A sermon by Rev. Robin Bartlett
preached on Sunday, August 26, 2018
at the First Church in Sterling, MA
Dearly Beloved children and youth:
Here’s what I wish I was taught as a child: the best way to armor oneself against the bullies of the world is to dis-arm them.
When I was your age, I used to get real anxious about going back to school. I was not the most popular kid. Believe it or not, I was kind of shy, and very awkward. I was terrible at sports, which really mattered then. I got picked last for teams.
My oldest daughter is going into 7th grade this year, which makes me cringe in remembrance. When I was In 7th grade I thought it would be great to get what was called a “skater haircut” at the time. This haircut consisted of two levels of very short hair, and a rat tail in the back. It was bad. I had just gotten braces and glasses. I hadn’t gone through puberty yet, but I was a head and shoulders taller than every boy in my school, which made for awkward school dances.
7th grade was my first day of junior high because we didn’t have middle school, we had junior high. I was leaving my little elementary school to join all six of the other Concord elementary schools’ kids in one gigantic junior high school building. We were switching classes for the first time. We had lockers, and we had to cover our books with paper bags from the grocery store. It was both thrilling and scary.
My mom took me school shopping the week before, as she always did. My mom didn’t know what was cool to wear in junior high school in 1988, and neither did I. I hadn’t gotten there yet so I didn’t know that you had to wear a $40 Bennetton polo shirt in one of three colors (green, blue or purple) with acid wash jeans every single day. I didn’t know yet that I needed a fabric Esprit canvass bag and to look exactly like everyone else.
At the pinnacle of the shopping trip, I tried on a brown, wide-brimmed hat in the women’s accessories section. It frankly looked adorable on me, even with my bad new haircut. My mother loved it, too! She kept exclaiming over what a “hat person” I was. Before seventh grade, all that mattered to me was my mother’s opinion, and my mother thought I was the most beautiful person in the world.
Mom bought the hat for me, even though it was rather expensive and she was a single mom with no money. That hat was instantly my favorite thing. I went home and stared at myself in the mirror wearing the hat, posing and grinning.
The first week of school, I was invited to the movies by a new friend I made.
To get ready for my movies debut, I put on one of my best new outfits: a white, silky button-down top, buttoned all the way to my neck, baggy khaki pants with the cuffs pegged and rolled, and my new hat. I felt pretty mature and like I had a new lease on life as I primped in the mirror. I met my new friend, and her mom drove us to the movies.
Almost as soon as I got there, I noticed a group of cool eighth grade girls pointing and giggling at me. I wasn’t sure at first, but soon the pointing and giggling turned into raucous laughter. “Look at that 7th grader’s hat! She looks like a boy!” they roared loudly. I left the movie theater, and red-faced, threw my prized hat in the trash. I called my mother on a pay phone to pick me up. I was sobbing uncontrollably.
She did, driving white knuckled all the way there. I didn’t even see the movie, and I never got to go to Friendly’s afterward to order my favorite Reeces Pieces sundae.
That memory is even more disturbing to my mother to this day than it is to me.
As parents and grandparents and the people who love you (which is all of us), we want to cloak you in armor when you go back to school. Not because we worry about your education, but because we want you to know yourself beloved and beautiful and whole, just as you are. We want our opinion of what you look like to be most important. We want your teachers to really see you, and your heart. We want you to have friendships that are life-giving and mutually supportive. We want you to feel a sense of belonging. We don’t want you to assimilate to the sameness of the crowd….we want you to be who you are, just as God made you. We want you to know that your haircut doesn’t matter because every hair on your head is numbered by God and adored. We want you to know that getting the best grades doesn’t matter because you don’t have to be perfect or even good to earn God’s love or our love. We want you to know that being good at sports doesn’t matter because what matters most is that you walk softly on this earth, knowing that it is God’s.
