Treating others as Christ

Our college missioner loves to tell her students to treat all who come to us as if they were Christ. Our experience on Sunday reminded me of that, and of Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 25. We were celebrating eucharist in the park in Harlem when a young boy decided to join us. He was unprepared for the cold weather, so one of the others gathered walked over to him and wrapped him with her scarf. I was incredibly moved by her act of selflessness for someone she had never met, and it made me think of how I treat others who come to me in need. After the service, we were handing out lunches  to anyone who was hungry. We had prepared about 15, and enough for ourselves. We quickly ran out of the 15 prepared, but decided as a group to give up our lunches to those people who might have needed it more than we did. We weren’t worried too much about when our next meal was coming, but we realized that some of the people there might be.

In Matthew 25, Christ teaches about doing unto the “least of these,” but the woman giving up her scarf and us giving away our lunches wasn’t something that seemed self-righteous. Instead it was about people who genuinely cared about another person, so they made a small sacrifice for another’s happiness. Perhaps that is what the story from Matthew was getting at, that we should treat everyone as Christ, not just those people we like, or we think need the most help.

My experience in Austin

The trip to Austin was an absolutely amazing one. So many things while we were there truly touched my heart. One of the most significant experiences I had on the trip was while we were visiting Casa Marianella. While we were there we cooked for everyone that lived in the house- including us it was about 40 people. Most of the people spoke Spanish so we were unable to communicate with them, but one of the workers said that one of the residents told her “With all this food, today must be a special day”. As wonderful as this was to hear, it was also heartbreaking in a way because we had bought most of the food that we had cooked for them. When we went into the freezer with one of the workers the only meat that was in there was fajita steak and there was not nearly enough to serve all the people we needed to. The worker said that if there isnt really anything to serve they serve rice and beans because it fills the residents stomachs (also if you dont have rice and beans at a meal the Latinos tend to get angry). However, looking at how bare their freezer was with anything that had substance was so terrible.
Casa Marianella also had a great amount of significance for me because we met a woman who was a lawyer named Elise. She worked there helping immigrants deal with their cases, especially asylum ones. She worked for free. Now, most people do not have that luxury of not needing an income (her husband was also a lawyer), but the thing that really touched me about her story was that she gave up her old job as a highly paid corporate lawyer because she needed fulfillment. She was not happy doing what she was doing and was becoming depressed. When she reflected on what things she was missing in her life she realized that she missed working at Casa Marianella and being able to help people with her work as she had done in law school.
Another amazing person who we met was Lola. She owned a Cajun resteraunt in Austin and her story was absolutely incredibly. The way that she never gave up on what she felt God was calling her to do even though it was difficult and she nearly failed many many times gave me so much inpiration. I could not believe that she did not give up at times. But she persevered and God helped her every step of the way. And on top of opening a resteraunt she feeds the homeless.
This trip has had a profound impact on me. I have never felt God the way that I did on this trip. I found that working with people in such simple situations, such as listening to their stories or cooking them a healthy meal can bring the holy spirit closer to my heart more than i ever knew was possible. My goal for life is to be a social who does this work all the time. But what I will continue to work on after this trip is to learn more about God and my spirituality because I feel as though I neglect it so much.


Boots after the muddy harvest.

It is Thursday morning. I’m sitting in a buzzing office at my desk in a sea of cubicles. I won’t see the sun until I leave the building for lunch or at the end of the day. My nail-beds are still dirty from our harvest on Monday at the farm. And looking down at my dirty nails in this sterile office environment reminds me that there is something more our there.

The rain had turned the fields into mud. I delighted at squishing my way down the furrows to harvest cilantro and chard. I dug my hands deeply into the earth to pull out big weeds. Monday morning was cool and crisp after the rains. My fingers got cold but my heart was so glad. My legs were sore later but I was so grateful to be out in the fields. I have a much deeper appreciation for what it takes to harvest.

I said a prayer of thanksgiving over my own CSA box that was delivered the day I returned from our pilgrimage. I handled each vegetable with extra care. I thought of all the pilgrims as I put the beets into my fridge. I’ve eaten my meals more quietly, intentionally. I’m in deeper appreciation for all the ways that food is included in our lives. I am having more conversations about food and not just our food systems but great ways to prepare local veggies or places to get new ingredients.

