With God’s help we seek to build resilience in the midst of changing times, for ourselves but especially for others in need.

With God’s help we seek to build resistance to the powers at loose in the world that would undo the work of good.

And all of this, and all that is worthy, is build on the foundations of love and mercy and justice made possible through the power of the resurrection; through the power of Jesus Christ who is our dwelling place, our room within the mansion of God’s eternity.

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These are tough and even agonizing times that we are living through right now. As individuals, families, faith communities, nation, and world we are in the midst of the kind of major historical events that will be written about and considered for years to come. Yet we are living this history right now, laboring through it and seeking to understand from day to day what we should be doing and what this all means; for family, faith community, nation, and world.

We as Church and people of striving faith are desperately needed during these times; to hold space for the tough questions raised and wrestling and interpreting needed. Now, more than ever, we need communities like Redeemer for worship, for Bible Study, to guide and direct our efforts to help the wider community and world, and for laughter at coffee hour and Community Fun Nights. We may be moving in virtual territories now, but the real connections and depth of relationships being built by Christ among us for the sake of the world are more vibrant than ever, thanks be to God.

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This is real. Jesus, standing alive in our midst, just as he stood in the midst of the disciples nearly 2,000 years ago. Impossibly encountering and coming to the disciples and us, not just beyond a door they had locked, but from beyond the cross where Jesus went to be willingly crucified so that their lives, our lives and our very narratives, yes even the very narrative of the universe, might be forever altered by grace.

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There are many phrases from today’s gospel lesson that might echo in our hearts and souls after hearing them. I want to invite us to consider two of them. One, a question, “Who is my neighbor?” and the other, an imperative invitation, “Go and do likewise.”

The first of these phrases, the question “Who is my neighbor?” is asked by a lawyer within the context of having a conversation with Jesus. After asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, the lawyer, prompted by Jesus, gives his own answer by quoting first Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:8,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27)

Jesus tells the lawyer that he has answered correctly and then, perhaps bolstered by Jesus affirming his own right answers, the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?” Upon hearing that question, Jesus launches into the parable of the Good Samaritan to try and explain heaven’s wonders in earthly terms.

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The risen Christ needs our hands and hearts, for we are living in crazy and sad times.

Jesus stands on the Lakeshore in today’s gospel and tells Peter to “feed my sheep” in a three-fold pattern that echoes Peter’s denial of Jesus before the rooster crowed on that fateful morning when Jesus was taken captive, when Jesus was taken to be crucified.

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