Our True Identity | Jarrett Cohen


When my brother and I were children, periodically we would ask each other, with serious faces, “What would you do if you heard knocking at our door and opened it to find Jesus standing there?” 

Our typical answer went something like, “Fall to my knees and hold his feet!”

While our young minds hardly grasped the nuances of the Trinity (a doctrine challenging enough for adults), we did recognize that Jesus was special and deserving of worship.

The question of who Jesus is takes center stage in John 5. As today’s reading opens, Jesus continues his defense for healing an invalid man on the Sabbath. He has already linked his actions to what he saw his Father doing and provided a glimpse into the intimacy between Father and Son. As his accusers recognized with fury, Jesus was claiming nothing less than what David Short calls a “divine identity.” 

Jesus backs up his claims with testimony from “another who bears witness about me” (John 5:32)—God himself. God the Father testifies of his Son in three humanly accessible ways, each weightier than the last. 

First is John the Baptist, who upon seeing Jesus in public exclaims under divine inspiration, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) 

Greater than this “burning and shining lamp,” says Jesus, are “the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing” (John 5:35–36). The healing of the invalid man and Jesus’ many other miracles were signs of the inbreaking Kingdom of God and, as Short explains, show what salvation is about.

Most powerful of all is the centuries-long witness of the Scriptures, through which God reaches down to humanity. 

Sadly, like Jesus’ accusers back then, we Christians today are tempted to “search the Scriptures” merely to stockpile knowledge or to prove how righteous we are. A similar danger lurks behind our Lenten traditions of denial and discipline. In a performance-oriented culture magnified by social media’s “likes”-based reward system, even within the church people strive to “receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God” (John 5:44). 

Rather than find our identity in praise from other humans, Jesus offers us a better way: “come to me that you may have life” (John 5:40). We cannot earn God’s approval; we simply need to accept it. With joyful relief we can pursue our Lenten practices to draw nearer to Jesus and deepen our hold on the new identity he has given us.

The Jesus we encounter in John 5 is not a self-representing defense attorney trying to one-up his accusers. Instead, he is a divine savior using tough love to invite them to find their true identity in him.

Jesus is standing and knocking at your door with this same invitation. How will you respond?

Jarrett Cohen is a native New Yorker who has come to love Washington, DC, even some of its sports teams. When not working as a science communicator, he enjoys singing in choirs, reading and discussing theology, and avidly watching tennis and Australian Rules Football.

Who Is in Control? | TJ Fleming

John 5:19-29

Providentially, today is my 31st birthday. So, when sitting down to engage this text, I had a certain weight on my shoulders: the existential burden of the past twelve months. Without going into too much detail, the first year of my thirties was one of the most challenging years I have had to date. It is not that any one major event sent me spiraling; the internal crisis was born of a culmination of events. Family, friends, career, finances, faith, and stage of life—each one of these spheres has substantially changed for me this past year, and not necessarily in the way I would have planned if I were the “architect” of my life.

Today’s passage met me in this place and confronted me with the question: “Who is in control?” The obvious answer: not me. The answer my flesh does not want to submit to: Jesus Christ. In this manner I identify with the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ audience. 

The Jewish leaders in this passage were comfortable. They were used to belonging to the upper echelon of their society. They were in “control.” They expected a Messiah who would validate the story they were living into. They were not ready for a Messiah who would question the foundational assumptions of the society they controlled.

Let us rehash the events up to this point in the Gospel of John. Jesus drove out the moneychangers from the Temple, insinuating that the current priestly rule had become morally bankrupt. And by now, word had probably circulated of Jesus’ conversations with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at the well. Through these interactions Jesus had begun to nullify the Jewish leaders’ criteria of controlling who was “in” and who was “out.” Oh, and the miracles. By turning water into wine, healing the nobleman’s son, and healing the lame man by the pool at Bethesda (on the Sabbath no less), Jesus asserted His authority as the Son of God. He is ushering in a new religious era that the Jews are not in control of—and they know it. The response in their heart is murder.

Today’s passage picks up there. Jesus has shown his cards and he does not back down. Facing the murderous hearts of the Jews, Jesus re-asserts his divinity (just in case there was any confusion) and then reveals that the Father has appointed him to be the Judge of both the living and the dead.

