Break the Bread of Belonging (7/2/2016)

Breaking BreadA sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Texts: Ruth 1:1-18; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Refugee – “a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, natural disaster, or persecution (because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or holding a political opinion).” Immigrant – “a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country. Immigrants are motivated to leave their former countries of citizenship, or habitual residence, for a variety of reasons, including a lack of local access to resources, a desire for economic prosperity, to find or engage in paid work, to better their standard of living, family reunification, retirement, climate or environmentally induced migration, exile, escape from prejudice, conflict or natural disaster, or simply the wish to change one’s quality of life.” Stranger – “a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar.” Continue reading Break the Bread of Belonging (7/2/2016)

Finding Our Place (4/17/2016)

A sermon preached by Rev. Dr. Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Text: Genesis 1:26-2:4; Psalm 8

Today let’s move directly to the heart of the conflict. How do we find our place in the order of creation? For a very long time – perhaps, since the beginning – humans have heard “dominion,” “subdue,” “control” as invitation, if not mandate, to treat the earth as we will. Increasingly this perspective has been called into question. Many have come to see stewardship as our rightful place in the order of creation while others have argued that we are of the earth and not over it. The gifts with which God has graced human being are part of an intricate web of related being in which we take a significant but not superior place.

In Bible study Tuesday Phil suggested that without human intervention the rest of creation would have gotten along just fine. Perhaps human being has had a largely deleterious effect on creation from the beginning, given the struggle we have had to find our place within inherent limitations. Phil answered his own question by also suggesting that we might have been given a certain sort of intelligence that, when operative, has functioned in creative ways to advance the creative process and enhance life on the planet.

However, this theological debate is a different one than the current debate over the effects of human being on the environment. Some will argue that the place of domination that humans have occupied for too long threatens to destroy the earth. Others will argue that earth was created for humankind, for the comfort, convenience and well-being of humans as the obviously superior creatures. Some see the results of human encroachment on the natural order and the pollution of the environment as the inevitable result of human progress, which is privileged above all other dimensions of the natural order. Some see creation as infinitely adaptable or believe that human ingenuity is capable of repairing whatever damage we do to the earth.

Patrick Allitt, historian and author of A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism, which is our Senior Connections Book Group book for this month, argues that, though humans have done real damage to the earth, we have also learned to take steps to correct much of the damage done. As science, technology, and economic prosperity have developed in the past couple of centuries, there have been serious environmental consequences; at the same time, humans have developed a concern for correcting our mistakes and a will to do what is necessary to right our wrongs. He argues, “I make no secret of the fact that I consider industrial civilization a superb accomplishment, very much worth protecting and improving. Industrialization has harmed the environment while improving life for almost everyone. We have the resources to remedy this harm (Patrick Allitt, A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism, p. 13). Allitt believes that environmental alarmists have done a disservice to their cause by overstating their case and inciting fear instead of leading people to take seriously their concerns in ways that would lead to fixing problems and cultivating environmental well-being.

By contrast, poet, essayist and farmer, Wendell Berry, argues that “We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it” (Wendell BerryThe Long-Legged House).   He says, “The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” These are complicated concerns and complex arguments. We will not resolve this debate this morning or any time soon.

It’s my belief that, as Christians, we have work to do on our theological and spiritual perspectives before we even come to the political, scientific and cultural arguments. Finding our place in the God’s created order will help us understand how we see and approach environmental concerns.

I am sure that this morning’s passage, over time, has helped to anchor the belief systems of those who privilege human being and see our place as dominating the rest of creation. In addition, there is the religious perspective that “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” In this hallowed perspective, there is no need to care for the planet as God will one day gather the select into heaven and to hell with the rest.  In either case, it is all about human being and little about the rest of creation.

