January 19, 2021

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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

Kathy Sheldon & Family

in Memory of 

Milo

& in Honor of

his 80th birthday

 

 

If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

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Members Login



Christmas Eve Service with Communion

Please join us at 5:30 pm for Christmas Eve Service with Communion

Last week's Sermon

January 17, 2021


John 1:43-51 & 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)

“Seeing & believing”

About three months ago I received a text from one of my brothers that my cousin who lives in Missouri had been on the “Missouri Unclaimed Funds” website and the name Keith Kraft came up as having unclaimed funds. We lived in Missouri in the late nineties while I was going to seminary so my brother suggested that I check it out. I have to tell you, I was skeptical. I could not think of any reason that we might have unclaimed funds in the state of Missouri.


I went on the website and there it was …my name and our former address while we lived in St Louis. Still …I’m skeptical. I fill out and submit the required paperwork. I receive notification that they have received my request for unclaimed funds. It is under review. They inform me that it could take up to ninety days to process my request. They give me a number with which I can go on their website and check the progress of my claim. I am still skeptical.


I went on the website just the other day to check on the progress. The website said that the check was in the mail. Mailed on December 30th. I am still skeptical. I have yet to receive a check and until I actually see the check with my own eyes, will I believe that I will be getting a check. I am hopeful, but skeptical.


Philip is just minding his own business when Jesus happens by and tells Philip to follow him. We are not really told why, but evidently Philip saw, heard, or noticed something very unique and very special about Jesus.   We are only told that Philip is from the same city as Andrew and Peter who Jesus called to follow him just the day before. So maybe Philip had heard something from them. Or maybe Philip recognized something else in Jesus. Whatever the case may be, Philip recognized something in Jesus that causes him to find his friend Nathanael and report that they have found the one that Moses and the prophets had been talking about. “Jesus, the son of Joseph of Nazareth.”


Nathanael is skeptical. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth.”


Philip responds, “Come and see.”


It is a simple invitation to a statement of skepticism. “Come and see. You don’t believe me? Then come and see for yourself.”


Nathanael takes Philip up on his invitation to go see Jesus. “Come and see.” But Nathanael did more than just see Jesus. Nathanael heard that he, himself is important …that, in the eyes of Jesus, he is a person of value. Jesus has taken a personal interest in Nathanael as he knows something about him. He knows his character. Jesus noticed him earlier. Jesus cared enough to know him.   Through the words that Jesus spoke to him, Nathanael recognizes Jesus as the Son of God.


Jesus responds to Nathanael’s declaration of him as the Son of God. “Do you believe because of what I have said? Stick around because you will see and experience far greater things to come.”


“Come and see, but also hear, and even more importantly, come and experience.”


Most of us were probably glad to see 2020 come to an end. And yet, the first two and half weeks of 2021 seem to be a carry over from 2020 and maybe even an escalation of the problems of 2020. Numbers of cases and deaths continue to rise from the pandemic. There are reports of the real possibility of new strains of the virus that could be more contagious. Political divisions have escalated to violence. With every thing that is going on in our world and our country, many are probably wondering, “Can anything good come out of this?”


Yes! To the question, “Can anything good come out of this?” The answer has to be “yes.” The answer has to be “yes” and it has to come from the Church. It has to come from us. What good can come out of this? Us. We can learn to be the kind of people that God is calling us to be. We can learn to be more loving …more compassionate …more respectful. Like Samuel, we can learn to listen to God over all of the other voice that are demanding our attention. And then we can learn to have courage to speak the word of truth even when it is not popular. Like Eli, we can learn to listen to the word of truth even when it is not what we want to hear.


Yes, something good can come out of this. We can take more seriously our calling as the Church to be the living body of Christ here in the world. Based on Jesus’ actions through his mission and ministry in the world, our understanding of God in the United Church of Christ is that God is a God of extravagant welcome. We witness it in Jesus’ outreach to the most vulnerable …his compassion of feeding the hungry and healing the sick …in his welcome of the outcasts, the sinners, the prostitutes, and the tax collectors. We experience it for ourselves in God’s personal offer of grace to us.


We say that as Christ’s body we are called to be the church of extravagant welcome. In the United Church of Christ, we have a motto that “Wherever you are on life’s journey, you are always welcome here.” We invite others to “come and see.” It is a good motto but, it takes more than words if something good is really going to come out of all of this. There are many in our world who have been and are disenfranchised by the Church. They have been hurt. When we take an honest look at the history of the Church, we must admit that the Church has not always acted like the Church that God has called us to be. The truth is sometimes hard to hear and even harder to accept.


Words are a powerful thing. Words can motivate and inspire. But words also have the power to incite, hurt, and harm. Acts of love and compassion have the power to heal and comfort.


Yes, something good can come out of this. We can grow in faith. We do not always have to see to believe. We can learn to trust that even when we cannot see or hear or maybe even experience God, God is still present in and through it all. We can let trust, rather than seeing, lead us into a deeper faith in a living God who knows us, loves us, and calls us by name.


Can something good come out of this? Yes, when faith grows and we become more faithful followers of the One, we profess as Lord then something good will come out of this. Come and see …and believe. Amen.