This morning was a "Youth Sunday" in the life of our congregation. The youth prepared a service with an All Saints' Day theme and did a terrific job of leading us in worship. Three of our young saints preached short sermons, which were all just excellent. I don't think that my first sermon at age 26 measured up to these by 16 and 17 year olds! I have obtained permission from one of the young preachers to share his sermon here on my blog. He preached with such passion and sincerity, which really touched everyone who heard him. It was especially poignant when he spoke about his dad. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. I was moved to hear this young man speak about faithfulness to God's call as being the mark of a saint. I also appreciated his use of a Bob Dylan song!
You’re Gonna Have to Serve Somebody
You may be an ambassador to England or France. You may like to gamble, you may like to dance. You may be the heavyweight champion of the world. You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
You’re gonna have to serve somebody. I can’t be positive what the philosopher, Bob Dylan, meant exactly by that, but here’s what I think he meant. We are all called to serve. And that, to me, is what a saint is. I believe that a saint is a person who God has called on to serve him. A saint is someone who, through their own ways, has served to the best of his ability, and in doing so, inspired others to serve. Each and every one of us is a saint, and we interact with saints everyday.
You may be a construction worker working in a home. You may live in a mansion or you might live in a dome. You might own guns and might even own tanks. You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks. But you are gonna have to serve somebody. Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Now if I had to pick one saint out of all the wonderful people I get to see on a daily basis to talk about today, it would have to be my friend, J. J. has known me my entire life, being m next door neighbor for many years. I have never met any other man like J. He has been a positive influence to me for 17 years now and was my mentor for confirmation. I hope that me being around J. has influenced me and made me who I am today. And I think it has.
Might wear cotton, might like to wear silk. Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk. You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread. You might be sleeping on the floor, sleeping on a king-sized bed. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
Now what makes a saint a saint? To me a saint served God through their actions in their everyday life. Reggie Bush is a saint. After being drafted by the New Orleans Saints, Reggie has helped lift a football team back to its feet. More importantly, he has given the city a newfound sense of hope. But he’s not the only one helping New Orleans. A group of our fellow church members went to New Orleans to help rebuild the city. My father was one of them. My dad is the saint I wish I could be. Now here’s the funny thing about saints. We are all different and so no two people will serve God in the same way. I will never be able to serve like Reggie Bush serves. And as much as I wish I could, I won’t be able to serve in the same way that my father does. Although I can’t serve in the same way he does, I can still serve and be faithful to the call of God. For that’s what all saints do, be faithful to the call of God. Now, I will finally stop talking and leave you with a bit more from Bob Dylan.
You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy. You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy. You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray. You may call me anything, but no matter what you say, You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the Devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
So, I've only been doing this blog thingy for about a month and I've already had my first blogger meet-up. I met up with Linda from Against a Brick Wall for lunch today. (You should have seen my husband's face when I told him I was going to go to lunch with someone I met online! I then told him that it was with another RevGal and he exhaled.)
Linda first contacted me by what she calls, "a blogger freak-out." You see, I had made a comment on St. Casserole's blog that led her to believe that we were living in the same city. So, she left me a message on my blog and I e-mailed her back. She was correct, we live in the same city in the Bible Belt. By golly, it's great to have another progressive in town!
I had a wonderful time getting to know Linda. We figured out that we had met before, briefly, when she visited my church in early September. This was a couple of weeks before I had even heard of RevGals. I admitted to her that I had peeked into her archives to read about her impressions of our congregation. I kinda knew what I might read, as it was a low ebb Sunday- being Labor Day weekend. She says on her blog that her comments were unfair, but I disagree. I was delighted for the opportunity to read the thoughts of a first-time visitor. How often do you get that chance? She was correct that the service was a snooze-fest! I wasn't preaching! :) Although I certainly have preached my share of sermons suitable for naptime!
I was also delighted to have the opportunity to discuss some of, what I feel, were misperceptions of our community. Again, how often do you get that chance? It's truly a wonderful community- inclusive, warm, challenging, fun. Of course I hope that she gives us another look, but that wasn't the reason I met her for lunch. I wanted to make a new friend, and I believe that I did! How fun is that!
I came across this quote today by Robert Louis Stevenson:
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world."
This thought has made my day, perhaps my year! This is a revelation for me, as I tend to be one of those folks who begins to feel guilty when I find myself feeling too happy. Some teenagers in a youth group I led many years ago taught me an alternative "Happy Birthday" song which fits me to a "T."
It goes: "Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday! Vultures flying in the air, People dying everywhere. BUT- Happy Birthday!"
