Thursday, 29 November 2018

PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS UPON SEVERAL OCCASIONS


The latest in The Holy Spirit in the Prayer Books series for Taste and See… magazine. 

There is a rich selection of PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS UPON SEVERAL OCCASIONS in The Book of Common Prayer beginning on page 37. Praying through them one a day is a good way to familiarize yourself with them. You’ll find prayers and phrases which will help and inform your daily prayers and you’ll pray for things you might not have thought to pray as you go. We continue our survey of references to the Holy Spirit in our prayer books in this section of the BCP. 

6. For Missionary Societies
When was the last time you prayed for a Missionary Society, or for a Synod, or Theological Students? Have you ever prayed for any of them in your personal prayers? I’ve prayed for Synods because I’ve been involved in many of them. But I have to confess, I haven’t prayed for Missionary Societies since the last time I worked through the PRAYERS AND THANKSGIVINGS UPON SEVERAL OCCASIONS in The Book of Common Prayer (BCP), p37. Which is one of the good things about using a prayer bookt in ten  to pray. One is led to pray for things one might neglect otherwise. Things like Missionary Societies in prayer number six on page 42: 
Send down the grace of thy Holy Spirit upon thy people, and grant that they may give cheerfully of their substance for the evangelizing of the world.
What is the grace of the Holy Spirit? The grace He sends is in all He provides—the Gifts, the Fruits and always the Truth in Jesus. Although the Holy Spirit is The Comforter, His grace brings more than just comfort. As James Ryle says, grace is God’s empowering presence to be who He made us to be, and to do what He calls us to do. Dallas Willard describes grace as that which empowers us to be able to do what we are unable to do on our own. 

And what will this grace empower us to do in particular? “Give cheerfully of my substance for the evangelizing of the world.” Give cheerfully? Oh. A great prayer for “they” who are not me. But in praying it, I am forced to face up to the fact that “they” includes me. Sigh. So having the Holy Spirit sent down upon me is not just about speaking in tongues and prophesying and falling over and all that fun stuff. It’s also about giving cheerfully of my substance—who I am and what holds me together and makes me me, what I earn and have been given. Things easily thought of as mine. That doesn’t sound very charismatic!

And here’s another disturbing thought. This Holy Spirit prompted cheerful giving is from my substance, not God’s. In other words, the way the Holy Spirit has convicted me, is that my tithe is God’s in the first place. Not mine, His. So the giving in this prayer must come from my substance after the tithe and cheerfully! It is an offering over and above my tithe “for the evangelizing of the world”! As I pray through this prayer and write I realize that, at the moment, none of my regular offerings go specifically to missionary societies and evangelization. Things that make me go, “Hmmm!?!?”

7. For General, Provincial or Diocesan Synods
We have most significant Synod coming up in July next year. General Synod 2019 will include second reading of the resolution to change the Anglican Church of Canada’s doctrine on marriage. Prayer number seven, which also begins on page 42, For General, Provincial or Diocesan Synods is another excellent BCP Holy Ghost prayer for such a gathering. 
Save its members from all error, ignorance, pride, and prejudice; and of thy great mercy vouchsafe so to direct, govern, and sanctify them in their deliberations by thy Holy Spirit, that through thy blessing the Gospel of Christ may be faithfully preached and obeyed, the order and discipline of thy Church maintained, and the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour enlarged and extended.
If ever there was a time when our Church needed to be directed, governed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit as synod members deliberate, it will be in Vancouver in July 2019. 

As you pray this prayer, consider how and where the Holy Spirit always directs God’s people—always to the Truth that is found in Jesus (John 14.17, 15.26, 16.13, 17.17, Eph 4.21) and never away from Jesus, his teaching and example. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct synod members ever and only to Jesus and his teaching on marriage and all other matters before General Synod 2019. 

Pray that the Holy Spirit will also govern us all—the synod members in their deliberation and all of us in our behavior and response to their decisions. Examples of the Holy Spirit’s governance are the commandments Jesus made through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1.2) and Paul being prevented from doing certain things by the Holy Spirit. For example, he was forbidden to speak in Asia and not allowed to go to Bithynia (Acts 16.6-7) and he was “constrained by the Spirit” to go to Jerusalem even when he was anxious as to what might happen to him there (Acts 20.22-23). The Holy Spirit guides and governs by saying go ahead, go here or go there and by saying don’t go. 