If there were any doubts before, Jesus assures the Jews that their religious control has ended. Instead of relinquishing control, we know what they eventually do. Ironically, the death and resurrection of Christ give substance to the very claims that Jesus makes in this passage. The decision we are left with during this Lenten season is what to do when Christ asserts control in our own lives. Do we run? Do we challenge his authority? Do we quietly stoke the murderous thoughts in our own hearts by dismissing Christ’s divinity, thus quenching The Spirit? Or do we submit and trust?

TJ Fleming is a recovering Enneagram 7 who is finally confronting the fact that he can’t “do everything.” TJ lives in Petworth with his wife Bethany, their new daughter Mary Hayley, & housemates: Deborah, Luke, & cats (Pippen & Molly). He is eternally grateful for the Advent community.

Do You Want to be Healed? | Luke Jackson

John 5:1-18

In today’s reading, Jesus returns to Jerusalem for a religious feast, probably the Passover. Perhaps he entered the city through the Sheep Gate near the Temple Mount, where the animals meant for sacrifice were led into the city to be penned until needed. Near this gate, Jesus finds the pool of Bethesda –  the “house of mercy” in Hebrew, where many sick people lay in a sort of informal hospital. The pool was a place of miraculous healing: when the water was stirred by an unseen angel, the first person into the pool would be healed completely. There, Jesus finds a man who has been an invalid for 38 years. In a pre-industrial society, this man has been so sick he can barely move for most of the average person’s life expectancy. This is someone who has endured decades of hopelessness and pain. This is the man who Jesus heals with a word.

While there are many lessons we could learn from this passage, two things seem especially appropriate for Lent. First, Jesus asks the invalid man a strange question, “Do you want to be healed?” Of course the man wants to be healed, right? Why else would he be waiting by the pool? But Jesus knows the human heart better than to assume any of us want healing. The question cuts to the heart of our daily choices, asking us, “are you content with the life you are living?” If we are honest, all too often we reply, “Yes.” Seeking healing and wholeness seems so hard – it is so much easier to lie here in our familiar misery, numbing ourselves to both despair and hope with a steady diet of Netflix, perpetual busyness, or empty calories. When Jesus asks if we want healing, he is asking if we are willing to turn away from our current course and to turn instead towards a new life. He is asking if we are willing to repent. This Lent, let us consider if we want to be healed. Will we risk giving up our coping strategies in exchange for a new lease on life, with all the unknown joys and challenges that entails? Will we stop listening to the lie that we can manage our current condition, and accept instead that we need help from beyond our world?

The invalid man’s answer to Jesus’ question is also instructive. He tells Jesus that he has no one to help him into the pool to be healed. In other words, he tells Jesus that he does want to be healed, but assumes that there is only one method for his healing. His imagination is as atrophied as his body, unable to recognize that Mercy incarnate has entered the house of mercy and will not be constrained by his ideas of what healing looks like. How often do we do the same thing to God, telling him what type of healing will make us whole? If only I had that job, then I would be okay. If only I were married, I would know my life is on track. If only I had kids, my life would have purpose. If only I had friends to help me to the pool, then I would be healed.

Fortunately for both the invalid and us, Jesus ignores the man’s expectations because he has something better to offer: complete, immediate restoration with no preconditions. Jesus says simply “arise, take up your bed, and walk.” Jesus has healing beyond our imagination – renewal that goes far beyond our dreams and hopes. This Lent, let us be encouraged as we repent and seek healing. The Easter resurrection on offer has no strings attached, no hoops to jump through, no pieces that depend on us or those around us. It is purely God’s grace, freely given to all who will receive it. In that grace let us arise in new life and walk.  

Luke Jackson lives with his wife Deborah Tepley, TJ, Bethany and Mary Haley Fleming, and his two beloved cats Pippen and Molly in Petworth.

God's Goodness and My Belief | Webb McArthur

The Sacrifice of Isaac , Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1602)

The Sacrifice of Isaac, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1602)

John 4:43-54

“I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.” - Anselm of Canterbury, Proslogion (1077–1078)

Why does John mention, at two separate points, that the official believed? After Jesus tells the official that his son will live, “[t]he man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.” Then after making the trek from Cana to Capernaum, the official found that his son, in fact, was well, and “he himself believed.”