The only thing I don’t like about retreats and pilgrimages is the way you are thrown so violently back into the “real world”. Perhaps I should remember this next time and take an extra day to acclimate back to life. I left the farmhouse late Monday night to be back at work on Tuesday morning. I was greeted with a handful of voice mails, a to-do list that wasn’t finished last week and an in-box full of email. I’m in no hurry to get that all done, or to clean my fingernails. I’m hanging onto this moment as long as I can.

Ancient Worship

On Sunday, driving rains and howling winds kept us pilgrims inside the farmhouse. Our day was quiet as we watched out the windows and continued our farming discussions. Then at 5 o’clock the farmhouse living room was no longer our bedroom and lounge area. It became church. The Abundant Table Farm Project hosts a Eucharist each week for themselves and the small community that joins them on Sunday nights. The weather had deterred the usual congregation but the farm house residents were in attendance: 5 full-time farm residents, 7 visiting pilgrims, plus Julie and Anne to lead the service.

I was surprised at how comfortable this house church felt for me. My typical Sunday service involves a church property, formal pews and a standard sermon. The farmhouse worship is something entirely different. We gathered on chairs and couches. Some people lay on the floor. We used a coffee table as an altar. Despite these differences it felt just as sacred. This idea of ancient future worship came to mind. It’s an emerging trend in the Episcopal Church to bring back some of the most ancient practices of the Church to our contemporary worship services. House churches are the roots of our tradition. Early Christians would gather in a much similar way to pray together and eat. Participating in this sort of service helped me feel connected in a new way to our shared Christian history.

Highlights of this service for me included passing around the Water of Life. Sarah was a wise woman and had put an empty pot outside in the rain. This collected rainwater was passed around as a reminder of our baptism and as a preparation for our service. I dipped my hands in the pot and suddenly the day seemed holy. As I held my hands to my face, I smelled the vanilla hand soap that I had just used return to my nostrils. This sensory moment brought me deeper into the service.

We didn’t hear a sermon during our worship. Rather, a reflection was read and the whole group engaged in conversation about the Bible readings and their meaning. I’ve never been more fully engaged with the service materials. Our group shared some powerful thoughts in a safe welcoming environment. I wish church felt like this all the time.

My favorite moment though, was the words Julie used as the invitation to Eucharist: If you seek God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, you are welcome. If you don’t love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, you are also welcome, for God seeks you.

I truly felt God sought me this weekend and found me here in the living room worship at the farmhouse.

Food, Faith, Farming – IMPRESSIONS.

Food, Faith, Farming Pilgrimage.

My whole experience with the Food, Faith, and Farming pilgrimage is difficult to describe in a series of events, rather it seems more to be in a collection of impressions left upon me.

So many people who touched me, with their uniqueness.

Harrison, and his sensitive eyes, when looking at the mountains while working in the garden, “… they are so peaceful…”  He said.

Ralph, and the quiver in his voice as he recites the words in his own essay written about the social economic conditions of migrant workers, or any human being that is targeted as a “problem” and considered a:  “THEM.”

Danielle, and her peaceful portrait of Mother Mary, so quiet, and reflective, while drawing an image that speaks for of her, and for her.

Mitch, and his arms wrapped around you, it makes me wonder what life could be like, living with someone who is not afraid to touch, or be moved upon?

Maggie, and her graceful movements in the yard, with the birds who approached her slowly, and eventually came to rest upon her lap.

Holly, and her gentle boldness of confronting difficult subjects with people in the south.  Getting Aithiest, and Southern Christians in the same room, to listen to each other?  A miricle worker.

Alex, and her wonderful accent, an example of how to be silly, funny, carefree and oneself, in a kitchen of aroma’s, moods, and needs to laugh, and then… well laugh some more!!!

Sarah, and the fire in her heart, being motivated to invest her life in a cause that was hers.  Having witnessed the Garden in LA, and then allowing that spark to become a fire inside her.

Nicole, and her behind the scenes organizing, bringing people together, and then having a quite open presence that allows people to come together on their own discovery.

