(LCMS) • Rockville, Maryland - Lutheran Church of the Cross

December 2014
CrossCurrents
Volume XLIX, No. 12
Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCMS) • Rockville, Maryland
W
The Church Year
e Christians are ahead of
the world because our new
church year will begin
with Advent on November 30, 2014, rather than January 1,
2015. Advent is followed by Christmas,
Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
We are ahead of the world because
our church year celebrates the life of
our Lord and His family, the church,
a life of anticipation and expectation
(Advent), grace and gift (Christmas),
light and revelation (Epiphany), service
and sacrifice (Lent), freedom and hope
(Easter), and power and change (Pentecost). Each of these gifts us in a unique
way for a life of meaning, purpose, and
value.
There’s a saying out there that goes
something like “You only go round
once in life, so...,” and might conclude,
“grab all you can, do the best you can,
or survive as long as you can.”
That is not true in the faith that gives
us the opportunity, and calls us forward,
to be a part of our Lord’s life and work
and grace each year with an opportunity
to experience His power and presence
among us and through us in new ways.
God is still speaking to us, acting
through us, and working for us in new
ways, for we are a part of His new, ever
new, creation.
A few years ago, we visited the Grand
Canyon. Soon after I arrived and while
waiting for the tour bus, I learned that the
Canyon was one of the few places in the
world that one might get a glimpse of the
American Condor, now almost extinct.
I was ready. With camera in hand and
quick steps, I eagerly hustled up each
path from the parking area where the bus
dropped us off, moved around the edge
of each viewing area, eyes peeled and
camera ready, for its appearance. However, after four stops, four hustlings, four
movings around, and four eye peelings,
I got tired and my enthusiasm waned. So
at the 5th stop, I decided to remain in the
bus and continue my pursuit at the 6th of
the 7 stops. You can imagine my disappointment, when soon after the bus pulled
away toward the 6th stop, a passenger
commented on how beautiful and triumphant it was to see the American Condor.
To say the least, I was not happy, very
frustrated, and even considered doing the
whole loop again, including the 5th stop.
It might be tempting for us to just
“go through the motions” of the Church
continued on page 2
Lutheran Church of the Cross is a community of committed Christian believers: Loved by God who gave His Only Son, Jesus Christ, in
whom alone we have our salvation. Nurtured by God’s Word and Sacraments, we are eager to use our God-given gifts for sharing the Gospel in a
ministry of love and service that reaches out to and for each other and all people.
from pastor dave (cont.)
year or to skip one or more of the stops, because we
know how it works or we are busy or distracted, or
we are afraid to get too close because we might get
caught up in it and our life might take a new direction.
Harry Wendt, author of the Crossways and Divine
Drama study materials, says, “Being a Christian is
not sitting in the audience and watching a drama on
a stage, but being in a drama or part of the drama of
salvation.” It’s about relationship: Him and us, us
and Him, Him and others, others and Him. That’s
incarnation—relationship in the flesh. Throughout the year, He meets and greets, lifts and laughs,
shares and saves, forgives and forgets, frees and
binds, lightens and leads, comforts and changes
us as we meet Him in Word and Sacrament, on the
mountain and in the valley, in friend and neighbor,
sick or well, happy or sad, struggling or flying.
Him, us, and them.
A friend put it this way when he said, “I wonder
whether we do ministry to learn how to live or we
live to learn how to do ministry.” I would say, “We
need to live the drama of the church—Christ’s life,
death, and resurrection intersecting with ours—in
order to know how to be a part of that drama with
our neighbors in the world.”
So come close to him at the beginning of this new
year, as he comes close to you: look for Him as He
looks for you (Advent); decorate the Kingdom as
He decorates your life (Christmas); light His way
as He lights yours (Epiphany); strip away excess
baggage as He strips away your sins (Lent); scatter
branches as He scatters his grace (Palm); live free as
He has made you free (Easter); and share His power
and spirit as He empowers you and energizes your
life (Pentecost) during one more year of anticipated
and promised grace. Traverse all the paths life takes
you with Him, “Christ” camera ready. I know and
believe He will show us Himself once again in
snapshots of the life and salvation He reveals to us
every day.
