Moving to Higher Ground

Kay Albury-Smith

March 17, 1988



  • If the word is to take flesh today, the word must be made welcome.  The word must be received and made visible in us.
  • I am in the word, and the word is in me, let us give thanks and praise.


In the name of the Triune God, the Creator, The Christ, and the Holy Spirit, let us pray.  Come Oh, Creator, oh immensity of love, oh eternity of mercy.  Come and be with us, and in us, and beside us and over us.  Be as hands upon us, and fashion us for shining.  Be as warmth within us.  Inspire us for caring.  Be as strength beside us.  And shape our lives for healing.  Abide in our prayers, the spoken and the unspoken, and make your word come true in our flesh.  Through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

Let us ask God for the forgiveness that we need. (silence)

Let us now pray together.  Merciful healer, we do not claim our gifts.  We do not face up to our call.  We do not appreciate your partnership in creating a new community and a new world.  Today we repent and return from our old ways, and commit ourselves to new partnerships for holding on and for new visions for a different heave and earth.  Amen.

Anyone in Christ becomes a new person all together.  The past is finished and gone.  Everything has become fresh and new.  Friends, believe the good news of the Gospel. (Crowd Response.)  And now in the power of God’s grace, let us share with one another some sign of that peace that is within us.


Ruth 1:6-18

Our first lesson is written in the book of Ruth Chapter 1, verses 6 to 18.  Then Naomi set out with her daughters-in-law to return to the country of Moab.  For she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.  She set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they set out to the place, and they went on their way to return to the land of Judah.  But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return, each of you, to her mother’s house.  May the Lord deal kindly with you, as he has dealt with the dead and with me.  The Lord grant that you may find a home, each of you in the house of her husband.”  Than she kissed them, and lifted up their voices, and wept.  And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”  But Naomi said, “Turn back my daughters.  Why would you go with me? Have I have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?  Turn back my daughters.  Go your ways, for I am too old to have a husband.  If I should say, I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown?  Would you therefore refrain from marrying?  No, my daughters.  For it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone against me.”  Then, they lifted up their voices and wept again.  And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.  And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods.  Return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Entreat me, not to leave you or to return from following you.  For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people.  And your God, my God.  Where you die, I will die.  And then will I be buried.  Will the Lord do so to me, and more also, even death part me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her no more.  Here ends the first lesson.

Mark 14:1-9

And the second lesson is written in the Book of  Saint Mark, Chapter 14, Verses 1 to 9.  It was now two days before the Passover, and the feast of the unleavened bread.  And the chief priest and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by guilt and kill him, for they said, “Not returning, not during the feast, lest there be a tumult of the people.”  And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of ointment of pure myrrh.  Very costly.  And she broke the jar, and she poured it over his head.  But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted?  For this ointment could have been sold for more than 300 denari and given to the poor.”  So they reproached her.  And Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them.  But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could.  She has anointed my body before my burial.  And truly I say to you, whenever the Gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.  Here ends the second lesson.


First I’d like to give an offer to God for this opportunity to stand and boldly proclaim the liberating word.  I would ask that you help me this morning as we come together just a verse or two of a very familiar hymn: Kumbaya.  (Singing of Kumbaya.)

Let us pray.  Thou my everlasting portion, more than friend or life to me, all along my pilgrim’s journey, Savior let me walk with thee.  Not for ease or worldly pleasure, nor for fame my prayer shall be.  Gladly will I toil and suffer.  Only let me walk with thee.  Lead me through the vale of shadows, spare me all life’s pitfalls, see.  Then the gate of life eternal, may I enter Lord, with thee.  Close to thee.  Close to thee. Close to thee. Close to thee.  All along my pilgrim’s journey, Savior, let me walk with thee.  And may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord my God, my strength and my redeemer.  Amen.

