This week we celebrate Jesus’s transfiguration. Put simply, what we’re celebrating today is the revelation that Jesus Christ is God, not a mere prophet, or rabbi/teacher. Jesus is the truth of God’s love for us because he is the fulfillment of God’s promise to heal, restore, reconcile and recreate us in his image so that we can have life now, and eternally, with him. God comes to us in the Son, and by his Spirit, gathers us to the Father. That’s what this transfiguration is all about.
It’s also though, about a moment of recognition of this tremendous revelation by God. It’s a recognition by the disciples who say, ‘this Jesus we’ve been following, he really is God, let us keep him here on this mountain and build him a special dwelling place, sort of like a shrine. Jesus says, ‘nope’ I’m not a shrine to worship. If you want to love me, that is, if you want to worship me, first come to me, but then my friends, you need to go down from this mountain, you need to go out of this church and enact – live out – the love that I have given to you. To worship is to offer yourself to me, to come to know me, so that I can equip you to go and make more disciples by sharing my love with other people. So guess what? You’re going to need to be constantly seeking, and continually open to changing so that you can join me not on this mountain top for right now, but out in your homes, in your neighborhood, in your schools, your hospitals, your senior’s residences, your grocery stores, your friend’s houses. In other words my dear brothers and sisters: you’re going to need to grow from where you are now, so that you can become more like me, if you want to share me with others.
I’m not sure about you, but I do know that for me, and apparently (having read a lot of the literature), growth is about coming to flourish – that is to live into the person you were created to be. As for what would compel me to grow? That’s an easy one: safety, security, being loved, having purpose, mattering to someone. Here’s the thing – as most of us know – if we rely on transient, ever changing things or people (people who come and go, people who might for one reason or another leave our lives) for safety, security, being loved, and having purpose, at the end of the day, we’re not going to have a solid foundation for the seed we are, for our roots to spread, for our leaves to blossom, for us to weather the inevitable storms life throws at us. Why? Because things and people are, well finite, limited, they hurt us, they leave, they move, they get sick, they die. And as important as these relationships are – and they are exceptionally important for us – they are not the bedrock, the foundation, the cornerstone of our very lives. Your best friend, or your spouse – they might be an essential part of your life, of how you think of yourself (a best friend, a life long friend, a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a mentor, an aunt or uncle), but these people did not bring you into existence, they do not define you completely, and they cannot be with you from cradle to grave, more inward to you than your very own self is to you.
What we all are seeking – however we might pursue it or speak of it – is an unbroken endurance of embrace: of physical, mental and emotional protection, of meaning and purpose, of being desirable and desired, of being desired for who we are even when we find ourselves twisted and broken and fragile in our own particular snaggled ways. Here’s the catch though. You often hear – usually in backlash to the sort of judgmentalism and exclusion that has too often been part of everyone’s experience – that we must love people, ‘just as they are.’
But true love, perfect love, cannot actually do this. Only imperfect love, love that is limited, itself fragile, and pulled in multiple directions without knowing fully the purpose for which it was made – only imperfect love can love people ‘just how they are.’ In contrast, perfect love, will embrace you indeed, and move you to the place, in accordance with the purpose for which that love made you. How do you feel about this? Does this make your neck hair stand on end? Does this sound coercive? Does this sound as if your freedom is being somehow suppressed? I have heard this said many times: I must be free to do as I please; if you love me, you will let me do what I want.
But is, ‘being free to do what we want, truly what we want?’ Think for a moment about those times you’ve been really hurt and you want to strike back at that person to get revenge. Have you ever actually done that? How’d that work out for you in the long run? I know several lost friendships, even marriages where someone was free and ‘did just what they wanted.’ The consequence turned out to be harmful to themselves and others. I’ve seen this with people who continue on with drugs and alcohol, or with sleeping around or open marriages. The root problems for why people did these things only ever being addressed when really serious consequences devastated them.
In contrast to freedom, unchecked, I have seen parents financially cut off and institutionalize their children who were addicted to drugs, who had eating disorders, who committed crimes. And in all these cases, wow, have I seen shame. Massive shame, anger, rage, embarrassment, fear, and desire for rebellion. How dare you strip me of my freedom to be me. How dare you judge me. How dare you try to correct me. How dare you try to redirect me. F- you. I want my freedom. Here’s the thing, while our collective human push for freedom has taken many shapes and forms, and our individual lives may have looked like some of these cases, or perhaps in far less drastic ways, one of the things that each one of us shares, are things that – when seen through the lens of perfect love – ought to bring us shame. This, my friends, is sin. Sin takes so many forms that I cannot possibly name the ways it is manifested in our own lives, in our own reasoning, in our relationships with others, in things we do or don’t do, in ways that are unknown to us (that others can often see when we can’t).
The thing is perfect love refuses, actually, to accept us just as we are because doing so would leave us without the capacity to go out and share God’s love with others. If perfect love just left us where we are – we would be left thinking, ‘hey, it’s okay to respond in this really nasty way,’ or, ‘it’s everyone else’s fault that I’m always angry or moody, or irritable,’ or, ‘I’m going to constantly criticize this person, never give them credit because I want them to be just like me and what I want, rather than grow into who they actually are.’ If perfect love did not shine light on the things we do out of fear, anger, bitterness, envy, jealousy, greed, sloth, gluttony, avarice, and lust, we would be left in a degenerate world where our meaning was solely about what power we could wield over ourselves and others.
Our reading today, about the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ – God’s revealing his presence, his power, his creation of us, his reconciliation of us, his love for us that reshapes how we even think of the good – this is fundamentally about the truth, not A TRUTH, but THE TRUTH, being unveiled. No longer can you and I live our lives as if the truth of God in Christ has been veiled to us so that we can’t see it. We have been baptized and adopted into God’s family. We are his children through Jesus Christ. In his Holy Spirit, the love he pours out that constitutes his very being, corrects, burns away, chastens, and reforms us into the image of his Son. This is why the disciples bow down in fear: they recognize the truth. God has come and because he is perfection fulfilled in Jesus’s own life, he enables us to see where our words and actions don’t live up to his own way of loving his neighbors and enemies; not always accepting as I said above, but when questioning, or critiquing, or challenging and correcting, doing it in a way that will enable a person to endure it and actually be transformed into Jesus’s own likeness too. AMEN.
I want to focus today on Paul’s letter to the Church in Corinth. And just a reminder that when we hear Paul speaking to this particular congregation, we should also hear Paul speaking to us here at St. Matthias. That’s how God works. He definitely gave words to Paul to speak to a particular time and place and context, but God’s word extends well beyond that particular place and time and so even to us today. How so, because we have been made members of this same body, the Church, through Jesus Christ. So what Paul says to the Corinthians, he says to us too.
So what does God have to say to us through his servant Paul? Well, here we go:
3:1 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh.” Ouch. What does Paul mean here that this Christian body is still ‘of the flesh?’
This is what Paul says: “For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?” So quite literally, Paul is looking at the behavior of these Corinthian followers of Jesus – these folks like you and I who have been baptized into Christ and brought into his body which we call the Church – and he says look you’re behaving in ways that suggest you are setting your goals in accordance with the ways of this corrupt world rather than with the ways Jesus lived and showed to you. So what exactly does Paul mean.
He’s called out jealousy and quarrelling as particularly problematic in the Corinthian community and I’ll bet that all of us have had this same sort of experience. Jealousy gets acted out in a whole variety of ways from gossip to intentionally tearing another person down so you can appear to be better than them or at least better than you really are.
Because of course underneath jealousy is our feeling of insecurity and lack of value and worth. We are jealous of another because we feel they make us less valuable, or less worthy to other people. But when we act out of jealousy in a community of people, we end up not just hurting others by tearing them down, but we create an environment where those hearing our acting out either come not to trust us – so we hurt ourselves – or come not to trust the whole environment of the Church, and so they withdraw or leave altogether.
This jealousy Jesus calls out as problematic in the Gospels when he says, my friends, the least of you will be first. That is, those who refrain from acting out of jealousy – which often manifests as the need to appear first, better than, more than, whatever the cost to others – will be most open to grace and so receive it and so receive the kingdom of God. You who do this will be most capable and so also my best witnesses for you will show me instead of your own jealousy and insecurity to the world.
And of course usually where we see jealousy – insecurity about who we are and what value we have in God’s kingdom – we also see quarrelling. And where quarrelling exists, it is hard for anyone to see Jesus Christ as the one whom quarrelers worship. Think for a moment about the story of the brothers Cain and Abel. Both Cain and Abel are going about their business of being the people of God, worshipping and offering to God through their labor. God accepts Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. Cain is angry, he is deeply jealous of Abel. So he says to Abel, ‘let’s go to work for God, let’s go out to the field,’ let’s get together and do work in the church … and when they’re doing their work for God, Cain rises up and kills Abel. But of course God sees this and says, “Cain, your jealousy will be your curse; your quarrel with your brother has destroyed your own capacity to work for me, the Lord.”
God will end up providing for Cain nonetheless, but the consequence of Cain’s jealousy and quarrelling remain to us this day a sign of tainted fruit; an unproductive fruit tree; to have one’s work burned up and to thereby suffer loss and so saved, as Paul says in the verses just beyond those we read today, “only as through fire.” In other words, it is not that your works will necessarily lead to your damnation – for God has mercy on his people through the glut of their deepest sins – yet one must know that that mercy comes with the consequence of experiencing Cain’s own consequence: a life saved but only through the refining fire, that, because of his own actions, will bring much personal struggle and suffering.
Jealousy and quarreling then are symptomatic of one’s failure to recognize something essential to faith: we don’t belong to a particular congregation, to a particular Church, to a particular job, to a particular human being. These things DO NOT define who we are. No, my friends: we belong to God through Jesus Christ who draws us ever closer to him in his Holy Spirit. Listen to what Paul says here:
3:4 For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely human? 3:5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 3:6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 3:7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.
You see the Corinthians here were doing something the disciples had done with Jesus: they were attempting to secure themselves, to get rid of their fear and anxiety and insecurity by asserting that they belonged to Paul or to Apollos, and so because of this, they possessed the truth and everyone else was wrong. This assertion to have the truth and to be right because they belonged to a particular leader or congregation – Paul or Apollos – led to jealousy and quarrelling with one another, to the point that it blinded them to the actual truth: they belonged first and foremost to Jesus Christ. That all their self-assessment, all their work, all their lives, belonged to God in and through Jesus. To grow as a Christian, and particular as a witness or disciple, one must learn, as Cain had to, to accept this reality. You belong to Jesus Christ. This is who saves you, IN ORDER THAT, you might show his light to the world. And if you’re going to show his light to the world, then you have to choose to live not for your own needs and comforts, not out of fear, not out of insecurity, but out of the confidence that God has accomplished all things for you in Jesus Christ. This goes to your life right here and now: how do each of you, who in just a few minutes will hear the results of our survey, decide to witness to Jesus Christ? Is it out of fear or faith? Is it out of a sense that you ought to be served, or that you are a servant of God? Are you willing to set aside your fears, anxieties, jealousies, and quarrelling for the sake of showing this community to whom you belong? This is the decision before us, just as it has been before every Christian community through time right back to the Corinthians. We belong to God in Jesus Christ through his Holy Spirit. We are held, secured, moved, loved, shaped and formed by this reality … are we willing to acknowledge that and step into what might seem scary, worrisome, frustrating, with a sense of faith and hope? Or will we demand that we belong in to a modern day Paul or Apollos?
Last week I talked about what I think all our readings focused on: humility. And then I expanded on our gospel and Epistle lessons to explore what God means by humility. In concise summary, what I think God means by humility is to let go of what we cling to so that we can receive God’s grace and then share that grace, through our particular lives, gifts, and circumstances, with other people. In this way, we show people who Jesus is. That’s why humility is so important: so that we can get ourselves out of the way to show people who God is. It’s not that we’re unimportant. The particular people we are is extremely important or God wouldn’t have made us at all, or in the particular way he did. It’s that who we are has a purpose greater than and ultimately more fulfilling than mere self-fulfillment. What truly fulfils is to use the fullness of who we are to point to the very being and meaning of life: God whom we encounter, see and seek to follow, in Jesus Christ.
This week we hear, most particularly in our OT reading from Isaiah, a specific aspect of exercising humility. God’s message to his people starts as it might for us. Hear these words of God to us:
58:2 Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
58:3 "Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?" Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers.
58:4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high.
58:5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
Just for a moment think about how we often conceive of being humble. Ironically, it’s often all about us! I remember in seminary everyone talking about how they were going to do some elaborate fasting. It was hilariously emotionally and spiritually immature, like children or unformed disciples saying, ‘I’m first, no I’m first,’ Lord tell me who is the first among us, see how much I fasted today. People made their fasting into a kind of competition of suffering. God will see that I am THE MOST HUMBLE and MOST DESERVING because I’m going to fast the hardest: nothing but mere sips of water through Lent my friends. Surprise surprise when one of my professors pointed out that fasting wasn’t about us and our capacity, but rather about opening up to receive God more fully, so that we could direct our particular gifts to witness and so to caring for and serving others.
What was my professor getting at? God’s rebuke to this false notion of humility that is about securing one’s own sense of security and righteousness. Listen to God’s words: 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?” Humility shouldn’t be confused with doing things in order to gain recognition, or notoriety, or acceptance. The true humility, a true fast, is about letting go of the things that push God away, that shield you from his fire, his cleansing, his rebuke, so that when cleared out of your life, you can make space, time, effort, and enduring and persevering commitment to care for others.
