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October 2016

Paul, the apostle, writes in Romans that we are all “members one of another”.   We are connected.   Problem is some connections are not good.  Like the story of the two boys walking through the woods who came to a large sinkhole.  Wanting to see how deep it was, they threw stones into it, but the stones were swallowed by the darkness with no sound.  Looking for something bigger to throw in, they found a large log.  Throwing it in, they looked down into the bottomless pit.  Suddenly from behind them, there was a rushing sound.  A goat came bleating out of the woods, and jumped into the sink hole, swallowed up by the darkness of the abyss.  They looked into the hole and then at each other in wonder.  Shortly, a farmer came searching through the woods and asked them if they had seen his goat.  One of the boys sadly said, “I’m so sorry.  Your goat jumped into the sinkhole.”  The farmer replied.  “Oh, that couldn’t be.  I had him chained to a large log.”Some connections if we don’t acknowledge them can be damaging.  Sometimes we are connected, burdened actually, by people who have hurt us in the past or by things we have done to hurt others. It’s called “sin”.  It leaves us with bad thoughts about ourselves and the world around us like: “I’m a bad person, people can’t be trusted.” To those of us drawn into this sinkhole of the past, Jesus says, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  Or “Turn around.  See yourself and the world around through the eyes of your loving Creator.”  We are forgiven for the stupid and evil things we have done, and we must forgive other’s stupidity even their evil.  God does not forget the past.  God recreates it.  It is either seeds for the future garden or compost.   God’s Beloved Community, as Martin Luther King Jr. translated the “Kingdom of God” is both a future promise and a present reality.  When we turn from the past, no longer fearing death nor the coming future, but trust that Jesus is the Lord of History; that he showed us what is coming and how to participate in the coming by loving our neighbor and even our enemies; when we take this leap of faith, not into the dark chasm of the past, but into God’s loving present, we find good and loving connections.  We discover that we are “members one of another” in God’s Beloved Community.  (This is taken from a sermon I preached at the Jobo Church, in The Dominican Republic)