Finally there is the impression that Julie left upon me, perhaps the most indelible of the pilgrimage for all her raw pain, and deep respect for her own dignity, and that of her people.  Having just lost her father, a proud and admirable man, who worked hard to give opportunities to those who had none, and yet like the rest of us, had difficulty expressing himself to those closest to him.  In Julie’s pain, I see myself, and the whole spectrum of the conflict of immigration, for there is no problem here, only the human condition and the opportunity to create beauty by speaking the experience of what it is like to be human.

I want to thank all these people for the life memories, and the moments of timelessness that we shared.

May God, and the Future find us inspiring ourselves, and each other, the way that we did during this pilgrimage weekend.

Ben Bingham


So what’s next?

This entry was originally written on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 22 while I was waiting in the airport.

What can I say to sum up my experience in Oxnard? As I prepare to head home, I’m recalling the theme, or driving question, of a conversation I had with Holly last night, and which I think we all have been having in one way or another over the last day or two. That question is this: how can I take my experience here and apply it to my “real life” back home?

One thing I plan to do is to take advantage of the fresh, local food at my local farmers market. This is something which I have supported for a long time in theory but haven’t really put into practice in a way that makes a difference. I also want to continue and expand my personal gardening efforts (beets, anyone?) Harvesting veggies with the group yesterday morning was so much fun, and reminded me of that feeling of excitement that I have felt before when harvesting veggies from the garden. This was just in the ground, and will soon be in my (or someone else’s) belly. That is a really cool reality to participate in. There is something cleansing and even spiritual in washing off the dirt and seeing for yourself, in real-time, the transformation of a plant into the thing you identify as “food.”

I will also really miss the small community of pilgrims (and farm folks) that has sprung up so quickly at the farm house on Hueneme Rd. (for those who haven’t been there, it’s actually pronounced “Why-knee-me.”) One thing that has continued to impress me about this trip is the focus on people that has continued to surprise me. When I first heard the topic “food, faith, & farming,” my natural train of thought took me to a place where the ecological considerations of this intersection took precedence. How is the environment affected by factory farming? How does small-scale local farming  play into the idea of good stewardship of God’s creation? etc. These questions are vital, but they lack that essential human component.

During this trip I have been transformatively reminded of the human cost of industrialization, the human toll of such an unjust, unhealthy system. What is the average living situation of a typical Ventura County farm worker? For that matter, what is the situation of farm workers in other places around this country? Who else are we isolated from when our only connection to the food we eat is made in the aisles of a grocery store? Does knowing someone’s immigration status change my gratitude for the food which came to me through their hard work? What personal stories have I not heard? Whose lives are negatively affected by the convenience of our food industry? Within our pilgrimage community, too, I have seen that “food, faith & farming” is as much about the actual community–the personal relationships formed in the fields, the emotions of friends and neighbors as they relate their “food stories,” the ways we connect to one another in the kitchen and at the dinner table–as much as it is about addressing these issues on academic and policy levels. Thinking about the experiences of harvesting food yesterday, then preparing and cooking some of that food last night, then eating together with the other pilgrims, interns and farm workers, I know this.

In the future, when I hear Jesus’ parables which relate the Kingdom of God using agricultural metaphors, I will never again be able NOT to think of Christ  in each strawberry picker, celery cutter, or potato who works all day but doesn’t earn enough to live comfortably; never again will I NOT be able to think of every food packaging worker, delivery driver, and shelf-stocker who makes that food so easily available for me, but never really gets so much as a “thank you.” Never again will be able to so thoughtlessly shovel snack foods into my mouth when I don’t have time to cook an honest meal; never again will I hear the phrase “table fellowship” in quite the same way.

For all these things I’ve experienced over these past few days, and for all that God has only begun to work within me, thanks be to God. Thanks be to God.


Harrison loading up the truck.

Our last day of pilgrimage, the sun eventually came out following one of the most intense rain storms of the year. The pilgrims were able to hit the mud-socked fields (!) to harvest for the morning. Many a stuck boot later, we gathered for a delicious lunch in the farm house kitchen followed by two afternoon meetings.

At MICOP in Oxnard with Margaret Sawyer.

