This will be the third Sunday in a row featuring this quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
“It is possible to have a new kind of world, a world where there will be more compassion, more gentleness, more caring, more laughter, more joy for all of God’s creation, because that is God’s dream. And God says, ‘Help me, help me, help me realize my dream.’” (from the Forward to The Green Bible)
The sermon this Sunday will be “Creating a New Civilization: God’s Realm on Earth, Part II.” You can read Part I by clicking here. This week we will consider what practical things we can do as a church and as individuals to bring about that “new kind of world.”
We will look at the profound, multi-dimensional wisdom of Gandhi. On the one hand it is as simple as what his grandson, Arun, summed up as “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” On the other hand, Gandhi developed a sophisticated, highly effective nonviolent movement for change that had two primary approaches, an Obstructive Program (strikes, marches, challenges to unjust laws, court cases, fasts, civil disobedience and jail sentences, etc.) and a Constructive Program (grass roots economic development, skill training, education, health care, spiritual teaching and practice, leadership development, promoting the vision and new narrative for “a new kind of world” etc.).
We will also look at the importance of listening, something stressed in our Future Directions vision. Our Deacons are working on a series of communication workshops for the early fall that will train us in how to listen our way through conflict, and how to speak in a way that allows us to be heard. We can apply these skills to conversations about difficult issues in town, at school, at work, in our homes and at church, with the result being Tutu’s list: “more compassion, more gentleness, more caring, more laughter, more joy for all of God’s creation.” This is an essential tool for establishing God’s realm in communities of two and on up to towns and nations and the whole world.
The scriptures, hymns and choral and instrumental music will all add to the collected wisdom. We will read from Psalms 42 & 43, Romans 12:1-2 and John 15:9-17, and the children will hear the Gospel of Luke’s story of Jesus filled with the Holy Spirit at the start of his ministry in his home town synagogue. (Chapter 4)
The congregation will sing the South African freedom song, “We Shall Not Give Up the Fight,” and a freedom song sung by American slaves and later by the Civil Rights Movement, “Guide My Feet.” We will also sing an updated version of a 19th Century song from Great Britain that envisioned creating God’s realm on earth, “These Things Shall Be,” set to the stirring tune, Truro. The choir will sing three beautiful pieces, Peter Amidon’s “I Will Guide Thee” (listen to the YouTube recording below), and “Ephesians 3:16 (Planted in Love)” by Will Burhans, former Vermont pastor and hymn collaborator with Tom Kinder, and then ending with the Hebrew prayer for lasting peace, “Shalom Rav.”
Pianist Annemieke McLane will play two beloved pieces by Chopin and the spiritual “It’s Me O Lord.”
Here’s the Amidon recording: