Saturday, May 31, 2008
It sounds like a good exercise: we can all come up with an endless list of things someone ought to do something about; but when you get practical--you ask, (a) what do we have to put toward all these projects and (b) what can we reasonably expect to accomplish, as a way to decide (c) which investments of time, talent and resources will actually help people the most, you have to make choices and it all becomes more realistic, with interesting results.
The exercise presupposed an arbitrary $75 billion budget. Of course it could have used a smaller or larger amount, but the fixed amount serves to focus decision-making.
As I read the article, here are the recommendations:
1. Supply vitamin A and zinc, badly needed by the 80% of the world's 140 million children who now lack them, by way of enriching foods and providing supplements. Cost: $60 million; benefit, in health and cognitive improvements, $1 billion-plus.
2. Widen free trade through international negotiations and agreements, bringing down trade barriers and elminating subsidies. I didn't see where the article assigned a cost to this, but it pegged benefit at a whopping $3 trillion a year, with all but $500 billion accruing to developing nations.
3. Fortify food with iron and iodized salt. Two billion people lack enough iron, and 30% of developing nations' households don't consume iodized salt. Cost: a paltry $286 million. (Every time Congress burps it costs the U.S. taxpayer more than that.)
After that it's "The other seven of the top ten solutions include expanded immunization coverage of children; biofortification; deworming; lowering the price of schooling; increasing girls' schooling; community-based nutrition promotion; and support for women's reproductive roles." I'm not sure what "biofortification" is, and my alarm bells go off on the last category, but the others all sound non-controversial and practical.
Wait, you say, what about pollution and global warming?
"At number 30, the lowest priority is a proposal to mitigate man-made global warming by cutting the emissions of greenhouse gases. This ranking caused some consternation among the European journalists at the press conference. Nobelist and University of Maryland economist Thomas Schelling noted that part of the reason for the low ranking is that spending $75 billion on cutting greenhouses gases would achieve almost nothing. In fact, the climate change analysis presented to the panel found that spending $800 billion until 2100 would yield just $685 billion in climate change benefits."
"Also low on the list of priorities are proposals to reduce outdoor air pollution in developing country cities by installing technologies to cut the emissions of particulates from diesel vehicles. Other low ranked solutions included a tobacco tax, improved stoves to reduce indoor air pollution, and extending microfinance. These are not bad proposals, but other proposals were judged to provide more bang for the 75 billion bucks available in the exercise. "
Read the entire article at Reason, with additional links if you want to follow up. This isn't the perfect list--one might question where relieving suffering from AIDS and malaria were ranked--but it is a helpful exercise; especially as we head into an election. How many people can we save through more vitamin A; yet we hear next to nothing about that, but a lot about "global warming."
Friday, May 30, 2008
The canopy bearers joined the procession outside of church; the center aisle is narrow. The wind was strong and carrying the canopy was harder than they expected. The candles were too long in relation to the glass globes, and they instantly went out. Next year, we'll use half-burned candles and they'll stay lit. I hope we can practice with the canopy; it was borrowed, and won't be available next year, so we need to come up with something.
You may note the other priests had humeral veils. They carried the monstrance at one point, so I thought they should each have a veil.
We stopped at Jamieson & Yannucci's Funeral Home, about mid-point, for prayers and Benediction, for the benefit of anyone who did not feel up to the entire walk. Also, this was in the heart of town, and we prayed for Piqua here.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Over the summer, we'll have three seminarians staying here. This is made possible because a parishioner, many years back, set up a fund at each parish, to help seminarians. So we use the funds to give them summer employment--good for the men, good for the parishes.
Today, I met with members of the staff to identify various projects, which I turned over to the three seminarians so they can organize their summer. We'll get things in good order in the school, we'll have their help at the festivals and Vacation Bible School, they'll make some communion calls and help with some maintenance items, help plan a couple of things--all good and realistic experiences in parish life.
I also had a few emails and phone calls to deal with, as well as one appointment. Tonight, I have the "graduation Mass" for the eighth graders. And so it goes. Nothing else on the calendar, a light day.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
as they are about to enter the Land of Promise.
You have come a long way…a dangerous journey…
Who led you? Who fed you—remember?
What were you on the other side of that desert— you were slaves! Remember?
Clearly, Moses understood human nature.