It is difficult to ignore that a text, written by human beings, is likely to privilege human being by seeing it as unique and special. We are created in the image and likeness of God. God has made us a “little lower than God and crowned us with glory and honor.” It’s hard to be humble when we start with this understanding of our place. Of course, it doesn’t help that the English translations on which we have depended are grounded in the tradition of kingly power and rule. This language itself has helped to shape worldviews. Who hasn’t harbored a dream of being king or queen of all they see? Most of us, at one time or another, have dreamed of ruling, at least, our own backyard.

By contrast, Berry argues that “The ecological teaching of the Bible is simply inescapable: God made the world because He wanted it made. He thinks the world is good, and He loves it. It is His world; He has never relinquished title to it. And He has never revoked the conditions, bearing on His gift to us of the use of it, that oblige us to take excellent care of it” (Wendell Berry, What Are People For?) In this sense, there may be a sovereign but it is not us.

If we take the notion of dominion, of being made in God’s image and likeness, to mean service then our attitude toward the rest of creation will be altered radically. Then Nan Merrill is on to something when she writes, “O Love, my Beloved, how powerful is Your Name in all the earth!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying) rather than “O Lord, our Sovereign…”

In fact, Jesus seems to challenge this notion of sovereignty altogether, at least in any dominating sense. Jesus appears to find his place as the servant of all and even implies that serving is critical to God’s nature. With great irony, he pictures the “Kingdom of God” as a place that welcomes the least of these, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the outcast, the marginalized, and the stigmatized. Hardly a royal assemblage!

In his commentary on Genesis 1, Walter Brueggemann argues that “The text is revolutionary. It presents an inverted view of God, not as the one who reigns by fiat and remoteness, but as the one who governs by gracious self-giving.” He continues, “It also presents an inverted view of humanness. This man and woman are not the chattel and servants of God, but the agents of God to whom much is given and of whom much is expected” (Walter Brueggemann, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching – Genesis, p. 33). So, we may be elevated but that also means we are challenged and blessed with co-creative responsibility

Another Christian scholar of the Hebrew Scriptures, John Holbert, writes, “In Genesis 2:15 we read ‘YHWH God took the ‘adam and placed it in the garden of Eden to serve it and to protect it.’’ In light of this mandate, he argues, “…we are partners with God and with God’s creation, not masters, not dominators, not even stewards. We are finally no more important in God’s world than are the ravens, the lions, the mountain goats, even the ostriches…” Still, he concludes, ”The  image of servant of God’s world has the possibility to make us new creatures, helping us see our rightful place as God’s servants for the world. In short, we need conversion to a new way of thinking about the creation, the environment. The world, the cosmos, is not our oyster. Rather it is God’s pearl, and we are assigned the twin tasks of serving this pearl and protecting it from all abuse, especially abuse from ourselves” (John C. Holbert, “A Needed Climate Crisis Conversion: Reflections on Genesis 1:1-2:4a,” June 5, 2014, Opening the Old Testament,

Last week we spoke of the interconnection of all creation, even the ways that God is interwoven into all being, including human being. In commenting on Psalm 8, Elizabeth Webb writes, “All creatures, including human beings, live in interdependence with one another. As much as we have dominion over creation, we are also dependent upon it for our well-being. Our sovereignty can never mean that we place ourselves over-against the creation. As ‘lords’ over creation, we are in fact servants of it” (Elizabeth Webb, “Commentary on Psalm 8, June 15, 2014,” And in today’s Words of Preparation, Maya Angelou declares, “While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.”

If, among other things, God is love, as we often claim, then to be created in the image and likeness of God is to be infused thoroughly with love as our source of power, as the shaping spirit of our humanity, as the place where we live and move and have our being. It seems to me that before we enter into any battles over climate change or fossil fuels or pollution or endangered species or the fate of the planet, we need to make sure we find our place as creatures made in the image and likeness of God. At the same time, we need to see and understand that the God in whose image and likeness we are made is a lover and not a king. God is self-giving and invites us to that same sort of self-giving love and concern for all that is. Human being is meant to be compassionate and caring. Rather than subdue we are to serve. Rather than rule we are meant to revel in the wonder of it all. Rather than dominate we are meant to delight in the goodness of what that God has created. To find our place is to look around, carefully, to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, to feel what God has made and blessed and called “very good” and then to say “yes!” to it all. Amen.