The Great Love Story of Ruth and NaomiRuth and Naomi

I invite you now to review with me some thoughts as we think of this great love story.  Of Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah.  The story opens wherein we find Naomi, her husband and two sons have left their home, their familiar surroundings, their friends, their place of worship, their workplaces, in search of what I would call a higher ground.  A place where they could be fed, filled, and find new possibilities as they struggled with human survival.  They were like many other families of their time, migrating from place to place, looking for hope, looking for life, looking for a new home.  Perhaps they are like many folks that we hear about today, living in a world of plenty, and yet some statistics say that 2/3 of all the people in the world live in poverty.  We have what we would call a world famine.  And everyday, thousands and hundreds of thousands of folks, wanting to keep their families in tact, picking up everything that they can carry, they try to find the Moab of this day, a higher ground, a place where they can call home, a place where they can come and find dignity.  A place where they can find justice and peace, a land that’s claimed often by national boundaries, but a land that belongs ultimately to God.  Well, the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.  And yet, hungry, homeless, naked people, not wanting to take what is ours, but what is rightfully given to all of us, justice, peace, love, food, shelter. And often times, they cross many deserts.

The deserts in the cities, the deserts in the suburbs, the deserts in the countryside,

looking for a sanctuary, a place to worship, a place to belong.

And we call them refugees, immigrants, runaways, street people, foreigners, communists, anarchists, Sandinistas- everything but a child of God.  And they’re children of the King, marching to Zion, beautiful, beautiful Zion, Marching to Zion, that beautiful city of God.  And so, what we have here are some refuges.  Some people of God who realize that there is a higher ground, a higher place, and they want to find it.  And together, they pack up their things and move to Moab.  If I could use my imagination some, and somehow or another gather the consciousness of these people, they could have easily sang this song ‘I’m pressing on the upward way.  New heights I’m gaining everyday.  Still praying as I’m onward bound, Lord plant my feet on higher ground. Lord lift me up and let me stand on heaven’s table land.  A higher place than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”  And sometimes, that journey to higher ground gets rough.  When we move to higher ground, it always requires of us risk.  Risk of discovering that the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Sometimes, the grass is browner on the other side.  Sometimes, there’s no grass on the other side.  Sometimes, when we plant our feet on higher ground, we stand in a position of being rejected, as being seen as foreigners, invaders, communists, Sandinistas.  Another problem of moving to higher ground, is that some of us are not willing to suffer the consequences of freedom, and justice, and love.  M. Scott Peck in his very familiar book The Road Less Travelled talked a lot about how people avoid suffering.  Trying to avoid that which makes sense, that we must do.  And he points out as Karl Jung would say that most neurosis is a substitute for evasion of long-time suffering.  Moving to higher ground always causes us to suffer, and to create a system of problem solving.  Moving to higher ground always requires of us faith.  And this morning, I want you to know that everything we need, God’s got it.  What do you need today?  In this community, I want you to know God’s got it.

Do you want to Move to Higher Ground?- a story


Do you want to move to a higher ground?  Do you want to leave this wilderness of spiritual and moral famine?  Are you willing to move as a family of faith, leaving no one behind.  Reminds me of a story that I heard recently, of a gold-medal track star, who had an opportunity over the years to coach many track teams, until one day he had an opportunity to coach the Special Olympics.  The Olympics that had as its candidates, as its members, people with a special kind of need, people who are often ostracized by this intelligent community.  And yet, they taught him something that day.  As the seven contestants stood on the line, and the gun was shot, they all took off running for the finish line.  One little boy stumbled and fell.  Everybody turned around and went back.  Somebody picked him up. Somebody wiped him off.  Somebody kissed where he hurt, and they all joined hands together and ran across that finish line together.  Do you want to move to a higher ground?

We must all move together.

And so it was with Naomi and her family as they moved to Moab together.  And as the story goes on, an unexpected, and yet expected event happens.  Her husband dies.  Oh, the pain, the sorrow, the grief.  But yet, Naomi had still two persons of whom she could call family, her two sons.  And so she stayed and then they enlarged this family by marrying two women from this new land.  What kind of relationships did they have that would allow them as foreigners to marry other foreigners?  Would you marry one?  Weren’t there any other Jewish girls around?  What would Naomi say when they came back and told her that they had fallen in love with these foreigners?  What would the people in the synagogue say?  What would their church say?  What would God say?  Well, apparently all things work for the good of those who love the Lord.  And we find that the two boys marry, but the story didn’t end happily ever after for we find that after ten years of marriage, then something else tragic happens.  Now the two sons die. And all Naomi had left were these two women.  Two strangers, or was it two friends, whom she had yet to meet.  Lord have mercy, what shall I do?  I’ve come this far by faith, leaning and trusting in God, and now this!

