Lectionary Commentaries for August 6, 2017
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

from WorkingPreacher.org


Commentary on Matthew 14:13-21

Jennifer T. Kaalund

On a recent field trip with my daughter’s class to a nature center, the class was taught about metamorphosis.

There are two types of metamorphosis that animals can undergo: (1) complete metamorphosis (for instance, a caterpillar goes through four distinct phases in order to become a butterfly); and (2) incomplete metamorphosis. An example of incomplete metamorphosis is a chicken. A chicken goes from an egg to a chick to a chicken. Essentially once the egg hatches, the chicken simply grows from a smaller version of itself to a much larger form of itself. Both forms of transformation can be witnessed in the Gospel of Matthew.

The role of Jesus as a teacher in Matthew 13 shifts to Jesus’ role as a miracle worker. As described earlier in the gospel, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people” (Matthew 4:23). As a result of Jesus’ ministry, large crowds follow him. In 14:13, Jesus once again leaves the crowd and takes refuge in a boat and once again the crowds follow him (see 13:1-2). One of Jesus’ most recognized miracles is found in this text, but it occurs only after he spends time healing the sick people.

After seeing the crowd, Jesus felt compassion for them. We often emphasize the miracle, but overlook the sympathy that literally moves Jesus. Jesus’ compassion compels him to act. So, too, should it be with us. While we may feel sympathy for someone, how often does the emotion result in action? Jesus cures the sick people in the crowd because he cared for them. Apparently Jesus’ healing had taken a great deal of time because his disciples come to him and suggest that he send the crowd away.

The disciples’ request is not malicious. They simply are aware of their location (a deserted place) and the time (the day has turned into evening). Jesus says to the disciples, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat. They replied, ‘We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish’” (Matthew 13:16). Although the disciples approach is understandable — it’s getting late and people are probably starting to get hungry — Jesus seems perplexed by the disciples’ request to send the people away. Why would they leave when the disciples had food?

The miracle of Jesus feeding more than five thousand men, women, and children is a widely studied miracle. Some scholars focus on the blessing of the loaves and bread and suggest that this miracle is perhaps the precursor of the communion meal. Others focus on the satiated crowd or the symbolism of the twelve full baskets. While all of these observations are notable, the simple detail that Jesus did not send the people away is also remarkable. Instead of commanding them to leave, he orders them to stay and sit down on the grass. He then gets to work doing what he has come to do — curing every disease and sickness among the people. The multiplication of the loaves of bread and the fish harken to the previous parable that Jesus speaks to the crowd concerning the mustard seed. The kingdom of heaven produces a plentiful harvest from the smallest of seeds.

This miracle demonstrates that Jesus attends to the physical needs of the people. He does not focus solely on their spiritual health through his teaching. He is also concerned that they are sick. He empathizes with those who are hungry. Are Christians today as concerned about the physical health of God’s people as Jesus is or do we focus only on our spiritual health? Like the disciples, do we naively send people away when we think our resources are too limited to have an impact?

Perhaps there is much to be gleaned from this ancient example to address two major issues in our society today — healthcare and hunger. The debate in the United States concerning the healthcare system is based on the principle of whether one views it as a right or a privilege. The healthcare system is the way that we care for our sick today. Are the appropriate resources allocated to this care? Does it meet the needs of most, if not all, of our citizens? Are we more concerned with political party affiliations or seeing the sick healed? Jesus, moved by compassion, healed the sick and we should do likewise. Today, we can advocate for a system that is more akin to the kingdom of heaven and less like the ancient Roman imperial system that God’s kingdom opposed.

There is still a need to feed the hungry in our world today. According to The World Food Program, approximately “795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That is about one in nine people on earth.”1 Hunger is related to illnesses and developmental disabilities. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a hungry child to focus in school. What are we as Christians doing to feed the hungry? Many churches have kitchens that supply food and provide meals to those in need. How can and do we contribute to these efforts? Your offering can be the “little” resources (like that of the disciples) that when blessed and added with others can bring forth an increase. Planting gardens, giving of our excess, and advocating for and supporting programs that feed the hungry are all ways that we, too, can bring forth God’s kingdom on the earth.

