Sermon of the Week
Keywords: Reconciliation, Yoke, Pastors, Joseph and his Brothers, Bosque Chapultepec, Ordered Service, Ministry of All Believers, Stole.
I’m looking forward, this afternoon, to participating in an installation service
for a new pastor in our Presbytery.
Scott Phillips spent some time in Kansas City.
He was a Pastoral Intern up at Parkville Presbyterian Church a while ago,
and after serving as a pastor in Colorado,
today he will be installed as the new pastor at Northminster.
That’s a church up in North Kansas City.
Our theology of leadership is one of the things that makes us Presbyterians unique.
We believe in a ministry of all believers.
All of us have something God call us to do.
All of us have skills that we use to do it.
All of us have something unique and important to share, to give, to contribute.
That’s true whether you are a pastor, or an elder, or a deacon
or maybe none of those things,
and you’re “just” a member, or a visitor,
or you rarely darken the door of a church.
God gives all of us gifts.
God calls on us to use them for the common good.
One way God does that,
not the only way, to be sure,
but an important and unique way,
is through the Church:
the place where we come to learn about God,
and experience God,
and try to be more God-like because of it:
serving and loving and
making peace and pursuing justice.
So we have lots of people scurrying around doing lots of things, good things,
for God’s sake.
Which can get quite hectic, actually.
I had a lot of time to think about this image this week:
lots of people scurrying about doing lots of things.
Brook and I travelled to Mexico City for a few days of vacation.
Mexico City is the most inhabited city in the hemisphere
with more than 22 million people.
To put that into perspective, there are about 9 million people
in Missouri and Kansas combined.
When you’re with that many people, you notice it,
whether you’re talking about people watching at the airport,
or just trying to get around town,
it was quite impressive to see so many people doing so many different things.
We were just trying to get away from all this snow for a bit.
Which worked. It was 80 there this week.
On Friday, we went to Chapultepec Park,
which is kind of like their version of New York City’s Central Park.
We went to see the castle there, which is a rather important historical location
It is where Maximilian the first lived, and later several Mexican leaders and presidents.
A battle at the Castle of Chapultepec is cited in the first verse of the US Marine hymn:
“From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli”
Today it is a beautiful old museum with stained glass and a garden,
and a lot of history. A place of importance to the Mexican people.
We were looking forward to visiting.
We got to the park, though,
and there were just tons of kids there. Bus loads.
We guessed they were from a local middle school or something.
They were everywhere, having a great time in the park.
Running over to the lake.
Walking through the trees.
Talking to the street vendors. Just everywhere.
Lots of people, scurrying about doing a lot of things. Quite hectic.
But there was an order to it, in the end:
They were all in pairs.
They all had the same red t-shirt on.
And when a whistle blew,
the kids all somehow came together, swarming in on the whistle,
and voila, they could walk to their next activity.
We do better when we have some order in our lives.
Our communities do better when we have some structure to them,
certain people tasked with certain responsibilities.
So it is for us, as a church, too.
We set some people aside for particular work:
Some of them the work of care and compassion – those are deacons;
Some of them the work of discernment and leadership – the elders;
Still others the work of helping all of us
engage scripture and life and relationships and faith,
equipping others for the work of ministry – the pastors.
These are positions of service, not of stature. [Read more…]