"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sunday Sermon: Jesus heals at the pool of Bethezda. John 5.1-9


John 5:1-9

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Bethezda, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath.

May the words of my lips and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord.

The story unfolds and the sharp-eyed amongst us might have noticed that v4 is missing. Hold that thought. Jesus is in Jerusalem and he goes to the Pool of Bethezda. This pool was surrounded by porticoes offering shade and shelter and the area had become the gathering place for anyone with some sort of sickness, waiting and watching the surface of the water for the smallest sign of the rippling of the waves. A bubbling from the underground spring or even a breeze could cause a stampede of invalids trying to be the first into the water and then Jesus talks to one of the invalids and offers to heal him – an offer which is accepted, but not instantly.

There is a lot here that the original audience would have instinctively  understood but which could easily pass us by. Religious commentators explain that when the waters of the pool moved – that movement which triggered the rush of the hopeful to be first into the water for divine healing – the belief was that an Angel had touched the water. That was what was in the missing verse 4, but it’s been removed because people weren’t sure whether it was a later addition. Well, I have no doubts that the people of Jesus’ time had a stronger belief in Angels than we have today: or, at least a different understanding of the nature of Angels, or is it that the distance in time and knowledge and the religious landscape between then and now has left us a little more cynical about some of these more awkward elements of religious belief? I’ve heard it said that most British Christians are "functional atheists". While we believe in God, we function as if God were still resting after the creation. We don't expect God to break into our lives. Our God tends to be perceived as a very passive God and we have very low expectations of him.

I certainly grew up at a time when the trend was to demythologise much of the traditional elements of the New Testament and I suppose like many I simply decided to concentrate on what was clear to me: the person, the teaching and the sacrifice of Jesus. Some of the other stuff, I reasoned, was peripheral, a bit too fantastical or not relevant to where I was in my spiritual journey at that time.

In the end, I suspect it comes down to definitions and I’d like to illustrate that with a little scenario from my classroom because the parallel with today’s Gospel is very strong: angels and miracles.

My Yr. 8 students - aged 12/13 - have been studying Miracles and it has been a struggle from the outset, if for no other reason than spelling. You see “miracles” on the board, look down to your book and write “miricals.” How does that happen? Repeatedly?

Of course, the first issue is that of definition: what are we talking about when we talk of miracles? They look blankly at me. It takes some time, and with heavy guidance from me, to decide on “A dramatic and unusual event which goes against the laws of nature and is caused by God or one of his agents.” This is where it all started to unravel as we were taken down an unexpected line of discussion in relation to what constitutes an agent of God. Predictably angels came in for some considerable forensic examination and I found myself explaining the mind-set of the medieval artist.

“O.K.” I say, “I’m a Medieval Pope.” They look less than convinced.

“Jordan, you’re Michelangelo.” Jordan looks pleased.

“Michaelangelo, Old Boy, I need a nice fresco on the ceiling of my new chapel - a Biblical story. How about the Nativity?”

“Right you are Guv.”

Later Michelangelo gets out his Bible. “What’s in the story that I need to include? Stable, check. Mary and Joseph, check. Infant, check. Cattle, check. Shepherds, check. Wise men, Check. Innkeeper, check. Angels, ch … Angels? Oooh, Angels.”

“What does an angel look like?” I ask.

Surprisingly for a group of avowed Atheists they soon build up a picture: M & S floaty nighty, pigeon’s wings and a tinsel halo.

“Musical Instrument of choice?” I venture.

“Harp.” They chorus happily, entering into the spirit of the occasion.

“Trumpet.” Someone else offers.

(I ponder, briefly, how far we have moved in five minutes from my lesson plan on miracles – sorry: miricals.)

I draw said angel on the board. It takes about six pen strokes but they pronounce themselves happy with the result.

So I ask them, “How did we get to this?”

“Well, it’s in pictures.”

“And adverts. Sir, Sir, Have you seen that advert for cream cheese where …..?”

