Sermon 4-15-18 Sean Matthew Weston Installation at Lyonsville Congregational UCC,
Indian Head Park, IL texts:
Numbers 11:16-17, 24-30; and Luke 9:57-10:2
The Rev. R. Kent Cormack
To you who are salt and light and leaven, the saints of Lyonsville Congregational United Church of Christ: grace to you and peace in the name of the one who is, and who was, and who is to come.
You have prayed and evaluated and prayed and interviewed and prayed and discerned and prayed and listened, and you have called a pastor. And you hope that it is a match made in heaven. You have called someone who will tell you that he has been called—called to preach and teach and listen and heal, called to ordained ministry in this amazing, beautiful, cantankerous, prophetic strand of the holy catholic church that we call the United Church of Christ. I am grateful to be invited to be here today, for I have had the privilege of witnessing certain aspects of the call of Sean Matthew Weston firsthand. I was not there to hear your borning cry as the hymn says, you were, I think, in fourth grade when your family arrived in the congregation in 2002. Certainly you wasted no time becoming involved. A search of my computer files revealed some things I had forgotten. Did you remember that, a few months later, you and your sister landed the roles of Joseph and Mary in the Christmas Pageant? Or that within months you were a regular part of the rotation of lectors reading scripture in worship? If any of you are wondering how leaders are formed in the Christian community, take note. They are formed, in part, by being invited into leadership, where from time to time, the Holy Spirit ignites and calls in ways that may surprise and disturb.
During the past couple of weeks, considering what I would say today, two memories in particular kept surfacing. You didn’t invite me to preach today thinking I wouldn’t tell any tales did you? The first memory was of Pentecost, when the youth and their fearless leader (Sean’s mom) prepared a really cool “tongues of fire” to be part of a dramatic reading of the Pentecost story in our outdoor worship service. They had filled a metal garbage can lid with sand and soaked the sand with charcoal lighter fluid. The trial run before worship produced a controlled, but fairly impressive, conflagration. Eventually the time came in worship for the tongues of fire to be ignited. Someone struck a match and tossed it on the sand … and we watched the match go out. Then a couple more folks came forward with butane lighters, but the results were the same. Soon there was a small ring of pentecostal wannabes gathered around that stubborn pile of sand something like the Prophets of Baal (at least as I imagine them) gathered about the altar, calling down fire from heaven, and having about the same success. Continue reading
Leadership Council wants to hear from you! Click here to fill out a survey about Sunday School and Worship times.
One of the most consistent things I’ve heard from you about your hopes for Lyonsville Church is to be in ministry with more families with children. This is consistent across your local church profile, the conversations I had with the search team, and what I’ve heard since I arrived.
This means that one of my priorities in my ministry with you is supporting the growth of our children & youth ministries. I have been working with the Religious Education board to consider changes to the Sunday School program for the upcoming program year (starting in September). One important part of our conversation has been considering a change to Lyonsville’s Worship time, so that Sunday School can take place before worship.
Such a change has many benefits: children are not unintentionally learning that worship is a “thing adults do.” I would be able to coordinate an adult education class to meet at the same time on Sunday mornings. Teachers don’t have to give up the opportunity to join in worship, and worship itself can become more intergenerational. I would have the opportunity to be present for children’s Sunday School sometimes. I am excited about the possibilities that would open!
As we consider this change, Leadership Council is looking for your feedback by April 30. Click here to fill out a five-minute, five-question survey about these possible changes. For the next two Sundays, Lauren McSweeney will be available with a computer to take the survey, as well as some paper copies.
Your feedback matters. We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.
“When Jesus Shows Up” Luke 24:36b-48
Rev. Sean Weston
Lyonsville Congregational UCC, Indian Head Park IL
April 15, 2018
One of my favorite TV shows of all time is the political drama “The West Wing.” At one point, one of the main characters, Josh, is recovering from an assassination attempt, struggling with post traumatic stress disorder. He talks to another character, Leo, who has struggled mightily with addiction. Leo tells a story:
“This guy is walking down the street when he falls down a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor walks by and he shouts, ‘hey you, can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. Then a priest comes by and the guy shouts up ‘Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?’ the priest writes down a prayer, throws it down the in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, hey Joe it’s me can you help me out, and the friend jumps in a hole. Our guy says ‘are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, “yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’”
In today’s gospel story from Luke, Jesus showed up to the disciples after his resurrection. They were a small bunch, still reeling from the crucifixion, still believing their movement had been defeated. When Jesus showed up they were terrified, thinking he was a ghost. Seeking to prove that he was really him, he showed them his hands and his feet. Continue reading