To Be Free (November 9, 2014)

freedomA sermon preached by Randle R. (Rick) Mixon, First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Texts: Exodus 20:1-21; Matthew 22:34-40; Hebrews 10:1-18


The Ten Commandments. They have become an iconic litany, carved into stone and placed in prominent places of judicial decision as well as houses of worship all around the world. I wonder how many of us can recite all ten. Perhaps this morning’s “Litany of Deliverance” jogged your memory. The Decalogue has taken a central role in this country’s culture wars as people have fought to keep their sacred monuments in public places. “A 2004 Barna poll indicated that 79% of Americans oppose the idea of removing displays of the Ten Commandments from government buildings, even though another survey indicated that fewer than 10% of Americans can identify more than four of the commandments” (Dan Clendenin, “Ancient Words for Modern Life: The Ten Commandments,” September 29, 2014, journeywithjesus. net).

I suspect a significant number of that 79% were Baptist. In spite of our historical advocacy for the separation of church and state, there are Baptists who would lie down in front of the wrecking ball come to remove one of those granite monuments from in front of their court house or state house. It’s strange to find folks entrapped in defense of the very kind of idol that is prohibited by those same commandments.

Last week we looked at the liberation of a people as we sketched the journey of Moses and the children of Israel from slavery to freedom. We saw God as one who desires that God’s people not dwell in slavery, as a God who hears the peoples’ cry for liberation and acts to set them free. The God of the Exodus is one who gets people out of slavery and sets them on the path to a land of promise where they may live an abundant life of in blessed liberty. And this God goes with them on every step of that long and difficult journey. We also saw connections to people of every age and from every corner of the earth who have claimed the promise of the Exodus that God is a God of freedom, a God who lifts oppression, a God who gets people out of slavery.

But this week, Brian McLaren raises a different concern, how does this God of freedom get the slavery out of the people? We did touch on this last week when we talked about freedom and license and our capacity to use our freedom to selfish and destructive ends. It is again ironic to consider how we might use our freedom to enslave ourselves simply because we can.

I told the Bible study group on Tuesday, that one of the images that has stuck with me in this journey we’re currently on was in the Cain and Abel story. It is that moment when God says to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it” (Genesis 4:6-7). Such a critical moment for Cain. One of the things God is saying to him is that he is free, free to choose but also responsible for his choice. He is free to choose liberating love for his brother or to be enslaved by his anger and his lust to be avenged for his presumed slight.

As I said when we considered this text, what struck this time around is Cain’s freedom. He has this moment when he is completely free to choose. The choice he makes will shape his life from the inside out as well as the outside in. Is it a hard choice? Of course it is. If it wasn’t a real challenge to turn from slavery to freedom, do you think we’d still be reading about it thousands of years later?

It’s a long road to freedom. McLaren writes, “We…must remember that the road to freedom doesn’t follow a straight line from point A to point B. Instead it zigzags and backtracks through a discomfort zone of lack, delay, distress, and strain. In those wild places, character is formed – the personal and social character needed for people to enjoy freedom and aliveness” (Brian D. McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking, p. 42). Think of the freedom, the richness Cain might have known if he’d chosen to love his brother. Not the least of the blessings would have been to have his brother walking with him on life’s journey, not crying out with haunting voice from the blood-soaked ground in which he was buried.

I’ve been singing that song, “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” for a lot of years now. I think I first heard it as a cover by Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary fame back in the early 1970s. There is also a powerfully moving rendition by the great Nina Simone. It became something of an anthem in the Civil Rights Movement. For me, it initially expressed some of my deep feelings about being marginalized by the church for being gay. The first time I sang it was at a Baptist meeting for which I was supposed to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I know I upset some people with my unannounced change of song, but it felt important on that day to share my pain and frustration. At that point, I did not see any bridge over the troubled water between me and the church, so I couldn’t sing about it with any integrity. I don’t know how effective my protest was for others but it satisfied me on that day. I felt the power of being able to express what was on my heart and mind.

