I honestly want to say ‘thank you’ for being here this morning; and I mean this as something more than just an agreeable, nice, polite thing to say, which I hope will come clear by the end of this sermon. I’ve said on more than one occasion that Sunday mornings – to me – are just a miracle. When I get here on Sunday mornings, there’s no one here except for the few of us whose job it is to be here. But then, suddenly – there you are! It’s a miracle. Not one of us actually has to be here. The church is a completely voluntary organization. But you’re here.
Look around, at all these people, at all of us, you could be anywhere else; but here you are. Sometimes, I find myself wondering, what it is that has brought you here this morning? Why are you here? What are doing in church on Sunday morning? What are you looking for or hoping for?
If you knew beforehand that we’d be gathered to hear Jesus say to us, ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple’ – would you still have thought it was a good idea to come to church? Is that what any of us wants to hear? It’s not terribly polite or nice.
By: Amelia McDaniel, Lay Associate for Christian Formation
I recently heard the writer Kristen Schell speak at a conference. She may not be on your radar, but I’m pretty sure if you heard her speak you would want to be her friend.
She wrote a book titled The Turquoise Table and she has sparked a quiet movement. She may also likely be the topic of many a homeowner association meeting. You see the book is based on Schell’s experiences after she placed a large picnic table painted a bright shade of turquoise in her front yard in Austin, TX. She did it because she was pretty sure it was what God wanted her to do. She had been rumbling with how to serve God. But she was stuck. She was a stay at home mom. She felt a call to mission, but that did not seem a possibility for her with a large family rooted in Austin. And then she had a picnic table delivered to her house for a backyard barbeque and she knew what she was supposed to do.
After the barbeque, she painted it a lovely shade of turquoise and put it smack in her front yard. One morning she took her cup of coffee and her laptop out there and started working. Pretty soon what she had hoped would happen did. She started to meet her neighbors. At first it was a casual hello as someone walked by with the dog. But in time her turquoise table became a meeting point for people in the neighborhood. People started connecting. They sat down together, really got to know each other. Everyone was welcome. Real connections were formed.