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    Nov 05, 2017

    All Saints Sunday

    All Saints Sunday

    Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Kathy Dunagan

    Series: Sermons

    Let us continue to strive to be like the saints, to sing the song in which we boast that favorite phrase, “I want to be one too.” Let us take a look at caring for our own and each other’s souls. Let us look at how time away from busyness to seek quiet, solemnity, and prayerfulness will aid and inform our work as sinners becoming saints. Let us take time to remember all the ways we are already blessed.

    I know that we are abbreviating this service so that we can get to the Rise Against Hunger work that has been set up for today but I want to say a brief word of introduction. I feel strongly that there should be some sort of effort made each time we gather to read, study, inwardly digest and/or at least ponder the Word of God. So bear with me for, again, a brief reflection. This has been an exciting and wonderful week for me, my first in this part of the Kingdom and I am grateful to the vestry, staff and school, and neighbors for all the welcome and help I’ve received as the newcomer.When I met with the vestry, our interview of each other was more of a conversation about how my gifts, their gifts, your gifts, God’s call for Epiphany, can come together more than these things already do, to continue the journey of being the church. We began to identify some ways to do that, to live into God’s call for this parish and you will hear from me, the vestry and the search committee more on that theme as we move forward.

    I told the vestry in that time together that a mentor of mine once told me something very wise and that is of the power of being the newcomer. I’d like to expound on that notion as a congregation in our work together to be more hospitable to newcomers, as if you aren’t already welcoming enough - but more on that later too.Instead let me tell you just 4 things that this newcomer noticed in her first week among you.

    1. At the Wednesday Noon Eucharist, we had a rowdy discussion, which apparently is the norm for that hour - something I look forward to - we had a rowdy discussion on the meaning of blessing and being blessed.  We named that from the sermon on the mount, from the Gospel reading for today, Jesus was blessing those who were gathered there, who are already poor in spirit, mourning, persecuted and the like.  The beatitudes is not a list of attributes toward which to strive but rather a list of human conditions in which we all already live. And so Jesus wants us to know that even, and perhaps mostly, in our lowliness, in our downtrodden-ness, on our worst days, we are already blessed.  This means that we are consecrated carriers of Christ, we are the Holy and Beloved Body of Christ.  We are, daily, Being Church.

    2. Everyone is so nice here!  And it is lovely to enter into a community where everyone is nice and happy and welcoming. This means welcoming of otherness, of even opposite opinions and things that seem outright weird.  So, I have noticed your diversity, your way of honoring and loving each other and the rest of this community.  Well done.

    3. The music of heaven serenades my afternoons. My first office time on Wednesday afternoon was met with an unusual experience of music that sounded like angels humming in lovely harmony.  I kept working and wondering what that sound was and from whence it came until I finally stopped and listened attentively enough to decide God was shining just on me to welcome me to my calling as your Interim Rector. Well, not so. Apparently the kindergarten room across the hall plays meditative, Moog synthesizer type music for nap time after lunch. I was reminded gently thorough this awareness that it is not about me. I was reminded in many ways all week that at this point in history it might be a good idea for all of us to consider that awareness - it is not about me. It is about the Kingdom of God.

    4. What then is our calling? Should we do more? How can we do better at meeting the needs of the poor the hungry the downtrodden?  Well, as I said to the vestry, you already do enough.  Perhaps it would behoove us to pray more.  And by this I do not mean more often, but more intently. I believe that prayer is that thing more than all our activities that is in most need of constant learning. We already know how to feed the hungry, give to those in need, welcome the stranger, and care for the poor and the sick. And this parish apparently does outreach better than most I have visited and that list is long. But all Christians must make a lifetime of learning to pray, of working to deepen our faith as individuals and as a community. This is the stuff of being the Church, and the stuff of being the saints of the church.

    So, my brothers and sisters, let us continue to strive to be like the saints, to sing the song in which we boast that favorite phrase, “I want to be one too” but not by constantly increasing our works - we are already doing great works and will clearly always continue to seek new and better ways to care for others. But let’s take a look at caring for our own and each other’s souls. Let’s look at how time away from busy-ness to seek quiet, solemnity, and prayerfulness will aid and inform our work as sinners becoming saints. Let’s take time to remember all the ways we are already blessed.

    Amen.