Pray also that the Holy Spirit will sanctify—set apart as holy—the synod members for their task. That their motives and decisions will be holy and pure and “sanctified in the truth” of God’s word (John 17.17) which is, of course, the work of “the Spirit of truth” (John14.17, 15.26, 16.13) and that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do not “ordain” in our “Rites or Ceremonies” any thing that is “contrary to God’s Word written” (Article XX. Of the Authority of the Church, BCP p706). 

A Note on Praying Out of Books
I have heard some say that praying “in The Spirit” can’t be done from books. I used to think it myself. I am now convinced that praying “in The Spirit” can be done with and without books. I also believe there is a fair amount of praying with and without books which is not “in the Spirit.” It is a matter of the heart and of The LORD’s leading. Sometimes one of my spontaneous prayers for someone or something is enriched by a phrase or an idea which comes from a Prayer Book prayer I use regularly. For example, I will often pray that The LORD will “visit their homes and drive from them all the snares of the enemy” and “preserve us in peace” (from COMPLINE, BCP 726) and that The LORD “will give thine angels charge over them, and defend them from all dangers of body and soul” (from a Prayer for Home and Loved Ones, BCP 633). I don’t see how I could improve on those Intercessory sentiments. It’s exactly what I would like The LORD to do from the heart and earnestly. 

Using the Prayer Books systematically in as tools for prayer will have praying for things you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of on your own and will improve your prayer vocabulary. 

Gene+

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Saturday, 17 November 2018

A Very Fond Farewell, and Amen!: my By the Way Column in Today’s Medicine Hat News



Jesus brought us to St Barnabas Anglican Church, Medicine Hat, almost twenty years ago. Our first Sunday was 18 April 1999. And now we're about to embark on another stage in our journey as we move to Regina at the end of the month. It will be the tenth move since we were married. Another shaker. We feel a bit rattled, excited and sad all at once. Our Medicine Hat sojourn is the longest stretch we've ever lived in one place. We’ve come to appreciate the stability and sense of security. What a blessing it's been! As we go I’d like to leave some words of appreciation and gratitude with you. 

First, to the wonderful St Barnabas saints who I got to serve for fifteen years as Priest and Pastor. We've continued to enjoy worshipping with you since I joined you in the pews when I retired in 2014. From that Meet the New Pastor gathering in 1999 and my amazement when Hazel Woolven, a tiny saint, put her hand on my arm and told me she’d been a member of St Barnabas for seventy years!—and on through all the joys and sorrows of the sweet-spirited journey sharing in Christian community that followed—I thank you all in The Name of the LORD! A Word for you (and for every other citizen of this fair city) from Jesus: the Father himself loves you! (John 16.27) There’s more there. Look it up. 

To my many colleagues in ministry from across the full spectrum of theology and church-person-ship—from the wild-eyed charismatics, and the more sober evangelicals to my fellow mainliners—I've enjoyed your differences and serving with you all in both the Medicine Hat and District Ministerial Association and the Medicine Hat Evangelical Association (I even got to be President of the Evangelical Association for several years, which was a great irony since I couldn’t have been a member in some of your churches because I haven’t been baptised in enough water!). A Word for you all and I believe it is from The LORD: do not neglect to meet together to encourage one another (Heb 10.25). This gives the relationships among you the precious time they need to grow. Jesus inhabits good relationships and gives life through them. 

Finally, to all Medicine Hat folk who have been so hospitable, generous and kind. Thank you. As we go I pray this classical Anglican Prayer Book blessing over you all: 

THE peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.

And Amen. Jesus loves you!

Gene+

Friday, 21 September 2018

Going Faster: Autumn Solemn Ember Day of Prayer and Fasting Two

Autumn Solemn Ember Day of Prayer and Fasting two, but not really because it is bumped by the Feast Day of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist—I’m going to treat it as Solemn Ember anyway because of my devotional OCD-ness. And since I know that Jesus said when I fast I’m not to look gloomy or disfigure my face, or, presumably, draw attention to myself so that my (extremely spiritual) fasting may be seen or known about by others like you, dear reader, I’d better not refer to it lest I lose my reward (Mt6.16-18). 