And so it goes on. Having established that this image is firmly fixed in the international psyche I try to point out that medieval artists were faced with a no-win situation in attempting to represent something visually where there’s not much in the way of description to go on.

I explain, “They needed to get over the idea of something spiritual rather than human otherwise we’d be looking at these paintings asking “Who’s that man in the background?” or “Why are those ladies falling out of the sky?” The angel as we know it is an artistic compromise.”

“Are you saying they don’t look like that then?”

“Well, I’m saying they might not.”

“What do they look like then?”

“O.K.” I take a deep breath.  “What does “angel” mean?”

There is no response.

I ask again.


(That’s teen-speak for “I don’t know”)

I offer them a clue, “It’s a Greek word.” Why did I tell them that? This is bottom set Yr 8. What are the chances they know New Testament Greek? What is the matter with you man?

Still no ideas.

“It means messenger of God. What does God’s messenger look like?” Perplexed looks. This is marginally encouraging as it indicates some level of mental activity above and beyond maintaining a heartbeat.

“Do you remember when Mrs. Wilson sent a pupil down with a message last lesson?”

“Are you saying Emily was an angel?”

I’m saying Emily was a messenger. What does a messenger look like?

“Could be anybody.”


“I don’t get it.”

I sigh. I do that a lot with Yr 8. “Why does God’s messenger have to look picturesque?”

“Coz it’s an angel.”

Now, you will recognise that this is a circular argument.

“And angel means messenger.” I persevere. “Why couldn’t anyone be God’s messenger? Please don’t say “because we don’t have wings.””

“So, right? Are you saying Sir that anyone could be an angel because they’d be being God’s messenger? Would they know they were an angel?”

“Maybe. Not necessarily.” (I’m thinking out loud at this point.) “Some angels appear to be spiritual beings: I’m just saying that the images of medieval artists might not always be helpful, that’s all. What was an aid to faith in the middle ages seems to be quite the opposite today: "Who'd believe in one of those winged things?"”

“Yeah. Too right Sir.”

We move on from angels and go on to talk about Prophets and Saints and, of course, Jesus as agents of God. There is a glimmer of hope that we might, at last, move on to talk about miricals.

“Any questions on anything we’ve looked at so far?  Yes Jordan?”

“Sir, who’s Michelangelo?”

And yes, much like my lesson, we are moving on to talk about miracles. “A dramatic and unusual event that goes against the laws of nature and is caused by God or one of his agents.” The agent of the Godhead here, being Jesus the Son, and not an angel.

But this is more than just a story about a miracle.

I think it’s a shame that today’s Gospel passage ends at this point when to make full sense of it we ought to read on to verse 18. The miracle story we have here becomes a conflict story which leads to yet another failed plot to have Jesus killed: we have someone who has been infirm for many years; there are comments about the link between sin and sickness; we have a command and with obedience comes a cure; and we have a controversy - a falling out - because Jesus has cured on the Sabbath when nothing that could be understood as work might be done.

Surely healing is a necessary, compassionate act which the Sabbath law allows for? Well, yes – in an emergency but this man had been suffering for 38 years. His condition hardly constituted an emergency and his healing therefore could surely wait until the Sabbath was over.

Two conversations have been taking place simultaneously. The religious authorities have been doggedly pursuing a conversation about breaking the Sabbath while the healed man and Jesus have been discussing healing and being made well.

So what? Interesting enough – or maybe not. Why are we considering this passage?  Well, I think there are a number of possible approaches: firstly – and this is just an idea that struck me last night so I’ve not really developed it fully – but in outline isn’t this incident the Gospel in miniature? Jesus comes and sweeps away the old ways and we have the certainty of Jesus’ presence as opposed to the hope of the old ways, as represented by the angel. It’s even possible that John was flagging this idea up. Is it a coincidence that the man had been ill for 38 years, the same number of years the People of Israel had wandered in the wilderness? As in so many instances in the Gospels, Jesus is spelling out his ministry as a ministry of change. Ironically, the people who saw the implications of this most clearly were the religious authorities who are panicked by the threat.

