Rev. Hilde J.  Seal
November 25, 2018
Rev. Hilde J. Seal
Minister of Adult Faith, Pastoral Care and Outreach

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1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Really?  Wow?

Thriving Congregation.
Vital to the Community.
Alive as followers of Jesus the Christ.
Sustainable for the future.

Really?? Is that who we are?

I hope so, because today is the end.

The end of what?
The end of the year, actually.

In the rhythm of the Church, we begin our new year,
on the first Sunday of Advent... next week...
so this is the last Sunday of the year.

In the rhythm of the Church calendar,
today is known as Reign of Christ Sunday.

Had we been following the Lectionary readings...

>Psalm 93 would be reminding us
that God has established the universe,
and that God’s splendour can be seen everywhere.

>The ‘Alpha and Omega’ passage from Revelation would be read,
declaring God as... the one who is and who was and who is to come!

>In John’s Gospel we would listen as Pilate asks Jesus:
‘Are you the King of the Jews?’

Jesus the Christ, the one who reigns with love, kindness, justice and compassion.

I bring this to our attention because,
we still must stand against those who wish to rule
with force and hate and violence.
In 1925, Reign of Christ Sunday began by the decree
of Pope Pius the 11th... to speak against Mussolini,
who declared himself heir to the Roman Empire
as the supreme ruler of Italy.

Jesus said, ‘ Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s,
and to God the things that are God’s.”

He said this to frustrate the plans of two groups who wished him harm;
the Pharisees and the Herod-ians.

The reign of the Christ,
reminds us that God is God of all.

We do have obligations that involve materials things,
and other obligations that involve spiritual and eternal things.

If Caesar demands money... give it,
but give to God your heart ... and even your money as well.

I was reflecting on a conversation between my Mom and my Dad,
about money and the church... when I was about 11.

My Dad mentioned that he had been talking to his group of church friends,
about the needs of the congregation...
and had asked them all to give more to the Church.

Dad was concerned that he might lose some friends
because he had been pretty insistent.

At 11... I was just beginning to resent
giving 1/3 of my allowance to the church.

I got 75 cents.... It was split 3 ways...
church, savings, spending.

So to me it made sense that grownups,
would want to keep all their money too!

It turned out that each person that my Dad had challenged
to give more, did give more ... because they believed in the vision of the church.
They saw that lives were changed inside and outside the walls.

A few weeks ago I gave you examples of who
would miss this congregation, if we disappeared.
There were over 25 ministries that
directly touched individuals in this community.
At least 25 ways that we would be missed.

We have great things going on here.
and we will continue to make a difference to people’s lives.

But I must ask, is there a ‘wow factor’ that exists beyond the list,
that will entice others to join us in these ministries?

I like our statement of Mission...
Thriving, Vital, Alive, Sustainable...
Is there a wow here for you?

Thriving Congregation.
Vital to the Community.
Alive as followers of Jesus the Christ.
Sustainable for the future.

If a stranger reads those four statements,
would they utter a Wow!... followed by:
‘I really want to be a part of a congregation that does that!’

I hope so... but some days I am not so sure.

I read about a congregation that has this as their mission:

Every moment – honour the sacred in the ordinary
Every day – make a difference
Every week – celebrate community
Every month – change a life.
Remember... everyone matters!

Would this bring a wow? ... and a desire to be a part of that congregation.

What would?

Do we have a wow that makes us thrive?
What is the wow that makes us vital to the community?
Is there a wow that speaks to us about being alive as followers of Jesus the Christ?
As we strive to be sustainable... where is the wow?

What are we as a congregation, doing right now,
that makes you say wow... and makes you tell others about
United Churches of Langley.??

(Microphone is passed around.)

It sounds like this mission might be working for us!

But… if this mission does not excite us any longer...
we need to acknowledge its great value for the time it did excite us,
and find some new words..
a new mission statement... that speaks to who we are now.

Last year at this time we were talking about
the flow of Holy Currencies.

We heard that in the flow of all the currencies together...
ministry happens.

The currencies of Wellness, Relationships,
Money, Gracious Leadership, the currency of Truth,
the currency of Time and Place.

When we have a stated Mission,
that excites us, sets our imaginations free,
and encourages us to be God’s people,
then we can be an essential part of God’s mission,
and we will change people’s lives.

And may we:
Continue to make a joyful noise...
as the Holy Spirit - - sets the Church on fire!