After teaching the crowds and instructing his disciples about the kingdom of heaven in chapter 13, Jesus makes the kingdom of heaven real through his acts of healing and performing miracles in this text. In the kingdom of heaven, there is compassion, people share their resources, and there is more than enough for everyone. At this point in the gospel, perhaps the disciples had only gone through an incomplete metamorphosis. Although they had grown and were maturing in their faith, they had not been completely changed. Experiencing a complete metamorphosis means going through the four stages of development and being totally transformed into a new creation. When this total transformation occurs, we, like Jesus, can be moved by compassion and attend to both the spiritual and physical needs of God’s people.


1. https://www.wfp.org/stories/10-facts-about-hunger. Accessed June 15, 2017.

First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 55:1-5

Michael L. Ruffin

Revivalism heavily influenced the Christian tradition in which I was raised and in which I served for much of my career.

In that tradition, the invitation hymn is a regular part of the worship service. The hymn, which follows the sermon, is an opportunity for people to come forward in response to the Spirit’s prodding (and perhaps the preacher’s pleading).

Isaiah 55:1-5 sounds like an invitation hymn. Think of it as an ancient “Just As I Am.”

The Audience

This “hymn’s” invitation was offered originally to exiles in Babylon by an anonymous (to us, but probably not to them) prophet whose words are found in Isaiah 40-55. People from Judah had been in exile there since the Babylonian invasions of the early sixth century B.C.E. Now, later in that century, the opportunity to go home was in sight, since Cyrus of Persia, who had less restrictive policies than the Babylonians toward subject peoples, was on the move (see Isaiah 44:28; Ezra 1:1-4). Maybe a few people were still around who remembered Judah, but most of the people hearing these words had never seen the land of their ancestors.

How can we lead our listeners to imagine themselves as exiles? It seems a necessary effort if we want them to experience this text appropriately. Maybe it doesn’t take a lot of imagination. The plight of exiles (refugees, immigrants) fills the news. Many of our communities are home to people who have been forced to leave their native lands. Some of our churches play an active role in resettling refugees.

But we need to be careful about drawing too straight a line from the exiles of Second Isaiah’s time and the refugees of ours. I say that because the prophet assumes that his audience deserves its exile. They are where they are because of their sins. There was more to it than that. Geopolitical realities had a lot to do with it; empires do what empires do. Still, the prophet (along with many other biblical voices) interprets the exile as God’s judgment. We don’t want to imply that exile is necessarily a judgment for sin. (Although we could make a strong case that most forced exiles result from corporate sin, especially that of the ones forcing people into exile.)

So we need to ask ourselves: in what sense are our congregations experiencing exile? In what sense are they looking to go home?

The Offer

God offers the exiles the realities that make for real and abundant life. If they will respond positively to God’s invitation, they will “live” (verse 3a). In presenting God’s offer, the prophet makes use of food and drink symbolism. Food and water are essential to human life. So the prophet begins, “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!” (verse 1a). But the offer goes beyond the basics: “Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (verse 1b). “Rich food” (verse 2b) is available. The life God offers is full and rich.

It is full and rich because it is based on God’s grace and love. The “rich food” God offers the exiles in which they are called to “delight” (verse 3b) is “an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David” (verse 5b). God offers to let the people be the means through which the promises made to David will continue. Those promises also continued through Jesus and continue to continue through the church.

And it’s all free. God offers all of this “without money and without price” (verse 1b). We get what we don’t pay for. All we have to do is accept what God offers.

An offer we can refuse

It’s a mystery why anybody would say no to such an offer. No doubt many in the prophet’s time did. Maybe some of them were as suspicious of a free offer as some of us are. Twenty-five years ago, my family moved and needed to find a bank where we could deposit our less-than-considerable funds. One bank had billboards advertising “really free checking.” I called the nearest branch and asked the lady who answered, “Would you please tell me about this really free checking?” She replied, “It’s really free!” And it really was. The account carried no fees.