Yeah, that's me. I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Yet, I know that God's abundant life is also for me. And- wow- my happiness is God's will for my life! I can still be mindful of suffering and injustice AND claim joy that is mine as a precious child of God. Hmmm.. happiness as a spiritual discipline. Go figure!
I went to church tonight!!! The women of Sweet Honey in the Rock were in my city singing the songs of freedom, justice and love. They are prophetic voices! When they sing, they imagine a world shaped by the gospel, where all are free to be who God created them to be. If these incredibly gifted women come to your town, don't miss them!
Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story. (Yes, they're all from Job 38!)
whirlwind: tornado (I live in tornado alley)
foundation: Hymn #442 in the blue hymnal, "The church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord"
lightning: This word reminds me of the most frightened I have ever been in my life. My husband and I began our married life living in Colorado. Three weeks into our marriage, we went hiking up Bison Peak. About three-quarters of the way up the mountain, I noticed that the clouds were beginning to gather. I wondered if we should turn back, but my husband assured me that we could make it. I foolishly trusted him, because he was the more experienced hiker. We arrived at the summit and immediately the lightning began striking! I don't remember this, but my husband swears that I asked for a divorce!
den: I wish I had one that I could hide in sometimes!
It's time to settle into Fall! This week's RevGal Friday Five is all about comfort. 1. Comfort beverage A steaming mug of herbal tea sweetened with a little honey
2. Comfort chair I'm still searching for that perfect comfy chair to call my own. Until then, I'm usually curled up on the couch under my wolf blanket when I want to relax at home.
3. Comfort read It depends... Sometimes a mindless women's magazine is just the thing. Or the Wittenberg Door, if I need a good laugh. Other times, I want to submerge myself in a great story. I have to admit that I can't wait for the last Harry Potter book to come out.
4. Comfort television/DVD/music I just lovethe new TV show, Ugly Betty! It's funny and sweet.
Since we got a DVR, I have been watching a lot of older movies that I've never before seen like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and North By Northwest. None of today's male movie stars have a tenth of the charisma of Cary Grant or Paul Newman!
These days, I am loving Anna Nalick's CD, the Magnolia soundtrack, and Stevie Wonder's greatest hits.
5. Comfort companion(s) My husband, my kids (when they aren't jumping on each other's or my head!), my two cats, my local preacher mommy friend
I just find it so hard to quantify what I do. This is probably a very good exercise for me. I know I should keep track of my hours each week, but everytime I think to do it I am unsure what I should count. Does the 45 minute conversation on the phone with Johnny's mom count? Do I count the hour online searching for that great youth ministry idea? Do I count the time I spend reading and writing blogs? :)
The great thing is that much of the time I am enjoying myself so much that I don't feel like I'm working. What a gift!
It's that season of the year when lawn signs are sprouting as surely as flowers in the spring; elections are just around the corner. And so today we bring you a Civic Duty Friday Five.
1) How old were you when you voted for the first time? hmmm... I think I was 20. I was in college and I voted by absentee ballot so I could weigh in on my home state's issues.
2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot? It was Bush/Quayle vs. Clinton/Gore. I voted wrong, but I'll let you wonder in what way!
3) Can you walk to your polling place? We just moved into a new house not long ago, so I haven't yet voted at our new polling place. Distance-wise, I think I could, but I would have to cross a very busy street to get there. Since I almost always have one of my children with me, it probably wouldn't be wise.
4) Have you ever run for public office? No, thank you!
5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board? Oh my gosh, I have run for sooo many offices, especially when I was a kid. Let's see, in Junior High I ran for home room representative in 7th grade, but lost. In 9th grade, I was Student Body Presidentof my Jr. High and Captain of the 9th grade cheerleading squad. In High School I ran for Vice-President of the Sophomore class, but lost. I did win the races for Junior class Secretary and Thespian Vice-President the next year. I was also elected to my then denomination's national youth planning committee and as President of my state's youth ministry. My Senior year I was Thespian President. Geez... no wonder I never got my homework done!
In college, I was elected Junior class rep to the Student Senate and then Senate Chairperson the next year. I was also Vice-President of Alpha Psi Omega- the drama honor society.
I think I got all of that out of my system, as I have not run (nor do I intend to ever run) for office again.
Okay- I'm in a bit of a funk. Ever since the Interim Pastor came, I have been feeling superfluous. I feel like I have started a new job and don't know what to do. I don't want to do too much and step on her toes, but I don't want to back-off and do too little. I wonder if anyone out there has had the experience of being an Associate Pastor and having to adjust to a new Head of Staff? I could use some tips, especially since I'm still trying to be part-time.