Sarita May, A Beautiful, Graceful Southern Lady from Winston-Salem, North Carolina!

Ponte Vedra Beach’s Sarita May, A Beautiful, Graceful Southern Lady from Winston-Salem, North Carolina!

Direct from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ponte Vedra Beach's own Sarita May!

Direct from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ponte Vedra Beach’s own Sarita May!

One always remembers the very first person they meet when moving to a new area. When I rolled into Ponte Vedra Beach on Monday evening, February 11th, 2008 I joked, but it was true, that I was unemployed, homeless, and drove a minivan (with a motorcycle in tow). Coming from Texas Sarita graciously welcomed me into her home for the first two weeks so that I could get oriented to the Modern Capital of the Golf World and begin a new career in golf!

My TROML Journal entry for that very first night referenced this Southern Angel Lady as a “gift from God—my new friend Sarita May.”

Sarita's Gang, circa 2011, (L to R): Yours Tuly, Hers Truly, Chris. Sarah, & Margaret.

Sarita’s Gang, circa 2011, (L to R): Yours Tuly, Hers Truly, Chris. Sarah, & Margaret.

Along with Sarita, there was the expected “Welcoming Committee” to check out this new house guest—the neighborhood guy Chris, Alice from across the street and Chris’ house guest Mark. There were questions and conversations; a good time was had by all! This Southern Hospitality, meeting the ever expanding Sarita connections in Ponte Vedra, went on for the first two weeks! The time was well spent establishing myself in the golf community and preparing to go “out on tour” for the 4-week Florida Swing through Palm Beach Gardens,Tampa, Orlando, and Miami. By the time I left I had a job with NBC Sports during the Florida Swing and THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP at TPC Sawgrass. Life was good in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and it all started with the hospitality of Sarita May!

Sarita hosted countless social gatherings! This one a TPC Party for Andy & friends!

Sarita hosted countless social gatherings! This one during TPC for Andy & friends!

Before I left for the Florida Swing. Sarita would invite me to join her for the 9 am Service at Christ Episcopal Church. We would stay for the Rector’s Forum afterwards to further digest the Word of God. Over the years Maria and others would join us or rather I would join them as golf and life took me far from Ponte Vedra Beach for long periods of time. We would alternate hosting brunches too once I purchased my home in January 2011.

Sarita May took care in everything she did whether as a realtor or a volunteer at Christ Church!

Sarita May took great care in everything she did whether as a realtor or a volunteer at Christ Church!

Of course, my ‘adopted Mom’ was also my real estate agent and provided many renovation suggestions for my humble abode—‘my Home Sweet Home, Ponte Vedra Beach, Ocean Grove, Creative Condo!’

A talented artist, Sarita created an extra-large impressionist painting for my newly decorated Creative Condo. Entitled “Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,” here is the accompanying description that speaks so well of our dear and enduring friendship:

One of the many pieces of artwork created by Sarita May, this one a gift to me and of course my favorite! “Life's Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,”

One of the many pieces of artwork created by Sarita May, this one a gift to me and of course my favorite! “Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,”

Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise” is an Impressionist painting by Sarita May. Like Claude Monet’s 1872 piece Impression, Sunrise that defined the movement, Sarita’s creation is a landscape.

Instead of the harbour of Le Havre, France the water beneath the sunrise is the Atlantic Ocean in Sarita’s Sunrise.

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina she came to Ponte Vedra Beach by way of New York City where she studied art at the Institute of Design.

The artwork was requested by Sarita’s friend Andy Reistetter who came to the beach in February, 2008 to pursue a career in golf writing. Literally the first person he met was Sarita and he is happy to call her his “adopted mom” and that she chose to artistically capture his journey in Sunrise in Paradise. From Ragtime to the winding A1A that could have been an emerging hurricane the piece takes one to the palm tree gracefulness and TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in one adoring look.

But ultimately it is the beauty of Sarita’s Sunrise that captures the eye of the critic in a way that inspires one to seek and ultimately find their journey in life.

Sarita was always Number ONE!!!

Sarita was always Number ONE!!!

“Impression — I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship!” The words of Monet’s critic seem fitting for Sarita’s piece as well. Bon voyage!”

Over the years me and the ‘New Year’s Baby’ (her birthday was January 1st) grew older just like everyone else. We enjoyed our times together especially worship times at Christ Church and occasionally Pussers’ Friday happy hours on the balcony taking in a calm, sunlit late afternoon respite.

Though our seasons in life were slightly different, our love of life and our love of our Personal Savior and Lord Jesus Christ brought Sarita and I ever so close at times. Life at other times kept us separated. After a distant 2019 in which I was home in Ponte Vedra Beach only for 91 nights, we managed to come together for one last time on January 13th.

Worshiping at Christ Church...