And all I have, are these two strangers. 

Sometimes all that we have left in life are really strangers.  Folks whom, like us, have differences from us, racially, socially, economically, religiously, culturally, philosophically, different.  And if it were not for our need to move to higher ground, a place for our own survival and success, a place of transition, we probably would never have to meet them, and vice versa.  But because of the choices that we make, and they make, our paths sometimes meet.  And what happens in that situation could be the difference between tragedy and triumph.  The different between life and death.  The difference between heaven and hell.  The difference between knowing about God, or coming to know God.  The difference between playing church, and being church.  The difference between being prophetic or just merely being religiously nationalistic.  The difference between being co-creators of God’s Kingdom, or mere insulators of our own Kingdom, creating God in our image, and never being created in God’s image.  And the beat goes on.

A Call to be Family

And so, what we have here today, as far as I understand it, is a true test of faith.  Faith in a God that calls us to be family.  And we are called everyday to be family.  Sisters and brothers who may have so many things uncommon, and yet if we dare look a little closer at our human passages, how we’ve come and how we’re gonna leave.  You realize real soon sisters and brothers, we’re family.  Nearly five years ago, my oldest son, then 12, was diagnosed with having cancer.  Tenovia sarcoma. I was pastoring a small church, and I was pregnant, trying to understand what it is God had called me to do.  I also had two other children, a son 11, and one 2.  And of course, I had a husband.  In tying to discover what this cancer was all about, time and time again, I was confronted with the issue of death.  Death has no color.  It’s not black.  It’s not white.  It’s not Hispanic.  It’s not Asian.  It’s not Native American.  It’s all, and yet more.  Death has no color, and yet it colors into our lives, alienation, despair, anger, guilt, denial, bargaining.  It tries to destroy and sometimes succeeds at destroying our family ties, which comfort, which gives us our identity, our purpose.  For Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth, their loss had no color.  It just hurt! It gnawed at their inner souls.  It made them examine and reflect what it meant to be in true relationship with one another.  It reminds us that life is fragile.  Life is a gift.  This old building keeps on leaning, I got to move to a better home.  And every now and then, and I want you to know it’s more now than then, people we love die.  And they leave us to wrestle with what it really means to be family.  And so, as tragic as this all seems, there always seems room for triumph as we worship the living God.  This juncture, this crisis called all three to reevaluate their relationship.  Who am I?  And who are you?  And what does it mean to be family, when the bloodlines of family have now been severed?  Well, Naomi being the oldest, and with the most experience of having journeyed with family, she’d risked more, she had to make some connections now with her roots.  She decided now to go home.  In the words of Carol Rayburn, in her understanding of this text, three women from Moab she says that perhaps Ruth, Naomi I mean, had the most to risk.  But now, she was considered to be worthless.  Motherless.  Financially unable.  Who wants to take care of folks anyhow?  There was no pension left for her.  There was no social security.  There was no welfare check.

And yet, in our world today, what do we do with persons who find themselves in similar situations, we devise ways of eliminating them, institutionally.

We allow things to nurture hopelessness and fear so that the community itself, so that the community eliminates itself.  What’s black on black crime about?  What’s the resurgence of gangs about?  What’s this drug scene about?  We can’t stop it with guns.  We can’t stop it with more policemen or policewomen on the street.  We can only stop it with love.  Who am I?  For Orpah, a young woman who loved her mother-in-law. And yet, not to be the point of being willing to move beyond duty, and many of us, take this position as Christians.  We do what’s expected and required.  No more.  And no less.  Of course, she didn’t want to see Naomi abandoned, and yet she did what was expected of her, she offered herself.  Many of us offer to help, but our hearts aren’t in it.  Our relationship is defined and confined by our willingness to follow the law at its minimum.  Our New Testament Gospel reading for today describes how when one moves beyond the law, this woman offered all that she had for Christ- not her minimum, her maximum.  Her most precious gift, her most extravagant gift- her love.  God calls us to move beyond the law  and bring ourselves and all that we have to where it really hurts.  Look around, you don’t have to look far.  Why do we have to go across the water?  There’s hurt in this community.  There’s brokenness in this community.  Look around.  You don’t have to look far.