Kids, did your parents tell you to "remember" anything this morning?
Servers? Does I say anything like that before Mass?
Husbands, wives… It’s the same for all of us.
God knows how soon we forget.
The Mass is all about remembering.
Thirty-five hundred years ago, God delivered a people from slavery.
Two thousand years ago, God himself came.
He became the Lamb whose blood would save us. Remember?
The Mass is how we remember: at this altar,
the Cross happens here, the true Lamb is slain.
And we eat his Flesh and drink his Blood.
There’s one more part.
It’s not only about what they—and we— were called to remember…but also why.
God chose them so they would share His Message with the world.
The reason you and I know who God is…
is because they did remember: we have the Bible.
The reason we know who Jesus is…
is because everyone between his time, and ours, remembered.
And like our forebears, we remember so we can share.
As Catholics we have this Gift of the Eucharist, His True Body and Blood.
Yet so much of the world around us doesn’t know, doesn’t believe, yet.
Who will tell them?
Now, please, we must be clear.
Many of our fellow Christians don’t believe as we do, about the Eucharist.
Yes, it matters, but…we know Christ works in their lives, through their baptism.
They love Jesus—often so well, you and I can take a lesson from them.
And yet, we have a Gift we are called to tell others about.
Now, I might as well just say out loud what you may be wondering:
why don’t we Catholics just invite all Christians to share communion?
Let me tell you a story, and I warn you, it may shock you.
About 12 years ago, before I was a priest, some friends of mine got married.
They were married in a Pentecostal church
and they asked me to be one of the groomsmen.
They said there’d be communion, and they expected everyone to take communion.
Well, I said, as a Catholic, we don’t do that, because of the different things we believe.
Now, here is what they said—and get ready for this: "
No problem—go ahead and just put it in your pocket."
Does that shock you? Sure it does!
Now, listen: I don’t tell that story to be critical of them, not at all.
They were not in any way being disrespectful.
It just shows some very different beliefs:
in their church, just bread, no big deal.
For us, of course, it’s really Jesus—we kneel and adore.
That’s a very vivid example of many differences, many are less obvious.
But it is true that Christians do differ on things that matter,
yet Saint Paul told us in the second reading,
the Eucharist is meant to express a full unity of belief and practice.
So, while we work toward that full unity,
there are times Christians come together to pray, we work side by side,
but we aren’t yet unified enough to share the Eucharist.
And that should move us to do even more:
to pray, to repent if need be, and to be messengers—
so that one day, we will again be one in the Eucharist.
I’ll say again—this isn’t about who loves Jesus better, or who Jesus loves more.
But we remember, He gave us such a Gift: His Flesh and His Blood.
And we remember why He called us:
To share the Gift, so all the world may know—and live.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
It was, if I may say so, a great success!
Oh, we learned a few things, as I expected to, about coordinating things. The procession took less time than I planned for, so we arrived at St. Boniface ahead of schedule.
This was the culmination of a weekend of exposition at St. Mary--when the procession finally ended, after Benediction, we returned our Eucharistic Lord back to Saint Clare Chapel where our Lord is always present--we have perpetual exposition--for all and any.
There was a tremendous excitement about all this the past few days, and the Noon Mass, from which the procession began, was filled with energy. Thanks to a neighboring parish, we were able to have a canopy, which wasn't as easy to assemble as I thought it might be, but we got it together about five minutes before Mass started. We had plenty of knights, plenty of servers, the boy scouts, some girl scouts, and between 150 and 200 people who joined in. I feel confident we can have more come. I'd really like this to be something that Catholics from all over the area would come and be part of...y'all are hereby invited!
After Benediction, then, we had a pot luck, and that came off well, although some people had to do some work to make that happen. I am so grateful, because I thought up this crazy idea, and hornswaggled others into this, and they pulled it together well. We even got together rides back from Saint Boniface to Saint Mary, with one businessman providing a couple of limos!
I'm sorry I can't share with you my homily at Benediction, because I just developed some ideas from a reading from 1st Corinthians, but anyway, it was all splendid. I asked the servers how they liked it, I asked the folks present how they liked it, and everyone said, "I hope you're going to do it again?"