I can get worked up about belief, or the idea of believing. I default to thinking that it takes a while to get to belief and that, once you get there, you’re set. At the same time, I’m confident that belief not only tolerates doubt, but needs it. So, I wonder whether belief is better thought of as a process. 

This passage bridges that tension in my mind: belief is something that happens again and again and again. It is of the mind, but it is also of the body. In addition to the two explicit mentions of belief, the passage’s beginning implies belief. The official comes to Jesus—after a long journey—with the crazy request of healing his deathly ill son. There is belief that Jesus can heal. He believes Jesus after he’s told his son is well, and then he believes when he confirms his son is well.

These are acts of belief. His path to Jesus and his return to his needing son are a journey of faith. I can’t help but notice that this is how Jesus calls us all: his reputation precedes him, he calls us, he heals us, he sends us out to make peace.

This story reminds me of another of father and son, Abraham and Isaac. In Genesis, we see God tell Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham begins to obey but before he takes Isaac’s life, an angel of God tells him to stop, providing a ram as substitute. In his book Fear and Trembling, the Christian existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard considers the nature of what may have been Abraham’s anxiety at this point and concludes that God demanded Abraham take a leap of faith into the absurd. Kierkegaard posits that it was Abraham’s doubt that demanded his passionate action. Reason could not solve Abraham’s problem, and so faith took the form of an act of will. 

In the same way, the official believed by going to Jesus and then going home. He had heard that Jesus was good, Jesus was good toward him, Jesus made good, and—with the passage’s note that “all his household” believed—Jesus’ goodness spread. Each one of these steps is connected by belief and action.

Father, in this season of Lent, remind me of all the ways that you are good, and encourage me to act on your steadfast love.

Webb McArthur attends the Brookland parish. He spends his days worrying about poorly written laws but would rather be planning his next trip to Southeast Asia (or Scandinavia or Argentina, anywhere works), getting lost on Wikipedia, or sharing cocktails.

That the Sower and Reaper May Rejoice Together | Brittany Noetzel

James J. Tissot, 'The Sower' (Le semeur), 1886-94; watercolor; Brooklyn Museum, New York.

James J. Tissot, 'The Sower' (Le semeur), 1886-94; watercolor; Brooklyn Museum, New York.

John 4:27-42

This passage picks up with the second half of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well, while he is passing through the town of Sychar. (If you missed Elizabeth Sallie’s beautiful reflection on the first half on Saturday, be sure to read it here.) Jesus has just engaged a woman representing personal and collective social stigma. In her shame and isolation, Jesus draws near with both tender mercy and rich theological instruction. This unnamed woman comes to the well thirsty in many ways, but her thirst means Jesus can connect deeply with her, satisfy her, and send her out equipped to share this living water with others. It creates the conditions for an incredible harvest: a brilliant wave of belief among these Samaritans, a people most like to be called “other” by the Jews.

Simultaneous to the Samaritan woman’s joyful reaction and confident proclamation, we also see Jesus’ reaction to their conversation. He seems to almost burst with exhilaration — a tone I tend to neglect to consider in my reading of Jesus. But he is truly delighted! He appears so energized by the encounter that food hardly seems necessary. His imagination has been kindled to proclaim a striking vision of a bountiful harvest in the Kingdom of God. Clearly, his returning disciples have a hard time keeping up.

This passage has long filled me with a wistfulness to see what Jesus sees, that I would lift my eyes to behold in the world around me fields bursting with the long-awaited harvest. I struggle with a drooping gaze caved in on my own self and on the mire of brokenness.

I’m no scientist, but I’m often struck by how natural processes and principles provide a way of understanding how God works in the world, in our hearts, and throughout time. We’re laid low and feeble by hunger and thirst, then revived. The land yields a plentiful harvest given the right amounts of sun, water, and time. Nature - our bodies included! - can grow, regenerate, and even heal in familiar patterns.

