Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Sermon: Sts. Peter and Paul

30 June 2004 at Holy Trinity L. C., Columbia, SC (Vicarage)
Texts: Ezek 34:11-16, 1 Cor 3:16-23, Mark 8:27-35

First Lesson: Ezek 34:11-16

This wonderful message of Good News was delivered by the prophet Ezekiel at the height of bad news. Jerusalem had just fallen. And even worse, the Lord has spoken to Ezekiel a frightening and explicit prophecy that Israel would be laid waste, utterly destroyed, and that this was due to the Lord’s anger against them. The people are crushed, mourning their fallen city and those who defended her.

But in the midst of this suffering, the Lord also gives Ezekiel good news. Though the people will be scattered like sheep, the Lord himself will gather them, shepherd them, feed them, and rescue them. The destruction of the Lord’s judgment will be undone, and they will once again feed on lush grazing land.

Again and again the Lord declares in this passage that he will do the job himself. He will seek the lost. He will bring back the strayed. He will bind up the injured. He will strengthen the weak.

Of course, our Lord Jesus Christ himself fulfills this promise of the Shepherd-God, the divine do-it-yourselfer who himself takes up the pastor’s crook and chases away the wolves of sin, death, and the devil.

It is no accident that this image of the Good Shepherd is of such comfort to the bereaving. For even in death, the Lord himself, the Author of Life, gathers his own sheep to himself - those branded his own by Holy Baptism, those who hear his voice and know him as their Master. For as the Shepherd-king David, the ancestor of our Lord Jesus proclaims: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” And, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” For the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff comfort us, as he fills our cups to overflowing with blessings and eternal life, so that we may “dwell in the House of the Lord forever.”

Second Lesson: 1 Cor 3:16-23

In this lesson, our Lord uses the apostle and martyr St. Paul to remind us of the holiness of our bodies. While the Greeks taught that the body was evil, Christians hold the radical view that the body is holy. It is part of creation that our Lord declared “good” in the beginning, and though corrupted by sin, the Christian’s body has been reclaimed and sanctified by baptismal water, and nourished with the holy Body and Blood of our Lord. The body of the Christian is a vessel of holy things. Our bodies are indeed temples of the Holy Spirit, and these same bodies will be resurrected, just as our Lord’s body – still bearing the holy scars of his passion – was raised from the dead.

The sainted apostle Paul further warns us not to put too much stock in human reason. “For wisdom of this world is folly with God.” What the world calls clever, God calls foolishness. And the Lord uses what appears to be weakness and foolishness to accomplish his task of saving the world. As Paul tells us elsewhere, to those who are perishing, the cross is folly. But to those who are being saved, it is wisdom.

We do well to be mindful of this distinction between the nearsighted ways of the world versus the glorious ways of God Almighty. For it’s an easy thing to be trapped into pettiness, or to be wrapped up in the things that are esteemed by this world, but Paul points us to the big picture: “whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future – all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Gospel: Mark 8:27-35

On this holy feast day of the apostles and martyrs Sts. Peter and Paul, we have this passage that shows Peter in two different contexts. In the first part of the passage, Simon Peter makes his bold confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. The other Gospels tell us that at this point, Jesus gives Simon an “attaboy,” giving him the nickname “Peter” – which means “rock man” – and prophesying that upon the rock of his confession, upon the rock of the ministry entrusted to Peter, our Lord would build the Church. For this reason, Peter is considered the chief apostle, and would later be considered the first Bishop of Rome.

However, only a couple verses later, we have our Lord calling Peter “Satan.” This is not a very flattering passage the lectionary committee has selected to honor St. Peter on this day – he, who according to tradition, would be crucified upside down as the penalty for his faithful service to our Lord.

The Lord’s harshness with Peter came as a result of Peter’s refusal to accept the passion and death of our Lord as a necessary part of the divine plan. Peter was relying on his own sense of logic, the wisdom of the world – and criticizing the seemingly “foolish” divine plan of sending Jesus to his cross. Peter was indeed being manipulated by the devil, and Jesus loves him too much to allow it to go unspoken.