I think so: this will, God willing, be a new, annual tradition for the Catholics of Piqua.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We believe God is a Trinity of Persons,
because Jesus revealed that He is God the Son,
sent by the Father, to give us the Holy Spirit.
Now, I want to highlight three things about this.
First, consider one of the simplest prayers we pray, the Sign of the Cross.
Notice what we do: we trace the cross over ourselves, but what do we say?
"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, amen."
This simple prayer is an excellent summary of our entire Faith:
with our hand, we are symbolically "surrounding ourselves" with the Holy Trinity.
Or, to say it another way,
the Cross "inserts" us into the center of the Trinity, into the life of God.
This is why Jesus came— and this is what the Cross does for us:
it brings us to the heart of God.
A second thing to consider. A bit ago, did you see me bow?
One of the things the Church asks us to do as Christians is to bow
at the Most Holy Name of Jesus, or at the Names of the Trinity, especially at Mass.
Like the Sign of the Cross, this can be a powerful reminder to ourselves,
and a sign to others, of what we truly believe.
Sometimes we have the bad habit of misusing God’s name;
how about replacing it with this good habit of revering God’s name?
And in a world that treats God as distant,
it’s a little reminder that we know how present He is;
what’s more, we have the privilege of knowing him…by Name.
Think about that: you don’t normally give your name to people
unless you are inviting them to know you better.
God has, as it were, "introduced himself" to us.
(Update: I added the following to my text...
The first reading isn't clear on this point.
It says God told Moses his Name, but then it says, "Lord."
Actually, in the Hebrew text, it has the actual Name of God [YHWH],
sometimes pronounced Yahweh, sometimes, Jehovah.
So why isn't it translated that way?
Well, when God's people first learned God's Name,
they considered it so holy, they never spoke it--
and we now don't know how it is pronounced.
So that's why we say "Lord"--
but the point is, God gave Moses His Name.)
God came to us in Jesus—he wants us to know Him.
The Mass is the reality the Sign of the Cross points to:
the Sacrifice of the Cross really here in our midst,
truly does bring us to the life of the Holy Trinity.
The Eucharist is that intimacy.
God becomes Food for us; and God seeks intimate union with us,
a union so intimate that only other image we have
is of Bridegroom and Bride, one flesh: communion.
So we not only revere God by bowing, and seek the protection of His Triple-Name,
we enter into union with him. The Eucharist makes that happen!
This weekend we are focusing on the Eucharist in a special way.
The Lord was on the altar shortly before Mass,
and we will end Mass with the Lord on the altar again.
After the Noon Mass, please come be part of a procession from St. Mary to St. Boniface,
or meet at St. Boniface at 2 pm for Benediction, to honor Jesus who came to us,
to bring us to the Trinity.
Today, when Mass ends, we will end in silence. It will be different.
Please wait till the servers and I leave the altar,
and please—I know its hard—but remain silent in church.
Let’s wait till we’re outside to visit.
That silence may be hard, and it can be intimidating—because its so powerful.
It’s not empty, just as this church is never empty.
In that silence, we are confronted with the God who was not content to remain distant,
but comes close, and wants to come as close as possible to us.
God wants to do more than say hello— he wants to be one with you.
What do you say?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I met with the music director at 9, we talked about several items, including:
1. The Corpus Christi "event" this weekend ("40 Hours" followed by a Eucharistic Procession on Sunday, in Piqua, from church to church).
2. Several special events I wanted him to begin thinking about for later this year.
3. Assorted parish business.
After that, I was supposed to work on my homily, but that didn't happen.
I dropped by the school around 11:30 to discuss some business with the principal, and to pick up a list of the school board members because I needed to send them a letter.
Back at the office, I sent out some letters to various folks on various projects, including an important meeting in about a week, another meeting I want to schedule for June, and handled some phone calls related to the Corpus Christi event. Lots of details...
A meeting at 1 pm with some volunteers who help me in the sacristy of one of the parishes.
A meeting with the coordinator of religious education about confirmation for next year and related issues.
A parishioner stopped by with a concern, we talked. Several more phone calls, a number of emails; opened mail. Wrote up some notes from an important meeting a few weeks back, got to this late, but finally got it done, circulated it via email around to other folks for input and next step.
Realized I forgot to shave this morning, I look a little fuzzy (actually that came earlier in the day).
Checked in with staff members about various items.