Now let me correct a wooden interpretation here. When we hear about the hungry, the poor, the naked, we tend to think only of those who are maybe out on the streets, or who are somehow socio-economically lesser than us. This is literally true, but it is not the whole truth. The whole truth is that every single person, whether rich or poor, in high or low status, every single person can be poor or naked or hungry. How so? For love, hungry for love, for attention, for acceptance. Everyone can be poor. Poor in character, poor in ability to understand, to endure, to persevere, to survive, to sustain mental or physical health. Everyone can be naked. Naked in having been stripped down through abuse, through shame, through crippling anxiety, exposing them in their raw, unclothed state, to the thorns of our cultural demand for endless stamina, productivity, and excellence; a habit that makes so many, though naked, cover themselves with arrogance, anger, hatred, bigotry, alcoholism and drugs.
So yes, absolutely, we are called, as Christians, to make space in our hearts and minds for those who are literally poor, on the streets, who are hungry because they literally don’t have enough carbohydrate and protein to sustain their body weight or they struggle to know where they can get enough from day to day. But we are called to recognize that this is not the limit of what God is saying to us here. God is saying that we must recognize that all of us have and will fallen into this state, and therefore that as we look around this room, this neighborhood, this city, this province, this country, our continent and this world, we are called to see everyone as those in desperate need of God’s grace, of his food, of his water of life, of his body and blood, of his ark, the cross, upon which all human life depends.
It is not enough to put money on the plate for some special cause of poverty, even though we absolutely ought to consider doing this if we can. The widow comes and she gives all that she has, though she has so little. What it is that she gives, what God demands from his people, Israel and Church, you and I, is that we give up clinging to things for security, power and control in this world, so that we can be made catalysts, witnesses, examples, knowers and lovers of God for others to see; so that all those who hunger and thirst, all of those who are lost and desperately seeking, might not be turned away by our wickedness and our selfishness and our self obsession and our entitlement and our grandiosity and our laziness, but turned to God, by our love, by our patience, by our kindness, by our willing to step out of ourselves and our fears and anxieties and hatreds to love our neighbor and our enemy, to give to the other our whole lives, as Jesus gave himself to us.
If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
58:10 if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
58:12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in.
If you do these things: 58:9a Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. AMEN.
One of the saddest hypocrisies I’ve encountered in Christian life in the academy and in the Church, is the extremely basic and clear overarching demand God has for his people to act with humility and so with love, patience, kindness, self-control, compassion and gentleness, and the all too often boisterous, ego driven striving for power, control, influence, winning, achieving, and lauded work-a-holism lived out by far too many theologians, ordained and laypersons within the Church. To be blunt, this hypocrisy is a turn off to the faith. It makes it appear as if Christians don’t believe what they say about God’s power, God’s timing, God’s ordering and God’s faithfulness, so that their own works appear to be mere human desires with Jesus mentioned to up the ante of legitimacy.
What do I mean here? Well, just a few examples: I’ve seen really famous and well-respected Christians scholars repeatedly (not just one time) speak of other scholars in their own or other fields, with condescension and vitriol. And so while said scholar might make a valid critique of another’s work, that valid critique is lost because of the lack of humility, kindness, and self-control exercised by the critical scholar. Likewise I have encountered bishops who, pressured by high profile priests with power in a diocese, have unfairly condemned a priests with lesser power when that priest calls out some behavior or action of the higher powered priest. I have seen rampant examples, within numerous Christian Churches, of tattling on someone to a third party rather than, as God in Scripture commands, ‘going directly to that person.’
The result, in almost all of these cases, is a loss of trust in relationships and so a loss of capacity to exercise any authority, order or discipline. In other words, what I have seen – over the last fifteen years of being a Christian – are far too many examples of impoverished witness. And I think it is this impoverished witness that, over time, has broken down relationships where people willingly submit and commit themselves to one another. After all, when civil law, or one’s capacity to obtain a position in government, or in business, or in society in general, is no longer dependent upon one’s belonging to a church, why would one willingly submit themselves to a group of people who claim to have this particular God, but whose lives do not take the shape of the one true relationship they purport to proclaim: Christ’s own. Why would someone willingly submit themselves to any relationship, let alone a mere moral rather than civilly enforceable authority, when the life of those to whom you would be joining do not have the humility, kindness, gentleness, patience, and self-control displayed by Christ?