I don’t like it. Fasting, I mean. I usually feel a bit of a fraud with my not-quite-24-hour-Solemn-Ember-Day efforts during which I forgo just breakfast and lunch. Judy, my wife, says it would be more meaningful for me to give up coffee than food for the day. Sigh. I felt convicted, so today I’m drinking it without milk or cream. Black (like my spirit-of-religion heart, no doubt). 

Oops. There goes my reward. O well, there’s always tomorrow (did I just lose it again?)…

But then, I’m not supposed to like it. I afflicted myself with fasting wrote King David in Psalm 35.13. Afflicted—to cause pain or suffering to; affect or trouble. Perhaps my self-imposed version of affliction is too light and momentary (2Cor4.17). LORD, have mercy. But it does remind me of what I’m about on these Ember Days. Every hunger pang reminds me to pray, of what I’m asking God to do and that I’m totally and absolutely dependent on Him for help. 

Why bother? Because the Church is beleaguered without and within. There are scandals from the Roman Catholics to Willow Creek. Our Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) is in numerical decline in attendance and finances. In just ten months General Synod 2019 will vote on a momentous doctrinal change to our marriage canon. Earnest, heart-felt, prayer (and fasting) is vital and much needed. 

Please join us. 


Gene+

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

For the Common Good Part II—an Exploration and Study of 1 Corinthians for “Anglicans for Renewal” Magazine

This appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Anglicans for Renewal magazine. Both digital and print subscriptions are available here

I hope you were able to take some time to read 1 Corinthians and to ponder the outline included in the first installment of this series. It’s rich fare for all Christians, but especially for those interested in the work of the Holy Ghost. 

1 Cor 1.1-9
First, it is instructive and significant that Paul begins with Jesus in his opening greeting and thanksgivings. Not only are his credentials as an Apostle called by the will of God in Christ Jesus, but he refers to Jesus seven more times in just the first nine verses of the letter.

According to Paul in these verses, Spirit-filled Christians are saints called by the will of God to be followers of Christ Jesus, to be sanctified (set apart and holy) in Christ Jesus, to call on his Name as our Lord as we enjoy his grace and peace, to await his revealing, sustained, guiltless and in full fellowship with him. 

Jesus is our distinctive. He is the reason for all our seasons. Jesus is The One about whom the Holy Spirit teaches us, reminds us of what he said (John 14.26) and bears witness (John 15.26). Jesus is also The One who gives the Spirit without measure (John 3.34). Through us, as we open ourselves to the operation of the Gifts of the Spirit in our lives, the Holy Spirit also teaches, reminds and bears witness to Jesus for others. 
FOR REFLECTION
How does Jesus sanctify us? (1 Cor 1.2)

Paul writes that the Corinthians were “not lacking in any gift” (1 Cor 1.7). How true is that for Christians today? What gifts do you feel you lack?What spiritual gifts do you have, or would you like to have, in order to reveal Jesus to others? 

How might you make yourself available for the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus as he is described in John 1.1-5; Heb 1.1-4 and Col 1.15-20 through you? 

1 Cor 1.10-17
Although the years in which Paul journeyed and wrote were golden years for the Christian Church it does not mean they were conflict and division free. On the contrary. Just as Jesus faced a great deal of it, so did his followers. He said himself that he came not to bring peace, but division (Lk 12.51). The disciples squabbled about which was the greatest of them (Lk 9.46). Even after Jesus rose from the dead and the amazing wonders of Pentecost—conflict with the rulers, elders and scribes continued, Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead for lying to the Holy Spirit and there was conflict between the Hellenist and Hebrew disciples over whose widows were getting more than their fair share of things. And we’re only up to Acts, Chapter 6!

The fact is that charismatic renewal, too, has brought about considerable controversy, disagreement, division and conflict throughout the history of the Church. Many priests, pastors and ministers have lost their jobs over it—Dennis Bennett, for example (whose books, by the way, are still a good read and very helpful and encouraging for those interested in things charismatic). Congregations have split. People have been hurt. Many have shut themselves off from anything to do with renewal because of things they’ve experienced or heard about. 