Peace,
Page 2 • December 2014
elder’s view
Holiday Wishes
D
ecember is nearly upon us. And with December comes the Holidays, a time when Christians celebrate and rejoice in the birth of
Christ. But Christmas is not just a Christian Holiday.
It is a national holiday in America, a country that
prides itself on not giving special treatment to any
one religion. I have
never heard an adequate explanation for
this. I like to think
the secular aspect
of Christmas is to
wish peace and joy
to everyone, and
to show love for
those close to you by giving gifts. In fact, I have
many Jewish friends who do just that. They put up
a Christmas tree and exchange cards and gifts with
friends and family. Of course, there are some Jewish
people who complain and object to any symbols of
Christmas, including Christmas trees and Santa. To
these folks I extend a sincere “Bah Humbug.” Even
if you do not accept Christ as your Savior, can you
not wish peace and joy to others, and express your
love for your friends and family? For non-Jews, can
you not praise God’s miracles during Chanukah? For
non-Muslims, can you not give to the poor during
Ramadan, or any other time for that matter? I think
we can. So my wishes for you this Holiday season
are to celebrate the birth of Christ, to look for the
good in the hearts and beliefs of others, and to have
a very Merry Christmas with those you love. —Nick
Sbrockey, Elder
congregation business
Vote on 2015 Budget • December 7
Plan now to attend the Disciples’ Forum
December 7 at 11:45 a.m. Hear ministry
updates, consider and vote on the budget, and
hear more about the Pastoral call, and more.
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
christian education
“Are You Ready?”
December 14 at 10:15 a.m.
T
he children and
youth of our
Sunday School
will present their program during the worship service. Join us
as we explore ways
to “get ready” to
welcome our promised Savior. Our presentation will include musical
selections sung by the children and adult choir, spoken parts, and some customary visitors!
Taco Bar Luncheon
Following the worship service, all are invited for
lunch in the undercroft. A taco bar will be our featured entrée! Please sign up for the various fixings
and sides needed for our festive meal.
The high school group will meet on
December 7 for their monthly Bible Study.
On December 28, there will be no classes or sessions for children, youth, or adults.
WORSHIP & PRAISE
December Worship
Advent Worship:
Preparation
First Sunday of Advent,
November 30
10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion.
Second Sunday of Advent, December 7
10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion.
(11:45 Disciples’ Forum, see note on p. 2.)
Third Sunday of Advent, December 14
10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion and
special Christian Education program.
(11:45 Taco Bar Luncheon, see article at left.)
Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 21
10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion.
Christmas Worship:
Celebration!
Christmas Eve, December 24
7:30 p.m. Candlelight Service
with Communion.
Christmas Day, December 25
Events
Decorate Church
December 6, 1–4 pm
T
is the Season to be
Jolly! Come help
decorate the church
Saturday, December 6,
1–4 p.m. Many hands
make the work go quickly,
and it’s a great way to
get in the holiday spirit.
Please donate an hour or
whatever time you have
available. Refreshments
will be provided. Thank you. —Sherry Owens
Page 3 • December 2014
10:15 a.m. Service of Lessons
and Carols of Christmas.
Sunday after Christmas, December 28
10:15 a.m. Worship with Communion.
Note: There will be no Sunday School
or Adult Bible Class this day.
children of the cross
A ministry of LCC
Join us for
“Angel, Angel”
Wednesday
December 17
6:15 p.m.
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
children of the cross
A ministry of LCC
“It’s the Most Wonderful
Time of the Year!”
W
e truly believe that here in preschool, as
we spent a week in November creating our
annual thanksgiving feast of corn bread,
butter, and friendship soup. In December the fun
doesn’t stop, as we create our Advent count-down,
decorate the classroom, start making presents for
parents, and present our annual
program. Everyone is invited to
join us on Wednesday,
December 17 at 6:15 p.m.
for “Angel, Angel!”
Student of the Month
Our student of the month in December is Chloe. Chloe is in our 3s class
and loves to play with her friends
as well as have someone read her a
story. Chloe is also very well-versed in many preschool songs and enjoys singing them for us when
we toss out a request! Chloe and her parents are
new to our school, and we are happy that they chose
Children of the Cross!
