July 19, 2018

About United Congregational

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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

Gregg & Deb Griewski

in Memory of all who fought 

for our freedom

 

If you would like to sponsor a month

contact the office.

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Members Login



Loaded Baked Potato Dinner Fund Raiser

Please join us for an evening of Food, Fellowship and Entertainment by PB & J, starting at 5:30. Free will donation and raffles to be drawn that evening. *Proceeds go to helping the office remodel project.

Last week's Sermon

May 27, 2018

 (I will be on Sabbatical until the end of August so this will be my last sermon posted until after August 26th. Pastor Keith)

John 3:1-17 & Isaiah 6:1-8

“Looking for God”

A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters.  He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him.  A neighbor came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house.  Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”


“No thanks,” replied the religious man.  “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”


A short time later the police came by in a boat.  The waters will soon be above your house.  Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”


“No thanks,” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”


A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said, “the waters will soon be above your house.  Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”


“No thanks,” replied the religious man.  “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”


All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned.  When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God.  Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven?  I prayed for you to save me.  I trusted you to save me from that flood.” 


“Yes, you did my child” replied the Lord.  “And I sent you a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter.  But you never got in.”

Source: unknown.


Nicodemus is a religious man.  Nicodemus is a Pharisee.  He knows his Jewish Laws.  He is very familiar with the prophets.  He can recite his Jewish history and ancestral stories by heart.  He knows.  Nicodemus knows about God and what God expects of God’s people.  Nicodemus knows. 


Nicodemus also knows that many of the religious leaders, including many of his fellow Pharisees, are not very happy with Jesus.  But as a teacher of the Law, Nicodemus is also fascinated with Jesus.  He wants to learn more about what Jesus might have to teach him so he secretly goes to see Jesus under the cover of darkness.  Nicodemus approaches Jesus with respect.  He calls him “Rabbi” recognizing him as a fellow teacher of religion.  “We know you are a teacher who has come from God because no one could do these signs apart from God.” 


Now remember that Nicodemus was a religious man …an educated religious man …an educated in the area of religion, religious man.  And yet when Jesus started talking about being born anew or from above, (depending how you translate it) and other heavenly aspects like being born of the water and the spirit, Nicodemus was confused.  He did not understand.  Jesus does not judge Nicodemus on his lack of understanding.  He points out that nobody really understands God.  Just like the Israelites of the Old Testament story did not understand why God did not just take the deadly serpents away to save the people.  God instead had a serpent made out of bronze for the people to look at for them to be saved from their sinfulness. 


The Israelite people thought they understood God.  They thought they had God figured out.  They thought they could just tell Moses to ask God to remove the poisonous serpents and God would respond.  After all, it has worked before.  They complained about lack of food and God sent manna and quails.  They complained about lack of water and God sent water from a rock.  But God surprised them.  God did not respond as they thought God would or should. 


Nicodemus thought he understood God and God’s ways.  He thought he knew.  But talking to Jesus had Nicodemus scratching his head.  Jesus gave Nicodemus a crash course in theology.  You will never fully understand God.  God is divine and beyond human comprehension.  God is also God.  Meaning, God will do whatever God will do.  God cannot be contained in a box nor can God be controlled.  God is God and God will move and act as God so chooses. 


So many times, we think that we have God figured out.  We think God must think like we do.  We limit our understanding of our scriptures with our understandings and experiences of today.  We think we know who is right and who is wrong …who is in and who is out.  We limit our understanding of God’s love and grace to our compacity to love and offer grace.  We think we know how God will respond when we pray.  In short, we limit God.  We limit God with our understandings and our experiences.  Through Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus we are reminded that we will never fully understand God or God’s ways because God is Spirit …unseen …unknown …uncontrolled …uncontained. 


Just because God is Spirit, does not mean that God is totally unknown.  There are ways that we can know God.  We just have to think differently.  This Trinity Sunday we are reminded that we have a God who wants to be known by us.  God wants to be in relationship with us.  God desires so much to be known by us and in relationship with us that God comes to us in three ways.  Or another way of saying that is that God makes God’s self known to us in three ways.  In our Christian faith we profess a trinitarian God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 


Through God the father we come to understand God as a personal God.  God is not some distant creator out there somewhere just waiting to see what happens.  God desires a personal relationship with us …a relationship much like that of a parent and a child.  God desires to provide for us, care for us, rejoice with us in our successes, and comfort us in our sorrows. 


Through God the Son we come to know God as Lord …someone to follow and to serve.  Through Jesus Christ as God’s Son we have a real-life example of what that means.  We do not just read it in a book or hear it taught to us.  We see it in the real-life example of Jesus’ life and death.  We have a real-life example of what serving and following God looks like. 


Through God the Holy Spirit we are reminded that God cannot be controlled or contained.  We are also reminded that God is ever present …around us and within us.  God is guiding and empowering.  We might not be able to see God, but we can see and feel the activities of God just as we cannot see the wind but we can see and feel the activities of the wind. 


God desires to save us.  As Christians we recognize that truth in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But even as we know and recognize that truth, today we are reminded once again that we do not and will not ever fully know or understand God or the ways of God, including God’s salvation.  We are also reminded that through God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit we can come to know and experience God.  We just need to think and look differently.  And then, be ready to be surprised.  Amen.