I think the challenge for us today is to consider whether we are the implied audience for this passage. Are Jesus words as spoken to this man and the Pharisees then also words for us today? What am I going to do with this passage? What are you going to do with it?

Let’s try this approach: And Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to be made whole?”

Do we fear the cure more than the illness? When we cease being a victim – “I can’t get to the water Jesus; there’s always someone else who gets there first” – and start being responsible then our legs are strong enough for us to walk beside others who are in pain and need help. Our arms are empowered to embrace our enemies and the outcasts. We no longer make excuses; instead we walk forward to new life in Jesus and go forward to a life of service.

I sometimes wonder if one of the ways we’re stopped from being more effective disciples is by keeping busy, tired, and diverted. We become numbed to the call of Jesus to serve God and others because we don’t have time. We come home after work and collapse in front of the TV until it is time to go to bed and repeat the process all over again. Weekends are when we want to get out or do something else. So we live life to the minimum. And we say we want change when we actually want to remain the same – but we want to feel better about it.

 We know that to get up and follow Jesus will involve us in people’s lives in ways we’re not sure we really want, because to be whole means to be re-connected with God and with God’s people and God’s creation. No more isolation. No more living my own private life where no one bothers me. To be whole means to get off of the settee and get involved. It means to work hard, often doing behind the scenes work that is tedious and overlooked. We know that to walk out of the door and say, “Here, am I Jesus! Send me!” is something that in our heart of hearts we really don’t want to say.

But there is another way of looking at this passage: If we are the implied audience, then are we being invited to examine when and by whom in today’s church life the knowledge of God brought by Jesus is rejected because it is too challenging to existing religious systems and structures?  Not this time too challenging to individuals. When do the structures and rules of the Church help to keep people "sick" or "stuck in their condition" rather than offering new life through the power of God? I think that was the situation in today’s Gospel: the man had the opportunity for a new life, a fresh start but the religious conventions of his day would have kept him where he was. The rejection of Jesus in this story, then, is a rejection of the possibility of new and unprecedented ways of knowing God and ordering the life of faith. Jesus could have avoided the controversy of this healing by waiting until after the Sabbath; or not commanding him to take up his mat. Jesus did both as a deliberate act. In Chapter 5, Jesus had already declared that God is working, even on the Sabbath day! And “like Father, like son” - the Son is also working.

One way of dealing with an unappetising message, is to kill the messenger. That is what the Jewish leaders had decided to do with Jesus. One way of dealing with an unappetising message today, of course, is to ignore it.

Whenever someone attempts to introduce a radically different insight to people whose minds have been formed by an old and well-worked-out way of thinking, he is up against an obstacle. Their taste, as Jesus said, for the old wine is so well established that they invariably prefer it to the new. More than that, the new wine, still fermenting, seems to them so obviously and dangerously full of power that they will not even consider putting it into their old and fragile wineskins.

To expand on a question I raised earlier, when may our church or religious rules keep people away from the saving/healing presence of Jesus? By that I don’t mean rewriting the structures and doctrines of worldwide Anglicanism: I think we can start a bit closer to home. I remember a lady once complaining about teenagers coming to church in jeans. She was especially upset when they went up for communion in trainers: so disrespectful! Would she rather have had them in church in jeans and trainers, or have her perception of the done thing keep them away?

Many years ago I was a member of a congregation where the morning service was broadcast live on Radio 4. A few days later the vicar received a letter of complaint from a member of the public because the Lord’s Prayer, which had been set to music, had been accompanied … by a guitar!