But we were required to be responsible. We couldn’t write checks that we didn’t have sufficient funds to cover, for example. The prophet calls the exiles to take up the responsibility that would come with receiving the free gift. Like David, they were to be “a witness to the peoples” (verse 4a) and to “call nations that you do not know” (verse 5a). We might think that God’s gift being free would entice us all to receive it, but some of hesitate because it occurs to us that if it’s free for us, it’s free for everybody. And we’re not sure we want to be with everybody.

Matthew 14:13-21 is this week’s Gospel reading. It tells the story of the feeding of the five thousand, which is the only miracle of Jesus that all three Synoptics and John’s Gospel report. There is no indication that anyone in the crowd turned down the free food. In John’s account, the crowds caught up with Jesus the next day, and he asked them, “You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:26-27a).

There’s bread, and then there’s rich food.

The rich food leads to real life that receives and shares God’s grace.

Alternate First Reading

Commentary on Genesis 32:22-31

Beth L. Tanner

This week’s text continues the story of Jacob.

In Genesis 30, Leah, Rachel, and their maids produced 11 healthy sons and one daughter. Jacob asks Laban’s permission to return to his country with his family (Genesis 30:25). After some additional trickery by both men, Jacob departs on good terms with Laban. As Jacob gets closer to Canaan, first he sends gifts (32:13-21) and then sends messengers to his estranged brother Esau. The messengers return saying Esau is riding to meet his brother with 400 men. Jacob is fearful, especially since Esau’s last words to Jacob are a death threat (27:41). Jacob sends his family and all he has in front of him, placing them between him and Esau (verses 22-24) leaving Jacob on the far side of Jabbok River, alone with his fears.

Today’s lectionary text is mysterious. “Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak” (verse 24). Was it a dream, as 28:10-22? Was it a metaphor for his fear or his brother? Was it an angel or God? The text never identities for the “man.” However, we are uncomfortable with not knowing the man’s identity, so we speculate. But this speculation leads to no firm answers. If the identity of the “man” is not disclosed, maybe his identity is not the point of the story, and we need to search elsewhere. So what else do we learn from this narrative?

First, the encounter left Jacob wounded: “When the man saw he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him” (Genesis 30:25). We do not know if the injury was permanent, but the text notes he was limping as he left the place (verse 31). The encounter left a mark, a remnant that Jacob carried away from the place. We also learn Jacob did not give up the fight, the “man” did. Jacob was tenacious and at daybreak, he “won” the match by refusing to let go.

Life is sometimes like that. Things happen that cannot be rationalized or easily understood. We survive by nothing more elegant than not giving up. My friend’s husband died recently. She has never lived alone in her life. She is getting through the days simply by getting up and getting dressed. She is wrestling with the connected mysteries of love, God’s will, long-term life together, and grief. Most of us have had seasons in our lives where we too fight with the mysteries of life. We do not know if Jacob’s injury was permanent, but the text notes he was still limping when he left (Genesis 32:31). We carry the injuries of our struggles with mystery. Every loss, every divorce, every cancer diagnosis, every death of someone we love leaves its mark. Just like Jacob, we will leave with a limp. In preaching, we can aid folks to see that, like Jacob, sometimes all we can do is hang on. Like the text, the identity of the mystery is not needed, we understand the struggle is with life and God. Jacob struggles alone that night. Struggles are often like that also. We can share our burdens and fears with each other, but ultimately each of us must come to terms with the mystery of God and life.

At daybreak, Jacob refused to let go unless he was blessed. The man answered, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have striven (or struggled) with God and humans and have prevailed.” Think about that for a minute. We think of the name “Israel” as a noun, a name, but it means much more. It is not only about Jacob, but all of us. We are to grab the mystery of God and hang on, even when we are tired, or in pain, or have doubts. We must fight for the relationship we share with God. Sometimes that means a confrontation with God. Yes, we can be angry at God, and we can tell God we do not understand how the world works. By being honest, we are struggling to hang on in the mysterious times when the world or God’s methods or God’s kingdom does not make sense. Remaining faithful throughout our lives sometimes takes work and perseverance. This is a preaching opportunity to reflect on our side of our relationship with God. Faith is not just a gift from God; it is a lifelong pursuit of God for us and us for God. We may never have the complete answers but in the struggle to hang on to faith and God, we become stronger, and we grow.

