Category Archives: Kvetching

Memorial Day for whom?

00000563This morning I had the opportunity to sit in on a Lincoln-Douglas Debate.  Their debate prompt was “Resolved:  Rescuing great cultural and artistic achievements from theft or destruction is worth risking one’s life.”  I’m sure part of what prompted this prompt was the destruction and theft of cultural artifacts in Iraq, Syria and Libya by ISIS.  The concern on the part of the students is the fact that with such destruction comes the loss, change or intentional rewriting of history that accompanies it.  Certainly, in the Middle East, ISIS is attempting to eradicate any evidence of the Church’s history in those areas.  But are we in America any better?

Ironically, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate format is based on the 7 debates that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held between August 21 and October 15, 1858.  Of course, the coming Civil War was the forefront of those debates.  And here we are today, with the debate still raging as communities attempt to rewrite our history by removing Confederate monuments.  Our new mayor in St. Louis is intent upon removing a Confederate monument in Forest Park because “it’s an emotionally charged issue…that is hurtful to so many people.”  Perhaps we should remove Douglas from the tableau at Lincoln Douglas Square in Alton, IL?  That’s probably coming.

What a ridiculous concept that if we have “hurt feelings” because of history, then we should just rewrite or eradicate that history, rather than learn from it.  This is the same logic that Holocaust deniers and historical revisionists use because there are people who are uncomfortable with the truth.  And where does it end?  Memorial Day emerged from competing Union and Confederate observances eventually becoming Memorial Day by 1882.  Shall we now make distinctions between those Americans who lost their lives in service to our country, but only those Americans who fought for ideals that we agree with?  Vietnam?  The Gulf wars?

Churchill once said that “History is written by the victors.”  But history is rewritten by the those with “hurt feelings.”  Progressive culture really wants to rewrite the Church, who, it seems, from their perspective, is oppressive.  Individuals and our feelings have become our idols.  And I am still awed by the fact that He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, and as Y’shua endured that pain, He was not a victim, but victor who cried out to His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


“Well, we had a good run.”  

Pesach tractI often joke that our Passover Seders are a bit like dinner theater, and if it were truly theater, that is what we might have said.  After more than 20 years “on Broadway” to sold out Seders, our Passover Seder this year was not well attended, 50 adults and 13 children, but we still had a good time.  The upside was that while we’ve never had less than 100 before, we had several new people who got a chance to celebrate Passover with us.  And of course, I led the Seder in three other churches this year, with about 200 people in those other three churches together, sort of “off Broadway,” and I got to go home from one with matzo brie.  So this morning, I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast of leftover matzo brie and salmon.  Yum!

But it does leave me to wonder why we had less interest this year.  While I don’t believe that social media has that much impact on peoples’ opinions, the election not withstanding, it is interesting that this year there was so much on social media objecting to churches celebrating Passover.  Two prominent Lutheran theologians weighed in, agreeing with an article that was published in Christianity Today, written by two Jewish rabbis who contend that “Jesus Didn’t Eat a Seder Meal.”

The rabbis’ contention centers on the fact that the traditions associated with the Seder meal were not instituted until after the destruction of the Temple, long after Jesus was crucified.  Yet in the same article they claim that Jews “have been celebrating the Passover Seder for millenia.”  That is plural, meaning thousands of years.  You see, the rabbis want to have it both ways.  What they are not telling you is that the Hagaddah and other rituals of Passover may not have been written down until after the destruction of the Temple,  but are part of the oral tradition that, according to them, goes back to Moses.  But it is convenient to disconnect anything Jewish with Jesus by playing the “destruction of the Temple” card, effectively removing Jesus and the early Christian Church from any Jewish ritual.

Apart from their faulty logic, the most disturbing thing from them is their charge of insensitivity by Christians who are appropriating their customs.  This is part of a larger arc on their part that seeks to deny Christians any continuity from the Old Testament to the New Testament.  The unstated claim is that the Old Testament belongs to the Jews, and the New Testament is Christian, and “n’er the twain shall meet.”  For this reason, ministries such as ours are deceptive by using Jewish symbols in worship, etc.