What about lay participation in the service? I once knew a vicar who actively discouraged lay participation because it got in the way of his ministry. What about those parents who don’t take their children into Children’s church but keep them with them in the congregation? “Well, they might AT LEAST have brought quiet toys with them!” How about children at communion or experimental worship? Does obedience to these “rules” help or hinder the spread of the gospel? Perhaps we should be asking ourselves: "What are we willing to give up so that more people might hear the Gospel?" I don’t suppose it’s any coincidence that one of the contemporary movements in the church today is called “New Wine.” To what extent are we the old wineskins?

Now, I feel confident in saying this to you because I don’t know you and so I don’t know what your experience is and so I have no agenda and, of course, this is a universal message.

Now, one of the things I often do when I read the Gospel stories is to try to imagine that I am there and I’d like you to consider that too. Who in the story did you most identify with?

I doubt that anyone here is going to say, “The Religious Authorities” but does our behaviour give the lie to that – and I ask myself that too.

Well, there was a miracle by the pool of Bethezda. Why? Not just because Jesus performed a healing – and without an angel in sight - but because in that healing the people glimpsed new possibilities. I think that our earnest prayer should be for Jesus to touch many more in the church so that they, too, can see new possibilities.





Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sunday Sermon: John 10. 22-30 - “My sheep hear my voice."

