Texts: Haggai 1:1-8; Galatians 5:1 This is the month for patriotic pundits to opine about freedom. Flags fly, fireworks explode, and this year even tanks made an appearance on the D.C. mall on the Fourth. I have found, though, that those who know the most about freedom are those who have longed for it, been denied it, have struggled to find it, and over time have found its true source. Langston Hughes, the African American poet and novelist, retells a story told by slaves and their descendants on John’s Island, South Carolina. It is a story still told among people for whom freedom is a struggle and a distant dream. The story begins: “Once all Africans could fly like birds, but . . . their wi

The Real Miracle

Text: Mark 5:21-43 “He took her by the hand and said to her, . . . ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the little girl got up and began to walk about.” Mark 5:41–42 (NRSV) In her book of sermons, Bread of Angels, Episcopal priest and author, Barbara Brown Taylor writes: The problem with miracles is that it is hard to witness them without wanting one of your own. Every one of us knows someone who could use a miracle, but miracles are hard to come by. Not everyone who prays for one gets one . . . Jesus’ miracles remind us that the way things are is not the way they always will be . . . Every healing, every banishment of evil is like a hole poked in the opaque fabric of time and spac

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