There are Jewish cultural symbols that are not biblical.  But there are many biblical symbols that Christians are allowed to use and explore, and truly, even in “traditional worship settings” (whatever that is), much of what goes on is Jewish.  Look around your sanctuary and you will see many things that come from biblical, Jewish, roots.  Seven-branched candelabra, eternal flames, albs and stoles, and Hebrew words like Hosanna, Hallelujah, etc.  You see, if you define adopting anything that is “Jewish” as being insensitive, you then are restricted from using any of the prophetic utterances of God that promise the Messiah and so clearly point to Jesus as Him.  And that is the honest agenda of these rabbis.

Sadly, even prominent Lutheran theologians fall into that trap.  One argues that the Passover Seder is akin to our practice of communion, and that those who celebrate the Seder “should be unified in their ecclesiastical community and in their confession of faith.  Call this ‘closed Passover.'”  I don’t hold that remark against him, but I also don’t expect him to understand the Jewish ethos.  In Judaism though, there is no such thing as a unified ecclesiastical community nor any corporate confession of faith.  Judaism is not that dogmatic.  The only true confession that Jews hold to be common is that “Jews don’t believe in Jesus.”  (Yes, there is Maimonides Thirteen Principles of Faith, but very few of those who celebrate the Seder even know these much less believe them.)

The worst thing that comes from this whole online discussion is the disregarding of the value of celebrating the Passover Seder.  Most objections by Christians about celebrating Passover lead from St. Paul’s counsel to Peter in Galatians 2:14, “But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, ‘If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?'”  The operative word here for Paul is “force,” and leads to a fear of anything Jewish as being Judaizing the Church.  

But compelling and exercising freedom are two different things.  We become so afraid of being Peter to Paul that we forget how to be Paul:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

The Passover Seder encourages faith, teaches theology, helps some understand culture, and most importantly, points to Jesus.  And an honest reading of the texts make it very clear that Jesus did celebrate the Passover, along with many if not most of the traditions associated with it.  The rabbis argue for respect of their cherished traditions, but these are ours too.

Chanukkah–Feast of Dedication

The RevolutionIllustration:  “The Revolution,” by Marc Chagall, oil on canvas, 1937.

“Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me … ‘” (John 10:25).

God is in the miracle business. We have been given the miracle of life, the miracle of breath, and the faith we find in answer to yesterday’s questions is the greatest miracle of all.

Chanukkah is a time to remember miracles. It was certainly a miracle that the small army of Jewish soldiers were able to overcome the vast resources of the Syrian war machine, and it is a great miracle that Jewish people are still today seeking the Messiah in the miracle of Chanukkah.

For centuries, conquerors, kings and popes have sought to destroy the Jewish people. But God sustained them. During a dark time of the church, Spanish inquisitors tried hard to destroy the Jews in the name of God, forcing conversions at the point of a sword. But God’s miracles were remembered through a simple child’s game called Dreidle. The dreidle is a top inscribed with four Hebrew letters which are an acronym for “Nes Gadol Haya Sham,” “A Great Miracle Happened There.” Disallowed by the Church of that day  to celebrate their festivals, Jewish people remembered the miracle of God’s deliverance in this game.

Today, the Church remembers God’s grace and love, and prays that the Jewish people would again be delivered, not by the point of a sword, but by the work of the true Messiah–Jesus.

Prayer:  Dear God, remove from the Church those who would persecute Your people. Give us Your truth that Jesus is the Way for all people, including Your Jewish people. In Y’shua’s name, Amen.

Ponder the path:  Has God placed any Jewish people along your path? Share this study with them and tell them about the Messiah.

Why do it?

13-04-17-mishegoss1Last Sunday, Congregation Chai v’Shalom celebrated the installation of a new pastor, Rev. Brian Earl, who is serving our ministry in outreach.  He was one of my students in 2006 and continued to work with Rev. Brad Aldrich, who was serving our ministry then.  Following graduation at Concordia Seminary, Brian served a parish in Nebraska for five years, and then moved to St. Louis with his new bride Christa and while he is here serving a Chaplain internship, he received and accepted a call to serve our ministry to help in outreach.

