Telling Our Story

Telling Our Story

85th Anniversary of The Riverside Church

November 8, 2015

logoWhat a story we have to tell today.

  • We’ve seen it in pictures of the past, beautifully displayed all over our building.
  • It’s woven through the conversations we’ve shared about the church in the world.
  • We recognize it in the stories of those who have told us about their journeys of faith intersecting our own here in membership classes and in the waters of baptism.
  • Our hearts warm with gratitude at the sight and sound of pastors who have shepherded and cared for us.
  • We’re surrounded by the memories of dear ones who have shared this sacred space with us, helping to narrate our story.
  • We can even feel our story in the touch of a hand, the shared passing of peace, or the hug of the friend who has been sitting in the pew two over on the right for as long as we can remember.
  • And our children…our children. Their innocent faces and clear, pure voices can just about sing us to heaven, can’t they?

What a story we have to tell today.

It seems to me that in the telling of this incredible story, we must pause to express our deepest gratitude, gratitude for the witness of this place that rolls through the history of this nation and the world with a constant call for justice and peace.  And gratitude for the awareness that God is here, in the pain and challenge of beloved community, with us as we’ve struggled through the years to be God’s people together in loving and hopeful ways.  And gratitude for the possibility we see and feel all around us, hope for the future of the institutional church, hope for the possibility of this beloved community, hope for the broken and hurting world in which we live.

What a story we have to tell today.

And in the telling of such a story, past and present, we cannot—we must not—ignore the urgency to work with all the commitment we can summon, to continue living out this grand experiment, a beautiful, sacred space where anyone can come to ask the hard questions of life and faith, and be met with a witness of radical welcome, faithful discipleship, and brave prophetic witness.

It is our holy honor to be the people of God in this place.  And so, we respond to this incredible story with deep gratitude and generosity, and the commitment to keep telling the story until the beloved community God envisions for the whole world comes to be.  May it be so.  Amen.

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