Sermon of the Week:
Who Goes First?
Week one of a four part sermon series: Good Vibes: Finding Joy
Keywords: Community. Non-Competitive Relationship. Hold in the Heart. Leroy Sutton. Koinonia #pcusa
Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #A-733469. All rights reserved.
There was a moment, ten years ago,
that was seared into my memory.
It was a weeknight, in late October, 2010,
and we were almost through with Nora and Tessa’s bedtime routine.
Teeth had been brushed. Pajamas were on. Books had been read.
One last playtime for the night,
and now it was time to say our parting words
turn off the lights
and go to bed.
We had been trying to prepare them for a few days now
that their daddy would be leaving the next morning for Guatemala
as part of our Presbytery’s delegation
to our friends in the Maya Quiche presbytery
But they were four,
and they had no real concept of where Guatemala was
all they knew was that I was going on an airplane
for a whole week!
I had been away on trips many times,
and sometimes even for a whole week
but when you add an airplane to the mix
it’s a completely different deal.
So I lingered a bit on our bedtime routine, as I tucked in my daughters
and kissed their foreheads
and we sang them their good night song,
when my daughter stopped me with a smile.
Daddy, she said, Give me your hand. [i]
And so I dutifully gave her my hand, which she took, gently,
and brought it up to her lips.
And she kissed my palm with a loud smack.
Put it up on your cheek, she instructed. And I did.
There. Now you hold my kiss in your heart.
When you go on the airplane, and when you miss me
just put your hand on your cheek and you’ll feel my kiss.
And she had me kiss her hand, too,
whereupon she put it on her cheek with a satisfied smile
and she turned over to go off to bed.
It is a wonderful thing, to be held in the heart.
It is the seat of happiness, the feeling of salvation.
The assurance of belonging.
In this age, with so many people hurting, struggling, yearning, aching,
so many people lonely, or wanting to connect
this kind of community is so important.
What is it we are doing here?
What am I to you, and what are you to me?
Do you ever wonder:
Is there anything special about the Christian Community?
The Christian Family?
The Church—the called-out people…
Us…you, me, all of us, who are following God on the way of Jesus Christ.
Is this just a glorified volunteer group?
Do we come together for our own selfish reasons—
each of us trying to get something more out of our interactions
and our experiences
than what we put into it….
Or is there something ELSE going on when you boot up facebook or zoom on Sunday morning
join a bible study…
decide to go give of your time on a work project
while understanding that time to be in service of something bigger, something holy…
call on another church member with some soup for them
after he got some pretty harsh news.
For the next several weeks we’re going to be looking at this question
as we ponder Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
For Paul, the idea of community is central
to his experience of faith
to his effort to walk on the path of Jesus Christ.
And Paul explored the idea of community
through a particular Greek word that he liked to use–
KOINONIA doesn’t have a clean, clear, crisp translation into English.
The sense of it is suggested by our English words FELLOWSHIP
And, for Paul, this idea of Koinonia was really important.
Because it cut to the heart of something helpful for us to think about:
what is unique, special,
indeed, what is vital about the Christian community,
the Christian Koinonia,
that you can’t get just anywhere else.
There’s something about the community that forms around God’s love
that the world hungers for, that you and I hunger for…
Community looks different, in this time of coronavirus,
than it did even a few months ago. [Read more…]