As we do every October, we take this month for our Stewardship focus. This month’s Worship series will feature several voices from our congregation, all focused on the idea of Generous Living.
Although we are transitioning into November, we are taking this Sunday to conclude our annual Stewardship series. This final Sunday acknowledges that we often take great pride in doing things ourselves. We love DIY shows and videos on gourmet meals, home improvement, and more. Stewardship—remembering that this commitment is more than our financial gifts—is a full commitment to support the work that God is already doing in our midst. So this Sunday we will get creative with a DIY opportunity to commit to giving our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness in support of these ministries.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12 (CEB)
1From Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy:
To the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God our Father, and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
2Grace and peace to all of you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Brothers and sisters, we must always thank God for you. This is only right because your faithfulness is growing by leaps and bounds, and the love that all of you have for each other is increasing. 4That’s why we ourselves are bragging about you in God’s churches. We tell about your endurance and faithfulness in all the harassments and trouble that you have put up with.
11We are constantly praying for you for this: that our God will make you worthy of his calling and accomplish every good desire and faithful work by his power. 12Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored by you, and you will be honored by him, consistent with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Habakkuk 2:1-4 (CEB)
1I will take my post;
I will position myself on the fortress.
I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me
and how he will respond to my complaint.
2Then the Lord answered me and said,
Write a vision, and make it plain upon a tablet
so that a runner can read it.
3There is still a vision for the appointed time;
it testifies to the end;
it does not deceive.
If it delays, wait for it;
for it is surely coming; it will not be late.
4Some people’s desires are truly audacious;
they don’t do the right thing.
But the righteous person will live honestly.
Consider these questions:
- What is something you have done yourself that challenged you? Was it a craft project? A construction project? A food project? Something else? How did it feel to do it accomplish this on your own? What was the result? If the project created something tangible, do you still have it?
- Do you remember joining this church (or another)? Do you remember the vows? What if you were able to create your own? Consider what you would want to promise in joining as a member of this congregation (and be ready to explore further this Sunday in Worship!).
Post-Worship Update on 11/5
Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).
Sunday’s message began with an exploration into creativity. Our Director of Music, Ron Jessee, is one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. He shared with us lyrics from the classic hymn, Amazing Grace, interspersed with poetry and other artistic works to inspire us into creativity.
I then introduced George Ella Lyon’s poem, “Where I’m From.” We explored the framework of the poem using a template provided in worship (a similar template is available here) to begin a creating our own poem. I have been asked to share my own poem from this template, which can be found below.
I am from olive-green appliances,
from Crest toothpaste and pet rocks.
I am from the house with the tree where God speaks.
From the trees that touch the sky,
and the dirt hills where bicycles leap.
I am from Canasta and kayaks,
and pianos being played before they were not,
from Kitty and Eleanor and Howard.
I am from extroversion and the great circle of life.
From vegetables that put hair on my chest
and the magical goodness of apple-butter.
I am from generational Methodism and
From Florida and Missouri and California.
I am from Potato Cheese Soup and
anything that can be eaten with chopsticks.
I am from the lights in Hollywood, from numbers and ledgers,
and the devastation of death.
I am from ache and hope and privilege
and the joy of working for love.
Creativity is a necessary gift that we must use as we seek to participate in the future of the church.
Consider these questions:
- As more people exit the current expression of Christianity, how can we share “increasing love” amidst “all the harassments and trouble” that we face?
- How might we “write a vision” plainly and guided by God’s inspiration to guide us?
- How might a creative process help us to live into the church of tomorrow?