Worshiping at Christ Church…

When I had lunch with her she was the most joyous, most living in tranquility, and most optimistic that I had known her in the 12 years of our special friendship. All of us are praying for David’s full and speedy recovery. I trust and believe in my faith that Sarita is in an even better place now, free of all pain and truly living an eternal life in love, peace, and joy!

John 14:2-3. “In my Father’s house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you… that you also may be where I am.”

Sarita loved here children—Elizabeth with granddaughter Lauren and Chip with wife Holly. She also loved her little dogs as much as life itself. The name of her cherished dog—”Gracie”reflects the journey all of us traveled with Sarita these past 12 years!

An Easter Sunrise Service with Sarita...

A Christ Church Easter Sunrise Service with Sarita…

 

When I look at her painting now, Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,” and read the description and dedication of eight years ago, I realize that we enjoyed a taste of the promised Salvation, Eternal Life, and Spiritual Freedom right here in Ponte Vedra Beach… but now Sarita’s Sunrise and her Paradise is far much better!

May God Eternally Bless my friend Sarita May!

PLEASE NOTE:   Sarita May was tragically killed in a senseless car accident on A1A in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on Monday Evening February 17th, 2020.

Eulogy of Sarita May Sparrow

I am grateful for this opportunity to say a few words about my dear friend Sarita. My heart goes out to her husband, her family, the Christ Church Community and all of Sarita’s friends. I feel your pain and loss too. This indeed will be a sorrowful Lenten Season.

I am wearing a tuxedo today because Sarita told me that if I ever gave her eulogy that I need to wear a tuxedo while doing so. Thank you Sarita. This is the first time that I ever had to fast on Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday so I could fit into this thing!

(Tapping chest, find another eulogy in the of the tuxedo)

Oh, and look here she even left me the eulogy to read…

The first thing being that her reported age was incorrect. She is forever 72. If retractions are not published quickly there will be Old Testament wrath to pay.

Thank you for this 30 minutes to share… what, only 3 minutes? Who ever here said hello OR GOODBYE to Sarita in 3 minutes? If you went to her house planning to leave in 30 minutes, it was always 3 hours later…

Before I make Sarita out to be the saint that she actually was… and nominate her for the Woman of the Year, yes Woman of the Year… I have to be honest and report that like all of us she was not perfect.

The only example I can recall of a Sarita imperfection, let’s call it Sarita’s inability to admit that she was wrong and to apologize. The closest I ever got to an apology was… “Andy, you must have misinterpreted what I said.”

Andy, you are 60 years old, here is how you should think, here is what you should do and here is how you should vote.

Sarita, let me get this straight, I am 60 years old, that is how I should think, that is what I should do, and that is how I should vote?

No Andy, you have misinterpreted what I said…

I loved Sarita May and I know everyone in this church loved her as well.

Sarita is not someone you forget. Her Southern beauty, charm, wit. She was artistic and creative with art, flowers, and food. Her life and her “way of life” were truly amazing.

I moved here 12 years ago almost to the day she passed. Sarita was the very first person I met in Ponte Vedra Beach. She graciously welcomed me into her home as her guest for the first two weeks.

My journal entry for that very first night referenced her as a “gift from God—my new friend Sarita May.”

Along with Sarita, there was the expected “Welcoming Committee” to check out this new house guest—the neighborhood guy Chris, Alice from across the street, Sarah the golf pro next door; later on Margaret, Maria, and so many more. There were questions and conversations; a good time was had by all!

This Southern Hospitality, meeting the ever expanding Sarita social network in Ponte Vedra has never really stopped for the last 12 years!

That very first weekend Sarita invited me to join her for the 9 am Service right here at Christ Episcopal Church. We would stay afterwards for the Clergy’ss Forum to learn more about the Scriptures. Over the years Maria and others would join us or rather I would join them as golf and life took me far from Ponte Vedra Beach for long periods of time. Sarita would typically host us for brunch after church.

Of course, my ‘adopted Mom,’ was also my real estate agent when I bought my home in Ponte Vedra Beach. She provided many renovation suggestions for my humble abode. As an interior decorator she was extraordinaire!

A talented artist, Sarita created an extra-large impressionist painting for my Creative Condo. Entitled “Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,” I wrote the accompanying description for her work of art. These words speak well of our dear and enduring friendship:

A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina Sarita May came to Ponte Vedra Beach by way of New York City where she studied art at the Institute of Design.

Like Claude Monet’s 1872 Sunrise piece that defined the Impressionist movement, Sarita’s creation was also a landscape.

Instead of the harbour of Le Havre, France the water beneath Sarita’s sunrise is our Atlantic Ocean.

In one adoring look, Sarita’s landscape takes one gracefully down a winding road from Ragtime in Atlantic Beach to the palm trees, the island green and the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass. Like life, on some days the graceful journey appears easy yet on other days as though a hurricane is emerging.

But ultimately it is the beauty of Sarita’s Sunrise that captures the eye of the critic in a way that inspires one to seek and ultimately find their journey in life.

