A sermon

A sermon
: My posting has been light the last day or so because I had to finish up a sermon I got dragooned into giving this morning at my little Congregational church in New Jersey.

It was my third sermon out of September 11th: “The first time I stood here, six months after September 11th, I talked about the pain. The second time, on the first anniversary, I talked about the anger. Today, I will talk about the beginning of redemption in three small changes for the good.” It mentions this weblog as well as Hoder‘s and Greg Allen’s. Full text, if you dare, is here.

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    Good serman, Jeff! I agree with the end of your address that we are trying to build bridges.
    I am still stunned whenever I enter my supermarket and wheel my shopping cart around to travel around it amidst lots of people who are having conversations with their little clamshell phones like with their mate who is at home about any last minute additions to the grocery shopping list or the condition of the various kinds of lettuce. It used to be that I used to see people wired up to their personal walkman, but this has now proliferated to the point where practically everyone I run into is in their own little world, occupying a different dimension. This is why I always stress that our best protection against terrorism to for the public to try to stay alert to the world around us.
    Nevertheless, I do agree with you that we are trying to build bridges, and, while these bridges may never be our complete salvation, I believe they help and could be instrumental in improving things.

  • Melissa

    That was a beautiful sermon, thanks for sharing it. I thought you might be interested in something I’d been taught a while back. While I was in college I studied the Arabic language, {which was extremely odd at the time, as a Catholic of German heritage here in the states I stood out a bit in my class) one of my professors was a very friendly and funny man named Salem, a Muslim from Jerusalem, and while I never became remotely proficient in Arabic he taught me something I will never forget. I can’t type Arabic characters on my keyboard, but in English you would write it “el-nef el-Quitab” [pronounced ‘el-nef el-Kee-tab’] and it means ‘the people of the book’ and it was a term that Muhammad used in the Koran to refer to the Jewish, Christian and newly-Muslim peoples. I found that to be a fascinating idea and it seemed an important concept in the writing to distinguish between basically pagan or irreligious people, and those who came from the tradition of honoring God and obeying his laws. It was used very much as an ‘us’ term in the writing.

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    By the way, Jeff, is that a sermon or a homily?
    I’m a little unclear on these usages.

  • Jeff,
    That was a wonderfu. sermon. I too decided to submit a design to the competition regardess of whether I stood a chance to win or not. Had to do it. Here is an excerpt from what I will post on my web site, written the day after I submitted my entry (as an open letter hypothetically written by entrants who felt that the needs and wishes of the the survivors and those who lost their loved ones were of great importance):
    We listened. We took the time to hear the words of the friends and families of those who died on that tragic day. We sifted, incorporated, and then merged our ideas with theirs. We hope that our collective consciousness, focusing upon their wishes, will help them ease their grief.
    Perhaps when those thousands of images we have created flash before you, a positive energy will erupt. You, oh lost and angry and hurting, need such a force to envelope your souls. Hopefully from within our creative energies such a force has sprung. That it will speak to you and caress you. That it will bring you some comfort on barren days. And perhaps, it will be strong enough to give you a space, where in some soon to be future, you can gather and remember. In that remembering realize that though your loved ones are gone they will never be forgotten.

  • Gave wrong url in my previous post