“I wish I knew how it would feel to be free.” I still feel that way at times. Not for the same reasons that motivated my protest forty years ago. There are other ways I wander in the wilderness after all these years. I don’t feel so much oppressed as a gay man. The church – at least in some places – has made great progress in inclusiveness over those years. The things that enslave still come from without but also from within. It’s complicated. We live in this eternal tension between freedom and expectation, liberty and law, love and judgment.

I’m not asking for public confession, but a more generic expression of those things that tend to enslave us today. When McLaren speaks of “Getting Slavery Out of the People” what comes up for you? McLaren, again, argues that “The truth is that we’re all on a wilderness journey out of some form of slavery.” He says, “On a personal level, we know what it is to be enslaved to fear, alcohol, food, rage, worry, lust, shame, inferiority, or control. On a social level, in today’s version of Pharaoh’s economy, millions at the bottom of pyramid work like slaves from before dawn to after dark and still never get ahead. And even those at the top of the pyramid don’t feel free. They wake up each day driven by the need to acquire what others desire, and they fear the lash of their own inner slave drivers: greed, debt, competition, expectation, and desperate, addictive craving for more, more, more” (op. cit., p. 41). Does this sound right? Do you recognize yourself or someone for whom you care in this description?

“I wish I knew how it would feel to be free. I wish I could break all these chains bindin’ me.” As little as we like the idea of commandments or being commanded, there is liberation in this ancient law that God has laid down for us. The purpose of the commandments is to set us free from the slavery that is within us. Look for a minute at how the Ten Commandments and the Great Commandments intertwine. The first five of the Decalogue teach us about love for God and the second five love for neighbor. Jesus is spot on when he says the Great Commandments summarize “all the law and the prophets.”

In an article entitled, “It’s about Freedom,” Hebrew scripture scholar, John Holbert writes, “The Ten Commandments do not begin with a command, but with a claim. The God we worship is a God who first and foremost is a God who majors in freedom, all sorts of freedom. In whatever ways God’s people seem intent on falling back into multiple kinds of slavery, this YHWH is always in the business of searching for ways to grant these would-be slaves a perfect freedom” (John C. Holbert, “It’s about Freedom: Reflections on the Ten Commandments,” March 7, 2012, Opening the Old Testament, To love such a God with one’s whole being is to embrace the freedom that God desires for us. It liberates us from dependence on any other god, the worship of any idol, loyalty to all that enslaves. In God we can be free at last but we must find time and space to ground ourselves in God.

In the second half of the Decalogue, when we are enjoined not to murder, commit adultery, steal, give false testimony or covet, we are given a set of guidelines, which, while not exhaustive, point us toward what it means to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. These commandments go a long way toward describing the challenges and rewards of neighbor love. Frederick Buechner writes that one challenge of the Great Commandments is that “The difficulty is increased when you realize that by loving God and your neighbors, Jesus doesn’t mean loving as primarily a feeling. Instead, he seems to mean that whether or not any feeling is involved, loving God means honoring and obeying and staying in constant touch with God, and loving your neighbors means acting in their best interests no matter what, even if personally you can’t stand them” (Frederick Buechner, “Law of Love,” Whistling in the Dark,

It’s a long road to freedom and the desire to be free is not easily or cheaply satisfied. The work of love liberates but it is so much more than simple sentiment. As Great Commandment Christians, I wonder if we don’t too glibly utter the words as our mantra. Yes, it’s all about love of God and love of neighbor. We know these words and we proclaim them with easy assurance. But what do they mean for us, for you and me? As we long to be free, we find in the ancient law guidelines, no commandments, that, when embraced and practiced, not just carved into some stone monument or committed to long-lost memory, but actually written on our hearts, will lead us to that freedom in Christ and the way to God for which we long. Amen.