The original Sarita Sunrise artwork is in Westbury Hall for all to enjoy after the Service.

Over the years the ‘New Year’s Baby’ and I grew older just like everyone else. We enjoyed our times together especially worship times at Christ Church and happy hours at Pussers… our late Friday afternoon respites of sunshine, tranquility and friendship.

Life at other times kept us separated. After a distant 2019 in which I was away practically the whole year, we came together for one last time on January 13th.

That day, I am forever grateful for, Sarita was the most joyous, the most tranquil, and the most optimistic that I had known her in the 12 years of our special friendship. She was in love with David.

I mentioned “WOMAN of the YEAR’ and here is my pitch for Sarita’s nomination:

Ever since I remember the theme here at Christ Church is to: BE BOLD!

Well Sarita was a woman of faith. She was BOLD in a lot of ways and recently VICTORIOUS in one particular way.

She acted on her faith and found David again, “the love of her life” and this time married him and was preparing to move back home to North Carolina. All of this at the age of 72.

Think about that and tell me of another woman who has done such a thing purely for love?

Sarita was defined by love—the love of faith, the love of life, the love of David and the love of each one of us here today… remembering and celebrating her life.

Sarita loved her children—Sarita loved her daughter Elizabeth—Sarita loved her granddaughter Lauren—Sarita loved her son Chip and his wife Holly. She also loved little dogs. The name of her last cherished dog—”Gracie”—grace itself reflects the journey that all of us has traveled with Sarita over the years!

When I look at her painting now, ”Life’s Journey Brings One to a Sunrise in Paradise,” and read the description and dedication of eight years ago, I realize that we, you, me, and Sarita enjoyed a momentary taste of the Promised Salvation, Eternal Life, and the Spiritual Freedom to be who God destined is to be… all right here on earth; all right here in Ponte Vedra Beach… but now Sarita’s Sunrise and her Paradise is far much better!

Sarita is not gone. Her spirit will live eternally and shine brighter each day.

We miss you and love you Sarita May Sparrow

 

Twenty-five Inspirational Quotes from Kobe Bryant…

Twenty-five Inspirational Quotes from Kobe Bryant…

With all credit to Flavia Medrut -December 28, 2018

With thoughts, prayers, and special intentions for the friends of, family of, and the nine souls lost in the helicopter crash on Sunday Morning, Januray 26th, 2020—Baseball Coach John Altobelli, his wife Kerri, and daughter Alyssa; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; Defensive Basketball Coach Christina Mauser; Pilot Ara Zobayan; and Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna…

“This is the moment I accept the most challenging times will always be behind me and in front of me.

Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.

The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.

Winning takes precedence over all. There’s no gray area. No almosts.

Once you know what failure feels like, determination chases success.

I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind.

I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.

I’m extremely willful to win, and I respond to challenges. It’s not a challenge to me to win the scoring title, because I know I can.

My parents are my backbone. Still are. They’re the only group that will support you if you score zero or you score 40.

The beauty in being blessed with talent is rising above doubters to create a beautiful moment.

A lot of leaders fail because they don’t have the bravery to touch that nerve or strike that chord.

The moment you give up, is the moment you let someone else win.

I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.

If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.

Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.

Use your success, wealth and influence to put them in the best position to realize their own dreams and find their true purpose.

If you want to be great at something, there’s a choice you have to make. What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that. Family time, hanging out with friends, being a great friend, being a great son, nephew, whatever the case may be.

We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.

My brain . . . it cannot process failure. It will not process failure. Because if I sit there and have to face myself and tell myself, ‘You’re a failure’ . . . I think that’s almost worse than death.

The most important thing is you must put everybody on notice that you’re here and you are for real.

Trust me, setting things up right from the beginning will avoid a ton of tears and heartache…

I create my own path. It was straight and narrow. I looked at it this way: you were either in my way, or out of it.

We can always kind of be average and do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal.

Haters are a good problem to have. Nobody hates the good ones. They hate the great ones.

It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.

Wally Armstrong: GOD’s Biggest Dispenser of Mulligans in Golf & Life since 1967!!!

With Wally Armstrong at the 2020 PGA Show.

With Wally Armstrong at the 2020 PGA Show.

How better to wrap up the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show than a spiritual Discussion with Wally Armstrong, God’s No. 1 Mulligan! Armstrong, the All-American UF Gator, never won on tour finishing second three times and 5th at the 1978 Masters, but is the all-time Winner-for-God on tour and after tour! Wally has authored numerous books including “In His Grip” with Jim Sheard in 1977 and “The Mulligan” with Ken Blanchard in 2007. His faith speaks for its self; he just hugs you and loves you to God in the most comforting and extraordinary way!