He and his wife have been a blessing to our ministry.  Christa is a violinist, a linguist, and gifted in many other ways along with being from Colorado.  It is nice to talk to someone else who knows Denver!  She and Brian are young (so much younger than me!) and have a lot of energy, and Brian has faithfully been leading our monthly outreaches for some time now.  In addition to a bunch of other things that we do, we hold a monthly outreach on the 2nd Saturday evening of each month and go to an area of St. Louis called “the Loop.”  It is a shopping district in the midst of a vibrant Jewish community and a wonderful area university.

The night before his installation, Brian and I were on the Loop.  We are enjoying really warm weather in St. Louis right now, and there were a lot of people around.  Part of what we do is try to engage people in conversation, prayerfully leading to a spiritual conversation.  Between the two of us in the span of an hour, we had three conversations.  He met a woman who really refused to talk spiritually, and wanted to talk more about the election.  OK. . .that’s fair.  I met a “Hebrew Israelite” who wanted to talk spiritually, but she didn’t really help me understand what “Hebrew Israelite” meant, or what her faith was.  From what I could gather about her, she wasn’t Jewish per se, and not Christian either.  She did allow me to share who I was, and I gave her some literature from our worship service, and also told her where the nearest synagogue was when she asked.  At least we got to talk about Jesus, about whom she seemed to have no opinion!  That’s rare.

Our third conversation that evening was together with two young men who enjoy “intellectual dialogue.”  One said he is an agnostic and the other eschewed all labels.  Both believe in a higher power, but not the Bible or even a traditional understanding of God.  They sort of fell into the Aristotelian concept of the “unmoved mover.”  But when pressed, they chose a deistic approach to God who created everything, got bored, and moved on to another planet.  Yes, we did talk about “extra-terrestrial beings”, and at best we left them contemplating about why God would create all this, and how he chose to reveal himself to us.

All-in-all, an average evening on the Loop.  So, why do it?  The Loop is a snapshot of how badly the world needs Jesus, and how confused it is.  But at least all those who we talked to left knowing about our faith in Jesus.  Sometimes that’s the best we can do, trusting that God is working in these lives through the rest of His Church!

Walking around blind

UntitledThis past month I had the opportunity to drive 11 hours west to speak at a church in Western Kansas.  They have been friends and supporters of ours for many years and are truly a blessing to our ministry.  We have known each other now through two pastors, we have done outreaches together, and we even took a congregational field trip to The Creation Museum with them several years ago.  I never dreamed that I would be willing to drive through Kansas for anyone, but for them, it’s a privilege.

Actually, though, there was a time when Kansas was a state I just had to close my eyes (metaphorically), grit my teeth (actually) and just get through.  I’m from Colorado, right in the foothills of the mighty Rocky Mountains, and for reasons I can only guess (namely, meeting my wife), I attended an old family school “back east” in Ohio.  So many times I found myself driving through Kansas, eyes closed and teeth gritted.  Flat, featureless and really, really long!  And it doesn’t help that once, while still in high school, my mother, grandmother and I drove to that same college to attend a building ground breaking, and on the way, broke down.  We were in a 1970 Toyota Corona with two Israeli flags emblazoned across the back window, when we broke down in Mankato, Kansas. (My mother would never take the highway.) The fellow at the station said, “Well, I’m gonna have to go all the way to Salina to get parts for this” (you fill in the accent).  A week later, we were finally on our way, and somehow still made the ground breaking.  But my disdain for Kansas was born that week!

Since then, I have become a believer in Jesus, and have learned to see beauty in all of God’s creation.  And since my friendship with Redeemer Lutheran Church in Atwood, have gotten to drive through Kansas many more times.  I’ve driven through the Flint Hills in blizzards, through rain and drought, and even with blazing fires all around me!  Every time I marvel at the beauty of the region, along with the high plain and the beautiful prairie.  This last time was in the season of that “New Spring Growth Green,” and it was just as beautiful as always.  How could I have taken this for granted?

