X-Days Service, June 28, 2015
We had a short sermon on June 28 that wasn’t recorded.
4Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
I John 3: 17-18
17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? 18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.
14‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
X-Days – Call to Worship:
Leader: God has given us gifts to use for the common good.
All: Today let our work be our worship!
Leader: God has given us talents to share for the betterment of neighbors.
All: Today let these projects be our praise!
Leader: God has given us hearts to love and hands to serve others.
All: Today let the collaboration of congregations embody Christ in our community!
Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God with all we’ve got, and love neighbors as ourselves. His answer prompts another question, “And who is my neighbor?” That question echoes down the cul-de-sacs of West Chester and Mason. Today we’re given an opportunity to love our neighbors in a very concrete, tangible way. I want to thank each of you for your commitment this day to be part of an effort that enlists countless volunteers from 10 churches, with 90 projects at 78 project sites, all to show God’s love for neighborhoods and residents in our community. A special thanks to Dave Diehl, our site coordinator for all his efforts in making today possible.
Certainly one question that could be raised is: Why? Why commit a Sunday morning to mulching trails, cleaning and organizing inside and out, and staining the deck and wheel chair ramp of the Mason Nature Center? Our passage from Jeremiah begins to answer that question. “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you, for in its welfare you will find your own.” The word translated as “welfare” is “shalom” which is more than simply peace, but wholeness, health and wellness. Shalom is having everything you need to flourish physically, socially, spiritually, and economically. It’s about justice and righteousness, prosperity and fairness. In seeking peace and justice for others, we discover our own. In seeking health and wellness for our community, we find our own. In seeking prosperity and flourishing for others, we somehow find ourselves blessed, too. One of the reasons for today is simple reciprocity, that in seeking the common good for our larger community it redounds upon this community. In seeking to bless others, we become blessed.
The first letter to John asks a hard question of us: If we ourselves are blessed and say we love God, but don’t share that with those in need, how can God’s love be in us? Love is easy in word and speech, but love in action and truth is another thing entirely. The author later in that same letter says, “Those who don’t love a brother or sister whom they have seen cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). In other words, the author is saying, when it comes to love, talk is cheap. It doesn’t cost us anything to mouth a few false syllables of love, but the truth of one’s love for others is costly: it’s borne out in deeds, in actions, in commitment. Today we have an opportunity to love neighbors in action and in truth.
Ultimately, the reason we do this is more than simply reciprocal flourishing or demonstrating enacted love. Ultimately, it’s not about us or our neighbors, it’s about God. That’s what Jesus is telling us in Matthew. The point of letting our light shine is not so the light illuminates us, nor that the light bedazzles our neighbors, but that the light points beyond either of us toward the source of life and light for all people. It is in following that light, and walking in that light, that we discover that the city of light where there is “no need of lamp or sun” (Rev. 22:5) is reflected within our very own city, our very own neighborhoods. Today affords us an opportunity to catch a glimmer of the golden glow of the New Jerusalem’s streets among the roads of our town. To see among our neighbors a glimpse of a city where every tribe, tongue, and nation is just around our corner. What an opportunity we are afforded today! Amen.
From Dave D. : A great day of Serving our neighbors and community. Thanks to all that came out and got dirty for Jesus, Faith Alliance X Days 2015 was a great success! Over 40 people from TRCC were involved working to mulch over a tenth of a mile of woodland trails, power wash the wheelchair ramp, clean and organize the inside, paint a door, all at the Mason Nature Center; Gardening, clean-up and packing the supplies for the Knapsacks of love at TRCC. Thanks again to all that were involved, the sore muscles are worth it!
Here is the path to the photos from this morning, enjoy!:
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Contact Hyper-Performance Motorsports Inc. to secure permission to use and publish any of these photographs. Thank you for your understanding!
They Will Know We are Christians by our Love sung by Jars of Clay: