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Sermon November 4, 2018

Good Morning  Here is the sermon from last Sunday. Please keep looking for God in your everyday life!  Pastor Marie

Grace and peace to you from God our father and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ amen What is a saint? Today we celebrate All Saints Day which really happens on November 1st And what we usually do is remember those who have died in the past year We sing "For all the Saints" And remember all those who have gone before us So is that what a saint is? Is that all a saint is? Someone who has died in the faith? Or is a saint someone who has done great works and Is honored by the Pope by being declared a saint? Growing up in the Catholic faith I learned about these kind of saints People who were perfect in faith My favorite was St Francis Mostly because of his love for animals Is that what a saint is? Someone who is really, really good? I believe being a saint is much more Martin Luther, who started a Reformation of the Church With nailing up his 95 ideas for change on the Cathedral Door, Describes us as 100% saint/100% sinner.  What do you think it means to be 100% saint and 100% sinner? For Luther, and Scripture bears this out Which is where Luther gets the idea, A saint is somebody who is in relationship with God.  It isn't about what we do or don't do.  It's about God's grace and forgiveness And how that grace changes our relationship with God From one of fear to one of love and trust Grace also changes our relationships with those around us The question is does that change show in our actions? All week we have heard from the news about the terrible Shooting in Tree of Life Synagogue And for months now we have also seen what happens as the Disrespect in this country has fallen to such a level That violence has become the go to reaction for some We hear of bombs sent in the mail And hate speech all over the media and the internet So how do we as Saints and Sinners react to these things? We are called to be peacemakers Called to share God's way of loving our neighbor And even our enemies But it's hard not to get caught up in the madness We may find ourselves avoiding conflict Avoiding sticking our necks out. What happens in a group, or on-line, When someone says something snarky About an individual or group that is different from yours politically?  Do you laugh, agree, say nothing?  How often do we ignore statements Or jokes putting down someone Of a different race, gender, sexual orientation or political stance?  How much do we keep silent because we don't want to offend?  Talking reasonably about disagreements On policy and behavior is quite different From toxic shaming or hateful character assassination Or stereotyping whole groups by the actions of a few. We saints, who are anchored in God's love, Are called to share Christ in word and deed.  I wonder what would happen If each of us could find the courage to say, "Please stop.  That kind of talk isn't helpful."  Maybe, we might find our way to respect and kindness.  I was invited to participate in the evening Sabbath service At Woodlands Community temple on Friday There was also someone from the Muslim community as well. We lit three memorial candles for those who died at Tree of Life synagogue last Saturday morning These are some of the words we said: They took their last breath wrapped in tallitot.  And we will bury them the same way, eternally precious, enfolded within the fabric of our people. They took their last breath in a building named for life and, in their spirit, we will ever cherish life's beauty, no matter how thick the darkness. They took their last breath in a house of prayer where people aspire to be the finest they can be and, in their names, we will continue to reach for the heights. They took their last breath uttering words that reject the lawless and, recalling them, we will refuse to allow evil to prosper. They took their last breath believing in a better tomorrow, and we will never forsake that vision, come what may. They took their last breath as proud Jews, devoted to their heritage and, in their honor, that is exactly how we will now continue on. Devastated. Bereft. But utterly resolute. Soothe those who have witnessed what no one should see, those who are grieving what should never have been lost. Strengthen the hearts of Your faithful servants, each of us tasked with caring for those who are wounded in body or spirit. Help us find meaning in the lights we have kindled, confident that understanding and affection can brighten the way. Teach us to trust that hope and goodwill will overcome despair and renew our faith that virtue and righteousness will always prevail. We are Your hands. Put us to work. Ignite in us an unquenchable yearning to reshape Your world. May we build communities that are founded on love. Ardently devoted to an uncompromising passion for all that is just and noble and kind. And let us together, people of all faiths, one human family, say: Amen 1st reading adapted from They Took Their Last Breath, by Rabbi Danny Schiff (Scholar, Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Pittsburgh) 2nd reading adapted from God, Let Me Cry On Your Shoulder, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat Love God, love your neighbor, be the body of Christ in the world Rev. Marie Meeks Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church


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