Here’s what we worry about most of all: We don’t want you to be mean to other kids to fit in, or because of your own insecurity. We are even more terrified that instead of being the kid who is picked on, that you will be the mean kid that picks on others. We want you to be brave and kind. That means loving others the way God loves you.
We know we are asking a lot of you. Following the Way of Jesus is not easy, and it takes a special kind of bravery.
Sometime between 60 and 100 AD, the Apostle Paul wrote a letter that we call “Ephesians.” He wrote this letter for non-Jews who had recently hopped on the Jesus bandwagon. We call those folks “Gentile converts,” which is a fancy way of saying “new Christians.” Paul wanted to tell this group of new Christians how to live in a world full of bullying, meanness, violence and greed.
He was writing to people in a place called Ephesus where there were lots of rich people who owned slaves. These rich folks had power over everyone, including their children and their wives, and they weren’t used to sharing power, or treating people who were weaker equally.
But they were forming a new Christian community that suddenly included women, men, youth and children, rich and poor, slaves and free. So Paul wanted to tell them how to be more caring and good to one another…how to relate as equals even though they never had been before.
This new way of living was radical, and it was even illegal. And so it made people in power angry. The Apostle Paul, therefore, was trying to tell these new Jesus followers not just how to live differently, but how to do it without attracting attention. Because if the rulers of the place figured out what the new Christians were doing, they could be persecuted…bullied by those in power, even thrown in jail. In fact, Paul wrote this letter from his jail cell. There was a lot at stake.
In Paul’s final words in his letter, he uses war imagery to tell the Ephesians what they should do to protect themselves. “Put on the whole armor of God” he tells them. Put on the “belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness”; “the helmet of salvation” and the “sword of the Spirit,” he says.
As new Christians, they had stopped using weapons altogether. They took literally Jesus’ teaching to “turn the other cheek”, and to lay down their swords.
But Paul was not really asking them to arm themselves with weapons of war, but to dis-arm their enemies by wearing the shield of faith. He was telling them to put on the dis-armor of God.
The dis-armor of God isn’t military armor at all. It’s not a bulletproof vest; it’s the breastplate of justice. It’s not the ability to make fun of others until they feel less than, it’s deep trust in the power of faith to stop the burning projectiles of evil and hate. Whatever helps to prepare us to proclaim the Gospel of Peace is where our power comes from. It doesn’t come from weapons or weaponized words.
That is what real strength looks like, my young friends. Dis-arm yourself, so you can dis-arm your enemies. With humor, with kindness, and yes, with love. A bully wants you to get angry, to fight back. When you respond with anger or fear, the bully wins. But if you respond with kindness, the bully is caught off guard, and you win. Adults—this is especially true of us, as well.
So beloved children and adults of First Church:
Put on your dis-armor of God.
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.
This year at school, say what is true always. Don’t lie and cheat. Own up to your mistakes. Be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to be who you are, even if it is different from all of the others. If your friends are doing something wrong, stand up for what’s right. If a weaker child is suffering, reach out to them and stick up for them.
This year for shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
The Good News our scripture talks about can be summed up this way: God loves you wastefully and extravagantly. God loves everyone else that way too. If you are going to put on the peace of God for shoes, you will walk in that love.
Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
The devil says that you are not worthy, that you are less than, that your clothes are not cool enough, that you are not smart enough or good enough. Don’t let other children and adults tell you who you are. Put on your shield of faith: the one that reminds you that you are worthy, you are whole, you are precious, you are loved. Wear it always.
Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Salvation is a fancy way of saying that we are destined to be united with one another and with God. So when we have fallen short or messed up or hurt someone, that’s not the final word. The words that people say to us pass away, but the word of God stands forever. Take the sword of the spirit with you, to remind you that love wins in the end. If love hasn’t won yet, it means its not the end.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all people everywhere.