Preschool Progress
We have been moving quickly it seems through the
alphabet, and we try and prepare a “letter treat” each
week. Homemade vanilla ice cream was enjoyed
by everyone during “I” week. “J” week was tough,
but everyone loved the blue jello with juju fish! We
made healthy kabobs for “K” week before our feast
later that day.
Lend a Helping Hand!
December Needs
n PRAYERS
nGlue Sticks
nEmpty orange juice
or milk cartons
(school lunch size)
nGraham crackers
n Candy (no nuts)
nLink your Harris
Teeter card to
school 8501.
nTry holiday shopping
using smile.
amazon.com.
Once you register
under LCC,
bookmark the site,
and all purchases
you make will
benefit Children of
the Cross!
Preschool Needs
Preschool needs this month include glue sticks
(we go through those pretty quickly), and to help
us make “preschool gingerbread houses” we need
empty orange juice/milk cartons (school lunch size)
and graham crackers and candy (no nuts). Thanks to
all those who have already donated items and purchased food through our fall Claire’s fundraiser!
When You Shop
When you are doing your Christmas shopping this
year and choose Amazon, don’t forget to link your
account to Lutheran Church of the Cross. Once
you are linked, Amazon will remind you to support
the preschool with eligible purchases. Go to www.
smile.amazon.com. Many thanks!
A blessed Christmas from the Staff of
Children of the Cross!
Brenda Bertrand, Preschool Director
Music notes
Sounds of the Season
T
here is a chill in the air. That either means that the holidays are coming or I forgot
to button my Doctor Dentons! Either way, Thanksgiving, the Advent season, and
Christmastide are such beautiful times of the year. I hope you will join us each Sunday
during Advent as we present special music. We will also incorporate an Advent Lessons
and Carols service and special music by our youngest children to our mature singers.
Christmas Eve and Christmas day are beautiful times to be at LCC, and we hope to see all
of you as we celebrate our Lord’s birth. May the peace of Christ be with you during this
holiday season. —John Marlowe, Minister of Music
Page 4 • December 2014
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
Pastoral call
Update | Calling a Permanent Pastor
O
n October 29, the Coordinators’ Assembly
and Elders met with Stephen Heeman, Executive Director for Stewardship and Finance,
and Sally Hiller, Executive Director for Congregational Outreach and District Operations, of the
Southeastern District–Missouri Synod (SED).
We received some very interesting data relating
to LCC:
1. Our membership: According to data at the SED,
we reported 468 baptized members with 309
communicant members in 2013. This would
classify us as a large congregation (28th largest of
210) in the SED. Theoretically, we could support
2, maybe 3 full-time staff members. Obviously,
these figures are very inaccurate.
2. Significant data about our area (3 mile radius)
ages, income, children, marital status, ethnicity.
3. Categories of potential pastoral options, e.g.,
full-time, seminarian, dual parish, retired military
chaplain, etc.
4. Mission targets: where can we best direct our
efforts.
| SED Meeting
These and other areas are important for us to consider as God guides us to and through our future.
Probably our most immediate action needs to be
to correct our membership data. Our inflated figures need to be corrected ASAP to reflect the actual
number of participating disciples for a number of
reasons. For example, the Synod assesses each congregation for the national convention according to
their membership, and our inaccurate data would
also give a future called pastor a false picture of who
we are.
At this writing, I plan to, with the CA’s approval,
delegate the Elders the lead in the task of going
through our membership list so it will accurately
reflect our participating members. We can create an
“associate” type of membership category so inactive
former members can maintain their connection to
LCC.
More later.
Jerry Williamson, Congregation President
community
I
Help Sell Christmas Trees to Our Neighbors!
t’s that time of the year. We are selling Christmas
Trees again. They have been ordered, and Chris
Williamson has agreed to take charge of the project
again.
To give some history of the project, when a contractor rented our lot, LCC was given $800 and several trees for the church.
This will be our third year of doing it ourselves.
Over the past 2 years, LCC has received about
$3,500 to $4,000 net proceeds from the sales.
Volunteers Needed!
The largest variable is volunteer labor (that’s you).