John 10.22-30
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
How should we approach this passage? As a general principle I try to imagine my way into Gospel stories. I try to see myself as an anonymous member of the crowd as I try to walk through the story. Who do I most identify with? Who do I sympathise with? Who irritates me? What if I stood here or over by him? What if I couldn’t hear properly because of the crowd? What if I didn’t actually trust this man Jesus? What if I was a Pharisee or a Roman?
I have to try to imagine my way into the stories because I am almost always disappointed by the brevity of the gospel accounts and their lack of background detail. I want to know that there was someone there who kept coughing, or that there were children playing nearby, or that there were cooking smells or that it had just rained.
Of course, to what extent can someone like me, a product of my own times truly enter into the experience, the sights, the sounds, the smells and, most importantly, the theological and social conventions of the first century? I can’t. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.
So, this morning’s text: the occasion was the festival of the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem commemorating when Greek invaders had been vanquished and the temple had been cleansed of the blasphemy – the statue of Zeus. As a consequence those around Jesus were thinking about freedom: freedom from the invader; freedom to live without fear; freedom from foreign domination and freedom from political musclemen and their taxes.
The air at the time of our narrative for today was thus filled with thoughts of victory, freedom, and the return of Jewish leadership, but while the temple was now fully dedicated to God, the land had been lost again, this time to the Romans, with their brutal, heathen practices which again came all too close to this holy place, this magnificent temple of God.
So this is the basic context for my imaginary walking through of the story. I am in awe of the architecture and the history of this place and all the religious and historical symbolism that is associated with it. I am conscious of the occupying army and the problem of the daily compromises we have to make as we try not to cross the fine line between Roman Imperial theology and the faith of our upbringing. And the sense of something about to happen is palpable as my people yearn for religious and political self-determination: a theme that resonates here today as we watch the on-going outworkings of the Arab Spring. Am I unaware in all of this of the role this Rabbi from Nazareth might play in the unfolding events? Well, I’m here and I’m listening closely to the exchange between Jesus and the crowd, possibly looking over my shoulder: this is the home of religious orthodoxy after all, with its religious leaders and its guards – and its informers and, I can’t help but note that this is the point where Jesus appears to berate his listeners: he tells them they don’t understand what he's saying because they’re in the wrong team.
Jesus tells his listeners “You do not belong to my sheep.” I think we can assume, given the setting of the temple, that he was surrounded by the pious and faithful and we might be in danger of buying into the standard stereotype of the Pharisee as some sort of self-satisfied, self-promoting religious thought-police.
No - they were the good guys in Jewish society: yes they upheld exacting standards and yes they were literalists as far as the Law of Moses was concerned and yes, they were on the look-out for heresy, but there were those among them for whom Jesus’ message resonated. Jesus had sympathisers in this group, men who were theological thinkers so we mustn’t assume that Jesus’ encounters with the Orthodox were always encounters of conflict. Sometimes there were genuine seekers of the truth and sometimes there was a meeting of minds.
Nevertheless, we read that things turned nasty.
“And they took up stones again to stone him.” the issue being blasphemy and the fact that Jesus had said “The Father and I are one”, which provokes a fresh but failed attempt to arrest Jesus. Why failed? Because there were people in that crowd who were open to hearing and considering a new perspective. Let’s not assume that every time we hear of conflict it is as simple as Jesus verses all the rest.
Is it too fanciful to assume that some of these people had been following Jesus since he arrived in Jerusalem? Is it reasonable to assume that some present in the Temple with Jesus here had already been present when Jesus had made some other pretty startling claims?  We’ve already heard Jesus proclaim to the crowds “I am the bread of life: he who comes to Me shall not hunger”, “I am the light of the world: he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”, “I am the gate; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved” and “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” So we can easily see the question posed by the crowd at the start of today’s Gospel segment, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” as part of that on-going dialogue.
So what then? Why does any of this matter? Why has the Lectionary designated this passage as worthy of our analysis this morning? Just a point to consider: when we read the Gospel stories we would do well to consider who Jesus’ target audience was and then to consider whether today we might be the implied audience. Can we hear in Jesus’ words to this group, his words to us?
I think it’s right that we try; otherwise this story will remain on that level: merely a story; an interesting piece of religious history which therefore doesn’t have the power to touch us or challenge us.
Well, I’d like to pursue the theme of discipleship and link that to today’s theme of the identity of Jesus. “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me” says Jesus, or to put it another way, “Come on folks, you’ve seen me and what I do for long enough surely to know that what I do is from God”, followed in pretty short order by, “The Father and I are one.” As disciples, how do we present Jesus by our works and by our words?
Why are we here this morning? Well, at the heart of our presence here is surely some affirmation that we, unlike Jesus’ listeners in the Gospel extract, are in the right team. “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand”, he tells the crowd. Well, the “them” and the “they” he refers to here includes us. Like the crowd, we’ve been following Jesus for some time. We are the sheep of this shepherd and our presence here this morning is evidence of that.
What about tomorrow morning when we aren’t here? What’s the evidence of belonging to Jesus then?
That’s a bit challenging isn’t it?
We do not live in a time of persecution. Our discipleship does not need to be hidden. Indeed, I think Jesus provides us with a model of discipleship in this passage. “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me” says Jesus and “The Father and I are one.” It’s as if he’s saying “Look, I’ve shown you and now I’ve told you.”