Beloved children of God, pray for every single person that you encounter this year. Do it before you go to bed, and before you get up in the morning. Pray for the weird kids, the weak kids, the kids who have different learning needs, the kids who worship differently than you do or not at all, the kids whose religions are not represented during the school’s holiday celebrations. Pray for the mean kids, the popular kids who are insecure themselves and just trying to fit in. Pray for your teachers, who work hard to love all of you, and give you the gift of literacy, who nurture your creativity, who open a world to you that is so much bigger than the world you currently live in. Pray for the lunch ladies and the people who work so hard to make your school clean and safe. Pray for your parents and grandparents, because you are their heart walking around outside of their bodies. Letting you get on a bus each morning is a daily exercise in letting go.
And we will pray for you. On the first day of school, and every day of our lives.
Your parents still think you are the most beautiful person in the world. Believe them. That’s the way God loves you, too.
God loves everyone else that way, too.
Preached on Sunday, August 19, 2018
by Rev. Robin Bartlett
at The First Church in Sterling, MA
I have a weird job. I get paid to be wise. Even though I’m no wiser than any of you.
Yesterday, I married off a beautiful, admirable, smart, capable, deep, loving young couple, new members of this church, Walt Anderson and Katy Fazio. As I usually do at a wedding, I preached a homily meant to impart wisdom about the institution of marriage. My daughter Cecilia told me that I cracked too many jokes. “Mom, I think people like you but sometimes your preaching is a comedy show with a few facts about Jesus.” P.K.s are so harsh.
I probably use too much comedy because I so often feel like a fraud, I play the fool. I don’t have a good track record in the marriage department or really the life department, so what do I know? All of these things that I’m telling young couples to do: love like Jesus loves, sacrifice for your partner, give and forgive, keep your promises, wake up every day ready to do it all over again…I’m not even good at that.
(A few years ago on a Sunday morning, I took the last bagel we had in the house, toasted it and consumed it before church. My husband got up and said, “Robin, you ate the last bagel knowing that this was my breakfast. And now I have to go and listen to you preach about the LOVE of GOD.”)
Wisdom is doled out all the time by the hypocrites. That’s because the truth is, wisdom isn’t knowledge that can be doled out. It can only be acquired through the humility to admit we don’t know anything.
A few years ago, the term “adult” became a verb. As in, “Too tired, I can’t adult today.” “Adulting” became something we were proud of accomplishing. It became a hash tag for getting mundane chores done, or checking responsibilities off a to-do list. People take to the internet and write things like “Got my flu shot” #adulting, and “finally designated beneficiaries for my retirement plan account” #adulting. And “When my fitbit buzzes and says I've hit my step goal, I feel like that's the signal that I've done enough adulting for the day.” On twitter, there’s a tweet that says 99% of life is finding an adult-ie-r adult to do the adulting.
At some point in our development we look around and realize that we are the adults, and its up to us to do all the things. For many of us, that’s terrifying. But I wonder if what we are scared of most of all is the idea that as adults we are supposed to know all the things. We are supposed to be the wise ones, and we don’t feel smart or old enough—-ever. We don’t feel up to the task. As professionals and parents and grandparents and taxpayers and voters and citizens and the Adults in the Room, we are consistently bombarded with questions we don’t know the answers to. We are all just faking it till we make it. We constantly fear we will be found out for the frauds we are.
“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” our psalm says. In the Bible, the word translated “fear” can mean several things. It can refer to the terror one feels in a frightening situation. It can mean “respect” in the way a servant fears his master and serves him faithfully. Fear can also denote the reverence or awe a person feels in the presence of greatness. The fear of the Lord is a combination of all of these: terror, respect and awe.
God is another name for all that is unknowable and unattainable. Wisdom begins with terror, respect and awe for what we don’t know.
Jesus models for us this holy not-knowing all the time, by asking questions. To be precise, Jesus asks 307 questions in the New Testament. He is asked 183 of which he only answers 3. Asking questions was central to Jesus' life and teachings. In fact, for every question he answers directly he asks—literally—a hundred.
