This is Reformation and Reconciliation Sunday when we think about the role of those two aspects of our spiritual tradition’s history and our understanding of how humanity evolves. We remember one in particular, the Protestant Reformation, but we also see how every era and every day following Christ is a process of reformation and reconciliation. We stray from the sacred way, we have yet to have the heart and mind of Christ in us all the time, human civilization is not yet the realm of God’s love, justice and peace on earth, so we need to reform and reconcile constantly.
Jesus did not move people by making them feel shame and guilt, he moved them by the love and compassion and kindness he showed. He healed them and fed them and stood up for those who were oppressed. He welcomed and comforted them, so we will begin the service by reading Psalm 84 and then singing it set to the tune of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” We will reflect on the yearning for dwelling in God’s love that they express—where in our personal lives do we feel the need to reform or reconcile in order to fulfill that yearning for comfort and peace?
The sermon will look at one particular group during the Protestant Reformation, the Anabaptists, that went back to the teachings of Jesus, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, and modeled their congregations and communities as purely as they could on that ideal. They still are doing so today and can teach us much as we strive to change human civilization to conform to the love of neighbor and Golden Rule and compassion for the vulnerable.
Our children and youth will continue their exploration of what it means to be a good neighbor and to love your neighbor as yourself, led by Danette Harris and Joey Hawkins.
We will read Jeremiah 14:19-22 and Luke 18:9-14 and sing “God Marked a Line” and “Reformation Never Ending,” and the choir will sing three favorite pieces, “I Woke Up This Morning,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “God of Change and Glory.” Our beloved substitute pianist, Nicole Johnson, will play three movements from J. S. Bach’s French Suite IV in E-flat major.
Below: A scene from the Lords Acre Cell Phone skit, pointing out an area in need of reformation and reconciliation! Nobody is paying attention to this volunteer out in the community trying to do good things because they are all engrossed in their cell phones…