Sunday, October 16, 2016


Sunday Reflection: The Resolve

Last Sunday I gave the sermon at First Covenant Church here, but that was not my favorite part of the service. Not even close.

The music that day was led by Ezra Bartsch, who is pictured above. The music was wonderful (as it tends to be at that church), but there was this one, unforgettable moment. The group sang "Down to the River to Pray," with the last verse a cappella. First Cov is a "singing church"-- that is, the folks in the pews really have at it when there is a good song, and there are a lot of wonderful voices in the crowd. Dan and Holly Collison know how to construct a service that way.

At the end of the last verse it was so beautiful and warm-- a resolve-- that when we were done Ezra stepped back and laughed. It was joy in him, and I understood it; he had been part of a perfect moment. We don't get many of those.

The first sermon I gave at First Covenant, two or three years ago, I talked about Ronald Blount, a man serving life in prison for a small role in a crack business. I held up the letter he had written to me, and read from it. The people in that congregation had prayed for him, and for me.

Last Sunday, I got to tell them that Ronald Blount is on his way to freedom.

When Jesus began his ministry, he quoted Isaiah: "He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free." There is a wholeness to proclaiming the release of a captive in church, a resolve, a joy. How lucky we are!

Blessed be!
Blessed be!
Kind of melts me. Thank you.
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