These are profound mysteries unfolding every day beneath the surface of our physical world and, it would seem, in the spiritual realm as well. Both are created and sustained by a God who also demonstrates miraculous action and authoritative power “that the sower and reaper may rejoice together.” He is doing the work of bringing heaven and earth together. Those who are thirsty for it will not miss these moments.

Such exuberance can be tough to enter into with Jesus, particularly in this season of Lent. But in our contrition and longing, the Samaritan woman offers us a posture for encountering Jesus with humility, ready to be filled to overflow. Her approach readies us to meet him wherever he may be, receive the satisfaction he offers, and join him in his work. May we delight to encounter this Messiah who reorients our longings and transforms our vision to see, as he does, these fields white for harvest.

Brittany Noetzel lives in Brookland with her husband Daniel, son August, and the sweetest dog in the world, Nala.

Listen | Stephanie Buck

Mark 3:31-4:9

“Let he who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Sometimes when Jesus uses this phrase, a biblical variation of the Luther the Anger Translator comedy sketches pops into my mind. I picture a placid Jesus on the banks of the Jordan River, with a frenetic Keegan Michael Key as Luther next to him yelling, “Listen up, ya dum-dums!” While it is unlikely that this is the exact subtext of Jesus’ words, I think it’s fair to say that the passive, docile, felt-board Sunday School Jesus many of us grew up with paints a rather one-dimensional picture of an all-powerful God made flesh.

In this passage, we see a Jesus who challenges traditional notions of family and belonging, followed by the story of a farmer sowing seeds across varied terrain. When Jesus’ family shows up in verse 31, they’re not there to give a friendly hello. They’ve arrived to seize him because they believe that he has lost his mind (v. 21). They can’t fathom that he is the Messiah. In that context, Jesus’ dismissal of his family seems rational. Still, when he looks at those seated around him, listening to him, hanging on his every word, and declares these people as his family, that’s a bold, radical, hardly docile act.

The parable that follows this dramatic scene is one that many who grew up in the church may know well. In the tradition I was raised in, as well as the one that shaped my faith in college, this parable was essentially taught as an extension of the American Dream: work hard enough and you can make sure that these seeds of faith will fall on fertile soil! Don’t be like those plebeians who are as shallow as gravel or who let thorns choke their faith! In other words: you, too, can save yourself!

Yet there’s no mention of how that soil got to be that way in the first place. Did the soil make itself fertile, rocky, or full of thorny thickets? How do our environments shape our ability to let those seeds take root? When I read this passage this time, what stood out was how much there is beyond our control.

The older I get and the more I dive in to the scriptures, the more complex they become. Passages like these used to seem simple and straightforward, but now they’ve become wrapped in layers of miracle and mystery. The more I learn, the more I realize there is so much I don’t fully understand.

But I find comfort in the imagery of Jesus welcoming those seated around him, listening, into the family of God. And that opening our ears to really hear him might be the first step in letting those seeds of faith take root.  

Stephanie Buck lives in Brightwood Park/North Petworth. She hates writing author bios, but she's always glad to get to know potential new friends over coffee, cocktails, or hikes through Rock Creek Park.

Meeting Jesus by the Well | Elizabeth Sallie


John 4:1-26

So often, when I approach the stories of John’s gospel, I find myself deadened to the beauty of them. Having heard them over and over, I quickly forget the astonishing nature of the person of Jesus and the ways he engages others. Today’s story exemplifies his transforming, grace-filled love in ways that, when I do attend, seep deep into my bones and fill me with life.

In the Samaritan woman, we see Jesus’ love for us again, despite our shame, and the broken fragments of our history.

In Jesus, we see a ministry of grace and truth, reconciliation, and elevating those who are overlooked, despised, and outcast.

The Samaritan woman was cast out, many times over, and lived on the margins of society. Racially, she was considered impure. The Samaritans had been at war with the Jews for 500 years, with enmity running so deep that Jews frequently avoided passing through Samaria at all. As a woman, she was not to have any dealings with men on her own, and certainly not with a Jewish rabbi. Finally, as a person marked by a bad reputation, she was isolated. Although women would almost always go in groups to get water from the well early in the day, her choice to go alone at noonday indicates her deep isolation. Many commentators suggest that she is isolated because of her living situations, including 5 husbands, and a man who is not her husband.

