‘And so we came to Rome.’ Acts 28

10 Jul

Paul’s desire; his call; his end place is not Taurus or Damascus; Ephesus or Philippi; Jerusalem or Malta. His called and chosen destiny is Rome. Rome.

Paul’s Arrival at Rome

11 ‘After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.‘

Paul was at home in Rome. On the Alexandrian ship he with ( at the least ) his brother Luke;  in Puteoli he sets his tent with brothers and sisters for a week; more family travel to the Three Taverns to touch, hear, love Paul.

And in Rome he has his own house and here can host even more of his newly forged Roman family with his testimony. 

Now, his letter, his epistle to the church in Rome takes on flesh and blood. 

Rome, Paul’s home, is now his life.

Rome, is life. And will be the place, the home of his human end, his death. 

His choice. Rome, …

Acts 28, community, Paul’s…

9 Jul

There are multiple types of communities: work and family; friends and foes; casual and intimate. Paul’s story, as told by Luke in Acts, is about these communities and more.

He has a Sanhedrin work community as he consents in Stephen’s murder and a new Christian family with his handpicked ‘son’ Timothy. As Saul, Christians were his sworn enemies. As Paul, Barnabas is his lifelong brother.

Malta islanders begin as ‘unusually’ kind, yet they are new and causal; and then, thorough Jesus’ healing powers and Paul’s hands, they grow intimate. Here is the story of their growth, their life for three moths, together. A community.

7 ‘There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Paul’s Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux.’

Soon, very soon, in a passing season, Paul and his friends will be in spring time Rome. Malta’s supplies will last them for winter. Each winter day Paul’s ship community eat the fruit of his Malta’s fellowship. Each day they will fellowship with Malta.

And each day I can imagine Paul sharing his heart and words; his story and testimony; his hands, free or chained.

Each day I see and hear Paul. I hear and see him through Luke’s narration and Paul’s own words. Through Paul’s winter writings, his epistles. I see, hear.

As we see and hear Pail, we are his; his community. And Malta’s. And Luke and Julius’. And Jesus’.

See and hear.

Acts 28, ‘unusual kindness’

8 Jul

Acts 28, ‘unusual kindness’

Luke, in this closing of Acts, writes of one central, one essential quality, kindness.

The centurion Julius is kind to Paul as they begin to sail to Rome. And this kindness leads to Julius’ saving of Paul’s and all the other prisoners’ lives as they shipwreck.

And now Lune sees the islanders of Malta’s love, their kindness….

28 ‘Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.’

Kindness is love’s conduct. It’s how love behaves. These two words are sometimes put together. For example, Psalm 18: 35 NKJ talks of how the Lord’s ‘gentleness’ or ‘stooping’ makes us great. Our Lord loves us and expresses his love kindly, in kindness.

What then is kindness? Well, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘lovingkindness’. John Murray tells us that kindness is, ‘loving kindness, the dispensing of favour.’

Julius and Malta’s islanders; act kindly. Just as our Jesus, daily lives, does in life.

They stoop as a loving parent into a child’s life. Gentle, in kindness, they love.

Acts 27, ‘But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life…’

7 Jul

Julius is the centurion. Though the other Roman soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners as their ship is abandoned, Julius stops them to save Paul. Why?

Luke shares the details and they reveal the ‘why.’…

The Shipwreck

27 “On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land. 28 They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep. 29 Fearing that we would be dashed against the rocks, they dropped four anchors from the stern and prayed for daylight. 30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it drift away.

33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. “For the last fourteen days,” he said, “you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven’t eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.” 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves. 37 Altogether there were 276 of us on board. 38 When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they lightened the ship by throwing the grain into the sea.

39 When daylight came, they did not recognize the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.

42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping.”

Paul has been advising and leading; praying and feeding; thanking God and living in the sailors and soldiers shoes.