The more help we have from disciples of LCC,
the less we have to pay for help. Some of the
work is heavy, but some, like sales, anyone can do.
Look for the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board on
the lower level to sign up for times you can help.
Invite a friend to serve with you!
And remember, most of the sales are local, so
this is an opportunity to meet our neighbors!
Jerry Williamson
Page 5 • December 2014
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
7
14
Advent 3
21
No Preschool
9am-2pm Preschool
No Preschool
22 Book Group
@ Stano’s 6:30pm
WOC = Women of the Cross
Christmas 1 31 4
25 18
11
10:15am Service of
Christmas Lessons &
Carols
24 17 10 3
Christmas Tree Sales
Friday
26 19 12 6 27 20 13 7:30-9:30am World for
Jesus Ministry
Gingerbread Houses
10am-12noon
Church Decorating
1-4pm
5 Christmas Tree Sales
8:00am-1:00pm —
New Heaven & Earth
Assembly (NHEA)
Saturday
Pastor David Betzner, Intentional Interim Pastor – Home: 301-694-8761; Cell: 301-514-1781
Mrs. Brenda L. Bertrand, Commissioned Minister / Preschool Director – Phone: 301-762-7566
Mr. John A. Marlowe, Minister of Music – Phone: 301-681-5197
Church Phone: 301-762-7565
Fax: 301-762-7551
Email: [email protected]
No Preschool
No Preschool
7:30pm Christmas Eve
Service
Christmas Tree Sales
A C T I V I T I E S
Preschool Christmas
Program 6:15 p.m.
30 23
16 9
2
S P E C I A L
Christmas Tree Sales
7:30-9pm LCC Choir Rehearsal
9am-2pm Preschool
Wednesday
Thursday
A C T I V I T I E S
9am-2pm Preschool
10:30am LCC Staff Meeting
11:30am Preschool Chapel
Tuesday
W E E K L Y
Christmas Tree Sales
8 1
15
WOC Christmas
Party 6:30pm
Place TBD
Christmas Tree Sales
9am-2pm Preschool
Monday
29 28 No
Preschool
No Preschool
NO CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Christmas Tree Sales
Advent 4
CrossCurrents Deadline
Taco Bar Luncheon 12-2pm
9am LCC High School Youth
Disciples’ Forum 12-2pm
Advent 2
Christmas Tree Sales
9am LCC Christian Education
10:15am – LCC Worship Service
10:30-4pm–Mustard Seed Chinese
11:30am LCC Fellowship/Coffee
Sunday
DECEMBER 2014
MARTHA & SAM
LAYN
MELONEE NOLL &
RICK NOLL
SPENCER FAMILY
BERTRAND
RICK NOLL & TBD
ELAINE REYNOLDS
& VONNIE
WALEWSKI
SHERYL SNESKO &
MARIE WILLIAMSON
J. WILLIAMSON
FAMILY
NOLL
ANDY CARIS &
BOB MICHAELS
MARIE WILLIAMSON
SHERRY OWENS &
NORMA SPANCER
RANDY SPENCER &
BOB MICHAELS
REYNOLDS FAMILY
WILLIAMSON/PAR
BRYCE KOOBA &
PAT SCHETTINO
A/B BERTRAND
COFFEE
COUNTERS
GREETER
ACOLYTE
USHERS
LECTORS
TBD
TBD
KOOBA
TBD
MARK LIVELY &
JOHN FRANSON
-
MARTHA MOORE
DECEMBER 24
TBD
TBD
BANBARA
MARIE WILLIAMSON
BOB OWENS &
LARRY REYNOLDS
MICHAELS
LAYN FAMILY
RANDY SPENCER &
BOB MICHAELS
VONNIE WALEWSKI &
PAT SCHETTINO
TBD
ARNELL CARIS & LEAH
MICHAELS
SHERYL SNESKO &
VONNIE WALEWSKI
DECEMBER 28
-
MARTHA MOORE
DECEMBER 25
CANTOR: RANDY SPENCER
THANK YOU FOR SERVING!
IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO SERVE ON YOUR ASSIGNED DAY, PLEASE MAKE ARRANGEMENTS WITH SOMEONE ELSE AND
CONTACT THE CHURCH OFFICE AT 301-762-7565 OR [email protected] WITH ANY CHANGES. THANK YOU!