Some more phone calls.
Browsed a litte online just now, taking a pause before I go over for the Bible study at 7, then I have a meeting with the Knights of St. John around 8:30, I hope to be home by 9:30 or so.
This is actually a little bit lighter than usual, not as much stuff on my desk. "The Pile" has shrunk ever so slightly...
Sunday, May 11, 2008
“This is not the end;
it is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
That is a good way to describe this feast of Pentecost—
The beginning of what?
The beginning of the final salvation Jesus has for us.
It helps to recall the meaning of Lent and Easter:
In Lent we acknowledge, we need a Savior.
In Holy Week we see what it took:
his suffering and death.
Easter Day: He rose from the dead!
For 40 days after: He finished preparing the Apostles.
Ascension: He took his seat on the throne of heaven!
So, when we come to Pentecost, everything is ready:
Ready for the Holy Spirit to be the spark of life.
I read something recently, but cannot recall where;
someone made the excellent point
that when our Lord ascended into heaven,
that wasn’t him leaving;
we often refer to when Jesus comes back,
but that’s a misnomer, because he never left!
Instead, Jesus remains here,
and his presence is growing in the world all the time—
the “final coming” is when his presence here is complete:
and the real beginning of the New Creation.
This is what Saint Paul refers to,
in his letter to the Romans,
when he says “all creation groans.”
Mothers, you understand that;
Paul is talking about “labor pains”:
something beautiful is about to happen,
yet it comes with pain and stress.
This image helps us understand
why things are the way they are.
Why isn’t the world a better place?
We have such abundance, yet so many are in want.
How many thousands have died in Burma,
because a government refused to let in outsiders?
How many children are lost
because they aren’t “wanted”—
because of so-called “choice”?
Why is there no peace in the world…
In our homes? In our hearts?
No, Pentecost was not the end,
not even the beginning of the end—
but it is the end of the beginning—the new Creation.
You and I are that beginning.
We are the New Creation being born.
The groaning, the struggle, that our world goes through—
We realize we, too, hardly measure up yet
to being the full Body of Christ.
We have so far to go!
There are so many others yet to be invited,
Yet to be drawn into the Life of Christ.
But next week, we will have an opportunity for that.
We will have a weekend celebrating the Eucharist.
Beginning Friday morning, we’ll have 40 Hours,
the Eucharist on the altar at St. Mary—
taking the place of exposition in St. Clare Chapel.
Then, next Sunday, after the Noon Mass,
We’ll have a procession with the Eucharist,
From St. Mary to St. Boniface,
Through the streets of our city.
What inspires us? The Holy Spirit!
What will we pray for?
“‘Lord, send out your Spirit,
and renew the face of the earth’—
starting here, in Piqua!”
Of all the mysteries of our Faith,
the Eucharist sums up all that we believe
and all that we hope to be.
The Eucharist starts as ordinary bread and wine.
You and I are that bread and wine.
But Christ is not content with that.
He takes us in his hands,
He lifts us up to the Father,
And calls down the Holy Spirit on us,
that we may become…the Body and Blood of Christ!
When Father Tom, Father Ang, and I,
carry the Eucharist in the monstrance through Piqua,
realize: that’s what each of us is meant to do,
with our lives: we are the “monstrance,”
the vessel that carries Jesus Christ,
and shows him to the world!
rightly so, for this is Jesus, our Savior.
See, also, in the Eucharist what he has destined for us:
we become his Body, our lives are caught up in his;
we are the New Creation, united with Christ forever!
It seems so far away.
But we are only at the end of the beginning.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The long silence itself speaks volumes: the period from Lent to the end of the school year is one, long stretch of craziness in my two parishes, and I think frequently for other pastors. What makes it a little difficult is many think it gets better once Easter comes; I thought so, too, until I became a pastor! What also makes it difficult is the stuff I've added to my plate, beyond what would have been there already.
Here's a run-down, for inquiring minds:
> The obvious busy-ness of Lent and Easter, involving extra confessions, preparation for Holy Week, the preparation of the catechumens and candidates who received their sacraments and full initiation at the Vigil.
