I’d forgotten that there was a church budget meeting after church today, so of course everybody was there.
And they mentioned that Santa will be attending their All Church Christmas Banquet. I may have to avoid this church for the remainder of the holiday season. (Incidentally, I edited my Santa!hate entry to include explanation of my childhood experiences, in case anyone cares and didn’t see it.)
Responsive Call to Worship:
Are any among us weary? Who carry heavy burdens?
Here is a place of rest, of healing and of grace.
Are any among us frantic and scattered, breathless in our busy-ness?
Here is a place of deep peace, where we meet the unhurried God.
Are any among us feeling dry and broken?
Here we drink from the living water – tranquil and ever-present.
Are any among us reaching out for God’s presence?
Then let us praise the living God, the Almighty, the God of Creation.
The Processional was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” which title I didn’t recognize, but which had a familiar tune and turned out to be a hymn I’ve grown up with.
Unison Prayer of Confession:
Creator God, you have given us talents – gifts with which we were born. Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that these talents are to be shared. So we hoard them, building up stockpiles of things we don’t need. Or we waste them, squandering them on the meaningless and the insignificant. Or we bury them, like the servant in the parable, thinking that we can protect your investment in us. But you ask us for more, and more often than not, we fail. Sharing our talents is risky business – it leaves us open to opinion, leaves us susceptible to exhaustion, even finds us looking for approval. But life, when lived in your light, is risky business. Give us courage. Forgive our cowardice. Amen.
I was surprised -- and pleased -- to see that they don’t in fact use the same Unison Prayer of Confession all the time.
The Assurance of Pardon was “Asking for forgiveness is the promise of forgiveness. Amen.” Must ask him about that.
I’d forgotten that Pastor John does the children’s message as well as the adult one. He talked about how the parable of the talents is a football parable. A basic pass play has a 70% chance of succeeding, a running play 30%, and a quarterback keep 0%.
Pastor: “You have given the ball...”
kid: “To the wide receiver.”
In the adult message he talked about how 1 talent ~ $400K in today’s wages ~ 15yrs of wages for a servant and how this parable used to always bother him, how if your friend entrusts you with their nest egg you don’t go gambling with it, and he talked about how he’s come to see it as a metaphor. (See unison prayer above.)
There was a budget meeting after church (and apparently it was Stewardship Sunday at United -- my mom pointed out they all have to do their budgets around the same time, and you don’t wanna be doing it during Advent -- and they had the passage about storing up treasure in heaven) so he talked about how the church is currently on a preservation budget and is living off the generosity of predecessors (endowments) and how the church is not a charity where you just write a check and forget about it. Powerfully done message (and brief, as it had been preceded by a 12-minute survey). After being somewhat disappointed last week, I am back to being pleased with his preaching (though I personally could do without football).
Prayer of Dedication: “Here are unburied talents. Do with them what you will.”
Recessional was “Creator God, Creating Still.”
I actually sang all the hymns today.