With Wally Armstrong & Kenya's Emanu Kasio (Golf For Kids)

With Wally Armstrong & Kenya’s Emanu Kasio (Golf For Kids)

In 1975, Wally’s second year on tour, his eighth year into his relationship with God; the year he finished second in the Pensacola Open he was the president of the tour’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes. That year, at the 29th Pee Wee International Golf Championship, Wally gave a golf clinic to the 269 competitors from around the world. The list of notable junior golfers to attend Wally’s clinic includes Phil Mickelson, Gary Nicklaus (Jack’s son), Laura Rinker and Nancy Lopez!

What a career Wally Armstrong has had on and off the golf course! At age 74 he is growing ever stronger! God Bless Wally Armstrong!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 1-24-20)

Wally's scrapbook from 1975!

Wally’s scrapbook from 1975!

Franklin Graham’s DECISION AMERICA Tour Kicks Off in Jacksonville Beach, Florida!

Reverend Franklin Graham & Musician Jeremy Camp... a powerful Christian Duo!

Reverend Franklin Graham & Musician Jeremy Camp… a powerful Christian Duo!

Franklin Graham’s DECISION AMERICA Tour Kicks Off in Jacksonville Beach, Florida!

On a beautiful 70-degree evening, on a pavilion with lined with palm trees, and with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop for the stage, Jeremy Camp sang and Franklin Graham preached to kickoff a 6 city Franklin Graham DECISION AMERICA Sunshine State Tour!

Jeremy Camp rocked the seashore!

Jeremy Camp rocked the seashore!

 

As in any rock n’ roll evangelical church, Jeremy’s words of worship and wisdom got us up off our feet and praising Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ! Jeremy and Franklin had a tough opening act to follow—Dennis Agajanian who closed with God Bless America! Jeremy’s songs spoke of his redemption and testimony to Christ—I can see—I can hear—there is nothing we can’t do—we will overcome. The trailer to his upcoming Christian biographical drama “I Still Believe” was played. Can’t wait for it to be released on March 13th!

Evangelist Franklin Graham began with a prayer but first asked everyone present to pray out loud for a few moments. The Holy Spirit was upon us!

Reverend Graham’s sermon follow a Biblical path…

1 Timothy 2:1-3: “First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior.”

Reverend Graham shared how much his father loved Jacksonville and that he was happy to be in the warm & sunny state of Florida!

Reverend Graham shared how much his father loved Jacksonville and that he was happy to be in the warm & sunny state of Florida!

Mark 8:36-37: “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life?”

Do I believe God has forgiven my sins?

Our life is temporary… our soul is eternal…

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin separates us from God…

Isaiah 59:2: “Rather, it is your crimes that separate you from your God, it is your sins that make him hide his face so that he does not hear you.”

Are your sins forgiven? Does God love you?

Confess to God, not Franklin or anybody else…

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God. it is not from works, so no one may boast.

Salvation is a gift from God based on faith and by grace, not by works.

Other religions but only one Jesus, one Cross…

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

DECISION ANDY (AGAIN)!!!

DECISION ANDY (AGAIN)!!!

Standing and texting I asked once again to be renewed in Christ, my Lord & Savior!

One year ago it was baptisms in the Jordan River at Yardenit and Qasr Al Yahud in Israel and Palestine respectively.

Daily it is SSS Soul-Print Spiritual Exercises to be prepared to write a third spiritual book as part of TROML 2020 (celebrating 20 years of TROML Journaling on September 3rd.

Decision. Dear God, I turn from sin. I trust in Jesus. Forgive me Jesus. Thank you for dying for my sins. Come into my heart, come in too my life. Show me God’s Will for the rest of my life! This I pray in Jesus’ name. Alleluia! www.SplendidSpiritualSelf.com

Congratulations on your decision to follow Jesus Christ! I’d like to send you the Living in Christ e-book. It contains the gospel of John and four biblical lessons to guide you in your faith. Click here to access it: http://franklingraham.live/d/O5oojV6_

It will be an amazing year and an amazing decade!

TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)

Amen! Alleluia!

 

Start of 6 city Franklin Graham DECISION AMERICA Sunshine State Tour in Jacksonville Beach! Brief exchange with Jeremy Camp leaving the stage & Mr. Graham coming on stage! Definitely a Message of HOPE! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!!! Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Billy Graham Library Franklin Graham.

CLICK HERE for Reverend Franklin Graham Video!

(Andy Reistetter, Facebook Post with 1 Video; 1-11-2020)

Jeremy Camp got us hopping up & down for Jesus! Alleluia! Billy Graham Library. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Franklin Graham

CLICK HERE for Jeremy Camp Video!

(Andy Reistetter, Facebook Post with 1 Video; 1-11-2020)

Happy Veteran’s Day: May God Bless ALL Veterans!

A salute to ALL veterans on Veterans Day with thoughts of gratitude for your service to our country. A special prayer for the women & men in service right now, especially those in harm’s way. My Dad (lower left) and five of his brothers (Uncle John was killed in the Battle of the Coral Sea), all four of my Mom’s brothers in WWII, my brother, brother-in-law, many of my cousins and a younger generation all served or are serving with honor, bravery & pride. Thank You to ALL our veterans!

