The text of the sermon delivered by Rev. Kirk Moore at Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Somonauk, IL on Sunday, August 29, 2010
This morning’s Bible reading is from Luke 14:1, 7-14
I’ve noticed. When it comes to the sermons the past few weeks, things have been so serious. Faith and doubt. Why doesn’t God fix all this stuff? Wedge issues from the pulpit . . .
I know that I continue to have a sense of humor and an open and welcoming attitude as I talk about these serious things, but things have still been so serious.
After reading the text from (or maybe listening to) last week’s sermon, one friend commented, “Rock on, dude. You may also want to duck.”
I think I need to heed the advice given by Sergeant Hulka in the 1981 movie, ‘Stripes:’ “Lighten up, Francis.”
I need to laugh some more. I probably do need to duck. And it’s also a good week to simply lighten up. This week’s Bible reading put a smile on my face. It’s party time – Jesus style.
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Don’t take your position so seriously. Don’t take the rules of “who’s in” and who’s out” so seriously. Instead, throw a party and invite the people with no money, the people who can’t stand up without help, the people who can’t walk at all – and those who can’t see. Invite the people who work hard, but still don’t seem to ever have enough to live. Invite the people you’d just as soon ignore. Invite the people who everyone else thinks is unimportant.
And then have fun. Everything doesn’t have to be so serious.
Of course we take Jesus message of love and hospitality seriously. Of course we take everything in the Bible seriously. But not everything has to be an argument. It’s good to spend time celebrating, laughing, singing, being silly.
And we have some great opportunities over the next several weeks to celebrate, laugh, sing, and be silly.
Choir practice starts today after the worship service. The choir loves to sing. And we’re really good at being a bit silly at practice. Stretch out your vocal chords and join the choir.
We’ve got at Union Congregational Church booth at the fair this year. Yes – it’s a fundraiser and we’re raffling off a high-end LCD TV, a laptop computer, and a Wii system. We’ve also got some great little cards to give to folks who come by, look at the banner, and ask “What’s up with the comma?” We have “What’s up with the comma?” cards as well as other postcards with questions like, “What if God is big enough to love al land exclude none?” Come work in the booth and have conversations with folks at the fair. Hand out some cool postcards and make some new friends! You’ll be able to invite a new friend to church!
Wednesday night ‘share a dish’ suppers start up again September 15th. Bring a dish to share at 6 and then after dinner adults are going to have some fun discussing “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective (and Ineffective) Churches. Youth are starting off a great year of fellowship, games, discussions, and Bible study. Invite a friend to join in the fun!
I’m going to be a guest host on Thursday, September 16th at Somonauk Baptist’s Jolly 60s! It’s fun, free, and friendly! Bingo starts at 9, I lead some songs and a devotion starting at 10 and lunch comes after that. And everyone’s invited! Why not invite a friend to come along with you?
Saturday the 18th brings the return of dessert theatre! My parents (Fred and Sharon Moore) are presenting “Retrospect: Singin’ the Oldies” right here. $10 gets you dessert and a beverage as well as an interactive, entertaining, and slightly silly. Invite a friend to the fun – (and do it early – seating is limited to 100 for this one.) That limited seating stuff doesn’t sound all that hospitable, does it? Well, if we sell out, we’ll cross that bridge in a way that offers continuing hospitality.
Sunday the 19th is Rally Day! The Sunday School classes are kicking off the year of learning lessons from the story of Joseph in Egypt. There’ll be great crafts, drama, storytime, songs, and even service projects. I know you’d like to take a few weeks and share some of your skills with the students. You’re invited to share your talent! And invite a friend to come to workshop rotation Sunday school: Egypt!
And on Tuesday the 28th we are having a feast! The Somonauk/Sandwich ministerial alliance’s Fourth Tuesday Fellowship Feast kicks off right here at Union Congregational! Everyone’s invited – those who are having trouble making ends meet, those who are lonely, those who love community dinners, those who like food – everyone! We’re throwing a party where we invite the people with no money, the people who can’t stand up without help, the people who can’t walk at all – and those who can’t see. Invite the people who work hard, but still don’t seem to ever have enough to live. Invite the people you’d just as soon ignore. Invite the people who everyone else thinks is unimportant. Invite people with big, small, or no houses. Invite the poor and the rich! Invite the young and the old! Invite Democrats and Republicans! Invite people from the right and the left! Invite the sad and the happy! Invite believers and non-believers! Invite the folks you think of and say, “Well, not them, of course.”
Let’s make this church, let’s make our homes, let’s make our very lives ones that ooze God’s love and hospitality. Let’s go out and invite people to share in all of these things. Let’s go out and invite people to share in God’s banquet.
Close with prayer.