 Jesus is quick to go places that are labeled unsafe or impure. As Bishop Steve Breedlove pointed out in his sermon at Synod in November, in Jesus’ radical grace, he sanctifies these places and people by his very presence. He humbles himself — taking a seat on the well, and asking to receive from the Samaritan woman. This was not a playful charade or an attempt to provide from his own resources. Instead, he engages her from a place of humility and need. He asks for something only she can give — a drink of water. While she (perhaps defensively) points out all the reasons he ought not, Jesus invites her into theological conversation.

Despite her shameful background, the Samaritan woman has a posture and readiness to meet Jesus that is characterized by light and truth. Her posture convicts and inspires me. When Jesus comes to me, how often I obfuscate and ignore him. The Samaritan woman, in her readiness, engages deeply and theologically. In fact, she is one of the first (and only) people to name Jesus as the Messiah.

As I sit with this story, I am challenged. I see my own lack of attention to God in the world around me. While Jesus comes to me over and over again, I so often ignore him. While the truth of his character is evident, I ignore that he is the Savior of the world. Instead, I sit with my shame and brokenness and attempt to wrestle them on my own.

In this Lenten season, my practice is to bring my own shame and hurt before Jesus — to picture him sitting there, to know he engages me, and covers me — sanctifying me by his very presence. One of the tools I’ll be using to do this is A New Liturgy’s Lament and Examen albums, prayerfully placing my hope, my shame, and my life before Jesus.

Further Resources on The Samaritan Woman: Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes (Kenneth Bailey); John for Everyone (NT Wright)

Elizabeth Sallie is commonly known as ESal around Advent. She delights in natural light, iced coffee, liturgical seasons, and hanging out with teenagers.

Lenten Performance | Lauren Hofer

John 3:22-36

A gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms. German Artist Joseph Beuys made this idea famous in the 20th Century through his performance art and social sculptures. Beuys’ work is deeply layered with meaning and interpretation. He wore felt and lived in a gallery with a wild coyote for eight hours a day for three days. He covered his head in honey and explained his art to a dead hare. This is odd. For those who have curiosity and patience to discover, Beuys work is incredibly profound.

The more I’ve studied art, particularly performance art, the more I think of John the Baptist as an ancient performance artist. We know from the other gospels (Matthew 3:4 and Mark 1:6) that he wore strange clothes (camel skin wrapped with a leather belt) and ate strange food (locust and wild honey). He was a bit of a spectacle. Camel’s hair is a sign of poverty and wilderness living. This is also the same getup the prophet Elijah wore. John eats a plague and drinks it down with promise. In Jewish tradition baptism symbolizes cleansing from sin and guilt. John the Baptist re-envisions baptism as a symbol of repentance resulting from an inward reality. John’s baptism points to a future baptism by Jesus who will baptize with fire and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11 and Luke 3:16). This is bold. John is performing prophetic visions of redemption and restoration.

In verse 26 John’s disciples are troubled that Jesus and his disciples are cutting in on their work and they are jealous. John reminds them that he knows his place, “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’” John rejoices that his calling is made complete in Christ. John came to prepare the way and through his work point to and exalt Christ. Through John’s provocative and faithful work, allegiances were transferred from sin to the One who is greater, who is from above, who utters the words of God and completely fulfills and expands the signs that John performed: consuming the ultimate plague and giving us the promise of life. 

Considering all of this makes me wonder if my Lenten “performances” are making me diminish and Christ increase. My Lenten practices are not themselves repentance, they are bodily metaphors for a spiritual reality. When my heart is engaged and submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit, my modes of fasting can bring about spiritual resurrection.

Lauren Hofer makes art, is married to Ben, and mother to Shepherd and Rhodes. They live in Mount Rainier, MD.

