The End of Going to Church
What if each of us who go to church -
The regulars and some-timers,
The grandparents and folks with kids,
The social climbers and the rhymers,
The single, married and the widowed,
The bill givers and big check signers,
The singers and the bell ringers,
The smilers and the oft-time whiners -
Would know the gospel’s what we share!
Not just the building that we pay for,
Not just committees that we’re on,
Not just the pastor and his visits,
Or her sermons, fine, to which we’re drawn;
But a treasure that no one can hold,
Cannot accumulate or save;
A strange, persistent gift among us,
From the cradle to the grave.
This is the end, the purpose for our going,
That we perceive the love we share,
So when we leave, a brand new world we’re knowing.
Scott L. Barton
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
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All Flesh Shall See the Salvation of God
All flesh shall see the salvation of God,
And not just the rulers, the well off and proud,
Not just the ones who live in the right places,
Who get lots of press and are known by their faces,
Not just the people who rule in the tabloids,
Or out on the field, with their skill or their steroids,
But you! With your wrongs, and the things you've not righted,
Will think again, seeing that God is delighted
To break every barrier that keeps separated
The folk for whom Love, all these long years, has waited!
Scott L. Barton
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”