Where is the Light?

1 Samuel 16: 1-13, Ephesians 5: 8-14, John 9: 1-41

The closing words from today’s readings from Ephesians and Psalm 23 “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” and “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”

Christ has told us that “He came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind”

A four year old boy was woken in the night and told to run through the paddocks to the neighbour’s house four kilometres away and he can always remember leaving, but never arriving. That night a little light inside of him went out and though time passes, he still runs through those paddocks, leaving but never arriving and wonders of that goodness and mercy that was meant to follow him all the days of his life.

A mother hears the news that her son was found in a dead end road where the only sound was the birds chirping and the echo of a rifle bullet and that morning a little light inside of her was lost.

We stand by the bedside as our loved ones suffer in silence and a little light goes out. We see the atrocities of this world, the wars, the hunger and the injustice. We see the homeless, the abused and a body lying on a park bench next to an empty bottle and that light inside of us flickers perilously as we wonder of where their goodness and mercy was to be found.

And then one of those running from but never arriving stumbles towards those in the house of God only to meet with ridicule, judgement and accusation and to find that for them, there is no light to be found.

During the height of Communism’s campaign against religion in Russia, Easter sunrise services of the church were replaced with Sunrise Communist Rallies, which all people of a community were requested to attend. At one such meeting, as the rally was drawing to a close, a Communist leader asked the crowd of 10,000 if there was anything else anybody wanted to say. Nobody moved during a long silence. But then a teenage boy came forward to speak at the microphone. The leader warned the boy, “You must only tell the truth (meaning the communist truth-the theme of the rally). If you don’t, you will be shot on the spot.” As the boy stood on the podium he was flanked by soldiers, some with rifles pointed at his head. After a moment of silence he stood tall, and taking a deep breath shouted loud and clear, “Christ is risen.” Exploding rifles shattered the silence of the early morning and as the boy collapsed the crowd responded with 10,000 voices, “Christ is risen indeed”.

In tragedy, injustice and judgement from self and others a little light inside of us goes out as we wonder of that goodness and mercy that was to follow us all the days of our life, until we close our eyes.

That boy still running through the paddocks closes his eyes and sees the Lord Jesus by his side that night, and by his side now saying you don’t have to run any longer.

A mother closes her eyes and does not hear the echo of a gunshot at the end of a lonely dead end road, but the joyous sound of peace as another has been brought through the great tribulation and taken home.

We close our eyes and see that standing by the bedside of our loved ones suffering in silence is our Lord and Saviour still holding their hand tight as he has always done.

We see those that can run from no longer and have given up on arriving as they make their home on a lonely park bench with only an empty bottle as a friend until we close our eyes and see a man with the scars of nails on his wrists not pass by them in judgment of the wounds they carry, but take those wounds on himself as though they can run from, nor too any longer, that goodness and mercy that has been with them through the eye of the storm does not pass by, but reaches down and carries them with Him.

And as we open our eyes and see one of those running from but never arriving stumble towards the church, we see not a person in need of ridicule, judgement and accusation. But see a person born in the image of God and as they draw closer and the lines of their skin from their journey become clearer, our eyes are opened and we see that they are we, and like a boy confessing the truth as the gun shots rang out, we see that goodness and mercy has been with us all the days of our lives that as we fall we hear not 10,000 people, but an endless army of angels in joyous in song that another shall forever dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

While we ran in the night through the paddocks and though we could only remember leaving, and never arriving, our Lord has shown Himself to us that we who were blind now see Christ shining in the darkness that as He lead us on our journey home, He leads us before those that who are still running in the night and driving towards that lonely dead dirt end road see next to them a man carrying His own scars of this world look toward them with knowing eyes not of judgement, but with eyes of love and hear Him say, that it is too you for whom I have come. Amen.

A noble man

“A noble man”


John 4:5-42

One morning in 1888, a man baptized and confirmed in a Lutheran church named Alfred Nobel picked up a French newspaper and was shocked to see his own obituary. A news reporter had made a mistake. Actually Nobel’s brother had died, but the reporter got it wrong and did the story about Alfred. But in the story Alfred Nobel saw himself for the first time as the world saw him, “the dynamite king.”