The Light Has Come | Josh Britton

Nicodemus , by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Nicodemus, by Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

John 3:16-21

In J.L. Carr’s novel A Month in the Country, World War I veteran Tom Birkin arrives at a church in the English village of Oxgodby to take a job restoring a Medieval wall painting that has been covered over by centuries of grime and neglect. As Birkin begins his work, he discovers that the painting depicts the Last Judgment, and he forms a quick impression of the figure at the center at the image: 

“This was no catalogue Christ, insufferably ethereal. This was a wintry hardliner. Justice, yes there would be justice. But not mercy. That was writ large on each feature for when, by the week’s end, I reached his raised right hand, it had not been made perfect: it was still pierced.  

“This was the Oxgodby Christ, uncompromising...no, more—threatening. ‘This is my hand. This is what you did to me. And, for this, many shall suffer the torment, for thus it was with me.’” 

Perhaps the prospect of judgment and condemnation makes many of us—including Nicodemus—feel the same apprehension. Nicodemus comes to Jesus under cover of darkness and acknowledges that Jesus has “come from God.” But his questions show that he is perplexed by who Jesus is and by why he has come. 

Jesus responds by making it plain that he has been sent by God not to condemn us, but to offer us salvation. He came to suffer for our sins, “the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). 

What, then, of judgment and condemnation? 

Jesus goes on to say that we bring condemnation on ourselves by refusing to believe in his name, and by rejecting the light because we love the darkness. Just before his arrest and crucifixion, Jesus “cries out” this same message: “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness...The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day” (Jn. 12:46,48). To remain in darkness is to hold on to the comfortable illusion that we can make ourselves presentable to God by concealing the sinful depths of our hearts from him. 

But Lent is an invitation for each of us, like Nicodemus, to “come to the light” and receive the mercy we desperately need. And we can do so without fear of condemnation, because the Light has already come to us, not to condemn us, but that we might be saved through him.

Josh serves on Advent’s Parish Council as Rector’s Warden. He lives in Petworth with his wife Eleanor and their two daughters, and is counting down the days until Opening Day at Nationals Park.

The Wind Blows | Karynna Asao

John 2:23-3:15

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”

If I had to catalogue my hard lessons from this past year, at the top of the list would be lessons about prayer, and trust in the work of the Holy Spirit. All I could see was my brokenness and our collective brokenness, and I felt angry, paralyzed and ineffective. Subconsciously, I started believing in the religion of striving and self—if I don’t help that person, no one will. If I don’t say something, no one will. If I don’t fix that, no one will.

John 3 points us to heavenly things, away from spiritual agnosticism. To enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again, born of the Spirit. Jesus draws an analogy between the wind and the Spirit—you can’t know the origin of the wind, but you can see it.

In the last month, Washington, DC, experienced its fair share of wind storms. When the wind blows, it rattles my century-old house in Brookland from top to bottom, waking me up in the middle night and scaring me into praying for my windows and roof to stay intact. The other day, I spied a fourth of my almost-dead backyard tree on the ground, severed at the limb. I can’t see the wind, but I can hear and witness its mighty presence.

While I intellectually believed in God’s redeeming grace and unconditional love, I lived isolated from that truth. Prophets came to me and spoke the truth in love—that I was not responsible for solving every problem or caring for everyone, that I was at risk of falling into spiritual agnosticism in my functional doubt of God’s sovereignty, and that everything should start and end in prayer. So I stopped striving and began to pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Eventually, one day, I felt the nip of a cool autumn breeze. I heard the rattling of the windows and the breaking of branches. I began to see the ways the Holy Spirit powerfully was working in me and in my community.

In Ezekiel 37, God revives the valley of dry bones with the Holy Spirit: “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” As we envision the future of Advent in Washington, DC, what would it look like for our church family to come to life? Will the city hear the rattling of windows and the breaking of branches? Will they see the grace and love we offer to each other and our neighbors? Will they know us as peacemakers and reconcilers? Will they see people who worship God, instead of politics or work or status or technology? Will they know us by the way we seek the flourishing of Washington, DC? This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  

What we choose to fight is so tiny!

What fights with us is so great.

If only we would let ourselves be dominated

as things do by some immense storm,

we would become strong too, and not need names. 1


Karynna Asao serves on the Parish Council as your People’s Warden. She originates from the 50th state and lives in Brookland with her four housemates.

1 Maria Rilke, Rainer.  An excerpt from “The Man is Watching.”  Translated by Robert Bly.