And then he listens to the answers. He practiced wisdom.
According to Will Gafney, in Biblical Hebrew, wisdom is as much technical expertise or craftmanship as it is intellectual knowledge. In other words, we can learn how to be wise. We can practice wisdom like a craft; like an art. For the Israelites, the heart (not the head) was the source thought and choice. If we want to become wise, we must practice asking questions, listening and being fully present to our conversation partners: we must practice feeling our way into knowing. The Buddhists remind us that what we practice, we become. We can become wise.
When I was a hospital chaplain intern, I was called to the ICU in the middle of the night one night to where a 31 year old man was imminently dying of cancer. The family had gone to Mass General as one last hope, as a lot of people do…it’s literally the best hospital in the world, so it’s a last hope hospital. So they got their hopes up upon being transferred to MGH, and then had their hopes crashed again when the doctors came in to tell them there was nothing more they could do. That’s the worst kind of pain…when all hope is lost pain.
So upon hearing there was nothing more the doctors could do to save his life, the mother asked the nurse to call the chaplain on duty. That was me. And it was my first on-call, middle of the night in the hospital experience ever. Though I had training as a therapist, I had no idea what I was doing.
When I arrived, this young man’s mother and his fiancé and his entire family were all there in the waiting room, wailing with grief. It was one of the most frighteningly helpless scenes I have ever encountered, a place I had no business being as an outsider or a not-yet minister or someone who had definitely not read enough books yet or experienced enough pain yet, a place where I had no answers.
I walked in and the mother wanted answers. She said to me angrily, with fire in her eyes, “Are you the CHAPLAIN?” I’m not even sure if I answered her. “Well, tell me, CHAPLAIN, WHY?” She held up a Bible and she waved it in my face and she said, “WHY WOULD YOUR LOVING GOD take my son from me when he is 31? When he is my world and he did nothing wrong and nothing to deserve THIS? EXPLAIN THAT WITH YOUR BIBLE.”
I just looked at her for a long minute trying to come up with something to say. Some words of comfort. Some wisdom. Something I knew. Anything. And finally I said “I don’t know.”
And she said, “Really? You came all the way here and that’s all you got? YOU DON’T KNOW?”
“No, I don’t,” I said, trembling. “But I can bring you some water.”
And I proceeded to the nurse’s station for water, and then sat awkwardly in that room, holding back my own tears of inadequacy, in a place I had no business being, with a wailing family I did not know, with absolutely no answers at all. I knew the least of anyone in the hospital room. I knew the least about the medical concerns, I knew the least about the relationships and the feelings involved. I listened to doctors and nurses explain what they knew, and they know so much. My job was to know the least in the room, and to listen carefully. That’s it. And for someone who is far more comfortable knowing everything, this was hard.
And so I asked questions. I asked this mama about her son and what she loved about him. I asked about his birth. And I asked his fiance about when they met. And I asked about their favorite place to vacation and his favorite foods. And I listened to the answers. I listened to the story of them, and I tried to become wise. And things eventually quieted down. And in the quiet I realized again that I would never have any answers to the questions. And I realized maybe what it takes to really care for other people is not knowing so much. And I realized that sometimes our presence and no answers at all is enough. It’s, in fact, all there is.
Imagine what our care for others would look like if we made a commitment to the wisdom of not knowing. We wouldn’t show up at the bedside of cancer patients with declarations like, “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle” as if we know that’s true. We don't know. We wouldn’t try to explain the unexplainable so that we could manage our own anxiety about ambiguity. We don't know. We wouldn’t say things when children die like “God just needed one more angel.” As if we know that’s true. We don't know.
We might just sit there instead, with people who need us, and say nothing but “I’m here. I won’t leave you.” We may just sit there and cry with one another. We may just sit there and be present; and be witness. Don’t just do something, sit there. Hold a hand. Listen. We may feel like fools while we sit there, which probably means we’re doing it right.
