Two for One

16th Sunday after Pentecost
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 22
for Sunday, Oct 2, 2011

Note: This week I offer two sermons: one for those celebrating World Communion Sunday and one for those focussing on the lectionary.

Sermon I–World Communion Sunday 2011
lectionary focus (loosely): Philippians 3:12-14
The inspiration for this sermon came from the essay “Living from the Heart” by Pam Pitcher in “Under the Chinaberry Tree: a publication of the Chinaberry Book Service,” 1995.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been hungry. And what do we do when we are hungry? We get something to eat. The sooner, the better. We might get to go out to a restaurant. We might just go to the kitchen. We need to go to the grocery store regularly to have food ready. Did you know that one of the reasons we come to church is because we are hungry? But here we are not hungry for food; we are hungry for something else.

On the church calendar, today is known as World Communion Sunday. Today churches across the world celebrate that we are all really one church. Yes, we have different buildings, different names, different ways of worship. But we all are God’s church. We are a family of churches that loves God and God loves each of us. And how do families usually celebrate? By eating together. So today churches across the world are serving communion. The name communion is used for the meal in church where we eat bread and drink juice. But is this piece of bread and this sip of juice really a meal? Does this feed our hunger? No. And yes. We don’t eat this meal to keep our bellies from rumbling. We eat communion because we hunger for a world full of love and kindness and safety.

Everybody in the world needs food to live. Food gives our bodies the energy to do what needs to be done. But our hearts need God to live. God gives our hearts the love to do what needs to be done. When we share the communion meal, we are remembering that God loves us and that we should love each other. Through this celebration meal, we are filled with God’s love so we may go out and do good things in the world. I hope your bodies are never hungry for food. But I hope that you always hunger to go forward and to do good things in the world for God.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You for loving me.
Thank You for feeding me.
Help me to be hungry
for love
and kindness
and safety
that I may make the world
a better place.
Amen

Sermon II–Let the Words of My Mouth
lectionary focus: Psalm 19:14
The inspiration for this story came from a sermon by my friend Rick Allred.

Where is your mouth? Show me what teeth you have. Can you give me a big smile? Stick out your tongue. Do you know how to hum? Now listen to this.
Our mouths are wonderful things. They can do so much. We use them when we eat, when we sing, when we talk, when we say (smile while saying this) I-like-you without making a sound, and when we pray.

Because we use them so much, it is important to keep our mouths healthy. My dad is a dentist and he taught me to brush my teeth after every meal. It’s a good thing to do. But one time, my friend Zachary was getting ready to brush his teeth. He squirted some of the toothpaste onto his toothbrush. He made a nice, long squirt the whole length of his toothbrush. It was perfect and looked real pretty. Then he thought he could make it taller, so he squirted another long squirt on top of the first squirt. He had a double-decker! Then he thought he could make it even taller, so he squirted another long squirt on top of the first and second squirts. Now it was a triple-decker!!! Then Zach’s mom came into the bathroom. Uh, oh. He had too much toothpaste. There was no way he could use all of that. So Zach thought he would put it back into the toothpaste tube. But can you do that? No! Once you squirt out the toothpaste, it is not going back in.

In our Bible story today, the psalmist sings a line that many people use as a daily prayer: Let the words I say with my mouth make You happy, O Lord. God wants us to use our mouths to say good and helpful words.

But what about when we forget and say something not nice, something mean or ugly. Can we put the words back into our mouths like we never said them? No. Once we say something, the words cannot go back in. And if we say something mean or ugly, the hurt is done. Therefore let us be like the psalmist and ask God’s help that the words from our mouths be words of love and kindness and help. Those are the words that will make the Lord happy. And those words are never too much and never need to be put back.

Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it back.)

Dear Lord,
Thank You for our mouths.
Thank You for toothpaste.
Let the words I say with my mouth
make You happy
and be good and helpful
to all.
Amen

We are not Christians alone. My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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