The Significance of Adoption

In our Western 21st Century culture we often have little idea of the importance of various customs which informed Jesus’ words. For example, our concept of adoption is so very limited  . . .

Augustus
Possibly the most famous adoptee, Augustus Caesar

Did you know the ancient Greeks and Romans were most fanatical about the idea of male heirs? If a couple didn’t have a male child they would adopt a boy, generally one who was almost grown up, and give him all the rights as their heir. The term ‘adoption’ refers to giving someone adult status with full rights of inheritance.
In the Roman Empire during the first century, a son automatically held his father’s power of attorney. For business purposes, the son was legally equivalent to his father in his authority to transact business on behalf of the household. He could hire and fire employees, he could buy and sell slaves, he could enter into contracts, and all his acts were as binding as if his father had performed them.
Sometimes if a man had a trustworthy slave with a good flair for business, he could adopt the slave as his son. The adoption automatically gave the slave a full power of attorney to manage his adoptive father’s business affairs. So it was not uncommon in those days for slaves to be adopted as sons for business purposes.
So strong was the idea of adoption that some people adopted their own offspring. A family with a number of sons sometimes adopted their second or third boy so as to make him their heir if they believed the oldest would not be a good manager of the family property.
Adoption in the NT
It is with this background that we can begin to appreciate the strength of some of the statements in the New Testament. Take for example John  gospel where it says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12, 13).
When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, God gives us the right to become his children. In other words, we receive authority and an inheritance. As Paul says in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.”
This is why God call us sons (whether we are males or females) because he wants us to receive the full rights of being sons.
What ‘being adopted’ means for us
This has significant implications for our living. If we are adopted sons of God, with all the authority of our father, then we should start living like it. On the last day, the New Testament tells us, Jesus will reward us according to how well we have carried out our Father’s business. (Matthew 16:27)
Knowing we are sons should cause us to live up to the family name by being kind, honest, true, loyal and pure. Knowing we are “full heirs” along with Jesus Christ should give us a confidence and assurance of our place in the world. Knowing that all those who profess Jesus as Lord are members of God’s family should motivate us to treat one another like brothers and sisters.
No doubt God is pleased when we live up to what it is to be his sons and live like spiritual adults and future kings. Conversely, I’m sure God is distressed when we act like spiritual infants or hapless paupers. So often in church life our actions seem to demonstrate immaturity rather than maturity. God wants us all to continue to grow and live in the authority and responsibility of being his sons.
Let us pray for ourselves and each other that we may all be worthy of the calling to which we are called (Ephesians 4:1).
Stephen L Baxter

Jesus’ Upside Down Values

Have you noticed how, in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7), Jesus turns our thinking about spirituality upside down?
It is not the rich, but the poor and the weak who receive the Kingdom of God. It is not the well fed and comfortable, but the hungry who will ultimately be satisfied. It is not those who are happy and gloat, but those who weep that will laugh. And it is not those who are well spoken, but those who are hated, excluded and insulted that will ultimately be recognised by God.
John Stott, the British, theologian, suggests the Sermon on the Mount describes what human life and community looks like when they come under the gracious rule of God. But living in our individualistic, consumer driven Western society and living in affluent Australia (by world standards) such a reversal of values is difficult for us to really understand and comprehend.
In his book, Soul Survivor, Philip Yancey includes a chapter on MahatmMahatma Gandhia Gandhi. He notes that while Gandhi was not a Christian, he modelled his life on the principles of the Sermon on the Mount and in doing so managed to change the world.  He suggests we all have something to learn from Gandhi and makes the point that Gandhi, a Hindu, took the teachings of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount more seriously than do 99 per cent of Christians.
An upside down lifestyle
In many ways Christians today have adopted worldly goals and ideals and abandoned the way of Christ. While the world values knowledge, power and certainty, Jesus values weakness and emptiness. While our community is oriented to what can be measured and seen, our orientation is to the unseen world.
But Jesus calls us to a different lifestyle. He calls us to take up his yoke, to wash each other’s feet, and to take up our cross.  Rather than pander to an image-obsessed world with its focus on wealth, success, athletic prowess and beauty, Jesus calls us to turn our values upside-down.  God’s ways do not operate on the rules of logic and fairness appealing to human rationality; rather they are based upon the love of God.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges our thinking and reasoning.
As you reflect and pray about the life God wants you to live, remember to direct your thinking back to the teachings of Jesus. Pray that God will help you to engage with them, and allow him effect change in your everyday life, even if it appears to be upside down change!