We live in a culture that celebrates winners, those that defeat the other. They appear to defeat their doubts and losses. But if the truth is named from the pulpit, these wins are a deception. In life, often all we can do is hang on. We cannot defeat grief or heartbreak; they will leave a mark. We must be like Jacob and refuse to let go of God until a blessing provides new insights that will once again transform us. Just as God fights for us, sometimes we must fight our questions and doubts and our pain and refuse to let go until we are blessed enough to continue on this journey with God. Today if we dare, we can lift up and even celebrate our struggle for a relationship with God and the mysteries of life. Not as a platitude, but by remembering God does not give up on us, and it is our job not to give up on God. The Christian life is sometimes difficult. Jacob was far from perfect, but he was faithful. In this text, he does become a role model, not of moral perfection, but as the one who wrestled in the night and did not surrender. His new name “Israel” is a lesson worth learning.


Commentary on Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

Eric Mathis

Thomas Merton once stated “Praise is cheap,” and it seems as though these words remain true today.1

We give homage to so many things that our praise is cheap. Is it also accurate to say that our praise to God is cheap? Or, that it has at least been cheapened? Perhaps. 

Sometimes we praise God by talking so much that our words become hollow. Other times, we praise God as our heavenly Santa Claus who gives gifts we want. We also treat God as a street vendor with whom we can bargain: “I’ll give you praise if you will do (fill-in-the-blank)…” As the bargainer, we may even decide to keep shopping until something better comes along. Praise is cheap and at times we cheapen our praise to God.  How then, do we begin to claim Psalm 145 as our own when it commits us to voice our praise to God?

Psalm 145: Function and Structure
In the Psalter, Psalm 145 serves two structural functions. It is the final David psalm (Psalms 138-145), and it is the first psalm of praise in a series that ends the Psalter (Psalms 145-150). While Psalm 145 belongs to David and expresses David’s personal commitment to worship Yahweh, the psalm is not primarily about one individual’s praise.  It has a universal scope that calls the whole of creation to “praise God’s name forever and ever” (verse 2). 

Two elements implicitly hint at Psalm 145’s intended universality. The first of these is its acrostic structure. With the exception of a nûn line, each line is arranged sequentially by a letter of the alphabet. Thus, the entire alphabet is “marshalled in praise of God.”2 

In addition to its acrostic structure, the psalmist indicates the broad scope of intended praise through four commitments to worship. The first commitment, made in verses 1-2, is individual (“I will extol you, my God and King”). Verse 4 expresses an intergenerational commitment to praise (“one generation … to another”), and verse 10 expresses two corporate commitments to praise. The first is from creation (“all your works”) and the second from Yahweh’s followers (“all your faithful”). In the final verse (20), both individual (“my mouth”) and corporate (“all flesh”) commitments are made with the assurance they will endure through time (“forever and ever”).

The commitments in verses 1-2, 4, 10, and 20 are interspersed with specifics of Yahweh’s greatness and goodness.  Verses 3-6 and 11-13b illustrate the praise of Yahweh’s greatness using bold language: might, glory, great, fame, and power.  In contrast, verses 7-9 and 13c-20 capture the praise of Yahweh’s goodness, depicted through tender language: gracious, merciful, compassionate, faithful, just, and kind.  The cumulative picture presented in Psalm 145 is “a many-sided though overlapping account of the nature of worship, of Yahweh’s greatness, goodness, and concrete positive involvement with humanity.”3

The Goodness of God (verses 8-9)
The passages in this week’s Lectionary text are embedded in Psalm 145’s emphasis on the goodness of Yahweh as a touchstone for praise. Like Psalm 103 and others, Psalm 145:8 borrows language from Yahweh’s self-revelation in Exodus 34:6. Yahweh is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and full of steadfast love. Repeated use of Yahweh in verses 8 and 9 ensures that all of these attributes point to the Lord, the curator of creation. 