PAT SCHETTINO
LEAH MICHEALS &
CHERYL SBROCKEY
MARTHA LAYN &
SHERRY OWENS
ARNELL CARIS &
CAROL STRAUCH
DECEMBER 14 DECEMBER 21
ALTAR
DECEMBER 7
KIDS – TALK PRAYER: THAI LILY WILLIAMSON
HOSPITALITY: MARIE WILLIAMSON
RECYCLING: RICK NOLL
FOR THE MONTH: ELDER: NICK SBROCKEY
THOSE WHO SERVE US – DECEMBER 2014
fellowship
Congratulations!
Make Gingerbread
Houses December 6
J
oin us in the lower level
of the church, as we celebrate the season by decorating gingerbread houses.
Look for sign-up sheets in the
November 23 worship folder. Cost is $15 for
one house or $25 for two, to cover the cost of
baking, frosting, and extra decorating supplies.
Please make checks payable to “Women of the
Cross,” and place them in the offering plate or
my church mailbox by November 30. Or, send
an e-mail to me at [email protected]
If you would like to assist with baking or
putting houses together (the evening of
December 5), please contact me.
Help continue the tradition! —Melonee Noll
LCC Celebrates
December Birthdays
Jess Beattie
Carol Borchelt
Andy Caris
Carol Currey
Bayley Kooba
Lisa Noll
Sherry Owens
Walt Stewart
Susan Sverha
December Wedding
Anniversaries
Laura & Ryan Jennings
Laurie & Phil Snyder
Grandpa, Again!
Grandfather Charles Hintze announces the birth on
November 13 of Wyatt David Smith, son of Krista
(Hintze) and Brett Smith of Princess Anne, MD.
At birth Wyatt weighed 6 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 in.
long. We ask God to bless this young family!
Baptized!
On November 9 we welcomed into the body of
Christ through Holy Baptism Christopher Gary
Konisiewicz, son of Sarah and Bryan Konisiewicz.
All thanks and praise be to God!
HELPING OTHERS
Donate Dinner for
Families in Need
T
hanks to all who donated and purchased turkeys
and hams in November. This month, the Dudes
of the Cross continue the partnership with HoneyBaked Ham to support the Manna Food Bank of
Gaithersburg and the Interfaith Women’s Shelter of
Rockville.
To donate, go online to https://MyHoneyBakedStore.com/Gaithersburg/2205/EPP/Index.asp. Enter
code KKFWMA, and you can donate hams, turkeys,
and sides until December 21, 2014.
HoneyBaked Ham will, in turn, donate 15% of
their proceeds from purchases to support LCC’s ministries. We encourage everybody to openly support
this program and to please reach out to family members and friends to do the same.
Page 8 • December 2014
The Dudes have worked many hours cultivating
relationships with corporate sponsors like HoneyBaked Ham. Your participation will ensure LCC’s
ability to recruit other corporate sponsors so that we
can keep these ministries viable and productive in the
future. Thanks for your support!
Bob Owens and Bob Michaels
Thanks for Helping to Restock the
Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen Pantry!
Thank you to the many LCC disciples who
brought fruit, vegetables, soup, and cereal
in November to support the food
pantry at Lord’s Table Soup Kitchen
in Gaithersburg!
Marie Williamson, Outreach
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
women’s ministry
Book Group Meets
December 16
Women of the Cross
I
t is almost time for the annual WOC Christmas
party, on Monday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m.
Join us for our annual get-together of fellowship,
fun, and games! As of the CrossCurrents deadline,
we still need a location, so watch the announcement page of the weekly bulletin,
and look for a sign-up sheet and
mailbox invitations for details. Our
gift exchange this year is a
“sock exchange.” Fill a pair of
fun Christmas socks with some
small goodies, tie them with
a bow, and bring the bundle to the party along with
yourself and your favorite appetizer, snack, or beverage. See you then!
Treats
Many thanks to all those who participated and were
“boo’d” and “gobbled” these past two months! Keep
checking the small, low table inside the kitchen door
for some elfish fun in December!