I wonder how many times we’ve gone through our lives busy, disdainful, taking the things around us for granted.  This isn’t just about beauty in nature, but beauty in people too.  It is so easy today to look around and see nothing but rotten, no good people.  But we have to remember that in every one of those people all around us, there is the breath of God.  Psalm 33 reminds us that “The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.”  This is the same God that “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).  Please don’t take them for granted.  And God sends us to give them the truth, He who is “the way, and the truth, and the life,” Jesus!  Don’t close your eyes and grit your teeth.  Just look around.  Otherwise, you may miss something beautiful.

Calendar Woes…

imagesThis month we find ourselves in an interesting conundrum as we note the holidays on the Jewish calendar.  Purim falls on Maundy Thursday and Passover falls on April 23, almost a month after Easter.  So, the conundrum was whether or not to celebrate Easter on March 27, or to celebrate Easter on May 1.

May 1?  Well, the Orthodox Christian Church celebrates Easter according to the Julian calendar, while the western Church celebrates Easter according to the Gregorian calendar.  The differences in these two calendars are similar to the challenges in the Jewish calendar (see February’s newsletter).  The Gregorian calendar was established in the 16th century as an effort to bring the calendar into alignment with the vernal equinox, so that Easter would be on the first full moon following the vernal equinox.  But that makes Easter earlier than the Orthodox Church’s celebration, which is calculated according to the Julian calendar, but also takes into account the adherence by the Orthodox to the early practices of the Christian Church, which, at the council of Nicea, 325 AD, required Easter to take place during the Jewish Passover.

Wow…truthfully, we never considered celebrating Easter in May, but it certainly would have been easier with our schedule.  We are, after all, part of the Western Church, and it would be awkward to deviate from the rest of the Church’s schedule.  And we are reminded by St. Paul to “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ” (Col. 2:16-17).  We rejoice that in Christ, we have the freedom to celebrate these things or not, and to make adjustments, if needed.  Instead, as you probably know, we celebrated Purim during Purim Katan (again, see last month’s newsletter), and our Passover Seder is still on Palm Sunday, which is March 20.

Freedom in Christ…I understand that.  But if I had to adhere to the law, I would be confused about something I read today.  There is a new product on the market called the HotMat, “a new foldable hotplate designed to give observant Jewish consumers a safe, portable and rabbinically sanctioned method of heating up food on the Sabbath.”  Technology designed for keeping the law comfortably and safely!  How is it that so much time and effort is spent on being flexible about the law, and yet, our people are still so stubborn about Messiah?!

The challenge of all this is that our annual St. Patrick’s Day Outreach, Palm Sunday and our Passover Seder is all the same week.  Oy!  But, the upside is that April should be a quiet month (that never happens!).  Pray for the many people that we meet during this season, that they would consider Messiah Y’shua!


Why is Hanukkah so popular?

imagesAs we get ready for our Hanukkah party this year (Dec. 11), one of our missionaries ran across an article in a Jewish publication trying to answer the question “Why is Hanukkah such a popular holiday?”

There is no question that Hanukkah is one of the more popular holidays in the Jewish calendar, and as the writer of the article notes, there is very little in the Talmud about Hanukkah, especially about the origin and nature of the holiday.

One of the most popular aspects of the holiday of Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah.  As I’ve said before, that custom stems from a “miracle” that occurred after the Maccabees secured the Temple from the Syrians, and cleansed and rededicated it.  The story goes that as the priests went to light the lampstand in the Temple, there was not enough undefiled oil to keep it lit.  They used what oil could be used, enough to last for a day, but the miracle that occurred is that that little bit of oil lasted eight days, long enough to press and purify more oil.  Many traditions of Hanukkah flowed form this oil miracle.  The problem, of course, is that the history does not record such a miracle, and the miracle of the oil wasn’t even mentioned in the Talmud until around the 4th century.  While some argue for an oral tradition that predates the Talmud, I have often maintained that the miracle of the oil was a distraction for the Jewish people, to take the focus off of the true miracle of Hanukkah, the preservation of the people from whom Messiah Jesus would be born.