Verse 9 emphasizes Yahweh’s goodness and compassion to all people. Here, the word “all” seems to be uniquely inclusive. Rather than expressing a defined totality such as the nation of Israel, this passage seems to indicate that the Psalm refers to all of humanity and all of creation. Moreover, verse 9 echoes verse 1 and captures Yahweh as THE king “over all he has made,” not one king among many different kings. Walter Brueggemann suggests the rest of Psalm 145 is “best understood as an extrapolation from these verses to see how God’s characteristic self-giving is experienced in the daily blessings of creation.”4

God’s Active Care (verses 14-21)
Although the second portion of the lectionary text begins with verse 14, it may be helpful to begin reading the Psalm at verse 13c. This phrase transitions from Yahweh’s dominion and rule to Yahweh’s nurture and care for those who are frail and needy. In other words, the transcendent and powerful God is also the immanent and strengthening God. 

This transition in verse 13c may seem shocking because the powerful often ignore the weak. Yet, this is an abuse of power. “As wealth is granted in order to be shared, so power is granted in order to be exercised on behalf of the needy.”5 Hence, we should not be taken aback by Yahweh’s attention to the powerless and downtrodden.

In verse 14, the psalmist gives a picture of a pro-active God who both upholds the falling and raises those who have been bowed down. It is logical to wonder why a God who keeps people from falling would allow some to become “bowed down,” but this term may be synonymous with being knocked over by someone or something. In such an instance, it is Yahweh who will give rescue to all people. Therefore, the eyes of all will look to Yahweh who provides in due time (verse 15).

Verses 15-16 portray Yahweh as the God who gives to all living things through an open hand rather than a clenched fist. Yahweh is ready to show rather than withhold favor (verse 16), and in all things Yahweh does, Yahweh is just and kind (verse 17).

In 18b, the psalmist moves the otherwise inclusive nature of the Psalm to more specific terms. Anyone can call upon Yahweh, no matter their state, as long as they call upon Yahweh “in truth.” Verse 19 continues the specificity of 18, acknowledging that Yahweh fulfills desires for all – so long as they fear Yahweh. Verse 20a follows 19, claiming Yahweh will watch over those who love Yahweh. After twenty verses affirming the greatness and goodness of Yahweh, verse 20b provides a reality check that God will “destroy the faithless to stop them from acting oppressively.”6

The final verse of Psalm 145 expresses the commitment of the psalmist and the universe to continue in praise of God. More importantly, it suggests this praise will have an everlasting, permanent quality.

Implications for Preaching
Psalm 145 is a robust doxological assertion: the individual, the community, and the whole creation is to praise God for God’s goodness and God’s greatness. We are to participate in this praise, yet we know our praise is cheap and at times cheapens God. 

Within this tension, this week’s Psalm passages provide a glimpse of hope. They move us from generalized, hollow praise of God to recall specific and meaningful accounts of God’s goodness in our lives. They remind us of God’s ongoing tenderness towards us, the weak and needy, and they remind us that God’s goodness – just like God’s creation – is universal in scope (this week’s Old and New Testament narratives are perfect examples of God’s goodness). We are then called to invest in and proclaim the ongoing praise of our God the King whose selfless giving is manifest daily in each blessing of creation. 

Thanks be to God!


1Commentary first published on this site on July 31, 2011.

2Adele Berlin, “The Rhetoric of Psalm 145,” in Biblical and Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry, ed. Ann Kort and Scott Morschauser (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1985), 18.

3John Goldingay, “Psalm 145,” in Psalms, Volume 3: 90-150, ed. Tremper Longman, III, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 697.

4Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984), 29

5Goldingay, 702.

6Goldingay, 704.

Second Reading

Commentary on Romans 9:1-5

Israel Kamudzandu

The anguish of heart toward another fellow human being drives us to a lament, which in Christian terms is a prayer motivated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

In simple terms, the Holy Spirit moves us to an anguish of heart. Romans 9-10 is imbued with the Apostle Paul’s compassion for his own people who for some reason have not yet accepted Jesus Christ even though God has incarnated in Jesus Christ. It is this “deconversion,” or hardness of heart that drives the Apostle Paul to his knees and pours his heart out to God on behalf of his own people. Similarly, clergy — especially in the 21st century era of growing national, ethnic, tribal, and racial exclusivism — must imitate the Apostle Paul in praying for the salvation of humanity.