For the lives of both Peter and Paul bear witness to our Lord’s words which conclude this Gospel reading: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sermon: Pentecost 3

20 June 2004 at Holy Trinity L.C., Columbia, SC (Vicarage)
Text: Mark 5:21-43 (RCL)

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

Today’s Gospel text finds our Lord interrupted during the course of one miracle in order to work another miracle. Both of these miracles are so intimately related that the Gospel writers, including the evangelist Mark, felt compelled to retain this odd sequence in their accounts, weaving them together in an interlocking series of events.

Both of these miracles demonstrate Jesus’s divinity, his almighty power over life and death, and his mastery over disease. These miracles give us a clear picture of the central mission of our Lord in his earthly ministry – to free those held captive to the frailties of the flesh, and to reverse the ravages of death itself, a mission only God can accomplish. These miracles also demonstrate Jesus the man, a compassionate human being who speaks kindly and lovingly to people who are grieving, who are harassed by fear and imprisoned by death.

Shortly before this couplet of miracles, our Lord has made other demonstrations of his divine work: calming a storm (causing the disciples to ask “who is this, that even the wind and sea obey him?”), exorcising a legion of demons from a possessed man (causing the observers to react with fear of Jesus’s power). And immediately after our text, in which our Lord cures the hemorrhaging woman and raises Jairus’s daughter from her death bed, Jesus goes back home to preach – where he, and his preaching, are rejected.

Miracles such as these provoke strong reactions – either of belief or unbelief. Either people see the miraculous work of our Lord, and believe in him, repent of their sins, and in some cases, give up everything to follow him, or, they react with fear (asking him to leave) or even hostility (forcing him to leave). When confronted with our Lord’s miraculous works – which are never harmful or arbitrary, but rather are helpful and healing – people will respond in one way or the other. Either they are strengthened in their faith, or they are entrenched in their disbelief. Those who are healed are typically grateful and filled with faith, and those who mistakenly believe that they have nothing from which to be healed, usually react with scoffing or violence.

And nothing has changed today. When confronted with the truths of Holy Scripture, when forced into a consideration of Jesus, when visited with disease, death, or the fallout of sin – people will react strongly – and sometimes with violence. Those who understand their plight, their imprisonment by sin, the devil, their own flesh, disease, and death itself – will be forced to consider the person and work of Jesus Christ. Those who do not understand, or who simply reject, the relationship between our broken universe and sin, will push Jesus away and will not accept the free gift of healing and restoration from death.

The two miracles in our text are similar, and yet distinct. The woman who suffers bleeding seeks out Jesus. She has believed in Jesus because of what she has heard. She has heard testimony of Jesus, and she believes in him. In response, her faith moved her to seek out our Lord to pray for healing. The girl’s situation is quite different. She is dead. She is in no position to have faith. She cannot believe based on accounts of the work of Jesus. She is in no position to do anything at all for herself. And yet, our Lord heals both.

In his ongoing ministry through the Church, our Lord heals the adult convert to the faith, who believes because of what he has heard, because of the testimony of our Lord, because of the preaching of the Gospel. And our Lord also heals the child, the infant, who is clearly dead in sin and unable to seek out Jesus. A child at the baptismal font can do nothing for himself, just as Jairus’s daughter couldn’t. Both the baby at the font and the 12-year old girl in our text were granted second births, both were born again in a way beyond their control or will. Jairus’s daughter was in no position to make a decision for Jesus, or accept him as her personal Lord and Savior. All she could do was passively receive his free gift in spite of her own situation. In every infant baptism, our Lord says: “Little child, I say to you, arise.” In fact, every baptism, infant or adult, is a resurrection from the dead.

Although we usually don’t think of the healing of the woman in our text to be a resurrection from the dead, in reality that’s just what it is. Just as surely as Jairus’s daughter was freed from death’s dark bands, the dear woman in our text was likewise liberated from death. She had been bleeding for twelve years, and her condition was growing progressively worse. She could see where this was going. A person’s blood contains a person’s life. The Old Testament confesses that blood is life, and the spilling of blood is the draining away of life. Sacrifices were the spilling of blood as a way to atone, as a way to satisfy the judgment of the Lord when he told Adam and Eve that they would surely die.