I often wonder at what lengths some Jewish people will go to avoid talking about Jesus.  The writer quotes a reference from Rashi from the 11th century and says, “This story shows that the popularity of Hanukkah was so great that it was kept even after the Temple was destroyed. Consequently, it implies that Hanukkah was established earlier, even while the Temple stood. This makes sense because if it was enacted after the Temple was destroyed, it should have been counted among the other mitzvot established by Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai as Zecher L’mikdash, as a reminder of the Temple.”

It implies that Hanukkah was established “even while the Temple stood?”  We don’t truly need Rabbi Yochanan or Rashi to tell us that…Rabbi Y’shua tells us very clearly.  “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem (John 10:22).”  Y’shua was there, and he used that opportunity to boldly tell the Jewish people that he is the Messiah, born of the Jews.  We can light the menorah to do something other than celebrate his birth, or we can light the menorah to celebrate the miracle of his birth.  Surely the popularity of Hanukkah is not just a distraction so that we don’t have to talk about Jesus?

Merry Christmas to you, and Happy Hanukkah.  It is a wonderful season of true miracles in Messiah!


Blood Moons and the End Times

Lunar_eclipse_September_27_2015_greatest_Alfredo_Garcia_JrI received an e-mail the other day from a pastor of a church that used to partner with us.  The last time I preached there was in 2010, and they supported our ministry for a couple of years, but eventually, as so often happens, our ministry got lost in the time and tide of every day ministry, even though it is a congregation where we have a ministry advocate!  The last time we heard from anyone in that congregation other than our ministry advocate was 2012, so the e-mail came as a surprise.

The e-mail was a question about another “Messianic” ministry, and the pastor wanted my opinion of that ministry, as he was approached by a member of the congregation who was excited about them.  This particular “Messianic” ministry is led by a man who predicted the second coming of Jesus at Sukkot, 2015, because of the four “blood moons” (tetrad) that occurred between April 15, 2014 and Sept. 27, 2015 which coincided with the festival of Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles.  Of course, when Sukkot came and went, he revised his prediction (as is usually the case with predictions of the Second Coming), but continues to spark excitement in many in the Church.

Yes, our ministry observes the Jewish festival calendar as well as the Church calendar, and we have just come through the fall season of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  We look forward to celebrating Chanukkah in December, as well as Christmas.  But our observance of all these festivals is not because they are commanded, and not just because we have a Jewish/Lutheran congregation, but because they are a joy as every one of them points to Jesus.  And they give us great opportunities to share the Gospel with Jewish people through the traditions and celebrations of all these Jewish and Christian festivals.

Unfortunately, sharing the Gospel with Jewish people is not as exciting as prophecies about the end times.  But the reality of death apart from a relationship with God through Jesus is far more important than any speculation about the time to come.  Because, when that time does come, there will be no excuses.  The Church calendar is in the period of end times as we approach the last Sunday of the Church year.  All the texts encourage us to stand firm in our faith, not being distracted by the things of this world.  And as the season of Advent approaches, we stand together saying, “Amen, Come Lord Jesus.”  Thank you so much for standing with us, despite all the distractions.

People often ask my opinion of many things both Jewish and not so Jewish.  But I work very hard not to be distracted by prophecies, politics, or personal agendas.  The thing that I know is that Jesus will return when the elect are gathered, and He has called on us to bring in the harvest.

#LoveWins…does it?

rainbow-2It would be almost impossible for me to write this blog and not comment on the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding same-sex marriage.  And no, I’m not going to reiterate our church body’s stand on the issue, you can read that in President Harrison’s comments here.

The thing that strikes me is how joyous everyone is over the decision, even those who would not normally be associated with the LGBTQ community.  Here in our own little neighborhood of Dogtown, rainbow flags came out of the closet for a day and flew proudly while everyone went to social media and cited the mantra #LoveWins while they availed themselves of the rainbow overlay that Facebook conveniently offered to it’s members for their profile picture.

