And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit he gave us. – Romans 5:5
I love the way Rebekah introduced the particular emphasis of worship this weekend. “Today is Commitment Sunday,” she said. “We make our Commitment in the context of taking Communion together, the Lord’s Supper. And we do this because we are a Community.” Gotta love those “C” words.
Interestingly – and this happens a lot – there was unintentional overlap between Rebekah’s message and the content my adult education class was talking about. She had titled her message, “Come to the party!” In my class we talked about what kind of a party it is we’re being invited to. Our conclusion was that “salvation” is not some pie-in-the-sky, ticket-to-heaven idea but a present (and future) reality of aligning ourselves with the passion and the purposes of God.
“Heaven” may be beyond the conceptual resources of our imagination, but we have the assurance that it will involve being in the presence of God. And we understand that our invitation today to “The Party” – to “The Dance” – is an invitation to participate in God’s current initiatives of grace, and mercy, and love, and light, and promise.
Too Tired to Stay Away!
Rebekah wrapped up her message by reframing the central idea from a short devotional she shared by Thomas Are. Are tells the story of a man who wants to skip choir practice because he’s “too tired to go”. He goes anyway and – two hours later – finds himself renewed and refreshed. It turns out he was “Too tired to stay home.”
We, Rebekah concluded, are invited to this amazing party. Sometimes we feel like sleeping in instead of going to church, we avoid commitment because we feel stretched and burdened, we would rather spend our resources on other priorities than God’s work, we are tired and we feel used up. However, when it comes to our spiritual vitality and the invitation to “Come to the Party”, it turns out that what we really need is the inspiration, the encouragement, and the refreshment of our Faith Community. We are too tired to stay away.
If you were there, you would have experienced a CLC (and, later, the sanctuary) full with enthusiastic worshippers praising God, listening intently, coming forward for communion, and gladly bringing their commitment cards for 2020.
The interesting thing is that people are giving enthusiastically, not just to 2020’s more than $1,000,000 budget but to retiring the long-term debt and establishing an endowment for the future.
These are exiting times! This is a great party! And we are far too tired to stay away!
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.