We traveled to downtown Oxnard to visit the offices of MICOP – Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project and their executive director Margaret Sawyer. Margaret is a seminary classmate of mine who is doing wonderful work with MICOP, one of the few nonprofits in the area working specifically with the indigenous Mexican community. We learned about MICOPs weekly meetings that include a food/diaper distribution and empowerment/education component, as well as MICOP’s recent work in the area of adult literacy and its exciting new local anti-discrimination/education campaign. Margaret shared information about the challenges for Mixteco families living in Oxnard, which include eking out a living on the low wages of the seasonal harvest, the lack of affordable childcare options for Mixtec children, seasonal harvest migration-related issues for families, the pressures felt by Mixtec teenagers to work full-time before they graduate from high school and domestic violence. You can learn more about MICOP’s work here.

Checking out Community Roots in Oxnard.

Following our time at MICOP, we visited Community Roots, a community garden in Oxnard where many Mixteco families grow food. On Saturday, former AT intern Katerina spoke with us about her ongoing organizing work at this garden.

Back at the Farm, we met with UCSB Chicano Studies professor Ralph Armbruster-Sandoval (pictured left) for a rich conversation about the complexities of immigration in California and our country.

The day ended with a meal cooked by the pilgrims (wonderful pizzas with veggies from the Farm!), conversation with one of the Farm team members (Julie B.) whose family has deep roots in the Oxnard community and a viewing of the eye-opening documentary Food Inc.

Checking out Community Roots.

Eating nasturtium flowers.









Alise and Holly load up greens for the CSA boxes.

Giving the greens a dunk.









Tractor on the Farm.



A cheeseburger with grilled onions, pickles, pickles on the side and extra special sauce please!

Every now and again, there is nothing I love more than a good In & Out burger! A non-native Californian, I remember well the first time I was introduced to In & Out. I was working (at the time) as an Episcopal Urban Intern at the St. Joseph Homeless Service Center in Venice. My colleagues took us interns out one Friday for lunch to the In & Out on Washington and Lincoln. It was there that they schooled me about the secret In & Out menu (!) and ALSO pointed out the “hidden” scripture citations on the bottom of the paper cups. I’ve since had the pleasure of cluing others in. The small red lettering can be easy to miss, but once you know it’s there you can’t miss it! “Jn 3:16” reads every cup bottom. Look up that citation in the Bible and you’ll find a line from today’s Gospel reading: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”

The hidden scripture citations!

Ah — the phrase that warms the heart of some Christians… and sends others running in the opposite direction. In our culture, that line of scripture is used (more often than not) point to God’s salvation plan and the suggestion that people fall into two groups: those who are saved and those who are not. But when we take a step back – if that’s possible — we are left with a story about Jesus interacting with an elite religious guy and his effort to get Nicodemus to think in broader, more expansive, non “letter of the law” ways. (Kind of ironic given the dominant conversation in our culture about this passage!)

Nicodemus’ story is one of surprise and conversion. In the passage just read, we meet his character for the first time. He’ll show up two more times in John’s Gospel. We don’t know a whole lot about Nicodemus, but this is what we DO know: he was Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, meaning that he was part of the well-connected, upper echelon of Jewish society. While it’s difficult to discern from this reading whether Nicodemus’ exchange with Jesus was of inquisitive or argumentative in nature we DO KNOW that something POWERFUL in the dark of night DREW Nicodemus to Jesus.

Because of his status in society, Nicodemus was not likely in material need like so many other folks who approached Jesus. But he did seem to have other needs – spiritual needs. Nicodemus was on his own spiritual journey – a quest to ask tough questions, to see the world in a new way, to receive sustenance of a different kind. As one of my colleagues shared this week on Facebook: “if Nicodemus were around today he’d be asking Jesus to talk about those nuclear reactors in Japan, and those workers in Wisconsin, …[for] Nicodemus was more curious than most…”

The nugget Jesus shares with the curious Nicodemus in today’s story, he shares with all of us too; the idea that the promise that new birth, a new beginning is available to all. In God’s Kingdom we are born from ABOVE – we are not subject to the particularities and silliness of social hierarchy. Rather, in God’s world we are linked together as family – and we uncover life’s meaning by journeying along a path that winds through times of suffering and times of joy, moments of repentance and acts of love.

It’s unclear from Nicodemus’ interaction with Jesus how he takes this message in. Is he confused, convinced or unmoved by Jesus’ words? I’m not sure. But we do know that by the end of John’s Gospel Nicodemus is side by side with Jesus defending him in from of the leaders who persecute him, preparing his body for burial with Joseph of Arimathea after he has died. Jesus’ message, it seems, had a profound effect on Nicodemus.


