Tag Archives: language

The Importance of With

photo by c. woodruff

photo by c. woodruff

for Sunday, June 15, 2014
Trinity Sunday
Father’s Day
Year A
lectionary focus: Matthew 28:16-20
inspiration: Wow. Sara Miles. (read this)
Sara’s inspiration: Samuel Wells.

Welcome!

Today’s Bible story includes the most important word in the Bible! Ohhh. I see lots of eyebrows going up and eyebrows coming together and puzzled faces as most of you are trying to figure out which word I’m saying is the most important word in the Bible. Some of you are thinking that it must be love or forgiveness or mercy or justice or God or Jesus or Holy Spirit. No. Not those words. They are definitely important, but the most important word in the Bible is with. What? Yes, you heard me correctly. I say that the most important word in the Bible is the word with. With is a simple word. With is a small word that means beside or together. Ahhhh. I think you are starting to see why I say that this little, simple word is the most important word in the Bible.

In our Bible story today, Jesus sends the disciples out into the world to share God’s love and tells them, Remember I am with you always. There’s that word! Jesus is WITH us always. Jesus does not promise that things will be easy or that we will always get what we want. Just this simple word with. Jesus is beside us always. We are together with Jesus always. He is here now. He is here later. He is here. And that is what God’s love is all about. With. Together. Never apart. Never alone.

A few weeks ago, I got a stomachache. I had some sort of virus and it made my stomach hurt. The doctor gave me some medicine to ease the pain but said it would just take some time for the virus to go away. My husband was great at taking care of me. A lot of the time I just lay there and moaned in pain. Mr. Bill would ask What could he do? He wanted to do something for me. He wanted to fix it. And there wasn’t any thing he could do. But it was nice just having him with me. And so he just sat with me.

When Jesus said this most important word in the Bible, I am with you always, He was showing us how to be Christians. He was showing us that simply being together, simply being beside each other, simply being with each other is how we show God’s love in the most simple, basic way.

He is with us always. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. Near or far, happy or sad, healthy or sick, Jesus is with us always, with us, loving us.

Say this word after me: with (with). Amen.

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for being with me.
Help me
to be with You.
Help me
to be with others
and share Your love.
Amen

We are not Christians alone. (We are with each other!)
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.

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Welcome!

joyfor Sunday, June 8, 2014
Day of Pentecost
Year A
lectionary focus: Acts 2:1-21
note: You can certainly adjust this sermon to fit a mission trip your congregation knows; to create a size comparison between the mission area and your local area, check here for country size and here for US state size.

Welcome!

Recently my daughter Cherry went on a medical mission trip to Uganda. Uganda is a country on the continent of Africa. Uganda is about the size of Alabama and most of Mississippi together…so it is a tiny country. Yet Uganda has five times the number of people as we do in the same space! So, Uganda is a tiny country with lots of people! It took Cherry 15 hours by airplane and 6 hours by bus to get where they were going. Some people in Uganda speak English, by many people don’t. The official language is Swahili, but most people don’t speak that either. In fact, in this small area there are forty different languages spoken! That means that talking can be difficult! My daughter’s group had several translators with them. Each translator knew several languages, but each one did not know all forty languages. Sometimes her usual translator would say…I don’t know that language, I’ll go get one of the other translators. Understanding people’s stories took time, but they found a way. Cherry said the communications were another amazing aspect of the trip.

Today on the church calendar is called Pentecost. We get this name from another language, the Greek language: pentecost means fiftieth. We call today Pentecost because it has been fifty days since Easter. Pentecost sounds much prettier and fancier than saying Holy Fiftieth Day!  In our Bible story today, we hear how on this fiftieth day, the disciples received the Holy Spirit. The disciples were all together when a great force came over them. And then each was able to share God’s love in one of the many languages of the people in the community. The disciples were speaking in the languages of the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs! With the Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to speak about God’s great deeds in many different languages!

Nowadays we think there are almost 7000 different languages in the whole world. Sharing information and stories can be difficult with so many languages, but our Bible story today tells us that we should not let differences in language prevent us from sharing God’s love with each other. Everyone is invited to be part of God’s family. All are welcome. Or we could say Bienvenidos! Or Willkommen! Or Merhba! Or as they say in the Rutooro language in Uganda: Oraire ota! (oh-rah-EE-ray OH-tah) Give that one a try; say after me:  Oraire ota!  (Oraire ota!) Welcome! Welcome! We are all welcome to God’s love.

The church is a community of people. Not just the people here, but people everywhere. God calls us and equips us through the Holy Spirit to share with others and build God’s church around the world.

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

Dear Lord,
The world is full of Your people.
Thank You
for helping us
find ways to share
Your love
near and far
with each and all.
Amen

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