So, I believe that the way Paul, immediately after placing his message in the context of Jesus, gets down to divisions and quarreling among the saints is inspired. There’s nothing in the Scripture by accident and there’s nothing out of order. When people open themselves to the Holy Spirit of God, his Gifts and fruit—when people stand up straight in the faith so the winds of God can whip through their hair—it can be noisy and perplexing. There can be consternation, fear, even ridicule. Consider Pentecost (Acts 2.1-21). But remember, whenever God or his messenger shows up in Scripture, what is the first thing said? “Don’t be afraid.” So if something disturbs or frightens us it does not necessarily mean God is absent. Quite the opposite, in fact. I suggest that if there isn’t at least a little apprehension, it’s probably not God at all. 

Paul goes from Jesus to trouble because he’s being real and telling it like it is. Besides, as Michael Marshall wrote in his excellent book, The Church at the Crossroads (San Fransisco: Harper & Row, 1988), 
Conflict and tension lie at the very heart of life an there will always be plenty of it at the heart of a living and lively church. (p34)
Marshall goes on to quote Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie: 
We are not here to avoid conflict, but to redeem it. At the heart of our faith is a cross and not, as in some religions, an eternal calm. (p130)
Paul knew that Christians need to be aware of real life with all its challenges and that because we are not lacking in any gift we need not avoid conflict because we are anointed and equipped to redeem it—along with misunderstandings, fear and ridicule—by the power of the Holy Spirit and the cross of Jesus (1 Cor 1.17) working through us. 
FOR REFLECTION
From what fears do you need to be delivered concerning charismatic renewal? 

Read Gal 5.16-21. Are there any particular works of the flesh which might be keeping you stuck in conflict while inhibiting your availability to walk and be led by the Spirit? 

What Gifts (1 Cor 12.7-10) and Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22) are of help to you in dealing with the conflicts in your life? 

Gene+

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Born to Be Wild: a Short Funeral Sermon for Colleen Sheardown—with reference to Ecc 3.1-8, John 14.1-6 and the song


Jesus, had some comforting words for his friends who he knew would soon be grieving like we are this morning. Canon Ottrey read them from John 14 just a few moments ago. Don’t let your hearts be troubled, even at times like this, believe in God, believe also in me, Jesus said. I’m going on ahead to prepare a place for you in my Father’s heavenly home. I’ll be there for you. Even in death. I promise. 

Jesus knew about the seasons and times for every matter under heaven we heard about in the first reading from Ecclesiastes, because he lived them too—times to be born and times to die—way too early in this case—and so we have this time to weep and to mourn. There’s laughter from good memories, too, but mostly it hurts. 

When we come up against real life when it comes hard, and dark and fast, we can mistake what Jesus is really like and what he is saying through his Church. It can come across as a bit soft for life as it really is—too religious and other worldly for things like motorcycle crashes. But that’s not true. Jesus lived hard and full on. He just didn’t sin. Born under irregular circumstances, driven out in the wilderness to prepare for his life’s work by fasting for forty days and being tempted by the devil. He was a rebel. Constantly at odds with the religious leaders of his day. Caused a scene at church by overturning the tables of those making money in the temple. He lived a full real life like that described in the reading I read in Ecclesiastes. We’re born, we die, we break down, build up, weep, laugh, mourn and dance, we love, we hate. Jesus experienced it all. Betrayed by a close friend, falsely accused of religious crimes, condemned by a kangaroo court, flogged within an inch of his life, crucified. Jesus knew how hard and unfair life can be. Yet, he always encouraged people to go for it—hit the road, let the wind whip through your hair, make a difference—enjoy a super-abundant life. 