One of our challenges during the Season of Lent is to let ourselves be moved in new ways – one might even use the phrase “rebirth” to describe what Lent is all about. Marcus Borg in his “The Heart of Christianity” entitles one chapter “Born Again: A New Heart” and in it he asks: “Who among us doesn’t long for a new heart within us? Who among us doesn’t question God in the darkest night of fear and doubt and hope for answers and reassurance?” (Huey, Kate – UCC Weekly Seeds) As Nicodemus helps us to understand, these sorts of natural questions about salvation and life after death are age old; the act of engaging them affirms our common bond with the rest of humanity.


As many of you know, I’ve been on pilgrimage the past few days with a group of young adults. Using Abundant Table Farm Project in Oxnard as our home base, we are exploring together issues of farm worker justice and immigration, food sustainability and our relationship to the land. The pilgrims, who have come to the Farm from all corners of California and the nation, speak of their hope that this experience will convert them – helping them to grow a new heart, transforming their relationship to the people who harvest their food and to the land itself. Only a few days in, the pilgrims are already talking about how seeing the farm workers labor in the field, visiting their homes and learning about the challenges that face farm worker families is helping to open their eyes to the real human costs associated with food production. The pilgrims’ own work in the field has allowed them to claim (re-claim) a relationship with the earth and with their food, a powerful and healing connection. Through their learning, sharing and prayer, these pilgrims are being (re)born from above and will emerge from their pilgrimage new people, with new hopes, new commitments and new possibilities. [If you are interested in reading more of these pilgrims’ profound reflections on their experience, I invite you to read the pilgrimage blog which is linked on the St. Michael’s website.]

Both Nicodemus and Abraham let themselves be reborn: Abraham by traveling far from his homeland to establish a great nation and Nicodemus by eventually joining Jesus at his side, defending him and then being one of the men who prepares Jesus’ body for burial. The next time you find yourself at In & Out, look for the scripture citation Jn 3:16, smile and seek to be reborn, creating space for a new heart to emerge within yourself.


The Rev. Nicole Janelle

A Sermonette: Lent II
20 March 2011
St. Michael’s University Church, Isla Vista

“We are pilgrims on a journey…”

“…We are travelers on a road, we are here to help each other walk the mile and share the load.”

Though we didn’t even sing the song that these lyrics belong to in our worship service earlier tonight, somehow they came up in conversation, [slash] a few of us started singing them together after dinner.

These lyrics could not be more appropriate for my experience here. It’s funny, I didn’t know what to expect before I came out here; I didn’t even know how to consistently describe what I was coming out here for. “It’s this 4-day immersive experience in farming and food and social justice,” (or some other such explanation) I told a few of the people who asked me why I was coming out to Oxnard. This description is true enough. But I was searching for something shorter, some operative phrase that summed it up. Pilgrimage. That’s what this is. This is a pilgrimage,  I mean it’s there in the title, “2011 Urban Pilgrimage to L.A./Oxnard.” But like I said, I didn’t really know what to expect, so I all the deep spiritual connotations I have with the word ‘pilgrimage’ didn’t yet apply.

They do.

I can’t help but think of some joking conversation we’ve had over the idea that we are pilgrims. Are we Mayflower pilgrims? We have this running joke relating to a story that (I think?) Holly told about a Buddhist pilgrim going on a pilgrimage and every few steps (literally) for miles and miles this pilgrim did this ridiculous triple-clapping motion, followed by a open-sweeping motion with the arms while prostrate on the ground. Are we that kind of pilgrim? (It may not have been Holly who told that story, but I saw her doing the motion in my mind as I started to type this part.)

