Dear church family -
I hope you are having a good week and staying cool in the midst of this heat.
It will be good for us to be together again on Sunday as we gather together for worship. I'll be preaching on an interesting text---the parable of the rich fool in Luke's gospel. My sermon title will be "Possessed by Possessions" and will look at the issue of materialism. You've probably seen the saying--- on a t-shirt or perhaps a bumper sticker---The one who dies with the most toys wins. We see that and we laugh. But I wonder if it is a symptom of a larger, more profound sickness that pervades our culture today. In fact, this illness even has a name. They call it affluenza. I'm willing to bet that most of us have been infected with this virus to some degree.
Jesus is pretty clear about the role and place of money and possessions in our lives. In fact, Jesus spent more time talking about money than any other subject. He talked more about it than prayer or even heaven and hell. 60% of what Jesus talked about had to do with money and possessions.
I know that very few of us like to talk about this sort of thing in church. But it is an important part of the spiritual life. So, we'll look at what Jesus teaches us about how to keep wealth and possessions in their proper place. And remind ourselves that our lives have significance, value and worth, not in what we accumulate but in the light of God's love for us... which is more than any of us can measure.
When you come on Sunday, you'll probably notice some work being done in our building. This exciting work is being done in anticipation and preparation for our fall kick-off on Sunday, August 18. On that day, we'll be celebrating Back to Church Sunday! There will be a lunch after the 11:00am service, we'll be blessing our children's backpacks and our educators as they get ready for another year of school. There will be all sorts of fun things happening--- something for everyone!
The most exciting thing about that day, will be the launch of UCC's all new school-aged (grades K-5) children's programming on Sundays that we are calling Discovery! This is an exciting and refreshing update to our previous Journey Land program. You can find out more by clicking here, but also by coming to the Discovery Open House on August 11 at 10:00am-12:00pm.
These are just some of the things we have to be excited about. There is a lot of energy about all that is happening and where we are headed as a congregation. Your generosity is a big part for that. Thank you for all you do to support the incredible ministries of UCC!
Here is my prayer for today:
God of grace and summer nights, we give thanks for places where we can go, where we can discover and remember the wholeness that you intend for our lives. We thank you that UCC is that place for so many of us. Bless us as we seek to be the people of faith that you call and create us to be. Amen.
Serving as your pastor continues to be the greatest honor of my life.
Rev. Dr. Russ Peterman