“The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me.” The works that we do in the Father’s name testify to him. “The Father and I are one” becomes “The Father and Jesus are one.” To put it another way: what we do and what we say reveals our discipleship. That seems to be the pattern Jesus gives us here.
So, what we do: there’s no list here as if there were some simplistic formulae: we’re mature adults and most of us are mature in the faith, so beyond the principle of being a role model what are we talking about?
Some years ago, when I was at vicar school – not a million miles from here as it happens, I was privileged to meet Desmond Tutu. One of the things he said to us as he looked around the room was “God has chosen you for who you are. Do not let others change you.” And at that point he made eye contact with me. Now that was a general injunction but it hit me very personally and really made me stop and think. God has chosen me for who I am and that’s as true for all of us here as much it was for all of us sat in that room at Mirfield. We have a God given personality – and we can talk about the Gifts of the Spirit as part of that general conversation – but the point is you are who you are and God has called that person to discipleship.
Who are your religious role models? Who are the Christians out there who inspire us and who we would love to emulate in our own discipleship?
I love Desmond Tutu. I love him for his enthusiasm and his love of life. I love him for his humanity and his compassion for the underdog. I love him for his bravery. Could I have some of that please Lord?
I love Giles Fraser. I love him for his prophetic voice, for his approachability and his everyday blokishness and I love him because he’s a bit gobby. Gobby in the name of the Lord. Could I have some of that please Lord?
And I love American Bishop John Shelby Spong. I love him because he’s a thorn in the side of the established church. I love him because he’s a theological thinker and I love him because in a very real way he is the conscience of American Christianity.
What a dinner party: Desmond Tutu, Giles Fraser, John Shelby Spong    and Joanna Lumley obviously.
What do these Christians have in common? They are men of God, compassionate, well informed, outspoken and without an ounce of piety between them. That’s the model of discipleship I aspire to, but there is more than one model. Of all the passages of scripture that the Holy Spirit might have laid on my heart, the one that stays with me is, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” from Philippians. Put that together with your own personality type and the things you admire from your Christian role models and you have your model of discipleship. What did Jesus say? “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me” and as the implied audience of this discussion between Jesus and the crowd, we turned that into “The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to him.” Active discipleship: it’s the life we lead.
So let’s turn to the second part of Jesus’ template for discipleship: the things we say. “The Father and Jesus are one” is pretty much the foundation for our conversations about God. And again, we can wriggle uncomfortably here can’t we. Does anyone here find it easy to talk to others about your faith? If you do, you’re really blessed because it’s something the rest of us struggle with. I suppose for those of us who are “professionally” religious that comes with the territory.
“Sir, are you religious?” Well it’s all about perceptions isn’t it? I don’t tend to think I am, but the question isn’t asking me for my philosophy on pietism. It demands a clear answer.
“Sir, are you a vicar?” “Do you go to church?” I wish I had a fiver for every time, but I have a public profile of being a person of faith. How does that work for you? How do you deal with such approaches? My wife Rachel often finds herself in that Monday morning conversation: you know, the work recap on what you did at the weekend and I remember her saying once: “Well, I found myself making cotton wool sheep for children’s church.” This was followed by some anecdote about four year olds and the perils of unsupervised glue. But it led into a conversation which has subsequently led into others. I have a colleague who is a Muslim and he said to me once, “Christianity, Islam – it’s all the same.”
That’s a conversation which has gone on, on and off, for months.
What those two examples have got in common is that we found common ground and actually now that I think about it we both responded to someone else’s approach, much as we found Jesus responding in the Gospel extract, and that’s why, earlier, I suggested we needed to be careful about the voice tone we ascribed to Jesus in this passage. Confrontational or conciliatory? A judgemental statement or part of an on-going dialogue? Judgemental attitudes close down conversations: conciliatory attitudes keep them open. Confrontational wins us no friends. Conciliatory does, but by conciliatory, I don’t mean compromising. Listening respectfully and entering into discussion is always good but defending the basis of our beliefs remains an essential part of that.
I suppose the other observation I would make is a cautionary one: what is it that we view as an essential part of our faith? How much of what we perceive to be Christian is actually essential to the defence of Christianity. How easily are we sidetracked into more cultural or political issues such as abortion and gay rights? So perhaps my specific challenge to all of us this morning is to spend some time in thought, prayer and discussion with friends about what the essence of our faith is: what needs to be on that list and what doesn’t? I think being clear about that will increase our confidence as we seek to talk to others of our faith.
Of course, this is about mission, the Missio Dei – the Mission of God. I remember sitting through a lecture series on mission. As someone who has participated in various parish or diocesan missions – often having strong reservations which I found hard to rationalise, I was brought up short and challenged by one model of mission. We were asked to consider to what extent mission is a human initiative or a divine initiative? And the answer was, it’s a divine initiative so rather than wasting hours in committees and discussion groups about mission perhaps we should seek instead to discern where God is already at work … and join in. I think that’s a pretty good approach for our own witness and evangelism: let the Holy Spirit take the initiate and lead us to where we can respond to the needs of others where we might be able to say, “The Father and Jesus are one.” In the meantime, may “The works we do in our father’s name testify to him.”