It’s been too long. I actually took two weeks off from preaching because we had testimonies as part of our stewardship campaign and then last week was so nutty at the church that I never was able to upload my sermon.
SO – he we go. This is my sermon from November 5th. I used the All Saints Day liturgy, but tied it into our church bazaar weekend (which is a BIG DEAL in Rehoboth). We received new members that Sunday and shared communion, so it was a busy Sunday with not a lot of time to preach. That being said – it didn’t need to be a long sermon! The message was succinct.
Rehoboth Congregational Church
November 5, 2017
Blessed Is Our Church In The Village
I told Bruce that between new members and communion, I would have approximately four and a half minutes to preach this week.
So I am going to do my best to keep my remarks brief this morning.
The reading we just heard from the Gospel of Matthew is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus taught the golden rule of kindness, the Lord’s Prayer and various other sayings and proverbs that have sustained our faith for 2,000 years.
This particular text is called, the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are expressed as the blessings that surround us; they are reminders of the blessings in our lives and a promise of the blessings God gives to us in life and beyond life. They are presented not only to those that Jesus was speaking to that day, but also to us, today, as a vision that Jesus had for heaven on earth.
Today is All Saints Sunday, a time where we remember and lift up the saints in our lives. These are the people, the cloud of witnesses who have come before us, who have impacted our lives and made this world a better place, who worked tirelessly in their lives to create that heaven on earth. We read the Beatitudes on All Saints Sunday as we celebrate the ways in which all of our saints were and are so very blessed; blessed in the eyes of all of us here today and blessed in the arms of our creating, redeeming and sustaining God.
As I thought about the Beatitudes in relation to the work we, as a community, do at our annual Christmas bazaar, I was struck by the ways in which we are forming our own cloud of witnesses right here, right now, in our lifetime. The work we do here at our church in the village matters; we touch people’s lives. We are laying the groundwork that will impact the lives not only of the people in our generation, but also in the generations of people to come.
I have always said that I love the bazaar so much because it is the one time of year where everyone in the community comes together for one common goal. This does not work – we do not raise over $10,000 in two days – without the help of every single person in this community. It takes a church in the village to pull off the bazaar and this year was no different.
As I thought about the Beatitudes in relation to everything that was going on at the church for the bazaar this weekend, I could not help but think that there might be a new translation relevant to our special community.
Blessed are the turkey makers, for they spend hours in the kitchen ensuring we kick off our bazaar with a delicious thanksgiving dinner.
Blessed are the luncheon ladies, for they fill our stomachs with food, our hearts with love and our ears with good music.
Blessed are the servers, for they bring food, clear plates and ensure everyone is greeted with a smile.
Blessed are the people who work behind the scenes, setting up and cleaning up, for the work they do sometimes goes unnoticed, but is always valued and cherished.
Blessed are the crafters, for they work year round and create the most beautiful pieces to sell.
Blessed are the woodworkers, for they transform fallen trees into incredible works of art.
Blessed are the silent auctioneers, for they ask and call and solicit and put together a room with something for everyone.
Blessed are the gatherers, for they take something someone is throwing away and turn it into someone else’s fall and Christmas décor.
Blessed are the car parkers, for they wave and extend a hand of hospitality as they welcome all people onto our property.
Blessed are the bakers and the food makers, for they fill Goff Hall with the incredible smells of tasty treats.
Blessed are the advertisers, for they spread the word and invite people to come to our fun tradition.
Blessed are the money counters, for they take care of our finances.
Blessed are the Christmas tree decorators and the raffle ticket sellers, for they get everyone in the holiday spirit.
Blessed are the buyers, the bidders, the diners and the dieters who put their diets on hold for a few days, for without them we would still have a church full of stuff.
Blessed are all members of our church in the village, for they care for one another, reach out to the community, find grace and celebrate God’s never ending presence in their lives.
Friends, this morning I am grateful for the blessings that abound; for a wonderful bazaar weekend, for the 16 people who officially joined our church in the village and for the Holy Spirit that moves and grooves among us, inspiring us to live out the Gospel and change people’s lives. I am grateful for the blessings that were then, the blessings that are now and the blessings that are still to come.
Blessed are we, the Rehoboth Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, the Church in the Village.
Thanks be to God!