Stephen L Baxter

Can God Trust you?

The paradox of trustworthiness
It has been said that without trust there is nothing. I well remember my father saying to me when I first got my driver’s licence that he wasn’t worried about my driving, it was the driver coming towards me on the other side of the road he worried about.
He was giving me a compliment, of course, yet highlighted the reality that every time we drive we place a lot of trust in the total stranger behind the wheel of the oncoming car. Sadly, for my sister-in-law, that trust was betrayed in 2009 when an oncoming vehicle moved onto the wrong side of the road. She ended up in hospital, fortunate to be alive.
Here is a video of the crash site. It was devastating.

Trust is Foundational
When you think about it, trust is foundational to the way the world works. We trust our doctors, our nurses, hospitals, administrators, and sophisticated testing machines to deliver safe medical procedures. Marriage is built on trust, it’s in the vows. Families too are built on trust, as well as sports teams, schools and kindergartens. To say that ‘without trust there is nothing’ is indeed true.
Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, many suggest at the heart of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 was the collapse of trust. Many expressed moral outrage at the behaviour of leaders in both banking and business. Words like “greed” and “selfishness” are still used as the fallout continues to linger in many parts of the world. And Governments ploughed billions of tax dollars into financial institutions in an endeavour to restore that trust.
Trust is Multifaceted
But what is trust? It has many facets. For example, credibility is associated with trust and is often concerned with the quality of words spoken. Trust is also about reliability and the integrity of our actions. Intimacy is linked to trust and feelings of safety and security with others.

Trust and trustworthiness go hand in hand.

But ultimately, trust is about relationships and whether or not we believe another has our interests at heart rather than their own. It is about being trustworthy.  And here trust is profound. For not only is trust about trusting another, but it asks whether you are worthy of their trust in you. Trust and trustworthiness go hand in hand. Both are essential ingredients in any relationship. We not only trust the other, but we need to be worthy of their trust and vice versa.
It’s the same as our relationship with God. He is trustworthy and so we put our trust in him.  This is the heart of the gospel. We trust that God loves us and has our best interests at heart, and he sent his son to re-establish a lasting relationship with us. We trust that he has done all the work and so accept his work on our behalf. We trust God because he is trustworthy.
God trusts me?
But, like any relationship we can ask the questions, “Can God trust me? Am I trustworthy?”
The Bible is full of examples of people in whom God trusted. Consider Mary the mother of Jesus. As a young woman she is selected by God for the privileged task of birthing Jesus. But what was it about Mary that caused God to choose her? We know nothing about her appearance—her hair, her stature, her shape, the texture of her skin or even the attractiveness of her personality. Yet she was “highly favoured” and “blessed . . . among women” (Luke 1:28).
I wonder if God chose Mary because she was trustworthy. God knew He could trust her with the birth of his son, and to stay with him right until the end.
Then there is Abraham. Have you ever wondered what made him great? The Bible says he trusted God even though he couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. That’s what made it possible for him to go so far as to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice when God asked it of him (Genesis 22). He even trusted God’s promise to make him into a great nation, and bless all other nations through him even though he never saw it (Genesis 12).
The trust Abraham displayed was enough for God to establish a special relationship with him (and it was credited to him as righteousness).
Can I be trusted?
Just like Mary and Abraham, God calls each one of us to be part of his ongoing plans to save the world. You and I have been given gifts, opportunities and talents. How have we used them? Have we proved trustworthy? Here we strike the heart of trust and trustworthiness. And lurking in the heart is a paradox.
Like Mary and Abraham, God often calls us to be involved in things we could never do by ourselves. He asks us to be involved in the impossible (giving birth to the Son of God) and the incompressible (making one man into a great nation).
When God calls us to do something, often we don’t feel big enough, or strong enough, or experienced enough, or skilful enough, or ____? You can add your own excuse.
Yet when God calls, he knows our circumstances and knows what we can and can’t do and what we can achieve only with his help. So God promises to be with us and to help us.
When he calls us to a task, his concern is not whether we can do the task or not, but whether we are willing to trust him to bring it about. It is not a matter of whether we have the skills, experience, or strength to do it. It is matter of whether we are willing to trust.
This is the paradox of Christian trustworthiness. It is not a question of whether we are able to do the task, but whether we are willing to believe God can be trusted to work in and through us.