> Financial matters: about this time, we start preparing budgets for the school and the parishes. Actually the parish budgets are only very sketchily put together. They can only be finalized once we actually know how many children are enrolled, and how many from each parish, as the school is a joint project. The costs are alloted to each parish based on these figures, which only become firm in the fall.) Also, things have to gear up for parents to enroll in the school for the fall; and I have to make sure all tuition for the current year is caught up--unfortunately, some families straggle. Also, festival planning starts to kick into high gear about now. And, unfortunately, collections sometimes drop off after Easter, as people start heading for their summer haunts. This gets worse as we get past confirmation, first communion, and--the next two weeks--graduation.
> Special projects, oh have I a bunch of these! I have a couple of parishioners who volunteered to set up a "welcome committee"--and I am delighted, but I have to help them with that. I pitched parishioners to help form a stronger prolife committee, but again, we need to get them going.
I have been working with a group from both parishes on a stewardship commission; stewardship meaning, not, "give money" (that's what so many think it means), but rather, it's about inculcating a mindset that recognizes ones blessings of time, talent and treasure, which are given to us to share, and the parish is an important way we share them. Stewardship means fostering a climate and attitude throughout the parish that fosters and invites involvement; that cultivates a greater sense of belonging. If people are involved and feel at home in their parish, they will be more likely to: take an active role in all we do; involve others, leading to more evangelization; and they will naturally share their gifts with the parish.
Well, I really believe this sort of emphasis is important for the long-term; yet in many ways, I've failed to give it due attention. So many pots on the stove...
Another special project is the Corpus Christi Weekend, which is one week away, and no doubt I'm going to be flying by the seat of my pants all week, praying for no rain, at least for one hour next Sunday! If you're anywhere near Piqua, why don't you come on over and join the procession? See a post below for details.
> An increased volume of requests, needs, etc. It just seems like everyone is calling me about something, and I have been getting so much mail. You cannot believe how backed up I was only a few days ago. I couldn't even find time to open all the mail.
Well, that has all settled down somewhat, and I have a huge pile, not on my desk, but in my outbox. My secretary is going to yelp when she sees it!
I am very embarrassed to admit I'm way behind on thank you notes, which I've been writing today. I would be doing it now, but my hand was cramping up; typing is something different.
And I admit I am a bit superstitious: whenever "The Pile" gets this low, something always hits!
This is why I love, love, love a Saturday with no appointments! Today, however, I did have confessions at 9, then I promised to stop over at a fashion show fundraiser for the school. I have no clue about such things, but some parents enthusiastically put it together, and they got a great turnout the first time. I stopped by and greeted everyone and said grace over lunch. We also have a wedding, the other priest is offering the Mass, but that adds to the craziness of course. I'm hiding out in my office, working away! I have Mass in a bit, then free for the evening.
To all you young men thinking about the priesthood: you know what this is like? I think this is like...being a dad.
When I was a boy, I saw my dad go off to work, and I sometimes went with him, and I saw him at his desk, in the evening, working away; I only had a vague sense of what was so demanding. And I saw him working in the garden, and around the house...and then taking time to take the family out for dinner, for vacations, and of course we were brats, as original sin has its effect...
It involves a lot of work, on my father's part, and for what? For his family! This is what a father does. It's not glamorous, it's often thankless, but he did it, and he wasn't sorry he did it, it's what fathers do. And of course, there are any number of compensations and joys, but also sorrows.
Now, I don't mean to discourse on what being a father in the conventional sense means; 0thers are better suited to that. My point is, to be a priest is to be a father--that's why you're called that! And when you are a priest, and you have these days with work, and you get your share of grief, and you wonder if people appreciate what you do...then congratulations, you are a father!
I can't really complain, because while I do get some difficulties and some flak, it's not really all that much, and so many have far worse things happen to them. And I get lots of moments that are gratifying: celebrating confirmation and first communion; watching the children grow up and having a share in that; seeing how hard so many people work on so many things for the parish; seeing how great the faith of so many is; realizing how many people are quietly praying for you, constantly; getting lovely notes and presents, often sacrificial; seeing various plans come together, and knowing, this will last, this will make a difference. Not earthshaking, just building something in people's lives. It's how 99% of us will make our mark, if we actually do make a difference.
And there are very delicate moments, yet still so privileged. People come to you when in trouble. A divorce; a child in trouble. An infant that doesn't survive, and you are priviliged to baptize that infant but then you are asked to have the funeral. You get to see people cry with tears of pain, but also release, as they pray on such occasions, but also when they come to you for the anointing, or for confession, or they walk up for the Eucharist at Mass.
