November 27, 2017
“Six Word Stories of Gratitude” ~ Sermon for November 19
Our New Testament reading this morning offers another of Jesus’ parables.
This time, Jesus addresses the issue of using our resources to make the world a better place.
Jesus uses stories to make his point.
I often picture his followers turning to one another after he has finished and asking “Do you know what he is talking about?”
Hear now a reading from Matthew’s gospel 25: 14-30
Here ends the reading of God’s holy word. May God add to our hearing and understanding God’s blessings. Amen.
Please pray with me.
God of the covenant, even when we fall into sin, your Spirit invites us to remember that you chose us to be your servant people.
Awaken us to the power and gifts you pour into us for the good of creation, and grant that we may be trustworthy in all things, producing abundantly as we work to build your realm.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.
Stories are the threads that bind us together in community.
Each time you share a story with someone you offer a glimpse of yourself that might have gone unnoticed.
Jesus’ parable this morning is another challenging one in which he uses money as a metaphor for gifts, talents and the gospel.
We are challenged to examine the way we use the gifts we have been given, the talents we might cultivate and the faith we might share.
Erma Bombeck famously said: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.”
Earlier this week in our Called to Care orientation we talked about the importance of noticing the people around us and inviting them to share their stories.
On Tuesday evening I joined the the Religious Education Committee and educators from around the county for a dinner at the Cornwall Church.
We were introduced to a new initiative by the conference and the national church of gathering stories.
From CTUCC’s website: “As faithful leaders, we must be grounded in scripture-telling, story-sharing, story-hearing, story-keeping practices of faith.
For those who lead, stories can enable us to discern, affirm and reflect upon our perceptions of God’s activity in our individual and common lives.”
Stories are being gathered to enhance our connection to our covenant partners throughout the country.
Later this week I am sure that many of you will be gathered around Thanksgiving tables with family and friends and you will share stories both old and new.
Earlier this week Charlie Noyes was sharing a story about a workshop he attended in Montreal in which he participated in an exercise where folks were asked to tell their story in six words.
I was intrigued by this idea and a quick Google search attributed the original idea of the six-word story to Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway’s story was: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.
Some of the others I saw included:
Like rain, I fell for you;
Realizing I deserved better changed everything;
A smiling face, a broken soul;
I still make coffee for two;
Through prayer, broken pieces become whole.
You get the idea.
Well, then I started thinking of Jesus and how often he uttered profound truths in just a simple sentence – sometimes with a few more than six words:
Love your neighbor as yourself;
Where your heart is, there your treasure will be;
Seek and you will find;
Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God;
I thought it would be fun for us to try this out ourselves this week.
Please take a few minutes and think about your own six-word story and then we will share some of them.
I’ll start: Once was lost, now am found.
Let us pray.
Gracious and loving God of few words and many words, we turn to you today sharing our stories.
Hear us as we struggle to connect with one another, to build a community of your beloved children.
Help us, O God, to notice our neighbors and to open our hearts to care for them with patience and love.
On this Thanksgiving Sunday we offer you our gratitude for all of the blessings in our lives.
For families and food; for ancestors and new friends; for babies and grandparents.
We pray this day for those whom we love.
For those who are sick, we pray for healing.
For those who mourn, we pray for comfort.
For those whose stories are not told or are not heard, we pray that your Holy Spirit might illuminate their lives.
We pray for peace in our hearts, in our homes and in our world.
Hear us now as we turn to you in the sacred silence of this Meetinghouse…