Common Ground and Uncharted Territory

Sermon Summary for Sunday, November 13th, 2016 | Respectfully Submitted by Kelley Dial

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This roller coaster of a week may well have left you breathless. A divisive election, Veterans' Day, Canes playoff football, Coffee House, Kirking of the Tartans, and Evensong fill our thoughts and tap into a wide range of emotions. Against this diverse and tumultuous backdrop, we ponder a reading from Luke that follows Jesus as he talks about the ultimate destruction of the temple. While it's an easy leap to look at the long-ago planned reading as having prophetic parallels to our current national situation, please take a closer look and you'll find a far different message.

Because the Episcopal Church as a whole and our parish, in particular, focuses on intentionally and joyfully accepting all and because we do not see baptism as initiation into a club of like-minded members, we find ourselves in an environment full of diverse people and situations.  We come together for strength and support as we attempt to live out our baptismal promise to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being."  

We as a group appear to have kept divisive rhetoric out of our corporate lives but, much as clansmen pinned small swatches of their forbidden family tartans into the hems of their garments, we keep our political opinions and concerns just below the surface.  

Perhaps this presents us with a unique opportunity to provide a measure of peace and healing to each other and to the wider community.  It seems that many people in our country simply do not know or choose not to associate with those who do not agree with them politically.  Here, in this holy place, we pass the peace weekly with those who hold political opinions different than ours.  Perhaps this will grow into a ministry of listening empathetically as we strive to understand the wide range of emotions elicited by this election - from elation to confusion to grief and, in some cases, fear. 

Look at Jesus' discussion of the destruction of the temple not as a predictive story about how the end times will look.  Rather, look deeper and ponder Jesus' teaching that no matter what happens, God never leaves us and God will always find new life and bring it forward.  We need only pause and listen - to God, to our hearts, and to one another.

Thanks be to God.