Monday, 14 May 2018

Readings, hymns and
sermon ideas for
Sunday 20 May 2018,
the Day of Pentecost

Evie Hone’s cartoon for her Pentecost window in Tara, seen on the stairs in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday next, 20 June 2018, is the Day of Pentecost, or Whit Sunday.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) lists Christmas Day, Easter Day and the Day of Pentecost as the three Principal Holy Days on which ‘the Holy Communion is celebrated in every cathedral and parish church unless the ordinary shall otherwise direct’ (p 18).

The readings in the Revised Common Lectionary for next Sunday are: Acts 2: 1-21 or Ezekiel 37: 1-14; Psalm 104: 26-36, 37b; Romans 8: 22-27 or Acts 2: 1-21; John 15: 26-27, 16: 4b-15.

There is a link to the readings HERE.

The reading from the Acts of the Apostles must be read, either as the first or second reading, and must not be omitted.

Introduction:

A few years ago, I spent time after Easter in Cappadocia in south central Turkey.

Although it snowed, I did all the normal tourist things, including a hot-air balloon trip and visiting the ‘fairy chimneys,’ the cave dwellings and the troglodyte underground cities.

But my first reason for going there was because of my interests in Patristic studies: this is the region that has given the Church the Cappadocian Fathers – the great writers, theologians and thinkers in the fourth century that included Saint Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea; his younger brother, Saint Gregory of Nyssa; and their friend, Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, who became Patriarch of Constantinople.

I was excited that I was visiting towns and cities linked with the Cappadocian Fathers who advanced the development of theology, especially our Creeds and our doctrine of the Trinity.

With the conflicts in Anatolia, Turkey and the Middle East, Christians in the region are an ever-dwindling minority and their cultural contributions to life in the Eastern Mediterranean and neighbouring regions is not just being forgotten, but in many cases is being deliberately wiped out and obliterated.

Early one morning, we descended into the depths of Derinkuyu or Anakou, the largest excavated underground city in Turkey. This multi-level city goes down 85 metres underground. It is large enough to have sheltered 20,000 people, along with their livestock and food, with churches, chapels, schools, wine presses, wells, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories and even a burial chamber. At the fifth or lowest level, I found myself in a cruciform church.

When I came up and emerged into the daylight, brushing my eyes, I was facing a stark reminder that until 1923 Derinkuyu was known to its Cappadocian Greek residents as Malakopea. Across the square from the entrance to the underground city stands the lonely and forlorn Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Theodoros Trion, like a sad scene in an Angelopoulos movie.

This once elegant church stands forlorn and abandoned since 1923. Its walls have started to collapse, the frescoes are crumbling, and the restoration promised by the government has been abandoned.

The Greek-speaking people who lived in Cappadocia for thousands of years were forced in fatal swoop, like all Greek-speakers in Anatolia, to abandon their homes in 1923 and to go into exile. They had been there before the days of Alexander the Great. But they are there no more.

They were there in Biblical times. We read about them next Sunday (Acts 2: 1-21). On the first day of Pentecost, we are told, the good news is heard by Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and parts of Libya, visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs – each in their own languages.

The very people who are counted out in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East then and today, the ethnic and linguistic minorities, the religious curiosities and the perceived oddities, those who dress, and appear, and sound and look different, whose foods and perfume and bodily odours are marked by variety, are counted as God’s own people on the Day of Pentecost.

The forlorn Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Theodoros Trion in Derinkuyu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Looking at the Readings for the Day of Pentecost:

Pentecost is the undoing of Babel (Genesis 11: 1-11). The barriers we built in the past, the walls we use to separate ourselves from each other, are torn apart by the Holy Spirit who rushes in and breaks down all the walls that separate us from those we think are different because of how they sound, look and smell.

Pentecost celebrates the over-abundant generosity of God. This is generosity is beyond measure, to the point that it challenges us, surprises us, startles us.

So often we want to box-in, contain or marginalise the Holy Spirit. For most traditional Anglicans, the Holy Spirit is relegated to, confined to, occasions such as Confirmation – and we have three Confirmations in Rathkeale later this month – or to prayers during the ordination of bishops, priests and deacons. After that, the Holy Spirit has little or nothing to do with us.

Yes, the Holy Spirit is for Charismatics, and for people who pray and sing with their hands in the air and bounce on their feet as they sing and dance. But not for staid, traditional, Anglicans like me. So how is the Holy Spirit relevant to me, apart from some prayers at my Confirmation and my Ordination?