It is not a question of whether or not we are able

In the final analysis, the question, “Can God trust you?” turns around and emerges as a new question, “Do I trust God?”
Trusting God
The stories of Mary and Abraham help us appreciate this critical point. They were trustworthy not because of their ability to do the task but because they trusted God to do it through them. It was in their trust in God that he would make it happened that they showed they were trustworthy.
We live in unsettled times and our churches are facing great challenges. God still calls us to be his witnesses and to be salt and light in our community. Such a task is by nature beyond us and we lack the resources to achieve it. Yet, we need to remind ourselves that we have one in whom we can put our total trust. God is worthy of our trust. He will achieve his purposes through us if we are willing to trust that he can do his work through us.
Like Job of old we can declare, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Or like David we can cry out, I will “trust in Him at all times” (Psalms 6:8) or with Solomon say, “trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5). The Bible encourages us to trust God, for in doing so demonstrate we are trustworthy.
This has been the experience of God’s people throughout history, and like them we too face the question, “Will we trust God to do through us what is seemingly impossible?”
Mother TeresaMother Teresa was such a person who God trusted. She once remarked, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” I wonder if you could say they same.
I’d love to know . . .  Do you think you are trustworthy?
Stephen L Baxter

Being Salt and Light

Taking seriously Jesus’ call to impact our community
A few years ago at the Australian Christian Heritage National Forum held in the Great Hall at Parliament House in Canberra I heard an encouraging story of faith. Keynote speaker Stuart Piggin talked of the impact of one man living the values of Jesus in his workplace and its effects on the company – and it happened here in Tasmania.
It is the story an underground mine where a dramatic increase in safety was the result of the work of one man who applied the personal and relational values of Jesus to his workplace.
Bob Mellows, a Christian mine manager, at the Cornwall coal mine in the Fingal Valley, saw that safety was best regulated not by the law of the land, but by the law of Love. He spoke to his men about how different the workplace would be if they treated each other in a way consistent with the teachings of Jesus.

Cornwall Coal from Fingal Valley, Tas

He made a study of the practical meaning of the word love in the New Testament and shared his findings with the miners. In a report to the ’98 Coal Operator’s Conference, he said, ‘It is not because of legalism that Jesus Christ told us to love God and love one another. It was because he knew it was essential to our well being in all aspects of life’. He went on to say that ‘The Foundation of Safety is loving one another (and ourselves). This is not merely an emotional condition. It is a choice of behaviour and the only basis for a satisfactory relationship.’
The Cornwall Mine’s safety improved when a breakthrough in relationships occurred. This resulted from the removal of barriers, the development of trust, and concern for the welfare of the other. The result? A dramatic turn around.
Between 1980 and 1990 there had been about 200 accidents reported each year at the Cornwall coal mine and the company paid between $50,000 and $250,000 per annum in compensation. But then during 1991/92 Bob Mellows’ biblical values were embraced and the accident rate dipped dramatically. By 1993 it dropped to practically zero and it has remained there since. Not surprisingly the cost of compensation also fell to almost zero.
Here we see a clear picture of how the values of Jesus work in the real world and a result when one person takes Jesus seriously and becomes salt and light in the community.
I wonder what would happen if all of us, inspired by the example of Bob Mellows, attempted something similar in our lives wherever we are – at work, home or school?
Stephen L Baxter

Holidays have come . . . and Gone!