Is There Balm in Gilead? (September 22, 2013)

A sermon preached by Randle R. (Rick) Mixon
First Baptist Church, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Text:  Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

Death came calling much too early in my young life.  As you have heard before, my father died when I was only 17 and he was 47.  It was actually my second significant encounter with death.  Our beloved church choir director and director of the Kiwanis Boys’ Choir, in which I had sung, died suddenly when I was 14 or 15.  But it was my father’s death that shook me to my core.  It was particularly painful to lose my father just as he and I were beginning to connect in ways we never had.

But that is not the end of the story.  My dad died in July of 1964.  Then in the summer of 1965, Jeannie Moore, with whom I had just graduated and with whom I had appeared in more than one play, was killed in a head on collision.  Jeannie was the daughter of a Presbyterian pastor and a good friend.  Summer began to feel haunted and that was only exacerbated the following summer when my beloved piano teacher, Mrs. Gorton, and her daughter were killed in another head on collision.  There was a period of time in which I dreaded high summer.

In truth, death has come calling in my life with more regularity and force than I care to recall.   I won’t go through the entire litany, but there have been many occasions when I have cried with Jeremiah, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”  I know something of what it’s like to feel the pain and anguish of loss, to cry out to God, “Why me?  Why now?  Why this particular life cut short?”

Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet.”  His laments have given rise to the term “jeremiad,” a description of a particularly heartfelt expression of pain and loss, a crying out from the very depths of the soul.  But this form of lament is also a complaint about the unrighteousness and injustice of a people or a system.

In Bible study we wrestled with this text, as we do with many biblical texts of judgment.  In one sense, if we take the text too literally, we encounter a God who strikes down people for their idolatry and misbehavior.   We know that these are writings, millennia old, from a people who believed themselves called to be God’s people and also believed there were rewards and punishments for the ways in which people kept covenant with God.  Jeremiah had been called, at a very young age, to warn the people of Judah of impending doom if they did not change their wicked ways.  Theologically, we can understand the prophet’s use of the events of the time to draw attention to the ways people had wandered from their covenant relationship.  Politically, it’s hard to imagine that the Babylonians would not have swept down and conquered Judah, even if they had been totally faithful to God.

We don’t serve a God who manipulates the world and its events to reward or punish us for unrighteousness.  The rain falls on the just and unjust as does drought and famine.  The machinations of emperors and empires play themselves out whether or not we are faithful to the Gospel.  Viruses infect, hurricanes happen, people die without God pulling strings like some cosmic puppeteer.  Much of what goes on in and around us is the result of the rhythm of life.  They are naturally-occurring phenomena or the result of forces beyond our individual control.

Still, the prophet has a role, a word to proclaim, vital information to impart.  It may come in archaic language that is difficult to decipher.  But Jeremiah has something to tell us.  His lament, his jeremiad serves a dual purpose.  To begin with, Jeremiah is trying to tell his people that there are consequences for their behavior.  How they handle what they can control of their individual and corporate lives will make some difference in the way those lives play out.  It might not literally be the Babylonian exile, but there are consequences for turning your back on God and engaging in idolatrous practice.  If nothing else, there is the ultimately painful and disorienting loss of that centering, sustaining relationship with the holy for which we were created.

John Holbert says of the first seven chapters of Jeremiah, “…we have listened to the prophet attack, abuse, and generally excoriate his own people for their lack of attention to YHWH’s demands for justice and righteousness, their complete lack of the knowledge of what YHWH wants from them, and their continuous attraction to other gods and their idols of one sort or another” (John C. Holbert, “What It Takes to Become a Prophet:  Reflections on Jeremiah 8:18-9:1,” Opening the Old Testament, 9-15-2013,  Regardless of the actual consequences, Jeremiah is speaking truth about the state of affairs in Judah.  It is the prophetic role to call the people to accountability for their sinfulness.  Jeremiah is much less invested in predicting the consequences of sin than he is in getting people to understand that they have strayed and there will be consequences.

