Vulnerabiity Is Our Strength

Date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 10:30 am - 11:30 am

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton & Curtis Murphy, Intern Minister.

Over these past few days, as our congregation has absorbed the difficult news of the sudden death of Bruce Schwartzentruber—arguably our most outgoing member—I've been reminded again and again that even in this time of deep loss we have been reminded of our shared strength. When someone we deeply care about dies without warning, we are reminded in such a visceral way of life's fragility—and of the vulnerability that comes with simply being alive. Such moments so often show us what we're made of. So often they teach us that we're stronger than we previously realized.

In the Torah, in The Book of Deuteronomy, God explains that we humans have been presented with a choice between life and death. We are told, emphatically, “to choose life”. It is that choice we confront repeatedly in the course of our days as heartache and loss come our way. Do we choose the path of bitterness and resentment, brokenness and death? Or do we choose life by walking through our pain and difficulties toward healing, hope, and growth? On Sunday, I'll take up this question of how we choose life when it seems that all is lost.

Following coffee hour on Sunday, I invite all those who wish to join me in a Sharing Circle in Sunderland Hall at 12:15pm to reflect on Bruce's death, offer up memories, and tell the stories of how our lives were touched by his. Whenever I plan a memorial service, I typically sit down the family of the deceased and invite them into a reflective conversation about the person's life, their impact, and their hopes and dreams that live on in us. Given that First was a significant part of Bruce's family, it's only right that we gather together for this conversation—which I fully expect will involve dozens of people! I look forward to sharing this time together.

Finally, Bruce's memorial service will take place on Sunday, November 23, at 3:00pm at First Unitarian. As always, all are welcome at this Celebration of Life.

In faith and love,
Shawn

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