Alfred had made a fortune manufacturing explosives. He was described as a rich industrialist, but there was no mention of his real passion for a peaceful world. From that day and unbeknown to his family, friends or colleagues until after his death, Alfred Nobel began to make arrangements for the purpose of his huge estate and began to arrange for the Nobel peace prize to be given each year to one who had contributed much to the cause of world peace.

A great story of how God can transform the works of this Christian from something that could fuel warfare to something that can fuel world peace.

The legendary American country and western singer Hank Williams in 1953 died from heart failure aggravated by alcohol and drug abuse at the age of 29. A man with “tortured soul”, but a man who from the pain and though it didn’t subside wrote these words:

“I wandered so aimless a life filled with sin
I wouldn’t let my dear saviour in
Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise the Lord I saw the light.

I saw the light I saw the light
No more darkness no more night
Now I’m so happy no sorrow in sight
Praise the Lord I saw the light.”

A great story of how God can bring his saving peace into and amongst even the most self-destructive of hearts and two great examples how unlike the other false God’s of history that demand their followers change their ways that they be entitled to go up, our God, God the Father that came down to us to meets as we are. God the Father that gave our world his Son Jesus the Christ to not create or strengthen the barriers between the unworthy and his kingdom, but to smash them apart that we see the truth as recorded in today’s Gospel because in Jesus talking to the Samaritan women he is shattering many cultural, religious and social barriers, as no self-respecting Jew would dare start a conversation with a Samaritan, never mind a female one at that.

Those two criteria alone would place her at the bottom of the heap, spiritually unclean and not to be associated with. But Jesus in interacting with this woman is not so much purposely breaking the protocols of the day to prove a point to her or the disciples; Jesus talks to the Samaritan women simply because she was there and he doesn’t act in an assumed role in order to accomplish an evangelistic goal. The reason Jesus acts how he does is because that’s simply who he is, and he doesn’t meet her in judgment or as a second rate citizen,

but meets her as a child of God that needs to be re-united to the Father. However it is not all one way traffic in Jesus just meeting the judgments of others against her as she shows some bias herself in the tone of her reply to Jesus request for a drink.

There is a cynical note of “what you a Jew, the Jews who consider us dirt, but now that you need us, we’re okay then. Jesus ignores her comment; he wants to win her not the argument. He does not ridicule, accuse or judge her, but meets her where she is at and gently and patiently leads her on a faith journey, where he causes her to take a second look at herself, at her prejudice’, her assumptions and her sins in order to reveal himself-and his life giving water. Yet recognizing and confessing Jesus as the Saviour, as great as that is, still is not the ultimate end toward which Jesus is calling her.

Throughout the Gospel Jesus repeatedly says that his mission is to accomplish the will of the Father. He has come to point people to God, to bring them to God. Perhaps the most significant part of the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan women is the move from their discussion about the spiritual water that Jesus himself is, to their discussion about true worship.

The move in this direction is not coincidental, because the worship of God in spirit and in truth is at the heart of Christian theology. While we know from the Gospel, that over the next two days, many other Samaritans come to confess Jesus as the Saviour. To become saints in Christ, and though they still are sinners, they are forgiven sinners.

This Gospel story ends and we don’t hear of these people again, but it would be foolishness to assume that having been saved in Christ, that everything was perfect for the rest of their lives, or that they were in no need of any further spiritual strength or growth. That would not have happened for them and it doesn’t happen for us.

Like the Samaritan women-Christ’s meets us where we are at and has a conversation with us, exposes us: our prejudice, our assumptions and our sins-so that he can reveal himself.

Like to the Samaritan women, the change in us comes about because of Jesus revealing himself to us, not because of something we do, or something we want to believe.

The change comes not from us, but from Jesus. We are not saved because Jesus reveals our sin, but because he reveals himself to us, so he can bring us forgiveness and salvation, and bring us to faith, and keep us in faith.

Jesus is not a party to the much quoted Australian tall poppy system-of building them up, then bringing them down as we can handle that by ourselves and though we continually fall short, Jesus continually comes to us where we are at, and just where that place is, where we are at spiritually can change as we travel our earthly journey.