Jenny BaxterIt’s been school holidays in Tasmania these past couple of weeks and I’ve just come back from a week away with my family. Consequently, I’ve had a deliberate break from blog writing this week.
However this evening, Jenny – my lovely wife and blog editor – has uploaded quite a few editorials and another article from my Alive Magazine days. Perhaps you might enjoy reading about my thoughts on the emerging Aussie church back in 2001/2002 (which incidentally haven’t changed a whole lot since then). Or what about some ideas about the nature of pilgrimage?
All good reading I trust.
I’ll be back with some fresh thoughts next Monday!
Stephen L Baxter

Celebrating HOPE at Pentecost

The Spirit came like a doveYesterday was Pentecost Sunday, the day the church remembers and celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit.
In the churches I grew up in there was some caution around this day, not so much with ‘Pentecost’, but with ‘Pentecostal’. There were concerns with ‘Pentecostal’ theology and styles of worship, and sadly this caution sometimes lead to an avoidance of the Day of Pentecost itself.
Pentecost was originally an Old Testament festival, called the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot). It began as an agricultural festival celebrating and giving thanks for the “first fruits” of the early spring harvest (Lev 23, Ex 23, 34) but by the early New Testament period it had became associated with the celebration of God’s creation of his people and the giving of Torah (the “Law”) on Mount Sinai.
In Acts 2 Luke records the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on those in the upper room during Pentecost celebrations in Jerusalem. They link these events to the prophecies of Joel 2 and promises of Jesus (Acts 1:8). The emphasis is primarily on an empowering by the Holy Spirit to enable the people of God to witness to Jesus the Christ.
There is debate about exactly what happened at Pentecost, whether it is once off or repeatable event; and whether it should or should not be the experience of all Christians. Whatever one’s preference here, what it most clear is that Pentecost represents God’s gracious presence, enabling his people to live as witnesses for him.
Pentecost Day is a day to celebrate hope. It reminds us that God is at work through his Holy Spirit among his people. It is a time to celebrate God’s ongoing work of saving this world, and that the way this is done is through his people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost reminds us that Jesus is not finished with his church. There is much room for celebration and hope.
Let us pray God will enable you to be open to the renewing work of the Holy Spirit in your life, and in the life of your local church.
Stephen L Baxter

The Aussie Church – Can we survive our hostile enviroment?

The Australian outback is often described as harsh and unforgiving.
Many Christians Australian desertwould claim these words not only describe our land but also our spiritual environment.
Recently an acquaintance commented how friends of hers, newly emigrated from South Africa, were amazed at how ‘uncool’ it is to be a Christian in Australia and, further, how persistently the media engages in ‘church bashing’. In South Africa and many other nations, being a Christian does not have the stigma it carries in Australia.
Our cultural environment is unique. Anyone who aspires to be President of the United States must almost wear a badge which states, “I am a Christian”.
Obama FlierHowever, anyone who wants to be Prime Minister of Australia must hide their spirituality, saying, “It’s a private matter, so don’t ask me questions”. In fact, numbers of people who hold, or have held, positions of prominence in our country have related to me how the kingdom of God is often better served if they do not describe themselves as Christian.
Unhelpful stereotypes
That is not to say that our society is non-spiritual. Rather, it illustrates that spirituality, for Australians, is an embarrassing subject and that our culture has a limited range of images and metaphors it can use to express it. Even words such as ‘Christian’ and ‘church’ have all but lost their true usefulness and meaning; all they communicate are unhelpful stereotypes.
So how are believers responding to this uniquely hostile environment? Some act as if it is time to retreat into a ghetto – yet surely the appropriate response is to confront the challenge. This hostile Australian environment is as much a mission field as ever. The challenge we face is how to live as followers of Jesus in such a way that we communciate the gospel message to our fellow Australians.
To do this we need to live as missionaries within our own country. We need to adjust our mind-set, our language, our church lifestyles with its many forms and adapt to life in a hostile environment. It can be done. At different times throughout church history God’s people have worked hard in understanding their culture so that they can communicate the gospel to their communities.
Baptist churches across Greater Hobart have acknowledged the need to address these issues in a postive and proactive way. Our ‘2020 Vision’, to grow to 20 communities of faith with a total of 2000 people by 2020, is a way of expressing a hope that with God’s help we can transition into churches with mission, evangelism and church planting at the centre of all we do.
Will you pray that God will enable, not just Baptists to face these challenges with hope and courage, but Christians of all denominations throughout Hobart (and your locality)? Not only that, but will you pray that God raises up godly men and women to address these key issues and lead us through the necessary transitions?
Let’s look forward to seeing how God transforms his Church in Hobart and beyond!
Stephen L Baxter

“Has it Ever Occurred to You . . . ?”