Last year I had an opportunity to travel to Honduras and to Nicaragua, and an opportunity to break away one day and look around into the city.  To go into the market place.  Looking around so much that I got lost.  I had an appointment with a nun who had been there for several years.  And when I was given the directions, it seemed very simple to me.  But when I was on my own getting ready to leave the marketplace because I had planned to return later on to shop, unable to speak the language of the people, the arrogance that I had to go over there and attempt to share in this culture, and could not speak very well in this language.  And yet I was there.  Trying to find my way to where I needed to be was not a command of the language, and yet with a lot of money in my pocket, but because of the embargo and the sanctions that the United States had placed on this government, I couldn’t buy a taxi cab because there weren’t too many taxi cabs running.  I couldn’t get on the buses because they were overcrowded, and so the only thing I could do was walk.  As I walked, I asked the Lord to lead me and to guide me, for I had come this far by faith.  Walking along, asking in my broken Spanish dialect, where was this place, give me directions.  Some people of course didn’t have time to help.  And others saw me as a foreigner, as a stranger, as an enemy.  And others really, one, decided that it wasn’t enough to point the direction, that maybe this woman, this black woman, this American, this North American, needed some help, and he no longer was satisfied with seeing me go in so many directions, he decided to enter into my confusion and my pain.  He decided to become my mouthpiece.  He decided to ask for himself directions, for he too was new to Monagua.  And finally, because of his intervention, his giving of himself- he didn’t have to do it- I found my destiny.  I offered him money, and he would not take it.  He asked that I would pray for him, and for his country.

Who am I?  And who are you?  What does it mean to be in relationship with one another? 

Martin Buber in his book The I and Thou, will share some things with us this morning.  And I quote “Man’s world is manifold and his attitudes are manifold.  What is manifold is often frightening because it is not neat and simple.  Men prefer to forget how many possibilities are open to them.  Not all simplicity is wise.  But a wealth of possibilities breeds dread.  Hence, those who speak of a wealth of possibilities speak to the few, and are of help are even fewer.  The wise offer only two ways of which one is good, and thus helps many.  The world wants to be deceived.  The truth is too complex and frightening.  The taste for truth is acquired, an acquired taste that few acquire.” These words speak to our condition, our human struggle as people who constantly come in contact with one another, and yet, we remain separated.  We fail to become family.  Buber goes on to talk of five kinds of relationships that have no use.

The ‘I-I’ relationship:  These people speak, but the only time they speak of you, is when they speak of themselves.  The ‘I-I’ relationship.

The ‘I-It’ relationship is a lack of devotion.  They think of you as objected.  They examine you, they experience you.  They always experience you in the past, never present.  No place for reciprocity.

The ‘It-It’ has no I, and the whole focus of this kind of relationship is those who are professional students, professional scholars.  They have no time for themselves, and what they study is their life.

Then, there’s the ‘We-We.’  They have no I, there’s no individuation.  And when they talk about you, they talk about us.  You know folks who say, ‘well, we did it.  We did it!’  But they can never talk about what they did specifically.

And then Buber talks about the ‘us-them.’  The world is divided in two- the sheep the goat, the male the female, the them and the us.  If you’re not one of us, you’re one of what?  Them.  Children of the night and children of the darkness.  Faculty and students.

The I and You

But Buber calls to us, however, the kind of relationship that allows for mutuality and reciprocity, for encounter, not just experience.  And this is the I and the You relationship, where the I and the You are both connected by God’s love.  The I and the You are found and lost in this relationship.  And for us, God’s grace that meets us in our wonders together.  Folks talking about how they want to be found.  You have to be lost first!  Reminds me of a story of a man who was examining the beauty of the grand canyon one day, and as he admired it, he fell over a cliff.  And as he fell, he prayed, he said “Lord, help me!”  And suddenly to his surprise, and to his pleasure of course, there was a limb to which he was able to hold on to.  And he looked up the many many feet and he hollered up and he said, “Is there somebody up there who can help me?  God, are you up there?”  And a voice said, “Yes, son.  I’m up here.”  He said, “Lord, can you help me?  Can’t you see I’m falling?  My goodness!  Help me Lord!”  And the voice said, “Let go, and let God.”  He said, “What?”  This man must be crazy.  “Let go? Is there anybody else up there who can help me?”

