All Roads Lead to Love
A meditation based on
Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Micah 6:8; Mark 12:28-31
October 7, 2018
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista
Dr. Sharon R. Graff
* * * * *
Every preacher has one good sermon in them! Thats what I was taught those of you who have spent lifetimes listening to sermons would you agree??!! One good sermon per preacher, right??!! My one good sermon is love. That sermon has been 35 years in the making.
Over the years, having served a number of congregations, Ive also noticed that each congregation also has one good sermon in them. Oh, they may preach other messages, but in their heart, there is one good sermon they call home. Some churches, for example, preach justice really well. Others activism. Others education or healing or welcome. They preach that one good sermon with words, certainly, but more importantly, they preach those necessary sermons with their actions. For the past almost three years, Ive delighted in hearing you preach your one good sermon. Here it is in visual form
How would you describe your one good sermon?
[responses with microphone]
Remember those conversations about church DNA? This is your DNA, peopleno matter who comes and goes from this congregation. Over decades of time, the DNA of Community Congregational Church remains stable, based in love. We know. Our family has been on the receiving end of your love these past three years and also twenty plus years ago. As Ive mentioned before, John and I are so grateful for this congregations loving support of our family through some really difficult times. Thats your DNA, people! Love is your DNA.
The scriptures today teach us that we are to love God with our whole selves; we are to love neighbor as we love ourselves; which requires us to love ourselves with heart, soul, strength, mind. They teach that our primary sermon to preach and to embody is all about justice and kindness and walking humbly with God. What these same scriptures neglect to point out is that, in so doingin preaching that one good sermon of lovewe gain so very much. Our gain fills us with gratitude, enough gratefulness to last the rest of our lives. So, my friends, continue to love God and love others and love yourself because scripture teaches it but also love God and self and others because it grows you into grateful beings that can flex and bend and continue saving lives just by being yourselves.
* Amen and Blessed Be *
Welcoming New Members
Now, you get to practice being your loving selves by welcoming into membership Lionel Jasmin, Susie Persaud, Krystina Torres, her sister Carmen and James Fountain and their children Lacey and Logan. I invite these sisters and brothers in Christ to come forward.
You have each conveyed your decision to be part of Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista.
The ByLaws affirm that:
Membership is open to any person
who confesses faith in Jesus Christ;
who commits to participate
in the work and worship of this church;
to support its missions;
and seeks the spiritual health of other members and the wider community. A tall order!
To this pilgrimage of faith we welcome you!
Let us pray:
Gracious God, you call each of us into ministry and service, we thank you for Lionel, Susie, Krystina, Carmen, James, Logan and Lacey, who have come forward this day to join this pilgrimage of faith. Bless their decisions and offer to each one the gifts of this community of faith to help them grow stronger and closer to you. For these, your sons and your daughters, we give you thanks. Amen.
Now I invite the congregation to make their promises to you. Will those who are able please stand? Let us all share in welcoming these new members by reading the Welcome Statement youll see on the screen.
Covenant to New Members
We, the members of this church, greet you and welcome you to Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista. We recognize in this new relationship a special fellowship with you as brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to worship with you, to love you, and to work and play with you, in the realm of God which is begun and continues for us in the church. In times of trouble we will stand with you, in times of need we will share with you, in times of joy we will celebrate with you. So may we together become the body of Christ, the presence of the Spirit, and the heart of God in this community and throughout the world. Amen.
[Congregation may be seated]
A now, a time of nourishment and joy! [instructions for communion/welcoming new members]
May you be blessed by fellowship at this table today!