It’s like putting our finger in a stream, stresses-heartache, joys; struggles are all around us, are part of us-and move us in different directions. It’s not one size fits all. Just like our gifts can be unique, so to can be our shortfalls and shortcomings, and in them Jesus adjusts to us and comes again and again to us where we are at, comes to us in our sin, and comes to us in our needs.

The only constant is the cause and the cure, Sin and Christ. Sinners in ourselves, yet saints in Christ. That’s our deal, and because that is our deal-we are continually pulled between the two, and this side of heaven-that grating between the two in our lives will continue and that is why we are here today brought together in the Truth of Christ, to praise and worship our Lord, and to be in His presence

To hear the Word of God and have faith in his promises that no matter how we see ourselves, or how we feel, God covers us with His grace. God the father who today in worship meets us where we are at, in joy or in sorrow? Spiritually high or low, and says to us

come and receive my gifts and be strengthened.

We see the baptismal font and are reminded of the promise. That in faith we are given eternal life. That in faith we accept Holy Communion as the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and are strengthened in body and soul to life eternal.

That in we repentance and belief we are forgiven. That through no skill of our own, or our efforts, or good works or even our love to God, the work has been done for us in Christ that God does not see each of us as we see each other, but sees us glowing in the righteousness of His Son.

That’s the Grace the Lord brought to a Samaritan sinner, and that’s the Grace the Lord has brought to you who know the truth, that in Christ, and in Christ alone that no matter where you came from, today you are saved and no matter where you go, be it as an Alfred Nobel, a Hank Williams or a Samaritan women, He will go with you and lead you home. Amen

A love no greater

“A love no greater”

Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 & John 3:1-17

On Thursday I saw a teenage boy in his school cloths with an obvious mental disability holding hands with his grandma and my heart melted.

A musician and poet on tour and alone in his hotel room wrote these words for his little boy back home:

“May you always feel the sunshine and take time to taste the rain,
May your friends be true and caring and I hope you are the same;
And in your fleeting passage, leave a little bit behind
For the children who will follow in your footsteps, along the sands of time.

I dreamed there was a world for you, without the rush of rockets
And the thump of khaki gunships in the sky
But there were rows of eucalyptus and trains for little boys
Tadpoles in a still black creek and playgrounds full of noise
and in my vision, fear and greed and anger were the only things to die
May the wind blow gently through your life, may your principles be strong;
May you stand up and be counted when you work out right from wrong
May your nights be short and peaceful, may your days be warm and long;
May your eyes be filled with kindness, may the seeds of wisdom grow
May you seek for truth and beauty and when you find it may you know

May you help feed those who are hungry, and comfort those who hurt
May you always fight for justice for all of us who walk upon the earth.” (John Schumann “For the children”)

Beautiful words of hope and, yet words mixed with sadness in the reality of growing in our world of hunger, pain, fear, greed, war and anger.

Words of apprehensive hope that parents can relate to as they look to their children , and often words bringing unwanted sadness in reflecting of what has gone before that children can relate to as they see their parents near the end of their journey.

In today’s reading from Romans we hear of Israel’s first great patriarch and a “hero” of the bible in Abraham. A man called by God as recorded in Genesis 12 “To go from your country and your relatives, and your father’s house to the land I will show you and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing” and Abraham believed, trusted and obeyed.

Then later when camped at Shechem, the Lord appeared to Abraham and renewed his promise that “To your descendants I will give you this land,” and that as Abraham surveyed the very land before him there stood a flourishing enemy stronghold, yet he believed, trusted and obeyed.

Later again God promises to the sonless Abraham that from his loins will come a “great nation”-as innumerable as the “dust of the earth” and your own son shall be your successor and Abraham believed, trusted and obeyed.

Yet later again, the much awaited son Isaac has been born-only for Abraham to hear the call from God to sacrifice his only beloved son on one of the mountains in the land of Moriah. Words that if it were us and I would most surely believe for Abraham himself must have been the most unwanted of his whole life. But yet again Abraham trusted and obeyed in perfect obedience and even when asked by Isaac  where they will find an animal to be sacrificed? He answers “God will provide himself the lamb” and as he raises his hand with Isaac lying on the sacrificial alter, at the last minute an angel of the Lord stops him.

