"To Save the Whole World" Sunday, March 6, 2022 Lent I, Sunshine Cathedral of Second Life

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Sunshine Cathedral is a different kind of church

where the past is past

and the future has infinite possibilities!

This is the day our God has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!


Opening Prayer

May we be forgiven for forgetting our divine nature. 

May we be forgiven for failing to see the sacred value of all people. 

May we be healed of judging ourselves, and others, too harshly. 

May we forgive ourselves for not trusting in the absolute goodness and unconditional love of God. 

May we forgive ourselves and others of all mistakes, real or imagined, since God has always and only seen the truth of our endless goodness. 

May we now let our light shine and live as the children of God that we are. Amen. 

The Lessons


The Wisdom of Julia Seton Sears

When the Christ Consciousness is risen within us, we feel the universality of life written everywhere on everything; there is but one starting point for all thought – God. There is but one ending place for all human faith – God.


A reading  from the Fourth Gospel (John 11.1-3, 6-8, 14, 16-25, 27-30, 32-44)

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill. So the sisters sent word to him, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” 

So when Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the religious authorities were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.”   Jesus then said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died.  So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” 

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many religious leaders had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. 

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [But] even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life…She said to him, “Lord. I have come to believe that you are God’s anointed, the chosen one…”

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him.  When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping…he became…troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the onlookers said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who restored sight to the blind have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Abba, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me…” And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

Reflection by Rev. Dr. BK Hipsher

Save the Whole World 03062022

It’s Lent again. We’ve come through another winter of pandemic. We’ve survived the isolation, the fear, the loss of relationships. But we have survived to this season of personal reflection. We’ve arrived at this time of soul searching at the beginning of a war that is already displacing millions, killing thousands, and sending desperate Ukrainians running for their lives in a country that was just 11days ago a thriving modern democracy. These peaceful, hardworking people are invaded by a hostile Russian military war machine for the sole purpose of destroying democracy. They have done nothing. There is no case to be made that these peaceful Ukrainians have any responsibility for provoking the great Russian bear.

And so today is the perfect day for us to meet together and pray for forgiveness, and for wisdom, for insight and for courage. You see I’m not at all sure that I can ever be at peace with the reality that these Ukrainian people are being sacrificed to appease a madman. I do not think that I will ever recover from living at this time in history when the free world decided that these sweet, peace-loving Ukrainians do not deserve the same protection that you or I would have as an American, a Brit, a German, an Italian, a French, or Polish, or Hungarian.

Yes I know the logical arguments. If we try to save them we will be starting a war that quite probably will destroy all civilization on the planet and make it uninhabitable for at least 50 years in any urban center that is bombed with nuclear warheads. But that is the choice we are making. And it is important that we understand that this is exactly what is happening.

We must repent in our own souls for our part in this human tragedy that is unfolding because we are all responsible. But what can we do? How can we repent for something over which we have no control? How can we live with this level of powerlessness over history unfolding before our very eyes?

In the Talmud, one of the holy books of Judaism, in Sanhedrin 37a it is written:

“Whoever saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved the whole world. Because we are created in God’s image. Think of it, to save one life is to save the whole world. To bring food to one person is to feed the whole world. To comfort one person is to comfort the whole world.

In this case even that sounds impossible. But the place to begin to save the whole world is to save ourselves. We must realize that there is nothing we have done in our lives that cannot be forgiven. We must acknowledge that who we are when we take off our mask is exactly who God made us to be even if the world condemns us. We may have done some things that are considered bad in our lives but we are not bad people. We may have made mistakes but we are not a mistake.

Let’s start at step one this Lenten season and hear the voice of Jesus calling us to “Come out” of the tomb of self-condemnation, come out of the tomb of guilt, come out of the tomb of doubting our worth. When we rise up off the stone and walk out into the sunlight Jesus will have only one thing to say, “Untie him, untie her, untie them and let them be free.”

“Whoever saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved the whole world.” Once we have begun to let go of our own self-doubt we can reach out to help one more person. There are many worthy charities that are doing the work of saving the Ukrainian people. JCC Krakow is providing food and finding housing, clothing, toys and safe spaces for Ukrainian refugees that are pouring in to Poland. World Central Kitchen is feeding the hungry in Ukraine and in countries to which they are fleeing. Refugee organizations in countries all around the world are preparing to welcome them and help them find homes, jobs, and education for their children.

Some people may still have the view that Lent is for giving up something. And mostly I think that’s not a helpful way to view Lent. But this year let’s give up guilt. Let’s give up self-doubt. Let’s give up despair. Let’s give up the idea that we can’t do anything. Because, “Whoever saves a single life is considered by scripture to have saved the whole world.

Jesus is calling us to “Come Out” of despair, shame, guilt, and hopelessness. Let’s start with ourselves and let’s go save the whole world this week.

Ken Yehi Ratzon Let it be so. Amen

For a list of music suggested to meditate on for this service click the link below:

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