While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.

Albus Dumbledore

Today is September 12th. While our nation grieved together yesterday as we somberly remembered the events of September 11th so many years ago, today deserves a celebration of equal weight.

Today is the day that we found our common humanity. It is the day we stopped fighting over our differences and remembered that each other person in our midst is as essential to our life as we are.

People pushed bravely into shadows to rescue one another. Families of faith set up spaces so that we could all pray to God together – across religious lines. Dogs searched tirelessly in places that humans dared not go. And hugs were given across every line we so purposefully draw between one another most of the time.

It was a beautiful day. An important day. It was a day we shone a bright light into our shadow-filled world.

Unfortunately, as such wonderful moments do, this one abated all too quickly. Hate returned in full force all too swiftly. People again remembered their differences and started to fear one another. And though we remember the terror and tragedy, we usually forget that moment when we became the very best of who we can be.

Here is why this matters to me as a pastor: that vision of seeing our common humanity, realizing that we are all intertwined children of God – that is precisely the life to which Christ has called us. September 12th is an incredible illustration of how we are meant to be in this world.

You will find, as we continue to get to know one another, that I am quite “Harry Potter” obsessed. Especially with the words of Dumbledore. That sage headmaster of Hogwarts (Harry’s school) spoke words of wisdom in every situation. The quote above comes from the funeral of one of Harry’s friends in the fourth book.

When the all seemed lost and light seemed snuffed out by the rise of terrible powers in their world, Dumbledore speaks these words to the young people in his midst: …we are only as strong as we are united… Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open. Paraphrased in the movie version, the essential point is this: our hearts beat as one.

This is true of the Christian family of faith. But it is also true of our human family.

Remember that God made all people in God’s image. We cannot know the true ways of the Creator of the universe. What is more, Christ has told us not to worry so much about whether a person believes rightly or even acts rightly. We are to love them. Period. To stand together. To reach out across the lines that divide. And to find our way forward together.

So celebrate this day. And then join us in worship on Sunday we discuss Jesus’ instructions on how we are to choose in this life.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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