April 14, 2021

About United Congregational

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What is UCC?

Find out about the United Church of Christ and the history of this wonderful organization on our What is UCC page.

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This months Website is 

sponsored by

Robert & Arlo Maisch &

Connie Lutz

in Memory of

Cheryl, Pauline, & Reinhold Maisch

Live Streaming is sponsored by

Marc & Nancy McClellan

If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

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Members Login



Soup & Pie Fundraiser

Please join our Youth Group on Valentine's day and enjoy a bowl of soup & a piece of pie along with fellowship!

Last week's Sermon

April 11, 2021

 

Acts 4:32-35 & John 20:19-31

 

Here come old flat top
He come grooving up slowly
He got joo joo eyeball
He one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please

He wear no shoe shine
He got toe jam football
He got monkey finger
He shoot Coca-Cola
He say I know you, you know me
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free

Come together, right now, over me

 

“Come Together” started as John Lennon’s attempt to write a song for Timothy Leary’s campaign for governor of California against Ronald Reagan, which ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana. Lennon commented: “The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; Come Together was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?”


32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. For as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”


Really? There was no private ownership? Sounds like gobbledygook to me. People sold their land and houses and gave the proceeds to the apostles to distribute to who ever had need? That sounds pretty radical to me. I find that hard to believe. This is where those who want to call themselves biblical literalist start to stutter. But …but …but you can’t be serious. Everything for the cause? Well, it had to be because those early believers were hyped up on Holy Spirit vibes. They obviously were over reacting. God really doesn’t expect that of us. I mean, really, we like to come together to worship, but to share everything? That just sounds like too much togetherness for me. And yet, there it is in black and white as an example of the early church. “Everything was held in common and no one had any needs.”


In our time and in our culture, this passage and this thinking is so foreign to us. We are taught to think that you have to earn what you get and it is basically every person for themselves. Those who have more have it because they have earned it. They worked harder than those who do not have as much. Somehow, we have this mindset that every child that is born, is born equal with equal gifts, equal talents, and equal opportunities. We do not stop to consider that there are those who are born with a disadvantage from the very beginning. If they are, all they have to do is be determined and work hard enough and they can overcome that minor disadvantage.

 


We rationalize in order to justify our individualistic, pull yourself up by your bootstraps culture, because, if I did it, you can too, mentality. What I have, I have earned. It is mine unless I choose to give it away or decide to share some. I have control over my possessions. When I have control over my possessions and my earnings, then I have some control over my future. …or at least, I feel like I have some control over my future. The reality is that for many of us it is self-centeredness and fear that are making this passage in Acts sound like gobbledygook.


What many Christians fail to understand or fully buy into is that Christianity is not meant to be about individuality. An individual Christian is an oxymoron. Christianity is not about me. It is not even about me and Jesus. Christianity, from its very beginning, is about me, Jesus, and us. Christianity is about us, as believers, living in community with one another, taking care of one another, and making sure that the needs of others were being met. In order to be more faithful followers of Jesus that Jesus intends for us to be, we must somehow get beyond our self-centeredness. We must remember, that even with all that separates us, it is Jesus that brings us together.


Fear is the other aspect we must somehow overcome in order to be a more faithful follower of Jesus. Fear of losing control of things is what keeps us holding on to things we would be better off letting go. Fear of the “other,” those who are different from is what keeps us divided by race, religion, and politics. Fear of having our understandings challenged prevents us from openly listening to others. Fear of being vulnerable keeps us from giving of ourselves and our resources to others. Like the disciples, fear is what keeps us locked inside, maybe not our houses, but locked inside ourselves, hopelessly trying to hold on to and protect that which we hold so dear …our possessions, our understandings, our self-image.


Our reading in the gospel of John reminds us that it is only faith that can overcome fear. The Gospel of John was written that we might come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus showed himself to the disciples so that they might believe. Jesus came into our world so that we might all believe in God …not just believe that God exists, but to believe and trust that God is present in all aspects of our lives and our world …believe and trust that the will of God is what is best for us and for our world …believe and trust that that the teachings of God through Jesus Christ are truth …believe and trust that the ways of God’s love and grace are the true ways to life.


Self-centeredness and fear seem to be so prevalent in today’s world. The pandemic and politics seem to only have amplified it. We fear what we cannot control. We fear change, even if it might be for the better. We fear those who are different than we are …who think differently than we do. That fear causes us to lash out at them …attack them verbally, emotionally, and maybe even physically. We desire to put the needs of “self” over the needs and good for others. Even as Christians, we remain divided on so many issues. We forget that, even with all of our differences, there is one thing that we can come together over …Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.


Jesus came that we might know what real faith looks like …that faith might overcome fear …that through faith, fear might give way to peace …that through peace we might experience life …a life free of fear and self-centeredness in community with one another where everyone’s needs are met. For a self-centered world driven by fear, that is a strange concept. For Jesus’ world, that is God’s kingdom. Jesus came to bring us together into community and into God’s kingdom. Amen.