As this woman helplessly watched blood issue forth from herself for twelve years, she understood what this meant. Her life was literally draining from her. This can only go on so long before the body will suffocate cell by cell. She has been dying for the same period of time as Jairus’s daughter has been alive.

From the day we are all conceived, our bodies are on a collision course with death. Over the course of time, our cells will begin to malfunction, our organs and joints wear out, our bodies’ abilities to ward off illness diminishes. It has been said that life is a terminal illness. But this is really not the case. Of course, each one of us is on “death row” so to speak, but the problem, the terminal disease, is not life. Life is a gift from God. Life is good. The problem is sin. The problem is the fall of man back in Eden. The problem is that we have exchanged paradise for a damaged universe, swapped a glorious eternal body for a piece of rotting meat. Sin has corrupted the good gift of life – and so we all die – some suddenly, others gradually, cell by cell, perhaps even over the course of a century.

And so it is with the woman who is bleeding. Her date with death is more obvious than it is for most of us. For the most part, we carry on as though we will never die, will never become sick, will never be ravaged by the devil, will never be tempted to doubt. Sometimes it takes a scrape with death, a serious illness, or some other trauma for the Lord to get our attention. As a result of her affliction, the woman in our text has a clarity, a true understanding of her need to have a relationship with Jesus. She seeks out his healing in faith that this power will restore her. She doesn’t understand how it works, she doesn’t even really know if Jesus would want to heal her – but it doesn’t matter. Her faith compels her to take a chance, to seek life. And once the power has emanated from the God-man, it is received into her own body by faith, and the power of the Lord has done its mighty work. Jesus assures her that her faith has made it possible for the Lord’s power to work on her. “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

This restoration is the mission of Jesus in the world. He is the life-giver who re-creates and cleans up the mess we’ve made of the universe.

The example of Jairus’s daughter is even more explicit. She was dead. There was no blood draining out of her – the life was already gone. The funeral procession has already started, with mourners carrying out their grim duties. The girl of twelve, an age at which the flow of blood becomes a natural rhythm in the Lord’s plan of creating new life, lies cold. The remaining blood in her body is motionless and of no use. What a bitter icon to the corrupt, sin-laden universe we inhabit after the fall in Eden – a dead child. As bitter a pill death is when it comes to those who have lived a long, full life, it is unthinkable when death comes to a child. Even the unbelievers who think death is natural, who have been fooled by Satan into believing the lie that death is “just a part of life” or the completion of some pagan “circle of life” – even the most cynical materialist will instinctively gasp when a child dies. The unnaturalness of it slaps us in the face. This is when death is at its most appalling, when Satan is at his most brutal and mocking, laying evil bare before us, tempting us to curse our Lord and to blame God Almighty for the corruption we have brought on ourselves.

And yet, in spite of it all, walking straight through the mocking mourners, in full view of the child’s heartbroken parents, our Lord sets his face like a flint to carry out his Father’s will to give life to this girl. He touches her, and speaks his word to her. The physical Flesh of Jesus and his divine Word do what reason tells us cannot be done: the girl’s dead heart begins to pulse, the blood in her body stirs and begins to course anew, through cells that have been revivified. She awakens from death as though from a nap. Jesus tells her bewildered parents to feed her, to give her the nourishment that every living creature needs to sustain the gift of life.

In these two miracles, the Lord Jesus Christ gives all people – believers and non-believers alike – a glimpse into their own future. We are all, like the woman with the hemorrhage, counting down the days as our corrupted flesh dies, the life ebbing from us day by day, moment by moment. We will all, like Jairus’s daughter, lie lifeless – cold, bloodless, and corrupting. What happens next is in the hands of God – who is not only a Creator, but also a Redeemer. The same God who gave us life and called it good, also gave His life on a Friday we now call “Good.” This sacrifice upon the altar of our world sanctifies all creation. God has reclaimed his own from the Enemy – giving the gift of healing, the gift of faith, the gift of a resurrection, and the gift of life eternal in paradise to every creature. Amazingly, most people are not interested in the gift. They are content to bleed their days away, pushing away the One who can heal and resurrect them with a touch of his Holy Flesh, or a single drop of his Holy Water. Though most people fear death, they are content to call it “natural” and figure there is nothing to be done about it except to try to die with the most toys.