What a journey. A journey of faith and of serving the Lord beyond reproach or criticism. In top gun speak this guy “is the best of the best” and yet the bible tells us not in his actions and deeds was Abraham saved, but only in his faith.

It almost seems unbelievable until I think of that boy in the shop holding hands with his grandma and ask myself, what of him-how does he earn his way to heaven. What of the kids living in the slums of a third world country-how do they earn their way to heaven, and then in turning to myself I see clearly that yes, there is no other way than in Christ.

The joy Abraham must have felt when Isaac was born, and the unfathomable pain he must have felt as he raised a dagger above his son on that mountain top.

The joy of God the father as he rested on the seventh day and saw that his creation was good, and his aching heart for what lie ahead when it was torn apart in sin.

His aching heart for those hungry, for those who cannot help themselves and for all that walk upon this broken world and how he must have felt when his own Son in the garden of gethsemane sweating blood in duress asked “Father, is there another way”.

And as we hear his answer of, “no my Son there is not” those famous words from John 3:16 come to our mind “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”, and from our mind permeate through to our heart as we try to understand such a love that would see him knowingly hand over His only Son, his faultless and sinless Son for the wolves to devour that they be fed.

No one can come to faith through reason but through the Holy Spirit. But having been given the gift of faith we see there can be no other reason that we will surely reside in the heavenly life that awaits than through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

There is no other way, and in your faith in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone today you stand as the forgiven children of God and though we must work, our work is not for self but for those that the Father brings before us that we may do to them as he has done to us and help feed those who are hungry, and comfort those who hurt.

The rabbi in a small Jewish village vanished every Friday morning for a couple of hours. Devoted villagers boasted that during these hours their rabbi ascended to heaven to talk to God. A sceptical newcomer decided to check it out, so he hid one Friday morning near the rabbi’s house to watch. The rabbi rose, said his prayer, put on the clothes of a peasant, and left with an axe in his hand. The newcomer followed and watched as the rabbi chopped firewood and carried it to a shack in the humblest part of the village where an old woman lived with her sick son. There he stacked enough wood for a week and returned to his house. The newcomer became a disciple of the rabbi and from then on when people would say that the rabbi ascended to heaven, he would add, “if not higher”.

God may have other work planned for you instead of gathering firewood, but getting to heaven is the work of God himself, which he has done for you through his Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Shooting from the lip


Genesis 2:15-17;3:1-7; Romans 5:12-19;

Matthew 4:1-11

A tough minded CEO was touring one his company’s factories when he came upon a young man leaning against a filing cabinet, humming a song and just watching the action around him. The CEO went up to him and asked him how much he got paid. The young man said, “About seven hundred and fifty dollars a week.” “Well here’s two weeks’ pay,” the CEO said, stuffing fifteen one hundred dollar notes into the man’s pocket. “Now get out of here and don’t ever come back.” As soon as the young man had gone, the CEO turned to the department manager and shouted, “Who hired that bludger?” To which the manger responded “We didn’t hire him, he was just here from the courier company waiting to pick up a package.”

Sometimes it helps to ask and listen first in order to and understand what’s really going on behind what may appear and as Christians, as the Church-the gathering of those around Christ we too grapple with our instinct of taking our pre-conceived ideals to scripture rather than letting scripture form our ideals.

One of the things that happened in past ages in the church is that people got hung up on sin. They felt guilty all the time about everything – even about things that were not sinful at all and unfortunately they laid this burden on others too. Maybe some of you grew up in times when the thought of a bit of fun or jovial banter within the gathering of the faithful was not only frowned upon but maybe even heretical.

This sin-driven thinking is unbiblical and I would think both unhealthy for those in the church and by way of extension, unhealthy for those yet to have met the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Those who already know self and others judgments and don’t need it re-in forced to further guilt, but rather acknowledged that they see not the Law condemning and restricting, but the Gospel absolving and freeing.

