-prophet he is, signs off on David’s “edifice complex” only to receive rebuke from God. Now, we don’t know why David wants to build a temple for God. Perhaps he is embarrassed that he lives in a nice house while God still “lives” in a tent. Maybe he wants to show gratitude for all God has done for him. Perhaps David is merely doing the “done thing,” building a temple to his God as any self-respecting conqueror would do. Or maybe it’s another shrewd political move, a further consolidation of his power.

Whatever the reason, God says it’s not about what we do for God; it’s about what God does for us. By the way, whoever thinks that the Old Testament is only about the law and judgment, think again; this is pure gospel. God recites all he has done for David and, if that wasn’t enough, even more. God will build for David a house and this house will last forever. Furthermore, God will never take away God’s steadfast love from them. It’s no wonder that both Jews and the early Christians found this text so important. It is a Messianic text to the Jews and, for Christians, the Messiah was clearly Jesus Christ.

Now, it is somewhat ironic that we are in the process of building renovations here at Grace. This text reminds us that this building is not for God; it’s to support God’s mission and ministry through us. It’s not about giving back to God what God has given; it’s about giving ourselves away. You’ll hear more about the renovations in the months to come, but there’s something else that we need to do. In order to prepare for the renovations ahead, we will be working to strengthen or current ministries now.

Today we kick off our Stewardship Appeal, “Rooted in Love, Growing in Grace.” The appeal has three initiatives you’ll hear more about over the next three weeks. Next week, we will talk about our first initiative, Supporting our Discipleship ministry by investing in families. Two weeks from today, you’ll hear about our second initiative, Sustaining Ministry Excellence, which helps us make sure we keep up our core ministries. Finally, on November 13 Rev. Craig Breimhorst will be our guest preacher and talk about our third initiative, Raising up Future Leaders. Pastor Breimhorst is a former youth director at Grace who went on to attend seminary and become a pastor. You’ll hear temple talks from people who have been impacted and receive materials to help you make prayerful decisions.  Through this appeal, we hope to raise an additional $50,000 of which we plan to give away at least $10,000. By the way, part of “Raising up Future Leaders” will go to support Crossroads Campus Ministry in a way that we haven’t done for a while.

I’m excited how we continue to build for the future here at Grace and about the ministry that God has done through us. Like King David, God has richly blessed us, individually and as a congregation, and continues to do so. Like David, God through Jesus Christ has promised to always hold us in steadfast love. So, ask not what you can do for God, but what God has done for you and from that how God might be leading you to continue to give away yourselves for others. Though we might be anxious about the future of our country, God calls us to live as beacons of hope, strengthened in love.Amen.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"This Is My Song" - Sermon for the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

This Is My Song
Pentecost 22 – Narrative Lectionary 3
October 16, 2016
Grace, Mankato, MN
1 Samuel 1.9-11, 19-20; 2.1-10

I love Broadway musicals and, as you can imagine, I enjoy going to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater from time to time. In musicals, when done right, the songs are memorable, combining good tunes with a compelling story. One thing that tickles me, however, is how the characters will suddenly burst into song in the most unlikely places with a full orchestra backing them up, such when Julie Andrews sings on a mountain top in The Sound of Music. In our lesson for today, like a Broadway actress, Hannah bursts into song at a most unlikely time and place. There is no apparent orchestra backing her and the song is odd, a nationalistic song if anything. It’s as if Eliza Doolittle were to sing, God Save the Queen in the midst of My Fair Lady.

Last week, we were at the foot of Mt. Sinai where the Israelites’ song went from boisterous to lament. They had come close to extinction because of their apostasy in building the golden calf. Since then, they’ve been on the move. Poised to enter the Promised Land, they have been forced to wander 40 years in the wilderness because they doubted God’s ability to help them settle the inhabited land. Once the faithless generation passes away, under Joshua’s leadership they entered the Promised Land and conquered it only to be besieged on all sides by the nation states surrounding them. Because they are a loose confederation of tribes, they are easy pickings. Occasionally, God will raise judges to rally them, but they get tired of this cycle and eventually will want a king to unify them.

The story of Samuel is how the monarchy comes into being in general and how the line of David gets established in particular. And the story begins in the most unlikely of places, with an elderly priest and a barren woman. (A side note: this won’t be the last time that a story of greatness begins with a birth narrative of humility. Cue The Magnificat, the song that a young virgin will sing a thousand years later upon learning that she is caring God’s Son, the long-awaited Messiah.) Hannah is persecuted by her husband’s other wife; we call it bullying today. She goes up to worship at Shiloh and prays fervently for a child where she is accused of drinking by the priest Eli. Eli promises her a child and God remembers her. Hannah and her husband conceive, a son is born and when the child is weaned, Hannah gives the child back to God.

I don’t know what it’s like not to be able to have a child and I can only imagine what it’s like to not be able to conceive. I think the idea of barrenness comes close. And I think most of us have an experience of being forgotten, perhaps by God, which maybe even more painful. And to give a child up after waiting so long stretches the imagination. Again, the only thing I can think of that might be similar is a birth mother giving her child for adoption. Yet, right after she does so, Hannah bursts into a song about the power of God’s justice. Perhaps she does so because she is not only able to receive something, but she is also able to give something for the first time in her life.

Hannah sings because she knows that it is in barrenness that God works to make a future. Her song is both proclamation and prophecy. Hannah proclaims God’s faithfulness and remembering. She dares to sing a song that spits in the face of power brokers of the world and she declares that all evidence to the contrary, God favors those at the margins of society. In other words, God has not forgotten any of us. Furthermore, she hints of one who is coming 1,000 years later and who will bring justice to the world.

Hannah sings in response to God’s presence and working in her life. Where have you seen God’s presence in your life and what song would you sing? You might not be on Broadway or backed up by a full orchestra, but sing anyway. Sing of God’s faithfulness and remembrance of you. Thanks be to God. Amen.