Previously on All I Can’t Leave Unsaid…
“Take care of your blog,” Robin Rendle wrote.
“Blogging changed my life,” my friend Hugh Hollowell, Jr. wrote in a recent newsletter.
Inspired by them I’ve returned to this space…
one two three and a half weeks later I’m still trying to get this post up. Ugh. Such is life here at All I Can’t Leave Unsaid—still the most ironically named site ever.
The silly part about all the inactivity here is that I’m creating content (kinda hate myself for using that phrase, but it is apt) in plenty of other places. Often with the intent of posting it here too, but that just hasn’t happened. “Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.” [sigh]
Yesterday was about the, ahem, content I create for my blog on the website for the church where I serve as one of the pastors, Woodridge United Methodist Church.
I’ve posted a fair number of sermons here over the years, and it is my intent to post them here every time I preach. Heck, I even keep a bunch of tabs and documents open anticipating that post. Then days go by, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months…[sigh]. Still, video and audio of all our sermons at Woodridge UMC are right there waiting for you. Of course I’d rather share them here, so let’s do that! Video of my All Saints’ Day sermon from this past Sunday is below. So is the audio-only option if you prefer that.
I try to show my work (as it were) here as a bit of an antidote to the idea that we preachers rarely site our sources. The main text for the sermon was Luke 20:27-38, a story about (among other idea) agency and legacy. On legacy, I quote Lin-Manuel Miranda from the book he wrote with Jeremy McCarter, Hamilton: The Revolution.
We all dream that when we pass on the people we love are going to keep us alive in some way, talking about us or keeping our picture up…We tell stories of people who are gone because like any powerful stories, they have the potential to inspire and to change the world.
I read from our congregation’s history. I share some of our experience at the Marine Corp Ball. And I quote Heidi Steven’s column that appeared in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune about Jason Patera and his experience with a brain tumor.
I’m reading letters from kids who’ve gone through far more challenging things than I went through or likely ever will. And they’re offering wisdom and perspective delivered with such kindness and compassion. If they’re engaging the rest of the world with that kindness and compassion–we’re taking superhero-level empathy–then the future is bright!
Wherever you find your inspiration today and tomorrow and the day after that: be it in the witness of the saints we honor today, or in great works of art like Hamilton, or in the dedicated service of the Marines, or in stories of amazing young people, or anything else entirely! Remember, anything that adds love, joy, peace, and patience to the world. Anything that increases justice for oppressed people, anything that plots goodness in the world is of God. The God we have come to know through Jesus, the God in whom all saints continue to live.
Our ultimate legacy is secure. There may never be a street named after us, but our ultimate legacy is secure: we will continue to live with all the saints in the expansive, never-ending love of God.
What’s left to be decided is how our story is told. We can’t control who lives, who dies, or who tells our story. But we can do our best to leave a glorious legacy continuing the story we’ve inherited.
Our story begins with seven courageous people. If we continue to be courageous and compassionate, it could be enough.
If we are courageous and compassionate in our faith, living our baptismal vows and courageously resist injustice and oppression in all their forms like bigotry and racism and vote against fear-mongering, and caring for neighbors experiencing homelessness and hunger, perhaps it will be enough.