There’s an old Peanuts comic strip where Snoopy is sitting on top of his kennel typing a manuscript. Walking by, Charlie Brown says, “I hear you are writing a book about theology. I hope you have a good title.”
“I have the perfect title,” says Snoopy thoughtfully. “Has it Ever Occurred to You that You Might Be Wrong?”
See the comic strip HERE.
It’s interesting, no matter how much we have read, thought, discussed or reflected upon truth, God’s truth is always greater. In fact, Jesus said he was the truth.
Despite the fact that only Jesus is truth, history records how often and how easy it is for some of God’s people to believe they have a monopoly on truth. Sadly, such a belief seems to breed an attitude of superiority and arrogance that lacks the graciousness to seriously consider another’s point of view. As Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels wrote, “There is none so blind as they that will not see.”
What is even sadder is how such close mindedness almost always brings division and discord between fellow Christians and churches.
Coming together
Last Sunday night, churches from many different denominations across Hobart gathered together, despite our differences, to celebrate our common core belief that Jesus is Lord and to pray for our city.
I have no doubt God is pleased when we make the effort to move past the things that divide and come together on the things that unify. We can do this in the midst of our diversity and I’m sure God enjoys it. All the  many different varieties of plants and animals God has created helps us appreciate how much he likes diversity. This is as true for the Church as it is for nature.
There are so many varieties of belief and practice, dress and singing, buildings and liturgy. It reminds me that Jesus prayed for unity, not unanimity. God likes our differences. In fact, in the same way that every person is unique, so too is every congregation that makes up the Church across the world.
Yet, with this diversity comes a complexity, and this complexity can be a source of great discomfort to many. We can easily be drawn to huddle together in like-minded groups for security and support. Now there is nothing wrong with joining together with others, but when the groups develop an “us” and “them” mentality where “we are right” and “they are wrong”, pain and disharmony often result.
Jesus calls us to unity. Such unity is not based on the way we worship or serve God, nor on the “purity” of our doctrine, but from our common commitment to Jesus as Lord. We are children of the same Father and are united by the same Spirit.
I pray that we will all continue to grow in our appreciation of the diversity of God’s people and that we will appreciate the breadth of God’s truth. There were close to 2,000 people present who made the effort to be part of the celebration on Sunday. And despite what might be a different cultural way of being church, we were nevertheless able to transcend the difference and worship our Lord together.
What’s your experience of coming together as Jesus’ Church?
Did you go you Church Together on Sunday? What was your response?
Stephen L Baxter

The Road to Success

Have you ever wondered what it is to be a successful Christian? In other words, what does it mean to be a successful follower of Jesus?
Solomon is arguably the most successful person in the Bible. In his life he achieved much, and gained honour, wealth, and a standing unequalled amongst kings. Yet Solomon, despite all this, concluded, “Everything is meaningless, utterly meaningless!” (Ecc 1:2)His final analysis, recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes, was that ultimately success proved unfulfilling.
In his autobiography, The Price of Success, JB Phillips, the Bible translator and essayist, wrote, “I was well aware of the dangers of sudden wealth and took some severe measures to make sure that, although comfortable, I should never be rich. I was not nearly so aware of the dangers of success. The subtle corrosion of character, the unconscious changing of values and the secret monstrous growth of a vastly inflated idea of myself seeped slowly into me . . . I can still savour the sweet and gorgeous taste of it all – the warm admiration, the sense of power, of overwhelming ability, of boundless energy and never-failing enthusiasm. It is very plain to me now why my one man kingdom of power and glory had to stop.”
A life of worth
Phillips’s struggle with the effects of success is common to us all, including Jesus. After all, he was tempted in every way we are. Yet Jesus taught, “The life you save is the life you lose.” (My paraphrase of Mark 8:35) Not only did he teach it, he lived it. He had no money in the bank, and only a handful of followers at the end. He was, in terms of worldly success, a perfect fool and a failed (dead) messiah.
However, through the resurrection, Jesus was exonerated and vindicated by God. His life was and is an example for us all. He demonstrated that the life you guard, grasp and play safe with is the life that is of little worth to anyone, including you. This is the paradox he taught and demonstrated: those most fully alive are those who give their lives away.
The secret to success . . .
Solomon’s wealth and honour were gifts of God, a blessing Solomon did not expect or seek. In contrast, the assurance of a long and satisfying life was conditional on his following David’s example: walking in God’s ways and obeying him. Something he found difficult to do. In his sober moments, when Solomon centred his life on God, he concluded, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13) When he wasn’t so clear, life was confusing and meaningless.