The second and perhaps more important word from the prophet is caught up in today’s text.  God and God’s prophet actually agonize over the consequences of sinfulness.  There is no way God or Jeremiah want the people to suffer.  They do not delight in the suffering and pain of the people.  “My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick.”  Is it God or the prophet who cries out?  Does it really matter?  God and God’s spokesperson share the anguish of their suffering people.  I think the more instructive part of the jeremiad for us is to understand how God suffers with us than to focus on God’s vindictive or judgmental anger.  God desires righteousness from us because God loves us and desires our well-being.  God is angry when we screw up (as we frequently are angry with ourselves when we don’t do right) and God aches with us when we get it wrong or make a mess of things.  Above all, God is about relationship.  The God of compassion feels with us and for us and wants only the best for us, at the same wanting us to want the best for ourselves.

I am a Syrian refugee, living in a makeshift camp far from my home.  Is there no balm in Gilead?  I lost my beautiful six-year old to the random gunfire of a disturbed shooter.  Is there no healer here?  I live in a homeless encampment, they say the largest in the land, right in San Jose.  Is there no shelter in Silicon Valley?   My son committed suicide shortly after returning from his last tour of duty in Afghanistan.  Is there no peace to be found on earth?  My mortgage is underwater and I’m facing foreclosure on our family home.  Where will we find home?  My life partner is in the ICU and I am denied access because the state does not recognize our relationship.  Where will we find acknowledgement and respect?  The owner of my company made a fortune last year; I’m struggling to make ends meet.  Is there economic equity anywhere?  My sister was badly beaten because she insists on wearing her burqa.  Will our neighbors ever see the family resemblance?

The market massacre in Nairobi, the Navy yard shooting, the gutting of the food stamp program, I could go on and on with a litany of violence, injustice, inequity, unrighteousness, not to mention natural disasters, asking the questions of those who lament the consequences.  It is not God who is meting out punishment on these and others who suffer.  All of these examples and others that you could easily add are the result of some failure to follow the way of the God who loves and lures us, the Christ who challenges us and calls us, the Spirit who convicts us and moves us.  Is there no balm in Gilead?  Is there no physician there?  Is there no remedy, no comfort, no justice, no compassion, no peace to be found among God’s people on God’s earth?

In one sense, Jeremiah leaves us hanging.  Is there balm in Gilead?  He leaves us to answer the question for ourselves and for one another.  The truth is that the healing riches of Gilead remained.  They existed.  They were available.  The question was how to access them for those in need?  It is ironic that our song of reflection takes the text and answers the question with certainty. “There is a balm in Gilead” sang the slaves from the midst of their pain and suffering, from the heart of injustice and inequity, from the depths of sorrow and longing for freedom.  “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.  There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.”  They knew it was true because they lived their lives to make it so.  Their faith and their community, born of sacred relationship, was balm that healed and made whole.

Here I am reminded of that old parable of heaven and hell.  As the story goes, Rabbi Haim once ascended to the firmaments. He reported, “I first went to see Hell and the sight was horrifying. Row after row of tables were laden with platters of sumptuous food, yet the people seated around the tables were pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger.

“As I came closer, I understood their predicament.  Every person held a full spoon, but both arms were splinted with wooden slats so he could not bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth. It broke my heart to hear the tortured groans of these poor people as they held their food so near but could not consume it.

“Next I went to visit Heaven. I was surprised to see the same setting I had witnessed in Hell – row after row of long tables laden with food. But in contrast to Hell, the people here in Heaven were sitting contentedly talking with each other, obviously sated from their sumptuous meal.

“As I came closer, I was amazed to discover that here, too, each person had his arms splinted on wooden slats that prevented him from bending his elbows. How, then, did they manage to eat?

“As I watched, a man picked up his spoon and dug it into the dish before him. Then he stretched across the table and fed the person across from him! The recipient of this kindness thanked him and returned the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.

“I suddenly understood. Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The critical difference is in the way the people treat each other” (“Allegory of the Long Spoons,”

Is there balm in Gilead?  There is.  There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.  There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.