for Sunday, May 18, 2014
5th Sunday of Easter
lectionary focus: 1 Peter 2:2-10
note: We are recognizing Graduation Sunday on this day hence the inset paragraph; we have all of the Youth gather on the steps with us for this occasion. Use or omit, whichever is appropriate.
When we go with the Youth Group to church camp at Montreat, North Carolina, one of the many fun things we do is go Rock Hopping. There is a creek full of rushing water that comes down from the mountain. The creek water is very cold, even in the hottest part of the summer. And the creek is full of rocks. Some of the rocks are small enough to hold in your hand; others are big enough for several people to sit down and rest; and other rocks are just the size of your foot. And while those rocks come in many sizes, there are really only two kinds of rocks: the rocks that the water rushes over and covers up and the rocks that stick up out of the water and are dry. When we rock hop, we try to walk and jump and climb from dry rock to dry rock without stepping in…or falling in…the icy water. We are trying to stay dry, but of course getting wet is part of the joyful fun of Rock Hopping! As we are hopping down the creek, I can almost hear rocks calling to me: “Step here! Come this way! I’m firm and don’t wiggle! There’s no slippery moss on me!” I know, the rocks don’t talk; they are not alive; but I do think if they were alive and could talk, they would enjoy all of the laughing and screaming and jumping and falling and balancing as much as we do.
I thought about these rocks in Flat Creek when I was reading our Bible story for today. In this story from the Book of 1 Peter, we hear another one of those weird phrases from the Bible: St. Peter calls us to be living stones. Stone is another word for rock. But living? We just agreed that rocks are not living. They are just rocks. We use them for many things: we use them to build buildings and houses and roads and bridges. And we use the rocks in Flat Creek as stepping stones. Those rocks are how we get from one place to the next. Those rocks are what hold us up.
So how can we be living stones?
I like to think that when St. Peter calls us to be living stones, we are being called to live our lives in ways that help people move forward, that we are to help people get from one place to another, and that we are to do that in a fun and entertaining way. We are to be helpful stepping stones that others may firmly and safely and joyfully live their lives.
(If this is Graduation Sunday…)
Today we are celebrating moving forward. School is just about finished for the year. We will all enjoy summer vacation and then start back to new grades and maybe even new schools. Tamara will be starting a new grade and a new school. Tamara is graduating from high school and next August will go off to Warren Wilson College. Tamara used to sit on the chancel steps like y’all do each week; then Tamara got old enough to be in Youth Group; and Tamara has rock hopped at Montreat like a master. As she moves forward to a new adventure, we here at Edgewood Church will continue to be her stepping stone, firmly and joyfully lifting her up and supporting her throughout her life. And as we do this for Tamara, we here at Edgewood Church will support each and every one of you, too. There is nothing that separate you from the love of God…or from from the love of us.
Today I brought each of you a little river rock. Keep this and remember that you are called to live your life helping others. You are called to be a living stone.
Will you pray with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
for fun games
like Rock Hopping.
for calling me
to be a living stone.
to help others
live their lives
safely and joyfully.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.