Yet, the soldiers do not see Paul. They feel no gratitude or appreciation. Soldiers want to discard all the prisoners as the grain they threw away after eating.

Only Julius says not.’ He stops them. He saves all because he sees Paul. He sees, hears and feels Paul. The conclusion…?

43 ‘But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.’


cast, Acts 27

6 Jul

acts 27, “As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard.”

I have been on a sail ship in a Northeaster on Long Island Sound. We lost a tied down life boat and where minutes, at one time, away from capsizing. At sea in a storm without a lifeboat is one of the most despairing places to breathe, to be. So, now the storm comes for Paul and Luke and Julius and others….

The Storm

13 When a gentle south wind began to blow, they saw their opportunity; so they weighed anchor and sailed along the shore of Crete. 14 Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster, swept down from the island. 15 The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along. 16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda, we were hardly able to make the lifeboat secure, 17 so the men hoisted it aboard. Then they passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together. Because they were afraid they would run aground on the sandbars of Syrtis, they lowered the sea anchor and let the ship be driven along. 18 We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. 19 On the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.

21 After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”

‘Do not be afraid, … God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.’

Fear is an ever present emotion. I can be afraid of death, and life. I have felt calm and anxious; care fill and care free.

In either situation, in my feeling, all I can do to what is the crew on Paul’s boat does: cast.

They cast away the ship’s cargo and tackle. They cast time, days in rains and winds, away.

But till Paul, and through Paul, Jesus, speaks to the crew, they all can not do what Peter instructs all leaders, all people to do in storms,

1 Peter 5:7, NIV: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

And after having Jesus at his side, during a night storm, that is what Paul does:

he casts it all away.

today, cast

listening in storms, Acts 27 & Mark 4

5 Jul

As kind as the Roman centurion Julius is and has been to Paul, he errs in how he listens. Let us listen now to Luke as he describes his voyage with Paul,

‘We made slow headway for many days and had difficulty arriving off Cnidus. When the wind did not allow us to hold our course, we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone. 8 We moved along the coast with difficulty and came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.

9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Day of Atonement. So Paul warned them, 10 “Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also.” 11 But the centurion, instead of listening to what Paul said, followed the advice of the pilot and of the owner of the ship. 12 Since the harbor was unsuitable to winter in, the majority decided that we should sail on, hoping to reach Phoenix and winter there. This was a harbor in Crete, facing both southwest and northwest.‘

All on ship will soon face a great storm, a shipwreck and great loss. The centurion does not hear Paul’s counsel. He follows the words of the pilot and the ship’s owner. Why?

Mark, in his description of Jesus’ calming the storm, chapter 4, informs us with a possible answer,

35 ‘That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”’

Both the disciples with Jesus and the centurion with Paul are listening to fears.

Jesus asks, ‘Why are you do afraid?’

And their response is to be ‘terrified.’

When we face external storms, movements or people we can’t control, we fear. And when our fears proceed from the external to our internal selves, we can no longer listen, we can no longer be faithful

to a person or any principle but our fear.

Yet, the Lord is not done with the Jesus’ disciples or Paul’s Roman centurion. In process of learning faith, sometimes one must experience a shipwreck in order to fully hear, to fully live in faith.

To listen well. To listen beyond the storm and fear.

Listen so life is Faith. Faith no matter the storm,

the kindness of the centurion, Julius, Acts 27

2 Jul

“The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.” Fred Rogers

On his journeys as the Pharisee Saul and as a changed new believer in Jesus, Paul encounters, and embodies evil and kindness; death and resurrected life; blindness and sight.

As Saul, he held cloaks of murderers and agrees to Stephen’s death; as Paul, he prays over, baptises and, in kindness forgives jailers.

As a persecuting Pharisee, he travels to Damascus to break up and imprison families. As Paul, he gently restores churches with his healing words, his letters, his epistles.

And blindness on the Pharisee road is replaced by the sight and sound of Jesus which lead to Ananias’ hands, life and loving forgiveness.

