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A Jubilee Epistle for All Saints

by Nov 4, 2018Megan Ramer, Sermons0 comments

“To the angel of the Mennonite Church of Seattle…” Our 50-year-anniversary celebration weekend built toward our All Saints worship in which we heard letters of greeting, remembrance, and blessing from many of our former pastors. Pastor Megan shared her own epistle, honoring the saints whose vision gave birth to our church community, the saints who have walked alongside for the past 50 years, the saints who are yet to come, and the saints who have passed on from this world but never from our memories or hearts.

Audio

Preacher

Megan M Ramer

b

Series

Narrative Lectionary – Year 1

Resources

None

To the angel of the Mennonite Church of Seattle;
To the saints who first dreamed this community into being;
To the prophets who have shaped and formed this community over these 50 years,
by your presence,
by your passions,
by your prophetic imaginations;
I give thanks.

You who were here those 50 years ago, or who arrived very soon thereafter:
Mike Thiessen, Renette Davis, & family; Linda & Darryll Graber, others…
You quite likely could never have predicted THIS!

But from the beginning, you gathered around a centering vision and purpose:
to be a worshiping, fellowshiping community,
committed to the Way of Jesus,
supporting one another in doing justice, loving kindness, and humbly walking with your God,
discerning together how to live your Anabaptist Mennonite faith here in Seattle,
seeking – always – to be active just peacemakers in the Spirit of Christ.
That centering vision and purpose drew others to you;
companion saints and prophets also committed to the Way of Jesus;
new friends who also longed to be part of a community that
worshiped,
fellowshipped,
and acted together for the transformation of the world
and God’s shalom vision for all creation.
We give thanks.

+++
To the angel of the Mennonite Church of Seattle;
To all the saints who have become part of this community along the way;
To the prophets who continue to shape and form this community today,
by your presence,
by your passions,
by your prophetic imaginations;
I give thanks.

You who have
joined,
walked alongside,
been part of,
covenanted with this community over these 50 years,
You also quite likely could never have predicted precisely THIS.

In the first months of my fourth year as Lead Pastor here at SMC,
couldn’t have predicted Kevin Maguire,
or Christie Dahlin,
or Boaz Allen-Berey,
and so many others.
For all of our days, folks will continue to gather with us,
drawn in by the shared desire:
to be a worshiping, fellowshiping community,
committed to the Way of Jesus,
supporting one another in doing justice, loving kindness, and humbly walking with our God,
discerning together how to live our Anabaptist Mennonite faith here in Seattle,
seeking – always – to be active just peacemakers and jubilee people,
in the Spirit of Christ.

The “we” of Seattle Mennonite Church will always be shifting.
Thanks be to God?
Thanks be to God!
The “we” of who we are will always be in motion:
as newcomers join,
and beloveds move on;
as folks hang around the edges,
and dear ones return;
as fringe folks step closer to the center,
and as we shift our gaze more fully outward to our broader community.
Like the Holy Spirit, who dances among us,
the “we” of Seattle Mennonite Church will always be shifting, swaying, shimmying, and moving.
Thanks be to God?
Thanks be to God!
The more fluid we are,
the more expansive our embrace,
the more like Jesus we will be,
the more fully we will embody Christ’s body,
taking the very shape of Christ in this world.
More prophets are on their way…

+++
To the angel of the Mennonite Church of Seattle;
To all the saints who are yet to come;
To the prophets, not yet here, who will one day shape and form this community even further,
by your presence,
by your passions,
by your prophetic imaginations;
We ready ourselves for you,
for the unexpected ways in which you will change us,
and we give thanks.

Some of the prophets on their way to us
will put us on like a tailor-made glove,
and we’ll just FIT!
Some, though at times impossibly hard, will stick it out
and only later – after a long, vulnerable time – tell us how difficult it was to break in,
to find their place among us,
to feel at home here in this place,
among this people.

Some of the prophets on their way to us
will speak our native languages
of hymn sings and quilting,
service and just peacemaking.
Some will come speaking other tongues,
introducing new cultural languages
– for which we may need interpreters for a time –
as we encounter one another deeply and authentically.

Some of the prophets on their way to us
will remind us of our roots,
the deep traditions from which we draw sustenance;
they will call us to remember,
to root,
to ground in what is old
and beautiful
and true.
Some will climb higher
and walk further out on branches
than we ever dared before;
they will call us to practices and commitments and faithfulness
far beyond our comfort zones,
to expand to what is new
and beautiful
and true.

Some of the prophets on their way to us
will come to stay,
to make a forever home among the shifting “we” of SMC.
Thanks be to God!
Some will stay for a year
or two
or ten
and then break our hearts as they follow God’s call to other shores.
And we will bless them on their way.
And we will remember to keep opening our hearts
again and again
knowing that it is through the cracks that the light gets in.

To all the prophets on your way to us:
Come!
Change us;
Remind us;
Challenge us;
Comfort and Discomfort us;
Join us.
Come.
And may it be so!

+++
Finally:
To the angel of the Mennonite Church of Seattle;
To the saints who have passed on,
gone from our world, but not from our memories and our hearts;
To the prophets who shaped and formed us,
by their presence,
by their passions,
by their prophetic imaginations;
To the prophets of a future not their own;
We give thanks.

We honor you;
We remember you;
We name you –
whether aloud,
in writing,
or in the sacred silence of our hearts.

I invite Pastors Amy and Melanie forward to lead us in an All Saints ritual
of remembering the saints in our lives
and in the life of our community
who have passed on from this world,
but never from our hearts.

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