“A DECEMBER COMMUNION”
By Elder Terry Beal

3-25-18  Palm Sunday by Elder Terry Beal

Please click on the W or Picture to download the sermon.

Midweek Thots #23 – God calls you & me! God chooses you & me! –

Thurs., 8.20.20 – by  Jerry Stone                      

Personally speaking.

   I don’t believe in luck or chance or coincidence, really, though I dismissively use such words. Over 40+ years as minister, my activity in mission has been for Christ & His church. Over these 4 decades of study, devotion, & humble service, I’ve grown a “Center” / “centering” relationship with Jesus. I have come to understand & believe that God, Jesus, & the Holy Presence are fully involved & overflowingly engaged in all aspects of my life, that of Bette & that of each & everyone as well as all creation. All this is absolutely well beyond me, well beyond you, well beyond our inspired imaginations. 

   Get this. With us, & in so many ways without us, God brings forth promise, potential, & possibilities in Bette & me, in you, in ALL. Through the Trinity family, God helps & supports each & ALL of us to be more, to be more than we are, & to be yet more, all part of our Christian journey! I firmly believe God has hopes for you & for me & for ALL others … in what you & I yet can be. 

   One of God’s greatest prophets, Isaiah, says (42:10) “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The “right hand of God” is metaphor for divine approval & guidance & incremental growth & development in ALL of us … during storm & pandemic, sacrifice & loss, & struggle & suffering as well as during joy & gladness, & resulting support & blessing. God’s sheer grace is fully generous & unconditionally loving to each & ALL of us. 

   Paul the great apostle says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9) And, presumably Paul says in Heb. 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy & find grace to help us in our time of need.” Grace is everything! Nothing of value, vision, & purpose takes place without God’s grace!

Here are some of my ramblings after 42 years in this Church.

   That we are here on this God’s Earth in this our Father’s world is possible ONLY by the sheer grace of God. It’s amazing to me how Jesus tripped into non-Jewish territories, when He dwelled among us in mission & purpose … to those Samaritans & others seemingly not “chosen” … yet! God called & God chose His Beloved Son Jesus to reach out to Jews & a number of others! Furthermore, it totally amazes me to read the NT scriptures & to see how it is God calls & God chooses. God raised up Saul to trip on the Road to Damascus from Jerusalem to Syria (“to dutifully answer the mandate of the High Priests to seek & find & arrest Jesus’ followers”), but, on this same transformational road Saul became Paul, for God called & chose Paul. Soon after, Apostles Peter & Paul boldly bring Gentiles … to the House of the Lord, … to the promised vision of the beloved community of Christ, … to the peaceable kingdom, … to heaven & all its grace-filled imagery! Wow! So, now, God calls & chooses Gentiles! That’s you & me & so, so many others!

   And so, we’re included, as are ALL included, by God’s purpose & design … no accident, no stroke of luck or perchance or coincidence here! We each & ALL have God-designed purpose! God planned deliberately beyond ALL time & forever … that you & me & ALL others are created for calledness! We are ALL chosen to be uniquely & personally part of this peaceable kingdom evolving in our midst. God intentionally includes ALL, each of us, everyone, … to be alert, “awake & ready” & fully animated by the Holy Spirit to be God’s hands, feet, heart, mind, & soul. And so, there’s good reason & purpose for me & for you to be baptized … to build upon Christ’s mission, to seek the interest of neighbors, to go out into the whole world to share our love stories & testimonies of Jesus. “ALL those who humble themselves before God & desire to be baptized … & are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve Him to the end … shall be received by baptism into His church.” (D. & C. 17:7) We are privileged to be baptized, to be singled out in this sacramental way, so as to appreciate our call to mission, to be missionaries to the whole world. Our identity is based upon Jesus & His mission “to go into ALL the world’. (Mark 16:15, NIV) My own Patriarchal Blessing (now Evangelist’s Blessing) makes this truth primary & clear: “You, my son Jerry, have been richly endowed. This endowment, however, is for the welfare of ALL the children of God the Father, & is given to you that it might be used for them.” For me, for you, for others, for ALL! We’re called & blessed to be a blessing by calling others.

 

My Next Midweek Thots will be pretty special, I feel.                                                             

   Thank you for reading & listening over the last 23 weeks. In my next Midweek Thots, #24, I want to encourage you with something of my own concept & imagery related to Pres. Steve Veazey’s serious challenge to Community of Christ. He’s calling for “change & innovation” that will help us better respond to our financial struggle in the church.

   I can’t wait to share with you in 3 ways my own hopes & my own aspirations for Community of Christ:  1) to make some significant, change-worthy structural makeovers in the church,  2) to responsibly fund the pastoral & missionary work of our church, &  3) for the Gospel to travel far & wide, most notably for me in Community of Christ … because we in Community of Christ have known for quite a number of years now … that many, many wait for you & me to animate the Mission Prayer by sharing our love stories, our rich & powerful testimonies of the Lord Jesus Christ active in Community of Christ. Being fully engaged in Christ’s mission must be fundamental & foremost, must be everything to you & to me & to other brothers & sisters & friends, I most sincerely feel. “To whom much is given, much is required.” (Luke 12:48, adapted)

With great hope & abiding love, because Jesus is everything & because we are ALL called & chosen,

Jerry

Priest Lynn Alley, Pianist