There is a secret to success and it is not about wealth, recognition or fame

We can learn from Solomon. There is a secret to success and it is not about wealth, recognition or fame. Successful living is relating to God, and living according to his words. This alone can produce true happiness, contentment and significance.
In our world dominated by individualism and consumerism, where advertising bombards us with promises of life, it is good to learn where true success lies from Jesus, the true source of life.
How has your success affected you?
Or in contrast, how much do you desire to be successful?

Stephen L Baxter

Have You Lost Your “Sentness”?

May is “Mission Month” of Global Interaction (GIA) the cross-cultural mission of Australian Baptists. For many years Baptist churches across Australia have joined together during the month of May in celebration of global mission.
GIA (or Australian Baptist Missionary Society as it used to be known) came into existence because a group of people had concern for those who are the poorest, most marginalised, Being Sentand least-reached overseas communities. This passion led them to work in communities across Asia, Africa and outback Australia where people not only struggle with poverty, social issues and injustice, but most importantly, do not know about Jesus and are spiritually powerless and lost.
Such passion is born in the heart of God.  Not only  is God a god of justice, mercy and compassion, God is also a “sending” God who ventures into the world because of that compassion. Sending is as much a part of the nature, character and essence of God as love and peace. In other words, God is a “missionary” God.
The Bible explains that in the beginning God “sent forth” breath and it created; firstly the universe, and ultimately humanity. Humanity, we are told, is made in the image of God, so it is not surprising to read that as soon as man and woman were created God “sends” them into the world to care (rule) over it.  What we discover here is that not only is God a “sending (missioning)” God, we are to be a “missioning” people
Even after the rebellion of Adam and Eve, (often called ‘the fall’) God continues to “send” himself into the world. Despite the effects of sin, God interacts with the people he has made and embarks on a rescue mission. This mission culminates with the sending of the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save it.
Being Sent
The obedience that led Jesus to die on a Roman cross, releases humanity from the curse of the fall and calls men and women back to their original purpose. In John 20, Jesus states, “Just as the father sent me, I send you.” The outcome of the sending of Jesus to restore humanity is the creation of a “sent” people. The church of Jesus Christ is a “sent” people; sent into the world to continue the mission of Jesus. And this is at the heart of what it is to be God’s church.

“God calls us to be salt and light and witnesses to his grace”

Sadly, however, the church can sometimes lose its “sentness.” Frequently, we are known for our congregating rather than our sending. We can get comfortable and begin to “settle” rather than move on. We make “sending” or “mission” . . . into one of our programs and leave it for others to do, rather than embrace the reality that it is meant to be at the very core of our reason and purpose for being.
But things are changing. The challenges of our contemporary world are causing us to review our understanding of church and what it is that God calls us to be. We are (re)discovering that God calls each one of us to be “missionaries,” sometimes even in our own families.
Being salt and light
So as we celebrate all God is doing through his people as part of GIA, and stop to honour those who have responded to God’s sending and have ventured out, let us remember that each one of us is sent by God. As part of God’s church we are included in those Jesus sent into the world to continue the work of Jesus. While most of us won’t go overseas, we are still sent – whether that is into our families, our communities, our workplaces, our schools. It is here that God calls us to be salt and light and witnesses to his grace.
May God help each one of us individually, and as the Church as a whole, to continue to embrace what it means to be the “sent” people of God.
I’d love to know where God has sent you. Can you tell me in a few words where you have been sent?
Stephen L Baxter