We are coming off an amazing bazaar weekend at the church. We raised $17,000! When I first started in Rehoboth, we would typically raise $10,000-$12,000 and that number has slowly been rising over the past few years. Last year we came really close to breaking $15,000, so this was incredible! And honestly – more than that, it was just fun. Everyone was smiling, no one person was doing all of the work, everyone was pitching in wherever they were needed and, as a cherry on top, the weather was perfect! It was so much fun.
My sermon this week is short because we had an extended time of announcements for Homeless Awareness Weekend, it was All Saints Sunday, Communion Sunday and we welcomed new members at the end of worship. And church still went until 11:20! Thankfully no one was complaining.
Rehoboth Congregational Church
November 3, 2019
How We Rise Up
I feel the need to preface my sermon today by saying two things.
- I do not care where we happen to fall in our sermon series on the Sermon on the Mount, after the most incredible bazaar-filled weekend, where the Body of Christ came alive in the most loving and welcoming and grace-filled ways, the last thing I am going to do is stand up here and give a fire and brimstone sermon on why we should not judge one another.
Because y’all lived out a kind of love this weekend that exemplifies what Jesus is talking about here. I do not need to teach you anything right now.
- On a Sunday morning with post-bazaar announcements, Homeless Awareness announcements and a commissioning prayer, communion and new members, the last thing I am going to do it stand up here and give a long sermon.
So I will keep it brief this morning.
Guys, I always say that I am going to write my sermon before the bazaar starts and then it never happens and then it always ends up being the best thing in the entire world. Because I am always inspired by what I see and experience throughout the weekend and how I feel when it is all over.
Because it is the Body of Christ. It is more than a beloved tradition. It is more than a fundraiser. The Church Bazaar is the Body of Christ in motion. Everyone has a job to do; and whether it is big or small, it is critical to the success of what we do. And so it is really neat to watch people come and go and do what God is calling them to do in this moment to serve our church.
When I read this scripture at the beginning of the week, I thought to myself, well of course, this is easier said than done. Then I wondered how I could share a message of encouragement for us to spend more time looking in the mirror at our own reflections than looking at others and judging them.
Because, the truth is, we all judge other people; we know we shouldn’t and we try not to, but sometimes the words are out of our mouths faster than we can muster up the grace to stop them and so we know Jesus’ call here is one that we must rise up to with deep commitment and humility.
But after I spent a weekend with this church community – with so many people doing so many different things to create this magical event, I just kept thinking, well this is how we rise up.
When Jesus asks us to do hard things, he does not ask us to do it alone, he asks us to do it in community. When Jesus calls us to be better versions of ourselves, he does not call us to do it alone, he calls us to do it in community. When Jesus tells us not to judge others or not to notice a speck on someone else’s eye when there is a log in our own, he does not tell us to do this alone, he tells us to do this in community.
Because it is in community that we hold one another accountable for our actions. It is in community that we see a world beyond ours. It is in community that we learn how to live out God’s love. It is in community that we realize what really matters. It is in community that we learn how to talk to and work with people who see the world differently than we do. It is in community that we find ourselves naturally walking away from the inclination to judge others because we just love everyone else so stinkin’ much, even if we are all doing life differently. It is in community that we come together and, sometimes against all odds, rise up and live out Jesus’ call not to judge others.
And are we perfect? No. Do we always get it right the first time? Of course not.
But it is weekends like this where I remember why it is so important that we do this work together.
Because together we will rise up.
So thank you; thank you for making this bazaar weekend an unforgettable one. Thank you for putting in countless hours and tending to every single detail, large and small. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for encouraging one another. Thank you for welcoming people into the village – for greeting them with a smile, for feeding them, for answering their questions and for showing them how to love and be loved. Thank you for rising up to live out Jesus’ call, even when it is not an easy one to live out. Thank you for making a commitment to one another and to the Gospel so that the world might be changed by the lives that we lead.
And that’s a wrap on another bazaar weekend!
Thanks be to God!