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Sinners & Saints: Week 4

Have you been taking time to look out at the moon the past few nights? Wow. 

These sorts of moments of beauty help me when I find myself at that point that Sean described last Sunday – when I just cannot imagine that this is people’s best! Beauty doesn’t make everything all better, but it does help me be better. 

And still – I keep wondering if focusing only on my response to bad behavior is enough – I mean, won’t that just encourage collective slacking? Or, let bad behavior slide?    

When I talked to Sean about this, he clarified that the compassion that is unlocked when we assume that people are doing their best shouldn’t excuse harmful behavior. It only shifts how we move through our response to it, cultivates our empathy and our connectedness.

So then, how should we respond – as individuals, and as a society – when someone’s “best” causes harm? What does justice with compassion look like?

This is where we’ll turn this Sunday in a service called Brought to Justice.  We’ll explore the ethics and efficacy of punishment and dig into the longstanding Universalist question of whether or not “sin” itself is punishment enough.  

Join us this Sunday at 8:30, 10, or 11:30 as we wrap up our series Sinners and Saints.

In partnership,
Rev. Gretchen

Notes from Sinners & Saints: Week 4 – Hidden Saints 

Listen to the message 
 
Music
The choir offered this piece with a moving backstory shared in the video at 8:30 & 10.
Christopher led us in our theme song, Emma’s Revolution’s Swimming to the Other Side
At 11:30 we sang MaMuse’s We Shall Be Known

Practices 
Lovingkindness Meditation. Here’s the lovingkindness meditation we offered in our third service.  If you’re looking for a meditative community of practice, join us on Monday nights.  
 
Resources
Brené Brown’s “Are People Doing the Best They Can?” conversation with Russell Brand 
Brené Brown on Boundaries
 
Text
Here’s the call to worship I wrote inspired by the choir piece, We Will Walk Together about a late-in-life-coming-out….it was National Coming Out Day afterall!
 
For the words that haven’t yet made their way 
to your lips, the disappointments you have swallowed,
the anger you have held at bay, the hope 
you’ve told day after day 
to not get ahead of itself — 
For the silence you have stuffed 
into well-locked vaults hidden deep
in the well-protected corners 
of your heart — 
Here we make a place
to walk together 
until all the stories come tumbling
out, held in this sanctuary 
of love beyond belief –
Love that cannot stop 
shaking loose all that 
shame, freeing us from
all that fear, holding us
until we know
without a doubt: 
Every little part of us 
is worthy of the light 
Every moment
a new chance to 
remember what matters 
and to learn again
to be this 
brave –
Come, let us worship together. 

Remember – Saints are everywhere, when we have the willingness in us to shift our judgment into compassion and to assume people are doing the best they can. Where are “saints” showing up in your life this week?

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