But this is all Paul, his journeys, his life.

There are others Paul meets on his many roads. Not the least is Julius, a Roman centurion,

‘When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.

3 The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs. 4 From there we put out to sea again and passed to the lee of Cyprus because the winds were against us. 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board.’

Julius, without any doubt, is life-battled, a hardened Roman soldier. He is a Centurion, who is in ‘kindness’ to Paul.

But, this is not really so. Why?

Because Julius’ kindness is not directed to Paul. It is given to another.

In the Greek ‘kindness’ is chréstos or ‘gentleness.’ Here we have a soldier moved to a soft, empathetic touch. Gentle. Julius gently allows Paul community with friends who meets his needs. But his real need is for a touch, a loving touch. And Julius gives it because he sees not just Paul but Jesus through Paul’s words, through Paul’s actions.

Julius can be gentle because sees God and not bust Paul. And this sight melts a hard soldier into an empathetic man who sees, hears and feels.

And in seeing Julius is named for kindness.

With his name Julius lives and he will travel beside Paul.

Each makes the other, gently, human. Kindness makes us all human. It is the most honest of all gifts.

Johanson, joey, my son, &David, his hero

1 Jul

david, his essence

My son Johanson loved sports; the Mets and baseball; WWF ( now known as WWE ) and Greco-Roman wrestling. He participated in both, especially wrestling during the winter season.

He was very proud of never bring ‘pinned’ even if he lost. He avoided being pinned by not trying. He got on his knees and hands in the middle of the mat, head down, and never moved. He was never forced to the mat; why?

He never tired to wrestle a difficult opponent. Never.

Muscular and short; smart and quick; he hated to lose. An orphan we adopted when he was 14, Joey had a very poor self esteem. He had to win. Always. To be the smartest and the best, not the overlooked and the forsaken, no love, no acceptances or words could convince Joey to try to wrestle a difficult opponent. He could not lose if he did not try. He avoided stepping into difficult matches, against giants in fields.

David, Jesse’s son, was placed by his family in fields of sheep as a young teen.

Psalm 78, a song of remembrances, ends describing David as being part of a family of Judah; so loved by God that God

‘… ( He ) chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.

69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:

71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.

72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’ KJV

David is described here as a young man composed of four essential qualities. These qualities are all connected by one overarching quality: vulnerability. This is the essence of David.

The Oxford dictionary describes ‘vulnerability’ as “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”

David, as the Psalm closes, is described not as a shepherd, but as a servant. This is David’s first essential quality: he serves. How does David serve? Verses 70 and 71 describes David as being taken,

‘from the sheepfolds:/

71 From following the ewes great with young’

David is among the sheep. He is not yet called a shepherd. He is called a servant because he is among the most vulnerable. He is with female sheep, ewes, who are ‘great with young.’ He is with young mothers, who are on the verge of giving birth.

This is his first step in God’s leadership training. God places a vulnerable young man with his most exposed creations, pregnant sheep. David is those who are most exposed; thus he is also exposed, as vulnerable as those he watches.

As a second step, David’s God ‘ brings/brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.’

Why are the names Jacob and Israel used here? Isn’t it just one person? Why both names?

From Jacob comes the 12 tribes. He feeds these 13 children, these coming tribes. But Jacob was a deceiver, one who cheated his brother Esau and his father Issac. The blessing he steals is irrevocable. He will be able to feed. But he is called to do more. He is called to change.

And he is changed as he wrestles with the Angel of the Lord the night before he is to reunite with Esau. ( Genesis 32: 28 ) That night his name is changed to Israel, to ‘one who contends, one who wrestles.’

We are the the blessings of that wrestling, we are sons and daughters of God. We are his inheritance. His people loved and blessed.

In this second step David is called both to feed and bless the people, to bless the Lord’s inheritance. He is called to be king, priest and prophet. He is to feel and fill all three roles. He is to be vulnerable to all.

In David’s leadership development his third step can be seen when

‘… he fed them according to the integrity of his heart…’

David feels the people, his ewes, his young, with his heart. So David feeds them. David meets their needs. And he does so with integrity. He feeds all; the flocks grow; he touches them as he feels and feeds them again. A man after God’s own heart, David is vulnerable before them all.

And in David’s last step of leadership development, David,

‘…guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’

David guides. He doesn’t push or beat or guilt; he doesn’t punish or resent. David guides.

He leads gently. He leads with vulnerability. He is open to being broken and open. He is now God’s servant shepherd.

Vulnerable, he leads.

Paul, handed over Acts 27

30 Jun

Acts 27,

Paul, ‘handed over

“When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us.”

Paul, in Roman chains; Paul, who motions with one hand as he speaks; Paul is now being ‘handed over’.

Saul always used both hands. He used both his hands to pray and teach; to reach out and persecute; to cover and uncover his eyes after being blinded.

Saul becomes Paul when he totally hands his life over to his Jesus. When he, in total vulnerability, in willingness to be open and broken, gives the shape of his hands to his Highest Power, his Jesus.

When we are vulnerable, we have hands that, at sometimes the same time, are both open and clenched close.

Open, I let Jesus lead. He takes me by his hand and guides, we glide together.

Closed, I hold on to my position, my point, my decisions. I am not ever wrong. His, or another’s hand, cannot guide. I lead.

Yet, at times Paul, Paul, is both closed and while closed, being lead by God, ( as when he insists on moving to Jerusalem). And Paul can also be lead by Jesus with open hands and willing to be turned over to anyone’s hands, even a Roman Centurion.

Vulnerability is the choice, the ability, the willingness to choose either hard form.

Because in life Jesus had both open and closed hands. Immutable, yet Mutable, as when he changes water into wine at a Cana Wedding feast, Jesus’ hands are both.

Open and closed, he guides; he leads.

Acts 26, in a full court, only Agrippa is there for Paul.

27 Jun

Acts 26,   ‘“Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”‘

‘So Paul motioned with his hand …’

Caravaggio, an Italian painting, choose two depictions of Paul on the Damascus road. Paul’s hands are prominent and in motion in both images. In the one below, in a Roman chapel his hands, both his hands are closed . He is unwilling to feel, or see; to accept or receive anything. His hands are closed.

But in front of Agrippa, Paul can only raise one hand. His other is Probably, at his side , chained. Paul speaks with his one hand, 

…Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.”

So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense: 2 “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4 “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee. 6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

9 “I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished,and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.”..,

That is where Saul, soon to become Paul, is going – from Jerusalem to Damascus. But, again, he is met on this Damascus road with light..,

Here, Caravaggio has Saul’s face open, bathe in light, surrounded by a calm horse. Saul here is reaching out to Jesus, to His light..

“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic,[a] ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. 17 I will rescue youfrom your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyesand turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repentand turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why some Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

24 At this point Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted. “Your great learning is driving you insane.”

25 “I am not insane, most excellent Festus,” Paul replied. “What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner.27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do.”

28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

30 The king rose, and with him the governor and Bernice and those sitting with them.31 After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”

32 Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

“Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

Paul’s hands are in chains. He can lift and motion only one hand, one arm, to King Agrippa. But in Caravaggio’s paintings Saul’s arms and hands are both closed in darkness and opened in light to Jesus’ voice, His light.

Saul was both closed and opened on this, his road. He is portrayed in both stances and while we can not know which painting is an accurate picture, I like to think that both are spot on.

At time’s I have open arms; at others closed arms and hands before Jesus. I have to travel both ways to be able to lift on, even one hand and arm to Him.

When I lift, I become like Paul.

Lift before our Agrippa’s so they hear, they listen. Raise, rise as best you can.

Let his light lift your heart, mind, self. Rise.