However, those who have been called, redeemed, sanctified, healed, forgiven, and raised from the dead – the members of the holy catholic and apostolic Church, on earth and in heaven – gladly receive the words of our Lord: “Your faith has made you well. Go in peace… I say to you, arise.” And having been revitalized and reborn, our Lord instructs our spiritual fathers to give us something to eat. Our Lord himself feeds us with the eternal Bread of Life, his very Flesh which nourishes us unto eternal life. And just as the life of any living thing is in the blood, our Lord does more than simply wrap a tourniquet around our limbs and stop us from bleeding to death – rather he gives us of his own Blood, giving us his own life as a gift, a gift of life unto eternity.

For we have a far more intimate relationship with Jesus than even the woman and the girl in our text. Whereas they only saw, heard, and touched Jesus, we have the gift of communing with him, of making his Flesh our flesh, and his Blood our blood. Jesus pours the life of the Godhead into us, reversing the unnatural decay of our flesh and the Satanic wasting away of our blood. We too are healed. We too are raised from the dead.

While the world scoffs at us, just as they scoffed at our Lord, we believe. While the world wallows in death and calls it “natural,” we live unto eternity and call death what it really is: “evil.” While our culture can’t make up its mind whether it is anti-life (singing the praises of infanticide and euthanasia) or whether it is terrified of death to the point of ghoulish measures to avoid it (such as cryogenics and ever-increasing and invasive “laws for our own good” to regulate any form of behavior that might be risky) – the Church simply confesses that death has been conquered by God himself, who himself died, and who himself rose again. And this God is also a man, a man who speaks the gentle and yet bombastic words to us as well as to the people in our text: “Your faith has made you well, go in peace… I say to you, arise.” Amen.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sermon: Pentecost 2

13 June 2004 at Holy Trinity L.C., Columbia, SC (Vicarage)
Text: Luke 7:36-8:3 (also 2 Sam 11:26-12:10, 13-15; Gal 2:15-21) (RCL)

In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

In today’s gospel text, Jesus uses a man’s rude behavior as the backdrop to give a lesson on the Christian life. In fact, Jesus sums up all of the doctrines of the Bible by making reference to what we would today call “bankruptcy:” being relieved of one’s debts that one cannot pay.

Jesus’s dinner host is not very gracious. He ignores the basic duties that one should attend to when one has a guest. Today, we might offer a visitor a drink, put out some snacks, and invite them to sit in a comfortable chair. Although the customs of the first century middle east are different than those of twenty-first century America, the idea is still the same. Especially, if one invites a person of honor to one’s home. Jesus is a well-known rabbi, and a polite person would surely see to his comfort – something Simon the Pharisee is lax in doing.

Now, whether Simon is being deliberately rude, or is just a social clod, we don’t know. But Simon’s lack of manners also manifests itself toward the woman in our account. While our text only tells us what he was thinking, one can hardly imagine that his utter distaste for the woman can easily remain hidden. He not only questions Jesus’s standing as a prophet, he also condemns – at least inwardly – the woman’s actions based on her reputation.

So, instead of seeing her devotion to the Lord (a devotion which, by the way, highlights his own failure as a host), Simon sees only her past sins. He judges her worthiness by her former wickedness. Instead of a redeemed and repentant sinner who is filled with love, Simon sees only a sinner, filled with iniquity. He sees her service not as a good and noble work, but rather as hypocrisy. Who does she think she is, and why is this rabbi allowing her to do such things?

Jesus, seeing the irony of the boorish behavior of the “righteous” man versus the loving behavior of the “sinful” woman, takes advantage of this “teachable moment” and tells Simon a story about creditors and debtors. Asked who is most appreciative, a debtor who is forgiven much debt or a debtor who is forgiven little, Simon correctly answers the one forgiven much. Jesus congratulates him: “You have judged rightly.” Simon’s earlier judgmental attitude has given way to sound judgment of a hypothetical accounting matter. Having guided his pupil to the correct conclusion in the abstract, Jesus then applies this logic specifically to matters of sin, redemption, and the Christian life.