In more recent times there has been an equal and opposite reaction to this sin-conscious kind of Christianity. Naturally enough, when there’s a reaction the pendulum does not stop back in the middle, where it achieves a balance, but swings to the opposite end.

And so today there is a tendency to not only down play the idea of sin, but sometimes deny the reality of it altogether. It is seen as offensive. The thought of being personally, morally responsible before God, and confessing a sin is uncomfortable and some Christians including pastors and church leaders do not even like to hear the word mentioned.

This denial of sin is also unbiblical and just as unhealthy as being sin-obsessed and guilt ridden.

This is where we turn back to the scriptures, for their correcting and balancing influence in our lives, in particular today’s readings. Because here we find that they are not hung up on sin. Nor are they hung up on denying sin. They are hung up on something quite different – grace!

In today’s Genesis reading we have that old story we know so well – the story that describes the way human beings rebel against God and, in their fear and insecurity and pride, seek to be God themselves.

This story is powerful because it touches our conscience. It holds up a mirror to us, and shows us that our lives are not as perfect as we maybe thought they were, and that deep in our own nature is that same tendency to push God away.

The Romans reading today describes how this story touches us all.

Yet that is not the end as in today’s Gospel, Matthew describes the ministry of Jesus, who has sometimes been called the second Adam. He is the one who, out in the desert as he was being tempted and tested by Satan, did not fall when he was given the choice between going for glory and power or staying with God. And because he, unlike the first Adam, did not fall into that trap, because he was obedient to His Father, because he lived a life of true self-giving love, because he gave his life as a redeeming sacrifice, he is able to undo the effects of sin, able to blot our all our guilt and take it from us completely, able to undo the curse of death and give us back what God always wanted for us, eternal life with him. As Paul says in Romans 5:15:

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many.”

This is grace. Grace does not deny sin or its seriousness or its power. God’s grace, in Jesus Christ overcomes sin and defeats death. And this is yours for the asking, freely and with no strings attached.

This is the message of the Scriptures and these three readings for the first Sunday in Lent really summarise the whole core message. They are not hung up on sin and death and on living in guilt and shame and neither do they deny sin.

They are gloriously and endlessly pointing to, hung upon and relying on the Grace of God’s plan to save all humanity from sin and death, and bring them into the abundance of life that is joyful and free.

The time of Lent is a pronounced time of reconnecting and renewing of our faith. A time for us to acknowledge that yes we are not perfect, not to deepen the guilt but to see that guilt washed away through a man named Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ who left the confines and majesty of His heavenly home to come among the muck of our sin to see and taste it playing out in our lives and His Fathers once perfect creation. Jesus Christ the Son of God who reduced himself that he feel the pain of thirst, hunger and physical infliction. The Son of God who reduced himself that He know first-hand the alluring temptations of Satan’s lies and manipulations that he places before us and the world. Jesus Christ, not remote, unknowing and judging from some far- away place. But Jesus Christ with us now who as He once felt everything sin can dish up as He walked this earth, still feels through us those same bumps, bruises, doubts and hurts as we still walk this earth.

Jesus Christ the Savior walked this earth and knows the deal down here and Jesus Christ our Saviour who walked this earth that we know the deal up there and in lent we focus on the deal that went down on that first Easter where in nothing other than to turn towards and believe in Jesus Christ our Saviour have our sins been forgiven and though while still on our walk we need to acknowledge the sins we carry, we need not be downcast and desponded, but up cast and of joyful hearts and minds as we hear His message given to bystanders some 2,000 years ago that while he hang dying on a cross, the same message He gives to us today as the resurrected Lord, that “it is finished” and so no longer do we need concern ourselves with earthly death in sin, but look to Him and be assured of eternal life in His righteousness.

American actor Roy Rogers was once asked “if he had only 48 hours to live, how would he live it?” To which he responded “one hour at a time”.

Yes we carry sin, but we are carried by a much greater power and that is the truth of the Gospel in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who found us when we knew Him not, carries us when we see Him not and gave His life when we deserved Him not, that most assuredly in trust in Him and in Him alone we will be re-united with those that have gone before and those with us now, and in that sure knowledge do we carry on today, living with and serving our Lord, living with and serving His people and living our lives in the peace of His promise, one hour at a time. Amen.