This morning’s account of the first Day of Pentecost is a sharp reminder that Pentecost is for all. The Holy Spirit is not an exclusive gift for the 12, for the inner circle, for the believers, or even for the Church. Did you hear how many times the words all and every are used in this story?

● they are all together (verse 1);
● the tongues of fire rest on each or every one of them (verse 3);
all of them are filled with the Holy Spirit (verse 4);
● the people in Jerusalem are from every nation (verse 5);
● each or everyone hears in his or her own language (verse 6);
● so that all are amazed and perplexed (verse 12);
● Saint Peter addresses all (verse 14);
● he promises that God will pour out his Spirit on all (verse 17);
● this promise is for allwithout regard to gender, age or social background (verses 17-21);
● and the promise of God’s salvation is for everyone (verse 21).

God’s generosity at Pentecost is lavish, risky and abundant, overflowing to the point of over-abundant generosity. The Holy Spirit is not measured out in tiny drops, like some prescribed medicine poured out gently and carefully, drop by drop. It is not even like the gentle measure used for pouring out a glass of wine

The Holy Spirit gushes out and spills out all over the place, in a way that is beyond the control of the 12, like champagne fizzing out after the cork has been popped at a celebration, sparkling all over the room, champagne that can never be put back, unlike wine that can be decanted and poured out once more in polite and controlled measures.

The gift of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning, the birthday, of the Church, so perhaps champagne is the right image as we celebrate the birthday of the Church. But this is a gift that does not cease being given after Pentecost.

The gift of the Holy Spirit remains with the Church – for all times. The gift of the Holy Spirit is for all who are baptised, who are invited to continue daily to hear the word, to join in fellowship, to break the bread, to pray – just as we do when we celebrate the Eucharist (see Acts 2: 42-47).

Because of this gift, the Church is brought together in diversity and sustained in unity. The Orthodox Church speaks of the Church as the realised or lived Pentecost.

At times, our thinking about the Holy Spirit is made difficult by traditional images of a dove that looks more like a homing pigeon; or tongues of fire dancing around meekly-bowed heads of people cowering and hiding in the upper room in Jerusalem, rather than a room that is bursting at the seams and ready to overflow.

But the Holy Spirit is not something added on as an extra course, as an after-thought after the Resurrection and the Ascension.

As we affirm our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed, shaped to a profound degree by those Cappadocian Fathers, as we say ‘We believe in the Holy Spirit,’ do we really believe in the Holy Spirit as ‘the Lord, the giver of life,’ in the Holy Spirit as the way in which God ‘has spoken through the prophets’?

The gift of the Holy Spirit does not stop being effective the day after Confirmation, the day after ordination, the day after hearing someone speaking in tongues, or the day after this Day of Pentecost.

God never leaves us alone. This is what Christ promises the disciples, the whole Church, in the Gospel reading, as he breaks through the locked doors and breaks through all their fears (John 20: 19-23).

We need have no fears, for the Resurrection breaks through all the barriers of time and space, of gender and race, of language and colour.

Pentecost includes all – even those we do not like. Who do you not want in the Kingdom of God? Who do I find it easy to think of excluding from the demands the Holy Spirit makes on me and on the Church?

Pentecost promises hope. But hope is not certainty, manipulating the future for our own ends, it is trusting in God’s purpose.

The Gospel reading: John 15: 26-27, 16: 4b-15

[Jesus said to his disciples:] 26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

4b ‘I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.

‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.’

The Holy Spirit at Pentecost

In the Church calendar, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit as an event that happened at the great festival of ingathering, Pentecost, 50 days after Passover, following Saint Luke’s symbolic timing.

On the other hand, in Saint John’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is the gift of Christ’s resurrection, on the Day of the Resurrection day (see John 20: 21-22).

Yet, of course, both are true.

Christ has not left us on our own, so that we may soar into spiritual fantasy and relish the prospects of more magic and more religion. Our task as disciples is to bear fruit, to let the seed sown in death rise to new life. What matters is life and love.

This Gospel reading is the part of Christ’s last discourse with the disciples. He speaks about the gift of the Holy Spirit and the character of the Holy Spirit. The context of this speech is that in the Gospel of John, the audience, beginning in chapter 13, is addressed as disciples. This reading is part of that concluding discourse that goes on for 20 to 25 minutes. It is the most intimate time in the whole of the Gospel story between Christ, the disciples and God the Father – it is a time when all of these are brought together.

At this intimate moment after the Last Supper, Christ continues to tell the disciples about the mission they are to going to be part of.

The ‘Advocate’ is the Holy Spirit; he is the ‘spirit of truth’ (15: 26; 16: 13), and will be sent to the disciples or to the Church, by Christ, ‘from the Father.’

The Church too is to witness to and to work with the Holy Spirit, by living the life that Christ made possible, continuing Christ’s work in the world (15: 27).

Why does Christ say: ‘yet none of you asks me ...’ (16: 5)? They have asked the question earlier (see John 13: 36 and John 14: 5). Perhaps he is saying that when our hearts are filled with ‘sorrow’ or we are preoccupied with ‘sorrow’ (John 16: 6), we are missing the main point: the coming of the Spirit.

Then in the next verse (John 16: 7), Christ tells the disciples that by leaving them he is able to send the Paracelete.

One thing the Paraclete will do is to show the cosmos, κόσμος (16: 8), the world, or even the whole created order, that it is wrong about three things:

● sin – because they do not believe in him (16: 9);
● righteousness – because he is going to the Father (16: 10);
● judgment – because the ruler of this world has been condemned (16: 11).

In verses 12-13, we are told the Spirit will tell the disciples things Christ has not told them. In his guidance, he will speak what comes to him from God, as Christ has spoken what the Father has told him. The Spirit will prophesy about events ‘to come,’ the Spirit will reveal the essential nature of God, and the Spirit will glorify or show Christ’s essential nature and power (16: 14).

Whether the word comes from the Father, the Son, or the Spirit, it is the same.

In this passage, the Koine Greek word used for the Spirit is παράκλητος (parákletos). It is a word with a wide range of meanings that include advocate, encourager or comforter. So, the word can signify:

1, Someone who consoles or comforts.
2, Someone who encourages or uplifts.
3, Someone who refreshes
4, Someone summoned or called to one’s side, especially called to one’s aid.
5, Someone who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, the counsel for the defence, a legal assistant, an advocate.
6, Someone who intercedes to plead another person’s cause before another person, an intercessor.
7, In the widest sense, a helper, one who provides succour or aid, an assistant.

So, in its use, παράκλητος appears to belong primarily to legal imagery. In this passage from Saint John’s Gospel, it is used beside the language of testifying, and where the activity of the Paraclete is to lay down evidence sufficient to win a case on a number of issues awaiting judgment.

The word παράκλητος is passive in form, and etymologically it originally signified being ‘called to one’s side.’ The active form of the word, παρακλήτωρ (parakletor), is not found in the New Testament but is found in the Septuagint in the plural, and means ‘comforters,’ in the saying of Job regarding the ‘miserable comforters’ who failed to rekindle his spirit in his time of distress: ‘I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all’ (Job 16: 2).

However, the word παράκλητος in passive form is not found in the Septuagint, where other words are used to translate the Hebrew word מְנַחֵם‎ (mənaḥḥēm, ‘comforter’) and מליץ יושר (Melitz Yosher).

In Classical Greek, the term is not common in non-Jewish texts. But the best-known use is by Demosthenes:

‘Citizens of Athens, I do not doubt that you are all pretty well aware that this trial has been the centre of keen partisanship and active canvassing, for you saw the people who were accosting and annoying you just now at the casting of lots. But I have to make a request which ought to be granted without asking, that you will all give less weight to private entreaty or personal influence than to the spirit of justice and to the oath which you severally swore when you entered that box. You will reflect that justice and the oath concern yourselves and the commonwealth, whereas the importunity and party spirit of advocates serve the end of those private ambitions which you are convened by the laws to thwart, not to encourage for the advantage of evil-doers’ (Demosthenes, On the False Embassy, 19: 1).

In Jewish writings, Philo of Alexandria speaks several times of ‘paraclete’ advocates, primarily in the sense of human intercessors. The word later passed from Hellenistic Jewish writing into rabbinical Hebrew writing.

In the Greek New Testament, the word is most prominent in the Johannine writings, but is also used elsewhere:

1, In Saint Matthew’s Gospel (see Matthew 5: 4), Christ uses the verb παρακληθήσονται (paraclethesontai), traditionally interpreted to signify ‘to be refreshed, encouraged, or comforted.’ The text may also be translated as vocative as well as the traditional nominative. Then the meaning of παρακληθήσονται, also informative of the meaning of the name, or noun Paraclete, implicates ‘are going to summon’ or ‘will be breaking off.’ The Paraclete may thus mean ‘the one who summons,’ or ‘the one who, or that which, makes free.’