Orpah wasn’t willing to let go and let God.  And you and I are not willing sometimes to let go and let God, but we must.  You see, we always want to be in control.  We think that if we can reason things out.  All we need is another study program.  All we need is another commission on religion and race.  All we need is a commission on the status and role of women.  All we need to do is to look and study again what bothers us.  That’s the ‘I-It’ complex.  And the ‘I-It’ never wants to be studied itself.  It always wants to study something other than itself.  You have problems here at BU?  You don’t need nobody to come in here and study something that you need to just sit down and deal with yourself.  On heaven and in earth that can solve your problems for you.  For God would call you first of all to just take a moment and look at yourself.  It’s me.  It’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.  Not my mother, not my father, not my preacher, not my teacher, but it’s me!  We don’t go anywhere looking to resolve problems unless we first start with ourselves.

And in the ‘I-Thou’ relationship we realize that I can’t be free if you’re not free.  I can’t be whole if you’re not whole.  I can’t be the best of what God has called me to be if you’re not the best of what God has called  You to be. 

It’s me. We began with the confession that we’re the ones who cause the pain and the separation.  Reminds me of this story I heard of, this woman by the name of Mrs. Jones. She always used to look out her window at her neighbor’s laundry.  So much so that she would even go and call up her friends and tell them about this woman’s dirty laundry.  Until one day her friends came to the house and as her friend walked around inside trying to see this neighbor’s dirty laundry, she brushed up against the window pane and said, “Oh my goodness Ms. Jones.  What is this?  This is dirt.  I don’t think that your neighbor’s clothes are dirty.  I think that you got dirty windows.”  We’re always trying to take the log out of somebody else’s eye, but Christ calls us today to look at the dirt that’s in our own eye.  It’s me.  It’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.

And secondly, I think another important point for us is that our language should demonstrate that we realize that God calls us to be in relationship to one another.  It amazes me how Buber records in his book the languages of the Zulu tribe and the Fujian tribe’s people, their words for far away.  In Zulu, the multiple phrase for far away is ‘where one cries mother, I am lost.’  The Fujian people would say, they look at each other, each waiting for the other to offer to do that which both desire but neither wishes to do.  And we talk about far away.  Our language then, must express our willingness to lose ourselves to find ourselves.  Our words must be words of reconciliation and love.  If we want to be family, we must be willing to examine those words that help us to be family.  Not a monologue, but a dialogue.  Both sides encountering each other in a relationship of mutuality.  In God’s Fierce Whimsy, I’m sure some of you have read, one of the black writers who’s writing to the white sister, and they shared with each other some myths and some concerns as women.  One of the concerns that the black woman raised is this, she said that one of her friends was familiar enough to call her family and sister, and asked of her to dismiss a myth about black folks.  She said, “I heard that black people have a natural body odor.”  She said, “I feel close enough to you today to help me to dismiss this myth.”  And the sister said, “okay, what should I do?”  And she said, “Well, can I smell you?”  And she said, “Oh, yes. Go ahead.”  And the white woman smelled the black woman. But then, the black woman said, “Well, we heard some myths about white folks too.  We heard that sometimes your hair when it gets wet, it starts to smell like a mangy dog. I wonder if you’ll let me smell your hair.”  The white woman became in fits.  “How dare you!  How dare you examine me!  For I am the one who is to examine you.  You’re coming into my family, I’m not coming into your family.  How dare you examine me!”  And she marched off, missing an opportunity to be family.

Like Ruth, we must be willing to then, therefore, pay the price of this encounter. 

While in Nicaragua after a meeting with the nun, I went back to the market place with a pocket full of money and very few words to buy what I wanted, but I knew one phrase, and that was “Quanto quiesta?”  And I may not be saying it right, right now.  And the proprietor whose face and skin was black he said, “Where are you from?” (laughter.)  I said, “You speak English?  Thanks be to God!”  I said, “Where are you from?”  He said, “I’m from the Blue Fields.”  He said, “But where are you from?”  I said, “I’m so glad I could find someone to talk to.”  He helped me to feel at home, to feel all was not lost, that there was some connection there, some sense of family.

