Sermon Conversation, George and Tom Kinder, April 28, 2019

A Golden Room, A Golden Civilization
A conversation between George and Tom Kinder
United Church of Strafford, Vermont
April 28, 2019, Second Sunday of Easter
Isaiah from Chapters 30 and 60;
Acts 4:32-35; John 20:19-23

Instead of a sermon, my brother George and I will be having a conversation about the scriptures we have read today and how they relate to a spiritual path to social transformation.

In this congregation we have been envisioning what it would look like if society lived by the universally held ethic of the Golden Rule and love of neighbor and compassion for the weak and vulnerable, and we also have asked what blocks us from living that way.  We found that in every case, it is our selfishness, our fear, a condition of our heart and mind that get in the way.  Changing human consciousness is the essential, urgent first step to changing human civilization, so the path to social transformation is a spiritual path.

George has written, “If you want a Golden Civilization you must start with what is golden within you,” what I call the Golden Room, the deepest spiritual place within us where we find our connection to God and the Holy Spirit and our oneness with all creation.

The business of changing our society needs to be a top priority for every spiritual community today.

George and I are going to explore this topic by looking for the wisdom in the scriptures, taking them as a point of departure for our conversation.

We will start with the responsive reading of two passages from Isaiah and then touch briefly on the passages from John and Acts (all printed below).  We will take the Isaiah reading in little pericopes.

[Note: The following recording was made by a handheld iphone in the pews.  Tom’s voice is hard to hear, but George is the important one, and his voice comes through clearly.  It will help if you read the passages below first.  The conversation starts with a laugh about the word pericope.  Thanks to Rachel Kinder for the recording and the photograph above!]

Isaiah from Chapters 30 and 60:
Go now, write it in a book, so that it may be
for the time to come as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people, faithless children
who will not hear the instruction of God;
Who say to the seers, “Do not see;” and to the prophets,
“Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,
leave the Way, turn aside from the path,
let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
Because they reject this word,
and put their trust in oppression and deceit,
and rely on them;
Therefore this iniquity shall become for them
like a break in a high wall, bulging out,
and about to collapse,
whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant.
But thus said God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of God has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the light of God will arise upon you,
and its glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

John 20:19-23
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Acts 4: 32-35
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

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