2, In Saint John’s Gospel, it is used four times (14: 16, 14: 26, 15: 26, and 16: 7), where it may be translated into English as counsellor, helper, encourager, advocate, or comforter. In the first instance (John 14: 16), however, when Christ says ‘another Paraclete’ will come to help his disciples, is he implying that he is the first and primary Paraclete?

3, In I John 2: 1, παράκλητος is used to describe the intercessory role of Christ, who advocates for us or pleads on our behalf to the Father.

The Early Church identified the Paraclete with the Holy Spirit (Το Άγιο Πνεύμα) received in the accounts in the Acts of the Apostles (see Acts 1: 5, 1: 8, 2: 4, and 2: 38; see also Matthew 3: 10-12 and Luke 3: 9-17).

The word Paraclete may also have been used in the Early Church as a way of describing the Spirit’s help when Christians were hauled before courts. Christ has already promised, ‘When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit’ (Mark 13: 11; see Luke 12: 11-12).

In the first part of our Gospel reading (John 15: 26-27) next Sunday, much of the legal imagery remains intact. Here the Spirit is the advocate employed by the Father to advocate on behalf of the Son. Even the language of ‘sending’ is legal, since one of the major avenues of communication in the ancient world was through one’s legal agent or ἀπόστολος (apostolos), ‘sent one.’

So, the role of the Spirit is to make a case for Christ in the court of the world and to help us to do so. That is our task in mission as the Church.

Pentecost (El Greco) … ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf’ (John 15: 26)

A birthday gift?

Quite often we think the gift of the Holy Spirit is something to consider only at ordination or at confirmation, or it is just left as a gift for Charismatic Evangelicals to talk about. But the gift of the Holy Spirit does not stop being effective the day after confirmation, the day after ordination, the day after hearing someone speaking in tongues, or the day after Pentecost.

The gift of the Holy Spirit marks the beginning, the birthday, of the Church. And this is a gift that does not cease to be effective after Pentecost Day, even if the lectern and pulpit falls change from red to green. The gift of the Holy Spirit remains with the Church – for all times.

Indeed, in the Orthodox Church they speak eloquently of the Church being the realised or lived Pentecost.

We celebrate the Feast of Pentecost 50 days after Easter and on the Sunday that falls 10 days after the Ascension. Pentecost recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost. But it is also the Birthday of the Church, founded through the preaching of the Apostles and the baptism of the thousands who on that day believed in the Gospel of Christ.

The icon of the Feast of Pentecost is an icon of bold colours of red and gold signifying that this is a great event. The movement of the icon is from the top to the bottom. At the top of the icon is a semicircle with rays coming from it. The rays are pointing toward the Apostles, and the tongues of fire are seen descending upon each one of them signifying the descent of the Holy Spirit.

The building in the background of the icon represents the upper room where the Disciples of Christ gathered after the Ascension. The Apostles are shown seated in a semicircle which shows the unity of the Church. Included in the group of the Apostles is Saint Paul, who, though not present with the others on the day of Pentecost, became an Apostle of the Church and the greatest missionary. Also included are the four Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – holding books of the Gospel, while the other Apostles are holding scrolls that represent the teaching authority given to them by Christ.

In the centre of the icon below the Apostles, a royal figure is seen against a dark background. This is a symbolic figure, the κόσμος (cosmos), representing the people of the world living in darkness and in sin. However, this figure carries in his hands a cloth containing scrolls which represent the teaching of the Apostles. The tradition of the Church holds that the Apostles carried the message of the Gospel to all parts of the world.

In the icon of Pentecost we see the fulfilment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, sent down upon the Apostles who will teach the nations and baptise them in the name of the Holy Trinity. Here we see that the Church is brought together and sustained in unity through the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit guides the Church in the missionary endeavour throughout the world, and that the Spirit nurtures the Body of Christ, the Church, in truth and love.

Orthodox prayer of the Holy Spirit:

Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, everywhere present and filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and abide in us, cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One.

A closing reflection:

‘Little Gidding,’ the fourth and final poem in the Four Quartets, is TS Eliot’s own Pentecost poem. ‘Little Gidding’ begins in ‘the dark time of the year,’ when a brief and glowing afternoon sun ‘flames the ice, on pond and ditches’ as it ‘stirs the dumb spirit’ not with wind but with ‘pentecostal fire.’