What good is the Church when folks aren’t willing to pay for that which the Church is called to do- give sight to the blind, shelter to those who are homeless, food to the hungry, and bring to those who are broken a sense of wholeness. 

Sometimes this price is death.  And yet, and yet, Jesus paid it all.

And many others have come to lay down their lives so that we might live.  The encounter often times calls us to places that we wouldn’t normally go.  That’s death.  Just last week, trying to be the mother of the year, with my 4-year-old daughter, who sometimes I spend not enough time with, I said, “Okay Alexis, let’s do something that you would like to do.”  So she said, “okay, Mommy, let us take a bath, because my oldest brother and my youngest brother took a bath last week, and we never get to do those things.”  And I said, “Okay Alexis.  Let’s take a bath.”  And we sat together in that tub.  She washed my back, I washed her back.  And I said, “Oh Alexis isn’t this fun?”  And she said, “Yes Mommy, but I have something to tell you.”  I said, “What is it you have to tell me Sweetheart?”  She said, “Well Mommy, before I got in the tub, I had to go to the bathroom.  And I just couldn’t hold it.”  I said, “Alexis, a number one or a number two?”  She says, “Mommy, it’s just a number one.”  And I said, “Thanks be to God.”  I said, “Alexis, it’s alright.”  It’s alright.

And isn’t it alright Christian Friends, that sometimes we have to sit down in other folks’ mess to be family.  Sometimes places where we would not normally go, we have to go and sit down in their mess, so that together we may be changed and be made like into God’s own glorious body.

And so for Ruth, she was willing to sit down and go encounter Naomi in her mess, wherever and however.  And so she did.  I close with this story.  I imagine this could have been a Boston Seminarian who had an opportunity to go teach a Sunday school class.  And trying to teach it creatively, for we learn in Christian Education, so many fine ways of teaching.  Amen?  And so while sitting with her class she said, “I want you to help me now to define which commandments this story describes.”  She says, “Now, a little boy and a little girl were told to clean their rooms when their mother left.  And they didn’t do it.  What commandment is at stake here?”  All the hands went up, and they said, “Honor thy mother and thy father that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord has given thee.”  She said, “Good!  Good good good.”  She says, “Now, this other little boy went into the drug store and he went down the candy aisle and he put five jawbreakers in his pocket.  And he did not pay for them.”  All the hands went up.  “Thou shall not steal.”  She said, “Excellent!  Excellent!”  Then she said, “Okay. A little boy and a little girl were playing, and the little girl snatched the little boy’s car and wouldn’t give it back. And the little boy trying to retaliate, turned and pulled her cat’s tail.”  Well, the whole class was confused.  There was silence.  And one little boy, half committed, raised his hand, and said, “What God has joined together (laughter.)”  I want you to know today that I believe God has joined us together.  God has called us to be family, sisters and brothers alike.  God has called us to be willing to lose ourselves and to find our new families.  And what God has joined together, let no one put us up.  Amen.

Let us join now in prayer for strength, for wisdom, for courage.  We pray for strength, oh God.  (crowd response.) We pray Oh God, for wisdom. (crowd response.) And Lord, we pray for courage. (crowd response.)


Oh God, of Ruth and Naomi.  Oh God, of our mothers and our fathers.  Oh God of us all.  Move us with your spirit now, to be willing to go to the places you would send us so that no one may feel alienated, that we all may experience the joy that family brings.  Move us, oh spirit of your love, to have the courage and the faith to press on to higher ground.  Keep us forever in the way.  For we pray in the name of Jesus Christ who calls us to be family with him.  Amen.


And now, unto a God who is able to keep us from falling and to present us blamelessly before God’s throne of grace.  A God who looks beyond our faults and supplies our needs, who helps us to press on to higher ground, new family, new community.  A new world, and unto God who is able to do all things, we ask that we be dismissed from this place, but never from God’s presence.  We pray this in the sweet name of Jesus Christ with the communion of the Holy Spirit, now and forever more.  Amen.


Books Referenced in Sermon:

The Road Less Travelled- M. Scott Peck

The I and the Thou-  Martin Buber

God’s Fierce Whimsey – Mud Flower Collective