Atlanta’s Episcopal St. Philip Cathedral: God is Relationships! Seek Godly Relationships!

My second visit to ‘Jesus Junction’ in Atlanta’s Buckhead District… this time to The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip… serving Atlanta and the World!

Definitely felt like worshiping in a Cathedral with grand processions, entering the sanctuary for communion, and the Cathedral itself being such a grandeur setting!

Such meaningful First Timothy reading & Gospel reading from Luke (see below) and thought-provoking preaching by The Very Reverend Samuel G. Chandler!

Here are my notes from Reverend Chandler’s Sermon: In the name of God: The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit… the gospel is clear that we can not serve two masters “but of course we all do…” The word ‘Mammon (Dictionary.com: New Testament. riches or material wealth. Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:9,11,13; a personification of riches as an evil spirit or deity.) in Deuteronomy “meant heart, soul, and all your money”… “not many of us set out to do wrong; but we get there… “money does have the power to change people… college football… in of itself is not so bad… money is just a piece of paper… an e;electronic digit… institutions. Hospitals, schools, churches use money for good…

Gospel Parable where Jesus praises dishonest manager who fudged the books to make friends (develop relationships)… deeper lesson… money/gold is not the final station (in life)… relationships/friendships should be our Gods!

Currency; the ‘current’ of a river; engaging and enjoying relationships… the Church has a right to talk about money… right relationships… holy relationships… trust, faith, and long term commitment… when Jesus talks about money he is really talking about relationships! Stewardship…

Reverend Chandler shared a story of approaching an Old Southerner to support the church… “You just want my money, right? “No we want your heart!”

“Use money but do not let money use you! Money is at our service, we do not serve money!”

“God of Holy Relationships!”

My thoughts and spiritual awakenings:

In the name of God: The Father, Son, & Holy Spirit… while I agree that there is one God for all; including a conversation with a Muslim in Israel this past winter; in reality my God includes Jesus, the Resurrection, and The Holy Spirit. Note how Reverend Chandler greeted his congregation!

Yes, it can be very confusing, especially in dynamic, excitement-filled, and first-time-through situations between the secular world and God’s Kingdom on Earth and in Heaven…

How do I use money or does money use me? How about you?

Very thought-provoking Scriptures and sermon!

How do I live a life of compassion, love, and mercy first from the inside-out!
What a spiritual experience! Splendid Love, Wisdom, and Worship!

TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!

1 Timothy 2:1-7: “”First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, 2 for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. 3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

5 For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and the human race,
Christ Jesus, himself human, 6 who gave himself as ransom for all.

This was the testimony at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed preacher and apostle (I am speaking the truth, I am not lying), teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1-13: “Then he also said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. 2 He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ 3 The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ 7 Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ 8 And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.

“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. 11 If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12 If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 13 No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Mystic Sunday School: Adam & Eve Exiled from the Garden of Eden; Go Deeper Within Self!

Old Fashioned Sunday School” Contemplating Christ: How to Become a Mystic without Really Trying!

What will the church of the future look like?

The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner famously said, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all/” Rahmer was convinced that the secularization of life that began after the end of the Second World War would pull people away from the church. He feared that, if people did not have a deep experience of God, they would not commit themselves to a sustained life of faith.

This term, we are looking at what it means to be a mystic (it’s not as extraordinary as you might think!) and how the recovery of contemplative tradition in the church might change how we go about being church.

This week, we will look at the dramatic story in Genesis 2 and 2 of Adam and Eve and their exile from the Garden of Eden. Canon George Maxwell will talk about what this story tells us about ourselves and where we should look for the God of love that we long to know.

Announced during The Parish Notices part of the 8:45 Service, I searched and found the above description in the Adult Education section of the bulletin. Intrigued by the word ‘mystic’ I decided to attend the old-fashion Sunday School! After all I like anything old-fashion in life; past, present, and future!

As it turned out the 8:45 sermon about God being relationships, was a perfect lead in to relationships between men and women, especially romantic, spiritual, and committed relationships. And of course, it all began with Adam and Eve or I learned in class Adam-Eve (signifying oneness; originally!).

Here are my notes from Canon George Maxwell’s class:

First of all it was a packed class but rather than in a classroom, it was in a large gathering space; probably 200-300 people! Plus this wasn’t the first week as it started with a review of the previous class. Thank God where God is—The Cathedral!

Although I missed the first session, Canon Maxwell made a statement along the lines that he had to start in the middle of the story last week and this week would be the beginning and all the pieces would fall into place. For me they did!

“You did not frustrate my expectations,” is to say everybody, teacher included was in the learning mode and happy with the first session. That was obvious by the spirit, attention, and dynamic presence of Scripture in the room!

Mystic traditions have a direct experience in the church—as evidenced by the experience of Jesus with The Father. Do we have the faith of Jesus or are we just imitating his behavior? This was a key point and “goes deeper than that.”