Remember this? (Played the first minute or so of Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild https://youtu.be/5UWRypqz5-o)

That’s Canadian rockers Steppenwolf playing Born to be Wild. That song was released just a few years after Colleen was born and became the theme for the movie Easy Rider. It came to my mind as I prepared for this and thought about Colleen and her love of motorbike riding (not to mention the white water rafting, sky diving, shooting off guns, thrill riding and Foam Festing—that I read about earlier). I think the lyrics in that song capture the spirit of Jesus’ words and how he said them. When he spoke people got stirred up. They were offended. They argued and tried to catch him out. They are words people like Colleen and folks who like to ride motorbikes get (although I’m not sure you associate them with Jesus—but from now on, and when you remember Colleen, I hope you do). Think of it: 

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin' go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Okay, I admit it—the gun firing is a bit problematic—but Colleen did enjoy the shooting range. And I suspect the so-called “love” Canadian rocker, John Kay and Steppenwolf are singing about isn’t the for-God-so-loved-the-world kind Jesus talks about. But it could be and it should be. So hit the road. Get out there. Love one another. Bless. Serve. Help.

The song goes on: 

Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild

Nature is part of God’s good creation. We are all born into God’s good, natural created order. Colleen was. You were, so was I. 

“We can climb so high,” sings Kay.

We can. We can climb to the heights of human endeavor just by being good friends, by being good employees and bosses. We can write books and songs. We can love our husbands and wives well no matter what. We can take on the risks and joys of parenting—if that’s not looking for adventure and being wild, I don’t know what is. We can ride motorbikes, for heaven’s sake. And,

“I never wanna die,” the song goes.  

Which brings me back to Jesus. Not only are born to be wild, to be adventurous, to live life to the full, but we’re born to live forever—to never die. And just as Jesus said in that reading from John’s gospel, he is The Way to have a life that never ends, he is The Truth that never dies, and he gives The Life that never ends in one of those rooms in his Father’s house. That’s how high we can climb with Jesus if we never want to die. 

One day the Bible says the heavens will open and Jesus will coming riding on a white horse with eyes like a flame of fire. Written on his robes and thigh will be his colours which will say King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19.11-12). But, with all you motorbike riders present, I wonder what would Jesus ride in the meantime? I reckon it would be a Triumph. That would be the ride for The One who has triumphed over sin and death and before whom one day every knee shall bow. Why not ride with and for him. King Jesus. 


Colleen knew about him, so does her family. So get your spiritual motors running, head out on the faith highway, look for the kind of adventure that makes the wind of heaven blow through your hair. Be a little wild and crazy. Make it happen now. As days like this remind us, tomorrow could be too late. That would be a good way to honour Colleen’s memory and to get connected with the rider from heaven, the triumphant one, Jesus. 


Saturday, 4 August 2018

What if the whole world lived according to God’s Holy law?—my By the Way column in today’s Medicine Hat News



It’s wedding season and I got to preside at one the weekend before last (see previous post). I love weddings. I get a wonderful close up view of the bride and groom as they make their vows while all the hope, joy, love, nervousness and vulnerability involved plays across their faces. It’s lovely. And a full church always feels good. 

I also love the rich symbolism in the profound commitment the couple are making—the solemn vows, the joining of hands, the giving and receiving of rings—all in the presence of Jesus Christ, the great Bridegroom. The gravity is fitting since, in fact, marriage was instituted as an integral part of all creation in the second chapter of the whole Bible. It is something for which the world was made, just as novelist EM Forster so aptly put it. Marriage also continues to serve as a key component of God’s grand ongoing Salvation narrative through Jesus Christ who is the archetypal Bridegroom, united with his Bride, the Church. 

So it’s no wonder that when the bride and groom promise to love, comfort, honour and protect each other, forsaking all others and make their mutual solemn vows to have and to hold, for better, for worse, and so on, for the rest of their lives, that they do so “according to God’s holy law.” It’s easy to breeze past those words as we enjoy the occasion and warm feelings associated with our affection for the couple and their love for each other. But if marriage is something for which the world was made and is, as the Anglican rite says, a gift of God and a means of his grace which represents and points to the spiritual unity between Christ and his Church, then there will be holiness and definite parameters involved. 

What is God’s holy law? The Ten Commandments is a good place to start (look them up: see Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5). Not a bad formula for a good, long, fruitful, life-giving marriage (or friendship, or business, or any other relationship): let the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be your God, no idols, do not misuse God’s name, keep the Sabbath as a family day, honour your folks the way you’d like your kids to honour you, no murder or adultery, or stealing, no lying or false tales and no coveting, especially your neighbour’s, or anyone else’s, husband or wife. 