Our reading from Proverbs says that wisdom sets a table for us. Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Lay aside immaturity, and live. Walking the way of insight, wisdom beckons us.
Beloved, be fools for the sake of wisdom. What we practice, we become.
Poet Sri Chinmo Ghose writes:
My ignorance thunders:
You are nothing, I am everything.
My knowledge declares:
You know something,
But I know much more.
My wisdom whispers:
You and I know nothing of everything
And everything of nothing
READING Tina Fey’s Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat* from "Bossy Pants"
The first rule of improvisation is AGREE. Always agree and SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, “Freeze, I have a gun,” and you say, “That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,” our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, “Freeze, I have a gun!” and you say, “The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!” then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.
Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.
As an improviser, I always find it jarring when I meet someone in real life whose first answer is no. “No, we can’t do that.” “No, that’s not in the budget.” “No, I will not hold your hand for a dollar.” What kind of way is that to live?
The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “What did you expect? We’re in hell.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures.” Or if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “I told you we shouldn’t have crawled into this dog’s mouth,” now we’re getting somewhere.
To me YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.
The next rule is MAKE STATEMENTS. This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers.
In other words: Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.”
MAKE STATEMENTS also applies to us women: Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.
Instead of saying “Where are we?” make a statement like “Here we are in Spain, Dracula.” Okay, “Here we are in Spain, Dracula” may seem like a terrible start to a scene, but this leads us to the best rule:
THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, only opportunities. If I start a scene as what I think is very clearly a cop riding a bicycle, but you think I am a hamster in a hamster wheel, guess what? Now I’m a hamster in a hamster wheel. I’m not going to stop everything to explain that it was really supposed to be a bike. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up being a police hamster who’s been put on “hamster wheel” duty because I’m “too much of a loose cannon” in the field. In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.
*Improv will not reduce belly fat
preached on the Sterling Town Common
Sunday, August 5, 2018
by Rev. Robin Bartlett
There are plenty of people both sympathetic and unsympathetic to our cause who will tell you that Christianity consists of just a big list of “no-no’s” for the sake of moral purity. Just say “no” to sex outside of marriage and “no” to drinking and working on the sabbath and “no” to certain kinds of people and ideas and “no” to the “wrong” ways of worship.
But true faith begins with a big, bold “yes.” Yes, to the world as it is. Yes, to the present moment. Yes, to God.
So often, the church itself is a place of “no.” “No” to new ways of doing things. “No” to dreams that can’t fit in our budget. “No” to ideas that stretch beyond our comfort zone. It takes a great deal of faith in God to say, “yes.”
The disciples, bless their hearts, are the biggest nay-sayers of all. In our text from John, Jesus takes them up the mountain, a reference to Moses. Passover was nearing, word had spread about his ministry, and a large crowd of 5,000 was following him. The disciples had one barley loaf and two fish for the passover meal. They started to panic, much like the Israelites did in the wilderness before Moses provided them with manna from heaven.
“No, we can’t possibly feed these people. No, we will never have enough. No, we can’t do that. No no no no no.”
The disciples had so little faith!
Jesus tests them by asking a rhetorical question: “Where are we to buy bread for all these people to eat?”
The disciples fail the test. They answer Jesus’ query with a budget concern. “Not even six months salary will buy us enough,” they say. “We can’t. No."
But Jesus says “Yes. Yes, we can feed everyone. Yes we can.”
When the disciples say “there is not enough money,”
Jesus says, “there will always be enough.”
When the disciples say, “we can’t possibly feed all these people,”
Jesus says, “Oh yeah? Hold my beer.” (That’s the Robin revised standard version of what Jesus says. The New Revised Standard Version recounts Jesus’ words as, “Make them sit down.”)
When the disciples say, “There will never be enough food,”
Jesus says, “we will have so much that we will have to save all the left-overs so that nothing is lost.”
Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.”
If we say that we believe in this God who creates this kind of abundance from scarcity, we need to have an improvisational faith.
In an improvisational faith, we say “Yes.”
The first rule of improvisation is always agree. Start with a yes, and see where that takes us. Our “no”, after all, is often just an expression of our fear. An improvisational faith says the only way out of what causes us fear is “through.”
Our “yes” is a faith over fear response.
Faith in Jesus means that all are one in the body of Christ. Faith in Jesus means that the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you.” Faith in Jesus means that a straight person cannot say to a gay person “I have no need of you.” Faith in Jesus means that a liberal can’t say to the conservative, “I have no need of you.” Faith in Jesus means that a Christian can’t say to a Muslim or an atheist, “I have no need of you.”
An improvisational faith means that we find conversation partners we wouldn’t necessarily seek out on our own, and keep an open mind.
Rev. Otis Moss III says: “Improvisation and African polyrhythmic composition, layered with European scales, created this new sound in the emerging South. European instruments such as piano and bass were married to drum and saxophone. Jazz composition had a strict thematic structure, but every instrument had the right to solo. This was unheard of within the confines of, for instance, French chamber music, but now it promoted the democratic idea that each instrument was welcome to share in the composition and allowed to speak musically from the player’s own cultural context. Never during performance would the piano oppress the drum, or the saxophone tell the bass player that he or she was “three-fifths” of an instrument. They flourished together. European chamber music maintained a strict class hierarchy where only certain instruments were considered worthy of playing before aristocratic audiences. Jazz stated radically: All are welcome and every instrument has a gift to be played before the people.”
An improvisational faith teaches us that all of us have the right to solo. That each stranger is a piece of me I do not yet know. An improvisational faith teaches us a respect for what our conversation partners have created as a message we may need to hear.
Just imagine how the world might change if we started each encounter with a primal “yes!”
In an improvisational faith, we don’t just say “Yes,” we say “Yes, And.” We make statements. We become part of the solution.
St. Tina Fey says whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles. Make statements with your actions, and your voice. Be bold, especially when your opinion is unpopular. YES, AND means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Your initiations are worthwhile.
Rev Otis Moss III says that “Any good jazz band lets everyone solo. Any church serious about Christ must allow each person the opportunity to express his or her gifts. Nothing is more beautiful than when individuals find their groove and create a new chord in the church-wide composition I call A Love Supreme. In the twenty-first century church, everyone has a part in the band, and all have worth in God’s eyes.”
In an improvisational faith, it’s go big or go home. This is no time for a timid or tepid faith. Each and every one of us must play a part in the love revolution. We all have worth in God’s eyes, and we all have a part in the band.
In an improvisational faith, there are no mistakes, only opportunities.
You didn’t plan that pregnancy, that marriage to break up, that job loss? There are no mistakes in an improvisational faith, only opportunities for changing direction. In an improvisational faith, we have sacred trust in God that there is forgiveness and redemption available for all; that new life grows out of death; that resurrection is the only truth. That all things will be made new.
An improvisational faith is trusting that every mistake we make can turn into a beautiful happy accident. Like a bad marriage that leads to beautiful children, or a car crash that leads to a new understanding of the precious fragility of life on this earth.
Beloved, you and I worship a God who loves wastefully and extravagantly; who says “yes” to us; a God who can make a way out of no way. Have confidence in that Love, and trust in the moment right in front of you.
Practice saying “yes” and see where it takes you.
Do you want to live in the moment? YES!
Do you want to know the people around you better? YES!
Do you want to see God in all things? YES!
Do you trust that you can continue to learn and grow in Love? YES!
Do you trust that with God’s help we can manifest heaven here on this earth? YES!
Do you want to love others more wholly and fully, the way God loves? YES!
Do you want to be loved like that? YES!
Do you want to change this world with that love? YES!
YES! YES! YES!
Reverend Robin Bartlett is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, with dual standing in the United Church of Christ. She is the Senior Pastor at The First Church in Sterling, Massachusetts.