Who are you versus what you do? Faith in Christ is Faith of Christ!

Be drawn into a new relationship with Christ…

Jesus was God and I am not! “We are worse than we think but we also have more potential than we think!”

This class on the “Myth of Eden” will not address history, rather what is happening inside of us all the time! This is how God works within us; the pattern of God’s behavior.

What it means to be human—it goes much deeper than that!

In the Garden of Eden everything was connected; there was unity; God was in everything; there was a presence of connectivity.

There was one person—he was called everything—he was called Adam. The creation of Adam was really the creation of all humanity.

In the Garden of Eden was the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil. God forbade Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of either tree. Note that Adam and Eve never agreed to this.

Basically God needs a parenting class! What parent would put a temptation in front of a child, tell them not to touch it, and leave the room?

The snake in the tree; the Tempter; Satan deceived Eve and Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Forever.

Adam-Eve fell apart; there was no longer a oneness; connectivity, and unity/ There was an immediate focus on differences’ Adam and Eve, Good and Bad; us versus Them; In Crowd versus Out Crowd.

Adam and Eve were naked, ashamed, cold and hiding from God.

Where is God in that moment of our lives? The ‘you’ you think of you is being threatened. Fear; who do we rely upon? It should be God but usually it is not!

Give us life versus tools for life. Instruments to be used for life (money, etc.) versus the source of life itself.

Is it “Spiritual Maturity” or Narcissism? Go spend a week thinking about your self.

We are reliving the Myth of Eden all the time! Go deeper and the Bible becomes a prayer book! It gives us a higher level of consciousness; we learn how to be in the presence of God!

In reality the presence of differences is good. Prior how could we make something out of nothing? Bit we can make something out of differences. Dualistic thinking—grow through one to get to the other.

The Garden of Eden was destroyed so Adam and Eve were forced to leave. It was too much for them, like Moses in the Exodus not wanting to see God. The Garden of Eden was not destroyed. Like the father in the Prodigal Son Parable; God is always rushing out to meet us, forgive us, love us!

Don’t play the ‘Blame Game.’ Adam; Eve did not make you do it; take responsibility for one’s own behavior.

God comforted Adam and Eve and provided them with clothes; garments of light; an act of love!

The story of Adam and Eve has more power to you as a myth though validate through history and science.

Interior Lives; Contemplative Paths… seeking a better relationship with God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit… honesty with self; desire to be loved for who I am…

Desire to be loved for who I am but are we willing to reveal who I am?

My thoughts and spiritual awakenings:

The phrase it “goes deeper than that” came up about a handful of times during the one-hour class! I like to go deeper, be more contemplative, go within to find God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit! To go within to find self!

Very powerful perspectives here… a splendid spiritual surrender to let my life be used for God’s Will through relationships with God, my self and others; friends and strangers!

We are different but let us relate and create God’s Kingdom here on Earth…

Perhaps the Garden of Eden is Heaven; our one connection with God, Jesus, and The holy Spirit beyond this world…

See beyond what seems to be…

TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!

CLICK HERE for a Link to the Website of the Cathedral of St. Philip!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 13 Pics; 9-28-19)

 

 

Worshiping at Christ The King Cathedral in Atlanta is a Spiritual Experience!

I know that a church is not the building, that it is the people and community inside and outside… but there is something about worshiping in a Cathedral that makes it extra special; sort of like going up to a mountaintop, seeing the view and feeling closer to God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!

On Sunday I visited the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta which is actually on Peachtree Road in Buckhead a northern district of Atlanta. The junction of Peachtree Road and Wesley Road is known as “Jesus Junction.” The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip and the Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church are all right there. Reminds me a bit of the Village Palmyra in Western New York; the only place in America with four major churches on the four corners of an intersection. Magnificent, stately, and beautiful outside; inside is the same with slate stone and stained glass windows and of course the packed pews. Christ the King is one of the ten largest parishes in the United States with over 5,500 families!

The First Reading (Exodus where Moses convinces God to be lenient with His people); the Second Reading (First Timothy where Paul who once was Saul and a persecutor of Christians knows that the grace, faith, and love of and in Jesus has strengthened himself into a righteous man), and the Gospel Reading (Luke and The Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke) were a perfect setup for the powerful homily of Rev. Monsignor Frank McNamee. The three readings are included below.

Do we have a wonderful future? Wonder-Full or Wonder-Less? Are our desires the most important thing in the world? Do we need to direct out steps back to forgiveness and God? Can we forgive from the heart? Can there be a new beginning?

Paul (old Saul) was the foremost sinner. Jesus Christ has come to save all sinners. There is joy over one repentant sinner. Christ is here today to make us a free man through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. All things are possible through Christ!

The Prodigal Son was a repentant sinner. Even if we don’t have a father like his, Our Father, Our Creator, God the Father can forgive us! Just like he did His stiff-necked chosen people that were worshiping another god after being brought out of Egypt to freedom.