“Conceiving the inconceivable”

“Conceiving the inconceivable”

Philippians 4:10-13

Today we come together in our thanksgiving service to worship and thank the Lord for all we have. Our shelter, food, clothing, families and the gift of living in a country where we are free from religious sensor. If we take a step back and consider that when we wake and see no soldiers patrolling the streets or go to the shop and see row after row of shelves full of food we see we have been truly blessed in our country.

Real blessings from God that seem to be forgotten as instead of being gracious for our children receiving education and for our sick receiving medications that heal we chase contentment and happiness in the peripheral stuff that for those in countries of famine and bloodshed find inconceivable.

How does a soldier conscripted against his will to fight in Vietnam conceive returning to his home country and being abused for being part of a war not of his own doing or want?

How does an early Christian worshipping in the catacombs through fear of persecution conceive a current day church in turmoil because of the colour of the carpet and how does a lady daily searching amongst the rubbish for food to support her family conceive that in Australia we go to gyms to lose weight?

To conceive the inconceivable is to take a step back from ourselves and our situations and to see things through different eyes.

During his trial in 1964 after being arrested  of conspiracy to overthrow the state Nelson Mandela  stated “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Twenty seven years later he was released and when as Prime Minister of South Africa a journalist noted that “Mandela treated everyone with respect in equal measure irrespective of their station in life, be they royalty, foreign heads of government, with generals who planned to go to war against him, with gardeners, flight attendants or the unemployed….seen so clearly that while time short due to his presidential duties, still found the time to travel across the country to comfort his old jailor after his son had died.”

In our reading from Philippians the apostle Paul is in prison suffering persecution because of his Christian beliefs. Yet instead of asking why me Lord? He writes that “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound, ” and in the book of Job we read that Job’s reaction to the news of the death of all his children and the loss of all his property is to remark “Naked I came out of my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return: The lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

To be brought low or lifted to abound we are to be content. Prepared to accept both the good and the bad, and often in quick succession and yet abiding in the inner peace through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Sounds easy if like in the cartoons we are in heaven playing a harp and reclining on our fluffy cloud. Easy until the gentle music is interrupted by a phone call from a mother piercing your inner soul with the gut wrenching screams of loss and guilt from one who has lost a child.

In last week’s gospel Jesus told us that God the Father “makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” and so too would it seem on this earth that both Christian and non-Christian alike will feel both great joys and extreme wounds and with such a variance it can be inviting to desire to search for a way to be content amongst this mix of guilt, hurt and seemingly random unfairness of circumstances that we and others hear, see and feel.

Sometimes we may think if we build ourselves enough financial security or to improve ourselves so we can achieve all our dreams or even the opposite of falling out of society with its ‘competition and confusion we will be content, yet only to find that upon achieving such goals that then we find ourselves feeling discontent for just those reasons. That in wealth to feel guilt for those less fortunate or after having dropping out of society, discontentment in the guilt of realising we have not used our God given talents for the benefit of others.

One way or another we have all felt the discontent as felt by the apostle Paul when three times he pleaded with God to take away his thorn in the flesh only to hear the Lord respond “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, and in knowing that truth, like Nelson Mandela was sustained in jail through the belief that South Africa will be free of apartheid, so to Paul in his jail cell in the truth that no matter his worldly situation or personal short comings, that he in trust in Jesus Christ alone as His saviour has been given the promise of eternal life in the heavenly kingdom.

The same promise that is given to sustain and give peace to all those who trust in Christ alone as their Saviour.  The same promise given to you and me and should we take a step back from ourselves and the situations that block our view and look to Christ first, we see a God of love send His Son to die on the cross that you and me, regardless of situation be it of wealth and prestige or poverty and infamy, be it in shedding tears of joy or in tears of hurt see that in all things He travels with you that you see the truth that in belief in Jesus as your Saviour you have been forgiven and stand before the Father not as you may see yourself in situation or in sin, but stand before God the Father next to Christ,  glowing in His righteousness and though our earthly room be meager or great, high or low, neither is worthy of concern nor comparison to the heavenly home that awaits you in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God. Amen.