Sermon of the Week
Be Thou My Vision: Thy Presence My Light.
Keywords: Daylight Savings, Stewardship, Be Thou My Vision, OCD, foolishness.
I have always been nervous on these days when we change over our clocks,
leaping ahead in the spring
and leaping back in the fall.
Are you like this?
Maybe it is just me.
Maybe it is because I have to get up early on Sunday and get going,
that I have responsibilities on Sunday,
and most people have a more leisurely start…
and I have kind of a thing anyway
about things I’m responsible for,
which is why, for example.
I always have to circle back and make sure I closed the garage door
when I leave for work,
because I’m never quite sure that I have…
My kids have gotten used to me doing this.
Sometimes they will tell me, before I ask,
“Hey Dad, good job closing the garage door.”
There’s something similar going on every time we change over our clocks.
I always wonder if I’m doing it right.
For instance, these days we rely more on computers for everything,
and our clocks are often automated.
My cell phone is my alarm clock, for instance.
You might think that this would allay my concerns, but no,
today my first sleepy question when the alarm went off was whether
the phone company programmed their computers correctly,
or, instead, if I was going to wake up an hour behind schedule.
Then there’s the question: did I change the time on the oven and microwave already,
or is that the wrong time?
Maybe we really turn them ahead an hour in November, not back.
It doesn’t help that I’ve just woken up and I’m so tired when I worry about all this,
even if, like this morning, I got an extra hour of sleep. No matter.
I’ve always been a little bit nervous when we fiddle with time this way.
Again, is this just me? Maybe so.
But somehow it all works out.
I’ve always set them right, before going to bed.
Sprint gets their computer systems working ok so my cell phone is reliable.
And the same for everyone else
All of you somehow figured out how to adjust as well.
It is a major feat of societal agreement, concord,
all of us deciding that we’re actually going to call 11am, “10am,”
at least until next spring, when we’ll change things back.
And we do this, even though it annoys parents everywhere,
or pet owners, or, let’s be honest, most of us,
because our sleep schedules are not connected to what time the clock reads,
but to the normal patterns of our internal biological clocks
and the amount of sun outside our bedroom windows.
All of that is to say, bravo, on your successful efforts today.
I was thinking about all of this over the weekend,
when I was pondering the hymn
that is going to be the centerpiece of our sermon series here in November
as we begin to think a bit about Stewardship and Thanksgiving and Community.
Every fall about this time, we start talking about Stewardship,
which is what we call our collective efforts to build a strong congregation.
Stewardship is actually bigger than that, bigger than church.
The idea goes all the way back to the book of Genesis,
the story of God’s creation of all things
earth and sea and sky, plants and animals
with human beings there in the mix
and a special responsibility given to us
to till and to keep God’s good earth,
to be good stewards of what God has made, what God asks us to take care of.
So Stewardship means we have a calling to care for all sorts of things,
our families, our neighborhoods, our nation, our planet,
and, most certainly, our church, this church, this Kirk.
Stewardship means committing our time, our energy, our commitment, our money,
to making sure that these things thrive.
More, specifically about that, next week,
but today we dive into all of this at a moment of societal transition.
Sure, we’ve changed our clocks.
That’s a big enough change.
But it is also the time of year
when we start looking ahead toward themes of Thanksgiving,
of harvest abundance that will prepare us for another year.
All of the ‘Orange’ in our stores that was focused on Halloween last week,
is now yellow and red and brown as well, with more turkeys and pumpkin pie motifs.
I think they still keep Pumpkin Spice Lattes around, though.
Those serve a double purpose.
November, for many of us, is a time for taking stock.
A time of getting ready for winter.
Which means checking to see if we have enough provisions to make it through
the bitter cold months ahead,
and gratitude that, yes, all should be well.
We have, most of us, had a decent year, all things considering.
This winter should be ok.
And, if our heart is in the right place,
we think beyond ourselves,
hoping that our neighbor has enough, too,
enough food in the pantry
enough insulation in their homes and coats in their closet to keep them warm
a place to call home.
These are some of the reasons, I think,
why this is often the season of the philanthropic pitch,
when churches and non-profits alike ask for your support for their work to come.
As things get colder, and the leaves start to change and fall,
we become more acutely aware of the blessings we have
to be prepared, to be ready for the harsh times to come,
and, perhaps, the thinking goes,
we’re of the mind to want to make sure that these blessings can be shared.
I’ve always marveled, with a sincere gratitude,
the generous spirit that becomes obvious this time of year.
And that is true of all of you,
the way we push a major mission focus in the month of October
helping on service teams to paint and rebuild things
collecting cans of beans and tomatoes and soup for food pantries
weaving plastic bags into portable sleeping mats for the homeless,
to give a few examples.
These amplify the good work we do year round
to care for those God gives us to care about,
whether they be Center Elementary school kids
or long time Kirk friends who are going through a medical thing
or any one of the other projects we might do together.
But a church conversation about Stewardship is always more expansive
than a philanthropic pitch.
It is always MORE than the request from your favorite charity
to make an annual gift. [Read more…]