Tag Archives: stories

I Am The…

IMG_2246for Sunday, July 14, 2013
15th Sunday in Ordinary Time
8th Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 10
lectionary focus: Luke 10:25-37
inspiration: How to do the Good Samaritan? Thanks to Rev. Christopher Henry of Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA, for hitting the nail on the head with his Day1.org sermon “Tell Me a Story.” (Please forgive me my errors with who vs whom.)

Good Morning!

Once upon a time…well, actually more than once upon a time. In fact, probably a gamillion times, we have told stories. We are Story People. We love to get wrapped up in a book or movie or show or tale or whisper . We love to hear about people and far away places and exciting adventures and funny mistakes. But I think we especially love to hear stories about ourselves. Whenever someone says, “One time when you were little…” oh, we each lean in a little closer and smile a little bigger. We love to hear about how we did things. By sharing stories, we learn about ourselves. Stories are very powerful.

Jesus knows the power of stories. In our Bible story today, a very smart man asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” Now we all know that Jesus could have simply said, “Everyone.” But instead, Jesus involves us by telling a story–probably the most remembered of all His many stories–The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Once upon a time, a man went down the road to Jericho. He was attacked by robbers who stole from him, beat him, and left him wounded on the side of the road. Soon after a man from his church came down the road but crossed to the other side to avoid helping; next a man from his town came down the road, but he also crossed to the other side to avoid helping; then a unknown man from a far other town came down the road. Not only did this foreigner bind up his wounds, he also took him to an inn, cared for him, and left enough money for the innkeeper to continue caring for him.

Just like all of us listening now, the people listening to Jesus back then knew which character in the story acted like a neighbor. But I wonder if you noticed that Jesus did not name us in the story. Jesus did not say, One time, you were going down the road, or One time, you saw a man lying on the road. Jesus doesn’t tell us which character we are. He lets us figure it out and decide who we want to be in the story and who we want to be in the world. In the Good Samaritan and in each of His stories, Jesus helps you learn about yourself, giving you power to choose how to live the stories of your life.

I wonder who you will choose to be in the story of your life…

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for stories.
Help me
to keep You
in the story
of my life.
Amen

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

And Come Back

for Sunday, May 6, 2012
5th Sunday of Easter
Graduation Sunday
lectionary focus: Acts 8:26-40
note: Why this Sunday to honor graduates? It is either this Sunday with the eunuch’s desire to learn, or May 20th with the John 17:6-19 text “as I have sent them into the world.” May 13th is Mother’s Day and then May 27th is Pentecost. If you choose not to discuss graduation this Sunday, you can key in on the need to be life-long learners.

Good morning! Today we would like any of you who are graduating this spring from high school or college to come join us on the chancel steps. It wasn’t so long ago that you were down here every Sunday, and it won’t be too long before our current regulars are marching to Pomp and Circumstance.

First:
Congratulations on your big achievement!

Second:
You never finish going to school.

We have a saying in our culture: Learn something new every day. This is not just for children and students but for grown-ups and grandparents, too. Exercising our brains is just as important as exercising our bodies. We should never stop learning. And this is not a new idea. Throughout the Bible we see the children of God learning. In our Bible story today, we see a smart, important grown-up–an official of the Queen’s court–learning something new. And he is excited about it; he is eager to learn; he rejoices in learning! You may have finished one school, but we hope that you have not finished learning.

And third:
Let me tell you a story.

You know how at the end of the service, Pastor Sid gives us the blessing and the charge? He always starts with, “Go out into the world in peace.” Well, once upon a time, I was sitting on the back pew with my friend Mr. Ron and when Pastor Sid said, “Go out into the world in peace,” before he could say the next part, Mr. Ron quietly said, “And come back.” So to those of us on the back pews it sounded like this, “Go out into the world in peace…and come back.” Well, we all kinda giggled. But then I got to thinking about it. Mr. Ron was right.
Many of you are going out far away into the world..and that is a good thing…and you will go with God…but it is important that you come back to your church. It is important that you come back to us, your church family. We love you, we are here to support you, we want to keep learning about you, and you can always come back to us, to church, to God.

So Graduates, go out into the world in peace and come back!

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

Dear Lord,
Thank You
for our graduates.
Help us all
to go out into the world in peace
and help us all
to come back.
Amen

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

I Wonder Where You Are In This Story

13th Sunday after Pentecost
24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 19
for Sunday, September 11, 2011
lectionary focus: Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35

Note: The Presbyterian Church USA offers an entire resource packet (linked here) to create a Service of Remembrance for the Tenth Anniversary of September 11. Their material includes a children’s sermon that I think is too frank. Here is mine. If you wish to avoid any reference to 9/11, you can omit paragraph 2 and the sermon still flows.

I love stories! I love to read myself into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, or mysteries, or kings and queens, or the Bible. But not all stories are in books. Each of us has a story. When we tell about the things that we have experienced, we are telling the story of our life. And when groups of people come together, they have a story, too. You and the people here today are continuing the story of our church started by a group of people almost 100 years ago. And we and our neighbors around us are part of the story of our country started 236 years ago. Our lives are one story after another–some happy, some sad. When we tell of these events, others become part of our story with us. When we hear what happens to other people, we become part of their story with them.

Today is September 11, and in the story of our country, this is the day something sad happened and our country went to war. You might notice people remembering this day as they fly the American flag or they talk quietly, telling their memories of that day. It is hard, but good, to remember all the parts of our story.

We share Bible stories even though they happened a long time ago and none of us were there, so that those stories become part of our story now. In the book of Romans today, we are reminded that there are many different kinds of people in the world–it takes all kinds of characters to make stories–and each character is important. Some people bring happiness to our story; they are easy to like. But some people bring sadness. Jesus tells us that we must forgive them when they hurt us. We are not limited to forgiving them just once; Jesus says to forgive them again and again and again and again…just as many times as God forgives us for the mistakes we make. Forgiveness is how we move from a sad part of the story to next adventure in our lives.

I love stories. Mine and yours, the story of our church and of our country–by sharing all of these–the happy and the sad–and telling them again and again, we bring others into our story, and we join them in their story, and as a people, we weave them all together to be the one story of God’s beautiful world.

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 stories.

Help me to share my stories.

Help me to listen to other’s stories.

Help us all

share Your story

with the whole world.

Amen

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