Jesus says today: “5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He does not say, blessed are those who are self-righteous and don’t mind telling everyone what they always think is ‘the right way to do things.’ In fact, Paul says to the Corinthian Church about that today: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart." Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” What Paul is echoing in Jesus’s own thought here is not that knowledge and wisdom and debate are bad things at all. What both are driving at is the basic need for humility, patience, listening, hearing, being gentle, and seeking to teach and be taught, when speaking to one another, rather than seeing relationships in the church and in life, as something to win, or as those we’re in relationship with as those to be conquered. To ‘win over’ someone to Jesus Christ isn’t to convince them of your truth; it is rather to give them the time and space, to provide relational structure and even sometimes discipline, to help them to drop their defenses so they can hear and go up to Jesus Christ so that HE can change them.
Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I have sometimes seen Christians treat a death, a funeral, or someone’s suffering, as a personal pulpit opportunity for their own individual niche issue. In fact, I was talking to someone this week – someone seeking pastoral advice – who told me that she trusts few priests because she’s been to several funerals where priests have lambasted those in the congregation for not coming to Church. This is the foolishness of the world because it turns people away from God. It closes off the space the Church, in obedience to God, has created for those who have lost someone, to lament, to cry out, to express their sadness at loss, their recognition of our frailty, and to hear of grace and of our hope for reconciliation and restoration and resurrection in God. Jesus says here: pay attention to the particular context you are in. It is not wrong to express sadness or to lament or cry out in anger or frustration or loss; make space for this so that God might come into that person’s life more deeply to comfort them. And Paul would add, do not use this time of sadness, of emotional breakdown and vulnerability for someone else, to fulfill your agenda.
"Blessed are the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who are pure in heart, for they will inherit the earth, and see God.” Too often people have characterized meekness as a kind of passive or weak character trait. This is not what Scripture means by meek. When Jesus is speaking here, what he means is that those who exercise humility will inherit the earth. Those who exercise humility will first listen to, watch for, and wait on God’s presence, his will, his timing. They will, therefore, be slow to anger, quick to listen. The reason they will inherit the earth is quite simple: to exercise humility in relationships is to live into Jesus Christ himself. To exercise self-righteousness, generally born out of fear and ensuing anger, frustration, and learned helplessness, is to live into the flesh, which is dead; which, that is, has no purpose and so must endlessly be refilled by seeking self-affirmation, or consumption.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. The thing is, when one lives with humility, living into the righteousness that Christ displayed for us, our expectations begin to change. Look for example at Paul. Recall how he tells us in the Epistles about his ‘successful career’ as a Jewish leader. He had everything, he was a man of the world and of God, he was strong, powerful, influential and given power and authority by others. Today, he says, and then when Jesus spoke to me through his Spirit, I realized that all the worldly things that I thought should order my life, they are nothing, meaningless, in the Kingdom of God. All the things of this world are just tools of this time to get us through life, but we do not bring these with us when we die, and they do not dictate our life after with God. So they are transient. Cling to them as if they are eternal and you shall live a foolish life. Cling to your power and your authority, cling to ways that harm others and distract them or dissuade them from Christ and you will live a meaningless life, a thwarted life ordered to the death of the flesh. To live the life of Jesus Christ – of humility, of kindness, self control, patience, generosity, etc – this stuff really does look foolish to this world that is perishing. It makes no sense. It can make us look as if we’re suckers, even lazy for not working our fingers to the bone like those rich execs or entrepreneurs of the world, of being patient and filled with self-control where a stronger person might fight, conquer, win, and prove strength and power, and gain a false authority (God has already said is overcome in Christ). The merciful receive mercy because their expectations of what they are owed and what they feel freed to give, what they feel the desire to give, changes. Life is no longer a matter of entitlement and control, but of learning to love and recognizing in that, the mercy of having first received life in the love of God by which that happens.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” When we live with humility, when we seek to live out Christ who is within us and also drawing us to him as we see in Scripture, we come to recognize God’s mercy in our having life at all. From this, we can seek to live righteously because we know by whom we’ve been made, and to whom our lives are to be conformed. This might make us look foolish if we compare how our lives might look to the ways of the world. The ideas of poverty, chastity, self-control, giving for the sake of others, being slow to anger, working to overcome our disagreements and anger or fear or frustration, yeah, that does look foolish – or at least unusual given how we see so much of our world look. But then, I go back to my opening statements: when the Church does not follow this way of Christ’s foolishness, history demonstrates that it repels rather than attracts others. The odd thing about the foolishness of living as Christ himself did for our sakes, is that it is precisely when this self-giving humility takes place, that new life, that followers, that seekers, come knocking. Why? I would suggest it is because this life – Jesus’s own – is the core self, our home, our very being, that every human made in his image seeks. So let us then seek to follow this foolish one into true life. AMEN.