You bet I say, think about being a priest! It's not the only way to make a difference, but it's a great way; and if you think, "but I want to be a husband, a father" I'm telling you, if you are a true priest of Jesus Christ, you will be. That's what a priest is.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
of the Easter Season, just before Pentecost.
We might wonder how it fits in.
On Easter, Jesus rose from the dead in his human body.
Then for 40 days, he was with his followers again.
we only know a little about what that was like.
We do know he restored the faith of Thomas and Peter.
We know he “opened their eyes”
to the meaning of his death and resurrection.
And he opened their eyes
to the meaning of the Eucharist:
remember how he made known to them
“in the breaking of the Bread”?
Everything is being readied for a new chapter—
the birth of the Church—and the key is the Holy Spirit.
Let me highlight some parallels:
In Genesis, creation begins
with the Spirit hovering over the waters.
Jesus is conceived in the womb of Mary
by the Holy Spirit who “overshadowed” her—
see how the window depicts it?
Notice how the Church will be born:
the Holy Spirit is sent from heaven—by Jesus.
This is where Jesus ascending to heaven fits in.
The question, then and now, had always been:
“Who is this Jesus?”
In the Gospels, that’s what everybody asks.
They kept scrambling for answers:
“He’s a prophet” “he’s a teacher,”
“he’s the Messiah we’ve hoped for”…
All true, but not enough.
People soon got the scary feeling
that there was something far more at work here.
When he silenced a storm on the sea,
His terrified disciples now asked in shock,
“What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”
When he “taught with authority”—
that is, the authority of God himself—
the scribes and Pharisees asked,
“who do make yourself out to be?”
The full truth was beyond anyone’s imagining:
It was after the resurrection
that Thomas finally blurted it out:
“My Lord and my God!”
They knew, beyond doubt, that he was human, like them;
now, when they saw him ascend to the throne in heaven,
they also knew what Thomas had said:
“My Lord and my God!”
Yet, does there not seem to be a contradiction?
Jesus goes to heaven, yet he promised,
“I am with you always, until the end of the age”?
Saint Athanasius, whose feast was Friday,
made an excellent point here.
He wrote, “there is no part of the world
that was ever without” the presence of God the Son—
but it was an invisible presence.
“Taking pity on mankind’s weakness…
[the Son] took to himself a body,
no different from our own.”
But not merely to be seen—
above all, he did it to be an offering—
God took a body that could die.
But here’s the thing: if all that—
God-becoming-man, dying on the Cross,
and rising from the dead,
were so important to do at one point in time…
The question remains:
what about all of us who didn’t live back then?
How does God make these things real…to us?
The Mass and the Eucharist!
That’s why the 2nd Vatican Council said,
the Mass and the Eucharist
are the source and summit of our Faith.
Again, the key is the Holy Spirit.
I pointed out the parallels:
The Holy Spirit…at creation;
The Holy Spirit…overshadowing Mary;
The Holy Spirit, descending on Pentecost.
But there’s one more:
Just before the climax of the Mass,
the priest stands at the altar,
and begs the Holy Spirit to come down,
that these gifts of bread and wine
“become for us the Body and Blood
of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Without the Eucharist,
Jesus’ presence in the world—
goes back to being invisible.
In the bulletin, you’ll see that in two weeks,
Our parishes will honor the Eucharist in a special way.
We’ll have a weekend of adoration,
all day and night, at St. Mary.
This will take the place of adoration at St. Clare Chapel.
Then, on Sunday, May 18, after the noon Mass,
we’ll have a procession, with the Eucharist,
from St. Mary Church to St. Boniface Church.
Father Tom, Father Ang and I—
along with all of you I hope!—
will carry our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist,
on the streets of our city!
You and I will proclaim to Piqua:
“Our Lord and our God!”
We will show that we believe Jesus is with us always,
even to the end of the age!
Please look in the bulletin for details,
And there are a lot of ways to participate and to help.
We don’t need to gaze up into heaven.
He has not left us.
The throne of heaven is no longer up there, far away:
The throne of heaven is right here!
He is with us always, even to the end of the age!