Jesus sums up the entire Christian faith – both doctrine and practice – as a matter of debt. This is not the only time our Lord refers to our sins in financial terms. In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us.” These days, we usually use the word “trespass” with regard to property lines. However, the older meaning of the word reflects the original meaning: “debts.” This is why our Bibles normally translate this petition as “forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our debtors.” Our Lord is not referring to our car payments and Visa bills. He is using the word “debt” as a way to express our sins.

We don’t normally describe sin in financial terms – but it’s a beautiful analogy. Having recently finished seminary, I know a little something about debts. I’m sure I’m not alone here. Debt is a powerful and dangerous thing. If not managed, it quickly balloons into a monster that can take over one’s life. When debts grow large enough, they become such a burden that a person may not even be able to pay the interest – thus theoretically making it impossible to ever get out of debt. In former times, a person in such a situation was sent to prison. The only hope of ever leaving debtor’s prison was either the unexpected grace of the creditor in forgiving the debt, or the appearance of a redeemer who would pay the bill on behalf of the prisoner. Without either forgiveness or a redeemer, one would rot away in prison year after year, until dying only to pass on one’s debts to one’s heirs.

In our text, Jesus tells a story of debt forgiveness, and the gratitude and joy that follows such forgiveness. Jesus tells a slightly different and expanded version of this motif in his Parable of the Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18. In that parable, our Lord presses the analogy further, equating debtor’s prison to hell itself, whence there is no escape, that is, without forgiveness or redemption.

Like our bills, our sins are debts. They compound on one another like interest. They rack up every moment of the day. They hang around our necks like the proverbial albatross. They weigh upon us, and drag us down. Unless discharged, debts can eventually spiral out of control, and become a burden that threatens to send us to debtor’s prison.

But our Lord doesn’t end his discourse on such a note. For what good is it to instruct the Pharisee Simon (as well as the rest of us Pharisees today) about debts and the forgiveness of those debts unless there is a benevolent creditor willing to cancel our bill, a wealthy benefactor with an open checkbook ready to balance our accounts?

Jesus not only alludes to himself as the kind creditor and great redeemer, he makes it happen right in front of his pupil. Speaking to the woman whose debt is beyond her ability to pay, our Lord pronounces the words of absolution: “Your sins are forgiven.” He has paid her tab – not with cash, but with his blood. He has picked up her check, not with a credit card, but with his flesh. He has brought her balance down to zero, not by a balance transfer, but rather by a blessed exchange which was to take place on the cross.

While the other guests at the table ponder Jesus’s authority to give such absolution, while they wonder among themselves who is this man with the power and right to cancel the debts of people who otherwise would be trapped and left without hope, Jesus teaches them something else, something equally important: the woman’s acts of devotion, her kindnesses to Jesus, are not what saves her. Her debts are no more wiped out by her loyalty and kindness any more than our Mastercards are paid by being nice to the collection agent on the phone or promising never to use American Express. The women’s love for Jesus is not what cancels her debt. Rather, our Lord proclaims: “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Her works – though beautiful and clearly a demonstration of her faith – did not achieve her salvation. They did not forgive her debt. Her love – though genuine and heartfelt – did nothing to wipe out her liability. Her love and her good works were results of her forgiveness. They did not initiate her forgiveness. They did not earn her forgiveness. They did not pay her check. Rather, they grow out of her gratitude, they explode from her as a result of having her debts paid. Her love and her deeds flow from the Gospel, the good news that she will not have to spend a miserable lifetime in a debtor’s prison, she will not have to waste away eternally in hell. Jesus, by his blood and with his word, has stamped her bill “paid in full” and she is filled with joy.