I love to see the love, compassion, and forgiveness of God in the Old Testament Book of Exodus. We see it in Jesus in the New Testament and can only imagine what it will be like on a spiritual level beyond this world!

I also realized the tie between Paul’s reference to grace in the Second Reading and the singing of Amazing Grace at the end of mass… the words rang true to me maybe for the very first time… Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear… And Grace my fears relieved… How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed…

You can’t help but feel the spirit of this community! Their published motto is “to Know, Love, and Serve as Jesus Did.” They have Bibles in the pews! And the mass begins with a reminder for us to “be mindful that we are in the presence of the Lord!” Plus you are worshiping in a magnificent, stately, and beautiful Cathedral! Wow, what a spiritual experience!

I look forward to heading back to “Jesus Junction” to learn more, realize more, and apply more to the rest of my life! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy and Gratitude)!

CLICK here to go to the website of Christ The King Cathedral in Atlanta!

Exodus 32:7-11: “Then the Lord said to Moses: Go down at once because your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have acted corruptly. 8 They have quickly turned aside from the way I commanded them, making for themselves a molten calf and bowing down to it, sacrificing to it and crying out, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 9 I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are, continued the Lord to Moses. 10 Let me alone, then, that my anger may burn against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation. 11 But Moses implored the Lord, his God, saying, “Why, O Lord, should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a strong hand?

Exodus 32:13-14: “Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’” 14 So the Lord changed his mind about the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.”

1 Timothy 1:12-14: “I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. 13 I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. 14 Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Luke 15: 11-32: “Then he said, “A man had two sons, 12 and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. 13 After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.

14 When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. 15 So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. 16 And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. 17 Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. 18 I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’

20 So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, 24 because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began.

25 Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. 27 The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. 30 But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ 31 He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. 32 But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

CLICK here for the website of Atlanta’s Christ The King Cathedral!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9-15-19)

Andy Stanley’s Buckhead Church: Love, My Heart May be Broken but I am Chosen!

Rock ‘n Rolling Worship with Andy Stanley last Sunday at Buckhead Church in Atlanta! The last Sunday in a 6-part series entitled: “Love, Dates, & Heartbreaks!” Yes, quite apropos as I have known all three in pursuit of that special someone to celebrate the rest of our lives together! Although I only witnessed the last of six sermons I feel like it was a summary and quite comprehensive of all six!

Andy Stanley was masterful, in line with The Master as he wove us through in a heartfelt and biblical way the essence of our Christian life design! God does have a design for Christian relationships! Starting with “A Broken Heart doesn’t mean You’re Broken” brought some immediate relief!

“There is a Purpose for You Even When Your Dreams Can’t Come True.” Onward with TROML 2020!

“No One Envisions their Future Alone!” NEVER!!!

“I am not cursed… I am blessed! I am not broken… I am chosen!”

TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY & GRATITUDE)!!!

“I can only receive what is given from heaven! Yet not my will, but Yours be done!”

“Jesus did not offer us an equation.” Tough for an educated & trained engineer to accept but I do!

“Follow Jesus because of Who He Is and What He has Already Done!!!”

Then Andy Stanley went into a detailed description of the life of King David! Child Prodigy as the one who slain Goliath once he realized that the Philistines were taunting their God not their army David was inspired to take the matter into his own hands and slingshot! Anointed as the next king but King Saul wanted his son Jonathon to be king. David future goes black, goes hopeless!

What did David do when his heart was broken? He panicked like the rest of us and lied and took Goliath’s Sword which cost Hemlich and all the priests their lives at the revenge of King Saul. And David’s lie was public, everyone knew about it!

David becomes king only to have his son overthrow him. His future goes dark once again as he is a fugitive and on the run. He sees the Ark of the Covenant and people loyal to him want him to take it along with him. But this time he sees the light, refuses and submits 100% to the Will of God and surrenders his own will! “He did not anchor his faith to the fulfillment of his dreams!”

They remained faithful because of what already happened—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

“Lean In, Look Up, and Reach Out!”

 

PRAY: “I offer You my dreams and plans. Do to me whatever seems good to You. I acknowledge Your right to rule. Your Will be done in me!”

Al-le-lu-ia!

Love, Life, & a Healed Heart! TROML Baby (an exclamation of JOY & GRATITUDE)!!!

It was the BEST of times worshiping with my Olympian Buddy Dennis in Atlanta!

If you watch one Andy Stanley Sermon; watch this one and “Be Saved” from a broken heart for the rest of your life!

CLICK here for Andy Stanley’s “Love, Dates, & Heartbreaks” Series of Sermons!

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 30 Pics; 9-8-19)

‘Go See the Overcomer’ Movie; Then Take the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz!

The ‘Overcomer’ Movie is the best Christian Redemption movie that I have ever seen except for some Biblical Jesus films portraying the Gospels!