Whatever type of pilgrims we are, (farming, weeding, joyously eating, cursing, laughing, frolicking pilgrims, maybe?) I am happy to be on this journey with these wonderful people. I’m caught thinking of my own personal journey beyond these few days, and how this experience is already informing my “real life” (which I am currently on hiatus from and will be returning to on Tuesday evening). I am having trouble sleeping; it’s actually 3:30am California time, at the moment. My thoughts keep returning to all that is waiting for me back in Athens, GA: responsibilities connected with my job, people I love, commitments I’ve made to finish things I’ve started, and new adventures I’m still planning once the current ones are finished. All so far away right now. I was confiding earlier to my fellow pilgrim Ben, who also couldn’t sleep earlier, that a part of me doesn’t want to go back in a day and a half. The simplicity and joy I’m experiencing here, the connectedness to the food I’m eating (and the land it’s growing on, and the people involved in the harvesting process) that I’m soaking up, these are precious to me, and I don’t want to leave them behind when I get on that Amtrak train to L.A. and head to the airport and go back to Georgia. At this moment I am remembering a thought I had on the airplane last time I was heading back to GA from CA (after visiting my cousins in the Bay area): airplanes are like teleportation devices, or time capsules or something, that just take 4 or 5 hours to operate. Sounds silly right? But truly, I feel like I’m in a different world out here. I am farther from my home of 26 years right now than I can concretely fathom. I have to look at a map that shrinks the size of a continent down to just a dozen or so inches in order to understand the sheer magnitude of my journey. Talk about being disconnected from the reality of the land…

I will miss this place. But I will be back. I am promising myself that right now. And I think I’ve been doing that subconsciously for the past hour or two. I think that’s part of the reason I can’t sleep at all right now. I’d better try to, however. We have a long day of field work and educational meetings to go to, and I don’t want to miss out! It’s my last full day here. If nothing else, I’ll catch up on my sleep in the time machine.

This is a Good Place

Sunday evening house church at the Abundant Farm Project co-led by chaplain Sarah Nolan (center) and priest Julie Morris.

Tonight we had a church service at the farm that was very humbling for me. Nicole was kind enough to bring a guitar from her church and I was welcomed to play a few of the hymns with Anne, the nice woman who played piano for the group. Everyone was very accepting and thankful for my contribution, which made me feel a little embarrassed, but very happy to be able to share something in the service that others enjoyed!

I don’t know why, but I feel like to understand and appreciate the homily part of the service you had to have been present, so I will not comment on it in the blog. However, I will say that I am more than grateful that my life has brought me here with this specific group, as I am learning thinking and feeling many different things that I think are very important to the person that I am becoming.  But the part that was humbling was the well wishes that I received as a part of the group of pilgrims. What a loving, beautiful group of people in which to find support!  I feel quite glad indeed to know that these people are on this planet and in my life, even if only for just this week.

Instead of the Confession of Sins, we did a Confession of Need. I feel like these words need to be included on the blog for their beauty (Awesomeness, Sarah Nolan!!). Here is a part of that prayer:

God our hearts are heavy with sins untold and cares unshared
Our lives are burdened with doubts unvoiced and fears unmentioned
God who is greater than our hearts, deeper than our minds
Always alive, always longing for our response
May we stretch out our hands and surrender and walk with you through the wilderness
May we find the freedom of following no other leader but Christ alone
May we willingly walk with Jesus, the One who carries our burdens to the cross
Where fear is transformed into love
And loneliness is transformed into communion with you

And THEN, there are the words that were used for Commissioning/Sending Out of the pilgrim group. I felt a mixture of disbelief and overwhelmed-ness with the goodwill that was expressed. They gave us gifts as well, but THIS is the beautiful prayer that was said to bless us:

The altar.

In the name of the divine Trinity, let us pray.
God, you have called us into being through love.
You have joined us to one another in love.
How good and pleasant it is
when your people dwell together in unity.

Shine your light upon your people
that we can see the glory of eternal life.
Grant Holly, Mitch, Alex, Danielle, Ben and Maggie the strength
to carry your blessing from this place to the next.

May they be at home in any land,
For all the earth is yours.
And, with their hopes set on your coming glory in the world,
Live also an alien in all lands.
May the lamp of your word
Guide their feet on the unsure paths of life.
Our lives are but a breath,
But our breaths are drawn from your divine Spirit.
You have created us as walking paradoxes.
Specks of dust and divine image-bearers.
We are constantly restless until we rest in you.

Grant Holly, Mitch, Alex, Danielle, Ben and Maggie a deeper fullness
Of being a spirit,
By carrying our memory with them in the coming journey.
May their faces be fuller in glory and joy,
Now bearing new shape,
As our faces transform and supplement one another.

Go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God!


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