Think about it. What would be the effect on marriage and family life if we lived according to those ten clear and simple standards? What would be the effect on our whole society and culture if we all just lived “according to God’s holy law”? There would be much less harm, betrayal, grief and mayhem in the world and in our families for one thing. I’d like to think the churches would be joyfully full, too, and not just for funerals and weddings. 😊

On the Medicine Hat News site here.

Gene+

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Love With Teeth: a Short Wedding Homily—for Tanya Chacko and Stefan Rothschuh—with reference to 1 Cor 13.1-7 and John 15.9-12



Jesus said I love you like the Father loves me. What kind of love is that? It’s the John 3.16 for-God-so-loved-the-world kind. Steadfast. Intelligent. Determined. Always focused on the other and hoping for the best for him or her, no matter what, kind. Do you know that God loves each one of us like that? Nothing we can do, or not do, can make him stop loving us, or even love us less. That’s how Jesus loves you, Stefan and Tanya, and all of you and me. 

Then Jesus says REMAIN in my love—ABIDE in it, SETTLE into it, LIVE in it, let it soak into your bones. How is this done? How do we remain in and enjoy the love of Jesus? Keep my commandments, he said. What’s the main one? LOVE one another. This is MY commandment, said Jesus. 

How shall we love one another? Holy matrimony—marriage—is a good way, a special and delightful way designed by God in the very beginning—part of creation in the second chapter of the whole Bible. After all, as we have just heard:  
It is God’s purpose that, as husband and wife give themselves to each other in love, they shall grow together and be united in that love, as Christ is united with his Church. 
The union of man and woman in heart, body, and mind is intended for their mutual comfort and help, that they may know each other with delight and tenderness in acts of love.  
God our Father, you have taught us through your Son that love is the fulfilling of the law. Grant to these your servants that loving one another they may continue in your love until their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All of which sounds like remaining in the love of Jesus—the kind of love that makes a good marriage. So when I ask Tanya and Stefan if they will each give themselves to the other, the very first thing on the list of things they are promising each other is that they will love each other. They’ll promise it again in their vows. This love is not the the exciting, romantic love they’ve fallen in and that makes your mind go away. It is the kind of love St Paul is writing about as we heard Stefan’s grandfather, Herr Woith, read in German a few moments ago, and which Jesus says we are to remain. Love which is patient, kind, without envy, doesn’t boast, or behave arrogantly, is not rude, does not insist on its own way, is not irritable or resentful and without which we are really nothing but noisy, clanging, empty things.

Romantic love you can fall in and out of. Even in a good marriage. Warm fuzzies can cool with the rigors of parental sleep deprivation and life’s worries. But you can’t fall out of the love to which Jesus, St Paul and this marriage service refer. You can’t fall out of it, because you didn’t fall into it in the first place. You fell in love, then as you enjoyed that and got to know each other the Spirit of Jesus who loves you prompted you to realize this IS the one my soul loves (Song of Solomon 3.4) as it says on the first page of our leaflet, this is someone I’d like to give myself to completely, to love and to cherish for the rest of my life. This, with apologies to the dentists in the room (Tanya is a dentist—Ed.), is love with teeth. Love you choose to give. Love you then have to brush and floss and keep clean and healthy. Daily. Love which makes the smiles you share dazzling and white. Love to remain in. For the rest of your lives, no matter what, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, toilet seat up or down, messy or tidy, toothpaste tube all scrunched up or neatly rolled. 

Stefan and Tanya I hope and pray you will accept the invitation Jesus has extended today and that you will choose to remain in His love. The best way of doing that is by going to Church. That’s his Body and his Bride. Think of him as a benign and Divine Hygienist. There he will feed your souls and your relationship and keep your smiles bright. There he will keep you as one flesh so that, LORD willing, on the 21st of July, 2068, you’ll celebrate your fiftieth wedding anniversary. Mark your calendars. 


So love one another with all you’ve got. Live out and enjoy your married life together as you have begun it, in the presence of Jesus.