January 24th Gathering
Remember to mark your calendar for our Saturday
January get-together: a soup luncheon at church
with a devotion and “helpful hints” exchange. Think
of your best trick, secret, or “cheat” and prepare to
share it with the group!
Brenda Bertrand
Next Gathering:
Tuesday, December 16, 6:30 p.m.
Host: Carol Stano 436 Winter Walk Drive, Gaithersburg, MD, 301-527-0106 Note the time (6:30 pm) for this book group gathering! It is the traditional Christmas Dinner with
the traditional Christmas book gift exchange,
yet no group book review. It’s an example of a
book-related activity that can occur in addition to
the traditional monthly book discussion.
Next Book Discussion:
Tuesday, January 20, 7:30 p.m.
Host: Brenda Patterson, 34 Waddington Ct.,
Rockville, MD, 301-610-7575
Book: All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr. From the highly
acclaimed, multiple award-winning
Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, instant
New York Times bestseller about a
blind French girl and a German boy
whose paths collide in occupied
France as both try to survive the devastation of
World War II.
Books are usually selected a couple of months in
advance; suggestions/recommendations are welcome! Selections for early to mid-2015 months will
be chosen at the January gathering. You are always
welcome, whenever your interest in a particular
book and/or schedule allows! Come, learn, enjoy!!
Questions? Contact me at 301-424-0541.
Susan Sverha
Page 9 • December 2014
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
Special event
Food for thought
Reconsider the Rush
T
he Christmas rush leads to stress for many
people. But author Burton Hills viewed the
madness from another perspective: “Eventually, the hour comes when the rushing ends and
the race against the calendar mercifully comes to a
close. It is only now, perhaps, that we truly recognize the spirit of Christmas. It is not a matter of days
or weeks, but of centuries — [more than] twenty
of them now since that holy night in Bethlehem.
Regarded in this manner, the pre-Christmas rush
may do us greater service than we realize. With all
its temporal confusion, it may just help us to see that
by contrast, Christmas itself is eternal.”
Page 10 • December 2014
Lutheran Church of the Cross (LCMS)
CrossCurrents
is published monthly.
Lutheran Church of the Cross,
12801 Falls Road
Rockville, MD 20854-6199
• Telephone: (301) 762-7565
• Fax: (301) 762-7551
Intentional Interim Pastor:
The Rev. David Betzner
Commissioned Minister &Preschool
Director: Brenda Bertrand
Minister of Music: John Marlowe
Pastor Emeritus:
The Rev. Lester P. Stano
• Email: [email protected]
Congregation President:
Jerry Williamson
• Web site: www.lccrockville.org
Newsletter Editor: Carol Strauch
• To receive CrossCurrents automatically in your e-mail box each month,
send an e-mail to [email protected]
• To receive a paper copy, please send an e-mail request to [email protected]
lccrockville.org or call our church office at 301-762-7565.
“Food for Thought” items reprinted with permission
from NewsletterNewsletter.com
CrossCurrents • Lutheran Church of the Cross
FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES
See the last page for the solution to this puzzle.
Copyright © 2014 by Communication Resources. All rights reserved.
Published monthly by Communication Resources, Inc.
http://www.NewsletterNewsletter.com
Lutheran Church of the Cross
12801 Falls Road
Rockville, MD 20854-6199
Change service requested
Dated material—Do not hold.
Welcome our Savior!
Join us for worship this
Advent and Christmas!
See page 3.
The deadline for the
January 2015 issue
of CrossCurrents is
Sun., December 14.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Upside Down?
E
ven amid increased secularization, God makes the core
Christmas message known. Take, for example, the story
of a “winter pageant” a mother attended at her son’s grade
school. Songs of reindeer, snow and Santa included one titled
“Christmas Love,” in which the youngest performers held up
letters as the song progressed: “C,” “H,” etc.
When a little girl unknowingly held her “M” upside down,
the older kids snickered and the adult audience smiled acceptingly. But as the song drew to a close and all the letters were
revealed, surprised recognition struck the Christians in the
room.
“CHRISTWAS LOVE,” read the string of student-borne
letters. God’s truth had penetrated the human clutter and confusion around Christmas — as it has power to do throughout our
lives: “Christ was love.” And of course, he still is.