The Jewish community proudly got on board as the American Jewish Committee celebrated with a tweet, “For 109 years AJC has stood for liberty and human rights.  Today is a happy day for that proud tradition #LoveWins.”  The Anti-Defamation League tweeted, “This is a great day for Civil Rights!  Happy Pride!  #MarriageEquality for all.  #LoveWins.”  The irony of all of this is that Jewish groups cite the Scriptures for their motivation to support these so-called “civil rights” issues.  One such statement by the Rabbinical Assembly read, “Jewish tradition reminds us that we were all created equally in the ‘image of God’ (Genesis 1:27), and also shows us that marriage is a sacred responsibility, not only between the partners, but also between the couple and the larger community.”

Now its one thing for the Jewish community to stand with perceived “oppressed” groups because they feel that they have been oppressed too.  It’s a totally different thing to bring God into it, and then pick and choose which verses from Scripture that they want to use.  This is the problem with witnessing to Jewish people, and with any people who have even a modicum of Scriptural knowledge.  They hang their hats on texts they like, and disregard texts that don’t agree with them.

Firstly, no where does it say in Scripture that we were created equally.  That is an American constitutional construction.  In fact, the Scriptures are clear that there are many differences between us, and as those who were created, we were created man and woman, yes, in God’s image but with a clear spiritual hierarchy.  And why were they created man and woman, but to be fruitful and multiply, to increase in number…the rest of Genesis 1:27!  What were the rabbis thinking?  Furthermore, marriage is a “sacred responsibility,” as they say, but set apart by God for procreating.  Impossible in a same-sex “marriage.”  So here’s my social media mantra…#GodIsLove, #LoveGrieves.  OK, so it is now off my chest.  Thank you for putting up wth me.


imagesLast month there were four holidays on the Jewish calendar, beginning of course with Passover.  Passover is all about remembering, and it is unfortunate that most of our Jewish friends who celebrate Passover are merely remembering the tradition.  Very often, I am told that it is important to have a Seder for the sake of community, but faith in the actual events of Scripture is often faint.  Many Jews, perhaps most, really don’t believe that God separated the waters of the Red Sea and brought our people through it to freedom from bondage.  If they don’t believe that, then what hope is there in teaching the Sacrament of Baptism, that it doesn’t becomes a mere tradition without the power of salvation and the freedom from bondage to sin!

The other three holidays of the Jewish calendar are all modern holidays celebrated in Israel, and in the diaspora (the Jews living outside of Israel).  April 22 and 23 were Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut respectively.  Yom HaZikaron is Israel’s Veterans Day, remembering the Israelis who have fallen in service to their country, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day, remembering the 1948 War of Independence that birthed the Jewish nation.  Both of these holidays were opportunities to remember people and events in the lives of the Jewish nation.  But the fourth of the four is a little different.  While two are about remembering, one is about never forgetting.  And there is a distinction.

April 16 was Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Yom HaShoah is perhaps the most misunderstood of the bunch, although the political implications of the other two can be contentious.  But it seems most just don’t understand Yom HaShoah.  A couple of days ago, a visitor to our ministry got into a heated argument about the Holocaust, and said that he doesn’t understand why Jews had to be so focused on the Holocaust.  It is a common query.  As time goes by, and fewer survivors of the Holocaust are sharing their stories, the Jewish community is less afraid of the Holocaust deniers in the world, and more afraid that the Jewish community will have a short memory and allow something like that to happen all over again.  Remembering, for them, is self-preservation.  So, we have museums, and days on the calendar.  In many ways, while the other two question Israel’s survival, Yom HaShoah is about the survival of the Jewish people as a whole.

A quick search of the ESV version of the Holy Scriptures reveals 162 times that “remember” is found.  Sometimes we are told to remember our sins, and sometimes we are told to remember God’s grace.  Needless to say, it is important to remember our sins.  And more importantly, once repentant, we must always remember God’s grace, the He would become incarnate as a man, Jesus, and take our sins to the cross, and the resurrection.  God remembers His children.  May we never forget.