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Doing all the right things doesn't mean squat if you treat your fellow human being with contempt. We all need to remember that most of us think we're doing the right thing, and want to do the right thing, even when we're not.

 This sermon is quite a bit different from how it was written, therefore, please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The sermon notes which are included for convenience.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

October 30 - Reformation Sunday  

"Saints and Sinners".  Text is from  John 8:31-36

Happy Reformation Sunday to you, brothers and sisters, children of God, people of LCC and beloved guests. Saints and sinners, each and every one of you. And I say that last, on Reformation Sunday there, deep at the heart of the Reformation, where we get our understanding of understanding of us being simultaneously saints and sinners, or simul justus et peccator. Because being human means we are bound to sin. Living means we are bound to sin. And although we strive to perfection, to being perfect human beings, there is no way we can be completely free from sin in our day to day lives. All of us. 

And yet, we are also simultaneously saints, because Christ has freed us from the bondage of sins. The wages of sin are death. Our escape from that fate is Christ. And we are made sanctified by his blood, and become simultaneously saints even in our constant imperfection. We, in our sinful state are made perfect human beings by the blood of the lamb and become worthy to be in God's kingdom. 

The following is a paper I wrote for a class I took in my final semester in seminary.  Someone on Facebook recently asked me if they could read it, and I'm more than happy to provide.  

The original date of this is May 23, 2014. The date of this entry, however, would be my official publication date. 

 Lutheran Reclamation of the Sacrament of Confession and Absolution

Spirit in the Church ST-2378

Cary Bass-Deschenes

May 23, 2014

Even though the rite of Confession and Forgiveness is available in the Lutheran Church both individually and corporately, most Lutherans are not even aware of it, and even fewer consider it a sacrament. However, a Lutheran understanding of confession and absolution as a sacrament goes all the way back to Martin Luther, and is delineated as such within the Book of Concord, the collection of all of the 16th century basic documents that provide a Lutheran understanding of theology. Although private confession and absolution was subsumed into a rarely used rite during the Age of Enlightenment, it has nevertheless remained a staple means of grace in the Lutheran church, and re-emerged in the Twentieth Century during a period of renewed excitement in unity and liturgy that sought to unify Lutheran rights with a restoration of what was uniquely Lutheran in the 16th century and a keen eye on how Martin Luther and the early Lutheran fathers worshiped and taught. This essay will look into that history as well as the developed Lutheran understanding of sacrament, provide some explanation of how the rite of Confession and Forgiveness is performed in the world today, and offer insight as to how meaningful the rite is and how it can be, as a sacrament, a way of bringing us into closer communion with other Christian denominations.

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