A theme of this summer's sermon talkbacks has been how deeply flawed are the characters we've been hearing about in the book of Genesis. As one person said, "Jacob is really not a good person!" And yet, somewhere along the way, many of us learn to put biblical characters on pedestals and think that we could never be like them. It is good news and bad news to discover that we are an awful lot like them -- or they like us -- and that God loves us all anyway. As Frederick Buechner puts it below, that gospel truth ought to have us leaping in the aisles every Sunday!

~Amy Starr Redwine 
We are above all things loved - that is the good news of the gospel - and loved not just the way we turn up on Sundays in our best clothes and on our best behavior and with our best feet forward, but loved as we alone know ourselves to be, the weakest and shabbiest of what we are along with the strongest and gladdest. To come together as people who believe that just maybe this gospel is actually true should be to come together like people who have just won the Irish Sweepstakes. It should have us throwing our arms around each other like people who have just discovered that every single man and woman in those pews is not just another familiar or unfamiliar face but is our long-lost brother and our long-lost sister because despite the fact that we have all walked in different gardens and knelt at different graves, we have all, humanly speaking, come from the same place and are heading out into the same blessed mystery that awaits us all. This is the joy that is so apt to be missing, and missing not just from church but from our own lives - the joy of not just managing to believe at least part of the time that it is true that life is holy, but of actually running into that holiness head-on.

~Frederick BuechnerSecrets in the Dark 
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us 
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:39

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