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Date:12/23/18

Series: Advent

Category: 2018 Sermons

Speaker: Nicole Trotter

The search for good…may be more prevalent this year than in others…Google documented what people searched for this year 2018 when they searched for good, and it’s just two minutes long and it’s joyful…and it’s a reminder of the juxtaposition of our struggles and our joy…

Many of us this year have felt hopeless. Losing faith in the state of the world, in our leaders on both sides, in a structure that sets up sides, pitting us against one another, hopelessness in the face of what seemed to be endless natural disasters, the randomness of them, the innocent victims that suffer because of them, children who are used as pawns in the face of  political policy… hopeless in the face of illness, of cancer, and cancer again, in coming up against people who are angry and closed off, the one in the car who yells because you’ve driven too slow because you’re simply trying to find your way...When we are no longer hopeful…when we stop searching for good...what has happened? 

As Parker Palmer once wrote…

When privileged people like me choose hopelessness over hope, it’s not a reflection of the state of the world. It’s a reflection of the state of our souls. 

The state of our souls is the business of the church if the church has any business at all. It’s the place we search for good within ourselves by worshipping a God who created us good in his image, with an ability to foster and nurture goodness in ourselves, in one another and in the world… 

This is the place we do that by serving this institution with our gifts of time and of money, of care and of concern through tasks, At times tasks, seemingly profound and meaningful like feeding hungry people in need, like donating toys and coats for those in need….And other times sometimes seemingly trivial and a nuisance like gathering ushers for Christmas eve or taking minutes in a meeting. 

This is the place we come to worship God who cares for our souls,  to be reminded of hope in darkness, hope in this world, hope in humanity and it’s goodness. All of this lives in our ultimate hope, Jesus Christ. You have a place here to practice the love you want to see in this world. This is a place to practice love, practice kindness, practice patience, practice resilience and perseverance through tasks, big and small, grand and tedious.

If we are to care for our souls, I cannot think of better place than church, where our business is to hope beyond hope that we do our part in creating a world of good. 

The world searches for good…The world searches for good when the world seems to be falling apart.

We search for good and if you’re coming here every week or every so often you are affirming that search, that affirmation that you believe it exists…and this is one place in your life to nurture that hope…

And when we witness here in this place what we want to see out there in that world, we are creating hope for others….and witnessing to others what we know to be possible. People of different political understandings, people of different backgrounds, of different color, of different genders and preference,,,,all eating at table together, sharing in the love of a God who unites us through something bigger than self….this- this place is what gives me hope… 

“Hope” by Victoria Safford 

Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges; nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of “Everything is gonna be all right,” but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see. 

Amen.