At the end of the poem, Eliot describes how the eternal is contained within the present and how history exists in a pattern, and repeating the words of Julian of Norwich, he is assured:

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.


I have no doubts that the Holy Spirit works in so many ways that we cannot understand. And I have no doubts that the Holy Spirit works best and works most often in the quiet small ways that bring hope rather than in the big dramatic ways that seek to control.

Sometimes, even when it seems foolish, sometimes, even when it seems extravagant, it is worth being led by the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit may be leading us to surprising places, and, surprisingly, leading others there too, counting them in when we thought they were counted out.

Whether they are persecuted minorities in the Middle East, or people who are marginalised at home, or those we are uncomfortable with because of how they sound, seem, look or smell, God’s generosity counts them in and offers them hope.

And if God counts them in, so should the Church. And so should I.

‘ ... all shall be well and / All manner of thing shall be well’ … sunset seen from the Sunset Taverna in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical Resources:

Liturgical colour: Red

Greeting (from Easter until Pentecost):

Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Penitential Kyries:

Great and wonderful are your deeds,
Lord God the Almighty

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You are the King of glory, O Christ.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
who on the day of Pentecost
sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles
with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame,
filling them with joy and boldness to preach the gospel:
By the power of the same Spirit
strengthen us to witness to your truth
and to draw everyone to the fire of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Introduction to the Peace:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.
If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5: 22

Preface:

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
according to whose promise
the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us,
making us your children,
and giving us power to proclaim the gospel throughout the world:

Post Communion Prayer:

Faithful God,
who fulfilled the promises of Easter
by sending us your Holy Spirit
and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal:
Open our lips by your Spirit,
that every tongue may tell of your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessing:

The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth,
give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
and to proclaim the words and works of God …

Dismissal:

Go in the peace of the Risen Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thanks be to God. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Evie Hone’s window in Saint Patrick’s Church on the Hill of Tara, Co Meath, has images of Pentecost interspersed with images of Saint Patrick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)


Suggested hymns:

The hymns suggested for the Day of Pentecost (Year B), in Sing to the Word (2000), edited by Bishop Edward Darling, include:

Acts 2: 1-21:

296, Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire
318, Father, Lord of all creation
298, Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord
312, Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost
301, Let every Christian pray
302, Lord God the Holy Ghost
303, Lord of the Church, we pray for our renewing
305, O Breath of life, come sweeping through us
306, O Spirit of the living God
639, O thou who camest from above
307, Our great Redeemer, as he breathed
308, Revive your Church, O Lord
341, Spirit divine, attend our prayers
386, Spirit of God, unseen as the wind
310, Spirit of the living God
313, The Spirit came, as promised
491, We have a gospel to proclaim
309, When God the Spirit came
204, When Jesus came to Jordan
395, When Jesus taught by Galilee

Ezekiel 37: 1-14:

293, Breathe on me, breath of God
319, Father, of heaven, whose love profound
305, O Breath of life, come sweeping through us
306, O Spirit of the living God
308, Revive your Church, O Lord
310, Spirit of the living God

Psalm 104: 26-36, 37b:

346, Angel voices ever singing
42, Good is the Lord, our heavenly King
356, I will sing, I will sing a song unto the Lord
357, I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath
6, Immortal, invisible, God only wise
305, O Breath of life, come sweeping through us
34, O worship the King all-glorious above

Romans 8: 22-27:

496, For the healing of the nations
48, God in his love for us lent us this planet
523, Help us to help each other, Lord
301, Let every Christian pray
654, Light of the lonely pilgrim’s heart
49, Lord, bring the day to pass
619, Lord, teach us how to pray aright
341, Spirit divine, attend our prayers

John 15: 26-27; 16: 4b-15:

260, Christ is alive! Let Christians sing
294, Come down, O Love divine
295, Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove
297, Come, thou Holy Spirit, come
324, God, whose almighty word
299, Holy Spirit, come, confirm us
300, Holy Spirit, truth divine
301, Let every Christian pray
307, Our great Redeemer, as he breathed
310, Spirit of the living God
112, There is a Redeemer

‘And the fire and the rose are one’ ... a candle and a rose on a dinner table in Minares on Vernardou Street, Rethymnon, in Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and are used by permission. All rights reserved.

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