The church must exist with the awareness of the Pentecost event found in Acts 2 where God poured out the Holy Spirit on all nations and this miracle of diversity is what should be remembered, celebrated, preached, and taught during the Christian season of Pentecost. Church leaders must call upon the Holy Spirit to empower them to effect change in ways that glorify God. Prayer must be revived among our congregations and across all lay Christians who are the people of God. Global Christianity must be characterized with love, peace, and transformation and these values are within the realm of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, leaders must be mindful of God’s promises in spite of human unfaithfulness and that God will always watch over the “remnant, faithful Israel,” who are included in Paul’s prayer when he says, “The gifts of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

The ones who have been touched by God’s Holy Spirit or by Jesus are always under the watchful eye of God and in the end they will be saved (Romans 11:26). In other words, election is a concept not only for Judaism but also for those who have come to believe in Jesus Christ and consequently live under the Holy Spirit. Grounded in God’s calling and sustained by the promises of God, believers are marked sacramentally by baptism, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and their place is reserved in God’s Kingdom. In essence, both Jewish Christian and Gentile believers are one divine family marked sacramentally by God as kinfolks or sisters and brothers in Christ.

In some ways, Paul gives a warning to Christians that being God’s people can be a problem. It can be a problem when people fail to distinguish between a right and privilege of which the latter is true in terms of the church. In view of being invited into the family of God and of the irrevocable promises made by God to the church, especially our faith ancestors and matriarchs, the faith siblings can slide into an attitude of superiority and fail to extend God’s grace and mercy to strangers.

In some ways, justification and salvation does not depend merely on being a Christian but on the basis of being in loving relationships with others. Despite the privileges of justification and salvation, through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, Christians have the potential of being a closed community; and like Paul, church leaders must prayerfully and sadly reflect on this predicament.

As prophets in ministry, clergy must remind all who seek faith of the privilege of being part of God’s salvation history. It is not only being in the church but being part of a privileged society that can be problematic. Oftentimes, a sense of superiority comes with a belief in the inferiority of others, especially when it extends to the poor, strangers, and ethnic minorities. The metaphor of the olive tree and its branches is a rich one, especially when Christians worldwide realize that God has a way to graft others in our midst and that it is not our doing but has always been God’s plan from the time the Israelites were called.

In others, the promise to Abraham are made meaningful and fulfilled when outsiders are included in the community of faith. Arguably, Paul foresaw that God’s people will always have this problem and he grieved that the future church will be threatened by the sin of exclusion. However, it is not all Israel as a nation or even the entire church that will be exclusive but a certain brand of Christianity. The mystery of God is in many cases manifested in situations like those Paul paints in Romans 9-11, and that in the end the true “Israel,” of God will be saved. Attending church, tithing, knowing the Book of Discipline or other church rules, and being part of the church leadership hierarchy does not mean that one has attained righteousness; but what is needed is what God did in and through Jesus Christ. Thus, obedience to faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that God uses in the justification of humanity.

What then should the church teach? The answer is that the church must focus on teaching the resurrection of Jesus and its daily manifestations, enabled by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. In other words, the human condition, which is marked by chronic brokenness, can lead people not only to exclude but also to kill others. But the church has an obligation to teach about the meaning and manifestations of faith and this is the central message of Pentecost — it boils down to love of all humanity. The human condition can only be transformed by preaching and hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ who is the embodiment of God, and the church is the space and channel of the good news. Like the Apostle Paul, Christians in the 21st century must be pained by the decline of our congregations and we must pray for the revival of a multiethnic church. It is when the church becomes a diverse community that God’s “Shekinah,” or glory that was believed to dwell above the Ark of the Covenant, may also dwell above the 21st century church.

In reality, what God did for the faith ancestors and for the Jesus movement of the 2nd through 4th century is possible for the 21st century church only when another Pentecost is experienced, one in which the human family accept each other without exclusion.