Dear friends, there is no greater expression of the Gospel than today’s text. Every one of us baptized Christians are exactly the same as the sinful woman in our reading. Each one of us has racked up a debt so large that we can’t even begin to pay the interest on the debt. And as St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans: “the wages of sin is death.” But as Paul continues, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We hear our Lord say those precious words to us every Sunday: “your sins are forgiven.” And of course, we are also just like Simon. In spite of our Lord’s cancellation of our debt, we continue to judge others by their past, even as we ignore our Lord. Instead of anointing our Lord with our tears, how often we treat him as if he isn’t even there. This too is part of that debt that we can never repay, that we can only ask our Lord to forgive.

Christians often struggle with how to approach the Christian life without lapsing into “works righteousness.” In other words, how should we live a life of good works without falling into the trap of taking credit for them? Paul, in our second lesson, reiterates our Lord’s words about faith and salvation: “a person is not justified by works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Emphasizing salvation by grace through faith, and not by works of the law, is a teaching that has always been central for Lutherans. But this is not Luther’s teaching, nor even Paul’s teaching, but rather our Lord’s teaching: “your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

On the other end of the spectrum is the trap of presuming that since we are sinners and debtors, and since we can’t defeat sin, we may as well give in to sin and treat it as a trifle. Since Jesus died for our sins, sin is really no big deal, nothing to get worked up about. This is a particular danger for Lutherans. If someone calls us to repentance, we may be tempted to ignore our sins and simply take our baptisms for granted. Since we are baptized, since good works don’t save us, we can sin all we want, knowing that all we need to do is receive absolution every Sunday.

Such a diluted and matter-of-fact view of sin is a satanic delusion. In our first lesson, we heard the familiar account of David’s murder and adultery – repugnant and shocking acts which he somehow didn’t even recognize as sinful – until Nathan the prophet told him a parable about a pet lamb. When presented as a hypothetical situation – apart from his own life – David judged wisely, rightly concluding that such sinful behavior deserves nothing less than death. Sin is no trifle, it is deadly serious, and the Lord cannot and will not abide it. It is so serious, in fact, that God took flesh, and gave himself on the cross in order to redeem our debts. As the Lutheran pastor and martyr, the blessed Dietrich Bonhöffer reminded us: grace is free, but it’s not cheap – it cost the life and death of our Lord on the cross. We receive it as a gift – but it’s the most expensive gift in the universe.

In our text, our dear Lord condemns both errors – the error that we are saved by good works and by the law, as well as the error that sin is just no big deal, that our good works aren’t necessary. Just as Jesus makes it clear that salvation that is by faith, he also points out that actions flow from forgiveness. We don’t need bestselling books and slickly-marketed programs to direct us how to live the Christian life. What we need to do is surround ourselves with reminders of the tremendous evil of our sins, the terrifying wrath of God, our helplessness to get out of debt, as well as the indescribable act of love that paid our debts in blood and sealed that forgiveness in baptismal water. We would do well to surround ourselves with crucifixes, in our homes, in our churches, on our persons. Plain crosses are simply not as vivid a reminder. They’re too sterile. We need reminding. We need to eat his Flesh and drink his Blood often. We should regularly confess our sins to our pastors, confronting our own debts, so we can hear them wiped out with our Lord’s words: “your sins are forgiven.” And we do well to make the sign of the cross on ourselves often, as a constant reminder of how our debts were, and are, paid in full. Recalling the Lord’s cross and our baptism is a greater encouragement than all the TV evangelists and “motivational speakers” put together.

The so-called sinful woman in our text provides a model of the Christian life. She is not driven by a purpose, not motivated according to a programmed list of hoops to jump through. Nor is she deterred by what others may think. And although she is overwhelmed by emotion, her feelings are not motivating her deeds. She responds in love with good works out of her overwhelming gratitude for having her huge debt cancelled. It’s that simple.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us revel in our bankruptcy. Let us thank the triune God for the payment of all of our debts, and for springing us from the debtor’s prison of hell that we all deserve. Let us keep the image of our crucified Lord ever before our eyes, that we may be grateful in thought, word, and deed for what our Lord has done for us. And with the cancellation of our debt comes the freedom which enables us to anoint our Lord with the oil of our love and the ointment of our good works, freeing us to join him at table in celebration for all eternity. “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace. Amen.”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.