With a solid story line and masterful character developments, it is a main line movie, not that the judgment of which is important. Well done!

As a seeker of The Holy Spirit in our world today, I found what I sought in this movie, so spiritually based on biblical verses! To the extent that its title comes from 1 John 5:5:

“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

The redemption of Hannah, one so innocent in the world, yet to be connected to the powers beyond our secular and temporary world, is so well orchestrated and done that we can all see the pieces of the puzzle of our life connecting in such a way… if we can free our soul from our ego, pride, and limited perspectives of life, if only momentarily to let God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit in to transform our life into the ultimate being as designed by God Himself!

Photo Credit: Kendrick Brothers

Guided by her high school principal (and what a pal indeed), Hannah seeks her true identity in the Scriptures—Ephesians Chapter 1 and 2! Her list is simple and includes… “I am blessed. I am chosen. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. I am loved…”

All this started by a blind man destined for death in a hospital yet so fully alive in the Spirit that death is no more than a transitory experience, like life, to an eternal life beyond! Amen! Alleluia!

So I thought I would go to the source, go to the well so to speak, myself to see who I am!

Why not take the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz?

Open a word document; cut and paste the full text in its entirety of Ephesians Chapters 1 and 2 found at the end of this article. Narrow it down to excerpts that make a connection with you and your life and spiritual experience—see mine below.

Then answer the quiz directly like I have done here:

Good luck; good living; and an Eternal Life to you!

Andy’s Answer the ‘Who Am I’ Biblical Quiz:

I am a disciple (Paul was an apostle) of Christ… I am faithful in Christ Jesus… I am graceful… I am at peace… I am blessed spiritually… I am chosen in Him (Jesus Christ)… I am holy… I am without blame before Him (Jesus Christ) in love… I am an adopted child of Jesus Christ… I am graceful (2)… I am accepted in love… I am redeemed through His blood…. I am forgiven (my sins are forgiven)… I am graceful (3)…. I am wise… I am prudent… I am aware of His will for me… I am the benefactor of an inheritance… I am predestined to follow His will… I am trustworthy in Christ Jesus… I amknowledgeable after hearing the Word of Truth, the gospel of my salvation… I am a believer… I am sealed in The Holy Spirit… I am a receiver of the promise of The Holy Spirit… I am one who praises the glory of God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit… I am faithful in Christ Jesus (2)… I am a lover of all the saints… I am the subject of the prayers of others… I am in possession of the spirit of wisdom in Christ Jesus… I am in possession of the revelation of knowledge in Christ Jesus… I am enlightened by the hope of his calling… I am enlightened to know the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… I am enlightened to know the exceedingly greatness of his power to us…

I am no longer dead in sins… I am saved by grace… I am raised up and sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… I am a receiver of his exceedingly riches of grace in his kindness… am saved by grace through faith (2)… I am saved not of myself but a gift of God… I am saved not of works, lest I should boast… I am the work of God… I am created to do good works… I am near to Christ Jesus… I am at peace (2)… I am free as the flesh and evil in me has been abolished… I am a new man… I am at peace (3)… I am reconciled to God through Jesus (and The Holy Spirit)… I am at peace (4)… I am in contact with God the Father through The Holy Spirit… I am unified with all human beings, the saints, and God… I am part of the Holy Temple of the Lord… I am my Splendid Spiritual Self living together with God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit… I am God’s TROML Baby of Joy & Gratitude! TROML Baby (an exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!!!

Excerpts of “Who I Am” from Ephesians Chapter 1:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God… to the faithful in Christ Jesus…: grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ… who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings… according as he hath chosen us in him… that we should be holy and without blame before him in love… having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself… to the praise of the glory of his grace… he hath made us accepted in the beloved… in whom we have redemption through his blood… the forgiveness of sins… according to the riches of his grace… wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence… having made known unto us the mystery of his will… in whom also we have obtained an inheritance… predestinated according to the purpose of him… in whom ye also trusted… ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation… that ye believed…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise… unto the praise of his glory… your faith in the Lord Jesus… love unto all the saints… making mention of you in my prayers… may give unto you the spirit of wisdom… and revelation in the knowledge of him… your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling… ,and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… the exceeding greatness of his power to us…

Excerpts of “Who I Am” from Ephesians Chapter 2:

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins… by grace ye are saved… raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus… for by grace are ye saved through faith… not of yourselves: it is the gift of God… not of works, lest any man should boast… we are his workmanship… created in Christ Jesus unto good works… now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ… for he is our peace… having abolished in his flesh the enmity… to make in himself of twain one new man… so making peace… reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross… came and preached peace to you… we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father… now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God… together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord… ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians Chapter 1 (in its entirety):

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are [in Ephesus] faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.

In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.

In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.

Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of [your] hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.”

Ephesians Chapter 2 (in its entirety):

“You were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.

One in Christ. Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”